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Content is a verb, content is a strategy?

video cameraIf content is king, and it is, then what, really, is content these days?

On the web, it’s simply not enough to write hard hitting sales copy and call it content. Content, content that educates and builds trust, has become much more active than that and requires a strategic view to be truly effective.

    To compete in the content is king world small business marketers must consider creating, aggregating and filtering the following forms of content:

  • Written content (blogs, articles, static web pages, RSS feeds and news updates)
  • Spoken content (podcasts, testimonials, case studies, core messages, press releases)
  • Video content (tutorials, case studies, testimonials, customer generated, company story, demos and stunning images)

The bar has been raised and your prospects expect to find information in the format they want. They expect to be able to consume this content in many ways, including on a mobile device like an iPhone. You can’t afford to sit this out.

And, guess what, Google, Yahoo and MSN think so much of the mixed media content strategy they have all begun some form of what is being called Universal Search. Now when a surfer goes to a search engine looking for content they may find local directory results, images and video mixed into the organic results. If you aren’t producing these types of content you may find it tougher to compete.

For a great primer on Universal Search look no further than this post from Lee Odden at TopRank.

Take the three song challenge

MoondanceEach week for about eight years now I’ve recommended a music album in my newsletter. I’ve often received more comments about my music selections than my marketing advice, but I just know that I spend a great deal of time rockin out in my office while working away. Based on feedback from readers I know I’m not alone on that one. (I actually sold a pretty significant piece of business one time and the person told me that when they saw I liked “The Band” they knew I was the right choice.)

A while back I asked you to tell me just 3 books that have made difference in your life and the list that came through your comments kept me busy for months.

So, here’s the new challenge. Name three (yes, just three) songs that make a difference in your life. It’s funny how important music can be in how we relate to things, remember things, enjoy and endure things. Even in business. But, the tough part is creating a list of only three favorites. Can you do it?

    Here’s my list:

  • Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen (The live version is my favorite)
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison (Hope, faith, connection)
  • Forever Young – Bob Dylan (My mom lived this one – check out Jimmy Lafave’s version)

Now it’s your turn, give me some new ideas for my iPod.

Creating custom feeds in WordPress

WordPress logoMost WordPress blogs throw off RSS feeds for posts and comments by default. But some of the fun with RSS comes from repackaging and republishing content from blogs that is custom or targeted in nature. Let’s say you follow this blog and want to subscribe only to posts on local search. Or, perhaps I want to republish only posts about PR on my Instant Press Release page.

If you or the blog you are following uses WordPress you can easily create a feed based on a category. Categories are used by most every blogger to help, well, categorize and tag the content for easier searching and search engine notification. To create a category specific feed with WordPress you simply click on any category link (scroll down the lower left sidebar for mine) and add /feed to the end of URL in your browser and “poof” instant category feed. – http://www.domain.com/blog/category/categoryname/feed

Some examples:
http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/category/web-marketing/feed/ – Web Marketing
http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/category/search-engines/feed/ – Search Engines
http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/category/local-search/feed/ – Local Search

Now you can take this URL to Bloglines
or Google Reader and subscribe only to the individual categories of content you want or get really tricky and take this feed to FeedBurner and republish laser focused content on your web pages using their buzz boost feature.

I devoted an entire feature article in my newsletter recently to some other Simple RSS Tricks

The proper way to stalk a journalist

First off the title of this post was meant to get attention, I only mean stalking in it’s most polite form of course.

You know you need to get your story told in the media, but you can’t seem to get anyone interested. The problem is you need to look at journalists as a target market – you need to get them to know, like and trust you just like you would a customer.

Now, would you send a customer a one page flyer and then follow-up with a phone call asking them when they planned to write a story about your company, I mean buy from you. No, of course not.

Here’s how you get journalists to know, like and trust you.

  1. Build a list of journalists that you think might care your story.
  2. Read everything they write (use a Google News search by their name and subscribe to the email alert or RSS feed – you can follow a lot of journalists this way.)
  3. Find their blog and subscribe to, comment on and write relevant trackbacks to it. (Most journalists have one now)
  4. Set up a routine of sending relevant content to them that is related to articles they right.
  5. Don’t push for any stories (unless they are truly news) until you’ve done this for weeks

Here’s the thing, if you can prove yourself a reliable resource for a journalist you will be looked upon as a friend, until then, you’re just a pest to an overworked, often underpaid, reporter.

By following what a journalist writes you will often find clues to the kinds of things they really care about, how you might pitch them and what they might write about in the future. I read an article by a journalist that I was following that stated he just started using Facebook. I connected with him through Facebook and the next you know I had scheduled an interview. My guess is that he would have ignored an email directly from me.

So, it takes a little work to earn media mentions, but it can be well worth the time spent.

Reading blogs with mobiles

QRWith every passing day more and more folks are using a mobile device, such as an iPhone, to do their daily web reading. Web sites and blogs can be visited and read by any browsing phone, but the small window makes it pretty tough to navigate around a page designed for a 21″ monitor.

About a year and half ago I stumbled on a service called WinkSite that takes my RSS feed and makes it mobile browser friendly. They also have an entire social suite of services just for the mobile set. I think it has become pretty important to offer your readers these types of mobile viewing options.

Eric Kintz, HPs Digital blogger, reminded me of this in a recent post – Mobile Social Marketing – Digital Mindset Goes Mobile

You can subscribe to this blog via phone by visiting or if your phone has a QR Reader (you can download one) you simply scan that ink blot looking image in this post and you will be subscribed. You can also send my blog’s mobile link to your phone by clicking here

Two minutes with Scott Cook

Scott CookI was able to grab a couple minutes with Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, at the Conversational Marketing Summit today.

Cook is the very approachable and thoughtful leader of an organization cited by many as one of the better examples of how a company actually grows through word of mouth.

The idea that marketing today consists of having conversations with customers is one that is still meeting some resistance in the corporate and small business worlds. It occurs to me that the companies that have embraced it, are good at it and are growing comfortably inside this new way of looking at marketing, are the ones that already have an internal culture that is based in conversations rather than directives. These are the organizations that make it ok for their employees to point out and fix what’s wrong, to experiment and to take risks.

Conversational marketing relies heavily on authenticity and transparency – you can’t give those to your clients if you don’t own them in your business.

Cook talks about something he calls the “volunteer workforce” and offers some clues to the success of Intuit’s word of mouth model. Listen below.


MP3 File

Graffiti all over Facebook

Graffiti, a simple Facebook application that allows users to add quick, or in some cases elaborate, drawings on Facebook profiles and walls has been an absolute overnight success as far as applications go.

The tool gives people a fun way to communicate and offers a lesson for marketers. How can you find and create new ways to energize the ways that your clients and prospect communicate and interact with your brand and each other.

I did a quick, in the field, Duct Tape Marketing interview with Mark Kantor, co-creator of the program at the Conversational Marketing Summit in San Francisco this week. Click the player below to listen

Inc 500 companies I want to know more about

Inc 500 ConferenceI’m in Chicago this week and will be blogging while I attend the Inc.com 500 Conference

As you probably already know, Inc recognizes the top 500 fastest growing companies in America based on 3 year revenue growth. The conference, presented with OPEN from American Express, Principal Financial Group and Dell, is a celebration of entrepreneurship and recognition event for the 500 honorees.

Here are couple Inc 500 class of 2007 entries that look very interesting.

  • Bill Me Later - #6 – Bill Me Later is a convenient and secure new payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone.
  • Zorch International – #28 – New approach to branded promotional products
  • Right Media – #46 – Interactive ad network now owned by Yahoo!
  • Wpromote – #62 – Search marketing firm
  • Vibes Media – #92 – Interactive mobile marketing – the phone’s the thing
  • Instinct Marketing – #199 – Doing some nice things with local search and CRM
  • AbsorbentInk – #216 – Another promotional products company
  • eROI – #402 – Lead generation firm using email and other e forms of marketing
  • DirectoryM – #458 – Local online directories

More to come!