The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

Content Marketing Explained, Defined and Dissected

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By Fausto Mendez

    Content (marketing) is King! Let’s define and discuss the fundamentals of web-based content marketing because, frankly, too many business owners misunderstand the purpose and methodology of this marketing strategy. To start, let’s get one thing clear: content marketing is brand building. I know it’s hard to believe, but hear me out.

Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell

    Let’s start by defining the two basic schools of thought in marketing: the hard sell vs. the soft sell (AKA outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing).

    The “hard sell” refers to finding customers and directly offering your pitch, such as through a targeted ad or a marketing email. The “soft sell” refers to attracting customers by going to where they are and offering help or entertainment that is in some way related to your product, service or brand.

    The soft sell succeeds by making customers feel as if it was always their own idea to do business with you, which is not the effect achieved through the hard sell. 

Brand Building is Soft Selling

    Soft selling can feel synonymous with brand building because that’s essentially what you’re doing. You make your brand obvious, entertaining and/or useful in the places where your customers spend much of their time, whether it’s a live event at the Staples Center, Facebook on a smartphone, or the checkout page on your website. But you should always do it in a way that improves the audience’s perception and awareness of your brand.

    By building up your brand within your target audience, you ensure future success because those potential customers will eventually need your actual product or service - either from you or a competitor - so it really helps to close the deal if your brand is the first brand that they think about when they’re suddenly ready to buy.

    It’s a very convenient form of marketing for both the customer and the brand because customers feel as if they aren’t being pushed to buy, and once a brand is aware of where the target spends time, 50% of the work is just being there while the audience is there. 

Content Marketing is Brand Building

    Content marketing is a strategy that marketers use to raise brand awareness by engaging the interests and needs of the target audience through the distribution of free tutorials, free entertainment, free advice, free downloadables, and other free media. The goal is to convince your audience that your brand is THE authority in your industry, so your brand naturally comes to mind when the customer thinks of your industry or related topics. If you do this correctly, when the customer is finally ready to buy, he naturally turns to your brand, not the competitors.

    But if you’re giving away all your secrets, advice and tutorials for free, why would any customer ever want to pay you?

    You may find that you offer a lot of free advice, free tools, free documents and much more than the customer could ever use in a lifetime, but he probably doesn’t have the time to do it all himself, much less understand it all. That’s why he’s always looking for help on your blog - after all, you’ve been his indirect mentor for weeks, months or years! And now that he’s ready to commit, he wants to do it the right way, your way. That’s when the customer will hire you.

The Difference Between a Battle and a War

    Every blog post is a miniscule battle (one of thousands of battles) that could eventually turn into a small victory in a never-ending war, so don’t expect any single post to be “the one that goes viral and makes you millions”. It almost never happens that way, and when it does, it’s almost never intentional. Content marketing is about building up your brand by gaining the audience’s trust and respect in a memorable way.

In Summary…

1. Soft selling is a type of marketing that makes the customer feel as if it was always his idea to do business with you.

2. Brand building is a type of soft sell.

3. Content marketing is a type of brand building.

4. Content marketing works by distributing free media that is clearly related to your brand and labeled with your brand.

5. The goal, of course, is to make the customer think of your brand whenever they think of your field of expertise, so when they are ready to buy, they start with your brand.


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Email is no longer private. What that means for marketers and the businesses they serve. #MarketingMonday

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By Fausto Mendez

    Email was never an extremely secure medium, but today, it’s as insecure as your “private” Facebook page. In other words, it’s open to any hacker or government agency that wants to get inside. But what does that mean for business owners and the marketing guys that serve them?

    If you’re reading this article, you’re probably aware that the US government is currently spying on you and the rest of its citizens by accessing private and corporate email accounts in mass, and it may have a tremendous effect on American businesses and the marketers that serve them. 

Why Businesses Are Paranoid of Spying

    IT and security experts are paranoid, but it’s not because American businesses are often breaking laws. However, it is true that unlawful businesses have a lot to fear. The real problem is that this kind of spying occurs without warrants, which means a judge doesn’t have to determine if it’s actually necessary to access your email. And a judge won’t be there to make sure that government agents did not abuse their powers when accessing your data. Normally, judges keep tabs on law enforcers that spy on citizens, but today, nobody is monitoring the depth or breadth of information that is accessed.

    The National Security Agency and its partners may access your digital data without restraint, and this wouldn’t be such a big deal if governments always acted in ways that benefit their citizens. But like people, governments are open to corruption, so all it takes is one corrupt NSA agent to start auctioning off your data to the highest bidder. Then, your company secrets are out on the open web. 

How Businesses Will Respond to Digital Spying

    The way that companies and consumers react to this news can have a major impact on the way that marketers, like me, do business. It’s easy to imagine the following reactions.

+ As it was before the ’00s, face-to-face encounters, including video calls, may become the standard way of meeting with clients. Of course, traditional phone calls will continue to occur as often as they do now, but I imagine that anyone that wants to hide behind an email will come off as an amateur or uninformed. A marketer that understands the value of a client’s privacy will be more important than ever, so email will not be the standard way of discussing company secrets.

+ Email marketing may get harder, especially B2B email marketing. If companies and their customers stop relying on email so much, it will be harder to reach them via email because that’s not where they will be. Private forms of communication, such as custom IM software, may become rather common at big corporations. There are probably more practical ways of working around email, but that’s a topic for another article. 

+ If email marketing gets harder, social-media marketing may get easier. I know what you’re thinking, “doesn’t social media have the same vulnerabilities as email?” Yes, it does, but social media is not often used to discuss and share company secrets. From the most successful CEOs to the greenest interns, we will all continue our use of social media even if we all abandon email. And just like email, a marketer can easily message a list of Facebook fans and Twitter followers with special offers and sale flyers, so you can think of your social-media profiles as replacements to the holiness of your email list. 

+ If email is no longer secure and private, email service providers that offer a truly private experience will go out of business. That’s exactly what’s happening to companies like Silent Circle, which has officially closed its doors because the National Security Agency has made it impossible for the company to deliver on its promise to offer a truly secure and private email experience.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Why (Not How) Social-Media Marketing Works: It’s Just Like Dating

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By Fausto Mendez

    Most people understand how social-media marketing works, but a lot of business owners and marketers can’t wrap their heads around why it works. In my most recent guest post at Smart Blogs, I break down “why” - not “how” - social-media marketing is such an effective marketing channel. 

    Actually, the answer is more closely related to the mechanics of dating than any subcategory of marketing. It turns out good daters may have it all figured out. I suggest you dive into my post at Smart Blogs for the details. It’s a short but insightful read, and if you’re involved in marketing in any form, you may find it more useful than you may have assumed.

    Once you understand why social-media marketing is so powerful, you may find a boost in your ability to execute more effective marketing campaigns in any marketing channel.

    I’m currently authoring a new guest blog for a different site, but the details are still up in the air. Needless to say, I’m excited. Of course, you’ll hear about it when it finally hits the air.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Activision’s Brilliant Marketing Strategy on YouTube: Target the Content Creators and Curators

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By Fausto Mendez

    Social-media marketing is often perceived as a mysterious and powerful beast, but video game maker Activision doesn’t see it that way. Activision has tamed YouTube for its national and international marketing campaigns, and this is how the company is doing it.

    Though it may seem like YouTube is all about funny animal videos and poorly produced cover songs, the video-centric social network has been a staple in video game culture for about as long as the site’s been around. Passionate gamers know the site for its healthy library of game trailers, homemade walkthroughs (guides), news, commentary, parodies and more. Activision understands this, and the company develops content exclusively for YouTube in order to rouse up passion for new and upcoming games.

    You may be surprised to learn that YouTube viewers watched over double the hours of gaming videos than other types of videos in 2012. In other words, YouTube is one of the industry’s cultural hubs, where gamers of all types and ages unite to enjoy gaming beyond games. As usual, the old saying applies, “go to where your audience is.”

    Ad Age does a great job of breaking down Activision’s entire strategy for YouTube, so I suggest you check out the full article. However, one tactic really stands out. 

Harnessing the Content Creators and Curators

    Prior to major gaming expos, trade shows and premieres, Activision invites some of YouTube’s most popular content creators and curators to real-world presentations, which include the distribution of exclusive information and video assets, such as clips and trailers. Promotional giveaways also play an important role at these events. The YouTube stars are sent home with brag-worthy bags of promotional swag, such as custom shirts, cups, accessories and keychains, which the YouTube stars sometimes give out to their own audiences. As a result, the promotional items are a low-cost and effective way to catalyze buzz about the brand between fans, not just the YouTube stars.

    The exclusive events make it easy for Activision to spread information, hype, trailers and clips on YouTube because the company doesn’t need to directly develop and hold an audience. The content creators and curators have already taken care of that. All Activision has to do is get the right content to the right people, and those “right” people will repackage the content into a form that best suits their audiences. From there, the information will naturally spread throughout Activision’s fan base. Easy, right?

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

How Wendy’s Uses Social Media to Influence (Good) Business Decisions

By Fausto Mendez

    It’s probably safe to say that we haven’t seen everything that #social media can do for businesses. Most brands use it to post company updates and engage customers with sharable content, but Wendy’s is thinking way outside the box for social. And the rest of us should be taking notes.

    Beyond marketing, Wendy’s employs social media to influence important decisions, and it’s becoming a core component of the company’s decision-making process. That’s because effective social-media management involves a ton of listening, so Wendy’s leadership listens to the customer base via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels to find out what motivates them. Then, they act upon the information they gather, according to Brandon Rhoten, director of Digital at the company.

    At his recent BlogWell presentation in New York, Rhoten described Wendy’s fresh, effective approach to social, and we beak down three of his more eye-opening examples below. 

+ Earlier this year, the “pink slime” issue hit the news with full force. Fast food chains, supermarkets and restaurants that sell the cheap, disgusting slime quickly came under public scrutiny. As the beef industry clamored to keep everyone quiet, Wendy’s was more interested in what the company’s fan base had to say about it, and the fans had a lot of negative things to say. As a result, Wendy’s determined that it had to effectively spread the word that it doesn’t serve pink slime, and the company did this successfully through its various channels, including social media.

+ You can say the 1” x 1” real estate on a smartphone’s home screen is more valuable than 100 highway billboards. That’s because every time a fan opens his phone, you have an opportunity to make a connection with him, so when Wendy’s found out that its social audience was complaining about the restaurant’s lack of healthy meals, the company was quick to respond with an app that features each menu item’s nutritional details. Though it’s technically not a nutritional meal, Wendy’s understood that the app would alleviate many concerns of the healthy conscious. 

+ Wendy’s recently set a goal to raise sales of value items, and it would do this with the help of social media. Unfortunately, value items don’t make for great social content, and the company’s social channels seemed to be hush on the topic. But the company wouldn’t give up so easily. As a result, Rhoten’s team came up with a new plan: ask customers to rename the value items through its social channels. When the company finally decided on the new names, there was a significant increase in orders of items from the value menu. 

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(Source: smartblogs.com)

The 80 Rules of Social Media Every Social Specialist Must Know

jeremywaite:

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1. Obey the rules
2. Social media is ALL about your audience, be they consumers, viewers, fans, followers or users. It has nothing to do with you, or what you think.
3. Followers lead from the middle of the pack – usually by example.
4. 1 active user is a BIG deal. They have 140 friends.
And…

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