Conversations and resources for small business, startup, and solopreneur content marketing and social media.
Last year, I headed out to Content Marketing World as a self-employed content marketing consultant, eager to connect with other content marketers working with technology start-ups on creating effective content marketing organizations. This year I was back on the plane to Cleveland for the conference, but this time as a client-side marketer, building a global content marketing infrastructure for my employer, the business planning and execution platform Anaplan. What’s amazing about the conference we regulars refer to by its weekly twitter chat hashtag #CMworld is the conference had just as much value to me in both of these roles.
A few of the highlights for me included:
- Meeting so many twitter folks IRL
- Sharing my content curation presentation in a packed lunch session
- Spending a day in the Tech/Software Lab soaking up great content from some amazing content marketers
- Kevin Spacey’s awesome closing keynote
- Walking the exhibit hall and getting a first-hand look at a diverse selection of content marketing tools
- Picking up Ann Handley’s book Everybody Writes hot off the presses!
I did a ton of live tweeting, and sharing others’ comments and insights on twitter throughout the week. Here are 10 of my favorites of those takeaways from the twitterverse:
- Of effective content marketers 54% document their content strategy; only 11% of ineffective do
- Want demonstrable ROI from your content? Focus on the MOI! (Moment of Inspiration) via Andrew Davis
- Secrets to creating MOI? #1 Build suspense. #2 Foster aspiration. #3 Drive empathy. #4 Harness emotion.
- Gini Dietrich shared a simple and useful content hub structure by Andy Crestodina, as a strategy for breaking through online content clutter and getting your content found
- Smartling shared an interesting infographic on the meaning of numbers world-wide, which definitely gave me pause as a global marketer
- Content marketing lesson from @Buzzfeed? Spend 20% of your time on the title. It’s important!
- PR 20/20’s Paul Roetzer shared a free toolkit to help assess the skills and skills gaps for your content marketing team
- Kingman Ink was out in full force, taking amazing visual notes, like this one from REI’s session
- “The audience doesn’t care about the platform they care about the content.” Kevin Spacey, truth telling in his closing keynote
- 57% of IT pros surveyed by LinkedIn knowingly giving false lead form data
- What were some of your big takeaways?
P.S. During Andrew Davis’ opening keynote, he shared a few highlights from the Caine’s Arcade short film. It’s a great story. If you haven’t seen it, take a coffee break and watch it here:
It’s Monday and I’m in Cleveland so that can only mean 1 thing: It’s time for Content Marketing World 2014!
This time last year, when I headed out to Content Marketing World, I’d just embarked on taking a year to work as an independent content marketing and social media consultant. The conference had amazing content, gave me a number of great takeaways, and inspired a number of great conversations with other content marketers in more than the usual 140 characters (shoutout to the weekly #cmworld twitter chat!)
I’m back this year, in a completely different capacity. Not only am I back in a full time staff role (Head of Social Media and Content Marketing) for a global business planning and execution Cloud-based startup, Anaplan, I’m also presenting a lunchtime session on content curation. And I have a big fat list of twitter chat peeps I hope to run into (which was part of the inspiration for creating this crowd-sourced listly of CMworld conference attendees.)
After a fab lunch at Urban Farmer a stone’s throw from the convention center, I’m getting myself setup for two days worth of learning, ideation and note taking, and thought I’d share my tactics for making the most of the conference.
#1 Make sure you know who you want to meet, and make it a priority to do so!
I have to give a hat tip to Brandie McCallum for getting me to make my personal list ahead of time. Of course, having the conference speakers and attendees listly going helped in actually compiling my personal must-meet list. It doesn’t matter where this list lives, as long as you can carry it with you. In my case, since I am an introvert and wanted to see if I could be personally introduced to a few folks, I put mine in a note in a shared Evernote notebook. Which brings me to the next point…
#2 Setup a note taking system.
For best results, you want to have all your notes in one place, whether that means your orange Content Marketing World notebook or a digital file. I’m setting up my session notes in that shared Evernote Notebook so I can easily share them w/my team back in the office after the conference. I’ll be taking down my notes via my laptop but with my iPad mini also at hand. I’ll use the iPad for snapping photos I want to share and for keeping an open mind map file to track ideas that will inevitably come to me as a results of being at the event.
#3 Use a tool to make livetweeting easier.
I typically use Hootsuite as my dashboard for livetweeting because I can easily keep an eye on the other tweets going in the conference stream, any replies sent to me, and my sent tweets, all in the same dashboard tab, side by side. This helps me easily keep tabs on what others in my session are sharing. That way, I can amplify other POVs, and save on some typing to boot!
For those of you who were at Content Marketing World last year, what are some of your tips for making the most of the event? Let me know on twitter and in the comments.
SlideShare is an underutilized, but highly effective content channel for connecting with B2B customers. But it takes more than just uploading a slide deck from your most recent product marketing presentation to engage with your audience. So what are the keys to knocking it out of the park with SlideShare? Providing a valuable learning or entertainment experience, telling a compelling visual story, and giving your audience a way to connect with your company to go deeper on the topic. In this post, I’ll walk you through these three key elements, and give you a peek into my typical SlideShare creation process.
What Constitutes a Valuable SlideShare Experience?
SlideShare can be a great way for extending the reach of your proprietary research, nurturing your influencer relationships by co-creating content with them, or even just connecting with your audience in an unexpected way. The best SlideShare presentations leave you with the feeling you got a good return on the investment of the time you spent flipping through the slides.
To find out what resonates with your network, you’ll want to experiment with different formats and topics and see what gets the most traction. A good way to do this is by repurposing some of your current, successful content as a SlideShare.
So what kind of content works well for repurposing? Pretty much any solid, informative or entertaining piece of content that you already know your audience is interested in— whitepapers, infographics, research results, and even webinars.
If freelance writers and designers are a core element to your content marketing strategy, then keeping them happy, to ensure many productive future content engagements, should be one of your top priorities. You know your rock star freelancers have other gigs, so how do you ensure that you’re their employer of choice? Start by committing to these 6 best practices.
1. Mind your scope creep.
Yes, we’ve all had those projects that once underway needed a course correction. But if your projects are consistently changing in scope (without the accompanying Statement of Work and payment schedule increasing accordingly), you may find your proposed projects not making it onto your freelancer’s calendar.
2. Don’t change the topic or channel after the agreement is signed.
If you’ve agreed on three content topics with your freelancer, changing one of them after the agreement is signed and your freelancer has gotten to work on them gets things off on the wrong foot. The time they’ve estimated the project will take to complete included any research they’d need to do, and their familiarity with the subject matter. If you switch gears on them, they may end up spending considerably more time than budgeted to complete your project, which isn’t likely to endear you to them.
3. Be upfront about how the content will be used.
If you plan to take the content the freelancer is creating for one channel, and reuse it without the freelancer’s involvement, let them know that upfront by requesting all rights to the work. Many freelancers charge differently for bylined work than work-made-for-hire content. So make sure you’ve spelled out your intentions before they content is drafted. Further, if they know it’s to be repurposed for a specific channel, it may affect how they write the piece I know that I’ve cringed to see content that worked great as a blog post being repurposed without editing in another channel that it didn’t really work in. Ditto for reusing an image in a channel other than the one it was created for. It pains a freelancer to see an image distorted by being stretched to fit an aspect ratio for which it wasn’t designed.
4. Don’t make edits on bylined content without showing the author.
Have you ever had someone take a heavy hand to a piece you’ve written, and inadvertently change the meaning of a quote or your philosophy? Or worse yet, had a typo introduced? If you’re publishing content with the author’s byline on it, always give them a chance to review and approve your edits. And if something does slip through the cracks, be responsive when they reach out to you asking for a correction. Even if you don’t think a typo is a big deal, if your freelancer contacts you about it, make sure to address it in a timely manner. After all, it’s their reputation on the line as well.
5. Give credit where credit is due.
Have you ever sat in a meeting and listened in horror as your boss took personal credit for your work? It sucks! And when you get public kudos or an industry award for a piece a freelancer crafted for you, if you grab all the credit for yourself, don’t think it will slip past unnoticed. Inevitably, that interview you give about writing the piece will make its way back to the freelancer responsible for its awesomeness. Yes, you paid for their work, but if you take public credit for it, without acknowledging you had some help, don’t be surprised if you have one fewer helper.
6. Pay invoices in a timely manner.
No freelancer started working for themselves due to an unfulfilled dream of being a bill collector. In fact, when freelancers sit around having a cocktail, slow paying clients almost always come up— and their names get spread around. Your freelancer relies upon your timely payment for the work they’ve done for you in order to keep their business going. And they don’t appreciate having to follow-up with you multiple times to see when, exactly, that check was put in the mail. Consider using electronic payment options, like bill.com or PayPal, when possible, to give your freelancers a more timely payment schedule.
If you keep these best practices in mind, and treat your freelancers as you’d want to be treated yourself, you should have no problem keeping your content beast fed. What are some of the ways you’ve nurtured your freelancer relationships? Let me know in the comments!
As a huge fan of the work the folks at the Content Marketing Institute have been doing, and a former attendee, I’m positively thrilled to share that I’m speaking at Content Marketing World 2014 in September. This year’s installment of the content marketing industry’s premiere conference, with a Beyond Storytelling theme, will be held September 8-11 at the Cleveland Convention Center.
I’ll be presenting one of Wednesday’s lunch sessions, focused on how to create a streamlined, efficient content curation process that integrates with your content marketing strategy.
If you’re not familiar with the event, Content Marketing World brings together 2,500+ content marketing professionals, for a week of networking and knowledge-sharing. Starting off with deep-dives on a number of topics, the event also includes a 2-day conference packed with content marketing sessions and ends with a day of industry-specific workshops. I’m attending the tech industry workshop since I’m focused on working with technology startups define their content strategy and effectively execute against it.
I found attending the event last year to give me great actionable takeaways, which helped me focus my content marketing strategies for 2014. I also learned about a number of tools I hadn’t used before, that helped me better identify and interact with the influencers I need to have sharing my clients’ content. And perhaps most importantly, I connected with a ton of amazing marketers who are just as passionate and enthusiastic about the potential of content marketing as I am.
If you need to make the case for attending to your boss, you might want to point out that not only will you return from the conference brimming with new ideas and resources your entire team can put to use, that knowledge will help you bridge the often-lamented marketing skills gap while the professional development it provides you with will help bolster your employee engagement.
And if all that isn’t enough– they’ve got master storyteller Kevin Spacey as the closing keynote. And you won’t want to miss out on that! And if you register between now and May 31, and tweet @cmicontent that you’ve registered, they’ll tweet you back with a free Starbucks coffee, and enter you into a contest to win a front row seat to that closing keynote. And you won’t want to miss out on that, now will you?
Hope to see you there!
P.S. if you register to attend Content Marketing World through this affiliate link, you’ll be contributing to my #cmworld travel fund.