June 18, 2014

11 steps to creating truly awful content

If you can’t be the best, why not be the worst?

Target audience: PR professionals, marketers, content creators, brand journalists, communicators.

David SparkWouldn’t it be great if someone could simply explain to you the secret to creating great content? Maybe they could walk you through it with just a dozen steps. Thousands of people like you will gravitate toward such an article. It could be called “How to Create Great Content” and you can cross your fingers that it doesn’t include the same redundant advice (e.g., “Create something interesting that would be of value to your audience”).

BadEgg300Have you noticed that these “How to Create Great Content” articles are written by the dozens if not hundreds. They’re all useless. In fact, I wrote an article on just that sad reality (READ: “Why I’m Annoyed By All ‘How to Create Great Content’ Advice”).

The only way to create great content is to do it over and over again until you get good at it. And then once you’re good at it, keep doing it until you’re better at it. Continue reading

May 5, 2014

Co-creation: 7 steps to the next evolution of content marketing

co-creation

Target audience: Digital marketers, brand managers, advertising agencies, business decision-makers, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaIt’s now high tide for wave one of the content marketing trend: the idea that businesses should attract and retain customers by creating and curating relevant, valuable content.

But training marketers to create tons of content, or hiring journalists to be your brand’s storytellers, only gets you so far.

Get ready for the second wave of content marketing: co-creation.

“The next wave of content marketing is getting the community to create content,” Jennifer Burnham, director of social strategy & content marketing at Salesforce, told 35 attendees at “Who’s Kicking Ass: 3 Mini Content Marketing Case Studies,” held last week at Impress Labs, a digital marketing agency in San Francisco.

I was particularly attracted to her message because that’s what our new startup, Cruiseable, is attempting to do: get the community to be part of the content creation process. Continue reading

January 8, 2014

Why content marketing will ultimately triumph over link building

bigstock-Vintage-magnifying-glass-comp
BigStockPhoto image by Andrey Armyagov

Two radically different paths to getting discovered in Google search

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamLike Reese’s, link builders and content marketers need to combine forces because they’re two great tastes that taste great together. Link builders tend to be more left brain — technical, logical, analytical, and objective — while content marketers tend to be more right-brain — creative, artistic, intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.

Without the content marketers and copywriters, there’s no there there. Without copy, there’s no text, and without text, Google is blind. Without well-written, high quality, descriptive and easily understandable copy, link builders tend to compensate by doing keyword research and writing clunky but functional hooks that used to work well enough luring the bots, spiders, and indexing agents. Continue reading

December 17, 2013

When journalists trade newsrooms for business storytelling

5 scribes
From left, Michael Copeland, Ben Worthen, Dan Lyons, Harrison Weber & Brian Caulfield

More companies are hiring scribes to ramp up ‘content plays’

Target audience: Journalists, brand managers, SEO specialists, PR and marketing pros, business executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

JD LasicaAfunny thing is happening to a lot of journalists I know: They’re bailing on Big-J journalism.

But while many are leaving the profession of journalism, they’re taking their craft with them. Faced with the Incredible Shrinking Business Models of the old media economy, journalists have begun taking their storytelling skills to the business world, particularly tech.

Companies are snapping up journalists left and right. Today every company is a media company — and who better to tell these companies’ stories than journalists trained in the art of storytelling? Continue reading

November 26, 2013

Google: Are authors replacing inbound links as the key to success in search?

authors
Image by Les Chatfield on Flickr (CC BY)

Create a content strategy by enlisting top influencers to write for your sites

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamIt’s a great time to be passionate about social media, the Internet, online community, and the Google suite of products and services.

Google is about to reward you big-time just as Google pulls the rug out from under the feet of traditional SEO link strategies. Good for you, bad for many online businesses. Be sure to monetize while you can. 

In my analogy, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm will require each website owner to find one or more social media passion players and woo, hire, pay, or partner with them in order to get back on top of Google organic search. If you want your home page to rise to the top of Google Organic Search, I believe you’re going to have to bring some legit Google authors on board and publicly be associated with them. Continue reading

October 14, 2013

Buttress your brand with content creation & community

community

To get discovered in search, be true to yourself, not to SEO tricks

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR professionals, businesses, brand strategists, educators, journalists, general public.

Chris AbrahamYou can’t control your brand perception. You can’t force your will or your perception of yourself onto Google no matter how big your advertising budget — sorry. And, now, you can’t do it through writing big checks to black hat link farms, either.

So, if you want to make sure you can shape perception of your business in search as much as possible, you’ll need to write about yourself and your company as thoroughly as humanly possible — and, part of that is doing the equivalent of a 360-degree feedback of your own brand, your own corporation. For those of you who don’t know, a 360 review represents feedback that comes from members of an employee’s immediate work circle. And, like the 360, you should ask people outside of just yourself and your board how they perceive you. Continue reading