Small thoughts, big ideas.

Surround yourself with the dreamers, the doers, the believers & the digital ninjas. #SmallThoughtsBigIdeas


10 Small Thoughts on Creating Really Good Content Marketing Campaigns

This post is an overview of a presentation I gave at a new event series – ‘Discovery Labs for Marketers’, hosted by Outbrain in NYC on November 18, 2014.

simplicity-quotesReally good content marketing campaigns are not easy – but they are really simple.

Let’s keep it that way.

Tip #1. Don’t overthink it.

Overthinking slows execution – the only way you’ll ever know how good your idea was. Just get it done.

I’m not suggesting you rush or skip the planning process altogether – i’m suggesting that content campaigns planned on a half page of a notebook in green sharpie can be just as powerful than those planned in a 57 page powerpoint deck.

Tip #2: Set a meaningful, measurable goal.

Having a measurable goal is the only way to plan something that actually works. Imagine what a successful campaign looks like for you. How will you measure that?

Goal setting will also help you prioritize the campaign against others by comparing this goal back to your top line business goals.

Tip #3: Know who you are talking to and why they care.

This is where you identify the value this campaign delivers to your audience. What specifically do your customers want from content? What are your customers searching for? What are they sharing online? What else are they reading and where are the gaps?

Tip #4: Identify the distribution platforms.

You don’t need to be on all platforms but you do need to be where your customers are. The platforms you choose will shape your execution.

Tip #5: Identify the influencers

Who are the people who are going to amplify your distribution on these platforms – or other platforms where you don’t have exposure? Consider some influencers may get pitched content hundreds of times per day. Relationships are key. Build them.

Tip #6: Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Make the most of what you’ve already got. Take existing content and repackage it into something new – perhaps in the form of lists or slideshows.

If you don’t have any existing content or your content isn’t evergreen, then consider partnerships with other bloggers or publishers to syndicate content. Many publishers are happy to share content providing you link back to the original source.

Tip #7: Optimize your content for each distribution platform.

There’s nothing worse than visiting each of a brand’s distribution channels and exactly finding the same delivery of exactly the same content on every platform.

Take one piece of content and publish it many times, in different formats for each platform. Consider for example images, infographics & video for social media vs. slideshows & lists for the web.

Tip #8: Write good headlines.

Headlines are 90% of the job of attracting audience to your content.

DO Create high-quality content and package it with a compelling headline.

DON’T leverage the curiosity gap without delivering on the promise you’ve made.

Tip #9: Use data to optimize your campaign.

Use data to validate the hypothesis you made at the beginning. Start small. Test. Learn, and scale successful results quickly.

Tip #10: Don’t forget about mobile

Sure, your campaign looks great on your desktop in the office, but how is the experience on mobile? If you forget about mobile then you can probably forget a large percentage of your audience. Pull out your smartphone and navigate your content on mobile. If you don’t have a great experience with your content on mobile, chances are that your audience won’t either.

“All the great things are simple” – Winston Churchill Tweet this.

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The Role of The Customer in Disruptive Innovation

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Pay too much attention to customers and the company risks not disrupting itself to prepare for tomorrows market and the inevitable arrival of disruptive competitors & technologies.

Pay no attention to customers and the company risks results that don’t meet their needs. They quite literally risk the customers themselves.

A ‘customer centered’ approach is more than ambitious; it’s impossible. It ignores the many other factors of consideration in a successful strategy – new technology, competitive threats and market trends. Customers are an essential input of a winning strategy, but they’re not the only input. A ‘customers included’ approach will have more success.

Companies that aim to be disruptive should include, not ignore the customer.

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new” – Steve Jobs Tweet this

I first read about the concept of a ‘customers-included’ strategy in the book ‘Customers Included by @MarkHurst & @PhilTerry. I’m only 15 pages into this book and already inspired by this refreshing take on the realities of creating a winning strategy.  

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Why Clickbait Gets a Bad Rep

Clickbait gets its’ bad rep from the promise of value that isn’t met.

If the objective of brand publishing is to get clicks, then value is the currency of those clicks.

Create high-quality content and package it with a compelling headline.

Don’t leverage the curiosity gap without delivering on the promise you’ve made.

“Keep every promise you make and only make promises you can keep.” – Anthony Hitt

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How & Why Great Sites Rise To The Top of Search Engines.

Content is an inseparable part of the user experience online.

“Content isn’t “stuff we write to rank higher” or “infographics” or “long form articles. Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.” Ian Lurie via @moz

Smart optimization of existing content is insanely powerful for optimal user experience. Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience can ensure that your site is perceived positively by those who visit, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits and links – signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.

“Otherwise known as the “no one likes to link to a crummy site” phenomenon.” @moz

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Interaction on Demand

“The number of smart devices is going to explode, and the assumption that each new device will require its own application just isn’t realistic. We need a system that lets anyone interact with any device at any time. The Physical Web isn’t about replacing native apps: it’s about enabling interaction when native apps just aren’t practical.” Source: The Physical Web

Interaction on demand.

Tiny ideas, solving problems, changing the world.
“My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all. You’d just have information come to you as you needed it.”
– Sergey Brin, Google

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How Harvard Took on the Social Web and #NailedIt

Harvard Business Review is getting bananas engagement on the social web.

I love to see old school publishing models adapting for web with such success.

Learning what works for them on the web.

Learning that there’s no substitute for brilliant content.

Go @HarvardBiz.

“Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you.” William Frederick Book 


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