The Point

Archive for the ‘Content marketing’ Category

Oct

In Loving Memory of a Blog [Back from the Dead] Infographic

It’s back from the dead.

Actually, it’s still dead. Huh?

What I’m trying to say is I have a new infographic for you. I’ve taken the “Eulogy for a Blog” post I originally wrote for Copyblogger (and republished here) and teamed with my friends at ClearVoice to create this haunting infographic. Enjoy.

Eulogy for a Blog infographic

[BTW, if blogging and content marketing haunts you, learn how a content marketing consultant can help.]

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Dearly Beloved,

We gather here today to honor the memory of our friend, Web Log.

That was his birth name.

Most knew him simply as Blog.

Blog’s life was tragically cut short at a very young age. I’m saddened to say, he never really hit his stride or had the chance to grow up to enjoy what might have been his prime.

When Blog was born he was full of hope and vigor. He dreamed of being an educator. He loved having an audience, though our friend Blog had to settle for a very small one.

Those of us who knew Blog well, knew he was not a patient man. Though many admired Blog because he was a self-starter, he was often cautioned about rushing into things.

I suspect if Blog were here today, he’d tell you he would have been wise to have been more deliberate about planning.

Again, though we honor Blog’s spirit, like all of us, he was deeply flawed.

(more…)

Oct

How to Write a Lead Like a Professional Blogger

Write a Lead

 

Writing leads is a bitch.

But I just wrote a great one. How do I know? You read the second sentence. And now you’re on the fifth. I’m on a roll. You’re into sentence number seven and I love you for it.

The objective of the first sentence (often called the lead, or lede) is to get you into the second one. Some say the lead is the first paragraph and, as you must have gathered, its goal is to get you to read the paragraph that follows.

Of course, the headline ranks highest, so those that dole out writing advice tend to focus on it. I thought we’d focus on the lead today. When it fails you, your reader takes in only two lines. That’s a form of rejection no writer can live with.

So let’s get back to that bitch

At this year’s International Association of Procrastinators Conference (which was originally scheduled for last year), a poll determined the hardest part of every task is getting started.

Beginning a blog post is no exception. The challenge often thwarts the progress of the most successful professionals. Kristi Hines, professional blogger of the highest order, told me:

“For me, the lead is the most difficult part of the article to write. I’ve found that when I get stuck, the best approach is to write the rest of the article and circle back to it. By that point, I know exactly what I’ve covered in the article and that makes it easier to introduce the content. Otherwise, if I try to force the lead out first, I end up procrastinating on the whole piece.”

We have our first tip: skip the lead if it freezes you. Try to switch to defrost and just dive into the story. (more…)

Sep

How to Grade a Blog (Including Yours)

Blog report card

I failed. Big fat F. But I’m giving myself a redo. I’m the teacher. I get to make that call.

Actually, for growing my business as a content marketing consultant, I’ll give myself a passing grade. It’s going well, but new (and tough) tests keep coming. I don’t ace ‘em all.

I have a new client that’s moving forward fast and furiously putting the pieces in place—new WordPress site, HubSpot, enewsletter, social media, collateral, the works. And they’re making a good size commitment to fueling inbound marketing efforts with a steady stream of content.

To help accelerate my ability to direct a kickass content marketing initiative, my client has given me an assistant. And she’s a go-getter. I can’t even move fast enough to push her because she’s pushing me.

In an effort to help the team blast through some initial planning stages, she created the spreadsheet that ate Cincinnati. I asked her to make one of its many tabs a rundown of competitors’ blogs, or prominent blogs in the field. She did that. It was a long list.

So then I asked her to try to save me some time by checking them out and grading them. (I figure I’ll only dig into the A and B material.) She graded them. I checked out the blogs she gave good grades. They didn’t deserve A’s and B’s. She was enormously generous.

I was thinking she failed me, but realized I’m to blame. I didn’t tell her how to grade the blogs—what criteria to use.

I got busy thinking it through a bit and along the way decided this would call for a simple and decisive blog report card. I think it’ll be helpful to her/us. I’m hoping it’s helpful to you too.

The blog report card criteria

When you peruse this report card, you’re bound to find some of the criteria I’m laying down as subjective. So be it. To keep it simple, the score can be either 1 or 0, so you need to make the call for the subjective ones, like #1…

(more…)

Sep

11 Mistakes Dumbass Content Marketers Make

Dumbass content marketingDo you feel a little out of place in content marketing?

My family and I went away with friends Labor Day weekend. We stayed at a remote lake house overlooking Lake Englebright in Nevada County, California.

Each day, as we traversed the dirt road from the house to the boat launch, we’d marvel at the ranches and livestock. A few times we saw a lone donkey roaming the fields with a good many horses. Someone quipped, “He must feel like an ass.” It got a good laugh.

Now, you know the phrase “dummy,” of course.  Thanks to the publishing giant Wiley, you concede you’re a dummy when buying a book to learn the fundamentals of some field or practice. “Ass,” at least in this story, means “out of place.”

So we’ll say if you’re a dumbass, it really means you feel a bit out of place as a content marketer and would like to learn some fundamentals.

We’re all kind of dumbasses really. As we play the content marketing game, everything is an experiment. We seldom know enough to know what outcomes to expect.

Given that I spend massive chunks of time writing, reading and analyzing content, I thought it might be helpful to point out the mistakes I believe dumasses commonly commit in an effort to help you avoid them. (more…)

Aug

Social Proof Marketing Makes Your Register Ring

Disneyland crowd

The happiest place on earth is a zoo. Actually, it’s a theme park. Disneyland, right? It has mice and ducks and all kinds of animals running around, but they’re uncaged. I call it a zoo because it’s crowded.

The crowds don’t keep you away though, do they? In fact, they have the opposite effect.

Same goes for a restaurant. You peer into an empty one and quickly conclude the food must suck. The one next door has a waiting list and gads of people out front anxiously waiting to be summoned by their little buzzer. Must be the tastier of the two.

Psychologists, sociologists and new media marketingologists call this powerful dynamic “social proof.” Most of us less scientific sheeps don’t call it anything. We simply choose to follow the crowd. (more…)

Aug

Content Marketers that Walk It, Talk It & Get It Done

Mark Masters

Now here’s a chap who knows how to create content and repurpose it wisely. Meet Mark Masters of the ID Group in the U.K. His idea was quite simple: interview an extensive series of marketing leaders. I’m sure it took a ton of work, but he made it happen. I was thrilled to be included in a long list featuring Jay Baer, Joe Pullizzi, Ann Handley, Robert Rose, Doug Kessler, Marcus Sheridan, Lee Odden—and many more of my favorite authors, teachers, consultants, speakers—and probably yours too.

Mark took excerpts from his interview series, “Talking Content,” and created this roundup slide deck, “What I Have Learnt from Content Marketers Who Have Walked the Walk.”

 

Here’s the complete interview I did with Mark.

And stay tuned below for links to additional interviews I chosen to share because Mark got into “storytelling” with these guests too. (more…)

Jul

How Publishing Crappy Content Ruins Your Rankings

content farm

Lessons from (and confessions of) a former content farmer.

This is a guest post from Erik Devaney of HubSpot, aka @BardOfBoston, pictured above ;-)

Ever stumble across a poorly written, vaguely comprehensible article with a title like, “How to Cook Atlantic Pygmy Octopus on a Weber Grill” or “The Best Types of Blue Flowers for Japanese Rock Gardens”?

Chances are, an article like that came from a content farm: a website that publishes thousands upon thousands of crappy articles, all for the sake of ranking for as many keywords (and keyword combinations) as possible.

If you want to think about them in terms of actual farms, content farms are like giant, multinational agriculture corporations. Corporations like these can have thousands of employees, hundreds of different products, and they often use genetic engineering in order to optimize those products. Likewise, content farms can have thousands of writers, hundreds of different verticals, and they often use black-hat SEO tactics (especially keyword-stuffing) in order to optimize their content for search engines.

Of course, genetic engineering is a tad different from SEO. Yet both are frequently viewed as ways to “game the system,” and often carry with them negative (and unnatural) connotations.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Google is not a big fan of content farms. And just a few years ago, they made these feelings known to the world with the release of their Panda update.

(more…)

Jul

Hey Marketers, No One Needs Your Nontent [and the ingredients for making the good stuff]

nontent

Who the hell needs nontent? No one. So why make it?

I mean, sheeshe, for every quart of content, there must be a gallon of nontent diluting the media and keeping buyers from finding the good stuff.

Look at this shit. Penis nicknames. Hands drawing words on a whiteboard to spell out what the announcer guy is saying? Forty-five-minute infomercials posing as webinars?

It’s so nonsensical. Such a waste of everyone’s time. Though officially content can be anything, we commune here today to talk about marketing. Content marketing. And nontent marketing.

Please agree, it’s really not content marketing if the majority of it is disposable garbage. Useless babble won’t help you make any real connections. And you can just forget about conversion.

Nontent. Nonnection. Nonversion.

My spell checker’s freaking out. These are not really words. But they should be. And you don’t need a dictionary, do you? Each definition is the opposite of what it would have meant if it started with a “c.”

Let’s get into some nontent now.

Here you go. My thoughts on the subjects are presented as slides and written about below. You’ll hate it.


Nontent – This is not content marketing from Barry Feldman

Please click along now.

(more…)

Jun

Slideshare: A Content Marketing Imperative

SlideShare home

Three breeds of content marketers walk among us.

There are those who haven’t discovered the content marketing dream-come-true that is SlideShare. Sadly, most fall into this first category.

You have those who are hip to SlideShare, but are making a bit of a mess on the mega-content hub.

And finally, you have SlideShare stars. They’re rocking on the SlideShare dance floor, but may choose not to shout about it for fear things could go south if the whole world joins the party.

SlideShare is a content hub where users share presentations, infographics, videos and documents. Acquired by LinkedIn six years after its inception, SlideShare is the world’s largest content sharing community for professionals. Though it remains 117 notches below Facebook for traffic rankings, SlideShare is clearly an arrow going up and to the right.

Why care about SlideShare?

A couple years ago, I heard Todd Wheatland, the author of “The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare,” speak at Content Marketing World. I’m paraphrasing here, but recall his attention-getting opening went something like this:

“Why would you want your content on SlideShare? The site averages 60 million unique visitors a month. Yours doesn’t.”

Visitor envy? It’s only natural.

Not long before that conference, Column Five Media created an infographic, which revealed SlideShare has 5X the traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

SlideShare traffic is driven largely by search and social. Visitors tend to be at work, doing work. I believe I mentioned it’s a content marketer’s dream.

And you can generate something more important than eyeballs with SlideShare. You can generate leads. (more…)

May

30+ Need-to-Read Resources on Online Marketing

online marketers need to read

 

You’ll want to check these blogs, authors, resources—all top notch.

My Google Alerts alerted me to a resource list for online marketers produced on ExploreB2B by Dr. Susanna Gebauer, an internet marketing and energy regulations expert (fun combo, no?) hailing from Germany. I’m flattered the list included yours truly. It’s a strong line-up of marketers that I’d recommend you check out. It even introduced me to some writers in the field who are worth getting to know. I’ve republished it so you can get to know them too.

Bragging rights? I’ve actually written for 10 of these awesome marketing leaders. 

***

Dr. Susanna Gebauer wrote:

Recently I was asked to recommend some German blogs on Content Marketing. As I myself mainly read English blogs I admit I had to search around – and failed miserably as German blogs worth reading on this subject seem to be few.

Today I present the best English language blogs and outlets I know about Content, Social Media and Online Marketing – feel free to tell me what I missed.

This is a list of blogs I read and would recommend. The list is in no particular order and the numbering implies no rating.

1) Copyblogger:

They do not only talk about content marketing – they live it. That is one of the best recommendations you can get: people who successfully use content marketing to market their own business. Meet Brian Clark of Copyblogger on Twitter or Google+.

2) Marketo:

Marketo offers a Marketing automation software, they help you sort through all your contacts to always have the right message for the right people to turn prospects into customers. On their blog they write about Marketing Automation, Social Media, Content Marketing, Email Marketing and Sales.

3) Marketing Profs:

Ann Handley of Marketing profs and her team provide you with vast collection of information on all things marketing.

4) Hubspot:

Hubspot itself is an inbound marketing software that “helps to attract customers and convert them into customers”. On their blog they publish about a variety of marketing topics including content marketing and social media.

5) Kissmetrics:

Kissmetrics was one of the first blogs I followed as they provide us with a good mix of content around different marketing topics. They focus on providing helpful information: tips, how-tos and studies.

6) Content Marketing Institute: (more…)