Last week marked the second annual BlogWorld and New Media expo in New York City as bloggers, podcasters and communicators gathered from across the globe.
While it’s impossible to convey the depth and breadth of the content covered across the three days of forums, presentations and keynote addresses, I wanted to share some takeaways from just a few of the sessions I had the opportunity to attend.
I hope these takeaways prove helpful in your blogging, business and social media endeavours.
Thanks to Rick Calvert, Dave Cynkin and all the speakers and attendees for a terrific three days.
1. Optimise – Lee Odden
Lee Odden's Content Marketing Trilogy
When we think optimisation, many of us immediately think of SEO. While SEO is a core component of optimisation, Lee encouraged attendees to think of optimisation as a strategic state of mind to be applied to content marketing in a holistic fashion. That is, understanding your customers and their problems and solutions to strategically plan and implement content for each stage of the buying cycle.
To find out more, you can check out Lee’s new book ‘OPTIMIZE’ here.
2. Blogging Mistakes to Avoid – Marcus Sheridan (aka The Sales Lion)
I’d heard a lot about Marcus Sheridan prior to this conference – and his presentation and thoughts didn’t disappoint. Among the biggest blogging mistakes Marcus encouraged the audience to avoid were: failing to think like your customer/consumer, lack of focus on the key metrics for your brand and business, being afraid to take on the big players, focusing on bragging (as opposed to blogging), favouring witty titles over those that are SEO friendly, using ‘lack of time’ as an excuse, failing to see employees as content producers, and not embracing content as a sales tool.
I also recommend watching Marcus’ story here, where he also offers a free inbound marketing ebook with over 200 pages of practical advice.
3. Three Steps to Great Content – Corbett Barr
At the heart of Corbett’s presentation were these three steps to produce killer content:
- Cultivate creativity,
- Experiment, and
- Remix popular content.
That is, keep doing the work of blogging and embracing your creative side (it often takes years).
Challenge yourself every day to produce different forms of content and learn from others to utilise and work with content forms that resonate with your audience.
To use Corbett’s metaphor of the cinema box office, we all now have the opportunity to create Little Miss Sunshine – a small budget film that, through killer content, took all the big players by surprise at the box office.
Try to map out and experiment with content that will make you the Little Miss Sunshine of your industry.
4. Chris Brogan
Chris’ first practical piece of advice was that blogging is a marathon – learn how to pen your thoughts in short and sharp bursts to maintain focus and manage your blogging time among all your work and life commitments.
Channel your passion and be sure to practice, practice, practice. As Chris said, “practice replaces talent” – and practice is the reward for all your ongoing efforts.
Through all of that, never forget to connect with others and draw them back to you, and try hard to be brave.
It takes a lot to put yourself out there as an individual and/or business – be brave every day.
5. How to attract members to your online community – Scott Fox, Rob Ludlow, David Risley, Lynette Young
There were some great tips out of this panel discussion, including:
- Always consider what is helpful and remarkable for your consumers, and what will help them and encourage engagement and discussion,
- Look at your community as a cohesive whole,
- Show your personality,
- Content may be King, but trust is the Emperor for online communities,
- Utilise user-generated content – UGC is a sleeping giant with incredible monetisation and revenue potential,
- Find the media that works best for your community and speak to them there in their language,
- Build a database,
- Blog and engage consistently,
- Be prepared to fail – it’s how you truly grow and progress,
- Measure and understand the topics that resonate with your community,
- Never forget to measure and refine your content and engagement. As the panel said – “Wash, rinse, repeat.”
6. The Future of Content Creation – Andraz Tori and Shane Snow
Four points to consider about the future of content creation from this session:
- Social content will largely replace advertising on the web,
- Long form content is making, and will continue to make a comeback,
- Brands will dominate online publishing, and
- Freelance creatives and in-house Chief Content Officers will come to the fore as content marketing continues to evolve.
Chuck Martin presents at BlogWorld NYC 2012.
7. A World Gone Mobile – Chuck Martin
The key takeaway from Chuck’s presentation is that brands need to tailor concise communication for mobile.
Current exponential growth in mobile and smart-phone adoption is greater than the initial growth of the internet – with mobile technologies evolving to become increasingly consumer centric.
However, while brands need to understand and keep up to date with consumer behaviour across the third screen – the real value is in the content, not the technology.
That is, the technology is only as useful as the content that is able to break through the noise of the mobile space. Oh, and one thing Chuck made clear – an app is not a mobile strategy.
If you’d like to read more of Chuck’s work you can check out and purchase his book here.
8. Four Steps to Editing Your Writing – Ali Luke
Ali presented a practical four-step framework for editing your writing – be it a tweet, blog post, white paper or book.
- Read and re-read your work during the writing process,
- Edit at the macro level to maintain focus on the ‘big picture’ or theme of your piece,
- Change focus to line edit at the micro level – maintaining consistency and a clear voice, and
- Format. Use images, audio, shades, block text, indents and bullet points to break up and add variety and white space to your work.
She also offers a number of ebooks to help with your writing here
9. Must-dos for the Serious Blogger – Jay Baer
One of my favourite blogs is Jay Baer’s Convice & Convert. At BlogWorld, Jay gave the audience a behind-the-scenes overview of the stages of evolution the blog has gone through over the years to get to where it is now, and offered these golden pieces of advice to step-up your blogging:
- Be patient,
- Be somebody’s favourite blog,
- You are a publisher – add value to your audience and have something to say,
- Embrace variety in the content you create, curate and share,
- Be a YOUtility in striving to help others,
- Include calls to action,
- Measure behaviour, and
- Be shareable.
What do you think?
Did you have the opportunity to attend BlogWorld? What did you take away from the conference?
Did any of the thoughts from the above sessions resonate with your current personal or business activities?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Last week I attended a meetup for Creative Village NYC, featuring presentations from VYou and Squidoo (more to come on VYou in a later post).
While I’m sure that you’ve all read a number of ‘top tips for social media’, I really like this list presented by Squidoo’s VP of Partnerships, Lauryn Ballesteros, on how to do social media and business well.
Although each individual step/tip involved in the below requires its own planning, research, integration and execution with the others, I think it’s a great list to keep saved and front of mind when planning and evaluating social media and communication activities.
So, without further ado, here are Lauryn’s five ways to do social media well – I hope you find them of great use.
Thanks to Lauryn and the teams at Squidoo and Creative Village NYC for the great event.
1. Be generous.
Provide value to your community on an ongoing basis – not just during a single ‘push’ or campaign.
2. You need to have a story.
Use social platforms to tell your brand’s story. This is the heart and soul of the brand, and what it represents.
3. Be strategic in your use of platforms.
Each channel has its own codes, engagement and audience. Research where your audience is, and the content they are engaging with to develop and execute your social media activities. The platforms you utilise need to have ease of access, use and reach.
4 + 5. Trust and Authenticity (Lauryn grouped these two together)
To succeed in the social space, brands needs to show themselves to be both trustworthy and authentic not only in the content they share, but the manner in which they engage and communicate with the community.
What do you think?
Would you add any tips to the above list for doing social media well (or not so well)?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Image credit: wilgengbroed, via Flickr CC 2.0.
How do communicators get to know the business of their clients or organisation?
This post is a response to a great guest post by Michael Shmarak of Sidney Maxwell PR on Mikinzie Stuart‘s blog PR Geek Speak (definitely recommended reading for fellow young PR and communication pros).
In the post, Michael discusses the bridge between the business of business and the business of PR, and the opportunity each communicator has to help bridge that gap.
That is, to learn and understand the business of your clients or organisation, and employ communication to improve and positively impact that business.
As Michael Writes:
“When I worked at large agencies, it was required that my team knew what my clients did, made, sold, et.al., and I pushed for them to learn as much about how things were done/made/sold. Today, my team knows as much about the client’s operations as they do about its marketing function.
Why? Because the more we know about how a client operates, the more of an opportunity there is for us to create better programming.”
Having started my career as the sole (in-house) communicator (excluding the Marketing Manager and Coordinator) in a national media organisation, Michael’s words resonated with me greatly, and got me thinking about my own time learning the ropes and business of my employer.
It certainly was a steep learning curve – but one I consider myself pretty fortunate to have had.
So, adding to Michael’s post, here are a few of my own tips for getting to know the business of PR for your clients or company. While these come from my own experience on the client side, I hope that all can be adapted and utilised to help pros on the agency side also.
Connect in person
Obviously this one is easier if you work in-house – but the same applies for agency. When you are working across and with multiple business units to communicate both internally and externally, there is no substitute for face time. Make the effort to initiate contact and introductions with people across the business. Letting them know who you are what you do (or will be doing) will go a long way towards establishing strong ties, relationships and channels of information within the business.
Sit in on meetings
This is a great way to further develop relationships with heads of business units, and to get to know those individuals that drive and work within these departments. During the course of your time working with the organisation you may find yourself regularly working with these individuals. Understanding their projects, timelines and day-to-day business will only help build your knowledge of the organisation and allow you to proactively forward-plan.
Organise one-on-one meetings with business heads
Okay, so this one might be a little bit harder to coordinate. These individuals are usually super busy and pressed for time. However, they’re in a senior position because of their knowledge and business acumen, and one-on-one time to learn about them and their team is invaluable. Many of the meetings I had with business heads were over a coffee – giving each of us the time to ask questions and learn more about one another. Looking back, I have no doubt these advanced my knowledge of the business, its people and the wider industry ten times over.
This follows on from the last point, but at no point should you shy away from asking questions. Building your knowledge and understanding of the business will assist in establishing your own intellectual capital around the company and drive results for you and the organisation.
Read up on trade and industry news
This was brought up by Michael in his post, and I couldn’t agree more with him on this point. Whatever niche or sector of business your client or company is in, take the time to read up on news and any trade or B2B media in that area. Reading trade content was a daily routine throughout my time at the organisation – and I can’t tell you how much it helped in planning, reviewing and executing communication for the business.
Remember – you may be the expert in the business of PR and communication, but it’s others that are experts in the business of their business – so take the time and be proactive in seeking feedback from these experienced and knowledgeable heads. This doesn’t have to wait until the quarterly performance review – each and every piece of communication is an opportunity to learn, grow and improve.
So, there you have it – a few of my tips to help you get to know the business of PR based on my own time as an in-house communicator.
Again, thanks to Michael and Mikinzie for sharing the post on PR Geek Speak and for prompting the above thoughts.
What do you think?
What strategies have you employed to get to know the business of PR? Do you have any tips to share with fellow communicators? If you’re in the agency space, how do you adapt to learning the business of PR for multiple clients?
I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts.
Image credit: Patrick Hoesly, via Flickr CC 2.0