Despite being a relatively young industry, content strategy and marketing owes a great deal to certain pioneers who helped shape essential concepts. Their names pop up in blog posts, at conferences, and on bookshelves because they are the true thought leaders of this evolving discipline.
Instead of becoming a fond footnote of the content strategy industry, pioneer Ann Rockley has continued to evolve with fresh, relevant insights. Her book “Managing Enterprise Content,” is, quite frankly, required reading for everyone who wants to work in content strategy.
After several years of hearing about Ann Rockley, I was fortunate enough to meet her at the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco. (I spoke at the conference and delivered a scintillating presentation called “Channel Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers.”) Later, Ann and I exchanged a few emails, and she was kind enough to grant me an email interview.
Fair warning. You will probably have to read this interview once, then read Ann’s book, then read this interview again to get the full impact. Ann’s very smart. I was just trying to keep up. Read more
Every once in a while, you read a business book and it becomes obvious that what you’ve been doing is…wrong. You know at that moment that you need to start doing things differently.
I had that feeling the first time I read “Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back” by Rohit Bhargava. At the time, Rohit was a co-worker at Ogilvy and I was reading the book as a professional courtesy. I mean, sure, he was a smart guy, super nice, and seemed to understand marketing, but I wasn’t expecting much. Most marketing books are bland and theoretical. Short on insight and long on catchphrases.
But Rohit’s book was different. It was clear that Rohit had taken great pains to write a book that went beyond basic theories social media and marketing. It was an insightful, actionable book that is as relevant today as when it was published in 2008.
In his second book, Rohit tackles a range of marketing topics. The umbrella concept of “Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action” (2012) is “likeability,” but that’s just part of the story. He shares case studies and anecdotes that reveal why believability and trust are so powerful for brands. Read more
In the online world, it’s rare that we’re willing to pay for anything. We almost never want to pay for content, which is understandable considering how long we’ve been getting it for free.
But as of today, I am ready to pay for a premium version of YouTube. Yup, I am prepared, PayPal in hand, to give Google my money for something they provide for free.
Anything to stop the pre-roll. Or at least require only premium-level pre-roll that is relevant to my tastes. This is worth paying for.
Freemium Upgrade to Premium
So you’re familiar with the concept of “freemium” right? Sure you are. That’s where you can get most of the features for free, but to get the “extra special awesome bonus stuff,” you have to pay.
For example, I’m an avid photographer, so I pay for Flickr Pro. Even though Flickr is free, I pay $25 a year for the upgrade. It’s not much money and I feel like I get some good value from it.
I’m also using the free version of Evernote more frequently, so I am considering an upgrade there. Maybe Dropbox too. Both provide good free services, but the extra stuff on the premium may make it worth the few bucks.
To be honest, I use YouTube way more than any of these other services. Google invests bazillions of dollars running YouTube and charges us nothing for it. A few moments of our attention (for a paid advertisement) is all they ask. Seems fair, right? Read more
Chris Epting is an author after my own heart. As a lifelong fan of the rock band Kiss, Chris published an ebook titled “All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS: Life Lessons from the Hottest Band in the Land” – available on Amazon.
Kiss is, of course, one of my all-time favorite bands. I rock and roll all night to their music, shout it out loud at their concerts, and pay cash for their merchandising. Kiss has touched my life in many meaningful ways.
That’s why when I heard about this ebook, I downloaded it immediately. The title alone grabbed me, but the crisp writing is what kept me reading. As a writer, Epting is a man at the top of his craft. He knows how to weave a compelling narrative that grabs you and never lets you go. I wanted the best and Epting delivered the best.
The ebook is, for lack of a better description, a long, personal love letter to Kiss. Because of his background, Epting delivers the letter from the unique perspective of an informed insider…not as someone with an ax to grind. Read more
The quest continues…
A week ago, we purchased our Raspberry Pi computer, a $35 computer targeted at kids. We bought it for my daughter, who’d expressed interest in making her own video games.
The official Raspberry Pi store was sold out of these affordable little computers. I hunted around and found sellers on eBay offering them for $47. My daughter was excited to spend $35 of her own money to buy her own computer. I bit the bullet and paid the extra $12 to get the Pi.
Then the fun begins. It comes in a package with no cords, hard drive, or instructions. You get the manual as a PDF at the Raspberry Pi website. Easy enough.
If you’re like me, you also discover that you don’t have all the cables you need. So instead of plugging it in and booting up, I had to order some cables and adapters. It wasn’t very expensive, but it did sort of strip away the mystique of a $35 computer. No biggie, I had most of the things I needed, including a cellphone charger (for the power source) and an SD card (for the hard drive). Read more
So before they could speak, their hands were slapping and clacking on the keyboard. This isn’t so unusual these days, as many modern American families have access to similar technology.
But I wanted to go one step further.
I believe my career in technology is due primarily to my early exposure to computers. My high school exposed us early in the 1980s to simple programming using the Commodore 64, a machine that was a gateway for thousands of tech-curious minds.
Then, in a move that would prove formative, my father bought me a used Apple IIc computer. It was a basic machine, but it was mine. I could tinker and explore at home, rather than in a computer lab. I used it primarily as a word processor, but it gave me the confidence to use technology as a tool.
And, like many before me, I was completely and utterly blown away the first time I saw my first classic Macintosh computer. Unlike many of my fellow students who walked past, I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it. Read more
West Coast! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, maybe too long.
Let’s get together at the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2013. I’m packing now to bring some East Coast fun to the City by the Bay.
If you’re a content marketer, this is one of the big conferences you should attend. I’ll be there to deliver my presentation on Feb 8th at 2:00. Here’s the description:
Channel-Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers
Learn why “intelligent content” is an inevitable future for multi-channel marketing. Developing channel-agnostic content is rapidly becoming the only way to address the proliferation of emerging channels and new devices. Brands are publishers and content is liquid. Marketing teams need to consider how to share messages across the platforms that their customers are using. Intelligent, channel-agnostic content development, governance, and maintenance will ensure that your marketing team is happy (i.e., employed) and prepared for the future.
You’ll see a lot of the stuff you’ve come to know and love including my sparking personality, these rock-hard abs, and some amazing comic book art. Read more
If I had stock in Home Depot, Lowes, or Sears, I’d be pretty annoyed right now. I’d be looking at the impending storm that’s about to hit the East Coast, and think, “why aren’t these retailers ready for Hurricane Sandy?”
To that, I’d add, “again.”
Yup, this is the second year in a row that retailers are not ready for the consumer demand in times of emergency. Last year, we were hit with an epic, freak storm that knocked out electricity for four days. The folks with generators were just fine, but the rest of us were, well, very cold.
You’d think that people would learn from last year and already have generators, batteries, bottled water, canned goods, gasoline, and other things like that. But they don’t. People are people. They don’t usually do a good job of taking care of themselves and typically wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping. People are like that and will always be like that.
Look, I’m going to run through a few things with you, since you already know all of this. You’re a marketing pro, so this is just a quick review of your talking points with your boss.
A good marketer like you knows that you can’t just check boxes and expect to deliver remarkable results. You are already working hard to make sure your strategies and tactics are effective.
Let’s review five reasons your campaign will succeed, so you can discuss it during your next performance review:
1. You have a strong content strategy.
Last quarter you rocked it with a smart strategy, fantastic branding, and a super message. It took some time, but you managed to deliver an equally amazing content strategy. You know (because you read Content Strategy for the Web and The Elements of Content Strategy) that content strategy includes a plan for ongoing content creation, management, and governance. That’s why your website isn’t still in Phase 1/Launch. You’ve had a content strategist focused on all aspects of content, so that the message stays fresh for your target audience. It’s not just the copy on your website either. It’s mobile, social, video, graphics, and everything in between. This, above all, is why you are succeeding where others have failed. You know that content strategy is the foundation of content marketing. Read more
The easiest thing to do is wait. When a new technology seems to be bubbling up at the edges of conversation, most people just wait. Wait to see how it turns out. See if it takes off.
When it comes to ebooks, the wait is over. Done. The handwriting is no longer on the wall; it’s being downloaded to your iPad.
Old Models, Redefined
The book business is faring much better than the music industry did when digital changed their business model. As millions of songs were being downloaded in the 90s, music companies were busy protecting their old-media distribution channels. At one time, music stores dotted strip malls and city street. Now, most are gone. Apple redefined their distribution model.
The next to be hit was the video business. Torrents made pirating easy. And since people already had home-entertainment centers, the devices of consumption were already in place. The studios were also slow to move, sticking with DVDs for too long. NetFlix was already busy redefining their distribution model. Read more