The Real-Time Content Tool Kit

Posted on November 4, 2011 by Comments Off

Being able to tell a story is the cornerstone of what we do here at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Being able to tell that story as quickly and as efficiently as possible is what makes for a successful business. Having a strategy and the tactics necessary is only part of being able to tell a story in real time.

For those of you that came to my session at BlogWorld and New Media Expo recently, welcome. For those of you looking for a real-time content toolkit, thank you for stopping by. As I recently wrote, being able to tell a story in real time is a vital part of a successful integrated communications strategy. Being able to be nimble and agile enough to post content in real time has a number of positive effects, including SEO boosts, community engagement and thought leadership.

In order to get started, there are a few things necessary. The absolute first thing you need is a content management system. For multiple author blogs, I like Windows Live Writer (disclaimer: #client). Sorry Mac guys, us PCs get to have all the fun with this one. Manage multiple blogs, manage formatting offline and draft posts when you have spotty Internet coverage. From there, even though this is real-time content, having a content calendar to supplement social channels and content marketing will help you reach your audience. This editorial calendar features social networks as well as a content flow for a multi-author blog. There are even several macros built in to help you plan your content.

From there, you need to be able to monitor trends and analyze success. In order to do that simply, I recommend a couple of tools, including Simply Measured, the Twitter client of your choice and Twendz.

Creating content in real time is far less about the strategy and more about trusting yourself and your writing. By having the systems in place in advance, all you need to do is open you text editor, write and hit publish. Having your team of content guerrillas at the ready is essential as is having an exciting story to tell.

Of course, these tips, tricks and hints would be useless if I didn’t give you the methods to use them, right? Below is a huge list of some great apps and tools for monitoring various social networks, social sharing sites and even forums (yes, forums).

  • Google Insights: Custom search trends.
  • Rowfeeder: Monitor Twitter and Facebook conversations based on keywords. Import into a Google Spreadsheet.
  • Social Mention: Pull out mentions and other metrics.
  • Twitter widgets: Customizable Twitter widgets that can be embedded on any website.
  • Friendorfollow: Establishes your followers/followees for mutual relationships.
  • Klout: A standardized measure of a Twitter account’s influence.
  • Wildfire: Manage contests and promotions. Can track the Facebook fan ID and allow you to follow up.
  • Knowem: Username check across multiple social networks.
  • Digg Alerter: Notifies you when you get votes or hit the Digg front page.
  • Digg stats.
  • Big Boards: Monitor message boards and forums.
  • OMGILI: Bulletin board and forum search engine.

I hope that you put these tools to use as you tell your story. And, if you’d like to learn more about how WE can help your company be the story it wants to tell, contact us and we’ll make some real-time magic happen.

What I Learned About Content Marketing From Patti Smith and Pink Floyd, Part 3

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Comments Off

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series of three about Content Marketing World. The first two posts can be found here and here.

Lesson 3: You can’t turn back, but you can become the best.

Perhaps when performing to 25,000 crazed fans on Aug. 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park, George Harrison didn’t only look forward to the relief of never touring (“going through that madness”) again. Maybe he and his fellow Beatles (minus late-joiner Ringo) also pined for the early days of playing tiny all-night concerts in Hamburg clubs. But by stopping touring, the foursome was able to devote the scream-free studio time and creative focus to conceive their most ground-breaking — and rock-music-changing — albums (“Number nine!?  Number nine?!”). Beatles

The craft of songwriting — like the creation of all artistic and meaningful content — is a gift that develops through practice. Through failure and feedback and tenacity. Even if nobody supports our vision, we must keep perfecting our skills and practicing our crafts, against all odds, if you will.Then give the kids what they really want, not just what they clamor for.

As underrated Canadian band Red Rider’s songwriter Tom Cochrane wrote in the song “Can’t Turn Back”:

“Knew he was a misfit from the age of 17, had to do it his way, should be quarantined. He went looking to the east, looking to the west, looking for the courage to see which way’s the best. But he can’t turn back, oh no. … Try to see the forest for the trees, the wind storm for the breeze. No one ever said that it would be that easy. You make your way through the debris, cling to your beliefs, even though the world might say you’re crazy.”

CMWorld Refrains:

  • Brian Clark of said, “People don’t want you. They want the you they want you to be. I put myself behind the brand, but I am still a part of it.”
  • Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing quoted a study by GroupM and comScore that showed “48 percent of buyers were led by a combination of search and social media to purchase.” He said “people expect to find what they need online and interact with it.”
  • Filmmaker Kevin Smith spoke (nonstop, Silent Bob he is not) about his newfound love of the podcast. He described how he encouraged a suicidal friend to exorcise his demons on tape, and it ultimately led to a TV deal. (The presumption being that nobody on TV wants to kill themselves.)
  • Pam Didner of Intel said, “I don’t need to think like a publisher, I need to think like a filmmaker.”
  • Jason Falls from said the key to measuring whether your content is the best is simple: count. Don’t get distracted. Set goals. Translate them to calls to action. Measure those and track key (and all) performance indicators. Just keep counting.

 And inspiring and embarking and practicing.  And rocking.

What I Learned About Content Marketing From Patti Smith and Pink Floyd, Part 2

Posted on September 28, 2011 by Comments Off

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series of three about Content Marketing World. The first post can be found here.

Lesson 2: Keep your bible in your pocket.

Patti Smith – musician, artist, poet and the Godmother of Punk – said in the introduction to “The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry,” “When I was 16 … my salvation and respite from my dismal surroundings was a battered copy of Arthur Rimbaud’s ‘Illuminations,’ which I kept in my back pocket. [It] became the bible of my life.” Patti Smith

Anyone who’s been inspired by Smith’s life-sized photo in the Rock Hall knows those sacred-to-her poems served her well. Of course she was far from the first artist to obsessively study her heroes before creating something totally original; she was following the model of teen-rebel poet Rimbaud himself. Salvational inspiration for him sprung from a different well, as it does for us all, but a key lesson I learned at Content Marketing World is to be yourself and remain inspired, through whatever tome or method speaks to you. This will draw an audience to your content.

CMWorld Refrains:

  • Dell’s Byerly said, “The writer is the brand; always be credible.” Dell now employs regional journalists to tell local stories and build Dell’s brand directly with customers.
  • Jeff Rohrs of ExactTarget said, “Build audiences like white blood cells, to defend you when the barbarians come to the social media gate, which they will.”
  • Simon Kelly of Story Worldwide described content marketing as “creating a customer who creates customers.”
  • Michael Stelzner, founder of, said, “Make your content great and commercial-free. No one wants to be converted; draw an audience and let them opt in.

Tune in Friday to hear @kierstenlawson cull content strategy lessons from one of her favorite 80s Canadian rock bands. Sorry, it’s not Loverboy.

Content Marketing World 2011 Recap

Posted on September 19, 2011 by Comments Off

Earlier this month, Kiersten Lawson and I traveled to Cleveland for Content Marketing World 2011. And there, along with 600+ of our communications brethren, we listened and learned about how to best navigate and define the digital space.

CMW 2011

As you might expect for a conference for digital communications pros, thousands of tweets were generated. So lots of great content spilled out 140 characters at a time. However, for those of you looking for a curated recap, here are some of the big ideas, quotes and highlights that resonated most with me. And the best part is I’m going to give this all to you completely free of charge.

  1. Because that’s the kind of guy I am.
  2. It’s good content marketing strategy (as you’ll read here).

Ready. Aim. Go.

Best definition of content marketing (of the several I heard).
“The goal of content marketing is to create a customer that creates a customer.”

“C” is for content, that’s good enough for me.
“Content is a cookie that, once people are done eating it, they’ll want more. But only if it’s good.”

There is no such thing as a boring product; only storytellers who fail to identify the passion people feel for products.
A product wouldn’t be successful if somebody, somewhere didn’t think it was important. As storytellers, it’s up to us to find out who these people are, where they are and what they’re passionate about. Then we need to feed this passion with stories that matter to them most.

Build the road and the car simultaneously.
Plan your content distribution at the same time as your content development. Don’t let distribution be an afterthought (as is often the case).

Give it away, give it away, give it away. Now.
Give away your best content. All of it. Build a following, then build a business model around it. (Not everyone agrees with this, but it was an idea shared by several during the conference).

You should be using Prezi.
Prezi rocks. It just does. Rather than the linear experience we’ve all become accustomed to with other presentation programs, Prezi turns your presentation into a diving, spinning, up-and-down-and-side-to-side storytelling experience. When you use it, you’ll wow people. And you’ll look like you’re on the cutting edge of digital storytelling. (Reason: You are.)

Infographics are hot! Which means a lot of people are out there making terrible ones.
If you’re going to produce an infographic, it needs to serve both the content and the medium. To make sure this happens, remember:

  • All infographics need to simplify the complex.
  • Data is the lifeblood of every good infographic.
  • If an infographic can be beautiful and informative, great. But do NOT mistake beauty for a high-quality infographic. It needs to inform first.

To be filed under: “Duh, but it’s worth repeating.”
Good story matters. So does authenticity. If your story isn’t both, don’t even bother. You’re wasting everyone’s time (including your own).

To be filed under: “So simple it must be true.”
User-generated content is powerful because, “People like hearing other people’s stories.”

When life hands you a white paper, make a podcast.
It’s not always necessary to create new content from scratch. Do a content inventory. If you uncover a dusty old white paper, don’t throw it overboard. Consider turning it into a podcast or a video.

Why should you put more emphasis on content gamification?
Because games are fun. Because games make us happy. And because, as Fusionspark Media co-founder Russell Sparkman noted in his presentation, gamification is predicted to jump from a $100 million to $1.6 BILLION business by the year 2015. That’s why.

Quote I liked that I’m simply going to tee up with a “Quote I liked” headline.
“We’re good at lots of little.” – Eloqua’s Joe Chernov on content consumption today.

Make your content easy to consume and easy to digest.

  • Use short sentences.
  • Break up copy with subheads.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Bullets work.
  • They do.
  • See how easy this is to read?
  • Told you.

Create valuable content – check.
Ahava Leibtag created a step-by-step checklist for creating valuable content. No joke. It’s free. Get it. Use it. Print it out, stick it to your wall. You’re welcome.

An important step in branding – define your audience.
You can’t define a brand story until you define your audience. And this process is a two-way street. Learn about your brand from your audience; learn about your audience from the brand. The brand story will unfold organically.

That content marketer sure plays a mean pinball.
Marketing used to be like bowling. Pick a lane, take careful aim at the pins in front of you, and try to knock them all down. We can’t take such a narrow approach to our target audiences any longer. Think pinball, not bowling.

Everybody has content, everything is blog-worthy.
Empower everyone in your organization to blog. They all have a story to tell.

Everybody is influential to somebody.
Social media’s wide reach means everyone matters. A consumer doesn’t need to have a huge Klout score to be deserving of your attention. Think about ways to make millions of small ripple effects instead of a handful of huge ones.

Image by ShashiBellamkonda.

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