Is Content Finally Getting Respect?

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 9:27 AM | Category: Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media 1 comment

Pharaoh Dallas Museum of ArtAfter a successful four-city tour, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs returned for three-city encore tour. The Dallas Museum of Art was one of those stops. I received an email from my cousins in Austins who planned to come to town for the exhibition. We set it up, reserved the tickets and had a memorable experience. (Yes, I remember my sons complaining. This cropped photo had my family, but only my daughter and husband cooperated.)

It had been over eight years since I last visited the museum for the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition. When I finally visited Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for the first time, it took a traveling exhibit to get me there.

Notice a pattern here? I visited the museums when there was fresh, temporary and interesting content.

Like my never visiting a museum for its static exhibits, how often do you visit a company’s static website? What connects you with a company? Fresh, informative content.

Content Marketing

I found this old post on undervaluing content. In reading it, I think attitudes toward content have finally changed and it has a name: content marketing. Truth is, content marketing has been around for a long time, it just didn’t have a fancy name.

Content marketing involves creating content to engage customers and prospects, to earn their trust you and to get them to take action. You have to keep it coming or else customers forget about your company.

Blogging. That’s content marketing. Emails. Yep. Webinars. That, too. Tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn statuses. Yep, yep, yep. It includes newsletters, white papers, special reports, articles, podcasts and videos.

And the cool thing is that any of the content available online attracts search engines. Customers seek information. They need answers. Those answers can be found in content.

Marketing in Disguise

You may be thrown by the use of “marketing.” Content marketing isn’t focused on promoting a company’s products and services. If you constantly sell to them, they won’t come back for more. Content needs to offer value, otherwise how can you earn prospects’ trust? We also buy from people we like. Content helps customers get to know you. As you keep delivering useful content, customers drop another objection that blocks the sale.

Someone asked me if I knew of any way to automate original content. That’s one thing technology can’t do. Even if it could, would it share stories? Make it interesting? Add humor? Content automation sounds like dry content that will tell you everything about a topic without personality.

You don’t need to create content from scratch every time. Turn the contents of your white paper into a video, a blog post, a LinkedIn status update. I bet you can find a great sentence in there that would make a nice tweet.

Companies have it easier today. Instead of trying to reel people in to their websites, they go where they are in social media.

What do you rely on for content marketing? How do you connect with customers and prospects?


Let Us Facebook

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 9:21 AM | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media 1 comment

Snowing FacebookWith the holiday season upon us and many of us spending less time online, on blogs and elsewhere — I decided to make a Facebook edition of “Let It Snow.” I’ve also done Twitter and blog versions: Let Us Tweet (Dragon unNaturally Speaking makes an appearance here) and Let Us Blog. Again, apologies to “Let It Snow” lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne.

Let Us Facebook

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But Facebook is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to book,
Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook!

Updates don’t show signs of stopping,
And I’ve seen some pics for swapping,
Messages and invites pour in, so I must go look,
Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook!

When we finally connect in Facebook chat,
Your links, jokes and videos make me laugh.
But now I really have to scat.
Tomorrow, I’ll post that funny infograph.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, logging off we’re still defying.
But as long as Facebook fills with gobbledygook,
Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook! Let us Facebook!


AP, Writers and Social Media

Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Category: Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Writing No comments
Old typewriter

Image from user wolliballa

The AP is Changing the Way Their Reporters Use Twitter reports that the Associated Press (AP) is forbidding writers from sharing opinions in Twitter, including opinions of others through retweets. I understand AP wants to ensure its reputation for unbiased reporting remains intact.

My initial reaction was tripping over my jaw that had somehow landed on the floor. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood the concern. Let’s say you read an unbiased AP article about hydraulic fracturing. If the AP writer who wrote the story has a Twitter account and tweeted that the problems surrounding hydraulic fracturing are overblown, how would that affect the article? Future articles?

What if the writer makes no mention of writing for AP in his Twitter bio? When I tweet a link to a story, I often look up the writer for a Twitter ID to credit the person with writing the story. If I do that with the hydraulic fracturing writer and see opinionated tweets on the subject — could that reflect on AP and the writer?

As I think about this, I’m at a loss on the right way to handle this. With so much low quality, biased reporting today — maybe it’s necessary for AP to do it for the sake of integrity.

What do you think of AP’s actions? Are they exempt or should it apply to other publications? What about companies? Can employees be allowed to share opinions about competitors and their industry?

And now for your weekly links.

Brain food …

For fun …

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Journaling for Documentation

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Category: Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Mari McCarthy’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a prize of the winner’s choice! Read on to see how you can win.Mari L. McCarthy

About Mari McCarthy: Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now and Journaling for the Health of It™.  Mari offers guidance, counseling and encouragement to writers through her many journaling eBooks and in private Journaling Jumpstart consultations. Mari’s hosting the next Peace of Mind and Body: 27 Days of Journaling Challenge starting January 2, 2012. Please join her!

Her new Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook compiles the journaling journeys of 17 journalers who have shared their stories on Create Write Now’s Journal Writing Transforms You blog. Reading these stories is both comforting and enlightening, sort of like dark chocolate, a food that is good for your health despite being sinfully delicious!

Journaling for Documentation by Mari McCarthy

There are innumerable reasons why keeping a journal is beneficial. From dreaming to scheming to moaning and groaning, filling the pages of your journal with your various states of being is the most direct route I know to personal achievement, resolution and inner peace.

However, probably the oldest and most fundamental purpose of journaling is its use as a documentary. Surely the caveman’s wall paintings were a kind of journal, to share with posterity his achievements and the details of his days. And ever since, people have kept diaries for the simple reason that they wish to document their lives: what happens, who they meet, where they are and all the minutiae of their experience.

Nowadays, we tend to think our time is far too pre-occupied for such pursuits. But if we read the journals of predecessors, we can quickly see what a great gift such writings can be. Despite the rush and roar of 21st century life, keeping a journal will benefit not only our own peace of mind, but also that of our descendants.

If you have experienced the death of an elder in your family, you know that such passing away is always shocking, no matter how expected it may have been. And in so many cases, we regret that we did not know the deceased as well as we might have wished. Moreover, our children and their children may later on become curious about their ancestors. Isn’t it appropriate, then, that we take pains to prepare for this eventuality by documenting our lives in a journal?

So the diary-kind of journaling is precious and obviously important. But note that there are many other kinds of journaling for documentation, as well.

  • Keeping a travel journal is a great way not only to maintain a record for the future but also to heighten your enjoyment of the experience as it is happening. Jotting down notes, describing places and scenes in detail, reflecting on the meaning of what you see and recording your personal reactions gives you a more well-rounded awareness of your journey.
  • You might want to keep a journal that documents your progress on a project, something that you create over time. This could be professional or personal. You might document your work with underprivileged children; or your participation in a mastermind group; or your process of learning to paint landscapes.
  • A journal documentary of your commitment to weight loss, or to stopping an unhealthy habit or building a healthy one, or to a new personal relationship can be powerfully helpful in achieving your goals, in addition to providing a record of progress that will give you much satisfaction when you re-read your entries later on.
  • Another kind of documentary journaling may focus on a certain area of your life. Try journaling about what you cook and eat each day, about your child’s growth and learning, about your garden, or about your spiritual experiences. Remember that while most journals involve writing, they can also (or alternatively) include drawings or scrapbooked items pasted into the pages.

There are endless ways to document the details of your consciousness in a journal. Never think this is a vain pursuit or waste of time. By journaling your experiences, you deepen your own life and potentially enrich the lives of many others in the process.

Comment and win: The prize: winner gets to pick one of three prizes, which are Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook, a Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul T-shirt or Mari’s Most Musefull Journaling Tips (8 1/2 x 11 Spiral Bound).

Dark Chocolate for the Journaler's Soul ebookDark Chocolate for the Journaler's Soul ShirtMari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips

For a chance to win, please leave a comment about journaling, documentation or whatever comes to mind after reading this post (other than you wanna win!). You have until 11:59pm on December 14, 2011 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.

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Thank Clients

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Category: Links, Meryl's Notes Blog 1 comment

Image from user Ambrozjo

After arriving at my mom’s house on Thanksgiving, my seventeen-year-old daughter hands me an envelope. Perplexed, I opened it to find a  incredible and moving handwritten note of thanks from her. Let’s just say it was enough to bring tears. She wrote one for my mom, my siblings, close friends and — the most amazing of all — her two little brothers.

She said she is about to graduate and leave home. She felt she needed to do it.

I write notes to my clients every year … by hand. Yes, it cramps, but it’s worth it. (I even keep a journal, but I guess that’s not enough to keep the handwriting muscles warm.) You can get more ideas from 33 Ways to Reward Your Customers. These have a lot of retailer-related suggestions. However, every business can pick up something from this list.

It isn’t necessary to wait until the holidays to thank your clients. I do that, but I try to send the notes and gifts earlier. (Sent last week.) I’ve sent them pecan pralines (Texas food), books and Boy Scout Popcorn (delicious treat that also helps the organization).

You could also buy stamped postcards and write a thank you anytime you find the opportunity. They’re small and light, so you can carry them with you ready to write on.

How do you thank people?

Weekly Links

Brain food …

Fun …

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