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.
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.
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.
At the heart of Corbett’s presentation were these three steps to produce killer content:
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.
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.
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 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
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?
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia recently launched its new brand position: 'Can'
Despite being half a world away, I’ve been paying attention to the big re-brand of Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) that seems to be the talk of the media and communications town in Australia at present – the biggest re-brand in the banking sector since NAB’s ‘Break up’ campaign.
Following a teaser campaign around the word ‘Can’t’, the CBA unveiled its new brand position of ‘Can’; a campaign including print and TV advertising, social media across its Facebook and Twitter accounts, a dedicated website, a mobile banking app called ‘Kaching’ (previously launched), and a pretty cool augmented reality app launched in conjunction with News Limited newspapers.
Certainly a busy week for the organisation after last week being named as one of the top 100 global brands in the 2012 Millward Brown BrandZ report.
Given the scope of the re-brand and the allocation of transmedia resources to bring it to life, I believe there are some early observations for marketing and communication professionals from the interview – even at this early stage.
1. ‘Traditional’ media are far from dead.
Yes, we’ve all read the posts from doomsayers claiming that the end is near for our beloved TV and print media. While traditional media are undergoing their own unique evolution and expansion into the social and digital spheres, dollars and creative strategy are still being utilised in the traditional spaces as part of integrated, cross-platform campaigns.
2. Hit all the touch-points.
Connected consumers want to engage in their platform of preference, and on their terms – and brands need to plan and execute their outreach and engagement accordingly. It was great to see CBA CEO Ian Narev blog about the new brand position and share it across the bank’s social channels. Communication is now transmedia – and you don’t have to be a traditional media monolith or gatekeeper to produce stories and play in the space.
3. Tell a story (or multiple stories).
Again, we’ve all read the posts about the importance of storytelling. It’s nice to see a brand the size of CBA come out and put “lifestage stories being told through Facebook” (Mumbrella quote) as part of its strategy. In a recent episode of his Six Pixels of Separation podcast, Mitch Joel interviewed Jonathan Salem Baskin about the importance of truth in marketing. In short, people relate to people – and I hope the CBA takes the opportunity to tell some real stories that add to the TV commercials that outline the products, services and calls to action that encompass ‘Can’.
4. Don’t be afraid to innovate (and measure).
While not all businesses will have the budget of CBA, the CBA/News Limited/Explore Engage collaboration is an interesting example of exploring new media innovation in the context of current media trends (in this case, second screen experiences) to reinforce and drive home a brand message and integrate with the traditional, social and mobile marketing and communication strategy and tactics.
That is, CBA ‘Can’ bring the newspaper to life, literally! More than that, it can measure just how much its consumers use this piece of innovation. As Scott mentions in the interview – hardcore innovation and ROI is no longer a gimmick – it has arrived.
Again, while we’re yet to see the figures and results of this piece of innovation, it’s worth observing how this progresses, and thinking about how your own brand can leverage innovation and trends to communicate your story and message, and measure accordingly.
So, while it’s still early days for Commonwealth Bank and ‘Can’, there’s plenty for marketers and communicators to keep their collective eyes on as this brand positioning evolves and the results start to come through.
I look forward to seeing the team at CBA prove to Australia that they ‘Can’.
What do you think?
Have you been paying attention to the launch of ‘Can’? If so, what do you think of CBA’s efforts to date? What have you taken from the positioning so far?
Although I never studied CSR as a discipline, it’s an area that captured my attention since I began living with my brother during his time as a student in Property and Sustainable Development.
In particular, I became interested in how organisations incorporate and communicate CSR and sustainability to their stakeholders (I was lucky enough to write a research paper on it during my Masters study).
One point the panel agreed upon is that CSR needs to, and is slowly being incorporated across every component of business – from community engagement to supply chain management.
Interestingly, moderator Johan Havens likened it to the ongoing evolution and integration of social media in businesses – a point that really got me wondering – what are the parallels between the integration of sustainability and social media within business?
Taking a few of the key points made during the panel discussion, here’s some similarities I came across.
1. CSR Benchmarking is critical for each sector and niche of business to compare performance and strive for improvement.
The same can be said for social media and communication. As new channels, media, campaigns and community management efforts evolve, businesses and communicators need to learn how to measure their efforts. While a universal benchmark for sectors may not be possible given business’ individual objectives, it is only through setting and measuring results that organisations will achieve goals and further develop their efforts.
2. CSR performance is a continuum, with new innovation driving products, processes and engagement that redefines the standard.
I would argue that trail-blazers in social media marketing and communications are doing the same. Every day there are new case studies as brands and organisations develop ways to combine and utilise the spectrum of available media and technology to re-define what is achievable and push other communicators to grow and meet their individual business objectives.
3. CSR needs to find ways to contribute and tie itself to the wider business objectives of the whole company. That is, connect the dots between where the company is going (or wishes to go), and what CSR can achieve as part of that vision.
As the concepts of the connected consumer and social business come to the fore, social media too must break out of the silo and tie itself to the objectives of the organisation, and establish itself as capable of transforming and improving business processes and results both internally and externally to meet a wider vision.
We are at an exciting time for both fields as they integrate further within business – and that’s without even discussing the intersection of CSR, Sustainability and social media (we’ll save that for another time).
Before heading over to New York, I was fortunate enough to record a discussion with my friend and mentor Des Walsh about his new social media course – Get the Edge.
As a social media strategist and LinkedIn expert, I always find it incredibly thought-provoking chatting to Des, and was delighted that he was able to join me to explain a little bit more about this course aimed at professional services, and the current wider influences in human communication and social media that influenced in.
What we planned as a 10-minute chat turned into a half-hour discussion (in three parts below), during which Des and I cover a range of topics, including:
- The lost tribes of social media
- Social business
- Email vs social media
- Fear, business and the loss of control in the social space
- Social policies and parameters
- Agencies and social media departments
- Language and social media
-Reputation vs popularity
Thanks to Des for taking the time to share his thoughts and experience. I hope you find the discussion of interest, and look forward to seeing Get the Edge launch this month.
In the meantime, you can swing by Des’ blog to enjoy some of his great content covering not only LinkedIn, but social media and communication for business.
Get the Edge (Part 1) - apologies for the audio-visual sync issue