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Tuesday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Tuesday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet.  He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Ann Handley

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media. She writes for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix and is also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the co-author of the best selling book – Content Rules

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.  Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2010), a leading self-service direct marketing provider to over 100,000 small businesses. Janine is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger).   She is a columnist for Inc.com “Women in Business” and has been published in DM News as well featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, ClickZ, and B2B Magazine.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet. He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

Let’s take a step back. First and foremost, is this content you’re creating remarkable? Does it offer something valuable? The first step toward getting eyeballs to view your content is to appeal to your target audience’s wants and needs. Are you delivering your points in an interesting way that makes it enjoyable to read/watch/listen to? You can create content day-in and day-out, but if it’s no good, people won’t be coming back to you for more.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s take a second look at the content you’re creating. Is it optimized for search engines? Did you use the right keywords that will draw in the types of readers you’re hoping to attract? If someone conducted a search in Google using a keyword by which you want to get found, would that person come across your content? Remember: the key to making your content visible in search engines is optimizing it.

Okay, so now you’ve got remarkable content that’s been well optimized to gain some traction in search engines. Are you promoting it? How are you promoting it? Be sure to share links to your content in social media. “But I don’t have any followers,” you say? Start building a following so your content has the potential to reach as many readers as possible. Add social media sharing buttons to your blog articles so people who read and like your content can easily share it with their followers. The great thing about social media is that your content is not only limited to the eyes of your followers, but can also reach the eyes of others’ followers.

Once you’ve got all that down, keep on creating! Regular content creation is the basis for any successful inbound marketing program. If you want to continue to get found online, you need to generate a constant flow of fresh, remarkable content. The good news is: inbound marketing success is relative to the size of your brain, not the size of your wallet, so the possibilities are endless!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2010), a leading self-service direct marketing provider to over 100,000 small businesses. Janine is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger). She is a columnist for Inc.com “Women in Business” and has been published in DM News as well featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, ClickZ, and B2B Magazine.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 2

We say it all the time, if you don’t have something interesting to say or to sell, who the f is gonna read or buy it? For a blog, lots of comments means someone is reading and engaged; for an email, clicks means someone is interested. The more clicks and comments the better. So how do you get people engaged?

Make It Good

Here’s what makes great content:

  • Humorous stuff
  • Behind the scenes stories
  • Controversial, political & religious
  • New happenings
  • Tips & tricks, hints, lists, how-tos
  • Reviews

That’s the type of content that can draw readers in and engage them, especially if it’s relevant.

Plus, snappy headlines or email subject lines are a must! And don’t make your content too long, don’t use great big paragraphs, have easy to read fonts and bullets are key. Also, break up thoughts and subjects with subheads so your reader can scan.  This goes for anything online!

Get People TO Your Content

If you’re writing a great email newsletter and you’ve lured them in with your snappy subject line, good for you! We’ve had success when we give a “taste” of the content in the newsletter, then drive them to a site or blog for the rest of the story. This way you potentially get them to look at other content you’ve written as well.

When you create your content whether it’s in an email, blog or website, let the world know! Publish it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And submit it to StumbleUpon and Digg at the very least.

One more thing, include the keywords that you optimize your site for. When potential readers are using search engines, you’re going to want your content as high in the rankings as possible.

Get Readers to Know YOU

The first thing I do when I get to a blog is research who the writer is. I want to know that the person behind the words has credibility and is passionate about what they write. So make sure you publish your bio somewhere on your site so your readers get to know you.

Another great way to get people to know you is to comment on other blogs.  Not only will your comment and your information be displayed, but the blogger you’re commenting on may end up following and commenting on your blog too. And if you like something you see on Twitter follow them and retweet (RT) their content. If you find content on Facebook interesting, click the Like link.

Finally, write the way you speak. Your readers want to read what you have to say so just say it and let your personality shine through!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 3

Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”

Well, when it comes to creating effective online content, it’s not what you know, it’s what you know that you can teach others.

After that, it’s right back to who you know, same as always.

People Distribute Content

If you’re creating online content, you’ve got to get the word out about it for people to share it far and wide with others. And that process starts with good old-fashioned relationships.

It’s not called social media for nothing. Beyond the creation of content itself, online content distribution begins with key relationships with others in your subject matter arena.

It’s easier to establish these relationships than ever, thanks to social networks. And since social networks are where content sharing happens, it makes sense to begin making those relationships early on.

Help to be Helped

The key is to follow and be useful to people who are also producing content in your niche. Share their content and provide meaningful comments on their blog posts.

Your next step might be to offer to guest post for them, which provides them with vital content and provides you with exposure to their audience. You’ve now just gone from anonymous to a contributor with access – and that’s the beginning of a real world relationship that drives the virtual world as well.

Don’t view those who create content on the same topic as competitors. This is zero-sum thinking that usually has very little application in the wide-open marketplace of online ideas.

Complement, Don’t Compete

Think of your work as a complement to the content others create. You won’t be seen as a subject matter authority or a thought leader in your industry if you jealously guard your ideas from the so-called competition.

Be generous with your ideas and the relationships you form. You’ll find that your content spreads much farther and wider than it would otherwise.

And that’s the idea, right?

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 4

Yes, it’s true.  All small businesses create content.  Nine in 10 small businesses develop content to drive marketing goals.

But since less than 50% of SMBs feel satisfied with their content marketing efforts, obviously there is a major disconnect.
Here are 10 reasons that may be true for you, and what you need to do about it.
1.          Lack of Content Goals. What’s the behavior you want to see as a result of the content you are creating?
2.          Your Content is about Everything. You have no niche. You create content on the entire industry.  What can you be the leading expert in? Focus.
3.        The Content is about YOU YOU YOU. Remember, your customers don’t care about you. Focus on your customers’ pain points and create content around that.
4.         Good Enough is not Good Enough. Your content is competing with everyone and everything, even traditional media companies.  Make your content unique, interesting, fun (if possible), multichannel and execute the crap out of it.
5.          Lack of a Content Calendar. Stop thinking from a campaign mentality. Content for your customers is a promise. Execute a content marketing editorial calendar.
6.          Not Leveraging Employees. Your employees are your content assets. Find the 10% of employees that are content creators and nurture that.
7.          People will Magically Engage in your Content. Your content isn’t good enough that the magic content fairies will find it and spread it around the internet. Find out where your customers are on the web and be active in those communities.
8.        Your Content Has No Chief Content Officer. Look at the great media brands like the Wall Street Journal. All of them have a chief editor that owns the content. Find your chief editor.
9.       No Content Experience. Most brands don’t, so get over it. FIX: Hire a journalist.
10.     You Don’t Have Support. Those brands that don’t have internal support for content marketing are 300% more likely to stink at content marketing. Do the previous nine steps and, as Matt Heinz says, “Don’t invent new metrics. Track more but report less. Focus on behaviors.”

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Ann Handley

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media. She writes for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix and is also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the co-author of the best selling book – Content Rules

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 5

So you’ve done it: You’ve taken the plunge and launched a blog, or a YouTube channel, a regular radio show. You’re elated and energized; your boss is thrilled! This is really going to drive people to your door! You imagine yourself winning the employee of the year award; your colleagues will leave the best parking spot open for you just out of sheer gratitude for all you’ve done for the business!

But pretty soon reality sets in: Creating content is hard work. Finding great stories is like working the salt mines with a plastic spork and a beach pail; if your blog was a city, it would be a eerily quiet place with tumbleweeds blowing along vacant, dusty streets. Why doesn’t your blog have any comments?

My first question is this: Are you sure you’re producing the right kind of content?

The inherent tension is marketing is that businesses always want to talk about their products or services. Meanwhile, your customers only want to hear what their products or services will do for them. That seems like a simple idea, right? A no-brainer? Except most businesses are terrible at really grokking what that means: Share a resource or solve a problem for your customers, help them do their jobs better; don’t just talk about your stuff.

In other words, good content doesn’t try to sell. Rather, it creates value for your customers (or would-be customers) by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of information. In other words, your content shares a resource, solves a problem, helps your customers do their jobs better, improves their lives, or makes them smarter, wittier, better-looking, taller, better-networked, cooler, more enlightened, and with better backhands, tighter asses, and cuter kids. In other words, it’s high value to your customers, in whatever way resonates best with them.

American Express does this really well with its OPEN Forum (openforum.com) web site. OPEN Forum is a resource for small business owners, and the articles and videos and ideas there transcend American Express specifically. But it positions Amex as a trusted source. American Express sees the value of putting Content and Context before Selling.

So does Citrix: It’s Workshifting.com blog is a place where “workshifters,” or people who work outside of a traditional offices, can share ideas and just hang out. Citrix sells technology, but its content creates a resource and shares ideas with people who work in their jammies. It focuses on how people use the technology, right? Not the technology itself.

So ask this question first: Are you sure you’re producing the right kind of content? Or are you capable of doing better?

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead

Brian Halligan, co-author of Inbound Marketing and David Meerman Scott, author of New Rules of Marketing and PR, have joined forces and blended their love of marketing and the Grateful Dead to extract lessons from the band’s thirty some year run to write – Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. You can order copies now from Amazon for early August shipping.

The book project itself is, like the Dead, a bit unorthodox in that the authors kept the entire writing process a secret and are just announcing the book to the public today although it ships in a couple weeks. The book was written and produced in a matter a months (a year is often considered a quick turnaround for a book.)

Brian and David did an online seminar on April Fool’s Day – you can see the slides from Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead here

I met up with David at a conference in Washington DC and captured the video announcement below.

David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan take us on a trip with the Grateful Dead to learn how the iconic band can teach us all how to market and have more fun.

FYI: The song playing in the background of this video is Sugar Magnolia. The song was first released on the 1970 album American Beauty, and made its live debut on June 7, 1970 at the Fillmore West in San Francisco

The Inbound Marketing Guidebook

Inbound MarketingHubspot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have synthesized, condensed and packaged what I believe is one heck of a book on the new reality of lead generation. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs is written in a style that makes it extremely accessible to the smallest of businesses and gets my highest recommendation as a must read.

Brian was a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast not long ago – click to have a listen.

The overriding premise of the book is to persuade readers to come to grips with the fact that the old ways of lead generation, shouting and broadcasting, have given way to being found – by producing something that will be found online and is worthy of people talking about. No surprise here that they too think every small business should be producing content on a blog. One of my favorite ideas in this vein is the notion that we as marketers must start looking at our jobs as half publishing, half marketing.

The website or blog is the hub of an inbound marketing strategy while social media activity creates the outposts and plays a role in the creation of inbound links. The book certainly supports everything the two have been building over at Hubspot, and that’s no surprise, but I was pleasantly surprised with some ideas in the book’s final chapter. Particularly one that addresses hiring Digital Citizens as employees. The grading scale for this is pretty fascinating.