Intelligent Content Conference 2015 Recap

ICC 2015 Recap Graphic

I’m tired, but I just can’t stop smiling. Travel is exhausting, but I am still energized. The things I’ve learned in this past week make all the travel an’ tribulations worth the efforts. It lifts the spirits, and I feel great.

This past week, I attended Intelligent Content Conference 2015 in San Francisco. It’s an annual, can’t-miss professional event for content marketers, content strategists, and content engineers. It is one of the few conferences that I depend on, quite literally, to progress my career as a content strategist. From basic concepts to advanced techniques, the ICC has guided my personal learning journey for several years.

The speakers are world-class educators who bring real-world examples to the stage. Many conferences are only about big ideas. This conference is about the big ideas and how to make them work in your organization.

After years of being the the brainchild of Ann Rockley and Scott Abel, the Intelligent Content Conference changed hands to be run by Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing and the Content Marketing World Conference. Continue reading

Conflict Is Story: What It Means for Marketing Storytellers

Conflict by Joe Kalinowski

Conflict is story. Graphic by Joe Kalinowski based on a photo by Gianluca Ramalho Misiti.

Without conflict, there is no story. It is conflict that defines the story.

Whenever a writer is sharing a story idea with me, I’m listening for the conflict. Specifically, what is preventing the main character from reaching a specific, desired goal. And whenever a marketer references the brand “storytelling,” I’m listening for the same things. Let’s explore…

Without conflict, the story is just a setup. It may be an anecdote or even a nice scenario, but ultimately, great (heck, even good) stories require some sort of conflict. And lest we think this applies only to fiction, this is also relative to brand stories told in marketing. Read on…

Let’s start with a story example. Everyone loves zombies, so let’s make this a story set in the zombie apocalypse. Now, consider your main character Bob. What does Bob want? Does he want to win the zombie-slaying trophy? If so, why? What will winning the trophy be?

It doesn’t matter if Bob is from present day or from the future (a guy from the future fighting zombies is a nice setup!). All that really matter is that Bob wants something and why he wants it can be clearly defined.

There are lots of different theories on story conflicts, but many educators agree there are generally four types of conflict. (Meta irony: Someone will disagree with this.) These are conflicts that work both in fiction, non fiction, and marketing stories.

The four types of conflict: Continue reading

If You Can Survive This…

survive this graphic

“If you can survive this, you can survive anything.”

Those are the last words my father said to me as he dropped me off to go to wrestling camp in my senior year of high school. The coach encouraged all of us to participate in a week of intense character and muscle building with college coaches and athletes at Lehigh University.

It sounded great when the coach told us, and I begged my parents to let me go. As I stared at the bus idling in the parking lot, it felt like a huge mistake.

He nudged me out of the car, said the words, and drove off. I considered how fast I’d have to run to catch the car at the streetlight, but he was gone. I had no choice, except to survive my own poorly considered decision.

Every day of our lives and careers we are faced with decisions. Most are trivial, but sometimes we’re staring down some serious, career-altering challenges. Learning to survive is something genetically coded into our DNA, yet we often walk away from challenges that might make us better people.

There’s always going to be a challenge. Something just slightly beyond the you that you think you are and the you that you need to become in survival mode.
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Video Roundtable Discussions on Content Strategy

Buddy Vimeo

Buddy Scalera on the CMW B2B panel

Buddy Scalera was a featured guest in the Content Marketing World B2C Roundtable discussions.

These conversations featured Karen Budell (moderator and host), Michael Weiss, David Germano, author Andrew Davis, and Julie Fleisher of Kraft. The roundtable team discussed a variety of content marketing, content strategy, and social media issues. The videos were shared on Vimeo.

Buddy was also a featured speaker at the Content Marketing World event.

To learn more about the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, go to: http://contentmarketingworld.com/.

CMW B2C Research Roundtable: LinkedIn for B2C from Content Marketing Institute on Vimeo.

Part 1 of 3
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Infographics and Visual Storytelling with Author Ross Crooks

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Ross Crooks of Column Five Media

Better, more powerful devices have made it possible to tell better, more powerful visual stories. These days, content marketers are discovering that infographics can help express essential information and complex concepts.

Infographics (aka information graphics) are becoming an essential tool for visualizing concepts that may otherwise be locked in databases and spreadsheets. In the hands of skilled designers, infographics strap a jetpack to your data and help it reach a wider audience across multiple devices.

Data visualization is nothing new, but we’re seeing an emergence of innovative techniques for showcasing and sharing ideas. Some infographics are a single static image, while others are complete interactive stories.

For content marketers, infographics represent another way to provide value and engage with their target audience or existing customers. Brands must consider new and creative ways of creating utility, and infographics are becoming a cornerstone of strategic and tactical plans.

I caught up with Ross Crooks Co-Founder And COO of Column Five Media, an agency with offices in Newport Beach, CA and New York that creates visual stories for brands. With his partners Josh Ritchie and Jason Lankow, Crooks co-authored the book INFOGRAPHICS: The Power of Visual Storytelling, an essential guide for anyone interested in visual content strategy. The book is packed with examples and explanations that will help you get started building your own infographics. Continue reading

Epic Interview with Content Marketer Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi at window

Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing

He’s been called the “godfather of content marketing” and with good reason. Long before we were attending content-themed conferences, Joe Pulizzi was trying to convince his clients that content was the next big thing in marketing. It took a few years, but he’s convinced large and small companies to hire Chief Content Officers (CCO) to manage their content marketing efforts.

In a world where the loudest, brashest voices seem to get the most attention, Joe Pulizzi has be spreading the word in his own polite, friendly Midwestern way. He’s a power player in marketing, who hasn’t moved to one of the coasts to work at a power agency. He embraces the town of Cleveland, and if you’ve been to one of the conferences he hosts, you’ll see that Cleveland embraces him right back.

From his early days in custom publishing all the way to being a publisher, Joe Pulizzi is living his craft. He heads the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), which was named one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. magazine. CMI is an emerging media powerhouse with a voice in every channel. And consistently, that voice sounds a lot like Joe Pulizzi.

His collaborators and partners, including celebrated speaker Robert Rose, are a who’s-who of marketing gurus. His Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland is one of the must-attend shows for anyone in marketing, not just in the vertical of content marketing. It’s a fun, smart event that reflects the collective charm of the entire CMI staff.

As an author, Joe Pulizzi has published three smart, actionable books on the topic of content marketing. Each is fresh and vital, but Epic Content Marketing is the work of a mature, intelligent ambassador for the entire industry. If you haven’t read it yet, order it from Amazon and put it on the top of the stack on your nightstand.

If Johnny Cash was The Man in Black, then Joe Pulizzi will surely be known as The Man in Orange, due to his citrus-inspired wardrobe. If nothing else, he is consistent in his visual branding.

The book is as unique, colorful, and quietly awesome as Joe Pulizzi himself. It further cements his position as one of the most influential thought leaders in marketing. And if you know this business, that’s saying a lot.

Joe shared some thoughts in an email interview about content marketing, publishing, and the future of content marketing. Continue reading

Brandscaping with Author and Marketer Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, brings personality to marketing.

Andrew Davis is the guy you want on your marketing team. He’s smart, passionate, funny, and has an uncanny knack for nailing it.

His book Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships captures the essential rules of modern digital marketing. And if you had to distill it down to just one idea, it would be that marketing isn’t for loners. These days, you have make some friends and try new things.

And Andrew Davis is very good at identifying good partnerships and great marketing. In his book, he writes about large and small companies that are discovering new customers, simply by thinking beyond their traditional owned, earned, and, well, whatever campaigns.

He is like your favorite coach who both applauds you for reaching a new personal best, but also suggests that you can do better. He deconstructs successful campaigns, admires the work, and then suggests clever ways to make it even better. He’s smart, nimble, and it comes through on every page of his book.

But Andrew Davis is more than a writer. He’s also a surprisingly good speaker. When I met him this year, we were participating in a series of videos for Content Marketing Institute.

At Content Marketing World 2013, Andrew delivered a presentation on Brandscaping: The Secret to Unlocking Bigger Content Marketing Budgets and Driving Faster Results, and was the highest rated presenter at the conference. Not bad, considering the marketing legends at the event.

Despite his non-stop speaking schedule, Andrew found time to participate in an email interview with me.

BUDDY SCALERA: First, can you tell me what your book Brandscaping is all about?

ANDREW DAVIS: Brandscaping is all about leveraging the audiences of others to more effectively and efficiently sell your products and services. Essentially the entire book asks you one question: who already has your next customer as their current customer? Thinking this way opens up tons of new opportunities to work together, creating content that both your audiences will find valuable.
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Kicking Off with Kickstarter Crowdfunding

Kickstart campaign

Kickstarting my first Kickstart campaign

A few hours ago, I launched my first Kickstarter campaign and peered into the inevitable future of commercial creativity.

First off, for those of you not familiar, Kickstarter is a “crowdfunding” platform. If you have something you want to make, you can create a project and people can contribute money to help you reach your goals. In return, they earn “rewards,” which vary from practical to unusual.

My Kickstarter campaign is fairly straightforward. I’d like to print T-shirts, but I can’t afford the initial outlay of cash to the printer. Ordinarily, I’d have to pay the printer before the actual shirts are sold. If I don’t sell enough shirts, I can lose money.

So how does Kickstarter help me? In this case, I get people to pledge financial support (everything from $1 to $100). In exchange, they get items of value, including my “Girls Like Comics Too” shirt. Since I am also an occasional author, I’ll sign copies of my work, including comic books and books I’ve published.

Part of the fun is creating these Kickstarter rewards. You want to incentivize people to support you, so you end up giving away a lot of value-added stuff to get backers. In my case, the value of the stuff is up to 50% higher than the investment people are making. It’s a crazy little system, but it seems to work.

There are Kickstarter campaigns for lots of special interests, including comics, movies, music, photography, fashion, technology, and more. Continue reading

Buddy Scalera’s 2013 Conference and Speaking Recap

This was a busy year for me in terms of presentations and appearances. Content marketing has become a hot topic, so these days I’m out there talking about some of the how-to elements of getting started.

A few people have mentioned that I need to keep track of these speaking appearances better, so I created this post to document 2013.

 

Buddy Scalera explains content strategy using Grok comics drawn by Pat Quinn.  ICC2013 - San Francisco

Buddy Scalera explains content strategy using Grok comics drawn by Pat Quinn. ICC2013 – San Francisco

FEBRUARY:
February 7-8, 2013
The year kicked off with the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco. This event is one of the most technically advanced events, so the speakers are encouraged to talk about the how-to aspects of creating intelligent content. One of the organizers is Ann Rockley, who is an industry thought leader on XML-driven content. The other organizer is Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler, who is deeply involved with the technical details behind content management across multiple channels.

Anyway, I spoke at the ICC 2013 and delivered a presentation called “Channel-Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers.” It’s a deep dive into how content needs to be developed and managed to flow across multiple platforms. We had slightly tighter time slots, so the idea was to get into your story fast. It was a good approach that stripped out the fluff and forced you to get into the specifics of content formatting.

This is the deck I presented:

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Upcoming: Content Marketing World 2013 in Cleveland

Poster promoting Content Marketing World 2013 featuring Buddy Scalera, Tim Washer, Sarah Skerik, and Jeff Rohrs

Poster promoting Content Marketing World 2013 featuring Buddy Scalera, Tim Washer, Sarah Skerik, and Jeff Rohrs

In a few days, I’ll be presenting at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, one of the premiere events in marketing and content strategy. If you work in content, content marketing, content strategy, analytics, or social media, this is the must-attend event of the year.

Joe Pulizzi and the conference planners have created and shared some clever materials, including a series of posters featuring different speakers. Of course, we love to see our names, so everyone on the poster is sharing it on their social channels. My poster in the series has a disco theme and includes Jeff Rohrs, Sarah Skerik, and Tim Washer.

I talk to my clients a lot about social and viral assets. This is an excellent real-time example of how to create content assets that travel through sharing and endorsement.

They’ve also created a SlideShare presentation that included quotes from many of the speakers. And, of course, the views and likes for this thing are impressive as hell.

The original PowerPoint asset was posted August 14, 2013 on SlideShare. As of this writing, it’s already at 34,819  views. Remember, this is a deck leading up to a business conference. This isn’t some goofy pop culture thing from MTV or People magazine, so you don’t usually see view rates like this on business content.
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