Marketing

As Mashable and others say, we're in the midst of a "content marketing explosion." If you haven't heard of the phrase "content marketing," know that it's the new buzz term used by marketers and writers (me included). It's been around long enough to be in Wikipedia, but it hasn't made it to the dictionary yet. And it describes a strategy that's both old and new.

It's about creating and sharing content to promote your brand. What's new about this is that we now have more tools for sharing content than ever before. It's safe to say the entire online culture is now about sharing content (written, visual or oral).

As a business owner or marketer, you need to tap into that culture if you want to gain new business online.

Market your existing content and make it shareable

Here are just a few ideas...

  • Turn your case studies into slide presentations, videos or both.
  • Make your  data visual with an infographic (like the example below).
  • Turn your blog tips into an ebook.
  • Transcribe your email newsletter and make it an audio podcast.
  • Promote your research report, and your expertise, through a webinar.

There are no limits to the creative tactics for marketing content online. Read on for more insight below and let me know if you need help with ideas!  Thanks goes to Blue Glass Interactive for the infographic.

Created by BlueGlass Interactive

 

WordCamp Miami 2011

WordCamp Miami 2011 offered some great sessions on developing and marketing WordPress blogs. I had fun, took lots notes and heard some great speakers. Here are a few of their tips…

You’re a publisher now. Start thinking like one.

When writing remember…

  • General is boring. Specific is interesting
  • Keep it short (300 to 500 words)
  • Read it aloud before posting
  • Tweak it for SEO
  • Use catchy headlines

- Maria de los Angeles in Blogging 101

WordPress isn’t just for personal blogs.

It’s a powerful platform. Great examples:

- Adam Warner in Introduction to WordPress

Most businesses fail to identify their customers.

Spend more time identifying your online customer and they will spend more time buying.

- Dezmon Landers in Steroid Marketing for WordPress

A few recommended WordPress plugins:

- From “Plugins Even Charlie Sheen Would Love”

The 3 questions you should ask about your site:

  1. How is the site attracting customers?
  2. How is it converting prospects into buyers?
  3. How is it building relationships and maximizing value over time?

- Klaus Heesch in Live WordPress Site Review

 

It was a great experience and I’d recommend going next year if you’re interested in using WordPress. See some of the slides and video presentations at the WordCamp Miami site.

 

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WordCamp Miami 2011

OK, so "WordCamping" might not be a real word, but it should be! If you use WordPress blogs, you may have heard about WordCamp Miami 2011. It's a one-day conference on everything WordPress. It's held every year, but this will be my first time attending.

I'm really looking forward to it, although I wish I could clone myself to catch all of the sessions I want to see.  Here are a few...

  • Steroid Marketing for WordPress by Dezmon Landers
  • WordPress & SEO by local SEO John Carcutt
  • Building a Community Around Your Blog by Brenden Sera-Shriar
  • Building a Business with WordPress by local web strategist Brian Breslin
  • Reaching Multi-Cultural Audiences with Your Blog by Jhonatan Castaneda

Keep on eye out for my next few blog posts as I'm sure I'll have many blogging tips to share!

Going to WordCamp Miami? Make sure to say hi!

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Love her or hate her, you have to admit Lady Gaga knows how to get attention. Yes, the meat shoes and crazy outfits are part of it, but if you look beyond that you'll notice some deliberate choices that also keep her in the spotlight. Some of these involve smart marketing decisions that can be used by any business.

How can you market yourself like Lady Gaga?

Besides being different (or very different, in her case), having a strong opinion and giving your fans a way to build a strong connection are just a few strategies that work. You can also leverage social media and try to get the right people behind your brand.

This great slide presentation by Jesse Desjardins spells out the rest:

How often do you ask for a testimonial from a client and get something like this?

“Bob and his team at ABC Contracting were fabulous. We had a great experience and look forward to working with them again.”

Many people would be happy with this testimonial. My opinion? It doesn’t suck, but it could be better. You want better.

“ABC Contracting did a terrific job and finished on schedule, despite a few unexpected obstacles. Bob responded quickly to all of our questions and concerns and the team handled an emergency problem very smoothly.”

To a prospect who’s concerned about contractor deadlines, job performance and responsiveness, this is a much more powerful testimonial.

Your guide to testimonial awesomeness

If you don’t want a website full of generic testimonials, you’ll have to tell your clients what you want. I don’t mean telling them what to say, just guiding them in the right direction. Here’s how:

1) Decide what to highlight in testimonials

What makes your product/service better than your competitor’s? Why do clients say they choose you? Pick two or three areas you’d like to highlight in testimonials (customer service, product quality, order follow up, experience, etc.).

2) Pick clients for the areas you chose

This is easier if you sell a service, but the idea is to pick clients who can write about the areas/qualities you chose. If you’re in real estate and want to focus on how quickly you sell property, pick a good client for this. If customer service is on your list, pick a client who had a disastrous problem you solved. Make a list of these clients and their addresses or emails, because you’re going to write to them next.

3) Ask for the testimonial

Write or email the clients (or contact them through LinkedIn) using a standard message with one sentence that will be customized. Here’s a sample. Feel free to use it, just customize or fill in anything that’s underlined.

Dear Bruce,

It was nice doing business with you this past week. Now I’d like to ask you for a favor. Could you write one or two sentences describing your experience (good or bad) with our customer service?

Something short is fine. The feedback would be helpful and it might be used on our website or marketing materials.

You don’t have to use these, but here are a couple of starter phrases to get your thoughts flowing:

  • In our experience, Acme’s customer service is…
  • After buying from Acme, our experience with customer service was…

Please send it to this e-mail (or post it on LinkedIn). If you’d rather I not use your comments on any materials, let me know as well.

Thanks for taking a moment to help with this. I look forward to reading what you have to say.

(Closing)

(Replace customer service with your preferred area—product quality, technical expertise, response time, etc.)

If you don’t feel comfortable giving them a phrase as a starting point, ask for their comments then try to dig deeper with them on the phone. As they respond to your questions, make a note of anything you’d like to quote and ask them if you can use what they’ve said on your website.

Everyone’s too busy these days, so make it as easy as possible for your client to respond. An online network like LinkedIn is a good vehicle for this if the client is a member already. Otherwise a short email or letter is fine.

Good testimonials attract clients

After reading a few well-worded testimonials, prospects will feel like they know your company a little better. And if they like what they see or read, they’ll be more willing to email or pick up the phone and call.

(Image: joeltelling)