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The Friday Fix - July 10, 2015

Holy moly, it’s hot outside.  Thankfully, you work in content marketing and can be inside kicking back with your iced coffee, reading the Friday Fix from the comfort of your air-conditioned lair.  This week brings a fairly motley arrangement of content marketing topics.  We talk about avoiding pitfalls related to marketing ethics, brand storytelling, and podcasting.  We also reveal that Nick Offerman, AKA Ron Swanson is going to be at Content Marketing World 2015.  Since it’s too soon to start packing your bags and too early to call it a day, do the next best thing: get your fill of the Friday Fix!

Content Marketing is Hard?  Here’s Some Inspiration for Ya!
Arguably, Mael Roth should publish something inspiring for us to share every Friday because what else could make Friday better than inspiration, especially after a tough week.  I know Mael posits her title as a question, but I’ll say it content marketing is hard.  So is math, says my inner 7th grader who still has nightmares about failing Algebra…in her underwear.  I digress. In this post, Mael shares an inspiring story about a budgetless craftsman who overcame the odds to create killer content (but can he find love? …I’m kidding.  It’s all about the content.  Check it out.).

http://www.nfc-research.at

Beyond Surface Answers and Sound Bites: 6 Interview Tips for Brand Storytellers
In Tina Fey’s Bossypants, she talks about how Lorne Michaels gets the “eggs” from the “chickens” (writers / actors) on Saturday Night Live.  In this article, writer and questioner extraordinaire, Taylor Mallory Holland provides similar tips for how brand storytellers can best get the information they need.  Asking leading questions and encouraging the interviewee to ramble are two such strategies.  Consequently, these are also skills you’ll want to use when you’re trying to get the truth out of your kids when they’re all tight-lipped over how half the house got blown to smithereens.

How a Good Story will Make you Outperform the Competition
I full agree with Rebekah Richards’ advice for how to tell and a good story and why (in the good story example, someone loses a tooth…that’s always memorable!).  Essentially, you want to use character, plot, and tension to create something relatable and engaging.  She also talks about ethics, which reminds me of something I tell my writing students.  I tell them to just write the truth; write honestly.  When you try too hard to write a story, it feels unnatural, like a backrub from the boss (picture it, yeah, weird, huh?).  Anyway, read Rebekah’s article for solid storytelling approaches and avoid giving those creepy back rubs with your writing.

Why Every Startup Should Use Content Marketing
Sandra Griffin goes into more detail than what I consider the most obvious answer to her rhetorical title, which is that because it works.  Sandra acknowledges that start-ups, like college students, are broke (well, except for the ones with a line on dad’s credit card); however, lack of funds shouldn’t stop start-ups from content marketing (just like it shouldn’t stop college students from sustaining on a diet of beer and 3 a.m. nacho-loaded hot dogs for four years).  To help get startups get the content ball rolling, Sandra shares where to start, tips, and a list of handy-dandy resources (yay! Tools!).

Marketing Ethics: Is Your Brand Crossing Any Lines?
Taylor Mallory Holland is back with a different yet equally important topic related to content marketing: ethics.  As we all know from movies, ethical misbehavior in the workplace results in approximately 90 minutes of jokes, hi-jinks, and at least 20 seconds in jail before a lesson is learned, and everything returns to normal only with ethics.  If that’s what you think, you’re wrong. Ethical violations lead to fines, public shaming, and more courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.  There are guidelines to follow (link in Taylor’s article).  If you’re not sure what they are or how companies can get busted, check it out.  Lord & Taylor’s bogus contest example is one that will stick with you, so make sure you give this article its due.

How to Avoid 10 Common Business Video Mistakes
Respectfully, anyone can make a video; however, not everyone can make a good video as evidenced by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff’s list of common mistakes, which range from being too sales-y to letting things go on for too long.  Awkward content, lack of mobile friendliness, and terrible quality are other frequently committed sins.  So, like we’ve said before, content marketing videos are very important, so read Jennifer’s piece and rise above the follies of your peers.  Rise I say!

When It Comes to Technology Marketing, You Must Tell Your Brand Story
While the topic of Lara Nour Eddine’s article is on technology marketing, the wit and wisdom of Lara’s piece is broadly applicable to anyone trying to tell their brand story.  Before revealing six ways to consider when using brand storytelling, Lara first treats us to this bit of daunting trivia: roughly 5,000 marketing messages are viewed daily, and 79% of those viewing said marketing messages scan them.  I’m pretty sure this brings us back to the fact that content marketing is a cruel mistress, but on the plus, Lara’s handy dandy tips could help you become part of the 21% that folks actually top and get to know better.

MarketWise: Podcasting for Effective Content Marketing
We did a piece on podcasting a month or so ago, and Karen Wise’s sharp article corroborates our comments on the validity of podcasts and supplies new insights on the usefulness of these little guys.  Though easily forgotten behind videos and infographics, podcasts are portable, accessible, multi-formatted communication tools that over 27% of Internet users use.  If you think of the market on the Internet you’re competing with versus the competition in podcastville, you could have a better chance of reaching as many as 27% of users with less noise to drown out your voice.  What I’m saying is to start creating podcasts, people.  Unlike shoulder pads in the 80s & 90s, you won’t regret this.

Accelerate Your Content Marketing Campaign with the Right Partner
I wish Brett Relander’s article image had one caption: Boo-yah because that’s the only discussion a contract consummated by fist-bump ever needs.  My lack of business acumen side, partnering up in the big, bad world of business is important.  Creating content marketing partnerships can facilitate exposure and links in way that trying to go solo like Mr. Incredible did simply can’t and won’t (and even Mr. Incredible totally caved because look how flexible his partner was!).  So, if you’re looking to enhance your enterprise with a partnership, check out Brett’s article…there’s no need to work alone. 

Nick Offerman at CMWorld 2015!

Nick Offerman at CMWorld 2015!

Actor/comedian Nick Offerman Joins Star-Filled Lineup of Content Marketing World 2015
File Scott Suttell’s quick article information under “the more you know”.  For those of you who were riding the fence on whether or not to attend Content Marketing World 2015 at the Cleveland Convention Center this September, let keynote speaker Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation”) convince you.  Nick promises to bring his humorous and unique take on storytelling to the con.  So, if you can, be a winner like Nick’s Ron Swanson who said, “Everything I do is the attitude of an award winner because I’ve won an award,” and be one of the 3,500 awesome souls at Content Marketing World this year.

5 Reasons Why You Need a LinkedIn Company Page
Of all the social media outlets, LinkedIn, the professional social networking site, seems to get the least amount of press.  Despite the comparatively diminished coverage, having a LinkedIn site that you’re actually active on is kind of a big deal.  Why?  Not only is LinkedIn SEO friendly, it also enables you to attract prospective employees, establish professional relationships, and build Net cred (kind of like street cred, but for the web).  


Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect. 

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn

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The Beginner's Guide to Podcasts

In a previous article, “10 Types of Content That Work for Every Business”, I listed the most popular types of content that is guaranteed to work for any company - from any niche industry - no matter how boring. Although podcasts were not on that list, we knew that this type of content deserved its own spotlight as a great way to tell your story.

A podcast is essentially a non-streaming webcast, in audio or video form. Podcasts are typically downloaded through what is known as a Podcatcher. A Podcatcher is a type of software client that downloads podcasts and can manage and transfer files to a media player. iTunes is by far the most popular Podcatcher, but there are manyservices out there that willdo the same thing.

Why are Podcasts so Valuable?

The term “podcast,” as opposed to “webcast,” originated with the invention of the iPod, so podcasts are inherently associated with audio syndication. But as we know, handheld technology is constantly evolving and growing with next-generation tablets, mobile phones, and other multimedia devices that can easily handle high-quality video --this just wasn’t the case when podcasts were first introduced. Because of this, podcasts have evolved with new-gen technology and now video podcasts have almost become the norm.

podcast audio recording

Many radio news outlets, for example, make use of video podcasts as a way to distribute their news, sometimes separating it out by topic (music, politics, business, etc.). Podcasts are a huge distribution channel, so it can help with building your brand, image, and authority. Because Podcasts can beeasily shared among the popular social networks, they also have the potential to become a viral hit (depending on topic-matter, of course).

Developing your First Podcast

Now, you are ready to expand your content portfolio and create your first podcast.  I’ve seen Podcasts produced from very basic equipment (mobile phones, laptops, webcams) to professional sound and video equipment – Even if your video and sound quality is not “Cinema Quality”, that’s okay!  You should always have room to grow and improve, and you’ve got a long way to go before Podcasts are recognized by the Academy.

It’s much more important to get your ideas down on paper and create an outline for the podcast in order to stay on track during the recording. Remember, this is your first podcast, eventually you will want to track metrics and measurable goals for each piece of content you publish – but we’re new to this – so let’s keep it simple at first and consider the most basic factors:

·         Who is your audience? Your audience for the podcasts might be very similar to the audience that eats up all your social media content. But depending on your industry, these podcasts can allow your brand to speak to individuals with a higher-level knowledge about your field. The format of podcasts invite enthusiasts or interested followers to listen to your brands in-depth discussions.  This enables your brand to establish itself as an industry leader and get new conversations started that can greatly benefit the listeners. You must have this target audience in mind first, otherwise you won’t know what topics to cover, or where to promote the podcast once published.

·         What topics will be covered? Once you have established a target audience, determine what topics you would like to cover in the podcasts.  Finding topics should be easy, this is your first podcasts after all! What is your audience asking or talking about on social media?Start listing these questions and decide on which topics you want to cover.  Put them in specific order and create a time-limit for each topic. This will help keep the podcast moving and the audience engaged.   

·         How long will the entire podcast be? Joe Rogan will fight you in the octagon over these statistics – but I think that’s due to his extended time in a sensory deprivation tank - Rogan’s Podcasts can last well-over 3 hours.  I am also willing to bet that your clients aren’t up at 3:00AM questioning their place in the Universe with Joe Rogan, so your brand will have to act much faster.According to the popular podcast site, Stitcher, the average listener stays connected for about 22 minutes. TED Talks has famously set an 18-minute maximum for its presenters.  From a content marketing perspective, 18 minutes is an absolute eternity. You can get a lot covered in 18 minutes, and if you don’t believe me – ask David Christian – who was able to brilliantly explain (in its entirety) The History of Our Universe… in just 18 minutes.

Podcasting Tips from the Experts

Although trends will vary depending on the audience and industry, iTunes can provide some pretty interesting insight on successful podcasting habits. Here are a few tips from podcasting experts:

Tuesday is the Best Day to publish your Podcast

Kevin Lee of buffersocial noticed that among The Top 25 Podcasts in the iTunes store, 60% of podcasts posted early in the week; Wednesday afternoon at the latest.  The most common single day was Tuesday.  He noted that Tuesday is also the day when new music hits the iTunes store, which might result in more visits or podcast downloads.

Stick to a Schedule by Using a Content Calendar

Top 25 podcasts on iTunes publish once or twice per week on a regular schedule. Podcasts that were sporadic and unorganized did not perform as well as the ones that stuck to a schedule.Keep in mind that audiences typically subscribe to a podcast channel, so whenever you publish a new podcast, it gets distributed to all the subscribers, automatically.

Don’t Dismiss Audio Content

Many people continue to use podcasts for audio. Don’t discount the value of audio in favor of video – audio can fill a niche and connect with your followers in a way that video cannot do. What’s great about audio is that you can use it to turn your blog posts into podcasts. You could record someone reading your text blog post into a microphone if you want a human narrator. Or you can use a dictation software tool to automatically read the text to an audio file. Dictating blog posts, for example, is a great way to make them more accessible. The files can be repurposed to a podcast for an additional distribution opportunity. Podcasts are a great way to distribute your email interviews, too. Any audio you produce for your webpages should be podcasted. For a minimum of effort, you get the huge bonus of expanded distribution of your content.

Whether its audio or video, podcasts are quickly becoming a popular form of content that audiences trust and share among friends.  This high-level content is a great way to promote your brand’s thought leadership, propelling authority and trust among the biggest industry influencers.  Do not be intimidated by different forms of media to tell your story.  With some preparation and structure, you can share stories or insights to a massive listening audience.


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