Blogging Like It’s Your Day job! Oh Wait, But It Is.

There are some people in this world that really enjoy sitting in front of their computer monitor for hours on end. And no, I’m not referring to those who use the internet for playing games and socializing with friends. But instead, I’m giving kudos to the powerful voices who publish information that is respected, content that has a purpose, and content that compels its reader and leaves them with a desire for more.
Blogging has become a career for many talented artists. Being an artist doesn’t mean you have to paint a picture with paint. There are many artists who portray their talent through putting their thoughts and opinions to paper via lyrics. And in the world of content and marketing, these are three of the people who put their fingers to the keyboard the best:

Mitch Joel
Seth Godin
Bernadette Jiwa

My professor for creative content development, Robin Pepper, taught us the key components of a successful blog, and how to use it essentially as your umbrella for marketing. Let’s take a look at the following blog homes for the blogging brains listed above. Click on their names to be directed to their blog home page, let me know what you think!

Do they have what it takes

Well of course they do. But it was assigned to me to analyze and critique the blogs of these authors so, here it goes.

Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel

So first up we have Mitch Joel who is a journalist and publicist. He’s the author of his own blog titled “Six Pixels of Separation”. You’ll find a majority of his posts are heavily related to marketing communications. That’s not surprising considering back in 2006; Mitch Joel was named one of the most influential authorities on blog marketing. His blog has a reliable schedule. You can guarantee you’ll see posts from this genius every other day, if not every day. It’s like his brain automatically re-generates with an abundant of knowledge every time he clicks post on his dashboard. His topics vary within the cloud of marketing and advertising which keeps viewers interested and ready to absorb something new. His content is entertaining, engaging and compelling. He writes the way he speaks and he doesn’t over think. He asks questions, tells the reader what to do and where to go, but what I think is excellent is that he’s very engaged and active with his online community of followers. He provides opportunities for interaction through his social media sites through contests and giveaways. The layout of his blog design is clean and concise, it’s easy to navigate and on the left side bar is where you can find archives, recent posts, RRS feed and an email you can subscribe to. The only thing I’m noticing is at the end of his blogs, there are no tags provided to enhance SEO. I’m surprised that for such a popular marketing man that he has very minimal shares, likes, comments etc… Maybe this is an area of opportunity for improvement! But overall his blog is great, the posts don’t drag on to the point of glaze over, but they’re long enough for me to read through and actually, I mean actually read the full thing.

Seth GodinNext I’m going to take a look at Seth Godin’s blog page, titled “Typepad”. Seth Godin is an American author, entrepreneur, marker and public speaker. His blog caters to his perspectives in the marketing field. I would say that Seth has a unique way of relaying his perceptions to his readers. His blogs are short and sweet, but they get the point across. Every post has a point, and he doesn’t seem to fail trying to mark it. He uses metaphors to get his point across, whether it’s one, two or three per post. This is what makes his content most interesting, in my opinion. He is very knowledgeable in his ideas, and his blog headlines are consistently enticing. You can find Seth posting daily or every second day. I consider him to be a direct writer who is not intimidated to say what he feels he needs to in order to get his point across. The layout of his blog is simple, white background and fine print text. The structure of the blog is easy to navigate, as you can find archives, recent posts, RRS, Twitter and Facebook links, content sharing icons as well as an e-mail subscription section. Unlike Mitch Joel, Seth has a significant amount of consumer engagement on his posts. His community of followers spoil him with over a thousand re-tweets, and hundreds of Facebook likes as well as Google+ and LinkedIn shares.

Bernadette Jiwa

Bernadette Jiwa

Last we have the author of the blog titled, “The story of Telling”, Bernadette Jiwa. This woman is amazing. When I read her blog posts I feel a genuine authentic essence. Not only is the visual design and construct of her blog page warm and extremely visually appealing, but her content has soul. Her blog is primarily focused on brand strategy, brand naming and brand story. Although she doesn’t post every day, but maybe every 3 days on average, her posts are just as good. Her content is short and sweet just like Seth Godin, but the difference here is that she incorporates rich media! Finally, something other than copy. She incorporates meaningful images and videos that relate directly with her topics. I believe that incorporating visuals as Bernadette does enhances your readers experience, and also adds visual diversity. Letters can get boring after a while, don’t you think? Bernadette engages her audience by asking questions and providing opportunities for their comments and opinions. Just like the previous blogs I discussed above, her blog page is accompanied by contact and connect outbound links to her social media sites as well as RRS. In my eyes, Bernadette did an excellent job with establishing a connection with the viewer on the other side of the screen.

Ultimately, it’s all about the connection established with your reader at the end of your session. Take a look at your viewer engagement. Are people leaving comments? Sharing your content within their social sites? If you can say yes, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Anyone can be a publisher through social mediums, but what makes a good blogger is someone who’s content is authentic, compelling and, well… people actually care to read it. You don’t need to be an expert in marketing or advertising to begin your own community. All it takes is creativity, some flare, and a voice that people will want to listen to again, and again, and again.

It’s Time To Tell Your Story…

A knight in shining armor is recognized among citizens because he saves the day, right? He’s the popular one and everyone knows about him because he makes himself memorable. Although this may sound strange, brands have a knight in shining armor too. Ultimately, it’s their story. Their “brand” story in other words. It’s a way for marketers to be creative in the ways in which they want to direct their “messages” to society. Selling your brand through story telling not only is a benefit of shifting your viewers to customers, but your story connects people with your company. In long term, this creates trust and intimacy, and that’s what companies are looking for. And not to mention increases and supports your credibility a product, service or brand. When people trust you, they will recommend you.

Story telling for your brand, telling stories through content, how to tell a story about your brand, effective story telling, a brands unique selling point

Story telling for brands and businesses

“The power of stories has become a part of our cultural dialogue” – Kathy Oneto

Articles from Fast Company to the New York Times, reaching from an array of topics from sports and fashion to business marketing, story is the genre choice of the year. It’s a genre in which marketers are craving to fulfill their content by. Take it from an expert! London based agency BergHind Joseph identified the art of telling a story through your content as a trend among the global fortune 500. Putting a story or vision to your brand is the best way, in my opinion, to differentiate yourself from the rest of the millions of products or services out on the market. Isn’t that what you want to do? Look at story telling as a strategy, your unique selling point.

As a marketer you need to find a way to connect people to your brand. It’s all about the creation and captivity of emotional and intimate connection between your brand (content) and your viewer. Story telling seems to be the trending topic, or more should I say technique, for creative writing specialists right now. That’s why when it comes to brand marketing, you really need to emphasize on the construct of your brands story, and make sure that it’s cohesive with your other social platforms as well. If your company has social profiles on Twitter, Facebook and even your own web page, you need to make sure that your brand’s “story” is at the forefront. There are many reasons why writers well… create a story line within their content. One of the main reasons is so their brand, or the brand they are representing, has maximum opportunity to become memorable to the person who is reading your article, blog post, watching your video or even the packaging of your product! Ultimately you want to stand OUT, and INTO their minds. The strategy of storytelling can be done Not only through text but so many other ways as well! You can tell a story through rich media such as commercials and infographics.

The power of story telling can be so powerful that even a silent scene from a movie can touch your heart and may even bring a tear to your eye, It’s all about the story being told through the movement, emotion and connection of character to the reader. Take a look at these “How to tell a story” 6 talks, and especially the session from filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Toy Story & WALL-E). He expresses the importance of creating that emotional connection with your viewer through story telling and the out- comes it results in. Marketers can use the essence of story telling to not only heavily connect with readers on a more intimate and personal level in regards to their image, but it also allows us to experience similarities between other consumers or better yet, soon to be customers and what they have to say.

Let’s take a look into another example of how popular brands such as Voltzwagen and Apple have exposed their brands effectively through story telling, and might I add doing it with style.

We all recognize Apple for being legendary for their technology and the way they market their products. The company is recognized through the way they portray their brand’s through various campaigns and the stories those campaigns tell. The video below is a Super Bowl ad Apple created and launched in 1984. After you watch this clip for yourself, you’ll see why an incredible impact was made on the evolution of technology and entices viewers to purchase.

Essentially this launched Apple into the big leagues. This advertisement used fascination and mystique to capture the attention of millions globally through the nonconformity against George Orwell’s famous novel 1984. This story advertised that the launch of this piece of technology will be like no other, and so it was. This ad was only aired once and had cost a fortune, but look where Apple is today. This ad was just the first of many more story telling campaigns to come. This was an excellent form of story telling on Apples behalf which held metaphorical value.

The unique selling point of the Macintosh brand was defined by how well the story was told through the advertisement. Need to remind you that this was an ad for the launch of the first Macintosh computers ever to hit the market. Apple’s story was about standing for something and being authentic. Their main message was that the Macintosh brand was there to provide consumers a brand of technology that they have never experienced before. Apple’s intent was to take on IBM, who were leaders in the market share industry for computers. Apple was there to show its individualism against a “conformed” system.

Apple Tells Their Brand Story The Best

Take a look at this Volkswagen commercial taking on the Star Wars theme:

The Force Campaign was created by Volkswagen to highlight a single product feature of their 2012 Passat, being the remote start system. This advertisement demonstrated not only the new feature of their soon to come vehicle, but they did it amazingly and effectively without saying a single word. The brand story was conveyed singly through the actions of the characters and background audio, to add emphasis. Not only is this commercial humorous and entertaining to watch, but the child attempting to start the car with his “forces” is cute, playing off the singe feature that they are advertising in this commercial- the remote start system. There didn’t need to be context as to what the commercial was marketing, it was obvious. This was excellent. This specific feature of the remote is the unique selling point of the product.Not only does this commercial connect with viewers, but it’s a commercial that was talked and watched over 58 million times on YouTube.

Both of these commercials share a similarity of:
1) Being aired during the Super Bowl
2) Incorporating the image and metaphorical value of classics such as the famous Star Wars series and 1984 novel.
3) Dictating their value and credibility and most importantly
4) Thinking further than just the functionality of the product, put providing a well told story to their audience.

So in conclusion, I hope you understand the significant positive impact that story telling has on a brand, if done well. When information is authentic, we remember is better and can be affected by it more intensely. I could only wonder who considered purchasing a Volks or Mac after watching those commercials. Storytelling is a very powerful thing.

What’s An Infographic?

We all do it, we sit on our laptops or tablets and browse the internet for hours. But do we ever take a second to think about the content were absorbing, and if we enjoying doing it?  We know that conducting research for a specific topic can be timely and visually unappealing, which usually means researching is considered more of a chore rather than something enjoyable to do. I’m not saying that all forms of content published on the internet is a struggle to get through, but why not make it fun?! Infographics can do just that.

For those of you who aren’t sure of what an infographic is, essentially the term is applied to information, data, or knowledge. This content is then presented in graphic visual form, which presents a rich message that’s clear and straight to the point. Now doesn’t that seem like it would be just a wee bit more enjoyable? I think so. The image displayed blow is a great infographic example of money spent on social media advertisement.

Social Media network Advertising Spending, money spent on social media ads, worldwide social advertising spending

Social Media network Advertising Spending

The idea is simple, just read the words. Informational graphics. Simple, right? And it makes sense! These creative eye catching pieces are used to deliver information of all caliber’s, in a quick attention grabbing manor. It grabs your attention long enough to deliver the key message, and teach you something at the same time.

Why do Infographics make great marketing tools?

Infographics are a great and effective way to transform and display complex content as well as allow marketers to demonstrate their expertise on a topic. It stands out significantly more than other forms of content which are presents in less visually interesting formats. Did you know? –

90% of information enters your brain visually

Infographics are a great way of explaining statistics; this assists the viewer for an easier understanding of the numbers and words they are reading. Infographics are not only extremely effective in conveying information, and efficient in doing so, but they are trending and dominating the social scene at the moment. Unbounce states that within the past 2 years there has been an 800% increase in Google searches for infographics. With that being said, you also have the opportunity to embed outbound links on your infographic to other social sites you would want to direct your viewer to.

Lastly, creating an infographic is so simple, anyone can do it! If you are confident in your graphic design skills, go ahead and create your own from scratch using Photoshop, Illutrator, Indesign or any other Adobe Software. Don’t stress! For those of you who are helpless in that area, there are many infographic creation websites you can turn to such as Infogram. You simply pick a style; input your data, throw bin some images and charts and you’re good to go. for additional information from infographic experts, click here!

Summit Session: The Social Combo

I recently listened in on a podcast discussion from White Paper Source composed by instructor Lee Odden. The theme of this podcast discussion was on how to integrate your social media marketing with all of your marketing strengths.

Essentially with digital marketing, you want to incorporate social media with other Internet channels such as your webpages or blogging page. Lee makes a point that in today’s social world of digital marketing, we have been given the ability to create, consume, publish and interact 24 hours 7 days a week. And he’s right. Everyone and anyone can create and publish digital content, but how can we control and sift through the content we consume? Were looking for quality, not quality.

Data Overload

Data Overload

Odden also makes a point stating that:

90% of all data in the world has been created within the past 2 years.

WHAT!? Yes. It’s true. Were bombarded with information overload on a daily basis, that’s why as marketers we need to establish this key point: as a brand, how can our content be of value to customers, especially against all of the information out there?? Odden discusses that we need to start thinking of social media as experiences and outcomes, rather than just tweets, Info graphics and video posts. He’s right. There needs to be a tactical shift in optimizing customer’s experience.

Content needs to be created to solve THEIR problems and to answer THEIR questions. Have you ever thought what it ‘s like to purchase from your brand? What’s the journey like from a purchaser’s perspective? Social platforms play a huge role, social channels are there for intent to purchase. Recommendations of products and brands happen on social, and from there that’s when the prospective consumer makes their decision.

If you’re a business and have a webpage, make sure you are active on social platforms and make sure they’re integrated into your site. It’s an easy one-stop shop for viewers to go from a viewer to a buyer. Lastly, key note to remember! The type of advertising and marketing you choose to hit your viewers with, should be different depending on what stage of the buying process they’re in.

Stages include:

  • problem recognition
  • information search
  • alternative evaluation
  • purchase decision
  • post purchase behavior

For example, most brands stop consumer engagement and interaction once the purchase is over. If you want your brand to be memorable and your customer to become loyal, think about direct mail incentive strategies to keep to keep YOU in THEIR minds.

Facebook Money-Grabs to Promote

Of course Facebook is amongst the most popular and favourable social media platforms in regard to marketing your business. Why? Well because it’s free, DUH. Facebook allows you to strategically target your market and provide exposure of your brand for zero dollars. Setting up your Facebook account is timeless and the best part is, you’ll be accumulating metrics like page views and “likes” instantly. It’s a tool that’s FREE and effective! Well, what if I told you Facebook just got a little more expensive?

Side note
I remember one day back in August 2013 when my thirteen year old brother asked me to borrow my credit card. Uh… yeah right. Too bad my heart is putty in his hands anytime he asks me for a favour, and that favour in this case was money. So I walked into his room and he told me he wanted 10 dollars to purchase token things, or whatever, for Farmville. He explained to me that it was a Facebook game and in order for him to proceed within the game he needed money. Real money. I thought to myself, what a sucker money grab Facebook is for luring children into spending their parents, or in my case, siblings hard earned moula for useful Farmville “cash” and “coins”.

Promotional tools for Facebook, sponsored links, status visibility, promoting your Facebook status, increase Facebook likes, increase Facebook viewers

Payed Promotional Tools for Facebook

Although I found Facebook’s Farmville to be a bust, it seems as though the social media network is beginning to provide an ROI for viewers who chose to put money into the site.

Would you pay to promote your Facebook status?

“Promote Your Pages” is a feature that was introduced to the site less than a year ago. Essentially it’s a pay to post option for owners of fan or business pages. The objective of this tool is to expose and promote your content via news feed. You can pay anywhere between 5-200 dollars to increase exposure of your post, to either just your current fans, or you fans and their friends as well. Click this link to find more insights from Cara Pring from Ignite social media on how to increase your Facebook page visibility in 20 ways.

We know that not everybody who likes your “page” on Facebook will see all of your status updates, and that’s why users now have the opportunity for their content posts to appear on their friends news feed as a sponsored link. The more money you pay, the more significant your reach will be. Smart thinking Facebook.

Remember, nothing in this world is free.

Change Your Traffic Into Buyers With Mobile Marketing

Alright, so I know I recently did a post about mobile marketing, but I’m about to do it again. Why? “Well why not!” is a better question. There are so many altitudes in regards to mobile, such an array of topics to be discussed. Last week’s bog focused on curating reasons as to why mobile marketing is vital to marketers. This post is going to give you insights on how to turn your VIEWERS into BUYERS. I guess you could call it magic! …or something like that.

Mobile marketing is a very effective and resourceful digital asset, wouldn’t you say?  When done correctly, mobile marketing applications and web pages acquire value and desire from the mobile owner. Websites and apps become a recourse that is available to make the beholders life simpler, and at the same time gains monetary bliss for the businesses and brands. Ultimately It’s a win -win situation and everyone is happy.

Nearly 90% of Gas & Convenience Mobile Searches Result in Purchase

Here is a great example of how a mobile app can provide great convenience for the user, but also converts traffic into buyers! This Shoppers Drug Mart on the go mobile card allowing customers to “shop smarter”. It’s perfect if you forget your card at home. You can scan, collect, view and redeem optimum points all with the touch of your cell phone.

Shoppers Drug Mart New Mobile App Is Easy to Use

Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card On The Go

Money is a pretty awesome thing; everybody wants it and lots of it. Who Wouldn’t? People say money can’t buy happiness… but who are they kidding. Women are purchasing purses that cost a thousand dollars, while the homeless man sitting out of Holt Renfrew is begging for a dollar. It’s a piece of “plastic” that makes the world go round, and that is why making money is vital in life, and especially for businesses.

We carry our mobile device around with us not only for means of getting a hold of people, but because it drives us to action. Andy Ching who is the director of mobile for Bing stated that

70% of mobile searches are followed up by a consumer action within an hour.

Example being that you’re on your lunch break in 30 minutes, and you want to try out a new Thai place on Bloor Street. You pull out your smartphone, type and search. You as the business want to be in the top three listings on the SERPS page, but that all has to do with SEO which is also very essential.

Thai Food Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing Rich Media

As a marketer it is important to make sure your mobile webpages are easy to read, navigate and provides valuable and accessible content.  Mobile reading is fast paced and is usually done while doing something else, therefore you need to ensure that the information you’re providing is exactly what your viewer is looking for. (Click the linked text above for great information on what mobile buyers are REALLY doing). If you want their business, which you do, make sure you direct  the user exactly where they want to go whether it’s a phone number or directions or even rich media (yummy photos of your most popular dishes!) to add appeal and desire which will  drive them into your doorway. Don’t forget your call to action! This is extreeemly important. This is where you’re allowed to be bossy!

Don’t Worry, Be Content

The evolution of marketing has made its streak in society over the past decades. We’ve watched business advertise their brands through traditional mediums including print, TV and radio. Although these channels are being used by businesses today, do readers and viewers still find these sources as stimulating as they used to? Unfortunately not.

Digital Marketing holds the crown in terms of how products and services are being promoted in today’s industry. Although there are many online features and platforms for a business to promote their products through, the most important aspect to digital marketing is in fact the CONTENT, that is being published. You can have heaps of content regarding your topic, but at the end of the day how valuable is your content to the person sitting on the other side of the screen? Is it going to spark interest and perhaps enable conversation? Is the information you’re publishing going to help the reader solve an issue they have? There are so many things content can deliver! You’re conveying a story if done correctly, and the objective is to entice the reader with rich information and build a relationship. You want them coming back for more, right? Exactly!

Valuable content, content marketing, digital content, consumber behaviour, social media, social development, content curation

The Importance of Valuable Content

When you provide effective content you build a relationship with your audience. You’re both there for the same reason, getting to know each other on a personal level. Whether you’re the one looking for a solution, or the one providing it, you both share that passion for the product or service at hand. All businesses want profits, but it’s most important to understand what the customer or prospective customer wants, and it’s your job to establish the best tactic and strategies to meet those needs.

Quality Content, Creation and Distribution

There are many ways in which intriguing content can be created.  Always remember that the primary purpose of creating content is to provoke and engage in conversation with your customer. There is an array of possibilities to choose from when you’re creating content. Think about topic and information pieces that provide room for questions and responses from the viewers. Like I mentioned before, you want to build a relationship with the viewer, you want them coming back for more.  An article from Webs 9 states that ultimately, it goes beyond just providing your viewer with a positive experience and content that informs, entertains and makes their lives better. Whether it’s a product or service you’re providing information about, or just providing your own personal opinions, the viewer wants to know and feel like you care about them.

Content curation is fantastic, but you as a writer are going to want fresh context, opinions, insights and perspectives! I came across this info graphic which provides great ways to create compelling content when, well… you don’t even have a clue! Some of these Include:

  • Interview People such as luminaries
  • Ask your readers about their thoughts
  • Share your success and failures
  • Converse within your online community
  • Monitor social trends
  • Host an event

Context is great, but in today’s content marketing and advertising society that isn’t enough. You need to add more simulating and captivating content to attract and retain the viewer’s attention and extract a response, tweet, share or any type of involvement action. So besides contextualizing and distributing content for your target audience, what other valuable digital assets could be added to your social sites? Take rich media for example.  People like real-time photos, videos and action. It creates a sense of trust between a viewer and the product or service. Instead of just writing about it, why don’t you show them! Take your blog for example. When you publish content, context isn’t the only thing on your page, right? Right. You include photos, videos, twitter feed and in bound and out bound links to other webpages for example. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and they’re right. Take a look at this web page I recent read about social media and the effect of visual content. Ekaterina Walker mentions that a study was conducted in 2012. ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most.

44% of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.

Photos and videos have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we are exposed to every day. On a daily basis, people don’t have time to sit around and write 1000 word blogs, there for we compensate lengthy context with tweets, posts, likes, sharing, re-tweeting and uploading to our social platforms.  We love in a society where we are bombarded with content overload, therefore publishers need to make sure the content they posted via Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest or whatever the social site may be, holds value. Every word, every sentence, every photo. And depending on what social channel you are publishing content to, determines what type and the amount of content that will be distributed.

Social media channels, blogs, facebook, twitter, linkedin, brand integration, web marketing, digital content, valuable content is important

Social Media Channels

Content on social platforms is like picking out the right purse for the day. As a woman, we have many to choose from in our closet. Just as we do social sites. But for the most part, they all serve the same purpose. Like how valuable content entices interest, engages in conversation and communication with the viewers. We wouldn’t use the same purse for a day of shopping at the Eaton’s Center as we would if we were going out for dinner. When shopping, we would want to bring a large purse so we can fill it with larger purchases, like a blog post and its larger amounts of information. If we were going out for dinner, we would bring a small purse only large enough to hold lip gloss, gum and credit cards.  Similar as posting a Tweet.