Discover the Importance of context

Scarecrow Fox by David Wilcoxson: Sculpture In Context 2012 at the National Botanic Gardens by William Murphy (Source: Flickr)

Scarecrow Fox by David Wilcoxson: Sculpture In Context 2012 at the National Botanic Gardens by William Murphy (Source: Flickr)

This week’s post will introduce a concept I believe is of vital importance for those making use of social media or content marketing as part of their marketing mix

Defining Context

Chambers dictionary offers the following definition of context

context noun 1 the pieces of writing in a passage which surround a particular word, phrase, etc. and which contribute to the full meaning of the word, phrase, etc. in question. 2 circumstances, background or setting. contextual(Source: Chambers.co.uk)

To simplify the concept context applies to the where, who and how of communication, where one is communication, who one is communicating with and how one is communicating, pictures of kittens etc. would be perfectly in context on a social media channel but would be woefully out of context on LinkedIn, when communication is out of context it jars and grates on people. Risqué jokes might be fine at the pub but they’d be badly out of place at a family gathering/christening, this toying with context is frequent source of humour in Best Man Jokes where risqué humour is concealed in ways which wont offend the easily shocked members of the wedding party

As Marketers why is this important to us?

In her whitepaper ‘Why Context is essential to Digital Marketing’ Rebecca Lieb argues that

‘ The more marketing can be targeted in context, the better – and more relevant – the customer experience. Context means the right person receives the right message at the right time, but also in the right place, on the right platform and in the right language.(Source: Lieb 2014)

So context even plays a role in Search, for example I do a quick search for pizza I don’t want results in New York, Exeter or Chicago, I want the results for Morecambe and perhaps Lancaster in a format which is readily understood on my computer of choice (desktop or smartphone)

Parting thoughts

Context is what takes Content Marketing to the next level, as Rebecca Lieb notes it is growing in importance so its worth taking the time to understand this concept and to apply it to your own marketing, I hope I’ve explained the basics of context well with this post, Context complements content to ensure that customers & visitors to your site have the best possible experience when using your website, I’m inclined to agree with Kevin Jorgensen’s emphasis on the importance of personas here, the value of which is already well understood by professional content marketers, context uses a thorough if not complete understanding of your customers to provide an excellent service, if a website can be said to serve people. If context could be mapped to the position of customers within the sales funnel then it would completely transcend standard content marketing, the question has to be can smaller businesses leverage this technology & way of thinking, based on what I’ve researched this week, I’m starting to reappraise context in how people and companies utilize social media, think of it as another dimension of communication if content marketing is 2d communication, Context adds the 3rd dimension. Failing to appreciate this will lead to less effective communication.

By |August 28th, 2015|Content, SEO|0 Comments

Professionalism is not enough, great content requires more

authenticity

(Photo credit:Flickr Alex)

This week’s blog post builds on a theme I’ve explored previously that of authenticity, it was inspired by an article by an Article by Brian Solis @briansolis he called the concept what do you stand for? or #WDYSF its all well and good me banging on about authenticity but there’s a real need to walk the authenticity walk BUT its quite a challenge for the time strapped smaller business to find and develop great /authentic content so much online content could disparagingly be described as content filler(i.e. I’ve got to have a 700 word blog post written by Friday ahh this’ll do) I’ll revisit my favourite definition of great content and adjust it accordingly to suit

What is authenticity?

Chambers Dictionary defines authenticity thus
authentic adj 1 genuine. 2 reliable; trustworthy; true to the original. authenticity noun.
I’ve been struck this week how many times I’ve felt the key point the author was making concerned authenticity, its made me revisit my whole approach to both social media and website content.

Why is authenticity so important?

Authenticity is not quite synonymous with quality it’s the difference between a fake insincere smile and a genuine one, easily spotted and importantit’s the lack of authenticity which makes an awful lot of stock photography look so cheesy and fake (I’ll admit here stock photography is a secret pleasure of mine, its also what makes a LOT of corporate social media appear so fake and insincere ’yeah you are using lots of stock kitten images but is it genuinely something you’re passionate about or are you just trying to look trendy this also applies to viral videos. I’m a stickler for authenticity where memes/viral videos are involved, the first Harlem shake video was ok but when marketing departments & social media teams started producing it the authenticity was lost and it rapidly became quite old/lame. Kim Garst (@kimgarst) has pinpointed passion as a component, which I think its completely correct her #beyou theme highlights the importance of authenticity, I wouldn’t describe it as the ‘secret sauce’ that’s the American way of describing it ands not a phrase Id use in day to day life(although due to my use of the web I encounter its frequently and it would be fake/insincere me utilising the phrase, this is what I mean about walking the walk.

Parting thoughts

Good content always has an objective, it is created with intent.”Anne Handley

The original meaning of the term amateur is connected to passion & love

784, “one who has a taste for (something),” from French amateur “lover of,” from Latin amatorem (nominative amator) “lover,” agent noun from amatus, past participle of amare “to love”(source: etymonline.com)

its this passion which often makes content produced by amateurs so good even if there’s room for improvement in the writing/artwork/design writing/artwork/production values,I’m aware I’m possibly on thin ice here, promoting amateur values, but if the passion of the amateur can be combined with the production values & strategic insights of the professional you’ll have a winning combination that will differentiate your content & social interaction

By |August 21st, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing, Social Media|0 Comments

Its time to beat procrastination

clock

(image credit: Flickr MORT Radio)


procrastinate verb (procrastinated, procrastinating) intrans to put off doing something that should be done straight away, especially habitually or to an unspecified time(source: http://www.chambers.co.uk)

Online Procrastination has been the bane of my self-employed life (and before if I’m being completely honest) the major culprits being my favourite football forum and Facebook, the latter I’d imagine is a problem for a lot of people (going my university laptops & library computers its an issue for a large number of students, in this weeks post I’ll examine ways to both monitor and defeat procrastination and hopefully ensure LOTs of productive work, so if space permits I’ll examine productivity boosting techniques(I think it will)

Why monitor procrastination?

Monitoring procrastination allows you to see the impact of procrastination on your working day & work rate It also enable you to identify which websites are the main culprits for wasted time, I find that my personal procrastination follows set patterns, I agree with Leo Babauta’s assertion that ‘procrastination is a habit’ it is by monitoring your procrastination you can take the steps to eliminate this bad habit

Rescuetime

Rescuetime is the mainstay of my procrastination monitoring it provides a handy dashboard which shows where time goes, websites can be graded between very productive to very distracting it is also possible to block ‘very distracting’ websites if the rescuetime browser add-on is added to your browser, I use the premium service for £46 per year which gives access to more features than the free service which doesn’t allow the blocking of distracting websites (which was my primary reason for upgrading) this took a bit of tinkering to activate properly fortunately Firefox support is now far superior
rescuetime

Block those Distractions!

After Monitoring I’d identified my two major time sinks let’s call them, Facebook and football forum, my solution needed to block access to these distractions during work hours (lets say 9 – 5) I investigated a number of solutions for this from the draconian to the basically ineffective.

Working in the garden shed

This was the most draconian solution as there is no Internet connection in the shed I was free from online distractions, unfortunately I was unable to research and monitoring emails was problematic so I ditched this solution, although I did like working out there!

Internet Off

Less draconian but similar to the previous method for this solution I simply unplug my computer and use my phone to monitor social media and email, unfortunately it also limits my ability to research (which is a big part of my typical workday) I overcame this hurdle using Evernote premium (which allows me to clip webpages to my Evernote notebook and access them offline) a less than perfect solution but it helps productivity!

Freedom

The next solution is similar to Internet off with the same advantages & disadvantages however rather than unplugging the internet, the cheap and easy solution software is used to achieve the same goal (ie preventing internet access) it is only available for the Mac and costs $10 from https://macfreedom.com/ which conveniently leads us onto my favourite productivity boosting piece of kit the truly fantastic anti social

Anti Social

This is a fantastic piece of software which can block access to selected websites, like Freedom it is produced by 80 per cent solutions, this is a more elegant solution than either Freedom or unplugging the internet which allows you to both research and monitor email, at the time of writing this is my preferred solution, it is available for both Mac & PC

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. Paul J Meyer (source:brainyquote)

Planning & Productivity

The other way to minimise/eliminate procrastination is through Workflow & scheduling, productivity techniques can be used to further improve performance.

Scheduling

Scheduling means that I have a general idea of the goals/aims for a set block of time be it a day or week. This means I develop to-do lists or the equivalent on my planning software; these are developed the night before so I have clear targets for the next days work

The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step

I find the best way to approach writing is to develop a framework for any piece of writing I need to undertake from blog post to eBook, this ensures that there writing is structured and broken down into smaller bite size chunks (typically of about 100 words each), this approach makes writing a LOT less daunting, it can also be applied to other tasks such as creating new websites

Productivity Techniques

My preferred method is a combination of David Allen’s Get things done method where focussing on one task at a time is encouraged, and the pomodoro technique

Pomodoro technique

I don’t want to go overboard describing as there’s plenty of websites that do a good job of this already (see further reading at end), I can provide a broad overview of how it works

Pomodoro Basics

In the Pomodoro technique the day is broken down into 25-minute periods known as pomodoros, after each pomodoro a 5 minute break is encouraged, then after 4 pomodoros a longer 10-15 minute break is taken, the underlying belief here is that frequent breaks help to maintain a good level of productivity throughout the day

Parting thoughts

As I mentioned in the introduction, procrastination is THE major problem when developing new content its so easy to be distracted by the internet & web when researching, the efficient anti procrastination setup I’ve highlighted in this article its now easy for you to both research online & work more efficiently. If I’m now getting a score of 90%+ efficiency (on rescuetime) and less that 15 minutes wasted a day online that’s a level of efficiency I’m quite happy with

By |August 14th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Its time to beat procrastination

Inbound & Content Marketing whats the difference?

(Source Flickr:Olivier Carré-Delisle)

(Source Flickr:Olivier Carré-Delisle)

This weeks post was inspired by one of previous newsletter it focuses on the confusion between two terms frequently used online content Marketing & inbound marketing. Content Marketing is a vital element of digital marketing with leading authority Keith Koons stating in 2015 “the addition of smartphones in modern society guarantees that content marketing will become more important than all other mediums combined.”

what is content marketing?

The content Marketing institute define content as

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention-oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies, and include multiple buying groups.
Content marketing is comparable to what media companies do as their core business, except that in place of paid content or sponsorship as a measure of success, brands define success by ultimately selling more products or services.(source:ContentMarketinginstitute.com)

Wikipedia’s description is more succinct but equally useful

Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc

what is inbound marketing?
Wikipedia defines inbound marketing as inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.
The other major inbound marketing vendor Hubspot defines inbound marketing as

Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.

whats the difference?

A number of authorities have commented on the difficulties on identifying the difference between content marketing and inbound marketing, it certainly flummoxed me when I encountered it when Hubspot mapped the difference across departments they found that

Marketers generally share a common understanding of inbound/content marketing, regardless of what marketing software they run.(Source:Hubspot.com)

When Hubspot investigated this confusion they offered survey respondents 5 options these being

1. They are synonyms.
2. Content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing.
3. Inbound marketing is a subset of content marketing.
4. The two are fundamentally different.
5. Don’t know.
like Joe Chernov who conducted the research I tend to favour the Content Marketing is a subset of inbound option, however Graeme Wilson argues that

‘Although content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing, it can also be used beyond an inbound marketing strategy.(source:mpull.com)

parting thoughts

This Similarity in the terms is easy to be confused by but I don’t think it’s all that important at the end of the day, inbound or content (if you prefer) Marketing works and that’s the main thing really.Joe Pulizzi concurs with this view stating ‘We are indeed all media companies today and it really doesn’t matter what you call it.”

By |August 7th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Inbound & Content Marketing whats the difference?

Transform your Content Marketing with an content calendar

Calendar
This weeks post will introduce what’s regarded as an essential part of the content marketers toolkit, the content calendar (aka the editorial calendar)

What exactly is a content calendar?

The content calendar is far more than a basic list of content titles and production schedules where content creation is a team effort it will ensure that the content workflow is properly coordinated and organised
it will enable resources to be allocated in an orderly fashion, for every piece of content I note the following:

• Unique Content identifier
• Content title
• Content Identifier
• Keywords targeted
• Metadata tags
• Date due
• Publish date
• Format
• Person responsible
• notes

Ok, how can a SME implement a Content Calendar?

As I want to keep costs down at this point, I’m using a simple spreadsheet as the foundation for my first content calendar, where a team of people are developing content I can see this would be a vital tool for coordinating a teams efforts, even as a one man firm I can see this being indispensible as it will enable the coordination of content creation, promotion and social media

Content Calendar Advantages

Experts identify a number of advantages with Copyblogger stating that ‘Content calendars ‘are utterly critical for any content marketing program to be successful.’ (Copyblogger.com)

Content Calendar Solutions

There is a wide range of content calendar solutions available; I’ve tried a few myself with varying degrees of success, the typical small business will wish to keep a reign on expenses and some of the fancier solutions would be more appropriate for an agency rather than a SME, that means I won’t examine services where there is a monthly subscription and will remain focussed on cheap & free alternatives.

MS Outlook & Calendar(Mac)

At the most basic level of actual calendar interface, Outlook & Calendar(Mac) ,these are okay but I find they can be somewhat clunky from a usability perspective and shared access could be a problem, which may make them too limited for content teams.

Google Calendar

Another free option(requiring a Gmail account) which overcomes the shortcomings of the MS Outlook & Calendar solution. Google Calendar allows a team to share access to a central calendar, again the interface is somewhat clunky and there is no option to attach files to the calendar.

Spreadsheet

The latest solution I’m using is a spreadsheet, MS excel in my case, this allows me to easily store all of the information I require regarding each piece of content (which is quite substantial if the list earlier in the article is to be used, the other advantage is it will enable content audits to be quickly and easily performed. Of the solutions I’ve tried I prefer this one.

Parting thoughts

A content calendar provides a degree of organisation, which is essential if you or your organisation is to meet the challenge (i.e. to produce enough great quality content to meet the goals set out in your content strategy. Where a team develops content, a calendar is essential to coordinate the many content projects, which will be running in parallel.
å

By |July 17th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Transform your Content Marketing with an content calendar

Samantha Cristoforetti @AstroSamantha,clearly a woman to be reckoned with


This week’s blog post will be quite literally out of this world (cliché alert!) as it focuses on the social media campaign operated by Samantha Cristoforetti an Astronaut who belongs to the European Space agency, Samantha is currently based on the International Space Station and I’ve been extremely impressed with the social media campaign which she’s conducted whilst orbiting the Earth, in this post I’ll examine what has in my opinion been good about the campaign and why I think its been such a good campaign, I apologise for the cliché I couldn’t resist it 😉

About Samantha

Samantha Cristoforetti is an astronaut & engineer who works for the European Space Agency (ESA) she is also a qualified fighter pilot and captain with the Italian Air Force which she joined in 2001.Samantha is also a polyglot speaking French, English, Italian and Russian more on this later as it impacted on the campaign she delivered.

Engineers Log. Star date 2015!

What brought the Futura mission to my attention was the widely circulated images of Samantha in space wearing a Star trek uniform a la Captain Jane Hathaway from the USS Voyager this was an elegant choice of subject matter given the slightly geeky subject. Sorry Astro physicists and propulsion engineers your field of study is a bit geeky, now what sort of entertainment do geeks enjoy? Science fantasy or science fiction and for 40 years Star trek has been the flagship (no pun intended) of the TV science fiction genre that’s the genius of just this first element of the campaign the initial hook, more science fiction later, I’ll be honest I don’t pay much attention to the European space program before Samantha’s campaign I wasn’t even aware of its existence its not something the UK media generally pick up on

Returning to Science Fiction theme the 25th of May Towel Day was commemorated

… a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. hitchikers guide to the Galaxy

We are very excited to present to you this Towel Day video recorded by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in space, on the ISS, and released while she’s still there. Douglas Adams’ work is read in countries all over the world, but now it has also been read IN SPACE! How cool is that?

Parting thoughts

Samantha has developed or fronted a thoughtful intelligent social media campaign which has made cutting edge science fun and given it a very human face, as I’m not a member of the ESA team, I’m having to extrapolate /guess some of the campaign goals but attracting women into science I could well imagine is a secondary goal of the campaign with raising the profile of ESA being the primary aim, both of these targets have ben quite comfortably achieved.

Multilingual & Multitalented

One of the recurrent themes in the Star Trek universe (I completely refuse to call it a franchise) is the benefit of international cooperation, ember it started at the height of the cold war! Samantha utilised her language skills and released videos & content in English, Russian & Italian given the international nature of the European Space Agency this is completely appropriate and I feel would be perfectly aligned with the late Gene Roddenberry’s vision. ESA state on their website that

ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.(source: ESA.int)

By |June 19th, 2015|Content, Social Media|Comments Off on Samantha Cristoforetti @AstroSamantha,clearly a woman to be reckoned with

The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content

barometer

(image Flickr :Tim Sheerman-Chase)

The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content
This weeks blog post returns to the content theme and will focus on the measuring the impact of the content you are creating, without measurement its impossible to determine the ROI of your content marketing efforts, to simplify the whole process the aims of your content marketing are defined by the content strategy, the effectiveness of your content strategy is where measurement enters the picture.

The #1 mistake I see demand gen marketers make is not measuring program performance regularly (Heidi Bullock quoted in Lead Generation Metrics: Marketo)

Why measure the impact of content?

Although I can understand why small businesses would look with trepidation at the idea of measuring the impact, I’ll let my inner engineer take over if the impact of content is not measured then it is impossible to accurately gauge how effective your companies new website content has been are the slideshare presentations & videos having the impact you desire? Measurement is an essential part of the feedback loop.

The Different types of measurements

There are a number of different metric frameworks available online for simplicities sake I’ll just use one as a framework for this blog post, the framework developed by Jay Baer (source: )

1. Consumption Metrics
2. Sharing Metrics
3. Lead Generation Metrics
4. Sales Metrics
Lets examine these categories in greater detail as all the metric frameworks I have examined(see further reading) have areas of similarity & overlap

1.Consumption Metrics

Consumption metrics analyses exactly how your content is being accessed. The measurements and tools used are determined by the type of content being analyses from page views for webpages to number of times a downloadable asset has been downloaded or accessed

Sharing Metrics

The next two metrics sharing & engagement have obvious parallels with the monitoring of social media campaigns they measure how much the content is shared and how much engagement the content engenders when shared, good content creates a response. These metrics are easy to measure, with Jay Baer suggesting that perhaps too much attention is paid to these metrics (source:convinceandconvert.com)
Digital Agency Network suggest that

The number of social shares your content receives gives you an idea of how your content resonates with the audience. If they share content with their networks, they find useful, educational and/or entertaining that advances the conversation (Source: digitalagencynetwork.com)

Lead generation metrics

The purpose of this type of metric is to determine how effective your content is at turning consumers into leads, this category measures the efficiency of landing pages, and factors such as Cost per Lead (CPL). Francois Mathieu (uberfip) argues that CPL should only be a concern where companies are out sourcing content creation (source: uberflip)

Parting thoughts

Measurement requires quite a lot of thought and planning however without it it’s impossible to accurately estimate if your content is having the desired effect, given the amount of time and money invested into the creation of content guesswork is not really adequate way of verifying if your content is good enough. Benjamin Spiegel argues ‘You can’t afford guesswork. Your content investment decisions need to be based on objective performance data’(source:Marketingland.com).Given the amount of time which is spent creating & promoting new website content, I completely agree with him.

Further Reading

1. 8 Metrics to Conquer a Content Marketer’s Fear of Measurement
2. Identifying the Metrics That Matter for Your Lead Generation Strategy

By |June 8th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content

The benefits of video for small business

video-cameraThis week’s topic has a foot in all three of the areas I normally cover in this blog these being social media, search and content; I refer of course to video which is a great way to promote your business in what hopefully an interesting way, video is a very powerful tool yet many small businesses fail to take advantage of it the Guardian states that ‘Small Businesses which fail to include it (video) in their internet marketing strategies do so at their peril (source: The Guardian)

‘People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s “how-to” searches by 70 percent year-over-year.’(source: SearchengineLand.com

Cross Platform content

Research by bodies such as Ofcom have shown that popular video channels such as You Tube appeal equally to users of smart phones and tablets so its possible to produce content which will be enjoyed equally by all of your audience.

Why are Small Businesses not making better use of video?

I’ve done no hard research here but I’d imagine the reasons that prevented myself producing videos are quite widely shared

I. Lack of confidence in my ability to produce engaging videos
II. Concerns about quality
III. lack of time
IV. Skills & experience
a. Skills & experience are the most obvious barrier I’ve found personally in my dealing with video production, on reflection I failed to plan properly for creating video’s I have wanted to produce them for a while there’s a lot of factors to consider before going into video production such as
• branding
• lighting
• Sound
• planning
• editing
• workflow

At this time lack of expertise/experience prevents me from covering these topics in greater depth I really don’t want to give my readers poor advice, I’m happy to return to them in the future.

Parting thoughts

A few of the small business videos I’ve seen have been dreadful but some have been truly excellent (I suspect they have been professionally produced), Small Business videos really don’t need to feature actors and Spielberg standard filming/editing the fact they can be a bit patchy adds to their authenticity, when I’m choosing a local firm to do business with film star good looks are not part of my requirements

Given the growing popularity of online video it’s the perfect way for smaller businesses and its also good for search engine rankings, (Google own YouTube)’Video on social media can effect search results as well as be an entry point to your website (source:warroominc.com)

By |May 15th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The benefits of video for small business

How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

agile development

(image:courtesy hubspot)

For a number of years the growing importance of content has been the dominant online trend, its all well and good expounding the benefits & necessity of good website content, these benefits are understood and appreciated by smaller businesses, yet the fact remains that many SMEs underperform with regards to content development, Search Engine Journal believe this could be due to a lack of planning &content strategy

61 percent of small B2B business owners said they plan to increase the amount of content they produce this year. However, only 44 percent have a plan for exactly how they’re going to do that. You see the problem?(source: Search Engine Journal)

b2b content challenges
Personally I feel the problem lies elsewhere with the emphasis placed on planning by Search Engine Journal displaying a larger company mindset it is this issue which we’ll be examining in this weeks blog post, we’ll examine why smaller businesses fail to develop content and examining practical steps which can be implemented to enable the content challenge to be tackled head on.

Why Content is important

There are quite a few benefits website content bring to a website these include

  • Improved Search Engine performance and hence more traffic
  • Establish Authority and trust
  • Boost Brand awareness/Loyalty
  • Content is Shareable (on social networks)

The Challenge facing Small Businesses

Research by the Content Marketing Institute has shown that lack of time is the biggest single challenge which faces SMEs when it comes to the development of Content, this would be consistent with my findings when discussing content & search Engine performance with clients, the two factors are inextricably linked it is for this reason, I personally feel the reasons are more complex than this, the desire for better search rankings is nearly universal in addition I feel its vital that any content strategies take into account the limited resources available to Smaller businesses, for this reason Agile Content Development would appear to be the best solution as its lightweight and fairly easy to implement, The Agile Software development principles are as follows, using these as a starting point lets look at adopting these to suit content development

Agile Software Development Principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weekly rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Regular adaptation to changing circumstance(source: Wikipedia)

These principles, which comprise the agile manifesto, have been adjusted to suit content marketing by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the following list contains the CMI amendments and the original Agile manifesto side by side so any adjustments can be easily noted.

Agile Content Development Principles

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.
CMI adjusted) Our highest priority is to impact the audience through timely and continuous delivery of valuable content.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer’s competitive advantage.
CMI adjusted) Welcome changing requirements, even late in content creation. Agile processes harness change for competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.
CMI adjusted) Deliver content frequently, from a couple of minutes to a couple of months.
Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.
CMI) Business people and content creators must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.
CMI) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.
CMI) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
CMI) Impactful content is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development.
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
CMI) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, content marketers, and audience should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.
CMI) Continuous attention to writing excellence and good production practices enhances agility.
Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done–is essential.
CMI) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behaviour accordingly.
CMI) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

(sources: agilemanifesto.com, contentmarketinginstitute.com )

Parting thoughts

Most if not all Small Businesses wish to achieve better search engine rankings and good quality website content is the best way to achieve this. The agile methodology, which is pretty lightweight, offers smaller businesses with limited resources the chance to compete effectively in the content arena, the above framework offers them the chance to do this effectively

By |April 28th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

The Role of Psychology in promoting content

contentpromotion
For this weeks post, I wish to revisit the idea of content promotion; this is one of the areas of my own marketing I’m keen to improve. I feel there’s a lot more to it than bang it on Facebook and hope someone likes it its that more I wish to briefly examine in this post so you can maximise the potential of your content, in my opinion it’s a skill worth taking the time to master. Developing great content is one thing, however it does not promote itself, as it’s a completely overdone quotation, I’ll refrain from referencing the film Field of Dreams (Which I’ve not actually seen) at this point of the post. That said effective Content promotion is an essential part of any content marketing efforts. If people don’t know your content is there they won’t visit it or recommend it to friends.

Obviously Social Media has a large part to play in the promotion of website content Curata.com argue that

‘When it comes to promoting content, social media is one of the most powerful tools available. However most content marketers fail to truly maximise its potential’ (source:curata.com)

Given the time, effort and cost of creating good quality content is a glaring shortcoming in any plans to utilise content as part of a companies marketing strategy, one its worth spending time to address properly, that’s what I’ll examine with this post.

The Psychology of sharing

The excellent study by the Customer Insight group of the New York Times investigates the ‘Psychology of Sharing’ in this they examine what motivates people to share content, within the study a number of sharer personas are developed, these being

1. Altruists
2. Careerists
3. Hipsters
4. Boomerangs
5. Connectors
6. Selectives

Each of these 6 personas has different motivations for sharing content
2 of these personas certainly describe my approach to sharing content. I don’t generally waste the time of friends & acquaintances by sharing what I regard as poor quality content(selective persona).Plus I genuinely like helping people without thought of rewards(altruist) On the contrary content has to be genuinely excellent for me to share it with friends, so in a way I act as a sort of content gatekeeper passing what I regard as superior quality onto my friends when I know it is a subject or area, which interests them. This is an approach I adopted from my time working at the University of Salford

Sharing is not a new concept its now moved online

The study highlights the fact people have shared content for years be it book, music or newspapers and that this sharing is part of human nature with an inference being drawn to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this would certainly tie in with the anthropological view of online communities where a ‘gift economy’ operates ands status in the community is determined by the quality & regularity of the gifts ( in this case information rather than physical goods)

Personally I find the wisest piece of information in the study to be

Appeal to consumer’s motivation to connect with each other not just with your brand (source: The Psychology of sharing 2011)

Parting thoughts

In their Comprehensive guide to content promotion Hubspot recommend a 1:1 ratio of time spent promoting content: time creating content, its an excellent guide I feel is more targeted at large agencies than my company, the well structured strategies certainly gives me plenty of food for thought, i.e. content is not produced willy-nilly without any planning or forethought, I hope this blog post has given you an appreciation of just how important Content Promotion is if your company is using content marketing.

By |April 7th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The Role of Psychology in promoting content