Daily Archives: September 11, 2017

Self-folding electronics take shape

A mechanically active ink causes flat, 3-D-printed electronic components to spontaneously fold

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Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video

It might only be 1pm in the afternoon, but it’s five o’clock somewhere – a perfect time for a great dry martini.

Research “how to make the perfect dry martini”, and you’ll get over 1,560,000 results. Ask a content marketer “how to tell a good story”, and you’ll get about the same quality of results — except when you ask the fabulous Tim Washer. Like the perfect dry martini, Tim’s strategy for how to tell a good story is simple, neat, and well…perfect.

In his session at Content Marketing World, Tim not only shared how improv can help your B2B marketing, but he shared the five ways you can kill the joy in your videos.

What are his simple rules of how to stop the marketing killjoy?

5 Ways to Kill the Joy in Your Videos

#1 – Death by the Committee

Everytime I think about asking a committee for agree on a single answer, all I envision is that scene from Monty Python of the Knights Who Say “Ni!”. With every question you ask that the they don’t like, the committee responds with an answer you can’t understand – “Ni!”.

In order to find the joy again, keep your committee small. Also, make sure to not set an expectation that they are approving the entire video script. Instead, give them a short list of concepts to approve.

For example, imagine if the entire script for Van Damme’s ‘Epic Split’ Volvo Ad would have been asked for committee approval. We wouldn’t have this:

#2 – Death by the Explanation

As marketers, we sometimes forget to trust our audience. This causes us to feel the need to explain everything. We add in a lot of transitions or talk about items than our audience can easily figure out for themselves based on the imagery shared in the video.

Once you start explaining, you lose your audience.

#3 – Death by Talking About Yourself

We forget that we have customers or clients and talk all about our products or services. This is a sure fire way to kill the joy in your videos. And it must be stopped.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place to talk about the product. However, when you look outside the product and look directly at the customer’s pain of why they need the product or service, you hit their emotional center. This is a great place to find empathy, which creates understanding and a common bond.

Meaning > messaging.  Don’t change how people talk; change how they think.

#4 – Death by the Entire Story

We all have that one friend who tells the story of their latest vacation from beginning to very end. And somewhere between the story of their flight being delayed and them returning home to a dirty house, we miss the part about them meeting the love of their life at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant they happened to walk into on a rainy day in Paris.

When telling a story, share one point at a time and move forward. You can always expand on that point in other videos.

#5 – Death by Superlatives

When we use amazing words over and over again, they have the amazing ability to lose their amazing meaning. What’s the amazing-freaking point?

Stop telling people that your company is amazing. Instead, start telling them stories and let them reach their own conclusion.

For example, Tim used to work at Accenture. They thought they were unique until Deloitte came out with very similar messaging.

As videos become more of your marketing repertoire, don’t forget to help your audience find the joy in your story.

Bring Joy with Video Marketing

In the end, video is a means of which many people consume content but a bad video doesn’t make for a great experience. Focus your efforts on creating a great story that helps to solve the problems of your audience (in the same way you would with any other piece of content) and connects them to the content in a meaningful way.

What types of videos have you found to be most successful for your B2B marketing efforts?

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Make Your Audience a Community: Put Culture at the Core of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Frank Thomas of adidas

Frank Thomas of adidas

Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it.

What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture?

In his presentation at Content Marketing World, adidas’ Frank Thomas shared how the athletic wear company defines their culture and broadcasts it to their potential audience. Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture.

The twist is that the site is for internal and external messaging–same channels, same content. They’re not crafting an image, they’re broadcasting their identity. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. If you’re like us, this is your community, too.” That approach makes it easier for people to connect and form a lasting relationship with the brand.

Here’s how adidas puts culture at the core of their content marketing strategy.

Culture Is Content Marketing’s North Star

According to Frank, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior–they all change as fast as we can construct them.

Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. Define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience.

Frank identified four crucial components of a brand’s culture:

  • Values. What ethical notions form the foundation of the brand?
  • Ideas. What unique ideas arise from these values?
  • Convictions. What beliefs drive the brand’s actions?
  • Behaviors. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values?

Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity.

Once your identity is established, you can move from product marketing to culture marketing. As Frank said, “We’re not selling shoes. We’re communicating on behalf of the brand, building trust in our target audience.”

Gameplan A aims to build a community of like-minded people, including employees, potential recruitment candidates, but also consumers who might become advocates for the brand. The brand’s culture, expressed through Gameplan A’s content, acts as a beacon for those who share the brand’s values.

How to Express Your Culture Through Content Marketing

When you filter content through the lens of your brand’s culture, you can form stronger, more valuable connections with your audience. Frank explained how his team uses Gameplan A to promote adidas’ culture:

#1: Align Internal and External Messaging

According to Frank, it’s crucial to start by engaging your employees. Make sure they understand your culture and believe it’s sincere. Then employees can help spread the message to your audience in a more authentic way.

When your internal and external messaging share the same culture, you can have a meaningful exchange of ideas with your community: Your audience can actually bring value to your continued cultural evolution.


#2: Find Your Uniqueness and Focus In

Sports are adidas’ primary focus. But they’re not just addressing people who love sports–that’s too large a segment to create a meaningful connection with. So they refined their audience segment further, zeroing in on people who are creative, collaborative, and confident: Entrepreneurs and drivers of change. Then they further focused in on those who are actively trying to make a difference, continually self-improving, striving for the new.

This process of segmentation, refinement, and focus can help you find the audience most aligned with your brand’s culture. That is, the audience most relevant and receptive to your messaging.


#3: Make Your Personality Shine

Once you establish your brand’s culture, don’t hide it on your “About” page. Apply your cultural filter to every piece of content you create.

For Gameplan A, Frank created a culture guide that creators can follow to make sure each piece of content meets their cultural DNA. The guide outlines what Frank calls “Mega Themes,” the key topics of interest where their expertise intersects with audience needs. Any new content must address one of these themes to be considered for publication.


#4: Commit Yourself for the Long Haul

It takes time to build a culture-driven brand, to build a community with content that expresses your brand identity. So it’s vital to set expectations and allocate resources accordingly. Prepare your team for a marathon, not a sprint, before you step onto the track.


#5: Involve Your Role Models

The people who inspire your brand’s culture can make powerful collaborators for co-creating content. Gameplan A curates content from their heroes, and works with them to create original content.

But it’s not just about working with influencers–some of your most inspiring role models are right in your community. Gameplan A offers their community the chance to suggest topics, ask questions, recommend content, and even submit proposals for drafting content to be published on the hub.

Keeping It Extra Real

To start building your community of like-minded individuals–your most relevant audience–don’t try to fake sincerity. Start by firmly establishing your brand’s culture. Document the values, ideas, convictions and behaviors that define your identity. Then make that culture the guiding light of your content marketing strategy.

When your culture is genuine, shared throughout the organization, and expressed in all you do, you won’t have to chase your most valued audience: They’ll be drawn to you.

The post Make Your Audience a Community: Put Culture at the Core of Your Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Gal Gadot Just Shared the Funniest 'Wonder Woman' Bloopers on Instagram

Gal Gadot shared some very funny ‘Wonder Woman’ bloopers on Instagram over the weekend. Details here.

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Start-up sues L’Oréal over antiaging ingredient

Use of the nucleoside adenosine to erase wrinkles is at the heart of a David versus Goliath dispute

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5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’

Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world.

“In just four [phrases] she had to make her case. Wilbur was her product.” Handley passionately told Content Marketing World attendees last Thursday. “I mean she was looking to save this pig’s life people. … And Zuckerman was her audience.”

Handley’s passion for Charlotte’s marketing abilities stems from her “literary crush” on author E.B. White. She even attempted to purchase his Maine estate where we wrote 12 of his 14 novels, including Charlotte’s Web.

As a result of her extreme fandom, in her presentation, she revealed five insightful content marketing writing “secrets” from the pages of Charlotte’s Web.

#1 – Be a writer first and a marketer second.

According to Handley, the worst content strategies usually start with “We need a piece of content for X.” Instead, we all should begin by asking ourselves: “What does my audience need?”

“Charlotte figured out what would make [Farmer] Zuckerman feel better about himself,” Handley said. “[And her words] made him feel like he had something special. It made his life better. It elevated his status in the community. It made him feel like he was a better vision of himself.”

#2 – Hoard ideas like a fat rat.

Charlotte’s marketing initiatives were so successful because she had help from her research assistant, Templeton the rat. He would go to the dump and bring Charlotte back scraps of paper to inspire her web writings, in return for hoards of food, of course.

“The difference between creative and desperate is an abundance of ideas,” she said. “Always collect ideas. … And write every day.”

#3 – Observe like Fern.

Fern Arable, the young girl that’s the first to save little Wilbur’s life, is a big background character in the book and paints the full picture of what’s happening in the story.

“She observes,” Handley said. “She hears, smells, tastes and touches.”

Essentially, make your audience feel.

#4 – Write to your Zuckerman.

While most content marketers are working off personas or look-alike audiences to craft their content, Handley challenged us to find the one person that can be helped by our content and write to them.

“Who is your audience of one?” Handley asked rhetorically. “ [Think about it as] one goal to one person at a time.”

#4.5 – Find the axe.

At the beginning of the session, Handley remarked that the opening lines of Charlotte’s Web is perhaps the best of all time.

‘“Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

This is when Fern discovers the runt of the litter is about to be slaughtered, which was a problem she felt compelled to solve.

“Find the axe,” Handley said. “Every story has to have a problem. So surface the axe.”

#5 – All you need is less.

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is more.

“Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words,” Handley challenged the room. “How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?”

Be a Friend & a Good Writer

As I wrote this post, I felt compelled to remind myself how Charlotte and Wilbur’s story ends. As it turns out, it bolsters everything Handley said. The final line of the book reads:

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

For me, this means you can be a true friend to your audience and leave a lasting impression when you commit to being a good writer.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’ | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Trees with a probiotic boost cleanup of a carcinogen

Symbiotic bacteria help poplars strip trichloroethylene from groundwater

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