Content Marketing Strategy

Content Rules Personalized Just For Me!
Content Rules!

Content, content, content! Content is King! With the recent Google “Panda” and “Farmer” search engine optimization (SEO) updates, Google has taken a stand against websites that provide little original content. So I thought content might be a good topic for the Twitter chat #SMchat on May 18, 2011  at 1P ET.

I’ve talked to a few people about content recently and I’ve asked two special guests to join me to discuss Content Marketing on #SMchat: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, and Danielle Leitch, Executive Vice President of Client Strategy at MoreVisibility.

Ann spoke with me about her new book, Content Rules, written with C. C. Chapman and personalized especially for me (see photo) after I spoke at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum and what she said makes sense to me:

“My feeling is that you can’t have a Social Media Strategy without first having a Content Strategy. How can you speak before you know what to say?”

Danielle also recently discussed content strategy during the new #MVchat Twitter chat on May 12, 2011. If you haven’t joined #MVchat it’s a good place for a quick (half hour) discussion on different internet marketing topics. #MVchat is held on Thursdays from 3:30-4P ET. After the chat, I asked Danielle about content driving online revenue and she said:

“Content is essential when it comes to providing value to the user, positioning well in SERPs, creating sticky site or social account and establishing self (business) as industry leader. All of the above will contribute to revenue generation in one form or another – so YES, content directly correlates to making money online.  Measuring time versus value for that content production is critical for ROI analysis.  Don’t produce content for the sake of text – offer value in all content delivered.”

It appears that Danielle isn’t the only one who thinks good content equals more revenue. According to a MarketingSherpa case study on Content Marketing: Inbound strategy pulls in 25% more revenue, 70% more leads

I’m very excited that these smart ladies will be joining us and I’ve got several questions for them and for everyone who will be participating in #SMchat:

  1. Do you think sites with good SEO practices have been impacted by Google’s Farmer and Panda updates?
  2. Do you have a Social Media Strategy? A Content Strategy? If both, which came first and why?
  3. Nearly 1/4 (23%) of all social media messages contain links to content – how do you make it easy to share?
  4. Have you found content=revenue like the MarketingSherpa Content Marketing case study?
  5. Now that we’re not just writing brochures, how can you repurpose content to minimize overload on creators?

Look for answers from Ann (@MarketingProfs) and Danielle (@DanielleLeitch), along with me (@SharonMostyn) and the rest of the #SMchat crew on May 18, 2011 from 1-2P ET! We look forward to seeing you there! Can’t make it or just shy? Leave your question or comment below and I’ll make sure you get an answer.

Video – The Other Search Marketing Method

Video Marketing
Video Marketing an Upcoming #SMchat Topic

According to web metrics company comScore, YouTube was named the second-largest search engine, so it makes sense to add video to your website. Do you have videos on your website? I haven’t added any videos yet, but Gary Vaynerchuk got his start by creating a video blog on wines and has become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author!

Here are some questions to ask before you add videos to your site the way Gary V did:

  1. What kind of videos will work best on your website? Humor? Testimonial? How-To? How important is it for the tone of your videos to match the tone of your website?
  2. How do you get the videos to play on your site? What video player should you use?
  3. Do you copyright your videos? How? Has anyone been sentenced to “copyright school”?
  4. Is SEO a part of your video strategy? How else do you integrate video into your marketing?
  5. What video metrics should you track? How do you track it?

We’ll be discussing these questions and more during the #SMchat session on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 from 1-2P ET. Please join us or add your insights to the comments section below.

Want to learn about affiliate marketing for free? Here’s how!

Fun and Games at Affiliate Summit
Fun and Games After the Sessions at Affiliate Summit

April is a very busy “holiday” month for me – our wedding anniversary, birthdays for several family members, Earth Day, usually Easter, and sometimes even Tax Day are reasons to celebrate. OK, maybe not Tax Day, unless you’re getting a tax refund, but in any case, I give away a lot of presents in April. From now until the end of April, I’d like to give YOU the opportunity to get a present from me, too!

I have written about how lucky I have been in attending previous Affiliate Summit events (look at that, an affiliate link!), but now I want to share that luck with you! I was fortunate enough to be given TWO GOLD PASSES (each a $279-$749 value) to Affiliate Summit East 2011, August 21-23 in New York City and I’d love to give them away to you! Leave a comment below telling me what you want to learn about affiliate marketing and I’ll randomly select 2 answers to each receive a Gold Pass to this exciting affiliate marketing conference!

You’ll get the opportunity meet the best and brightest people in the affiliate marketing industry for free! Gold passes to Affiliate Summit include:

  • Admission to the Meet Market and Exhibit Hall
  • Keynotes
  • Sunday educational sessions (except the Monetize Summit track); and
  • Access to the Affiliate Summit Social Network.

This pass does not include Monday and Tuesday sessions but you will have access to all recorded session videos and PowerPoint presentations after the Summit. Here come the disclaimers: Passes cannot be transferred, and the pass codes become invalid in the event the conference sells out (so register using them before Affiliate Summit East 2011 sells out in order to use them). Also, anybody registering for a complimentary pass who neither checks in at the conference nor cancels will be ineligible for future complimentary passes (so don’t say you’ll be there and not show up…it’s just not polite).

I’m so excited that Wil Reynolds will be giving one of the keynote addresses! He is an amazing and engaging speaker and although I have heard him speak several times, each time I learn something new. Bryan Eisenberg, also known as The Grok on Twitter, will also be giving a keynote at ASE11 and I can’t wait! I have followed Bryan’s writing for years and finally met him at Econsultancy’s Peer Summit 2010 event. I was blown away by how quickly and easily he came up with innovative solutions to what had seemed to be insurmountable problems so I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say to the Affiliate Summit attendees. Jon Spoelstra is also a keynote speaker at ASE11. Although I haven’t heard of him individually, I have heard of the Portland Trailblazers and New Jersey Nets, both of which he has managed.

Don’t forget to add the Twitter hashtag #ASE11 to your “watch list” for more news on speakers, sponsors, affiliate info, and even special events around the conference dates. Life isn’t all work and no play, and this conference isn’t either – some of the special events around Affiliate Summit conferences include parties and other networking events, including my personal favorite Trivia Tweetup (no Tweeting required, just a good knowledge of trivia).

What do you want to know about affiliate marketing? Leave your comment below by April 30th, 2011 and you could win one of two Gold Passes to Affiliate Summit East 2011!

Can I Pick Your Brain? Sure, Why Not?

Don't Say No
My Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary

20 years ago this week, my grandfather passed away. I still miss his easy, laid-back manner and willingness to help anyone. My grandfather would patiently explain things for hours. He never got frustrated when I didn’t understand something, and I wasn’t the only one he took the time to help. Sometimes he even helped people who didn’t necessarily want help…there was one time on a trip to (French-speaking) Canada when he helped someone push a car during a snowstorm and because of the language barrier we’re still not exactly sure how that person actually wanted my grandfather to help! I only remember him telling me “No” one time, when at 13 I wanted to buy a black string bikini – it was the kindest, firm refusal I have ever received.

I’ve seen several posts on why you should say no when someone asks to “pick your brain” and, as I learned from my grandfather, I have a hard time saying no. I may not be able to spend a huge amount of time, or answer every question, and it may not be on the timeframe you desire, but I am generally happy to share the knowledge that I have.

Here are some of the posts I have seen on why NOT to let someone pick your brain:

Many of the people I read saying “no” are consultants, and while I truly understand their need to make money, I’m confused as to why they think having a conversation about what they do for a living is a bad idea. I personally like Barry Moltz’s response – pay it forward by letting them pick your brain, but do it on your schedule and set your own limits.

I’m using this as the topic for my 1-year anniversary of moderating #SMchat on Wednesday, 3/16/11, at 1PM ET. Here are the questions I am asking:

  1. Have you ever had someone “pick your brain” (yes/no)? If so, how often? If not, why not?
  2. Does your answer depend on how well you know the person who asked or the type of company they represent?
  3. Would you be more likely to participate if you were in the beginning of your career or once more established?
  4. Could a “brain picking” session could turn into an advantage, either personally or professionally?
  5. Is blogging/participating in online chats/answering online Qs/etc. the same thing as having your brain picked?

I’m hoping my online friends will be able to shed some light on both sides of the topic. Let’s talk about it then. Please feel free to comment below if you can’t make the chat or if you would like to bring up something I have missed.

Social Media Best Practices at MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum

Turn Up The Heat!
Turn Up The Heat with Social Media Marketing!

Snow in Austin, TX? The theme for the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum 2011 was “Turn Up The Heat” but I didn’t realize they were talking about the weather! Rather than cancel the event, the MarketingProfs team really stepped up by working with the speakers and attendees who were caught in the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 by offering an online version of the conference for those who couldn’t make it in person, as well as rearranging sessions to allow for delayed keynote speakers.

I was honored to be a panelist on the Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing session and I was very happy that I was able to make it to the conference before the blizzard ruined my travel plans. Of the other panelists in my session only Jeff Cohen (@JeffreyLCohen) from Social Media B2B was able to make it. Unfortunately, Alan Belniak (@abelniak) was stuck in Boston and couldn’t attend our session in person, although he was with us in spirit.

Here is the description MarketingProfs used to describe our session:

Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing

Are you an expert marketer but new to social media marketing or need a refresher of best practices? Then don’t miss this session! We’ll talk about developing a social media strategy for your company, establishing social media guidelines, and tactics to integrate social media into your existing marketing programs to increase ROI. We’ll show you examples of companies using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn successfully to meet their overall marketing and business objectives and how to measure the results.

MarketingProfs conferences are smaller than some other conferences I have spoken at, but one of the things I like best about them is that people come up with really good questions. We received several questions during our “live” session and there was even a question form the online audience! After the session, one of the fantastic MarketingProfs staffers forwarded this question from Sylvie H.:

What if you conduct some listening and learn that really people are not talking about you very much at all (and you’re a pretty big regional company). Is it still worth creating conversation in this space?

I emailed the following response:

If you aren’t participating much in social media or don’t have a solid brand presence, people may not be talking about you specifically. The question is, are they talking about what you do or topics you are interested in?

An example of this from today’s presentation is the Fiskateers from Fiskars scissors. There are few people talking about scissors online. Even fewer are discussing Fiskars brand scissors. But there is a lot of conversation going on around scrapbooking and by talking about something their customers were interested in, Fiskars developed top of mind presence when a scrapbooking fan is in need of advice on crafting and scrapbooking which lead 600% more brand mentions and ultimately more sales. If you want to read more about the Fiskateers case study, you can see it here:

Basically, find the conversation and listen to what people are saying and then join in!

If you’re interested, you can find the slides to our presentation on SlideShare or contact MarketingProfs for a replay of all 26 hours of sessions so you can ask your own questions. You can also read what others had to say about our session here:

Spredfast BlogGetting Back to the Basics – Social Media Marketing Best Practices

The Cross-Channel ConversationSocial Media Back to Basics Everyone Forgets

Search Marketing SageSocial Media Best Practices To Heat Up Your Marketing

Plus, if you leave a comment below with the slide number for the “what NOT to do” example in our slide deck, you could win a tchotchke from the conference! I’ll pick one random comment on this post with the correct slide number and send them their choice of either the Einstein or Shark squeeze toy that I picked up at the Digital Marketing Forum vendor tables!

Canceling Events: What Might Have Been

"Sunny with Snow" by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts
“Sunny with Snow” by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts

Right now, I’m supposed to be speaking at the AMA in the AM (the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association) but instead I’m writing a blog post. You see, we got some snow this morning and the event has been postponed – hopefully until a nice warm, sunny day! It’s difficult for organizations to make the decision to cancel an event, but hopefully people understand that it’s more important to stay safe when the roads are bad than it is to attend an event.

Weather considerations are a major factor in many event planning decisions. Many meeting and event planners select warm weather venues during the winter months but snow is not the only reason for a weather cancellation – hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, and even extreme heat have caused events to be canceled. Some events even have alternate online plans if the event won’t be able to be held as scheduled. Fortunately, this morning’s event wasn’t of a critical nature and the decision to cancel was an easy one.

Considerations when making an event cancellation decision:

– Weather conditions / forecast: Are there weather advisories, watches, or warnings in effect? Is there more bad weather predicted during the time of the event?

– Travel advisories: Have local, state, or federal agencies issued travel advisories? Is there a snow emergency plan or other travel limitation in effect? Has the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an alert?

– Number of attendees expected: Is it a small meeting or a large conference? The number of people attending makes a difference in how easy an event can be rescheduled.

– Distance of attendees from event venue: Are the attendees local or do they need to travel long distances to attend? Are the attendees staying in the event hotel/venue?

What other factors play into your decision when canceling events? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

Social Media Etiquette Best Practices

I’ve seen several Tweets and blog entries on Twitter auto-posting recently and it seems to be something that is being tested and possibly even becoming a social media best practice.

In case you’re not sure what I mean by auto-posting, in this example it is scheduling a social media interaction on Twitter in advance of the actual Tweet being posted. IMO (in my opinion), auto-anything takes the social out of social media, but maybe you can change my mind and explain how it can be considered a best practice. I un-followed Guy Kawasaki of Alltop because of his repetitive auto-Tweeting and I’ll do the same to anyone else I suspect of regular, non-personal social media interactions.

Social Media Etiquette Best Practices will be the topic for the #SMchat Twitter chat on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 1PM ET with the following questions:

1) What are some social media etiquette best practices? How do you make sure to fit them into your social media marketing plan?

2) Does auto-posting violate the best practices of social media? Does it matter if you are online when the auto-post?

3) What advantages or disadvantages of auto-posting? Does auto-posting make social media interactions less personal / authentic?

4) Do you feel you “know” the people you interact with on social media? Why or why not?

5) Other than the “usual” – who (companies or individuals) is a good example of using social media best practices?

Please feel free to leave examples (good and bad) of social media etiquette best practices, including auto-posting if you think that’s a best practice, in the comments below. I will be happy to discuss them with you on Weds, 1/19/11 at 1P ET on the #SMchat Twitter chat hashtag – see you then!

2010 Blog Post Recap and Looking Forward to 2011

Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!
Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!

In January, 2010, I posted about how I was lucky at Affiliate Summit West 2010, and I’m ending the year with some lucky affiliate news from – I won their final Christmas quiz! I was able to determine the literal meaning of the word mistletoe is “Dung on a twig.” Can I just state for the record: YUCK!!! I now have an entirely new mental picture whenever someone talks about kissing under the mistletoe…

It seems affiliates were lucky for me in 2010, and maybe not so surprisingly my most popular blog post mentions no less than EIGHT affiliate marketers mentioned in it! Listed below are my top ten 2010 blog posts, ranked via pageviews according to my Google Analytics account. Count them down with me as we count down the last few hours of 2010:

10. Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

9. 5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

8. Talking SEO for our 1st Blog Birthday-Anniversary-Blogiversaryday

7. Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

6. How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

5. Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

4. Twitter Chats – Fantastic for Insights and Visibility

3. Putting The Social Back In Social Media

2. Top 12 Twitter Chats by Day – What are your Favorites?

1. 2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Happy New Year – 2011! My wish is that the new year is happy, healthy, and prosperous for us all!

If you look at the topics of the blog posts above, there is a wide mix of marketing topics including social media, Twitter chats, brand building, SEO, and even some web analytics and email testing. What would you like to see more of in 2011? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Mostyns!
Merry Christmas from the Mostyns!

Right now, I should be getting my presentations together for Affiliate Summit West 2011 (hey, look, it’s an affiliate link!) and MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum 2011 (sadly, no affiliate link for this one), but I wanted to take a few moments (or sentences) to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011 to us all!

Now that the kids are teens, we got to “sleep in” until about 9A this morning. As is our tradition, we got up and found out what was in our Christmas stockings and then proceeded to open presents and spend the day together and finished up by joining the whole Mostyn family for dinner.

The holidays are a time for reflections and I have so much to be thankful for this year. I hope that you have had a wonderful year and that 2011 is even better!

Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

Previously, I told you about Affiliate Summit (hey, look, it’s an affiliate link!) and what a wonderful conference it is. One of the amazing people I met there is Heather in BC. I was put on Heather’s team for the Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser during Affiliate Summit West 2010 and our team won the “Low Score Award” – starting at midnight, we were all so tired there might have been some confusion whether we were bowling or golfing, LOL!

To keep up to date with what she’s doing, I read Heather’s blog posts, and we keep in touch via Facebook and Twiiter. I was reading her Tweets last week and she posted that she would be busy the day after Affiliate Summit and asked her followers to join her at Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas. Since I’ll already be in Las Vegas speaking at ASW11 from January 9-11, 2011, and Social Media is a big part of my new job at 1st Mariner Bank, it seemed a natural fit for me to attend. I asked Heather for more information and she talked to Murray Newlands and the next thing you know I’ve got a press pass!

The Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas conference is being held at the Flamingo Las Vegas on January 12, 2011 – the day after Affiliate Summit West 2011. I’m interested in learning more about monetizing social media from Raymond Lyle of Viglink and all of the other speakers.

Can’t make it to Las Vegas in January? Be sure to add #ASW11 and #SMLASVEGAS to your Twitter hashtag lists to see what people are talking about. Have a specific question – please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get the answer for you![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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