Posts Tagged ‘content’

How to Tell Your Company’s Story: The Reimagined Remix

There’s nothing I like better than when good content begets other good content. After all, producing content is a relative cinch. But producing good (or even great!) content? That’s a lot harder.

Which is why you’ve got to make sure you squeeze every last drop of engaging goodness out of every piece of content you generate. Or, as C.C. and I write in Content Rules, think REIMAGINED, not recycled.

How might that ebook become a series of blog posts? How about interviewing the ebook author for a podcast? How about mining the best questions from a webinar Q&A for a tip sheet you publish on your blog? How might parts of that white paper become an infographic? Or a video infographic? (My friend Tim Washer is a master at this.)

A few weeks ago, I presented an online seminar for Radian6. (Note to conference organizers: Radian6’s David B. Thomas brings something special to the role of moderator.) As part of my presentation — and I mean one SMALL part! — was about how to tell your story: How do you pull the stories out of your own brand or company? To assist, I created a series of prompts for marketers and content creators — almost like writing prompts from my j-school days.

My MarketingProfs colleague Veronica Jarski created this below based on that part of my talk — a so-called “infodoodle” of How to Tell Your Company’s Story. Part doodle, part… well, info!… I love how it’s a reimagined remix of part of my presentation. Take a look and tell me what you think:

Music Video Book Review?

We’ve got some pretty damn creative fans out there and this morning we were reminded of this when Paul Flanigan posted a review of Content Rules.

He didn’t take the usual route and instead showed the world a perfect example of our rule of Do Something Unexpected.

Thank you for making our day and now if you’ll please excuse me I’ve got some hair metal to listen to.

Content Marketing Inspiration in Thanksgiving Stuffing: Create Utility

So it’s Thanksgiving and I’m in charge of the stuffing. Which is ironic, because I’m not really much of a fan. Of stuffing, that is; I like Thanksgiving just fine.

It’s not that I don’t like to cook -– because I do –- but the wet bread thing (as in French Toast, bread pudding, and Thanksgiving stuffing) turns me off. In other words, it’s a little like asking the deaf guy to bring the music.

So I consult a few of cookbooks, a few websites, the Epicurious iPhone app. But mostly I’m distracted by stuff I’d rather make: The mashed potatoes with olive oil and parsley? Yum. Butternut squash soup with apple and bacon? Now we’re talking….

But still: The stuffing. Sigh. Then I happen upon a useful tool on Fine Cooking that instantly seems the answer to my wet-bread dream: A “create-your-own” bread stuffing interactive recipe maker that allows you to mix and match your favorite ingredients to create your own customized bread stuffing. (more…)

Content Rules Unplugged: Can Any Company Benefit from a Content Marketing Strategy?

Podcast of Content Rules Uplugged: Can Any Company Benefit from a Content Marketing Strategy?

On November 3rd, I got together with Junta42’s Joe Pulizzi at OpenView Labs to talk about content marketing and content marketing strategy for a new project Joe is working on.

I know it was November 3rd, because (as it happens) it was my birthday, and after all my haranguing Joe for pony for weeks (“Buy me a pony! Buy me a pony!”), he actually came through, delivering a compact little four-legged plastic bit of My Little Pony horsiness. Her name is Scootaloo. You can see her photograph alongside this text.

OpenView’s studio space, overlooking Fort Point Channel, is both stunning and inspiring. With its sound booths, video studio, radio talk-show setup, and audio equipment that is so sensitive I swear it could capture the sound of hair growing, the OpenView space is a kind of Nirvana for content creators like us. And so after we finished up Joe’s project, we spontaneously recorded an unplanned, unscripted podcast to get Joe’s thoughts on content, marketing, and to answer the question: Can any company benefit from a content marketing strategy? Even a really silly, simple one? Even a ridiculous one? Like… say…. Scootaloo? (more…)

Zappos is FULL of Content

Everyone out there has heard the Zappos story by now and it is one that we have always loved since they practice what we preach.

Last week, I was in Las Vegas to speak at Blogworld Expo and several of us took a side trip over to Zappos for one of their famous tours. The long and short of it is that it lives up to the hype and I’m so glad that I got to experience it first hand to see that everything you’ve read is 100% true.

I wanted to share some of the simple things related to content that caught my eye while on the tour.

This is the Zappos Blog Bus and the team that manage the Zappos family of blogs sit here. Just like every other employee we encountered, they were overly friendly and having a great time doing what they do. How can you not have fun when your cubicles have been transformed into a VW Bus?

Zappos Tour - Blog Bus

I wish I had a picture of my face as we turned a corner and our guide said “and this is where our Content Team sits.” As you can see they break them out into Coordinators and Detailers and even have a digital picture frame that showcases all kinds of content that they make. Again, it isn’t about having the slickest and prettiest content. It is about having content that matters to you and the company!

Zappos Tour - Content Department

Finally, with every single person that goes through the tour they make sure that you leave feeling like royalty. For the price of a simple point and shoot camera and some props they take a photo of you and post it to the web for everyone to see. This is not only fun, but it is smart because of course everyone is going to go back out and look for their photo and share it with the world just like I’m doing here.

Content is one of those things that must become an integrated part of your company philosophy. It isn’t a short term play. It isn’t a long term project. Rather, it is something that you need to make part of day-to-day business activities because the more you make it part of who you are like Zappos has done, the more successful it will be for you.

Thank you Zappos for being such a great host!

What Does Storytelling Have to Do with Business?

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation at ExactTarget’s user conference called Content Rules: What Stories, Blogs, Video & More Should Be Doing for You (and Your Clients).

The upshot was how content (like stories, blogs, videos, and so on) should be a cornerstone of any brand’s marketing, and I talked to an audience for the first time about some of the concepts C.C. and I explore further in our book. (Which was cool, by the way.)

The following day, a panel of marketers representing companies of all stripes—from the long-established (Kodak) to the hip upstart (Threadless), and a few in between (Virgin America, Benchmark Brands) offered up their take on trends in marketing and business, like: What’s the role of a marketer in an organization? How have social media and technology altered the evolution of that role? And how do you get your customers (and would-be customers) to engage with your brand and the products you sell?

One of the major themes that emerged there was (surprise!)… Content! And specifically, what stories, blogs, video and more should be doing… Yeah. Like I said.

It was gratifying to hear some of the same themes I talked about the day before reinforced by the CMOs of some pretty smart companies. I’d like to think it was just because they all attended by presentation the previous day (ha!), but the truth is that producing great content is something so many companies are increasingly embracing; I loved the panel’s comments around the idea of “storytelling” as a cornerstone of what they’re doing to market online.

So what does storytelling have to do with business?

“Storytelling” is one of those works that I always find impossibly squishy in a business context. For me, it always conjures up more performance art than industry.

But the idea of storytelling as it applies to business isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairytale. Rather, it’s about how your business (or its products or services) exist in the real world: how people use your products—how they add value to people’s lives, ease their troubles, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs. Think in those terms when producing customer stories, case studies, or client narratives—so that people can relate to them. In that way, your content is not about “storytelling,” it’s about telling a true story well. (more…)

Living by the Content Rules: Have Some Fun

One of the key messages of Content Rules is that creating content as a cornerstone of your marketing offers your organization an enormous and unprecedented opportunity. Among them:

To engage directly with customers (or would-be customers)

To communicate with personality, empathy and real emotion

To create value

• And also: To have a little fun

It’s tempting to dismiss that last point, maybe. Who cares if your content is fun? Does fun make the cash register ring? And, anyway, what if you’re a B2B company selling dead-serious stuff? Won’t it undermine your credibility, marginalize your message, and disrespect your products if you don’t approach your marketing with solemn gravity? (more…)