1. For Sales Blogging and Social Selling – Think Like a Publisher

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      The practice of social selling has crossed the chasm and entered the tornado stage. (Huffington Post, see Mike Kunkle’s excellent webinar) To fuel this content dependent activity, many are urging sales people to blog, and to become thought leaders. (Lori Richardson, John Jantsch,  ITSMA) This is a logical extension from a belief that sales people must think more like marketers. In my view, “think like marketers” means sales people must approach selling from a buyer perspective. They must understand and align to the issues, questions and process buyers must address to make a buying decision. (See Sharon Drew Morgen – Buying Facilitation) Not all buyers are ready or interested to hear about your company and product — especially those features. But I also know that thinking like a marketer does not mean thinking like a journalist. It does not require sales people to “blog” – certainly not in the way most...
  2. Four Lessons You Should Learn from Publishers

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    Content marketing would be easy if it didn’t require a steady stream of fresh, engaging, relevant content.  It’s not that developing great content is new.  It’s creating the volume and continuous development required that is new. A number of companies confront this problem by hiring a staff of writers.  As their salary line goes up they may find that it is still difficult to keep up with content needs.   Skilled story tellers still need a story.  They look to subject matter experts, some of the most knowledgeable and busy people in the company, to provide stories or knowledge.  After resolving availability issues, subject matter experts often feel the need to explain their world to a writer so that the writer can tell a story.  This requires a lot of time for SMEs who have incredibly limited availability to begin with. Unfortunately, this also doesn’t always work well.  What often happens...
  3. Move Beyond Concept to Create Content Like a Publisher

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    For marketers who have embraced the publishing mindset in support of inbound and content marketing strategies, execution has emerged as the new barrier to success. You understand the need to think like a publisher. You have shifted content focus from vendor and product collateral, to customer educational content. You blog, create whitepapers or e-books, conduct webinars and even dabble in videos. Linked-in and Facebook pages (and now Google Plus) have led to YouTube and Slideshare channels. You have a Twitter account and are learning about new social media platforms every week. Keeping up with demands for content is daunting. Think like a publisher tells us what to do. But can it help us understand how to do it better? You bet. Understanding the deeper implications of what it means to think — and create content — like a publisher can lead to a new operational model. With a fundamentally different...
  4. Content Marketing Support Resource

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    I’ve just completed reading Rebecca Lieb’s new book, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher – How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media. I’m immediately buying copies for my people and to use with customers. It’s a terrific introduction and summary of the principles and top level practices. This is book for people who want or need an initial understanding of Content Marketing. I read it in a couple of hours on a plane ride. This makes it a good book to share with senior executives and others to help explain “why we’re taking this approach to marketing”. We all need that. We’re all working with a few who “get it,” surrounded by far too many who don’t. Given the significant mind, strategy and budget shifts required for organizations to pursue this course, making the case for content marketing is the first challenge proponents usually face. Given the “dabbling”...
  5. Content Publishing vs. Traditional “Point Production” Process

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      People regularly ask me to clarify the differences and reasons for adopting a content publishing process rather than the traditional point production process. The publishing process is at the core of our Leveraged Content Supply Chain ideas. Here is a simple list of reasons. We believe organizations face new content requirements that a publishing oriented creation process best addresses because: Content must be relevant to each buyer and their situation, vs. “one size fits all” Content must educate, create a vision and inspire vs. pitch features and benefits This means a dramatic increase in the volume of content to create which breaks down with traditional approaches We must reduce the burden on subject experts (SMEs) and change their role in creating content Content creation must become a planned asset development and maintenance process vs. an event driven, “one-and-done” approach Content creation is moving from centralized, “professional” creators to “new...
  6. Ready or Not, Here’s Your Content Challenge

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    To capture attention and deliver value, your content challenge is to be relevant to your buyers and readers. It might be cliché to say buyers are inundated with information, but I don’t see organizations really committing to strategies that deal with this reality. While many have changed the way they market over the last three to five years, I don’t see corresponding changes in the way they create content. I call the traditional approach a “point production” method. Sometimes this is referred to as “one and done.” I put the emphasis on “one” — one blog, article, webinar, whitepaper, video, etc. If we are committed to creating relevant content that works for our organization and our readers, it must be created to speak to a specific individual, specific interest or issue, buying stage, industry, competitive context and other relevance factors. Not all of them together. If we believe it’s important to make our...
  7. Content Marketing Best Practices from Joe Pulizzi

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    Hubspot Inbound Now Video Interview also a Case Study In How to Create Content Like a Publisher Whether you are new to content marketing or an advanced practitioner you can learn something from the recent Hubspot Inbound Now interview with Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Anytime I can hear or read Joe’s insights it’s a worthwhile time investment. The Hubspot process is an excellent example of thinking and creating content like a publisher: Be a resource for new ideas and insights Acquire content by interviewing subject experts Use audio and video as acquisition methods (more than just interview) Transcribe the audio Offer the content in multiple formats for consumption convenience: text, audio and video Amplify — in this case they blogged about the interview for another distribution method Promote — others will help you do this   Inbound Now #16 – Content Marketing Best Practices...
  8. Content Strategy for the Web

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    If you’re accountable for creating content for marketing and sales I encourage you to immediately get copies of Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web for everyone on your team. There are many parallels and insights that apply to building non-website content. The core premise, that organizations must take a strategic approach to building content and think of content as important business assets, applies to content created for lead generation and nurturing programs, sales enablement and customer communications. The following are a few key excerpts from the book: “Only when we embrace our identities as publishers will we be able to commit to the necessary infrastructure to care for our content as a strategic business asset. For years, we’ve been spending millions of dollars on strategy and research, user experience design, visual design, and technical platforms. In other words, we’ve invested in everything we need to build the online vehicles...
  9. Keeping PowerPoint in Perspective

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    A recent New York Times article — We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint — is the latest in a (seemingly) never-ending series of articles deriding the tool. This is a good opportunity to move from the “cool” perspective of bashing PowerPoint, to consider it’s significant possibilities — even for content professionals. For over twelve years we have recommended a different perspective. Rather than view PowerPoint as a bullet-oriented presentation tool — it’s initial purpose — we suggest viewing it as a business graphic development, and even general communication tool. Training organizations have long embraced PowerPoint as a foundation for e-learning. Where would marketing webinars be without PowerPoint? As a production tool for general business people, nothing beats it and that’s why it’s so pervasive. But what of more “professional” users? A Tool for the Content Marketing Professional Consider the following marketing and sales content requirements facing most...
  10. Risk of User-Generated Video Content

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    I’m really interested in John Jantsch’s new book The Referral Engine. But I’m not sure I’ll be reading it. I have a full reading list and limited time. I primarily read material referred to me from a trusted source. It’s a new book, so I’m waiting for reviews to emerge. That’s why today I jumped on the Twitter link to this “review” by Jim Kukral. Warning: there is some negativity in this blog, delivered in the spirit of feedback and insight, born of disappointment and frustration. A Review IS a Referral Think about it. A “review” is a referral. I would hope that a book about referrals would teach someone how to provide a referral. This glaring omission in this particular review has me questioning whether it’s missing from the book as well. I’m making these criticism because we’re dealing with professionals here. Not some geek … oops, after writing...
  11. How to Think Like a Publisher

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    In 1982 I joined Ziff Davis publishing company in a special group that Bill Ziff set up to figure out how to migrate his print publishing empire into electronic publishing. This experience fundamentally changed my thinking and my life path. It taught me how to think like a publisher. Content marketing thought leaders today are regularly instructing us to think like a publisher. When I ask people to explain what this really means and, more importantly, how they would create content like publishers, they typically respond with blank stares. Those familiar with the way many websites are supported by content management systems have some familiarity with this concept. But this doesn’t inform the creation process. How does the CMS analogy help our understanding of creating like publishers? Publishers separate the major tasks involved in producing finished work products. The database is key to this approach. A content management system is...
  12. e-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

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    When we look back at the past decade, I believe we will see a significant inflection point in the transformation of B2B marketing and selling. The rhetoric of the internet has become the reality of the internet. The web, along with digital media, web 2.0 technologies, and the proliferation of wireless and mobile computing have resulted in the long-awaited convergence. Even user adoption rates, traditionally the regulator on the velocity of technology impact, are accelerating noticeably. Of course, not all is perfect. We tend to implement new technologies using old processes and methodologies. True breakthrough occurs when we re-engineer these processes based upon the new technologies. To paraphrase an old line, to ask, “given my business, how should I use these new technologies?” is fundamentally the wrong question. A more helpful question is, “given the capabilities provided by new technologies, how should I design and run my business?” Ardath Albee...
  13. Don Hewitt and the New Producers

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    This summer Don Hewitt, creator and producer of 60 minutes died. For those of us in the communications business — most of us — there is a lot to learn from this man. Despite working with text from our youth, most of us don’t write very well. When it comes to graphics, animation, audio and video we truly have a long way to go. But these are the new tools for communication in our age, and we are the “new producers”. As business communicators, we must learn from “publishers” how to create quality content, quickly and affordably. Digital media and the web have raised the bar making us not just publishers, but broadcasters. Don Hewitt was the master of the broadcast world. I’d like to call your attention to this interview, and to several statements in particular that relate to web-based communication. A shorter segment is below.   Conversations at KCTS 9:...
  14. How I Created Content Like a Publisher When Speaking at Bentley University

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    This coming week I have two presentations at Bentley University – first, guest lecturing at Terry Skelton’s class Fundamentals of Content Development as part of the Information Design & Corporate Communication department, and then speaking to Marketing and IDCC majors as part of a spotlight for careers in digital content marketing, hosted by Alyssa Hammond. To prepare, I followed a process that we use with our customers to ensure that both speakers and audience get the most out of an event experience, by creating content like a publisher. My presentation includes an overview of B2B Sales & Marketing today – concepts such as inbound marketing, content marketing, digital body language, marketing automation, lead management and the revenue engine. Then I explain how Avitage takes the concepts and puts them into practice through a specific approach and set of processes. Finally I review customer examples and recent case studies with BNA...
  15. 7 ways to take your webinars to the next level

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    Webinars are a key component in generating compelling and relevant content to feed your lead generation, lead nurturing and content marketing programs. We see all too often however that companies take a “show up and throw up” approach to webinars, and therefore are only scratching the surface in terms of capitalizing on the opportunity. Webinars should not be a random act of marketing or a point production, but rather fall within a webinar strategy with consistent execution and production. These are seven things you can do right now to take your webinars to the next level, and increase your ROW (Return on Webinars, of course). 1. Pre-produce the webinar Pre-producing the webinar greatly improves the webinar experience for both viewers and presenters. When pre-producing the webinar, the webinar will still be presented as if it’s live (it has just been pre-recorded and edited), followed by a live Q&A.  The pre-production...

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