The Great Content Marketing Experiment

Here’s a chance for you to participate in a live social media experiment and receive an interesting piece of free research at the same time.

Our friend John Bottom, a regular contributor to the {grow} community, is giving a talk at the IDM B2B Conference in London. To demonstrate the viral power of great content, he’s conducting an experiment over the next 24 hours (May 18-19) that involves YOU!

In preparation for this event, John asked 150 senior marketers attending the conference: “What is the single biggest benefit of social media to your brand – and what is the single biggest obstacle to achieving it?”

He compiled the answers in a snappy little eBook you can download for free by clicking HERE.

In fact, downloading the eBook is the whole point of the experiment.  John wants to achieve 1,000 downloads in a single day.  It’s free, fun, and there is no obligation whatsoever. So please, go ahead and do it.  I’ll wait. : )

Thanks!

A link that is possibly even more interesting is this one – http://bit.ly/bJbrb5 – which provides live blog coverage of the experiment throughout the day (May 19 in case you’re a little behind in your blog reading!)

By the way, I really liked the content in this little eBook.  One participant said social media is a chance to demonstrate brand humanity (isn’t that a great term?). Sounds like a potential blog post for somebody.

Thanks for stopping by today and helping John out.  Oh yes, it would also be great if you could click the little green tweet button at the top of this blog post and ask your tribe to participate too.

Disclosure: I have no commercial or financial stake in this demonstration. I am simply helping out a friend I met through Twitter with an experiment I believe in.

Update: Results of the Great Content Marketing Experiment from John Bottom ->  http://bit.ly/bJbrb5

A Twitter success story: Search leads to new market discovery

Fara Hain grabbed my attention in a big way. In a recent comment on {grow} she mentioned that Twitter had led her to discover a new market for her company’s product. REALLY? I asked her tell us more and here she goes:

To some, Twitter is surely the Paris Hilton of new media, a place popular only because of its own popularity, fascinating because it’s so clearly pointless. And I admit my initial impression of Twitter was similar. But it didn’t take too long to make me a believer because I saw first-hand how Twitter helped our company create an entirely new line of business.

While working at Gizmoz (now digime), I was pulled into the world of Twitter by two friends who were early adopters.  They encouraged me to try it out and I started by “listening” through a daily search for Gizmoz on the Twitter search box. I thought it would be interesting to see what, if anything, people were saying about us. I collated responses into a spreadsheet to see if I could find a theme or locate emerging influencers.

I found that there was a group of people using my site in a completely different way than I had expected. Gizmoz is a B2C 3D animation company which had launched a web-based tool for teens to create greetings and videos using 3D avatars. On Twitter, our tool was being discussed with hashtags like #edtech.

It turns out we were being discussed on the podium at a major education conference!  To my surprise, teachers had been using Gizmoz in the classroom as an interactive tool for students to create presentations (science classes, social studies, even a kindergarten class!). We were blown away.

By making some simple changes to our product, and asking teachers for their direct feedback, we were able to make Gizmoz more classroom-friendly. We added avatars like Albert Einstein and other historical figures and we started to be more aggressive about hiding public posts which featured less appropriate content.

In our new marketing effort, we actively targeted teachers – who are, in fact, major viral influencers – one teacher influencing 30 students is a marketer’s dream! In this example, teacher in Australia embeds a Gizmoz example in his blog post.

It’s doubtful that I would have ever discovered this amazing new market for our products without Twitter. So while the occasional, “I’m drinking coffee” tweet may be annoying, I now know there’s deep value in there if you know how to look for it.

Fara Hain tweets on Marketing and Financial Media for her company Seeking Alpha

Stop boring me with your blogs

I’ve compiled a list of the world’s most chronically boring bloggers.  Some of them are pretty well-known. Of course I would never publish such a list, but I wonder if boring bloggers even realize how dull they have become.

If you sense you’re losing your edge, here are some warning signs that you’re becoming a boring blogger.

1) Your posts are too damn long. Occasionally a very long blog article is absolutely justified by its scintillating content and vision. But 99% of the time a long post only serves the ego of the author, not the need of the readers.  Once you hit 600 words the yellow caution flag should come out. Long blogs = snooze time.

2) Stirring up fake controversy.  Some bloggers huff and puff and write of their indignation about something ridiculous to provide an image that they are being controversial. ZZZZzzzzz.

3) Self-decoration. Do you commonly illustrate your posts with pictures of yourself?  Even MULTIPLE pictures of yourself? I might be taking a leap here but this just could be a sign of self-absorption. I actually saw one blogger recently quote himself in his own blog.  Nap time.

4) Blogging by the clock.  Some have obviously been blogging too long or have too little new to say. I get the impression they write simply because it’s time to write. I realize you can’t hit it out of the park every time but if you are blogging on a schedule that is probably not going to work.  The theme of one recent post I read was “Be proud to be a marketer.” Does that really need to be said? <yawn>

5) Does anybody read those sponsored posts?  Writing a post every month about a company that is paying you to write about them … deadly.  Better than Ambien.

Overall the world has too many blogs.   And we can always un-subscribe.  And I have : )

But if you have a hunch that you’re getting stale and want to re-charge, try this:

  • Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you … figure out what you have to say.
  • Take a break that includes a change of scenery.
  • Attend a conference.
  • Go back to your very first posts. That was fresh by definition, right?  What made your writing special?
  • Do some reading outside of your field. Look for differing styles and subjects you can incorporate into your themes.
  • Stop reading posts by your contemporaries. Just puts you in the echo chamber.

What would you add?  How do you keep your writing fresh?

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Age of Conversation takes fresh look at business of the social web

I mentioned a few weeks back that I contributed to a new book called “Age of Conversation: It’s Time to get Busy.”  It is now available through Amazon. As a reminder, all profits from this book go to Make A Wish Foundation so this is not an “affiliate link!”

One of the things I like about this book is that introduces us to a lot of new voices.  Sometimes my blog reader starts to sound like an echo chamber and this book has some truly fresh business perspectives from around the globe.

I hope you’ll check it out.  Thanks for your support!

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