There’s no doubt that content marketing isn’t what it used to be – it’s actually better. The content marketing evolution has been happening for sometime now. Gone are the days when simply flooding the internet with spun content backlinks to your site would rank you on Google. Do that today and Google will at the very least penalize you. At worst you could get blacklisted.
I’m glad to see this evolution impacting content creators.
Recently the staff at BuzzSumo released a report on the trends in content marketing and what that means going forward in the industry.
When asked if content marketing was dying BuzzSumo says:
Heck no! Content marketing isn’t dying; it’s evolving. We can evolve our tactics and strategy to recapture our audience’s attention. Those who hear the alarm and take action will thrive, while those who keep snoozing will go down with the ship. As Rayson told us:
“The lesson for content marketers is that you must have a content promotion or amplification strategy. You can no longer expect to publish content, share it on social and expect people to find it.” via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
So what are those 5 alarms that we must be paying attention to if we are to survive this shift?
You Won’t Get the Shares You Once Got
Influencer marketing makes sure your content gets in front of the right people, and more than 8 of them at a time. Brand amplification of content isn’t enough to earn shares now — the content needs to come from people your audience already knows and trusts. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
Influencers are vital to your amplification strategy. The magic of viral content is influencers. An influencer is anyone recognized by large number of people as an authority in the niche. They come with a huge following that looks to them as an authority and they respond to what they share. Influencer marketing is piggy backing on that “popularity”.
If you’re depending your social media channels to amplify your content you’re going to miss out. Facebook is limiting your content based upon engagement factors in much the same way that engaging content is required to rank on Google. Engaging content is required and your content must engage your influencer’s audience as well. Learn to write for that broader audience.
Facebook is Blowing You Off
Start thinking of Facebook as a pay-to-play platform and adjust budget and expectations accordingly. This is also a good time to evaluate how much of your audience is actually on Facebook and actively engaging with content. The report also shows that LinkedIn* likes and shares are up more than 60% from last year — which means LinkedIn may be a better place to focus your attention. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
Facebook is simply another PPC platfrom and should be seen as such. You can do some amazing things with
Facebook, but you can’t do them for free as many were once taught. The new Facebook alogrythm focuses on “meaningful engagement”. Maybe that’s where it should always have been. This is another move in that direction of quality content verses quanity of content. Quality is winning. Figure this out and you’ll win as well.
Google is Still The Search Giant
Facebook is steadily trending down as Google continues to rise. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
Google love is always going to be good for your content marketing. The frustrations with Facebook actually
work to your advantage. As Google returns to the top to its rightful place as the search engine giant you can capitalize on this by doing what serving up quality content.
Google is a tough code to crack (I say that tongue in cheek because you don’t crack their code), but quality content on blogs and in videos is still the best policy.
Backlinks Ain’t What They Used To Be
The majority of content that attracts backlinks is high-quality research or reference content from authoritative sources. Work on building your library of stellar content, optimize it for SEO, and you can begin earning backlinks. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
Look carefully at that quote: “High-quality research or referenced content from authoritative sources.” That’s called curated content. Curation is the process of finding authoritative content, organizing that content in a manner best for your audience, providing value to that content by give your view/interpretation/commentary. Build a library of that and you will earn backlinks.
Your Content Must Count or You Don’t
Publish higher-value content at a slower cadence. Take time to deliver authoritative research or reference works rather than lighter, more shallow content. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
According to Dan Norris in the book Content Machine, “Great content is something you provide your audience that captures their attention and encourages them to share.” In other words, the things you share must make a difference to people. They must engage with the content It must contain careful research (accurate truth is the basis for all quality content). Shallow content only contributes to the noise.
The delivery method for the content doesn’t really matter. It can be written in a blog, delivered as a video, micro blogged on Twitter or other social media channels but the fact remains it must provide value to the intended audience.
The BuzzSumo Report offers the following conclusion for content marketers:
Interestingly, the “new” most effective tactics are those that have been steadily working the whole time, while some of us went chasing shiny objects: Create high-quality, best-answer content, leverage influencers for amplification & credibility, capture your audience and serve them engaging emails. via: Content Marketing: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report
Isn’t that really what we should have been doing all along? Engaging an audience with quality content. Providing the best answers to important questions. Collaborating with influencers on meeting the needs of the audience. Staying in contact through email. It worked 15 years ago and it still works today.
Stop looking for the magic bullet and start doing the right things.
Reading for Maximum Impact
We all learned to read at an early age, but what have we done to improve on those skills since then? Reading is the most common practice of highly successful people, but how can you maximize that so you get all of the benefit possible?
How many books are published every year? Search Amazon for Business Books. There are more than 2 million results. Where do you start? What do you consume? What will be the benefit? How do you decide?
I know that reading will benefit me. Deciding the value of what to read is more challenging than simply reading for volume. If my goal is to read 25 books per year that can easily be achieved. If my goals is to read one book that will increase my impact by 25 times that’s a completely different story. One will benefit me to some degree. The other can be life changing.
Thoughts that go through my head:
- If I read the last 17 books written on time management what new thing can I expect to learn? Will that be a good use of my time?
- If I read a book just to finish it, what difference does it make?
- What will I be quoting from that book 10 years from now?
- What am I quoting from a book I read 10 years ago?
- Is this book in alignment with my purpose in life?
In other words, we need to approach reading as deliberately as any other business decision. It’s a resource available to us. Treat it the same as you would a time or money resource. Give it the same care and consideration. Give it the same devotion.
I’m not talking about seeing how much you can consume. Reading one book in a year that increases my impact by 25 times is a 1000 times better than reading 25 books with no impact.
Selecting the Right Book
Here are the steps I follow to select a book:
- I select what I’m going to read carefully including the aesthetics.
- What is the look of the book? There really isn’t any excuse today for a poorly designed book. It has to look appealing.
- Does the front cover make the contents clear?
- Does the back cover give me convincing reasons to read the book?
- The author
- What do I know about the author and his/her background that would indicate alignment with my purpose?
- Have they demonstrated their ability to speak with authority on the topic? What are some of their past works?
- Where can I find the author besides this book?
- What do I believe his/her purpose is for writing this book?
- What new unique perspective or voice will he/she lend that will benefit me the most?
- Background thoughts
- What other books have I read on this topic?
- Have I read other books by this author?
- How will those things influence my reading of this book?
- Would it benefit me to go back and review what I have already read rather than starting again here? Revisiting a topic over and over again without taking action is a very bad habit.
- Can I connect this “unknown” to my “known” to expedite the implementation process?
- State my objective clearly
- How do I expect this book to impact my purpose?
- What do I expect to get from this book that I don’t already know?
- A book can only fill one of three purposes:
- Introduce you to a new concept, idea, position, or perspective.
- Reinforce an existing idea, concept etc…
- Challenge an existing concept, idea etc…
- Where do I see this book on that spectrum?
- How does that objective align with my purpose right now? If I don’t intend to consider taking some positive action on this topic then don’t let this book become some kind of rabbit trail.
- Evaluate the contents
- Read the the jacket. What did I learn about the book? The author? What did others say?
- Scan the Table of Contents. How well organized is the material?
- Read the index (if it has one) looking for additional resources to supplement the book as well as contact information on the author.
- Select 2-3 chapter titles that sound like they will fulfill my objective. Read the first 3 paragraphs of each of those chapters. Do they fulfill the promise of fulfilling my objective?
- What is the writing style like? Does it move quickly or do I have to wade through a lot of fluff to get to the point? Note: If I can’t get the full impact of the point in the first three paragraphs, then I will waste a lot of time even if the content is stellar.
- What strengths can I identify in those 9 paragraphs from the author? What weaknesses do I see?
I do all of that BEFORE I decide to purchase/read any book.
You think that’s a lot of work?
A lot of work is reading something that won’t help me achieve my objective. Getting 150 pages into a book that is wasting my time and not moving me closer to my goals – that’s too much work. Better to spend some time on the front end than waste a bunch on the back end.
I’ve Made My Choice Now What?
Once I’ve decided this book is worthy of my time, I have another process that I follow every single time.
Note: I don’t read fiction so I never have to change my approach.
I follow these steps exactly every time I read a book.
- First I prep the book for an easy quick read. I make sure to “break-in” the pages so it opens easily and I have no trouble manipulating the book.
- I write my objective for reading the book inside the cover. This is just a sentence or two. I’m going to refer to this often.
- Next I read through the book as quickly as possible.
- Almost at a speed reading pace with a pen in hand. (You can’t speed read and make notes.)
- I put a tick mark beside everything that catches my attention.
- I note in the margin where I have heard that topic before by the author’s name only. Example: Tracy.
- Next I summarize the chapter with a single word or phrase that comes from my reservoir of “known” information. For example: Reading a chapter on “The Lies that Mislead Us.” I summarized with Accurate Truth, that is one of Napoleon Hill’s Seventeen Laws of Success. (I’ll talk about the value of this more later.)
- I do this for every chapter until I’ve completed the book. Then I write a very brief summary on the inside of the back cover.
- I compare the inside of the front cover with the inside of the back cover to determine what I do next.
The Magic Happens in the Second Read
If the book summary seems like it has fulfilled the promise and purpose of the book, then I decide to give it a second read. This “read” is very different from the first go through.
- I scan through the book stopping at every tick mark I placed on the first read. This time carefully reading the context of the thought that triggered the original tick mark. I might highlight the idea captured in context. I might make notes in the margin. Linking to other books and ideas is something I do frequently in the margins.
- If there are chapters where the summary doesn’t meet expectations then I skip it on this second go. My goal is not to waste time, but to maximize it. A useless chapter will get no more of my time.
- At the end of the saved chapters I now write a summary of the personal impact it has made on my stated purpose. This is important. This personal summary helps deliver me from the urge to just get finished. I now have a bigger goal. I’m out to develop mastery so I can improve.
- Next I write a complete summary inside the back cover. I answer these questions:
- How did this book actually impact my life and business?
- Does this relate to other things I knew about this topic before I started?
- How will I put this to work immediately?
- Can I take this topic, using this material, and teach it to other people?
Maximizing the Impact
If I decide this is a topic that I could teach and other people would benefit from me teaching it. Then I proceed to the next step…
- I’m going to scan through the book a third time. This time only pausing at the places where I’ve made notes. I’m looking specifically for “transferable” information. So I ask the following questions:
- What attracted me to this topic in the first place?
- What market (avatar/community) shares that same need and would be attracted to the same information if delivered by me?
- Are there other resources or unique perspectives I could bring to this topic that would help people to implement this in their life/business?
Note: This is one of the reasons I write the first thing I think of that is connected to the subject in its context. Because here I’m going to identify my unique perspective. When I read that statement the first thing I thought of was…, but it wasn’t the first thing the author thought. That’s my unique perspective. Those things come from my experiences. Often times my unique perspective and my unique experiences are the very thing some people need.
- Next I identify the elements that will make up a basic step-by-step for “my friend” who needs to experience the same thing in their life.
- I note the things that I would put in a basic outline.
- Then I connect the outline with “links” to other supporting thoughts. I find these…
- In my own experiences.
- From the things I have read.
- Stories from the lives of the people I know.
- Finally I apply this to as many different means of delivering my unique discoveries to my world as possible. I pick the top three. Here are just few to get started…
- How to Guide
- Step-by-Step Outline
- Mind Map
- Membership Course
This is how you can read one book and multiply your impact by 25 times.
I created the Self-Directed Learning Project (SDLP) to teach you how to do this. The SDLP includes training on how to get someone to actually pay you for your efforts.
Social Media Community Building
Building social media communities requires a deliberate plan. People are busy. There is a lot of noise on the internet and social media in particular. Many believe (incorrectly, I might add) that this is leading to a level of social isolation never experienced before. People who choose to be isolated will find ways or excuses to do so. All social media does is magnify who you really are.
I have connected with people all over the world. I was once challenged that those people aren’t really your friends just connections on a social media platform. Not true! We’ve done business together, collaborated on projects together, and shared meaningful experiences together. Connecting was my plan. Everything I do is about making those connections and making them as meaningful as possible.
Connections are as important as in your real life. The way you treat people online should be in sync with how you treat them in real physical world. The best part of social media is – delete / unfriend / block / report abuse option. Take good use of them whenever you feel like you are in a situation (again it depends on how you would treat them in real life) via: Is social connections on social media important? – Quora
There is tremendous value in being social. That value can be greatly enhanced by social media. It’s the opportunity to connect on a regular basis in a meaningful way. From those connections you find people:
- With less than noble intentions
- Who simply want to lurk
- Who are interested in you, but not your business
- That express interest in your business, but not you
- Who are potential business assets
- That could become potential business partner
- You might need as potential business collaborators
That crowd isn’t really any different than participating in a marketing event, attending a meetup or networking event, going to a business leaders convention, participating in a Chamber Ribbon Cutting, or simply walking down the street. Consider the effort you put into building a social media community in much the same way.
Here are three tips to help you make the most of those efforts.
Be Real in Your Social Connections
Be who you are. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. We see lots of fakers online. Eventually genuineness wins out. Connections are made by and with people who are real.
If you have a unique slant on Cajun food then share it, but share it in the same way you would in person. In person you would blended your slant into normal conversation. You wouldn’t dominate conversation with it. If you did, people would eventually avoid you. Balance the number of posts you make with the number of comments you make on other people’s posts. Show genuine interest in your connection’s world. Don’t hesitate to show the world what else you know beside cajun food.
Be real in your social media communities. The only way you can connect with people is to be real. Let people know who you are. Share your life.
People want to connect to people who are real. Fake abounds in the online world. The real person will stand above the crowd. Letting people know you’re real allows meaningful connections to develop.
It isn’t enough to simply provide resources for consumers. It is equally important to give them a way to actively participate in the conversation by engaging their own social networks. This can be done in a variety of ways including sharing information with their personal network, participating in surveys, or entering contests. via: The Importance of a Personal Connection: Interactive …
Be Relevant in Your Social Media Communities
Connect with people around topics they need to know or have interest. Give them value around things that matter. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston my Live Feeds that week highlighted the people and places that were making a difference in Houston. I don’t live there, but I know people who do. What was happening in their homes is important to me, but it was a matter of life and death to them. Share their posts. Check in on them. Connect them to resources or connect their resources to people in need. Use the social media community in exactly the same way you would use your local community.
Yes, your business is important, but so are people! If you are going to be relevant to your audience step outside your normal business focus to show you care.
When you focus on your business do it from the perspective of what is important to your connections. Put their needs first. If you’re an HVAC installer you might think that smart control thermostat on your best unit is a great feature to share. What’s important to your customer is keeping their family comfortable durring erratic weather.
Use your social connections to listen to what’s important to them. Find out how they refer to the troubles they face. What language do they use? What’s their level of frustration? What have they tried that failed? Learn to address those things and speak that language and your relevancy will skyrocket.
When the recognized authority (you) responds personally to their problems, using their langauge, offering real solutions your value in the community becomes priceless.
Be Responsive in Your Social World
When your connections post in their social media communities respond. When they listen to your live feeds thank them. Comment on their comments. Not just the ones you like the most but everyone. There is no shortage of meaningless conversation on any social media platform. I’m not suggesting that you answer every time someone asks, “What’s your favorite vacation spot?” I am saying that you should respond to things that are relevant. Don’t forget the importance of relevance.
Below is a quote from a great article, “The Tale of Two Bakers.” You can do exactly the same things in social media that the one baker did to gain a portion of market share.
Every day when you open your computer, log into your social media, read or send emails, run an ad or call someone up – you’re entering a very busy high street.
So take an interest. Be part of their day. Add to their experience. Use social media as a conversation starter and a relationship builder and do it when you can, when your bread is baking, or while you’re eating your lunch time sandwich. via: The Tale of Two Bakers (And Why You Need to be on Social Media!)
Social media community building will expand your impact in the world. It’s worth every effort you put in to it. You may not see immediate benefits. It takes time to create impact. Building social media communities should be a vital part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s not a tactic that gives immediate results. Done right, it’s a strategy that positions you as the expert in your market. The long term benefit of that trumps the immediate benefit of a short term tactic every time.
The button below will take you to a page where you can assess your social media presence. Go there and discover how well you are doing in building a social media community presence.
Can’t Talk…Now What?
My daily content creation might be in jeopardy. Not being able to talk for 14 days has caused some pretty strange behaviors and some serious reflection.
First The Strange Behavior
I dreamed all night about the value of communication. Really that’s weird! I dream about all of the ways that I communicate over the course of the week. The process of taking a Live Feed on Facebook and turning it into a podcast. I thought about how I take the video content and turn it into worksheets, checklists, blog posts, and training programs. Then I woke and realized that too many things began with the live video. I almost shut down my daily content creation because it all began with me speaking on live video.
There was a time when I wrote first, then spoke what I wrote. But I learned that the live “interaction” allowed me to formulate thoughts from a place that made content more engaging. In other words, I learned to work from a strength. I coach people to do this all the time. In the Content Creation Marketing Machine we always start where you work best and build on that platform.
Now The Serious Reflection
Now I’m going through a temporary disruption of that process. I can’t talk. So what does that mean for my daily content creation? How will I continue to touch my audience in the absence of a voice?
This is what I’ve learned:
- Video can’t be the only thing I do. If video was my only method of creating content I would be in trouble, but it’s not. In addition to Live Feed videos I also do daily quotes, twitter posts, blog posts, share other people’s content, and offer insight from articles affecting the industry.
- Draw from my archives. I have a huge library of content from which I can draw. Creating “evergreen” content, the kind of content that’s relevant regardless of what is happening in the world, allows me to draw from that library. Yesterday I shared from the archives “Positive on the Offensive” – always a timely topic.
- Stay engaged. Just because I can’t talk doesn’t mean that I can’t touch. I have consistently done a video broadcast Monday – Thursday at 9:00am for almost 2 years. There is an expectation that I will be Live at 9:00. When I can’t fulfill that obligation I still need to communicate. I still need to share why. I don’t like to expose my life on FB, but sharing the struggle allows people to care. Allow them to engage with you even if the format changes.
- Have a plan to expand my footprint. Limitations always cause me to recognize I need to grow. I had become very comfortable with my content process then it got disrupted – time to reevaluate. Obviously there are some automations that would improve the process. However automations can only run what has already been created. Creating additional types of content takes on a new priority. Quizzes, personal messages, forums, Q&A platforms all look like very attractive ways to expand my presence.
So What About You?
Are you depending on a limited number of touch points with your audience? If for some reason that were to be put on hold do you have a plan?
I started the Content Creation Marketing Machine so you could maintain continuous contact with your audience. I was in the process of kicking that program off when this flu hit. Because of that delay I’m making a special offer to anyone who is ready to grow their audience. Use the button below to find out more. The offer changes as soon as I get my voice back.
Black hat marketing techniques need to be exposed. They hurt business as a whole. They should be exposed when I find them so you can avoid they tactics and their tricks.
While doing a YouTube search for promotional videos for Kudani Cloud – what I believe to be the best content curation tool on the market. I stumbled on this video and I decided to share his black hat marketing techniques with you. The more you know the more you can protect yourself.
Now you get the impression from the video title and the splash page that the content is going to be about the reason why you shouldn’t buy this product. The product was released 4 years ago and the scheduled release of the product coincides with the date of this video. The lowlife is piggybacking on the release of a very popular product to get traffic and attention to his slimy offer. By using the name of the very popular product creator he is leveraging traffic.
Look at the splash page. “Here’s me. I’m at the Giza Plateau. This is made possible by my incredible success on the internet.” While not a black hat marketing technique it has become a kind of “guru” trick.
Black Hat Endorsement
At 6:34 in the video he mentions, “the developer has specifically asked that I not reveal the pricing in this video”. He is implying that he has checked with the developer before creating this video and is complying with his request. Again this is an insider trick to fake an endorsement for the presentation.
The video creator even goes so far as to mention that “you will be receiving emails and offers to buy this product.” By doing this he is taking advantage of a kind of social proof. He’s using the traffic created by the 10,000’s of emails that are being sent around this release to drive traffic to his YouTube scam. (I say scam because clicking on the links in the comments brings up a YouTube warning that the links are dangerous and contain phishing/malware.)
Is There a Pattern Here?
Look carefully at the clip from the YouTube video. Notice that the video had been viewed 405 times and was given a thumbs down 1k times. Something seems wrong here. Something usually seems wrong when black hat marketing techniques are employed.
In this next clip notice this man’s method. He takes a popular topic, product launch, or popular product creator and and leverages their name. The term “Don’t Buy” creates an automatic response in your mind. It’s a trigger that there is something wrong and you need to find out what it is. This is clear psychological manipulation.
The last thing that caught my attention was the search terms used in the video post. By stuffing the video post with search terms appearing as a review it gives the appearance of endorsement. Notice particularly the number of times he promises the very thing which he has no intention of delivering. Terms like: “scam”, “exposed”, “revealed”, “don’t buy”, and “should I buy” are triggers. Those phrases are specifically intend to capture your attention and play on your curiosity.
These techniques are as old as internet marketing, but they continue popping up. Don’t pull these tricks. Don’t be trapped by them.
For more on marketing techniques that are morally acceptable schedule a time with me.
Postscript: Apparently the creator of the original video has passed away. While we mourn his loss we are aware that many claimed to have learned everything they know about marketing on the internet from him.