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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The Role of Storytelling in Effective Marketing

Once upon a timeHuman beings have been sharing stories since the dawn of time. It’s the way we connect with each other. Stories that create a heart connection are the most successful – when we can imagine ourselves in someone else’s story.

Good marketing has that same effect. Think of Hallmark commercials, for example. Their sweet and nostalgic vignettes strike an emotional chord. Other common responses to ads and commercials include laughter, irritation, or a sense of disbelief.

But whatever the reaction, the marketing has succeeded to some degree because it evoked a response. We saw ourselves, even for a moment, in that story. The reason videos go viral is because those stories successfully capture a moment and trigger a response.

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Why Educational Publishers Should Use RSS Feeds

First published March 7, 2008

To remain competitive in the educational publishing business, you need to have a great deal of information at your disposal.  Emerging developments from industry associations, news releases from competitors and relevant conversations from teachers, educators and standard setters – all this is information you need, and the landscape of data changes daily.

In the past, keeping current required an enormous investment in research.  But with the advent of RSS feeds on the Internet, you can have all the legwork done for you – absolutely free.

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Free SEO Tools To Monitor Your Website Traffic

First published April 22, 2008

Now that your website is up and running, you will want to monitor traffic to the website. Here are four free tools you can use to analyze your website’s traffic — where it’s coming from, how many people are coming, and what they like about the site. You will want to use a variety of diagnostic tools as analytic algorithms are changing constantly and no one tool is complete and comprehensive.

Alexa
Alexa is a web-based tool that allows you to rank your website in comparison to others. For ten years, Alexa used an embedded toolbar on websites to establish their site rankings. This tended to skew their rankings in favor of tech-savvy blogs read by tech-savvy users. Just this month Alexa changed their ranking system to include more sources of website traffic data, making it a well rounded tool for analyzing your traffic and history. With Alexa, the lower your ranking, the better. Check it out at http://www.alexa.com/.

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A New Conversation

First published June 2, 2008

One of the current strategies for K-12 education is differentiated instruction. Differentiation has always been a marketing strategy for businesses. Customers and prospects ask, "how are you different from your competitors and why should I care?"

How companies answered those questions has changed over time, however, the one-way nature of the communication has now been significantly altered by social media. Some companies have embraced the change and others have been sitting out and waiting either to understand the landscape better or to wait for it to change again.

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Review: Naked Conversations – How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

naked-conversations.jpg

First published August 7, 2008

Co-written by technology evangelists Robert Scoble from Microsoft and Shel Israel, a Silicon Valley tech guru, this book is a primer for those interested in understanding how blogs are changing the conversation between producers and consumers.

Fundamentally, blogging interferes with traditional corporate communications in that it is no longer possible for a company to ‘control’ their message. The book shares many examples of how this happens and presents case studies of companies who have handled the change well and those who haven’t. And then there are those who have been standing on the sidelines waiting to see if blogging just goes away.

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“Old Marketing” v. “New Marketing”

dollar-key.jpgFirst published September 14, 2008

Traditional marketing is still very much with us in K-12 publishing. Because of the institutional nature of our market, we still operate in “push” mode with direct mail, outbound sales, either in person or by phone, conferences, etc. For most K-12 publishers, sending occasional customer emails and offering online webinars and demos is as Web 2.0 as it gets. For educational publishers, it is still very much about filling the sales funnel moving prospects to customers through a multi-step process.

But even in educational publishing, this traditional model is giving way to something new. In traditional sales, the company was in charge of moving the process forward, and in the Web 2.0 world, the new driver is the customer.

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