aStore / Amazon

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Who Cares: Writing for Groups and People in Categories (Technique)

Targeting a known audience is a traditional marketing technique, history and culture comes in many forms.

Writing to a targeted audience, either a targeted group or a broad audience with targeted message is a fundamental marketing technique. It's a good starting point in content marketing creation (design and planning as well.) We all have our own interests, preferences and values. We share them with a few other people, sometimes not people close to us geographically. Talking and "listening" to people's conversations is a normal way to interact. If you tap into this simple behavior with a targeted group, tell them something they want to hear, you have a starting point in getting people to care. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Are Your Odds in Getting a Job? Finding Customers?

Starting in a new field is advantageous with limits, Saint in Tiberius church, Israel © Ami Vider 2014
Content Marketing is a sub-sector of internet marketing like other new internet professions (affiliate, SEO, advertising, social media). New internet professions are a great opportunity to start a career or a new business. You can become proficient enough to show your skills in a new field faster than in an established one. You also have less competition from established professionals. But, and this is a big but... with a new profession it is hard to determine if you will succeed and will make a living out of it. There are a few interesting books and even courses which teach these new fields. Some of the successful experienced practitioners claim that with dedication and hard work you will do fine. Is this just the "marketing hype" before the real test? I met a few people, some even working in coffee shops behind the espresso machine, who wanted to "get into internet". Some took the courses or bought the books. Some finished some type of certificate. Many seem frustrated at the low entry position pay and some could not get a job after a few interviews. Some had only a few interviews and then asked for their money back from the "guru" who offered the course. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lerning from the Right Book, Blog or Course

A quote from Mark 1 9-11: (even the "good book" may not be the "right" book for HTML or AdWords or even Buddha :-) "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." In Hebrew and Greek. Taken at the Christian baptism site, Jordan river, Israel.
Have you heard about the "best book to learn...."? Or the course the will change your life (make you rich, happy and sexy in three months)? There are countless offers for "the best, fastest, for-sure-way, easiest, completely proven"... you get the point. Yet in reality, each book, method or technique works only for very few people. Even if it is proven by experience and the guru (master, expert) has been teaching it and using it with hundreds of people. What makes a book "good" for you? How will a blog move you along, day by day, so you can benefit? Even if you are skeptical, there are videos and courses which have changed people's lives. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many good resources, comprehensive useful sites and successful new product marketers (supporters, advisors, trainers). Most of new internet's new professions are populated by self taught workers. There are many factors which will make a training book useful to each person. Some factors are easy to determine: technical level, amount of involvement required, writing style, end goal or result (does it fit the reader's need?), difficult or even impossible demands, prerequisites, physical or mental requirements... the list goes on and on. The simple fact is, most techniques do not work for simple reasons. Sometimes if you buy the book and try to make it work, you realize why you are not successful. Sometimes you can't achieve what is promised and you give up. Usually not knowing what went wrong. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Getting A Product Content Into Shape [OBSRV] Sticky situations

Businesses which really need content might not be in the best shape or look great!

If you are a freelancer or new to content marketing (and searching for a job), you will meet lots of different people. The world of content marketing covers an infinite number of domain areas and technical capabilities. Many of the people looking to hire you are looking to solve a problem. It could be a strategic problem like the image or impression the company projects. Some will need technical or business writing. Some will need convincing writing on a regular basis, not always blogs or social media. In general, the people who really need you will have a problem or will be in what we call "bad shape". Essentially you are the lawyer solving a sticky criminal situation or a physician dealing with a nasty infection. All domain experts solve real problems at times. The problems are not always nice. They are also not always solved for the people who have "taken care of themselves". Sick people usually are not the healthy athletes, diet eating, medicine taking, non-smokin' & drinkin' kind. So what, that's life. The people who really need you may not have their business in best shape. Yet these are the people you need to help. Don't complain, don't make faces or roll your eyes, do the job, do it well and get it over. Make the world a little better, it may make a difference to someone.   

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Charlie The Tuna for Content Marketing: "Sorry Charlie"

What would the famous Charlie the Tuna character say in the world of content marketing? Who and why would someone tell Charlie: "Sorry, Charlie. StarKist wants tuna that tastes good, not tuna with good taste." Actually, we see good taste content most of the time, beautiful designs, nice words and ideas, slick presentations and catchy writing... essentially pretty articles, graphics and videos. But, for the most part, we need to hunt for "... tuna that tastes good". Content that is useful, interesting, engaging, maybe even controversial or helpful. The type of content which will pass the Charlie the Tuna test. The internet is filled with "cool, hip, made in good taste" material. But that is not what attracts readers. What the "bad old voice of StarKist" says is pay attention to the quality of the real product... AND the message. You can sell some products based on a "hip, cool" image, but not certain ones like tuna. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Effective Content Marketing [SKIL] Who cares? How can you tell?

Tourists do not come to New York, London or Paris for the animals, they come to shop and see shows
When you get down to bottom line results, all the writing, editing, drawing, promoting and selling comes down to: who cares? What is all the effort yielding? Are you making sales? Are you informing or influencing people? Are people commenting, contributing, correcting or even criticizing? For the most part, most of the writing and graphics designed for the internet is not effective. In the marketing world, this is bad news. A big part of ineffective marketing is in the quality and relevance. Quality is not an easy problem to solve. For the most part, high quality marketing content is created by efforts from product developers, marketers, feedback from the market (real potential customers) and channels (reps, resellers, field sales). The internet gives us the benefit of reaching customers directly, this is what we can do where print and broadcast simply can not. We have the ability to evoke feedback quickly and directly. The difficulty does not lie simply in the writing and editing. It is a bigger problem of coordinating messages, testing relevancy and clarity, improving the content and eventually tracking it back to the customer's response. Closing the communication loop is what we need to do. If nobody cares and they don't understand, it's like talking to the wall.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Hard Can It Be? [OBSRV] Coping with the learning curve

Mark Pilgrim in "Dive into HTML5" estimates 99% of web sites have HTML errors - can you cope with this?
One of the advantages freelance work affords me, is seeing a broad range of people. One clear observation recently is how people react to certain content marketing (i.e. editing, copy writing, graphic design) work. Sometimes I assume people new to the field will eventually learn. With learning and experience also comes confidence and maturity. Sometimes, the confidence show up as the ability to handle pressure, change and even failure. Handling difficult situations is the most valued quality in an experienced professional. Just ask a surgeon who opens up a chest and "suddenly" finds a "complication". Or a lawyer facing a new fact from a witness during a trial. Sounds a bit over the top? Yet this is what I see on a daily basis. It comes in small ways. Small coding mistakes (HTML Tags), language and actual product description mistakes, navigation mistakes (buttons that don't work), and finally, problems with large functions like plug-ins and JavaScript functions. The mistakes are not necessarily going to influence a reader's impression, most times they are not even visible. Yet, some people react in strange or extreme manner.