Steal These Community Management Tips from CMX Summit Presenters

February 8, 2014

CMX Summit

This post was originally published on the DNN Software blog.

Community Management Tips Learned from CMX Summit

The first ever CMX Summit was held in San Francisco. It’s “a new event bringing together the world’s greatest community minds to share unique perspectives, experiences and ideas all around community building.”

The event included a full day of captivating talks from community management experts. And as you’d expect when a group like this assembles, there was a lot community building among the participants. Let’s take a look at some community management tips that I took away from attending this event.

The Importance of Building Trust

Community managers should understand how the mind works. By understanding how to inspire trust, you can motivate community members to take actions aligned to the goals of your community.

Robin Dreeke

Robin Dreeke, photo courtesy of CMX Summit.

Look no further than the head of the FBI behavioral analysis program to help show you the way. Robin Dreeke ( @rdreeke) is a behavioral and rapport building expert (at the FBI) and author of the book “It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone” (here’s the link to the book on Amazon ).

With regard to community members, it’s pretty simple:

  1. Understand what they want
  2. Help them achieve it

Community Management Tip:

“It’s not all about me” is a perfect mindset for community managers . It’s not about you (the community manager) and it’s not about the community. It’s about “them” (your members). Have a single-minded focus on helping them. Your members will begin to trust the community manager, then the larger community, then your organization’s brand. Help them first and then they’ll help you.

Read the summary at The Community Manager:

Why Should They? Trust Strategies for Every Situation (by Ashley Hayes)

Build Your Community Around Rituals

Emily Castor

Emily Castor, photo courtesy of CMX Summit.

You’ve probably heard of Lyft, especially if you live in the Bay Area. Lyft is a popular ride-sharing service that’s grown its business via community building. In an article published by TechCrunch , Lyft co-founder John Zimmer said, “Building community is what drives me and makes me so happy to work on this.”

Emily Castor is Director of Community Relations at Lyft. She presented the Lyft story, which revolves around its community and the rituals that have emerged within it. Castor noted the importance of the pink mustache that’s attached to the front of drivers’ cars (side note: it’s intentionally shaped in the form of a smile).

Riders are invited to sit in the front seat. This alters the nature of the driver/rider relationship . It’s no longer vendor/customer: instead, it’s simply two people having a conversation on the way to a destination. Lyft drivers give a fist bump (to riders) to thank them at the conclusion of a ride.

These rituals help shape Lyft’s customer experience. In turn, it helps shape their brand and makes their brand unique.

Community Management Tip:

For online communities, seek and encourage similar rituals. Rather than be creator of those rituals, be the sponsor. #FollowFriday is a ritual that emerged on Twitter. What if your community started something similar?

Read the summary at The Community Manager:

Crafting a Self-Sustaining Community Culture: The Power of Ritual, Purpose, and Shared Identity (by Ashley McGregor Dey)

To Build a Sustainable Community, Have a Firm Foundation

Ligaya Tichy

Ligaya Tichy, photo courtesy of CMX Summit.

Ligaya Tichy provided community management insights learned from managing communities for Yelp, Airbnb and others. Oftentimes, community managers like to get deep into the trenches with tactics, metrics and the like, before taking a look at the big picture.

And that was my biggest takeaway from Tichy’s talk: focus on the key pillars of any community:

  1. Learning
  2. Play
  3. Support

Community Management Tip:

At the end of each week, assess the activities in your online community that week . Did you help members learn something new? Did you afford them the opportunity to have some fun? And finally, were they able to get answers to their questions, or resolutions to their issues? If you do this exercise weekly, then take action to address any shortfalls, your community will be the better for it.

Side note: there’s a fourth pillar I’d add, which is “recognition.” Being recognized (within a community of your peers) helps build a sense of reward, which creates tighter bonds within the community.

Read the summary at The Community Manager:

The Evolution of Communities – Social Design and Key Metrics for Every Stage (by Ashley Hayes)

Connect Individually with Community Members

Ellen Leanse

Ellen Leanse, photo courtesy of CMX Summit.

During the 1980’s, Ellen Leanse was a user evangelist for Apple and founder of the Apple User Group Connection. In other words, Ellen was a community manager before the term was coined. On her first day on the job, Ellen received a stack of papers well over two feet high. They were letters from angry customers.

Ellen jumped right in and started calling them. One of the customers Ellen called was Dave Lavery, a NASA scientist who would later play a significant role in the creation of the Mars Rover. Not only did Ellen address Lavery’s issue, but she continued to check in from time to time. “ It’s important to stay in touch,” Leanse said in her talk.

Community Management Tip:

This tip is taken directly from Leanse’s talk: each week, pick up the phone and call 3-5+ community members. Ask them how things are going and how you can make their participation more useful. You’re guaranteed to have a positive ROI from these calls.

Read the summary at The Community Manager:

Lessons from the History of Communities – Why They Matter Today and Tomorrow (by Ashley Hayes)

Conclusion

The first ever CMX Summit was splendid. If you were there, perhaps you had similar takeaways as mine. If you weren’t there, I hope you’re able to apply some of these tips in your own communities.

Community Management Blog Series

community management blog series

Colleague Clint Patterson published a great blog series on how to create sustained engagement in online communities. Check out Part 1 of Clint’s series, where you’ll find links to Parts 2 and 3.


How Mark Schaefer Made a Splash with Content Shock (And What You Can Learn From Him)

January 29, 2014

This post was originally published on the DNN Software blog.

Insights for Content Marketers

I consider 2014 “The Year of Content Shock and The Conversation that Ensued.” Mark Schaefer is Executive Director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, where he provides marketing consultation to businesses. He’s the author of the {grow} blog, along with a number of books.

Photo: Mark Schaefer on Twitter (@markwschaefer)

Shortly after the New Year, Schaefer published a blog post, “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” The post received 400+ comments, along with thousands of tweets and hundreds of articles. This week, Schaefer followed up with a new blog post to address all of the dissenting opinions.

My Quick Take on Content Shock

Content Shock
Image via Mark Schaefer.

Too many dissenters took a “black and white” view of Schaefer’s piece. Either content shock will doom us all or it won’t. In fact, this was my original interpretation. As Schaefer’s follow-on piece notes, however, we don’t live in a world of absolutes – there’s grey matter in between the black and white.

As a content marketer for a “small” brand, you’re not doomed to hopeless failure. In fact, if you’re a small fish in a big pond, Schaefer prescribes the following:

“If you are facing a possibility of content saturation in your market, you need to be thinking of ways to change the game.”

Mark Schaefer’s Winning Formula

Mark Schaefer
Image via Schaefer Marketing Solutions.

Schaefer Marketing Solutions operates in a highly crowded space. First, consider their direct competition: individuals and agencies who offer similar consulting services. They’re blogging and publishing books, too. On the agency side, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of agencies with far bigger budgets.

Next, consider the “indirect competition” – the rest of us who are publishing related content. Whether it’s social media marketing or content marketing, Schaefer competes with HubSpot, Marketo and KISSmetrics for attention and readership. It’s not a zero sum game, but it’s competition nonetheless.

So with the two blog posts alone, let’s consider how Schaefer combats content shock for his own business.

Find a Timely Topic

While some trace “content marketing” back to the age of cavemen, it’s hard to avoid the fact that the discipline and the term are getting a lot of buzz in 2014 (and, earlier in 2013). We’re all talking about “content marketing” – but more importantly, brands are putting serious dollars behind it. I’ve worked with journalists in past jobs and many of them (today) are heading up content marketing at B2B brands. So January 2014 was a good time to introduce “content shock.”

Take a Well-Reasoned Stand

Taking a stand garners attention. Taking a well-reasoned stand gets attention, but also drives dialog and conversation. If you wrote a blog post about “Why World Peace is Overrated,” you’re taking a stand, but you’ve lost credibility with most people in the title alone. Schaefer presented a well-reasoned argument that combined with a timely topic and a little controversy, generated a firestorm.

Side note: a search on Google shows that the original Content Shock piece has 12,500 inbound links pointing to it!

Be Open, Inviting and Genuine in Your Interactions

If he had enough time in the day, I bet Mark Schaefer would reply to every single blog comment and every single tweet. If you look at his blog posts, he gets rather close to doing just that. It takes a lot of time for Schaefer to respond to people.

blog comment

But consider his competition: other marketers, agencies and vendors like Marketo and HubSpot. They might have bigger budgets than Schaefer, but some of them do NOT interact as much – or if they do, they don’t do it in the inviting and genuine style of Schaefer.

Advantage: Schaefer.

To combat content shock: having a plan in place to genuinely engage with the readers of the content you produce. Schaefer, “predicted” all of this (in a sense) with an earlier post  that he published, “How to beat Hubspot at its own game.”

Follow Up

Sometimes, it’s not enough to reply to comments and engage with your readers (and dissenters). If you were fortunate enough to have your content spark a conversation, then take the time to carefully review all of the input (both in favor and in opposition of your stance) and follow up. Your follow-up should summarize the dialog, then provide your response. Just like Schaefer did.

Conclusion

So how can smaller fish survive in the larger content pond? Consider what Mark Schaefer did:

  1. Find a Timely Topic
  2. Take a Well-Reasoned Stand
  3. Be Open, Inviting and Genuine in Your Interactions
  4. Follow Up

What are you waiting for? Go do it!


5 Completely Surprising Marketing Tips Learned from Fifth Graders

January 21, 2014

fifth grade classroom

Photo source: User Michael 1952 on flickr.

This post was originally published on the DNN Software blog.

Recently, I served as “teacher for the day” in my daughter’s fifth grade classroom. My guest appearance was coordinated by a great organization, Junior Achievement, who “teaches young people about money management and how business works.”

With a lesson plan provided by Junior Achievement, I taught five, 45-minute lessons on topics related to business and entrepreneurship. I know about raising fifth graders from the one I have at home, but spending a day with a class full of them gave me further insights on their attitudes and inclinations.

Before long, these fifth grade students will grow up and become part of the target audience for your marketing. Here are five surprising marketing tips based on my observations.

1) Forget about social media marketing.

I asked students to name examples of businesses. Here’s the list compiled by this Silicon Valley-based class:

social media top of mind with fifth graders

Perhaps they were too young to name Snapchat? The point is, fifth graders are on the bleeding edge of technology. They used iPods as toddlers, then graduated to iPads. They may not be using Facebook, but their siblings and parents are. So they’re aware of what it is and what it does.

That being said, forget about the social media marketing you’re doing today to reach their parents. Once these kids enter the workforce, social marketing will no longer be relevant, because another form of advertising will have emerged.

2) Invest in billboard advertising.

T-rex billboard ad

Photo source: Eric Fischer on flickr.

We did a lesson on advertising. The fifth graders were given a business scenario and asked to work in teams to devise a business, then create an advertisement for that business. Before they started designing, they were asked to name examples of advertising.

Many of the students mentioned billboard ads that they see on Highway 101 in the Bay Area. They were able to recall the messaging contained on those billboards in impressive detail. Out-of-home advertising works! It’s effective because of the captivated audience it commands. So as these fifth graders grow into adults, think of ways your own marketing content can be delivered to a captivated audience.

3) Decrease your online marketing budget.

If you think about standing up in front of a fifth grade classroom for an entire day, it can be worrisome: will the students have any interest in what I’m saying? To be honest, I noticed that some of them “tuned out” during segments of the lessons.

But what got them to pay attention, engage and interact? Activities. The Junior Achievement lesson plans pair verbal instruction with a fun activity that reinforces that instruction.

Online marketing is great. It’s cost effective and it’s measurable. But to make a deeper connection with your  marketing, consider programs that include face-to-face interactions. The fifth graders are kind of expecting it.

4) Tomorrow’s workers won’t be motivated by gamification.

Many of the day’s activities came in the form of games. The fifth graders would high-five each other when they rolled a six, but what got them most excited were forms of peer-to-peer connections and recognition.

WHITE PAPER: How Community Managers Can Use Gamification to Create Sustainable Engagement

We did an exercise in which two students were named partners in a popcorn and ice cream business. The two partners stood at the front of the classroom. Next, they called up classmates (one by one), assigning them to assorted roles within the business (delivery people, business analysts, attorneys and ultimately, a CEO).

Students were most excited when they were called up to the front of the room. The selection and “job assignment” (in front of the entire class) gave meaning to the activity. It made them feel rewarded. How do you “gamify” experiences for tomorrow’s workers? Make it less about points and badges and more about peer-to-peer relationships and recognition.

5) Make them wait for it.

child using tablet

Photo source: User nooccar on flickr.

Today’s generation of kids live in a world of instant gratification. With timeshifting and on-demand consumption, they get what they want, when they want it. Remember how Thursday nights on NBC were called “Must See TV?” Today’s generation calls it “I See TV” (“When I Want It”).

So first, make your product, content and experiences great. Then, act differently with it. Don’t give it to them right away. Make them wait. Make them go through hoops to get it. Why? Because when they do, they’ll cherish it. They’re so used to getting everything right away, that making them wait adds to the enjoyment.

Conclusion

Today’s fifth graders are tomorrow’s customers. While I enjoyed my time in the classroom, I also considered it a form of market research, in better understanding tomorrow’s buyers. Hopefully, I learned from them as much as they learned from me. And, I hope this post served to spur forward-looking thoughts on how to do marketing in the future.


A Portrait of The Marketer as a Young Man

January 11, 2014

young marketer

This post was originally published at Medium: A Portrait of the Marketer as a Young Man.

Introduction

Recently, I read a great post on the Kapost blog by Anne Murphy. Anne’s post was titled “3 Things You Can’t Learn from a Content Marketing How-To Article” and included a paragraph titled “How to Write.” Anne wrote:

“For 18 years, I lived with one of the best writers and editors I know. Her name is Nancy Murphy. I call her Mom.”

Not only did Mom help shape Anne’s writing, but she (Mom) taught her that “good writing takes constant work.”

Today, I’m a marketer (at DNN) who does a lot of writing. My degree is in computer science, not history, communications or political science. I spent the first 14 years of my career in Information Technology (IT). So how did I come to be a marketer? Anne’s post inspired me to consider my own journey.

Careless Mistakes in Second Grade

If there’s such a thing as a crisis in elementary school, then I was in one. Both of my parents had been called in to a meeting with my second grade teacher, Mrs. Trout. I had been making careless spelling mistakes and the pattern was only getting worse. Spelling errors were understandable, but Mrs. Trout was concerned about my consistent pattern of carelessness.

I took that meeting to heart (well, as much as a second grader could). I addressed the carelessness and improved my spelling each year. In fact, by the time I reached fifth grade, I’d be entered into the grade-wide spelling bee.

This second grade crisis helped shape my marketing. It’s put a certain lens around everything I do: writing an article, reviewing an email promotion, writing a webinar description, reviewing a white paper, etc. I have an ability to catch my own mistakes, as well as spot errors in others’ work. I harken back to my days in second grade and know why.

Editorial Independence

The Call of the Wild

Image source: User cdrummbks on flickr.

I’ve now reached fourth grade. We read Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” in class and I was writing a book report at home. My dad briefly looked over my work and thought that I wrote the report all wrong. As he tells the story, I became very upset, insisting that I had written the book report according to specifications.

Based on my strong insistence, my father allowed me to proceed and I handed in the book report “as is.” It turned out I was correct: I received a good grade on the report. From that moment on, my dad gave me full editorial independence in my grade school writing projects.

This feeling of independence can be empowering. If every sentence I wrote could be inspected for corrections, the experience wouldn’t be as enjoyable. And while editorial oversight is important and necessary in many contexts, the independence is one reason I enjoy blogging so much.

Reading about Sports

Also in fourth grade, I developed a love of sports. Starting in high school and continuing into the present day, I read a lot of sports articles.

Best American Sports Writing

Image via Amazon.

I like to read the beat writers who cover my teams and I love human interest stories (i.e. long form articles) related to sports. I adore “The Best American Sports Writing” series. My dream job? To be the beat writer for one of my favorite teams.

I’ve tried my hand at sports writing. At my current job (and at past jobs), I’d write summaries of company softball games and soccer games and share them. My colleagues would tell me that I missed my calling as a sports writer.

Because of all the reading I’ve done, writing about sports came so naturally to me. As I sat at my keyboard, words would emanate and flow like those of more experienced sports writers. It’s similar for the B2B content I write at work: I consume so much of other people’s content that it helps inform and guide my own.

The High School Poetry Magazine

For a high school English class, I submitted a poem that depicted a cold, wintry night from the view of my bedroom window. My English teacher liked it. She managed the school’s poetry magazine and encouraged me to get involved.

So I wrote more poems, attended a poetry conference or two and helped assemble the school’s magazine. I’ve come to realize that marketers are much like poets: we need to assemble words in a way that makes an impact with our audience.

So when I compose tweets, Facebook posts, subject lines, calls to action and promotional copy, I look back to my high school days and realize that my dabbling in poetry helped a great deal.

But Where’s the Beef?

Where's the Beef?

Image source: User xxxbadfishxxx on flickr.

There’s a difference between eloquence and substance. At an early age, I discovered that I had a knack for putting words together. But I didn’t receive consistently high marks on my papers, whether it was AP English (in high school) or Literature Humanities (in college).

The issue? I was missing the beef (i.e. substance). This realization helps inform my B2B writing. Whether it’s a blog post or a white paper, I try to spend as much time (or more) researching as I do writing. The content must be well planned, well researched and well thought out. Words can always sound good, but they must be backed up with information and insights that provide value to the reader.

Conclusion

It’s been fun to consider how childhood events and developments helped shape the marketer I am today. When I graduated from college, I never considered the possibility that I’d be in marketing. I wonder what I’ll be doing ten years from now. Perhaps you’ll find me online, reporting on last night’s Yankees game.


Happy 2014. A Look Back at It’s All Virtual in 2013.

December 30, 2013

2013 Blog Summary

Introduction

Five years ago, I launched this blog to write on any and all things related to virtual events. To date, 392 posts were published, with 44 published in 2013. I  published my share of virtual events posts in 2013, but continued to widen the breadth of topics. A few of the more popular topics in 2013 were:

  1. Posts on social media.
  2. Posts on content marketing.
  3. Posts on personal branding.

Product Marketing: Popular

Two of the most popular posts of 2013 focused on product marketing.

Popular post from 2013

In January, I published “How to Do Product Marketing Without Marketing Your Product.” The post covered everything from inbound marketing to thought leadership to online communities to building great products.

In April, I published “10 Reasons Storytelling is The New Product Marketing.” As a side note, I noticed the stock image I used (in this post) on a magazine cover at my supermarket’s newsstand. That bummed me out. My next post just might be: “10 Reasons Stock Art Should Not Be Used in Product Marketing.”

2013: Year in Review

Thanks for reading. To see a detailed, 2013 annual report for this blog:

2013 Annual Report

It’s All Virtual: 2013 Annual Report

Happy New Year! Hope to see you some more in 2014.


Why Personal Branding Begins at an Early Age (and What to Do About It)

December 7, 2013

Photo source: Dave Lawler on flickr.

Introduction

I asked a class of tenth grade students how many of them have a personal brand. A few looked around the room to see who raised their hand. One student did. And that was it.

When I grew up, the Internet did not exist. Back then, personal branding was centered around experiences and achievements and how they combined to form a reputation – you know, tangible things. Today, those things still matter for your personal brand, but so much of that brand is formed online.

Junior Achievement Program

San Mateo High School

Photo: I visited a tenth grade class at San Mateo High School.

My visit to a tenth grade classroom was part of a Junior Achievement program called JA Career Success.

Junior Achievement is “the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.” (learn more: Junior Achievement website)

The JA Career Success program consists of seven sessions. I participated in the seventh session, which is titled “Get Hired: Know Your Personal Brand.” The session’s objectives, as defined by JA:

  1. Explore how to hunt for a job and the tools needed
  2. Determine choices they can make to create a positive personal brand as they build their careers

Why We All Have a Personal Brand

An informal poll of the classroom determined that every student is on Facebook (although their teacher does not use the service), 15% are on Twitter and everyone has an Apple device at home (iPhone, iPad or iPod). In short, these students grew up with mobile devices connected to the Internet.

So I told the students: if there’s one thing you remember from today’s program, it’s this:

You’re online, which means that you already have a personal brand.

Well said.

In other words: whether you like it or not, the digital footprints you’re leaving across the Internet are the embodiment of your personal brand. By being aware and proactive, you can manage that brand. By being reactive and unaware, it gets managed for you.

So let’s consider ways in which you can start managing your personal brand. And yes, it’s NOT too early to start this in high school, or even middle school.

5 Personal Branding Tips

1) Always Be Mindful of What You’re Sharing

This photo could become a future issue

Photo source: Dennis Harper on flickr.

I know that high school students will do things that their parents would not approve of (example: throwing a wild party at the house when the parents are away for the weekend).

High school students will have their fun and should continue to do so. But take a moment to ponder before clicking the “submit” or “tweet” button.

Be sensitive to what you share and know that there can be implications and ramifications. If you post something online, accept the fact that it never goes away.

Even if you’re careful to limit your posts to particular groups, the fact remains that the post is online. Understand that when you apply for a job as a forty year old, what you posted as a teenager could come back to haunt you.

Here’s a good mechanism: when you’re ready to post something online, think whether your parent(s) and your teacher would approve. If they wouldn’t approve, then don’t post it (hat tip to Junior Achievement for this).

2) Pay Attention to Details

When you interview for a job, body language can be far more important than the words you speak. You might have an eloquent and insightful answer, but if you’re slouched in your chair and not making eye contact with the interviewer, your answer doesn’t really matter.

With personal branding, every little thing matters. Start with your email address. People will need to contact you, whether it’s a college admissions officer or a potential employer. Select an email address accordingly. “ilovetoparty” at (gmail dot com) will not curry favor with potential employers.

If you have an unfavorable email address, get a new one to use for college admissions and job applications. Next, have friends and family call your cell phone and listen to your voicemail greeting. Does it say something like: “Yo. Do it now. Over and outtie”? That would make a college admissions officer think twice about your application.

3) Sprinkle in Brand-Appropriate, Proactive Sharing

Photo of an academic award

Photo source: COD Newsroom on flickr.

Yes, you should do some proactive “brand building,” even in high school. Some tenth graders will apply to colleges in a few short years. When you apply to a college, the admissions officers will review your social profiles.

Did you recently receive an academic achievement award at school? Have a friend take a picture of you (with your award), then post that to Facebook. This digital footprint can make a difference, when discovered by the admissions officer (hat tip to a parent volunteer, who provided this suggestion).

4) Don’t Let Your Inside Voice Get Outside

In other words, keep your posts and status updates positive. We all have our dislikes, whether it’s jobs, other people or situations. Think twice before you share those dislikes with the entire world. Social media should not be a venting mechanism.

If you found a new job, but really disliked your previous job, keep your feelings about the previous job on the inside. Negative comments don’t play well when viewed by potential employers. And who knows? Things change and the employer you disliked years ago may be one that you return to years later.

5) Advanced Topic: Start Blogging

I started this blog five years ago and it’s helped a great deal with my personal brand. I’m able to share thoughts and ideas (with you!) and I consider it an add-on to my resume. In fact, blogs and social profiles (e.g. LinkedIn) are far more relevant than the old-fashioned resume.

One important point, however: figure out a “focus area” for your blog that’s tied to the personal brand you’d like to portray.

Your blog should not be an extension of Facebook, in which you share anything and everything going on in your life. Instead, it should be an outlet for you to share thoughts and observations.

Consider what you’re most passionate about and start writing about it. If you write well and share interesting things, I’m sure college admissions officers will take note.

Additional Thoughts on Personal Branding

Jonha Revesencio

Photo: Jonha Revesencio (@jonharules).

While writing this post, I posed a question on Twitter:

At what age should we start building our personal brand?

Jonha shared the following:

“In a world where technology has helped in facilitating questions, I think there’s not really an exact “age” to best build your brand, or as I like to put it, #BrandYOU. I think, though, that it’s most essential to “position yourself to be found so you won’t have to look around.”

That means it’s important to provide value even before you ask for one. I’ve given a presentation before college students about this and my main message is for them to use the time they spend on social networks by building their brand instead of using it for activities which will at some point break it (even before they try to build).”

Conclusion

Thanks for those thoughts, Jonha!

The concept of a personal brand was quite new to the tenth graders I spoke to. And that’s a big reason why I wrote this post: to create awareness around the fact that personal branding starts at an early age. Those who get an early start will have an advantage. Start working on your personal brand today.


Improve Your SlideShare Marketing with These 10 Fun Facts

November 16, 2013

10 Fun Facts About SlideShare

Introduction

At DNN, we produce 1-2 webinars per week on topics ranging from online community to content management to website optimization. Recently, we created a SlideShare channel to host all of our webinar presentations. It was a convenient solution for distributing slides to our webinar viewers. And, it would help widen the reach of our webinar content.

Results Have Exceeded Expectations

In the three months since launching our SlideShare channel, our presentations have received 40,000+ views, 47 Likes, 186 downloads, 317 Facebook shares and 180 tweets. One of our webinar presentations, in fact, generated 10,000 SlideShare views during the first week it was posted.

Let’s consider ten fun facts about SlideShare that can help inform your SlideShare marketing.

10 Fun Facts About SlideShare

1) SlideShare has 60 million monthly visitors.

According to their “About” page, SlideShare has 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million monthly page views. They’re among the top 200 most visited websites in the world. It’s a no-brainer, folks: extend the reach of your content (for free) to a potential audience of 60 million people.

At DNN, our webinars might reach thousands of people. With our SlideShare channel, we have the potential to reach millions. As a bonus fun fact, more than 10 million presentations have been uploaded to SlideShare. Check out a neat infographic from SlideShare that marked the occasion.

2) Hyperlinks (in slides) are clickable.

It’s true that Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird have changed the dynamics of SEO, but links are still a primary currency of the web. When creating your presentation, be sure that any links become true hyperlinks. I’ve found that hyperlinks (on SlideShare) are not clickable on Slide 1, but are clickable on all subsequent slides. On the DNN SlideShare channel, our presentations have generated 95 clicks to external pages.

3) Infographics are liked 4x more than presentations, and 23x more than documents on SlideShare.

Earlier this year, SlideShare announced support for infographics. Since then, they’ve published data points that compare engagement and interaction between infographics and other content formats. Just save (or convert) your infographic to PDF, then use the standard “Upload” process in SlideShare. It will detect that the uploaded document is an infographic and place it in “Infographics” tab in your SlideShare channel. We recently published an infographic, “Top 10 Blogs Every B2B Marketer Should Read.”

4) Your URL is derived from your presentation’s filename.

The structure of your URL is important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SlideShare auto-generates the URL of your presentation and you’re not able to edit or change it. So name your file to match your desired URL.

I like my SlideShare URL’s to match the title of the presentation. You’re not guaranteed to get your desired URL: if another presentation has the exact same title, SlideShare will append a number to the end of your URL (to make it unique). Don’t name your presentation “My webinar deck with edits from Jon v2”.pptx unless you want those words to appear in your SlideShare URL.

5) You can link to a specific slide.

You’re already using your social channels to promote your SlideShare presentations. Let’s say you wanted to share a surprising statistic on Slide 7, however. It’s not a great user experience to tweet about Slide 7, then drive users to the Slide 1 of your presentation.

SlideShare has an easy solution: to permalink to Slide 7, just append “/7” to the end of your URL and you’re done. Once users land on Slide 7, they can still navigate backward or forward. SlideShare explains further on their blog. In the spirit of sharing a specific slide, here’s a fantastic quote on community management (from a recent webinar).

6) SlideShare supports audio in the form of Slidecasts.

You can upload an MP3 (audio) file and synchronize it to your slide presentation. Side note: I’d like Morgan Freeman to narrate my presentations. SlideShare provides step-by-step instructions on how to do this.

By grabbing the audio track from your webinar (and then doing the synchronization), SlideShare can be a convenient place to host on-demand webinars!

7) You can easily embed SlideShare presentations on web pages.

You can embed any SlideShare presentation onto a web page, including those published by others. By embedding your own, you play the role of promoter or syndicator. By embedding presentations from others, you play the role of curator and commentator.

When viewing the presentation on SlideShare, simply click the “Embed” button at the top of the player. Copy the HTML code for use on your site (or blog). You can also copy a “shortcode” for WordPress.com blogs. Using embedding, we generated 10,000 SlideShare views in one week (for a webinar presentation).

8) You can link your SlideShare account to your LinkedIn account.

By linking these two accounts, activity on SlideShare gets fed automatically to LinkedIn and seen in the Newsfeed of your LinkedIn Connections. As you upload new presentations or “Like” existing ones, your LinkedIn Connections will know. Check out how you can use this to share social media content in five minutes a day.

9) You can share your videos on SlideShare.

Presentations, infographics and audio, oh my. Now comes video. Yes, you can share your videos on SlideShare, too. Check out this FAQ on videos (from SlideShare) for further details.

10) SlideShare PRO gives you some premium features.

After seeing early results with SlideShare, we decided to upgrade to SlideShare PRO Silver, since it gave us the ability to embed registration forms, as well as a deeper view of analytics. The Silver plan costs $19 a month, so it was a no-brainer. Have a look at this SlideShare for more info on PRO.

Conclusion

We hope you liked our fun facts as much as we liked documenting them. Beyond the fun, we hope you can apply many of these facts to become a more effective marketer on SlideShare. Sixty million visitors are waiting.

Related Resources

  1. The DNN Software SlideShare page.
  2. A Twitter chat I participated in: Tips for Using SlideShare in Content Marketing
  3. Prior post: How a Webinar Presentation Generated 10,000 SlideShare Views in 1 Week

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.



How Halloween Reminds Me of B2B Marketers

October 26, 2013

Halloween and B2B Marketers

Introduction

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, I loved to head out (after dark) and go trick or treating. As a parent, I revel in seeing the enjoyment experienced by kids. You may be wondering: how does Halloween relate to B2B marketers?

Let me explain. Recently, DNN collaborated on a Social Insights Report with Leadtail. The report analyzed 113,039 tweets (from 500 North American B2B marketers) from June 1, 2013 to August 31, 2013. The report then draws a number of conclusions on how B2B marketers engage on Twitter.

To gain access to the report:

Download the report

http://offers.leadtail.com/social-media-insights-report-b2b-marketers/

Since I reviewed the report so close to Halloween, I couldn’t help but draw analogies between B2B marketers and my favorite holiday.

1) We know where to trick or treat.

Photo credit: Flickr user Joint Base Lewis McChord via photopin cc

The report looked at B2B marketers’ tweets to see what other social networks they’re active on. LinkedIn is the clear winner, as 35% of B2B marketers shared content on LinkedIn. Instagram and Foursquare came in at 18% and 13%, respectively. Facebook registered at 3%, more than 10x less than LinkedIn.

Social networks most active

This tells me that B2B marketers know where to trick or treat. Their B2B presence takes them to neighborhoods that make sense for their jobs (e.g. LinkedIn), while ventures into the land of Facebook are reserved for activities outside of work.

The Instagram result (18%) runs contrary to this point. It may be that Instagram is the “shiny new object” that B2B marketers want to experiment and learn from. A number of B2B brands, in fact are using Instagram as an effective marketing tool.

2) We take our kids to familiar houses.

I have a daughter in fifth grade. While I’ve taken her to some “foreign” neighborhoods in the past, I tend to take her to houses for which I know the owner. I think that makes for a safer trick or treating experience.

As we saw with the LinkedIn result, B2B marketers like to share familiar content (i.e. things related to their jobs). Of the 100 most popular content sources for B2B marketers, mainstream media registered at 25%, but industry media came in at a whopping 62%.

Types of content shared

3) We know how to provide the candy our visitors want.

Photo credit: Flickr user MzScarlett via photopin cc

A “good house” buys the candy variety pack at Costco. A great house surveys the likes and dislikes of neighborhood kids and tailors their treats accordingly.

Side note: one house in my neighborhood gives out ice cream cones for each kid. They ask which flavor the kid wants, then gives the kid two scoops of the selected flavor in a cone. This is an example of “great.”

B2B marketers tend to retweet content (i.e. share their candy) if they believe “my followers will like this.”

Most retweeted marketers

4) We visit the houses with the best decorations.

Some homeowners go to great lengths to create an experience that delights visitors. Great B2B content marketers go to equally great lengths to create content that delights their target audience. The Top 50 vendors most mentioned by B2B marketers are doing something right (hint: it probably has something to do with the content they’re producing and sharing). I’d love to go trick or treating in their neighborhoods.

Most mentioned marketers

5) We’re drawn to creative and visually appealing costumes.

Photo credit: Flickr user geckoam via photopin cc

Whether it’s Halloween costumes or content marketing, I’m always amazed at some of the creative concepts I run across. At Halloween, we’re naturally drawn to costumes that are both “different” and visually appealing. If you look at the list of Top 10 most shared social sources, you’ll see a number of visually oriented sites: YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.

Most shared social sources

Conclusion

Hope you all have a safe, happy and fun Halloween – DNN is doing a webinar the day before. We’ve invited our friends from Leadtail to share findings from this Social Insights Report and provide recommendations on how you can most effectively engage B2B marketers. Don’t miss it! Register here:

Leadtail and DNN webinar

http://info.dnnsoftware.com/WebinarLeadtail103013_RegistrationLP.html

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.


Ten Blogs Every Marketer Should Read

October 25, 2013

Ten blogs every marketer should read

Introduction

As marketers (or aspiring marketers), we have it pretty darn good. Why is that? Because marketers, by our very nature, are accustomed to sharing information, insights, tips and best practices. In fact, sharing (and publishing) knowledge is one of the things we love most about our job.

What can you do if you don’t yet have a body of knowledge to share? You follow and read the marketing thought leaders. Learn from the best, while getting a sense for how they share their knowledge. One day, you may find your likeness etched into the Mount Rushmore of Marketing thought leaders.

Let’s highlight ten blogs that every B2B marketer should read.

Follow Our Twitter List: Top 10 Marketing Blogs

Amy Porterfield: Social Media Strategy

Amy Porterfield is a social media strategist who helps clients “maximize the power of social media and increase the success of their online marketing efforts.” Amy provides actionable tips on social media engagement. She’s a great storyteller, as well – just read through the About page on her site.

Selected post: What to Do After People Opt In to Your Email List

As marketers, it’s quite easy to take our email opt-in list for granted. Source 1,000 new opt-ins last week? Great. We just completed a white paper yesterday, so we’re going to email all 1,000 of them, with “hot off the presses” in the subject line.

Instead, Porterfield encourages marketers to give email subscribers great value over time and make sure your messages resonate with them: in other words, treat them like gold. Your email subscribers should be valued on par with your customers. In fact, many of your customers are already on your email list. Wouldn’t it be bad if they opted out?

Moz: Content on SEO and More

Moz began life as an SEO consulting company and has grown into a content site, online community and software provider. For me, Moz has become a go-to site for all things SEO and Google, from Penguin to Hummingbird to “Not Provided.”

Selected post: Taking Advantage of Google’s Bias Toward Hyper-Fresh Content – Whiteboard Friday

While my schedule doesn’t always sync up, I like to set aside some time on Friday’s to catch the latest “Whiteboard Friday” from Rand Fishkin, Moz’s CEO and Co-Founder. Fishkin always has timely and interesting things to share – and the depth of his content is always impressive. As just one measure of content effectiveness, take a look at the number of Comments he receives (61 comments in the selected post above).

Ann Handley: Social Media and Content Marketing

I’ve been a reader of Marketing Profs for quite some time. I read the book Content Rules, which Ann co-authored with C.C. Chapman. I’ve also attended a number of Marketing Profs webinars and online events.

Selected post: A Simple Content Marketing Org Chart

My selected post is not from Marketing Profs, though. On her personal blog, Ann provides an org chart for the content marketing team. Some organizations have a single person allocated to content, while others may have teams of hundreds. It’s not the numbers that are important here, it’s the roles and personas that Ann outlines. Did you see a role here that’s not filled on your team? Think about filling it.

Seth Godin: Best-selling Author and Thought Provoker

Things I look forward to each day: the sun rising. And Seth Godin’s daily blog post. I’ve enjoyed a number of Seth’s books. On his blog, he takes a different approach. Each post is short and succinct. They deliver a key insight, or they make you think (or both).

Selected post: Marketing good…

This one made me think. My takeaway is: good is no longer good enough. Our marketing, along with the products we’re marketing, need to be great.

Jay Baer: Best-selling Author and Social/Content Guru

Jay Baer is founder of Convince & Convert, who “help you get better at social media and content marketing through audits, strategic planning and ongoing advice and counsel” (source: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/about-us/).

Selected post: 11 Big Myths About Social Media and Content Marketing

I’m not a big fan of myths: after all, if something’s a myth, I shouldn’t pay attention to it, right? Except that I should, when peers, colleagues or industry contacts believe in such myths. I may need to dispel a myth in order to gain budget or project approval.

KISSmetrics: Analytics, Marketing and Testing

KISSmetrics provides web analytics software. Each blog post they publish is so rich in detail, I almost feel guilty getting it for free. Their blog content covers a fairly wide range of topics (i.e. more than analytics and testing). Because I need to allocate a fair amount of time to read and digest their content, I usually save pieces for later (i.e. outside of the work day), when I have dedicated time to read them in full.

Selected post: 58 Resources to Help You Learn and Master SEO

Sometimes, content curation can be as big a task as writing original content. This post features a broad and comprehensive set of SEO resources. I may need to allocate an entire weekend for this one.

Paul Gillin: Speaker, Writer, Consultant

I’ve been reading Paul’s blog ever since I worked with him (a number of years ago). Paul has published a number of books, consults with brands and speaks and writes frequently.

Selected post: 8 Data Points about the Importance of Customer Experience

When assembling a presentation, I often need to find interesting and relevant statistics to include. Sometimes it can be very challenging to find them! If I was doing a presentation on customer experience (or, the related field of Customer Experience Management), Paul’s post would be my go-to source for related stats.

Brian Solis: Author and Analyst

Brian Solis is a best-selling author and principal analyst at Altimeter Group.

Selected post: Broadcast Yourselfie: How teens use social media and why it matters to you

If you’re in B2C, you probably know about the technology and social media habits of teens. If you’re in B2B, your knowledge of teens may related to the ones in your household. I’m in B2B and don’t have a teen at home, so I found this post fascinating. Today’s teens will be your target customer in a few years. It’s best to understand them now.

Jeremiah Owyang: Entrepreneur and Thought Leader

Jeremiah Owyang is Chief Catalyst (and founder) at Crowd Companies. Formerly, Jeremiah was a research analyst at Altimeter Group.

Selected post: Meet the Resilient Corporations

Jeremiah always seems to be at the leading edge of what’s coming next. His current focus area is the collaborative economy and in this piece, he explores the advantages gained by resilient corporations. They gain advantages “by reducing risk through variability, being agile by flexing when needed, and scaling by leveraging others to handle the load.”

I read Jeremiah’s blog for a big picture view of things coming down the road.

Marketo: Best Practices in Online Marketing

Marketo is a leading provider of marketing software. Nearly every week, I learn something new about Marketing via their blog.

Selected post: Here’s How to Maintain Your Email Marketing List for Engagement and Better Deliverability

Whoever proclaimed “email is dead” must not have been a marketer. For demand and lead generation, email is still an important tool in our arsenal. And I think a lot of marketers still struggle with things like subscription management and deliverability. Read this post from Marketo co-founder Jon Miller and your email management will be the better for it.

Our Infographic

We’ve assembled an infographic of these ten extraordinary thought leaders. Enjoy!

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.


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