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Why Earned Media Is Essential to Marketing Success

Marketing podcast with Christina Daves

The term “earned media” is pretty fashionable these days. While it’s certainly taken on expanding meaning of late, I’ve been using it for years.

earned media

photo credit: European Parliament via photopin cc

I’ve long felt that the blending of advertising, referrals and public relations (what I’ve always called earned media) is the recipe for effective lead generation.

In today’s vernacular that might be stated as the convergence of paid media (advertising), owned media (content assets) and earned media (public relations combined with all manner of customer generated content and sharing.)

So, let’s further define what earned media is.

Earned media is the kind you, well, earn, you don’t create it or buy it, it comes about when you do something worth sharing. That sharing might come in the form of a feature in your local paper or it just might as likely come when your friends and fans tell their friends and fans about your upcoming webinar.

Either way, it must be an essential leg of your lead generation efforts, and here’s why.

In the information age the most effective form of advertising is advertising that creates awareness for valuable, educational, trust building content. That content may be in the form of an ebook, blog post or Google+ Hangout, but the intent of the paid media is to drive attention and engagement with an organization’s owned media.

By adding earned media to this equation you potentially create leverage that can multiply and carry your paid and owned efforts to places you might never reach. So you see, it’s not just about numbers; it’s about access and trust.

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Christina Daves, author of PR for Anyone and an inventor whose talent for generating earned media put her business on the map. In fact, she was so successful she started a business to teach others how to generate PR on a budget.

Earned media, the process that enables and encourages media outlets and end users alike to create and promote messages that benefit your brand is the secret to marketing success.

The pool of potential amplifiers now extends far beyond traditional media outlets. Every member of your community is a potential source of earned media. Anyone that retweets, reviews, embeds, shares, comments, likes and curates your paid and owned media elements generates earned media.

If, in fact, we then proactively build campaigns and processes to turn these amplifiers into subscribers, attendees, participants and ultimately customers, we create the ultimate lead generation machine.

The place where earned, owned and paid media converge, the place where community members can no longer tell the difference, is where the environment for ultimate customer loyalty exists.

You earn market attention when you produce and promote something people want to talk about, but then earned media takes something and creates the kind of momentum that no amount of paid media can.

Creating great content is about creating earned media. Optimizing your blog, website and brand assets is about creating earned media. Your email newsletter is about creating earned media. Your social networking activity is about creating earned media.

Earned media is the ultimate amplification tool when used in conjunction with paid and owned media.

The Future of Social Media

Marketing Podcast with Mike Stelzner

social media future

photo credit: jjutt via photopin cc

The title of today’s post is one that I could write on a monthly basis. What’s next in social media is a topic that seems to create a great deal of angst in marketing circles.

I suppose the reason is that in some fashion social media has changed the game of marketing in ways that feel foreign to most and it’s not done changing. In fact, the only constant is change and evolution and that creates confusion. Seems like once a social media expert figures out how to tell people the best way to use Facebook, poof, it all changes.

In back to back emails I received solicitations to learn a) Why Facebook is Dead and b) How to Make a Killing on the Coming Facebook Gold Rush. So, it’s no wonder the future of social media seems confusing.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visited with Social Media Examiner founder Mike Stelzner. We talked about how he’s successfully promoted his big, live event Social Media Marketing World (disclosure: I’m speaking at the event) held in March in San Diego and we talked a bit about the future of social media.

Frankly, I think Mike and I agree that the future of social media for the typical small business hasn’t changed much at all. The big social networks are going public and answering to the cry of stockholders to show ever increasing profits by creating another promotional channel for big brands. Social media for the small to mid size firms, however, has always been and shall remain one of the best places to gain exposure for great content. If the social networks forget that completely there won’t be any reason to use the network.

Shares, likes, embeds and retweets are the currency of marketing in social media and always have been. Marketers like to call this earned media, but no matter what you call it, it doesn’t happen without share worthy content. In fact, share worthy content makes your advertising or paid media more effective as well.

So, the future of social media is integration! Social media drives convergence and in some ways makes all of your marketing efforts more effective when properly viewed as an integration and audience building tool set.

How Do You Cultivate Work You Love?

Marketing Podcast with Cal Newport

Cal Newport

photo credit: Helal Al-Helal via photopin cc

Common wisdom suggests that if you love what you do you’ll do just fine. I’ve found that while passion for your chosen line of work is certainly important – if you don’t get good and what you do and people don’t value what you do – money will not necessarily follow.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, Cal Newport author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, takes this even farther to suggest that skill, not passion, is the key to successfully finding work your love.

The problem with “Follow your passion” it that it assumes you have preexisting passion and that if you match this passion to your job you’ll enjoy that job.

Newport advocates cultivating your passion as a more realistic approach.

“Cultivate” implies that you work toward building passion for your job. It requires you to approach your work like a crafstman. Honing your ability, and then leveraging your value, once good, to shape your working life toward the type of lifestyle that resonates with you.

Cultivating a passion requires you to try new things in order to discover what you’re good at and then take the time to get so good you come to enjoy it.

This approach is a lot like starting a business. In the beginning you have an idea about who you want to serve and what you want the business to become, but quite often as you experiment with how to build it you find that it naturally evolves into something very different.

Process and Planning in Stories

Marketing Podcast with Kim McDonald

Some people learn by reading, some by doing and some by seeing.

Storytelling4And yet, a great deal of planning and process developed by organizations comes in the form of the dry written word only.

I happen to be one of those visual learners. If given the choice between a map and set of directions, I’ll take the map every time.

If given the choice between a story to illustrate a point and an explanation, I’ll take the story every time.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Kim McDonald, author of Storytelling4 Entrepreneurs Workbook.

Storytelling4 is an innovative, creative approach to planning and communicating your business strategy. The Storytelling4 Entrepreneurs Workbook is a visual planning guide for today’s fast-paced, “no-time-to-read” business environment.

As the name implies the workbook helps entrepreneurs turn strategy into stories and pictures. Stories captivate and images often simplify – simple, captivating strategy is often the missing piece for business owners.

Use this workbook to create your elevator pitch, sales presentation, ad message and overall strategy in the language that attracts customers and employees alike. She even shows you how to turn the numbers into a story.

McDonald’s approach is one that should appeal to entrepreneurs of all stripes.

5 Most Popular Podcasts of 2013

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

Podcasting saw a huge renaissance in 2013 as major content producers woke up to the ease or production and portability afforded the spoken word. It didn’t hurt that Apple made the podcast app a default app of the iPhone IOS either.

I’ve been podcasting since some time in 2006 and I still find it one of the best ways to gain access to people of influence.

In continuing my year end wrap up I present the most popular podcast episodes throughout 2013. These were judged most popular by virtue of the number of downloads each received.

1. People Don’t Share Brochures, They Share Stories – In this August episode author Jonah Berger talks about what makes something go viral – Contagious: Why Things Catch On

2. Reboot Your Business and Your Life – For this May show I spoke with Mitch Joel about the future of business – Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends

3. How I Podcast and Why I Think You Should – In May I did a solo show talking about how I do my show and why I think others should podcast – great tool for though leadership and sales! (You can hear a replay of this one by clicking the playing above.)

4. Nobody Talks About Boring Businesses – For this March show I spoke with Bernadette Jiwa about how to make your ideas stand out – Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story

5. How to Play More and Work and Why You Must – For this March show I spoke with Jonathan Fields – check out his The Good Life Project for some real inspiration.

You can find the entire year of podcasts here.

So, who would you love to hear me interview in 2014?

Office Not Required

Marketing podcast with Jason Fried

Remote office

photo credit: Michael W. May via photopin cc

My youngest daughter works for a tech start-up based in San Francisco. Only thing is, she’s never been to San Francisco. She lives in Spokane Washington and arrived home for Christmas this year to spend a full three weeks hanging out with her parents. Oh, and she’s busy working for that San Francisco start-up right now in the other room.

That’s the new world of work we live in and I for one think it’s an amazing time.

My dad still gives me a puzzling look when I quip that my office is anywhere I can get an Internet connection, but the reality is major, major businesses are being build on the backs of a remote workforce.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals (makers of Basecamp) and author of Remote: Office Not Required.

Fried and his business partner David Heinemeier Hansson have built a wildly successful company with offices in Chicago, but workers strewn about several continents. According to Fried work doesn’t happen at work in the traditional office setting and far too often organizations constrained by geographical hiring must compromise on the talent they can attract.

It’s pretty funny to see people who trek to coffee shops and libraries to get “real” work done because the interruption of meetings and availability in the office make it impossible to actually think about a project of any scope.

Of course, remote work requires a shift in culture, a new set of tools and more than anything, sharp focus.

You’ve got to work harder at staying connected with remote workers. You’ve got to work harder at reinforcing the culture of remote work and remote productivity. Fried talks about developing the ability to pick up when something isn’t quite right with a staff member from the tone of email.

Buffer, a social media start-up with a number of remote workers, posted this great advice on tools for remote work. Zapier, an API integration provider, also with a mostly remote workforce, chronicled their best practices for managing remote teams here.

The office of today just might not be an office at all. I for one would be fine with that little cabin in the Colorado foothills!

Why Audience Development Must Come Before Business Development

Marketing podcast with Jeffrey K. Rohrs

Click here to view a transcript of the podcast interview.  Audio file transcribed by Rev.com

I was recently asked to help a mid sized software company devise a marketing plan.

This organization claims they just don’t get marketing, and no one at the organization really owns it, so they struggle.

Audience

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Of course struggle is a relative concept. They have a head of sales, head of service and head of product – all of whom do marketing. In fact, I believe that’s the tricky part these days – it’s harder to determine where marketing lives because it’s really everyone’s job.

This organization, as you may have picked up, does not have a head of marketing and that’s an issue that’s starting to cause them some heartburn.

I don’t believe I’ll recommend they create a CMO position, however. They actually have many core marketing functions successfully distributed across the organization. What they don’t have though, is what I might call a head of audience development. They don’t have anyone driving their CEO’s incredible thought leadership. They don’t have anyone in charge of owned, paid and earned media assets. They don’t have anyone who’s primary concern is building an audience drawn to their unique approach to addressing the challenges of a rapidly evolving industry.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jeffrey K. Rohrs. He is the Vice President of Marketing Insights for ExactTarget, a salesforce.com company, and author of AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers

In Audience, Rohrs boldly claims states that, “proprietary audience development is now a core marketing responsibility,” and I concur.

An engaged audience is an essential driver of value. Organizations that build, nurture and serve an audience will outflank and outprofit their competitors every time.

Your clients will likely come from your audience but so will your referrals, partners, shares, mentions and permission to pitch your goods.

An audience can elevate an organization’s brand by pushing their message through industry influencers. An audience can pull business through channels by clamoring for goods and services in social media.

Of course, Rohrs is also quick to point out that an audience is a gift and unless you treat it as such you will lose it.

“We don’t own our audiences. They can leave at any time. We cannot force them to engage in our content. They’ve given us a great gift… we must be sure to thank them every day with epic content marketing.”

Every marketer today must understand this significant shift in thinking and embrace community and audience building as a significant initiative – or perhaps even elevate audience development to a stand alone function.

Is Work Killing Us

Marketing Podcast with Tom Rath

By now you’ve read or heard one or more of the reports about the negative health impact of sitting hunched over a computer all day. No? Here’s one from the Mayo Clinic and here’s another from Lifehacker.

fitbikeWhile many in the medical profession seem content to pass out pills to treat symptoms, there’s growing evidence that many of the most commonly “treated conditions,” such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and even blood sugar related conditions such as diabetes are linked to sitting for long periods of time each day.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the double whammy that being overweight adds to the mix.

Several new business books have been written on the topic, including one by this week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Tom Rath. Tom is the author of several incredibly popular business books, such as Strength Finder 2.0 and is also a lifelong sufferer of a rare disorder that led him to fight cancerous tumors his entire life.

Tom decided to write Eat, Move, Sleep – How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes to address many of the practices he has adopted, literally as a way to save his life, and address the epidemic of work related choices that are killing us all.

In Eat, Move, Sleep Rath links the need to move at work (even if you’re a serious workout type), eat like you’re fueling a high performance engine and get sleep like it mattered.

Rath cites the now famous K Anders Ericsson study that found elite performers logged more than 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in order to achieve elite status. While some might conclude this simply means working longer and harder the study also found that these elite performers slept on average 8 hours and 36 minutes a night. The average American sleeps about 6 hours.

The book is one of the best collections of somewhat common knowledge packaged in a way that addresses eating right, moving more and sleeping more in the proper context without hype and fad.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with a host of disorders that got my attention. Instead of taking the pill route I changed my eating habits dramatically and made exercise a daily priority.

While these have definately made a big difference in my quality of life and health I still have an ongoing battle with the fact that most days I sit for a living.

Over the last couple of years I’ve added a number of daily practices and tools to combat what I think is one of the greatest health challenges many entrepreneurs and business owners face.

Below are some of my office movement routines and habits.

Timed breaks – I’m a big fan of working by the hour. I plan my day around 45 minute bursts followed by 15 minutes of moving and recharging. I force myself to get up and walk the dog or just stretch. I use the Apimac timer on my computer but if you find this too hard to do consider the TimeOut app that takes over your computer until you take a break.

Phone meetings – I do a fair amount of meeting by phone. When I jump on a call I immediately put on the headphones and pace up and down the office during the entire call.

Different chairs – Since I do a lot of work on the computer I do need to be stationary for long parts of the day. In addition to a pretty ergonomic chair I sit for periods on an Isokinetics exercise ball chair that works glutes, core and lower back automatically and I recently added a FitDesk stationary bike to the mix. That’s the one in the image with this post. By the way I’ve tried several standing options, but I like the bike better for some reason.

Exercise equipment – We keep a few weights and such around the office so that during my hourly breaks or on trips to get more water I’m reminded to do a set of kettleball swings. It’s a amazing what a little burst of exertion does for my creativity.

Foam roller – I’ve really gotten hooked on using a foam roller throughout the day. One of the things I noticed when I started getting back into lifting weights was how hunched over my posture had become. Sitting with your hands glued to a tiny keyboard in front of you all day pretty much forces bad posture. This position creates a lot of stress on the back. I find that rolling around on my back for a minute or two several times a day is great medicine for relieving this kind of stress.

I know all this stuff can get a bit goofy at times but the way I figure it is that being a business owner is demanding work and so staying at peak levels takes doing everything you can to stay sharp and focused. But really, I’m doing this now so that I get an  extra 10 or 20 years of trekking around the planet doing the things I love to do with my family.