Andrew Davis is the guy you want on your marketing team. He’s smart, passionate, funny, and has an uncanny knack for nailing it.
His book Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships captures the essential rules of modern digital marketing. And if you had to distill it down to just one idea, it would be that marketing isn’t for loners. These days, you have make some friends and try new things.
And Andrew Davis is very good at identifying good partnerships and great marketing. In his book, he writes about large and small companies that are discovering new customers, simply by thinking beyond their traditional owned, earned, and, well, whatever campaigns.
He is like your favorite coach who both applauds you for reaching a new personal best, but also suggests that you can do better. He deconstructs successful campaigns, admires the work, and then suggests clever ways to make it even better. He’s smart, nimble, and it comes through on every page of his book.
But Andrew Davis is more than a writer. He’s also a surprisingly good speaker. When I met him this year, we were participating in a series of videos for Content Marketing Institute.
At Content Marketing World 2013, Andrew delivered a presentation on Brandscaping: The Secret to Unlocking Bigger Content Marketing Budgets and Driving Faster Results, and was the highest rated presenter at the conference. Not bad, considering the marketing legends at the event.
Despite his non-stop speaking schedule, Andrew found time to participate in an email interview with me.
BUDDY SCALERA: First, can you tell me what your book Brandscaping is all about?
ANDREW DAVIS: Brandscaping is all about leveraging the audiences of others to more effectively and efficiently sell your products and services. Essentially the entire book asks you one question: who already has your next customer as their current customer? Thinking this way opens up tons of new opportunities to work together, creating content that both your audiences will find valuable.
This was a busy year for me in terms of presentations and appearances. Content marketing has become a hot topic, so these days I’m out there talking about some of the how-to elements of getting started.
A few people have mentioned that I need to keep track of these speaking appearances better, so I created this post to document 2013.
February 7-8, 2013
The year kicked off with the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco. This event is one of the most technically advanced events, so the speakers are encouraged to talk about the how-to aspects of creating intelligent content. One of the organizers is Ann Rockley, who is an industry thought leader on XML-driven content. The other organizer is Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler, who is deeply involved with the technical details behind content management across multiple channels.
Anyway, I spoke at the ICC 2013 and delivered a presentation called “Channel-Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers.” It’s a deep dive into how content needs to be developed and managed to flow across multiple platforms. We had slightly tighter time slots, so the idea was to get into your story fast. It was a good approach that stripped out the fluff and forced you to get into the specifics of content formatting.
This is the deck I presented:
If you haven’t yet seen it, there’s a terrific infographic featuring the popular Marvel Comics superhero Wolverine. Much of the world became familiar with the Wolverine character through his portrayal by Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies.
But Wolverine was a fan favorite, ever since his introduction in Incredible Hulk #181 (1974). The character exploded in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be an A-list character in the comics and on the silver screen.
I discovered an infographic on Gizmodo.com and was impressed with the way the designer managed to incorporate the right amount of design, text, and layout to this rather complex character.
This was no average fan. This was a pro designer at work and this infographic was quickly going viral. At the bottom of the infographic was a cleverly placed URL that drove you to a website where you can buy costumes.
Yep, you guessed it, there are even costumes of Wolverine. This was a fantastic example of visual content marketing in action. They knew who the audience was, what would draw them in, and how to get them to their target website.
Two of the architects behind this content marketing campaign were Kate Willeart and Mark Bietz. They sat down for a brief email interview to discuss their content strategy tactic from a marketing perspective. (Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Check out Part 2.)
BUDDY: To get started, can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
KATE: My name is Kate Willaert, and I’m a graphic designer for Fun.com (and its sister sites HalloweenCostumes.com and T-Shirts.com). My job includes web design, creating t-shirt designs, and designing marketing materials such as infographics.
MARK: I’m Mark Bietz, VP of Marketing for Fun.com and I lead the marketing strategy here.
Just for context, there’s this great infographic that painstakingly details the costumes of the Marvel superhero character Wolverine. At the bottom is a URL for HalloweenCostumes.com. Can you describe how this project came about?
KATE: The Wolverine piece is actually the third in a series of superhero costume infographics I’ve designed, which previously included Iron Man and Superman. The inspiration came from an infographic I saw comparing the cost of Batman and Iron Man’s estates — their suits, their houses, their cars, etc. You get to the bottom of this infographic and see that it’s by an insurance company. I thought that was really clever. Read more
Every once in a while, you gotta turn things upside down, right? Right. Let’s do it.
Next week, I’ll be speaking at the PR News Content Marketing Bookcamp. They posted a description of my panel and even ran a nice interview with me. I’m pretty excited to be meeting Ben Shields of ESPN, since we’ll be sharing a stage together for our panel. Good stuff.
But…I wanted to do something a little different. This time, I turn the tables and interview the convention organizer. In the hot seat is Steve Goldstein, who is the editorial director, events, for PR News. Let’s see what he has to say about the upcoming event…
BUDDY SCALERA: First off, hello. We’ve never actually met in person, but I am going to be speaking at one of your upcoming conferences. Can you tell me a little about the upcoming event?
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: What we’re doing is gathering thought leaders in content marketing from brands and from PR agencies to show PR professionals how they can help their brands and clients amp up their content strategy and, not incidentally, create content that’s shareable. Read more
Despite being a relatively young industry, content strategy and marketing owes a great deal to certain pioneers who helped shape essential concepts. Their names pop up in blog posts, at conferences, and on bookshelves because they are the true thought leaders of this evolving discipline.
Instead of becoming a fond footnote of the content strategy industry, pioneer Ann Rockley has continued to evolve with fresh, relevant insights. Her book “Managing Enterprise Content,” is, quite frankly, required reading for everyone who wants to work in content strategy.
After several years of hearing about Ann Rockley, I was fortunate enough to meet her at the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco. (I spoke at the conference and delivered a scintillating presentation called “Channel Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers.”) Later, Ann and I exchanged a few emails, and she was kind enough to grant me an email interview.
Fair warning. You will probably have to read this interview once, then read Ann’s book, then read this interview again to get the full impact. Ann’s very smart. I was just trying to keep up. Read more
Every once in a while, you read a business book and it becomes obvious that what you’ve been doing is…wrong. You know at that moment that you need to start doing things differently.
I had that feeling the first time I read “Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back” by Rohit Bhargava. At the time, Rohit was a co-worker at Ogilvy and I was reading the book as a professional courtesy. I mean, sure, he was a smart guy, super nice, and seemed to understand marketing, but I wasn’t expecting much. Most marketing books are bland and theoretical. Short on insight and long on catchphrases.
But Rohit’s book was different. It was clear that Rohit had taken great pains to write a book that went beyond basic theories social media and marketing. It was an insightful, actionable book that is as relevant today as when it was published in 2008.
In his second book, Rohit tackles a range of marketing topics. The umbrella concept of “Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action” (2012) is “likeability,” but that’s just part of the story. He shares case studies and anecdotes that reveal why believability and trust are so powerful for brands. Read more
In the online world, it’s rare that we’re willing to pay for anything. We almost never want to pay for content, which is understandable considering how long we’ve been getting it for free.
But as of today, I am ready to pay for a premium version of YouTube. Yup, I am prepared, PayPal in hand, to give Google my money for something they provide for free.
Anything to stop the pre-roll. Or at least require only premium-level pre-roll that is relevant to my tastes. This is worth paying for.
Freemium Upgrade to Premium
So you’re familiar with the concept of “freemium” right? Sure you are. That’s where you can get most of the features for free, but to get the “extra special awesome bonus stuff,” you have to pay.
For example, I’m an avid photographer, so I pay for Flickr Pro. Even though Flickr is free, I pay $25 a year for the upgrade. It’s not much money and I feel like I get some good value from it.
I’m also using the free version of Evernote more frequently, so I am considering an upgrade there. Maybe Dropbox too. Both provide good free services, but the extra stuff on the premium may make it worth the few bucks.
To be honest, I use YouTube way more than any of these other services. Google invests bazillions of dollars running YouTube and charges us nothing for it. A few moments of our attention (for a paid advertisement) is all they ask. Seems fair, right? Read more
Chris Epting is an author after my own heart. As a lifelong fan of the rock band Kiss, Chris published an ebook titled “All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS: Life Lessons from the Hottest Band in the Land” – available on Amazon.
Kiss is, of course, one of my all-time favorite bands. I rock and roll all night to their music, shout it out loud at their concerts, and pay cash for their merchandising. Kiss has touched my life in many meaningful ways.
That’s why when I heard about this ebook, I downloaded it immediately. The title alone grabbed me, but the crisp writing is what kept me reading. As a writer, Epting is a man at the top of his craft. He knows how to weave a compelling narrative that grabs you and never lets you go. I wanted the best and Epting delivered the best.
The ebook is, for lack of a better description, a long, personal love letter to Kiss. Because of his background, Epting delivers the letter from the unique perspective of an informed insider…not as someone with an ax to grind. Read more
Look, I’m going to run through a few things with you, since you already know all of this. You’re a marketing pro, so this is just a quick review of your talking points with your boss.
A good marketer like you knows that you can’t just check boxes and expect to deliver remarkable results. You are already working hard to make sure your strategies and tactics are effective.
Let’s review five reasons your campaign will succeed, so you can discuss it during your next performance review:
1. You have a strong content strategy.
Last quarter you rocked it with a smart strategy, fantastic branding, and a super message. It took some time, but you managed to deliver an equally amazing content strategy. You know (because you read Content Strategy for the Web and The Elements of Content Strategy) that content strategy includes a plan for ongoing content creation, management, and governance. That’s why your website isn’t still in Phase 1/Launch. You’ve had a content strategist focused on all aspects of content, so that the message stays fresh for your target audience. It’s not just the copy on your website either. It’s mobile, social, video, graphics, and everything in between. This, above all, is why you are succeeding where others have failed. You know that content strategy is the foundation of content marketing. Read more
You may not want to hear this, but at some point, you’ve received — and then shared — bad information online. Information so erroneous that it defies logic. Ideas that just don’t make sense. And, like many netizens, you’ve shared this with your family and friends.
Don’t worry. Everyone has done it at some point or another. (Don’t you feel better?)
Here’s the thing. There’s good advice given by smart, informed, and qualified people (sometimes they are even professionals). The information they provide can educate and motivate you.
And then there’s that guy that wrote “that blog” on “that website.” He could have been right, especially if he took a moment to look for truth instead of just disguising his opinion as truth. But he was wrong. Didn’t know what he was talking about, and unfortunately, his advice got stuck in your head. (Sorry, Oreos don’t make you thin.)
You are, as many of us have been, a victim of bad advice given well. Guidance from a self-proclaimed expert who is more self-proclaimed than expert, but probably has a nice-looking website. Maybe someone who has a lot of Twitter followers.
How This Happened
Back in the early days, the media business was a one-way affair. Those of us who studied Journalism and then worked at media outlets learned that we were the “gatekeepers” of information. The publishers and editors were the gatekeepers, but we were part of the gate. I was a journalist and I worked the gate at newspapers, websites, and magazines.
We were sharers and reporters of truth. We opened the gate to gather and disseminate truth and facts. Slammed it shut on information we perceived as wrong or irrelevant. Read more