Monthly Archive: June 2013

Find Your Brand’s Storytelling Talent, And Supply Them With Tools!

By now, brand managers large and small know they must find a way to make consistently compelling content. Every company is not a media company, but every company can make meaningful media, and the companies who do it right stand to gain significant attention from interested parties.

So, “the what” and “the why” are established. But what about “the how”? The first and best answer is talent. Always! Without talent, tools are pointless. So, let’s assume your company has talent internally, and/or the money to hire external contractors like Bonehook. Now, we can discuss tools…

Recently, Content Marketing Institute issued a report outlining some helpful new tools for content marketing practitioners. One tool CMI points to is Compendium.

Compendium helped Bass Pro Shops manage the contributions of 200 employees spanning the retailer’s 58 retail locations. All told, Bass Pro Shops published 2,249 articles in 2012, with visitors to their site nearly tripling from the previous year.

Other content tools mentioned in the CMI report, which costs $395 by the way:

Interrupt Your Prospects Carefully, Or Better Yet, Not At All

Advertising will soon be done being impolite. That’s the word from futurist, author and strategic advisor, Gerd Leonhard, who weighed in recently on Harvard Business Review about the massive changes underway in MarCom.

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His point about content’s centrality and gravity is pivotal:

By 2020, most interruptive marketing will be gone. Instead, marketing will be personalized, customized, and adapted to what I have expressed as my wishes or opt-ins — which essentially means that advertising becomes content.

As a big believer in this vision, I am pleased to see it so eloquently expressed.

Advertising itself must undergo a thorough rebranding, which results from a massive operations overhaul. We can use communications to reach people and help people, or we can waste everyone’s time and the client’s money — which is it going to be?

Leonhard also says, “the companies of the future will have one big job: to make sure that the customer feels cherished and safeguarded.”

I often say Relationship Marketing is the big tent, and that everything we do for our clients needs to add brand value for the customer. We are saying the same thing, I think.

Social Media May Be Free And Easy, But #SMM Is Neither Free Nor Easy

Social media is disruptive and for 99% of marketers it’s new and a bit frightening. As a field still being formed, you might say social media is a channel in search of best practices.

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There are common sense principles like “don’t talk about yourself all the time,” and “don’t ask for something without providing value in return.” Direct Marketing News offers a list of “check yourself” advice for social media marketers.

I especially like this bit of thinking from Rapp’s Fritz Desir:

Many brands run into difficulty—especially at the content development level—because internal departments aren’t sure what they’re getting from the company’s social campaigns, Desir says. If there’s one rule of thumb, it is to start small and claim—as in publicize—all easy victories. When applied correctly, social media can feed internal inspiration as much as it can speed external communication.

When rolling out a social campaign, remember your internal audience(s). Not only do you want to satisfy and motivate staff with Facebook posts, you want to make people proud of the company they get up and go to work every morning. That’s a tall order for a Facebook post, but it’s also real. A Facebook post — lightweight though it may be — is just the thing one’s friends or family will see and share in their own networks, so each post needs to be made with care.

Ask yourself, have you hugged your Facebook fans (staff included) today? Have you made the people who care about your company smile, guffaw out loud (GOL), think deep thoughts and/or reach for their wallets?

In the old days, “brand voice” was mostly conceptual. It was about tone of voice, not an actual voice. Today, brand voice is more factual, and less conceptual. It’s a living breathing thing, like the Internet herself. Brand voice is also a composite of many voices inside and outside the company. That part is not new, what’s new is the need for a responsive, near “real time” communications infrastructure. Bonehook can help with this, by the way.

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Digital demands speed, accuracy and consistency, but let’s not forget quality in the rush to fill content holes. Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus told me last week, “The meme-style ads (we see on Facebook) are a passing fancy. Great work has to look like it, not like it was made by some 24 year-old with an unlicensed copy of Photoshop.”

That’s an interesting POV and one we might debate. Meme-style ads are popular for a reason. My thoughts are that they blend well with a variety of other approaches. Ideally, a brand mixes it up with news from inside the company, product or service updates, customer-generated media campaigns with promotional legs, and an expansive outlook that supports the larger community around the brand (by curating and pointing to things customers care about).

Contently Going About My Business

Contently is a service that connects paying publishers and professional writers.

At this time, I am connected to The Content Strategist, a blog published by Contently, although I have yet to produce a story for the publication.

Contently also provides writers a portfolio to showcase their digital “tear sheet.” I appreciate the free service, as long form brand-sponsored copy is a different beast from ad copy. Thus, it makes sense for me to showcase the two individually.

Stories by David Burn _ Contently

You’ve heard the new media maxim, “Every company is a media company,” which is sometimes expressed as EC=MC? It is a nice thought, but it’s not accurate. “Every company has an opportunity to make meaningful media” is the actual state of affairs.

Of course, making “meaningful media” elegantly and consistently, day-in and day-out is a challenge for clients and for their agency partners. Bonehook exists to make this challenge easier to win.

[UPDATE 6.17.13] Here is a link to my first feature for The Content Strategist, published this morning: The art of transforming Facebook posts into ads