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May 2, 2013

#b2bhuddle : Katy Howell on concentrating content for lead generation


Katy Howell, CEO, Immediate Future

How do you concentrate your content? It's pretty clear we need to think about social content with purpose. Social media is a business channel - but there are some big players in this. 80% of business buyers network online for work, 91% research for work - and 70% are promoting themselves. We don't talk about brands, we talk through them... 

Decision maker sand senior decisions makers are rarely lurkers - they're an active group. 67.9% of B2B content marketing is targeted at lead generation. There are some challenges - the deluge of crap, it's resource intensive and how do you know you're capturing the quality of people you want?

If you're  a planner, you can't help but put things in boxes. It helps you get your head around them. How can you make sure your content works hard for clients? Well, you target. Everyone talks about being personal. How many people present are creating content for an individual? Very few. 

She's so excited by Google planning tools. People don't buy in a linear way, and B2B purchasing is not all digital yet (we need chips in people's head (is that what Google Glass is?)) Thee tools don't give you your journey - but they give you a benchmark. It helps you understand the journey. 

IBM makes millions from "snaffling it" - just looking for requests on social media and having conversations on the fly. They don't just sell - they send them things like a best practice guide for writing RFPs - content marketing. It jumps outside the funnel. On the other hand 66% of buyers use LinkedIn for identifying buyers, but 55% used Twitter for identifying the final supplier. (Again, your customers might be different).

Think about behaviours - but also think what they do before and after. Where do they go from LinkedIn? How do you follow up a capture form? Should you integrate this with your wide campaigns? Search support is important - it's not all about search, but you can't miss a trick. And - in lead generation - you have to work with the people around you: sales, social media, the board, your content resources - you have to know the structure. You have worked hard, and paid for great content. Make sure the flow fits, because you can't measure unless you get to the end goal. 

Bloody Strong Content Plans

Have a bloody strong content plan. It took us six weeks top plan customer magazines - it should be the same for social content. Think about publication date, search tersm, calls to action, trackable links, distribution and monitoring/KPIs.

BUT - content for lead generation has a different purpose. You need killer calls to action. There are calls to action on social media that you wouldn't get away with on social media. You need to be disruptive to get noticed. How do you deal with conservative clients? Stealth and lying. You have to be a little on the edge - she doesn't mind running around in her bra and knickers if it gets the job done. You can often find a change agent client-side. Euan Semple calls them trojan mice projects. Make sure the in-house person gets the glory. We live and breathe social media - our clients often don't. 

It's hard to find content which has a clear purpose like lead generation right now. It's about small tweaks - knowing behaviours, clearer calls to action. 

Katy Howell at #b2bhuddle

There's repercussions for poor content. We are seeing drops in the number of people downloading whitepapers, ebooks and webinars. 4.8% drop for whitepapers, 5.1% for ebooks and 21.6% for webinars. If a whitepaper is just an extended blog post, people get annoyed quickly. Spammy approaches to content have consequences - search engines won't put up with it forever.

So, make things easy and clean, and use social proof. If it's relevant, you'll capture more of the people you want. Ensure links have your brand in them in some way - makes them more trusted. Keep capture forms short. Use all relevant advertising tools: Facebook Exchange (jury still out), SlideShare capture (part of Pro), Twitter lead gen (14% rate), LinkedIn ads (not great) InMails (amazing). 

People don't sharpen their tools well. They don't test and learn. Start with benchmarks. 46% of buyers find whitepapers useful for defining what they actually need. 44% find videos, webinars and podcasts for identifying suppliers. 51% use supplier e-mail for final selection. Document everything you do - short links, campaign codes and the like allow you to track effect.

You want to know performance by platform, but also by subsection of the platform. Not just LinkedIn, but groups, or news feeds, or company pages.  Details. Track the actions, like Likes, clicks and comments. How is each content toe performing. What times of day work best? What topics work best? How about headline experiments - one of their clients saw a 40% uplink in traffics by putting what they would get through the link in brackets. Bundle all of this into a performance framework. 

Test and dump. Rest things that aren't working. Do A/B tests. Know what your hottest lead source is. 

Feed all of this information into the purchase loop. Know what content contributes best at what point in the purchase cycle. It's hard. Katy is not there yet. But she's working on it. 

Question & Answer

Are you doing analysis on costs per lead on social? Yes. Two clients have been doing cost per lead - it's lower than DM, but higher than e-mail. And it wavers all over the place, because the content isn't right yet. Month on month things change. The industry's in churn, so it's difficult to think about pay per lead. 

#b2bhuddle : Nick Garner on social proof and the zero moment of truth

Nick at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Nick Garner, CEO, SearchWorks Content Marketing

What do you employ content for? The marketing funnel is a great concept, because you can hang so much off it. It has phases - awareness, consideration, preference, action and loyalty. And consideration is the interesting bit. The reality is less like a funnel, and more like a big bowl of spaghetti. It's the ecosystem we're interested in - but it's complex to get our heads around. So people obsesses over simple ideas like Facebook Likes. 

We all like to think that a "blast" of marketing will help us. It kinda does. Out of 100 people coming into the funnel, one or two will become customers. Maybe a conversation with 10 would be better - but which 10?

Google has been well ahead of the curve in understanding the internet as an ecosystem. They funded a project with a 5000 people panel called Zero moment of Truth - ZMOT - about online buying habits. In the old days, you had a budget and used it to broadcast like crazy. The first moment of truth is when you buy from the widget maker who has advertised so much. The second moment of truth is when I feedback - "they were expensive and not so great". The zero moment of truth lies between the broadcast and the first moment of truth - it's where people seek social proof. This is fed by the second moment of truth, when they leave feedback online. The Google research showed that 84% of the group were effected by the ZMOT - more than the other two moments. 

People do research. If you're buying a car - your research early, and pay very careful attention to reviews. People were using 5.3 source sin 2010. In 2011? 10.4... Online makes it easy. Different industries have different research cycles. For cars, the weighting is a distance before purchase. Groceries and restaurants? Just before purchase. 

Age changes ZMOT - young children are developing better spelling to get the search results they want. The millenials are in their teens, and the internet became important when they were small children. Gen X? About half their lives. Young boomers like the speaker and I? They've had to put the time in to learn. Gladwell suggests that 10,000 is needed to become an expert. Have you done that much on the internet? The older the demographic, the less likely they are to have done that. 

Authenticity is another way of saying "don't talk bullshit - people will see through it". The young research more, but leave less feedback. Gen Xers do more feedback. 

What can you do? Brands love numbers - you can benchmark things with numbers. The Online Persuasion Score™ is a variation of the Net Promoter Score - and academics say it sucks. But it's still useful. You add up the positive percentages, deduct the negative ones, and end up with a result. Fun online stuff isn't persuasive for purchasing, but deep material on metallurgy might be, for real buyers... OPS works well for search results, for example. 

Créme de la Mer has a search problem - one of the top results is a Daily Mail story saying it costs £530 a pot. Nike has a sweatshop problem in its search results, at least. In the end, Online PR is about getting search results. Social Media metrics are all lovely and cuddly - but where's the engagement? It's good for ambient awareness, but what else? Consideration is what we want and search wins. You spend the right amount of time on ranking in Google and you'll get the visits. 

Hubspot: what keywords are people using for questions about the product? Are the answers showing up - and are they coming from other people? That's what matters for social proof. That's what you measure with the OPS™ . The search results at the moment are dominated by their own pages, which doesn't tell you much about them - low OPS™ score...

#b2bhuddle : Livia Giulia Zuppardo on Google+

Livia at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Livia Giulia Zuppardo, Google+ product specialist, Google

Why could Google+ be useful in the future?

Google+ is the next generation of Google - they're using it to add more features to Google to make it a more personalised experience. The personal element should make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for.

Elephant in the room: users. There are lot of communities that have established themselves on Google+.

The latest numbers suggest that they have 500m users who have created Google+ accounts and started using the product. Active users? 135m users visit the Google+ site. But 235m are using any of the social features of Google+. That's in 18 months - they see this as remarkable group.

They want to add sharing and social ability sot all of their products. They're integrating it into all of the products - and this will continue. 

What about businesses? There are four things:

Better discovery - things are relevant only when people are interested. A recommendation from a  colleague can be forgotten about, but if that shows up in search, that makes a difference. This is about socially inspired brand awareness. Search + your world aims to bring social recommendation to search pages. The left hand column is based on personalised results, the right hand side on brand-submitted material. KLM used this to respond to a website hack. It's not about dragging people to a destination social network.

Deeper engagement: what tools could we give to give better user engagement? Topshop and Google+ worked together to create a whole different launch experience. It wasn't just about the marketing, but allowing a more social buying experience. Circles allow for more targeted marketing messages. divided their users into circles based on language, and only share with the relevant language groups. Hangouts - video chats - allow 10 people to interact. You can use screenshare and Google docs collaboration. You can event build apps around it. Dell does this really well - they do regular customer support and unboxing work, using Hangouts on Air - a live streaming version of Hangouts. You can add anything you can add to a webpage to a Hangout. 

(Can it be used internally? Yes, just schedule it as a meeting with just the people involved. That's how Google uses it.)

Communities reflect the fact that they see Google+ as a place where like-minded people come together. She found a 19,000 member fibre broadband community. 

Marketing Performance across the web: Ocado uses videos from hangouts as ads - and they perform better than their conventional ads. Social annotations are the personal recommendations they show on search - and which can be added to ads, for a 5 to 10% uplift in click through rates. In automative, it has reduced the cost of conversions by 91%.  

Measure the impact: Ripples are a great way of identifying advocates and influencers. They track comments and reshares. If you identify the people who triggers shares, you can put them in a special circle, and share special material with them. Integrates with Analytics to show how conversions are helped by social interactions. You can prove both direct social conversions - and assisted conversions. 

Questions & Answers

How could we measure success of our Hangout? Follower increases, Ripples around shares...

If we invested a lot of time and money - what assurances do we have you won't kill it like Reader? Google+ is not going to be like Reader - it's the next generation of Google. There's no end date. It's something we're strong invested in. It's about adding to the user experience, and we nurture this. 

Can you talk about the demographics of the Google+ users? In vague terms - otherwise I get fired. In the first few months it was skewed towards male and technical. In the year since, that has normalised. I wouldn't be too worked about that. Male technical people tend to be quite vocal (no offence) - they start a lot of the conversations, but they are not the only ones out there.

How do we best connect personal pages with brand pages? You need a personal profile to create a brand page - which you can use as a brand. The best interactions we've seen are around those who show who the people are working on the page. Dell and Virgin America are using their CEOs to interact on the brand page. 

#b2bhuddle : Doug Kessler

Doug at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Doug Kessler, creative director and co-founder, Velocity Partners

This is a hot time to be in B2B - but most people don't know that. This is a great time to be thinking about the future of content marketing, and we've all come a long way. But this is a good time to stop, take a break and get a sense of where this beast is going.

Why should you care about the future? Some of you are at the bottom of the curve, looking at all you have to learn, some of you are at the top, doing cutting edge work. Why worry about the future when there's so much to worry about in the present?

What is Content Marketing? It's packaging up your expertise to help your prospects do their jobs better. 

"Skate where the puck's going to be".

-- Wayne Gretsky

That's why the future matters. I don't want you to be the guy running down the hall in six months saying "Eureka! I've discovered white papers." They're dead.

The trend for content marketing is a hockey stick. It's exploding. You'll double your output this year. So will your competitors. Everyone's doing it - this is the megatrend. Everyone's doing it - search, social, digital agencies. And that's why we published the thing called Crap - why the single biggest threat to content marketing is content marketing. It went B2B viral. 220,000 views - that's insane. We touched a nerve. A lot of people are thinking about this. (The attitude, energy and naughty word in the title probably helped.) We weren't the first to use SlideShare as a medium in itself, but that's what we did. It's meant to be self-consumed. It was written as a SlideShare presentation, for that experience.

There are two ways to stand out:

  1. What you say - we hit on something that mattered
  2. How you say it - SlideShare

These are the two things we help clients with. The first is the most important. You have to be inside your market and understand what is hot right now. We're going to look at the second - how you say it. And we'll use the Five Beyonds.

1. Beyond Gutenberg

We've been in the digital world for years. We haven't done a print project in years, but people get stuck in print thinking: eBooks, White Papers and so on. But most of our consumption is on tablets and other screens. SlideShare is made for the screen. We're slowly letting go of the handrail of print thinking. And it is a handrail. We know how to communicate this way. Scrolling Sites - every last drop by Water Wise for example. It's a charming, light screen-based way to tell a story. As new things come along, figure out what stories they're good for telling. Tablet apps are another example - Together for the WWF.

2. Beyond Search

Up until now everyone has been sacrificing their first born to the Gods of Google. As content increases, search will fail us - there's just too much of the content. Even terrific content will end up on page 3. The first page is too limited a resource. If we're dependent on Google, we'll all end up suffering. How do we replace that? Community? SEOMoz is an example of that. A good piece on content marketing got 1000s of shares - because it's a great community. Build a community, and you'll become more self-sufficient. 

3. Beyond One-Size-Fits-All Content

We put out an eBook - and everyone gets the same one. But we know loads about the people coming to our sites. The beginnings of this are doing some segmentation. But then you have five eBooks. Where do you put them? Well, how about dynamically assemble the content? Adverts are doing this. There's no ad waiting for you, just a database which assembles an ad. Let's do that with content. Web content systems can do this, but we need to let go of print thinking. 

4. Beyond Teaching

Content tends to teach right now. It just gives people information. The step beyond is using content to do people's job. The Citrix Project Accelerator addresses the huge demand on their consulting resources. They harnesses knowledge from their consultants, and built a tool that allowed customers to run the virtualisation journey on their own. It makes the project manager's job easy. They made a mistake, though. They used content marketing to promote this - and ran ads. The ads outperformed - because this is content. They just needed to get out of the way and let people know it exists. They produced a Content Marketing Strategy checklists that is a way of generating your won strategy.

5. Beyond the Faceless Brand

Social Media has been around a long time - and it's all about people. Faces are beginning to be attached to companies. We're seeing the rise of the B2B rock stars - personal content brands that associate with company brands. It's good because it can power your brand - and bad because they can leave... Google is rewarding this with author profiles and rel=author

It's all part of the rise in authenticity. Marketing used to be largely bullshit. Now, people are seeing things because the company is porous. You can't be the only voice of the company people here. So you need to change what you do before you can talk about it. The Simon Sinek TED talk is worth watching. 

They ran into some bad SEOs early on, who enthused about keyword-packed content. They hated how it appeared, so they wrote for people rather than spiders - and that has been great in the age of the Panda update. 

Underneath this all is another beyond. The culture change necessary to make things work underlies this. So:

Beyond yesterday's culture

The ones who are succeeding are the one who are good at taking the rest of the company along with them. This touchy-feely stuff around culture is more important than much of the hard stuff. Marketeers are the best people to lead this, and not doing it feels like an abdication of responsibility. 

The best way to predict the future is to create it 

-Abraham Lincoln


Beware personalisation at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Questions and Answers

How far can personalisation go? Should you expose the mechanism? It can be spooky if you don't. People resist personalisation for the creepy factor, and the suspicion that if the personalisation is wrong, and you're missing something. In the end, you're working stages to a segmentation of one. Fuse Meeting followed him all around the web - as did his clients. He wanted to opt out, but he couldn't opt out of just one bit of personalisation. 

Can you use retargeting to bring people to their content? If you retarget, you have to frequency cap. Fuse was showing me things 80 or 90 times, and paying all the time, They should have stopped by 20. It can be used, but it needs to be used intelligently from ROI and sensitivity perspective. 

If people are brands, then business need to recruit differently, right? Yes, businesses need people that have social profile and fit the brand. We love people who are blogging and acting as a good social citizen. People who are jerks online won't get hired even if they're great at their jobs. 

What's the relationship between CRM and social CRM? Social CRM is core to this. CRM that isn't social is stone age. You're going to ignore what they're saying on social channels? That's insane. It's light and lose, but you should be tracking it. It can be creepy, but it'll be malpractice not to plug it into your CRM. 

Can you over-personalise? Yes. Serendipity is a huge power. Smart personalisation will throw in wildcards. Let's keep some serendipity in there. And let people choose the less personalised route. If they want to be in browse mode, they should be able to. 

Could the cost of personalised content slow down the rush towards crap? It will be an inhibitor - but it won't be anything compared to the tidal wave. Tools will make it cheaper - marketers have a way of ruining everything. What will slow the tide is when content stops working. That will be a bigger break on the wave. Cost of production is always driven down. 

The wave of crap at #B2BHuddle.jpg

#b2bhuddle : Kimberley Brind

Kimberley at #B2BHuddle.jpg

Liveblogging: errors, grammar mistakes and odd sentence structure likely...

Kimberley Brind, global marketing executive and social strategist, Oracle
She's going to talk about a controversial topic: ROI. Most people just roll their eyes at it. Doe sit matter? When and how do you measure it? Are the efforts worth the time and investment? That's what she's going to talk about.
She's one of Oracle's global social leaders. She's worked right across the company over the last decade, which has helped inform her latest role. Two years ago she was asked to set up a global team to look at what they should be doing from a social marketing point of view. They've learnt a lot, they keep learning and they realise they must change and adapt in such a fluid environment. 
The statistics about social media are amazing. Only a few years ago she had debates with colleagues who thought it was a fad, or inapplicable to B2B. That's not the case any more. The social era is here, now, and we have to engage with it. Social marketing matters to B2B companies because it's all about competitive advantage and big data. She was interviewed for a role with a company that had no social presence - but came to the conclusion she didn't want to work with a  company without that awareness. 
What we need to try and do is measure the effectiveness of your work. You cannot go to the board with anecdotal proof. You have to go to the board and prove an ROI, or you can't secure your headcount and marketing spend. Marketing is about telling  good story - and you need a good story for the board. It's about moving the needle and making progress. Social in B2B has been hindered by the "if you can't measure it, don't do it" mentality. So, how did they do it? 
They watch and measure lots of different social interactions, but they wanted to tie it back to pipeline. It's all about demand generation and making profitable progress. 
Everything comes back down to content. It's not about broadcasting content - it's about user-generated and crowd-sourced content. To achieve that, you need to inspire. They have two KPIs: social opt-ins and registartions/leads
She thinks there's more value in a social opt-in because the recipient chooses when, what and how they here from you. It's back in the recipients control, and counters the bad behaviours bred in e-mail marketing. They're reaching a broader base of people. They have 80/20 content - 80 nurture/gift content, and 20% register-gated content. On average, they're contenting with 40% more people than they would have done with e-mail only. And that's translating to a 30% increase to leads to sales. 
Brands need to be more human and empathetic. Humans want to be entertained, and marketeers need to be storytellers. You do that in the brand voice, and the brand context, but with a bit more fun. The BizCouch was launched a week or so ago - and they invited her in to talk. And then they invited her to have fun on a whiteboard - drawing the worse PowerPOint they'd seen, and playing a "What's My Line" game about drawing their job. What a great way of inspiring user-generated content and starting conversations.
So, please join her on the couch and debate social ROI...

Questions and Answers

Does focus on ROI encourage people to doubt us? No. We have to prove how we impact top line growth, and that's absolutely right. it's just an extension of the marketing mix. Not everything has to be tied back to pipeline. Reach and engagement are important metrics - but she likes to be able to tell the CEO what impact the spend had. Unless boards change, marketeers can't get away from that. 
Are fans on Facebook really opted-in? Are e-mail opt-ins more valuable? No for her. She prefers to communicate with people who have opted in to what we've got to say. Social is an extension of the mix. She sees it as a more valuable part of it. 
Real likes cost more than fake Likes. But the value varies - and is worth five times less than it costs to get? She doesn't know those numbers, so won't comment on them. She gets an equal number of registrations through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - she didn't expect it from Facebook. And they're the same quality into the sales funnel. 
Are you measuring by content types? Yes - most of their learning over the last 12 months has been in this. They seen most engagement with imagery and video, and open questions which trigger debates. Broadcast gets zero engagement. The unbeaten post was a photo of sales folks in the call centre in Dublin. It was so authentic - and that's key to engagement. 
Do they watch competitors? Yes, because it's a learning journey.
Are you measuring consumptive engagement, too? Yes, that's key. They're going to start tracking consumptive behaviour. There's an attitude that social is 90% voyeurs. That's fine, if they're consuming the content. We do want to measure that more. We're good at jumping in and trying things. We haven't figured out yet how to tie it in to ROI - but they will.
Have they tied social into traditional CRM? There's a huge amount of work being done. They have a customer experience initiative that has multiple components. They're tracking the social profiles of their customers, and making that available to their CRM. 

#b2bhuddle: Allan Schoenberg

Allan Schoenberg's keynote

Liveblogging: errors, grammar mistakes and odd sentence structure likely...

Allan Schoenberg, executive director, corporate communications, CME Group

The CME Group was founded in 1848, and runs five financial exchanges around the world. 

They got involved with the "traditional" social media platforms in 2007. Financial traders have always been social - gathering information and communication from each other in the trading pits onwards. Twitter is becoming a virtual trading floor. It's a natural progression for the company. They started in 2007 with Facebook, after he found a group talking about CME. They now have a social working group. Up until 2009 it was just Allan - now they have seven people, and they "meet" through  monthly calls, talking compliance, strategy and measurement. China has expanded massively on social over the last two years - they use local social media as their exclusive marketing channels there. 

For the last 18 months they've focused on the visual - YouTube, SlideShare, Instagram and Pinterest. They use Instagram as a recruiting tool. There are some historical photos, but the majority are live and immediate, taken by staff who are keen photographers. Their focus is on niche markets. They use StockTwits and track by specific products - like gold, copper and so on. They can drill down and connect with real customers in a live environment. They collect 40,000 messages a month. 

They like to think of social as an environment for fans. They want to build loyalty, and go to their customers. They want to develop advocacy through social-base dedication. And, of course, they do monitoring. They're an enterprise client of Hootsuite. 

  • They use LinkedIn - they have 10 groups, the majority of which are private and a sales tool. They have a few hundred people in them. They train specific sales people to use LinkedIn. 
  • Content has been key to them for while. They build content calendars around key announcements and events, stretching out months afterwards. 
  • They collect data - they have influence and eyeball metrics. How do you separate the two and drill down into the metrics that matter? They experiment a lot - and collect and process a lot of information from what they do. 
  • Community - they try and focus on niche networks and build small, quality connections with people. They're exploring Google+ Hangouts - 10 people is fine, as long as they're the right 10 people.

Content is an extreme differentiator for them. They pull in a lot of content from other sources - Nobel prize winners and authors doing guest posts on their blog, for example. They know who their content influencers are - internally and externally: internal photographers, external experts and bloggers. They try to maintain a consistent 24/7 presence on social. They work hard to maximise relationship with partners and vendors to support their work. They give key partners a heads-up on what they're doing.

Measurement is a constant challenge - but they have a culture of checking very day. They look closely at where they fail, and check on what they need to get rid of.

His personal blog is b2bvoices

Questions and Answers

Compliance? Their compliance officer was one of the first people they met with. Their job is to put out information, not have opinions on it. They can't make positions on trades, for example. They act with caution, and have regular internal conversations. As exchanges rather than traders, they have a different set of regulations to deal with.

How did they find people internally, and how did they bring them into their work? They have an internal blog called Social Exchange. They have an application in to Google Glass - and they talk about that there, for example. They actively solicit feedback, and have been open about what they are doing. And most of it's on public platforms, so the staff can see it. Keeping a small team, and keeping it centralised has made it easier, because there's no confusion about who owns what. There's a central e-mail address for the social team, for example. 

China? They do some in English, and they have a Chinese person on the team, and that really helped. There are enough people on the team who speak the language to provide checks and balances. Censorship? They're not talking about human rights issues. They're focused on financial services, which helps. Bloomberg is blocked in China, so they don't post those stories. When they encounter blocks, they analyse the situation. Things deeper and deeper on their own website weren't getting through, so they pushed that to their China site.

Eyeball versus Influence metrics? Some eyeball metrics - like on LinkedIn - really matter to them. It can tell them if they're hitting the right audience. On the influence side, it's about sitting down with the salespeople and helping them really connect. They had a dinner with a bunch of chief economists - and then asked the salespeople how many LinkedIN connections they'd made - and followed up by helping them do so. 

Closed LinkedIn groups? They want to keep small communities of the right people. They've done LinkUps - meetings of the group for cocktails and food. They've contact them with specific messages. Two or three a year, max. Very focused on good content. They encourage the sales people to connect with people's posts via comments, etc. It's relationship-building and keeping it small helps them do that. 

Tracking people's roles and account security? They track access, and share it with compliance. they have password protection and management. One person on the team has the role of images and image quality. She also manages web content, and can crossover the roles. The person who runs the blog helps with the Twitter accounts. They want to create crossover without stepping on each other's toes. Hootsweet allows them to see what each other have set up. 

Instagram? They wanted to give an insider view of the company. That's moved to things like Twitter and definitely Facebook - but they want people to engage around the images, too. The ask questions - and the headline is so important to get people to dive in deeper. Things are posted several times to Twitter with different headlines. 

How did they get people comfortable with this? Back in 2007 he had the luxury of just doing it, and asking for permission later. People don't have that luxury now. Their CEO was all for it. They've had steady growth, and they add tools as they become available, but they don't do things for the sake of doing it. There's a strategy and goals they want to achieve. They use constant education - and employees have to take annual disclosure exams, and social is part of that. They focus on innovating - on trying different things. Because that's part of the corporate culture, it makes doings social easier.

Social advertising? They use Facebook and LinkedIn for social advertising. They're a sponsor of StockTwits. They find is mostly very useful. They see huge spikes on Facebook - and they can use Google Analytics to find what's actually happening. Organic followup from promoted posts is great. You get a spike, and it comes down - but stabilises higher than before. LinkedIn work is highly targeted - they can target 500 people they need to talk to with a  campaign, and do it inexpensively. 

#b2bhuddle: setting the scene

#B2BHuddle objectives.jpg

What's today's Huddle all about? Neville Hobson and Kerry Bridge set the scene:

Traditionally, the Huddle gets great speakers - but it's designed to facilitate small group conversations. Each of the small sessions are run as the organiser sees fit. The Huddle started in 2009, supported by Dell then. This is the sixth Huddle, and it maintains the informal, pitch-free environment.  

We're going to take a serious look at content marketing - and cut through the hype around the term. There will be genuine stories of companies doing it - and exploration of the pitfalls. And we'll look at measurement, particularly in the B2B context. There's lots of research being published about content marketing - lots of it. We have four keynote speakers, and six people running Huddle sessions.

May 1, 2013

Rethinking Conference Content Capture - tomorrow's experiment


Tomorrow, I'm trying a New Thing.

This New Thing will involve Matt Buck of Drawnalism and myself working together to capture content from a conference. I do the words, he does the graphics. 

If you want to know more about what we've got planned - and the rationale behind it, I've written a post for the B2BHuddle blog explaining all. If you want to see how we do - stay right here on this blog, because this is where we'll be doing it...

March 21, 2013

What's NEXT? Here be dragons...

ProgrammeOut_640x498.jpgMy first client when I went independent was - and still is - NEXT Berlin, a conference held anually in Berlin. It's a conference I attended as a blogger and fell in love with because it was so very good at looking a few years ahead. Most web conference are very much about the now - about what's hitting the mainstream at the time the conference is held. NEXT is great at talking about what will matter in a couple of years - so you can be ready for it.

That's why I've enjoyed writing for their blog so very much. It allows me to probe the future in a range of fields, and that's just plain fun.

This year, the conference is exploring the idea that there are dangers in the world to come. Here be dragons... But the thing about dragons, is that they sit on piles of gold. Slay the dragon, and the treasure is yours.

The conference programme has just been announced, and it looks like a corker. 

I'm all booked up for two frantic days of liveblogging in Berlin. I hope to see some of you there.

February 4, 2013

Cool Content Coming Soon... to Cornwall

cool-content-coming-on-the-t-shirt.jpgCool Content Coming Soon, the rather splendid content-centric event I liveblogged last year, is coming back (soon), and this time to this part of the world:

cornish-boats.jpgYes, Cornwall. In fact, it'll be at the Eden Project on March 22nd, and if you're anywhere near that part of the world - or can arrange to be - then it's well worth half a day of your time and under £40

October 29, 2012

What could be more Brighton than TEDx and cupcakes?

TEDxBrighton CupcakesFriday, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will be aware, was TEDxBrighton. It's my second TEDx event (the first was TEDxTuttle a few years back), and the only one I've been involved in organising - although just as a storyteller (which in this case, essentailly means blogger). And I had a blast. After a few technical hitches with the sound in the opening minutes, it ran very smoothly indeed. Feedback from friends who were there was largely positive - most thought the speakers were a mixed bag, but there didn't seem to be universal agreement about who were the good ones and who were the bad ones, which was a good sign of diversity amongst both the audience and the speakers...

I, sad to say, got virtually no time to network, as I was busy either liveblogging, or editing photos or video to add to the liveblog. You can find all the liveblogging over on the TEDxBrighton site. My thoughts about the contents of the talks are percolating, and I'll post more about the day in a little while.

In the meantime, I'd just like to highlight these:

TEDxBrighton cupcakesThe format of a TEDx event is rigorously - and I mean rigorously - controlled by the TED organisation. Fair enough. It's their brand, they're sharing it, and they're entitled - sensible, even - to protect it. But the area outside the main event is where the organisers can really cutomise it. Natalie Lloyd did a fine job of bringing in lots of Brighton organisations and bodies into the main mingling space outside the Corn Exchange, to give the event a pretty multi-generational feel:


But the only part of these I had actually time to experience were the wonderful cupcakes baked - in a 13 hour baking marathon - by this cake-baking lady:

Emma Jane, baker of Brighton cupcakesEmma Jane was also one of the few people I didn't already know I got the chance to chat with. I was obviously delighted to discover as well as being a cupcaking creation fiend (and they were a great source of sugar for a energy-sapped liveblogger...) she's also an avid blogger at Cakes and Catwalks. She's even blogged about the experience of the day - which was something of a mixed bag for her, sadly:

I love TED and really enjoyed the talks again this year, I also met some really lovely people and very much appreciated the 'thank you' I received in person from many of the delegates and team - also the tweets that people sent me and seeing photos appearing of my cakes across social platforms was very rewarding. But I had to request that delegates were told a)- that there were cakes and b)- where to find the cakes. I guess I kind of assumed that having asked me to bake 350 cupcakes (which were branded for TEDx), that people would be encouraged to enjoy them.

Which brings us back to the brand control aspect of TEDx events. What you can and can't say about sponsors (and indeed, the various behind-the-scenes folks) is pretty limited. It's a tricky balance - but I think Natalie did a pretty fine job in her first outing organising an event like this.

Thankfully all 360 cupcakes were consumed in the end. Here's Flora Koska, speaker at the event, choosing one of them:


September 13, 2012

Charlie Peverett: why it's time to ban the blog

Charlie Peverett, iCrossing

Thumbnail image for Charlie Peverett

Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages - and more indexed pages get more leads - or so says the slides that opens Charlie from iCrossing's presentation at the Brighton Digital Marketing Festival. He's going to make the case for banning the blog - or some of the bad habits we've all slipped into...

And he quotes Tamsin suggesting that many people ending up using blogs because their main website is too awful to easily add things to:

Marketers think that blogging will increase engagement, visibility and things like that. But blogs are buckets - clever buckets. We invest the things we put in buckets with our hope and aspirations for what it'll do. Some people are more interested in the bucket than the contents. But it's what's in the bucket that counts. 

Time has moved on, and the discussion hasn't. 

1. Blogs as workaround

Blogs are often workarounds for websites that are no longer fit for purpose. The arrival of blogs was a godsend for those of us trying to manage content for a bad website. We're used to thinking of them as our friends - those of us who anthropomorphise tools on the web...

2. My boss heard about blogging...

Often the job isn't to be blogging, but to create effects that blogging can bring.

3. It's treated as a media buy

Social media is still being annexed by marketing. And that's... fine. But actually social media is not a media buy. If we look at a blog as an alternative to paid attention, it's easy to slip into the language of "not buying this, but buying a blog". Panda and Penguin has put pressure on those working in content to come up with the goods. 

In short: the success of you blog is increasingly tied to what you say - not just the fact that you have chosen to speak. Sometimes alternative platforms might suit you better. Thinking hard about what you're trying to achieve something can save you a lot of pain later. 

There are some terrible corporate blogs. It's hard to find examples - because everyone just ignores terrible stuff online. They're bad in a sad-making way, rather than an embarrassing way. Sometimes they put up (say) a great interview with a designer - and nobody watches it. And then the PR team insist you put up a PR release about a new opening. It's not interesting.

There's the Hippo phenomenon - the opinion of the highest paid person in the room. Without a clear idea of what you want, the Hippo's opinion dominates. 

Charlie recommends:

  • in the early stage of planning, ban the word "blog"
  • Take those questionable claims for blogging, and replace with being interesting and relevance
  • See if the conversation goes somewhere else

Focus on the purpose, not the bucket. If you do decide that a blog is what you need - that's a positive decision. It's the difference between the knee-jerk reaction of signing up for WordPress because you need to be "more social" - and choosing one of a set of communication tools. You might end up with a blog - that should always be a positive decision. 

Continue reading Charlie Peverett: why it's time to ban the blog.


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