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How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It

StandOut
Marketing Podcast with Dorie Clark

I think there’s plenty of information out there about personal  branding and self-promotion. The thing that’s often lacking or not said is that in order to really stand out you’ve got to have an idea or point of view that people want to be a part or at least spread.

So much emphasis is put on getting a big following that people seem to forget you must start with being follow worthy.

I wrote a book an entire book on the idea of referrals and the first half emphasized that the secret to getting more referrals was to be more referable.

It’s not just about creating a platform, it’s about creating something valuable and building a platform around that.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant, frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Entrepreneur and author of the new book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It

In Stand Out, Clark does an excellent job of spelling out the fact that the formula for success lies primarily in discovering your breakthrough idea.

A breakthrough idea can be a simple, unique point of view applied to a mature industry or it can be a totally new, innovative product that helps people do something that can’t do now, either way it’s the basis for building a long-term road to success by standing out.

Questions I ask Dorie:

  • Who needs to stand out?
  • Is there a financial value to being identified as a thought leader?
  • What personal branding strategies apply universally?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to find your breakthrough idea
  • How to build a following, and get people to buy into your idea
  • Why you must communicate in a way that is true to who you are

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Hostgator, where you’ll get 24 hour live support via chat, phone or email, 1-click WordPress installs, easy-to-use website builder, design services, marketing services like SEO and PPC, and for my listeners: a 30% Discount. Go to www.Hostgator.com/promo/ducttape

4 The Most Excellent Qualities of Shareable Content

Today’s post is by Duct Tape Marketing’s Kala Linck – Enjoy!

You posted a picture of your new shoes on Facebook, and now the whole world is debating whether they are pink and green or red and yellow. 50 thousand shares, and umpteen million interactions. People are going to your Facebook page; most are even liking the page for updates on the real color of your new shoes… The alarm clock buzzes. Time to face reality.

Does this sound like a social media dream you’ve had? Ok, maybe not shoes, but having a piece of your content go viral? For this to happen, you’ve got to create shareable content. Your followers are looking for certain qualities in the content they share. If you’re not ensuring that your tweets, updates, blogs, etc. have those qualities, you’re ensuring that no one beyond your followers will ever see that information. Here are three qualities to consider including if you want to make that viral dream a reality:

Relatable

You’ve seen the tweets that say something along the lines of “I’m at Applebees,” or “I take good pictures.” While this sort of content might get some shares because of it’s comic undertones, many people cannot relate to this content, and some might even wonder why you’re sharing these updates.

With your content, instead provide something that people will relate to or use to help their daily routines, their business grow, etc. For example, “5 Ways to Make Your Instagram Photos Stand Out,” makes me want to share this information that I find valuable and think other might as well.

Refutable

If you haven’t noticed, people love to argue on social media. The most famous thing this year is a black and blue dress or was it gold and white? If you can get people passionate about something, and keep them talking – they will enlist the help of their followers, and the process will repeat.

Now, this might not be the kind of shareable content that you want. There is an art to having a debate happen and it being beneficial for the poster.

For example, you need your content to be less like this, “Why I Think Wisconsin Will Win the National Championship,” and more like, “We are thinking of offering training on-line in addition to our in-person training, what are your thoughts?” The comments that you get are likely to support a business decision, and this also gets people talking about your organization.

Relevant

This word comes up quite a bit when we’re creating content, and can seem like a buzzword at times. What does “stay relevant” really mean? By definition, it means “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.” A good starting point.

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

What is important here is to figure out what exactly is the “matter at hand,” and then provide information pertaining to, or providing value for it. For example, on LinkedIn, a post that says, “2015 PowerPoint Presentations are now available on the website from those presenters who granted us permission to post their slides,” might be relevant if your following went on LinkedIn to find your PowerPoint presentation, but is that what they are looking for?

It would be my thinking that the first thing people would do when looking for said PowerPoint presentation would be to check on your website, or send an email to your organization.

A more relevant post for LinkedIn would look something like this: “Meet the VP that could be hiring YOU.” People get on LinkedIn to look up connections and jobs, and to find encouraging workplace content. Think about your audience and what they are really seeking on each social media platform, and that will help you create more relevant content.

There are lots of reasons that things go viral. Maybe they contain a cute baby or a puppy, or maybe they make you laugh or bring you to tears. More often than not, viral content pulls an emotion out of the reader or viewer. Making sure your content is relevant, refutable and/or relatable is a good way to start inviting those emotions that will make people want to share your content. And who knows, maybe your dreams of viral shoes will come true. What aspects of content make you want to share it?

Kala LinckKala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels, praying for summer or tweeting about coffee and cats @tadasunshine.

Cracking the Content Code

content codeMarketing Podcast with Mark W. Schaefer

Content as a category of marketing has continued to evolve.

At first we created articles to get found by those using search engines.

Then we realized we needed to use content to build our audience and start capturing email leads.

Then social media came along and overnight everyone was a publisher of content and the hunger for useful content became a foundational element of marketing.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Mark W. Schaefer, speaker, marketing consultant and author of the new book The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies for Igniting Your Content, Your Marketing and Your Business

In The Content Code, Schaefer explains how we have now evolved to the point where distribution of content is perhaps the most important element in the crowded “content shocked” world we live in today.

Questions I ask Mark:

  • What is Content Shock? How do you avoid it?
  • What role can marketers play in making your content stand out?
  • Why do people share content? What do they share?

What You’ll Learn if You Give a Listen:

  • How content marketing has changed over the years
  • Why engagement is so important in content marketing
  • How new technology will change how we engage with content in the future

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Hostgator, where you’ll get 24 hour live support via chat, phone or email, 1-click WordPress installs, easy-to-use website builder, design services, marketing services like SEO and PPC, and for my listeners: a 30% Discount. Go to www.Hostgator.com/promo/ducttape

10 21 Blogs I Turn To When I Need to Learn How To Do Stuff

No shock in this statement – I’m a big fan of blogs and blogging as a core marketing, content and SEO practice.

Blogs

photo credit: via photopin (license)

I subscribe to many blogs, read blogs daily and generally find that when I search for things blog posts offer the most useful solutions.

I read many different types of blogs – some for inspiration, some for thought leadership and still some for personal growth.

Today I want to present a list of blogs that I turn to on a regular basis when I want to learn something practical and useful.

This list of 21 blogs isn’t top list or ranking or any other of the link bait kinds of lists you see out there. The blogs on this list are tools for me as I market and grow my business and attempt to expand my knowledge in an ever changing world.

I frequently get asked about resources I turn to and, for today, here they are. I placed them into a handful of categories, but many of them could cross over into multiple categories and often do in the range of topics they weigh in on. Most of these won’t be new to regular readers as I reference them often, but it can be helpful to see them all in one place. Subscribe to this list and you’ll always have ready access to tips, tools and techniques you can take action on today.

Feel free to share blogs you find utterly useful when you need to learn how to do stuff.

Video
Reel SEO – http://www.reelseo.com/
Video Brewery – http://www.videobrewery.com/blog/

Podcast
Podcast Answer Man – http://podcastanswerman.com/
Entrepreneur on Fire – http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com

SEO
MOZ – http://moz.com/
Search Engine Watch – http://searchenginewatch.com/

Social Media
Social Media Examiner – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
Buffer – https://blog.bufferapp.com/
Razor Social – http://www.razorsocial.com/blog/

Facebook
Jon Loomer – http://www.jonloomer.com

PPC
PPC Hero – http://www.ppchero.com/
WordStream – http://www.wordstream.com/blog

Conversion
Kiss Metrics – https://blog.kissmetrics.com/
Unbounce – http://unbounce.com/blog/
QuickSprout – http://www.quicksprout.com/university/

Analytics
Occam’s Razor – http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/
Crazy Egg – http://blog.crazyegg.com/

Content
Content Marketing Institute – http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/blog/
Copyblogger – http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/

WordPress
WP Beginner – http://www.wpbeginner.com/category/wp-tutorials/
Yoast – https://yoast.com/

 

 

7 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

Like a lot of content producers I’m using the end of the year to look back and reflect on the body of work produced throughout the year.

chucksI’ve intentionally chosen to focus on the most “popular” posts as a way of illustrating a bit of what makes a piece of content popular.

Now, mind you, that’s not the same as saying the “best” posts of the year. Well, it might be, but it might not. In the world we live in today popular content is made so by your audience’s willingness to share it, comment on it, and otherwise voluntarily talk about it.

Factors such as a provocative headline, the tried and true list format and the particular and somewhat unpredictable nature of the crowd on a given day have a lot to do with making content spread.

The following seven posts were judged most popular through an analysis of Google Analytics, social and link data. It’s also worth noting that the more popular a post the better chance it stands to rank higher in subsequent related searches, which only serves to make it more popular.

1. 8 Alternatives to Google Keyword Tool – Keyword research is vital. It’s an essential tactic for developing a powerful content strategy, targeting pay per click advertising campaigns and improving search engine optimization. For many years Google offered what was undoubtedly the most used free tool . .

My most popular post of the year benefited greatly from search traffic over the last few months of the year.

2. The Best Books in the World on Writing – It’s entirely possible that the title of this post is completely off. I mean, what I’ve really compiled is a list of the books on writing that I love the best. But isn’t that the thing about great writing – it allows us, compels us perhaps . . .

This post benefited from a Listly list that took off in content networks and embeds on other sites.

3. 5 New Realities of SEO – Back in the day, SEO was more technical and less, well, semantic. Now I realize that for most a term like semantic query relevancy might as well be the name of computer programming language, but the fact is Google’s customers, the searcher . . .

A list, with the word new and about SEO – all ingredients for social sharing!

4. How to Create a Total Content System – As content becomes increasingly important in the marketing mix, it must take on an elevated place in your strategy and planning. The use of high quality, education based content . . .

Posts about content marketing were very popular in 2013 and this one benefited from the fact that it offered a “how to” system and had an audio explanation. (It was also one of my top podcasts of the year.)

5. How to Be Quiet and Why You Must – Business is noisy. A typical day might involve dozens of conversations, meetings, decisions, tasks and insights. Every thought, conscious or otherwise, roars through our heads like the intersection . . .

This may have been my favorite post of the year and I believe it benefited from a bit of a curiosity factor as well as the universal longing we all have for a little more peace.

6. 12 Month Total Online Presence Blueprint – I’ve been taking business owners through the beta of my Total Online Presence Program of late and the comprehensive nature of this mindset is certainly reinforcing the overwhelming amount of stuff there is to do online if you are to tap the full potential of building a Total Online Presence. . .

This post benefited from a Facebook ad campaign that drove people to a very popular webinar, which sold an online training program. This is a great example of using social to create awareness for content to create sign up for email to create customers!

7. 7 Marketing Metrics Worth Obsessing Over – Marketers need to measure a lot of things in order to get better. Not everyone does and those that do sometimes measure the wrong things. The obvious things like leads and sales revenue are important, but they’re quite often just a measure of what is and not . . .

This final post was about numbers and that usually spells boring, but this was a list with the word obsessing in the title that came during the first week of the year – my guess is people were finally obsessing over planning for the year. Most shared LinkedIn post of the year.

17 5 Ways That Content Marketing Has Changed The Art Of Selling Forever

I’ve often said the difference between sales and marketing is that marketing owns the message and sales owns the relationship.

Farm over hunt

Harvest by St0rmz

Some folks suggest that the onslaught of social media, content publishing and real-time search has rendered the need for a traditional sales department unnecessary and to that I still contend: sales still owns the relationship. While content and context are easier to put out there, online connection and community are still best supplied by a person.

So, the fundamental purpose of a professional salesperson has change little, but the function of an effective salesperson in today’s content-driven environment has changed dramatically.

The skills once required, and sadly still taught in most sales training programs, are no longer applicable and organizations and independent salespeople that get this are exploring, evolving and adopting an inbound selling mindset.

Below are five ways that content marketing has changed selling.

1) Listen over say

Salespeople have always been taught to probe, listen and offer solutions. Well, in today’s world they must listen intently before they ever pick up the phone, send an e-mail or draw up a solution.

Salespeople must monitor the social graph of a prospect in order to begin to mine for opportunities, frustrations and buying signals. They must also be adept at constructing ways to put the pieces of information together in a package that opens doors and starts relationship building.

2) Insight over information

A great deal of the salesperson’s role at one time was to deliver information. Most salespeople today face the possibility that a prospect may actually know as much or more about the product, service or solution being offered as the salesperson doing the offering.

Today’s salesperson must provide context and meaning, must aggregate and filter and must become a resource of insight for today’s information overloaded buyer.

3) Proof over promise

Price is a direct reflection of the buyer’s perceived value. This doesn’t always mean it’s a reflection of the true value or even rational reflection of value, but the ROI question will never go away unless, and until, an organization can show proof of value rather than promised value peppered throughout marketing materials.

Today’s salesperson must commit to working deeply with clients to help measure and communicate true value received as a completion of the sales process. With that piece in place, today’s salesperson can offer proof as part of the trust-building, lead-conversion process.

4) Publish over prospect

Marketing departments around the world are scrambling to feed the market’s expectation that they can instantly find content on any subject or need imaginable. Search engine usage has made consistent content production mandatory.

Few salespeople see writing content as a good use of their time, but it’s a skill that today’s successful salesperson has embraced. Not every organization will allow their salespeople to blog, but the ones that do have the opportunity to create a stream of content that is potentially informed with real-life customer stories and experiences. Smart salespeople have also begun to curate content as a way to become a resource for their clients as well.

5) Harvest over hunt

This last change probably runs counter to traditional selling as any of the others outlined above because it sounds so passive. Salespeople have been taught to hit the street, knock on doors and close deals.

The problem is the street is closed, the doors are made of bits and no one answers the phone anymore.

Working the soil, planting seeds and watering the harvest with care is the new metaphor for turning “know,” “like” and “trust” into “try,” “buy,” “repeat” and “refer.”

This post originally appeared on American Express OPENForum