June 12, 2013

Content marketing: The secret to getting discovered in search

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Or: Why organizations need to tell their stories

Target audience: Marketing professionals, brands, businesses, SEO specialists, social media strategists.

JD LasicaContent marketing — a term that would have drawn blank stares just a few years ago — is now becoming recognized as a principal way for any small business, mid-size company or large corporation to get its message out.

Done right, content marketing can help an organization tell its story, directly and without filters. And for brand marketers, content marketing has become a key component of today’s marketing toolkit. How better to get discovered in a Google search than to create highly relevant content relevant to that niche audience?

I was interviewed, along with marketer Greg Jordan, about content marketing for organizations at a new podcast from the Content Marketing Examiner moderated by publisher Martin van der Roest. And while some of the discussion centers on nonprofits, it’s applicable to any kind of organization or business.

Here’s our conversation:

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June 4, 2013

55 expert tips to produce better & faster content

Hacking Media Produciton

Advice to streamline your media workflow

Target audience: Content marketers, Web publishers, PR execs, journalists, producers, businesses, media organizations.

David SparkIn just the first 20 episodes of my podcast “Hacking Media Production,” I’ve collected hundreds of tips from journalists and producers on how to produce content better and faster. What follows is my selection of the 55 creative content production hacks.

If you like what you see and want to learn more, feel free to click through on any episode to listen to the interview and see lots more tips on that subject. And if you want to learn lots more, please subscribe to “Hacking Media Production” via iTunes.

From “Using Crowdsourcing Tools for Cheaper and Better Production”

1If you can think of it, someone may do it for $5: The site Fiverr is filled with mini creative services available for $5 such as drawing a cartoon of your dad, recording a voice-over message in Sean Connery’s voice, or even a bogus video testimonial for your product.

2Crowdsourcing design work still requires an art director: Be aware that using services such as 99designs or Crowdspring will cost more than you expect because you’ll likely need an art director to spend hours of time managing the contest and interacting with the designers to get the final product you want.

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November 28, 2012

Lean content marketing: How to do it right


Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, at last night’s Lean content marketing event (photo by JD Lasica).

5 rules for creating content with social appeal

Target audience: Content marketers, agencies, marketing professionals, businesses, brands, start-ups, nonprofits, social enterprises, educators, journalists.

JD LasicaLast night I attended the first Lean Content Marketing meeup put on by Scoop.it, the content curation platform, at their San Francisco headquarters. About 80 folks, a mix of marketers and entrepreneurs, turned out to hear Leo Widrich, CEO and co-founder of Buffer, offer his five cardinal rules of content marketing.

Content marketing, which my partner David Spark prefers to call brand journalism, is the practice of creating content relevant to your brand to gain greater visibiilty in search results and in social channels. Simply put, if you don’t create content, you can’t be an influencer, and you won’t get people talking about your company, product or service.

Where does lean content marketing come in? We’re a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, where the conventional wisdom holds that a company that’s lean and product-focused will out-perform one that’s too marketing-centric, Scoop.it’s Arabella Santiago explained. Thus, like lean startup culture, the marketing sector could learn a few things from smaller, nimble means of spreading the word about a great new product — with social media at the top of the list. Blasting out a brand message doesn’t work if the underlying claim or value proposition is bupkis. Continue reading

February 23, 2012

Why I hate the term ‘content marketing’

Empty stage at Content Marketing World 2011

It used to be called custom publishing, but now it’s just annoying

David SparkIt’s aggravating to knowingly use a term to describe your business, even though it poorly defines what you and the industry does. That’s how I feel about the term “content marketing.” It’s the industry’s current buzz term used to describe the need to create content over advertising in order to engage with customers in social spaces.

Content marketing is nothing new. Prior to the explosion of social media, it was and still is called custom publishing. Most of us experienced it for years every time we picked up a Triptik, map, or tour book from AAA. Or maybe your brokerage firm sent you a magazine offering up advice on how to invest your 401K.

Another new term used to describe custom publishing is brand journalism, and it’s the way I like to describe what my firm, Spark Media Solutions, does. Simply put, companies hire us to be journalists for them. The way we create media is no different than when we’re producing media for traditional media outlets.

We are custom publishers and brand journalists. Continue reading