Home » blog

Tag: blog

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.11 – Pinterest the Search Engine & Agencies Making Software

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss how Pinterest and its search mechanics combine with other key aspects of the platform to bring power to digital marketers, and a recent article about how marketing agencies should be taking a good hard look at software as a competitive differentiator.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Pinterest – pinterest.com

25 Pinterest Stats, Facts & PR Best Practices – www.cision.com/us/2015/01/25-pin…r-best-practices/

Jim Dougherty – twitter.com/leaderswest

Why ad agencies need to become software companies – www.businessesgrow.com/2015/10/13/ad…re-companies/

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog – www.businessesgrow.com/blog/

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.9 – Content Calendar Strategy & Being Adaptable in the Gig Economy

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss ways to be more strategic when planning your content calendar, and how important it is to be adaptable in the current digital marketing career economy.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Content Marketing Institute

CMI Content Calendar Template -> How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary on Twitter @garyvee

Retrospect – My 5 Favourite Personal Blog Posts from 2011

by Jonathan Barrick

2011 has been a fascinating year for Marketers, and for me especially. Businesses everywhere are opening their eyes to the inescapable truth that social communications are now essential for success, and with this change comes a tremendous shift in the way businesses conduct themselves and communicate with their communities. Looking at the usage stats, this is hardly surprising.

Social communications are altering the way we do everything. Facebook, as the largest social network, has ingrained itself in to the daily life of virtually everyone in North America, in one form or another. Even if you personally don’t have an account (which seems highly unlikely), everyone around you does. We are ALL impacted in some way by social communications, and to deny it is simply naive. It’s changed the way we keep in touch with those in our lives. It’s changed how we express happiness and how we make our outrage known. It’s changed how we think about our personal privacy, and what our rights are.

It’s changed our culture.

Throughout the year, I’ve stumbled across hundreds of excellent insights written by hundreds of brilliant people. I thought about scouring my Twitter archive and digging up a handful of the most potent articles from the year, but I quickly realized that this would be a nearly impossible task. There’s simply too much good stuff to sort through. So, I thought I’d just go through my own stuff and choose a handful of my favourite articles that were no doubt inspired by all that great stuff. It’s an easy compromise, I suppose, but I’m ok with that.

So, here’s a short list of some of my own personal blog posts that I’m proud of this year. They’re not necessarily the most ‘commented on’, or the ‘most shared’ posts I wrote, but they’re the ones that really resonated with me when I wrote them. I hope you enjoy them!

1 – The Twitterized Classroom
This article looks at how I attempted to use social communications to enhance the learning in a college classroom setting. Social media is stereotypically looked at as nothing more than a pervasive distraction by teachers, but I think the results of this might surprise you!

2 – Social Strategies for Uncommon Businesses
This article was written for all those companies who look at Social Media and think “I get how it works for Starbucks, but what am I supposed to do for MY business??” There’s a lot of different options and approaches, so this is intended to help you choose where to begin.

3 – Powerful Brand Experiences – The Story of Two Coffee Shops
I get a bit nostalgic in this one. I look at how brand-building goes beyond a logo or Pantone colour and consists of a complete sensory experience. My own experiences with two fantastic coffee shops illustrate just how strong these connections can be.

4 – 3 Lessons About Social Media Learned From Transformers
This one was fun. Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere, and therefore anything can be turned in to an analogy. Here I take a few anecdotes from the classic ‘good robots vs. evil robots’ battle for the universe that helped define my childhood.

5 – Getting a Head-Start Through LinkedIn
Historically, your career began on graduation day. Now? It begins the moment you set foot on campus for the first time. The connections you make, the activities you participate in, the internships you take, and the faculty you impress are all part of building your ‘personal brand’.

Well, there you have it!  2011 was a tremendous year in marketing, and I foresee 2012 being even better! This ‘social’ roller coaster hasn’t even crested the first hill yet, and I’m pretty sure we’re in for one heck of a ride next year!

A Different Kind of Influencer – Find Your Enthusiasts

I have a really hard time putting any kind of stock in to a Klout score. It just seems extremely artificial to me. After all, a quick look at those with scores of 100 yields an awful lot of pop music personalities, whom I shall not name because they clearly do not need any additional referrals. Klout strongly believes that these individuals hold a massive amount of influence, but the question remains: What are they influencing people to do? Retweet their stuff? Buy their song on iTunes? Big deal. Above and beyond that, the real influence of celebrities doesn’t really amount to too much.

One can easily argue that individuals who are ‘experts’ on a particular topic have far more actual influence than celebrities, because they often post blog articles and advice that people will put in to practice, thereby changing the behaviour of their audience based on the information that they share. If they share a review of a web design technique that works, or tips for communicating in the social media world, many followers will heed their advice and put those tips in to play for themselves. This, in my opinion, is a much more accurate description of ‘influence’.

But there’s a third group of people who hold ‘influence’ in the digital world. They’re not celebrities. They’re not experts. They are what I call the ‘enthusiasts’. People who are absolutely nuts for whatever it is they are talking about. They live it and breathe it. Whatever it is, it is their passion. It could be cars, PC’s, flowers, web design, photography, woodworking, travel, or antique toys. Everyone is passionate about something, and everything has someone who is passionate about it.

These individuals are a new kind of influencer. Finding these individuals and engaging with them can create a brand advocate of far greater strength and loyalty than any well-known expert. After all, if a popular expert endorses a product or service, there is a good chance that there is some mutual benefit coming back to them from that company. Either they got the product for free, or were paid to do a review, or simply got the benefit of being featured on the company’s website. Not to say this is bad, because most popular experts got to where they are by being good at what they do. They evaluate products and services very methodically, and tend to have broader experiences to draw comparisons from. But an enthusiast? They probably paid for whatever it is out of their own pocket.

There’s something to be said for having super-passionate enthusiasts interacting with you, sharing their opinions and reviews, and becoming your best friends. Social media amplifies their voices and creates a whole new level of word-of-mouth. Someone with 200 followers who’s crazy about your company tweeting about your stuff for weeks (or months) on end can have far more reach and influence than a single tweet in the daily stream of an expert to an audience of 30,000.

Ultimately, if you are carefully checking Klout scores and looking at follower counts in order to determine if mentioning or responding to a specific individual is ‘worth your time’, you may be missing out on a huge untapped resource of ‘influence’. Every single person who mentions you is worth your time. You never know who’s voice will really carry the farthest in the social media world.

Quality > Quantity – Being OK with Going Back to the Drawing Board

If you’re not happy with your content, why would anyone else be?

I recently read an article by Kiesha Easley on the Social Media Today site entitled “7 Ways to Lose 10 Blog Readers a Day”. In it she discusses a series of ‘what not to do’ tips that are so common on blogs today that they’ve become almost cliche.

While all 7 tips are solid, the last one really stood out for me as the tip that should be repeated again and again: Don’t Write Filler. This isn’t to say that everything you write needs to be so mind-blowing to your readers that it gets spread around to every corner of the Internet within an hour of publishing it, but it should always impress YOU.

This probably needs further clarification, since it’s a very grey area. For example, when I talk about not posting ‘filler’, I don’t mean:

  • Content that makes you uneasy because it might be controversial.
    This usually means you’ve hit on something important.
  • Content that strays from your usual topic of choice.
    There’s nothing wrong with expanding your horizons with new topics.
  • Content that discusses other people’s content.
    This post is a prime example of inspiration coming directly from someone else’s content.
  • Content that you write quickly.
    You must be inspired if your mind puts out the material faster than you can type.

What I mean by ‘filler’ is content that makes YOU, the creator, go ‘meh’ when you read it. If you sit down to write a piece simply because you need to post something, or just because it’s the hot topic of the week, chances are pretty good it’s not going to reflect your best work. You should write because you’re inspired, fired up, excited, angered, or just emotional about whatever the subject is.

At this point I must quote the always fascinating Henry Rollins: “If you’re going to love someone, LOVE ‘EM. If you’re going to hate someone, HATE ‘EM.  But don’t be like ‘Oh, I don’t know how I feel about it.’  Well, have an opinion about something, otherwise don’t show up at my dinner table, because it’s going to be boring conversation.” Very potent thoughts from a guy who’s, in his words, “Never halfway about anything.”

Which brings me back to the topic of ‘filler’. I had an experience not that long ago writing a blog post. I started out on a Sunday afternoon, writing on a topic that I had read about earlier that day. Felt like an ok idea, but I really just felt like I had to post something that day because it had been a while since the last update. I ended up writing about 1000 words, went back, read the whole thing, and said to myself ‘There’s no way I’m posting this. It sucks.’. It just ended up being a jumble of thoughts without a coherent theme or ultimate point of contention.

I promptly deleted this ‘meh’ post and wen’t back to the drawing board on a completely new topic that I had a definite opinion on. Although it took me another couple of days to completely get it together, I felt far better about posting content that I was happy with than simply posting something for the sake of just adding a new entry.

By placing regular content posting as a higher priority than content quality you’re doing your readers a disservice by not showing up with your ‘A-game’ each and every time. I guarantee that if you polled each and every one of your readers, they’d rather wait a day or so and read something that YOU feel is your best work than a daily stream of mediocrity punctuated by moments of brilliance.

In spite of all the advice out there telling you that you need to post all the time lest you lose some of your ‘Klout’, I think we’d all agree that it’s ok to go back to the drawing board sometimes. The content that has the greatest power is the quality stuff, not the filler.

What do you think? Have you ever had any instances where you’ve started writing something and then completely junked it because it just wasn’t up to your standards?

Fully Committed

The business climate we find ourselves in doesn’t allow us to take a cavalier attitude towards Marketing activities. Social Media is no different. Having no presence in any of the Social Media options is just plain dumb, but having a presence that is merely superficial can be just as bad.

We’ve all seen ‘those companies’ on Twitter who tweeted a handful of times in the first few days of creating their account, and then went dead silent for the last year. What happened? Why would they do that? What about the company blogs or Facebook pages that haven’t seen any fresh material in months, or longer? Who’s behind this? Far be it from me to criticize, since I have my moments of extreme procrastination that would make ‘the Dude’ in ‘The Big Lebowski’ seem like a dynamic young go-getter, but how can a company not have anything to say for a YEAR?!?

Let’s start with the obvious: If you’re in business and are currently alive and breathing, then you know about ‘Social Media’. It’s been the biggest buzz phrase since ‘Think Outside The Box’ thoroughly saturated the business world. If you’ve been paying any attention to the world at all, you know that Social Media is big on an epic scale, and businesses are adopting it at an astounding rate. That being said, if you took the time to create an account for your business, create an avatar, write a description, design a fancy background, and post a few snippets of info, then you MUST have done it for a reason. You must have recognized some intrinsic value in doing this, even if it was only a tiny little bit. Yet you stopped? For some reason you stopped doing something that takes no cash out of your pocket, creates a constantly growing footprint for your company, is searchable, shareable, and (if done properly) gives you greater credibility than your competition in your marketplace.

I suppose what ‘could’ have happened was that whoever took the initiative within the company to start using SM either left, was fired, or ordered to stop. But really, what are the odds of that? Probably better than I realize, but still, I don’t think that should be considered a legitimate reason. If you’re reading this, and realize that “Holy crap on a cracker, he’s talking about MY company!!”, then the time to remedy this problem is right now.

The accounts are there, ready and waiting for you, all you need to do is start feeding them some material. However, before you start going in to damage-control mode and posting everything and anything in an incoherent stream of gibberish, take some advice that comes direct from one of the top thinkers in the world of Social Media, Mitch Joel. Joel says in his book, SIx Pixels of Separation, that to proceed in to social media without an overarching strategy can hinder your ability to create a thriving community presence.

Start by thinking about what your goals are, what your strengths are, where your knowledge and expertise truly are, and how you can help. That last point is really key, because the entire reason for joining, creating, or participating in any community is to give help and receive help. Formulate your plan for social media based on how you can provide useful material to your community. Then, start contributing, and most importantly, don’t stop. This isn’t to say that you need to post everywhere, everyday, but you do need to be consistent. Start out at a comfortable pace, then pick it up as you gain confidence with what you’re doing. As Mitch Joel also points out in “Six Pixels”, the last thing you want is to have your audience be accustomed to you posting a ton of content at the beginning and then be disappointed as you slow down when your content fuel tanks dry up.

The key is to be fully committed to the fact that this stuff matters. If you’re going to be there, then BE THERE. Take it seriously, realize that it takes time to build your community, and most importantly, realize that you’re doing it for your audience, not for yourself.