What Geek Culture Means to Your Content Marketing

Some say that the geeks shall inherit the Earth, but I say that we already have.

Geeks have changed the world, and in doing so, have changed the perception of pop culture, fandom, and the way people interact with brands. Understanding this emergent geek culture may have an immediate and lasting impact on the way you develop your content marketing materials.

I’m a geek. I’m into classic science fiction, comics, and other niche media that was laughably out of fashion at one time. Actually, some of it still is, but I love it anyway.

The concept of “geek chic” was non-existent when I was a kid. “Geek” wasn’t a badge of honor. It was something you kept quiet, lest ye be stuffed into a locker by high school bullies.

Fandom was not organized and finding fellow fans was a covert affair. It was also gender based, making it difficult for girls to like “boy toys” and boys to embrace “girly” things. Vintage gender-based advertising guided kids to play with the toys that they were “supposed” to play with.

Geekdom has many meanings, but it is generally associated with niche culture and often clusters around comics, science fiction, fantasy, and technology. In an article in Wired titled “So What Does it Really Mean to be a Geek,” Erik Weks writes:

“One of the great reasons to identify with the word “geek” is that it gives you permission to like what you like no matter what it is. Many of us self-identify as geeks because we have been put down, excluded, and hurt by others due to our interest in “uncool” things like comic books, or board games, or computer programming.”

The majority of us conformed to the rules in public, but privately enjoyed our passions. It was easier to pretend not to like something than to endorse your passions. Continue reading

HIGHLIGHTED: Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Photo of Ann Handley

Author Ann Handley

Writing is easy. Writing well is hard. (But with some practice, you can do it.)

If you’re a content marketer, you probably spend a lot of time at the keyboard. You may not think of your emails, tweets, and creative briefs as “writing with a capital W,” but it is writing nonetheless. You may as well be good at it.

Ann Handley is very good at writing. So good, in fact, that she can help you become a better writer. Ann’s bestselling book “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” is an excellent tutorial for novice and experienced writers.

I read “Everybody Writes” a few years ago when I interviewed Ann at Content Marketing World. I decided that my own writing needed a bit of improvement, so I descended on Ann’s book with my trusty highlighter. Ann’s book on writing is the book that professional writers read for inspiration and instruction. Continue reading

How Chevrolet’s Ads Played It “Safe” & Failed a Safety Story

Chevrolet had me at “safety.” Sure, it was a print magazine ad, but the topic of safety has become increasingly important to me. The started with “safety” and then added “story,” and I wanted to know more.

It may seem odd to talk about a print advertisement on my blog about digital content marketing, but it’s not at all. Content strategy needs to connect the dots across all channels — print and digital alike — to ensure the best possible user experience. Continue reading

Visual Content Strategy: Content Marketing World 2016

You are invited to my soon-to-be-legendary presentation at Content Marketing World 2016 in Cleveland. I’ll be rocking the stage with a brand-new presentation on visual content strategy called “Creating a Visual Content Strategy that Scales.” Continue reading

Marketing Tesla & What It Says about Us

2016-tesla-modelsAs if enough praise hasn’t already been heaped upon Tesla Motors, here’s a bit more. This time, it’s not about the car. It’s about the marketing of the car and what it says about us.

The Tesla is just another car. When you get down to it, it’s a manufactured to serve a utilitarian purpose. It gets you from Point A to Point B. All cars are designed to do this, and so is a Tesla. Continue reading

KPIs & User Journey Metrics for Marketers: Part 3

In the first post of this series on content analytics, I talked about the old way of measuring your marketing content with key performance indicators (KPIs) and why you can’t rely on old measurement models for new media channels. In the second post, I offered an analytics framework for measuring content KPIs along a user-journey continuum.

This leads me to the third post in this three-part series on measurement. In this post, I’m focusing on how you can measure the actions on the page to determine how users are interacting with your content. Or not.

Of course, there’s a rather basic problem here. You want to measure the performance of your content and tools, but most reports are just measuring the page itself. We want to measure the components. Continue reading

KPIs & User Journey Metrics for Marketers: Part 2

One of the more confusing aspects of content strategy is the marketing analytics strategy. There are a lot of ways to measure the performance of your website, but when it comes to content analytics, I offer the following solution. But before we start, you may want to check out Part 1 of this three-part series.

First, consider the fact that website analytics and content analytics may not be the same thing. For example, websites like Amazon are measuring the shopping cart experience and sites like Google are measuring the speed to deliver search engine results. Both of these are valuable metrics for the performance of their sites and may not have as much to do with content as it has to do with the back-end performance and engineering of the website. Continue reading

KPIs & User Journey Metrics for Marketers: Part 1

In marketing, we can measure so much that in many ways, we aren’t measuring anything. We are drowning in data. And the worse part, it may even be the wrong data.

There are ways to ensure that the data that we analyze is actually useful to the brand. Of course, this all starts with a content strategy. Which, of course, starts with a persona. Which, of course, starts with data and insights about your target user. Of course.

Starting with a data-informed persona, you can determine what actions are important to that user. Remember, if you are marketing your brand to a human, you need to figure out what that human needs from you and your content to complete their own personal user journey. Remember, inside every “persona” is a “person.” Continue reading

JAWing With JK: Part 2 of a Blog Series on Visual Storytelling

Joe Kalinowski JAWS headerPart 2 of 2: Check out Part 1 “Movie Poster Creates JAWS-Dropping Visual Storytelling Lessons” on the Content Marketing Institute website

Movie Poster Creates JAWS-Dropping Visual Storytelling Lessons

CMI’s Jos Kalinowski on the History of the Jaws Movie Poster
Questions by Buddy Scalera. Answers by Joe Kalinowski,Creative Director at Content Marketing Institute

BUDDY:  The iconic JAWS movie poster was not the first version, right? What were some of the other versions?

JOE K: The original hard cover was black and white painted by artist Paul Bacon for Bantam Books. It was a more simplistic version of the iconic image featuring a white translucent shark veering up towards a swimmer painted in the same style. The shark had no eyes or teeth, just the recognizable shape of the shark’s head and mouth. When Bantam released the book in paperback, they revisited Bacon’s image. They hired artist Roger Kastel to use Bacon’s hardcover image as a starting point, but they were suggesting Kastel to make the image a bit more realistic and of course menacing. Kastel did such an impressive job that Universal Studios chose to use that image for the iconic movie poster. Continue reading

Movie a Week Marketing Training

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot more movies.  it’s not because I have an abundance of free time on my hands. It’s actually because I’m trying to become a better marketing storyteller and I think movies will help me get there.

Over the past year or so one of the most abused terms has to be the word “storytelling.” Everyone seems to think that they are storytellers. This may not be true, as explained in this simple, profanity-laced rant by Stefan Sagmeister.

As a concept, storytelling is a great idea, particularly for content marketers. It’s a creative way to connect with your audience and put a human spin on products and services. If you’ve found a story that works for you, well, good for you.

Like any creative endeavor, storytelling takes practice. Even stories get better with multiple tellings, since you learn what works, what doesn’t, and how much information you need to lead up to the big finale in your tale. Continue reading