Star Date Supplemental

A Quick Note.

This is not our company blog. 

This vendor (webnode) is not best suited for blogging. It lacks the sharing options of a more dedicated site (plugins).  It uses a drag and drop style which makes it easy to build out a simple directory structure. 

This is a repository for some blog posts, in the event that we lose topic related posts in other locations, servers go down or someone pulls a plug permanently (likely).

A quick note on what you're doing here...

The first rule of content club is that there is no content. It's about distribution.

As a digital media company, we are usually asked to produce content. Text seems simple enough... right?

It is. The client "wants text that sells" Only don't be too pushy. Or, don't look desperate, or don't do the million and one things the client thinks will "damage" his/her brand, which normally includes any creative thinking. The client always thinks you don't care enough about the "brand." Even if they don't have a brand yet. 

What they mean is their "ego." My product = Me. For many clients it's not about business, or the product, it's about "(self) image," not sales. Think of it as an internal golf club conversation. In fact imagine golf before Tiger Woods, when old white people thought they were athletes. Think of the time they spend thinking about buying clubs and golf clothing. That is often your client.

Some employers will gauge work by how much written output you can manage, what graphics and video tools you use. It is easy to miscalculate the difficulty level (and thence the pricing), how long it takes to storyboard, direct and edit video or photo-shop and process a series of images.

Paying customers feel they could do the same thing much better, if only they had the time to spare. This often happens in hindsight when the work is OK, but not "what we're looking for."  You may get fired and rehired around Christmas time by this kind of contractor.

Other employers are obsessed with analytics, nerding out on google tag manager percentages, ad campaigns or seasonal uplift. These employers tend to ask for complicated reporting metrics taking your focus away from "actual marketing."  If you tell them this, they'll often fire you and get someone who tells them what they want to hear.

Nearly everyone thinks social media is "easy." The truth is that a busy social media role gives you direct unfiltered access to customers in real time. Something neither blogging, nor analytics, nor reporting can deliver.  

Because it seems so simple, many employers hire a "Facebook" intern, hoping that person can develop the skills needed on the job, or at least be a cheap scapegoat if unsuccessful. In most cases the skill set is too large.  People move on. 

Employers then go for the opposite approach of going for an external agency, who don't have a clue of the company, product, or industry.  They have multiple other clients. Often that agency is not their web developer, so an interesting (and expensive) game of pass the parcel begins. It's not your problem, you weren't hired. Agencies often play the subbie game. They take the upfront cash and subcontract to India. The gamble is that the Indian team does good work and delivers.

One of the key things to note is how little knowledge of the digital space nearly all potential employers have (even software companies). The person who hires you will have no idea what you do or how you do it. They may feel intimidated. They may feel the need to "manage" you or buy really expensive software that nobody knows how to use.  They may game the hiring process putting a traditional marketing manager in charge of you. This is hell, you've now two people paid to tell you what to do, who don't know what to do. 

Politics are intense. This creates quite a lot of; "why isn't it working yet?" I've tried explaining how it works. That's worse. Don't do that. Think of your local plumber or repair guy; say little, do the job. Get paid. Then leave.

 It takes 3 to six months to grow a channel like Instagram or Twitter.  Blogging takes longer. YouTube might take from three to six years to develop. Each channel evolves it's own ethos, subscriber types and utility level. Twitter is often pure advertising, Facebook, a forum and Linkedin a data channel, but it can all change rapidly.

The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle...

Using a restaurant analogy; blogging is writing and posting the menu, analytics is checking the till receipts and social media is the waiter. The food still needs to be edible, delivered in good time, served on clean crockery and in budget.

Back to blogging...

We keep blogs running on wordpress, self hosted wordpress,  BeBee (now an archive),  MediumWildTherapy (hobby), Blogger (defunct but still a fine technology), Tumblr (multiple blogs for RSS feeds) and quite a few more.  Many of these sites are connected to other channels (IFTTT), and archived for later use.

The trick with blogs is to find ways to engage and distribute, either linking back to posts, adding them to other channels (like Reddit for example; to make a searchable directory on a high domain ranked platform) or posting them to other outlets, audiences or information silos. Hashtags work.

Making blog posts "evergreen" helps. Using strong images helps a lot. So does making them readable, engaging and directing readers to a single solid Call to Action

If you use wordpress or joomla, there are some nice syndication tools available, multiple plugins, import and export, automation, STMP, RSS and design options.

We use blog posts as mailshots, a tactic which repurposes the original post, we also post redirect snippets to Instagram and Twitter.  We add posts to Pinterest as searchable images, Tumblr (RSS) and Linkedin (as company updates). 

Facebook profiles we actually avoid, (maybe one post if we want to boost engagement quickly or an upcoming event). Facebook business pages are fair game. Before Linkedin acquired it, we were happy to make posts into PPT and use them as Slideshare uploads. Nowadays that option is less visible to users. Still there for SEO purposes.

Another thing to note is that audience mix is different on different sites, it might require a change in "voice," more images or a rewrite.

Options are endless. The only thing you can't do is hit post and wait for viewers to find your stuff...the internet is just too vast.

Chess tactics. Content may be King, but distribution is the Queen. She moves.

This post is not going to be heavy. It will be simple. It's not explanatory though. We feel that you have enough "real" information if you want to dig deeper.

I've been pushing the merits of Pinterest a long time. I've used it as a base for most of my initiatives and rarely fallen out of love with it's functionality or design. I was looking for the chrome browser extension today and saw this little gem...

I've been writing posts for quite a while on "digital."The first thing is that many people just don't get it. I don't mean that people don't understand platforms. They do, they use them everyday and are familiar with the layout and tools on their favorites.

One of the most famous books on strategy is Sun Tzu's "Art of War." Taken at it's simplest it appears to be a short text about doing the opposite of what your "enemy" is doing. That might be enough, but there is more to it. The closer you look, the more precipitous the drop. Let's take a wander, shall we?...