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Content Marketing

*On Monday January 25th 2016, social media and the world celebrate #CMAD, which is short for Community Manager Appreciation Day. I have so many friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Snapchat who work as Community Managers, and I wanted to write something that speaks to their immeasurable value to the brands that they work for. Keep engaging, never stop building relationships and always be social... Happy #CMAD!* What. A. Day. Some seemingly mindless banter on Twitter has exploded into a broader conversation across your industry and your customers are busy expressing their happiness with your products and the service you provide. People are literally tweeting your competitors and advocating on your behalf, explaining why you're the brand to beat. They're sharing their views in Facebook groups, causing your page views to skyrocket and filling your Inbox with orders. Your mentions on Instagram are blowing up, with many users reposting some of your latest special offers. How did this happen?! Simple. Your Community Manager engaged your followers and connections and BOOM! They took care of the rest.

Apps have become modern day lifelines. Consider this: in 2014, the way we do business changed forever when Internet usage on mobile exceeded desktop usage for the first time ever, with accessing content and information leading the way for reasons why. With mobility empowering the workforce more than ever before, offering your customers (and employees!) a great experience with your brand on their smartphones is non-negotiable. As somebody who spends a good hour or two on LinkedIn each day, my hopes were high when I first heard about ‘Voyager,’ in a presentation from CEO Jeff Weiner during Talent Connect Anaheim 2015. Aptly named after the 1972 NASA mission that sent a man-made spacecraft further than any other in history, the revamped app represents a dramatic overhaul from both functionality and design standpoints. Things just work better and look slicker. This idea of helping LinkedIn “[go] further than [they’ve] ever gone before” definitely intrigued me. Up to this point, I always felt as if I was on a weaker version of the desktop when I browsed LinkedIn on my smartphone. In fact, over time, I would rather wait to hop on my MacBook after-hours instead of using the app during my lunch. That’s the opposite of what you want your customers or members doing in 2015. Nonetheless, after spending a few days using ‘Voyager,’ I am happily immersed and excited to see how this new mobile experience impacts my efforts on LinkedIn. A quick watch of 'The Making of the new LinkedIn app Project Voyager' should give you a sense as to how much energy and how many hours were spent in development. Here’s why I feel this launch is a huge move for LinkedIn as we head towards 2016:

Every decision we make in life is driven by story. Let that marinate for a second. Can you argue with me? When was the last time you pursued or accomplished anything in your life that wasn't shaped by what you heard from someone else? ... I'm guessing you're still struggling for an example. Truth be told, storytelling exists at the heart of the human experience. [embed]https://youtu.be/cFdCzN7RYbw[/embed] There's a great video on YouTube that focuses on the six universal principles of persuasion, all covered in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s groundbreaking book, Influence. Not surprisingly, 'consensus' is on the list (#6 if you watch the Doc's video, and I think you should!) - which ties into what I opened with: one of the most intriguing things about the societies and communities we develop is the undeniable link between how people make decisions based on what others say or do. That's why it's so important that YOUR story - whether it's about your life, your business, your career goals or the relationships you've built - is rich in human emotion, contains compelling details and remains authentic at all times. To better your chances of closing a deal, making new meaningful connections or just becoming a more effective communicator, it is critical that you appreciate how the story you write and tell for yourself will shape the success you experience as a person and professional.

If you went to the movie theatre and everything that was playing had already been out for 6 or 8 months, what would your reaction be? Or what if you were trying to buy new patio furniture for a summer pool party you’re hosting but the store only has Christmas decorations on display? I’m guessing you’d be annoyed. And more than likely, you’d also feel that both of these businesses were out of touch, maybe even poorly run. The odds of you returning would probably be slim to none. Well, that’s exactly what your prospects and customers are thinking when they arrive at your blog and see that your last post was in March… of 2014… We all know that content is king – but not content that’s dated, irrelevant or cliché. If you expect your customers to stick around once they notice that your blog is any of these qualities, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. To attract and maintain a loyal audience that keeps coming back for more, you need to develop evergreen content that's sustainable and lasting. Here’s why your business needs a blog – an engaging, knowledgeable, customer-centric, optimized blog: