Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wordsmithing with SEO

How do words affect a post?

This post is written with the help of "SEO Blogger" a browser plug-in from Wordtracker. For fun I wrote what came out of the finger tips, then checked my thinking against the tool.

When people write posts blogs they choose specific terms keywords to convey a message. The choice is often based on thoughts and intent keyword research in order to plant an idea in their minds. Hopefully the result is a topic for conversation conversation starter.

If you're crafting stories and messages technical writing then this tool might help.

Friday, June 19, 2009

10 Marketing Disciplines Defined

How do we describe what we do at a party?

Sometimes I need a simple way to explain what I do. So, here's my list of definitions for marketing that usually work:
  1. Marketing: aligning solutions and needs to everyone's mutual benefit
  2. Outbound Marketing: getting seen, heard and hopefully some attention
  3. Inbound Marketing: getting found through different and unusual places
  4. Content Marketing: sharing what you know and have to help people make decisions
  5. Social Marketing: leveraging human interactions to convey a message
  6. Search Marketing: increasing the odds of being in a prominent position when people look
  7. Email Marketing: saying or offering something of value to those interested in hearing from you
  8. Direct Marketing: targeting a single individual in the hopes of eliciting a response
  9. Affiliate Marketing: encouraging and rewarding others to market to their audience
  10. Inline Marketing: leveraging media in ways that meet customer/prospect expectations
I'm sure there are many more. Got one to add? Drop me a note.

The Personalities of Education Seekers

What kind of people go to different types of schools? and why?

Earlier I wrote about the four different sandboxes marketers can think about in the education space. Using the (in)famous 2x2 quadrant four different goals can be obtained based on how general or specific the program and school are. In summary, they were defined as follows:
  • Stepping Stone: the badge needed to eliminate a potential objection
  • Short List: the credentials to be recognized as highly qualified
  • Open Doors: the secret hand shake (and Rolodex) to move in certain circles
  • Keys to the Kingdom: the seal of approval from the most respected place to gain skills
People who follow each of these paths do so for different reasons and there selection process of where to go to school is very different. As such, they can be turned into personae that help us develop the right messaging and media plans.

The following picture highlights each of the benefits, decision behavior and motivations of each of the four named personae.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Leveraging Content in Marketing

Why is content important?

Lately there has been lots of discussion around both 'content marketing' and 'inbound marketing'. On the former Kat French has written the '10 commandments' for content as well as a recent addendum and Todd Defren (and commenters) has offered a definition of inbound marketing. From the two writers:
[Content marketing is] transforming "information and data" into "engaging, portable, search-friendly content"

Inbound marketing is findability based on authority based on authenticity based on content based on passion.
Doing a typical web 2.0 thing, I'll create a mashup:

Content marketing: sharing what you know and have in ways that it makes it easier for people to decide to do business with you.

People make decisions emotionally and they defend their decisions rationally. Content can be used effectively in support of both needs. Along with context, content is paramount to helping people make choices. Consider the purchase of technology or making entertainment choices: we continually consume content in all manner of forms to help (and defend) why we choose what we do. If this is the case then there is no 'one right way' to package and distribute content. Since bits want to be free, our job is to facilitate their dispersion.

PS - I ended up dropping the explicit reference to inbound because in this day and age of the social graph, engagement and conversations I simply lose track of the concept of 'us' and 'them' or sides. Inbound still has a bit of company centricity to it. If there is 'inbound' marketing then there must be 'outbound' marketing where the only difference I see is a possible swapping of 'telling stories' for 'findability'. If you aren't an authentic, passionate authority then you probably shouldn't be a marketer.