Online Student Again Part 5: Content Marketing: Wait, didn’t I hear about this a year ago? 

"We have a sound content marketing strategy! PR, marketing, IT, the social media team, and the content strategy team all pitched in! It's gonna work!" says Don Draper.

“We have a sound content marketing strategy! PR, marketing, IT, the social media team, and the content strategy team all pitched in! It’s gonna work!” says Don Draper.

Almost exactly a year ago, I returned from a conference that changed a lot about the way I think about content. It was the 2014 Intelligent Content Conference (ICC2014). My brain soaked in a lot of information, and new friends and networking connections were made during that trip. (Good times!)

One major point–which is also a big focus of this year’s 2015 Intelligent Content Conference–was that content marketing was the next big focus item. Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) gave a keynote that compelled content strategists at the ICC2014 for us to consider embracing marketers and work together toward tearing down the silos so that we could share skillsets to create better content to promote goods and services. In other words, we should all be shifting towards being content marketers. It made sense, but it was overwhelming for me.

Fast forward to a year later, and here I am now, taking my digital marketing coursework, and this week’s module was about content marketing. Ooh boy. Here we go. The very reason that I’m taking this coursework in the first place–to have a deeper understanding of digital marketing, what content marketing is, and how I can try to fit into it my skill set going forward.

The instructor for this module was Greg Jarboe, a well-known YouTube guru and president of SEO-PR, a content marketing agency which has worked with several well-known brands. While I hadn’t seen Mr. Jarboe present before, his name rings a bell, and I don’t know why. Hmm.

Anyway, Mr. Jarboe’s lecture was enlightening, enjoyable, and took some of my anxieties away.  While content marketing is still a little overwhelming because of the scale of all of it, I came away with six main points that I’d heard before in content strategy, but hit home for me for content marketing.

1) Content needs to be relevant and have value for the end user. This seems obvious, but it’s generally overlooked.

2) Storytelling works. People are drawn in by stories, not jingles or catch-phrases. This is how blogging for a company actually can have some big benefits. (Yay!)

3) Tear down the silos by working with other departments, such as marketing, IT, public relations, etc. Gee, I’ve definitely heard that multiple times in last two years on the content strategy side!

4) A structured, documented content strategy is necessary to build for success. Like we content strategists didn’t already know this one!

5) Measurable metrics for ROI based on outcomes, like website traffic is up, sales, sales leads, customer retention, higher conversion rates, etc.  The first thing that came to my mind was good ol’ Mark Lewis with XML Metrics as a start. Mr. Jarboe took this a step further from a marketing perspective.  An easy way to do this is to track what you do! Measure URL hits against results using special URLs from the Google URL generator. For example, create a special URL for a promotion, and measure number of clicks to that special URL against sales results during that time period. (Makes sense!)

6) Brand recognition is not the goal anymore; generating leads and sales is. This makes sense too. I’ve learned from marketing this blog that once you knew my “brand” of TechCommGeekMom, then it’s been up to me to keep you coming back. While my “product” at this point it sharing information that I think is relevant in the tech comm world at large,  I want you to keep coming back and sharing your experiences and interests with me as well.

So there you have it. I think from a content strategist’s point of view, these are easy to understand and remember. The trick is, going back to point #3, is that it’s good to have more than one perspective working on content marketing. By combining the different “superpowers” from various groups, a great content marketing strategy can result. I think if I can keep these basics in mind, I might just have a chance at finding a content marketing position if the opportunity arises.

Do you think I’m leaving any basics out? Let me know in the comments.

Next module up is called, “Personalized Digital Experiences”. Again, this is another topic that I know I’ve heard before several times in content strategy, so it’ll be interesting to hear how digital marketing approaches the same topic.

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Blogging Vs Article Writing – Is There A Difference?

In today’s content packed web, we often see the words “blog” and “article” used interchangeably; so much that the line between the two terms seems to increasingly become blurry. Today we’ll answer the very common question: Blogging Vs Article Writing – Is There A Difference? … And most importantly, how does it impact your web platform strategy?First, let’s cover blog vs. blog post. If you are interested in becoming a reputable blogger, the first step is to know that a blog is a web-site where bl

Source: www.linkedin.com

This is an excellent article I found on LinkedIn that explains the difference between blogging and article writing. There is a difference! I agree with the Mr. Bare’s explanation here. In my mind, blogging is part of a conversation with another person, rather than merely projecting out facts, figures and other information. Granted, the conversation in blogging can be one-sided if no one responds, but there is no question that it’s much more personal and H2H–human-to-human. Only disagreement I have is that blog posts are short. Heck, dude, have you read my blog? ;-) Great guidelines to understand the differences, if you ask me, outlined here.

 

Do you agree with the article?  Put your comments below. 

–techcommgeekmom

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What one thing isn’t Tech Comm doing?

On this third day of the third month, I have three questions for you about the Technical Communication profession: What one thing isn’t Tech Comm doing, that it should be doing? What needs to happe…

Source: larrykunz.wordpress.com

Larry Kunz asks a great set of questions in his blog post today. Go read the whole thing, and weigh in on the conversation! 

–techcommgeekmom

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Google, proving it still hasn’t figured out social, will strip Google+ for parts

It’s no Facebook.

Source: qz.com

Thanks to Nick Kellet of List.ly for finding this. 

 

I have to say, while I’m on Google+, I’m not a big fan of it. It seems horribly disjointed, and when I’ve tried to fix or rectify things, well, you just can’t. I even had a tech writer from Google who works on the documentation of Google+ try to help me at one point, and she couldn’t.  Now, the article mentions Google Wave. I did try that before they pulled the plug, and that seemed like it was going in the right direction. I didn’t understand why they stopped that.  Google+ is touted as something big, but if users can’t figure out how to use it for posting their own stuff and adding "+1s", then what’s the point? As the intro to this says, "It’s no Facebook," and that’s fine–it doesn’t have to be. But it should be easy to use, easy for people to share and post on different groups and move around to customize like other social media outlets. I’m usually good  at figuring this stuff out, but have never quite gotten a handle on Google+. Hopefully, they’ll get their act together soon. 

–techcommgeekmom

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IKEA furniture will soon be able to wirelessly charge your mobile device

You’ll soon be able to charge your mobile device directly on various IKEA furniture, from nightstands and desks to even the base of a lamp.

Source: mashable.com

This is a cool development, and proof that mobile is here to stay! If IKEA is going to be starting to include this technology in the near future, this should be an incentive for others to follow suit. I know that I’ll be in line to get some of these for around my house, once they are available! 

–techcommgeekmom

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Online Student Again, Part 4: Mobile Marketing, AKA Dang, I haven’t kept up!

kids-and-cell-phonesAfter the confidence I had emerging from the Social Media Marketing module of my digital marketing course, I felt I could ride that wave of confidence into the next module about Mobile Marketing.  From what I could tell, I wasn’t wrong to be confident. After all, I’ve been writing about m-learning and mobile topics on this blog since the beginning, so I figured that I would have a good handle on this topic.  I did, but I was quickly reminded at how fast mobile technology has been growing even in three short years, and how I still need to do much more to keep up, if not catch up.

The module was taught by Christina “CK” Kerley, who is a very animated speaker on mobile marketing topics. She provided some great real life examples that I could easily related to. What struck me the most was how subtle mobile marketing can be and how it can be used in ways that we already take for granted, and the technology out there through mobile devices that are probably under-utilized by some, not only in marketing, but also in other mobile applications. One thing that I agreed with her about in regards to mobile is that at one point, everyone thought they needed an app for their service or product, and that’s not necessarily the case.  I agree that websites need to be optimized for mobile–something that I need to do with my own e-portfolio when I get some free time in the next year. But an app has to have a purpose, and it doesn’t mean that it’s solely a glorified version of your website in tiny form.

The technologies that fascinated me the most had to do with geofencing, NFC, and RFID technologies. An example of this would be something like this: you had the Starbucks app on your phone, and as you passed by a Starbucks, your phone would send you a notification for a coupon off a drink–but only if you were in the vicinity of the Starbucks. My brain started to spin with the possibilities of how to use this, at least in m-learning. She also talked about how the proliferation of QR codes and augmented reality were coming about, and how wearables were going to be playing more of a part in mobile marketing. I knew all about these from Marta Rauch and her talks about Google Glass, and such, but I think there were some additional features that I hadn’t really thought about before this way.

All in all, it got me excited about mobile technology. Not that my interest in mobile had ever gone away–just sidetracked.  We really do take our mobile tech for granted–I know I take mine for granted! I think that whatever my next stage is, I surely need to figure out how to get mobile technology into the mix, whether it’s writing or designing for mobile, or whatever. My passion for mobile has simmered over the years. I think the dark side of content strategy lured me over for the past year or two (not that it’s a bad thing), and I lost sight of where I wanted to go. If I end up starting my own business, then I need to think about incorporating those mobile skills again. Seriously, three years ago I talked about mobile in terms of m-learning mostly, but I knew it was the next big thing because mobile use was growing. My thinking was correct back then, and deep down, I know it’s only going to grow and get more complex in time.  I feel like I’ve already fallen behind! So, I need to try to get up to speed on this technology again, and try to push forward, whether it’s in content marketing or something else. I appreciate CK lighting the fire under me again!

Moving on from there, the next module will be about content marketing. OK, folks, here’s the crux of it all, and I’m fearful of it. This is the topic that drove me to take this course because it’s all that I hear about in the content strategy world. We’ll see if I come out unscathed from this topic next week.

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How Guest Blogging Solved My SEO Problem

A year ago, Google’s Matt Cutts and others declared guest blogging for SEO was dead. But the naysayers were wrong. I’ve discovered good guest blogs with links from authoritative sites and social shares still can improve your rankings.

Source: contentmarketinginstitute.com

This is a great article that the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) posted recently. I have to agree that the points made here are good ones. I have been a guest blogger for other sites. In several cases, those sites got more hits for an article I wrote than articles I write for my own blog! Even so, knowing that I’ve done well on those other sites lets me know that I must be doing something right. Additionally, I’m happy to have relevent guest blogger on my blog as well. I don’t like having people who are content hackers writing for me. I want people who have the same passion as I do to write for my blog as well. (And if you are reading this and not part of some pool of content generating writers writing for the sake of creating crap content, feel free to contact me!) 

 

Being on either side of the guest blogging equation is a win-win situation. Take a look at this article, and you’ll see why. 

–techcommgeekmom

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