Content Marketing IS Real Writing

woman typing on keyboardAs long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. From the time I knew what a writer was, I've wanted to be one. In those long ago days when I wanted to be able to create the kind of adventures I loved reading, I believed that a real writer was a fiction writer.

Turns out that a lot of people felt that you weren't a legitimate writer unless you wrote fiction. Aside from the fact that journalists routinely win Pulitzer prizes and some of the best writing in our culture is nonfiction such as biography, essays and memoir, there has always been a hierarchy of writers with fiction writers at the top of the pyramid.

And business or corporate writing? That was considered beneath notice of "real" writers. It was commercial – as if selling novels, newspapers and magazines were not?

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Grow Your Business with Online Professional Learning Communities

grow your businessK-12 educators receive encouragement from their school districts to seek out online professional development opportunities. There they can form professional learning communities (PLCs) or a professional learning network (PLN). While some districts provide direction and a platform, other districts encourage teachers, librarians and administrators to find and participate in a PLC of their own choosing.

Earlier this week I had the privilege of presenting a free webinar called “Growing Your Business with Online Communities,” for K-12 education publishers sponsored by edWeb.net, a professional social network for the education community, and MCH Strategic Data, an education data company.

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3 Terrific Resources to Learn More about Content Marketing

content_marketing_diagramMost marketers in the K-12 education industry have now at least heard the term content marketing. Many educational publishers have been doing content marketing for a long time – telling success stories with their customers as the hero.

Content marketing is fundamentally a way to attract or pull your customers and prospects toward you with great storytelling instead of pushing out traditional sales messages. There are many practitioners in other industries that have blazed the trail like Rebecca Lieb who talks about the difference between advertising and content marketing.

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Three Basic Elements of Successful Customer Engagement

talking chairs individualityEarlier this week we talked about the difference between social media marketing and content marketing. What they share at their core is the idea of authentic customer engagement.

So what is the essence of successful customer engagement?

First you must to listen with genuine interest to your customer. You have to hear what their concerns, issues and goals are.

Second, you must understand how to help them solve their concerns with what you have to offer which is relevant to them.

Third, you must respond to them in an authentic and transparent way supporting their need for individual attention, additional information or the move to the next step of the process.

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The Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing

To put these topics in appropriate relationship to each other, it’s best to begin with a definition of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as ‘the creation and distribution of educational or compelling content in multiple formats used to acquire and retain customers.”

What do we mean by “content”? Content can be as short as 140-character tidbits to share on Twitter or it can be long-form white papers, articles, videos, etc. To be valued, the content has to be informational and topic-focused rather than the traditional product focused marketing of the past.

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Fueling the National Conversation about Education Reform

collaboration in the classroomOne of the wonderful aspects of working in the education marketplace is that partnerships between public and private entities regularly form for the purpose of research. Often, the research is freely shared for the benefit of the entire education community and marketplace.

Such are the new study results on assessment from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) a not-for-profit committed to child-centered education and Peter Grunwald and Associates, a public relations and research practice focused on children, families, technology and education.

The factor that sets this K-12 study apart from others is that it adds a new voice to the conversation – parents. Most studies about assessment focus on students and educators only. As the study points out, parents are the primary consumers of assessment information and foot the bill for the assessments through taxes.

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Why is Digital Learning Day Important for Educators, Policy Makers, K-12 Publishers and EdTech Companies?

Yesterday was the first-ever national Digital Learning Day organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education headed up by former WV governor, Bob Wise. 15,000 educators and 1.7 million students from 39 states participated in this remarkable event. In addition, an untold number of education advocates, enthusiasts, reformers, policy wonks, journalists, consultants and K-12 vendors also participated via web broadcast and social media.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski kicked off the national town hall meeting with an announcement that the Obama administration wants digital textbooks to be implemented in every U.S. public school within 5 years. Yes, 2017.

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Social Proof: What is It and Why Do Educational Publishers Want It?

Wikipedia defines social proof as a psychological phenomenon where the actions of others are indications of correct behavior around a particular situation.

In social media, social proof is reflected in the number of Twitter followers you have; the number of fans on your Facebook page; the number of RSS readers your blog has; the number of views for your YouTube videos, etc.

Why is this important? It’s a clear indication to your prospects that you have content worth reading – that your opinions will be important to them.

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You Only Get 9 Seconds to Make an Impression (Sally Hogshead video)

It used to be that you had 1 minute to grab your prospect's attention. Then it dropped to 30 seconds. Now, because of our fractured attention span, it's dropped to only 9 seconds. Obviously this has huge implications for our personal as well as business lives as we build customer relationships.

Via Content Marketing Today Sally Hogshead's video explains the 9 second rule. Grab them fast or lose them. Keynote speaker Sally Hogshead is the author of FASCINATE, teaching audiences how to persuade and captivate in a world with a 9 second attention span.  

 

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Does the New 80/20 Content Rule Apply to Educational Publishers?

solving problemsYesterday I read that companies should plan to give up to 80% of their content away for free and generate sales and profits from the remaining 20%. As publishers, that seems an unrealistic metric.

Content is our stock and trade. We've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing the best-of-category, and now we should give it away for free?

How is that a viable business model?

Yet more and more companies are allocating larger amounts of their resources each year to this effort as reported by the Content Marketing Institute.

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