If you want to check out all my archived posts, feel free to browse :)
However, if it's up-to-date action you want, tock on over to the new PR WARRIOR blog site at http://www.prwarrior.com/blog/
If you want to check out all my archived posts, feel free to browse :)
However, if it's up-to-date action you want, tock on over to the new PR WARRIOR blog site at http://www.prwarrior.com/blog/
Getting buy-in from the 'C' Suite was a dominant (and, it must be said, somewhat irksome) theme among the many discussions and presentations at the inaugural Social Business conference (aka #SocialBiz14) held at Melbourne's Recital Centre this week.
The two-day conference, hosted by ABC personality Annabel Crabb, attracted some 350+ social media, PR, marketing people and entrepreneurs from SMEs and big business, government and the not-for-profit sector.
Setting the scene with the opening keynote was US-based digital analyst, sociologist and futurist, Brian Solis; other speakers included Todd Sampson from The Gruen Transfer, Pete Williams of Deloitte, and social researcher, Mark McCrindle.
Social brands such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and HootSuite were also represented; comedian and corporate speaker, Jordana Borensztajn (see video below) provided the social media comic relief, while Dionne 'The Social Executive' Kasian-Lew outlined the six damaging myths about social media for leaders and the truths behind them (here is an extended version of her presentation):
Oh, and I popped by and had a chat too :)
Thanks to the enthusiasm (and speedy fingers) of a contingent of the audience, I trended on Twitter for my presentation.
A friend of mine from Chicago - Ramon DeLeon (aka #RamonWOW) - picked up on the Twitter activity and kindly 'Storified' (aggregated) the tweets emanating from my presentation, which was pretty cool and very kind of him!
The result is embedded below. I spoke about the importanmce of being a connected brand in today's hyper-networked world. The stream of tweets tell the story!
A pretty remarkable thing happened yesterday.
After something like 80 weeks of planning and toil, an initiative I've been involved with - the Super Awesome Micro Project (crypically known as #SAMP on Twitter) - was finally revealed to the world via social media (naturally).
The #SuperAwesomeMicroProject is actually a Life Size Lego Car Powered by Air.
(Watch the video at the bottom of this post in which Sammartino gives a manic presentation of how he and Raul met and the Lego idea came about).
Sammartino kickstarted crowd funding of the project via a single tweet:
Some had never met Sammartino but still put money in, sight unseen!
And that, my friends, is called TRUST.
Many - I would dare say, the majority - of the 40 #SAMP patrons (aka the 'SAMPions') - would have come together after connecting somehow on the social web, mainly Twitter.
How did Steve Sammartino manage to get such a connected crew together - a bunch of folks, I might add who also helped out in terms of web marketing, video, photography and other social media smarts?
He built trust over time.
As best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk would say, he 'jabbed, jabbed, jabbed' a lot before he delivered a 'right hook' (Vaynerchuk's new book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook uses the boxing metaphor to explain that marketing today is all about giving, giving, giving before asking for the sale.
And that's what Sammartino did.
Prior to pitching his idea to the Twitterverse, he had given a lot of his time, knowledge and ideas via his blog, his speaking, and of course, his tweets.
From this 'body of work' Sammartino built trust and relationships with a large number of people, some of whom supported his nascent idea.
Which, of course, is what social media is best at doing: Facilitating connections and helping people to find 'like minds' and nurture relationships over time.
The #SuperAwesomeMicroProject is a perfect example of that. Company executives could learn a lot from this project, not just around marketing and PR but also the future of business generally.
AT TIME OF WRITING: The YouTube video of the Lego car in action had been viewed in excess of 62,000 times, less than 22 hours after launch. Interestingly, I took a couple of hours' break mid-post and in that time the number of views doubled!
(Listen to Steve & Raul discuss the Super Awesome Micro Project a few days before the test drive on Beers, Blokes & Business podcast).
For years now I've kept tabs on what's been happening overseas in terms of social media and content marketing, collecting examples and case studies of individuals and companies that are leading the way in the space.
Now it's Australia's turn!
Content marketing in Australia has been picking up pace for a couple of years now. Google tells us the search trend for the term 'content marketing' is on the up, while according to one research report, spending on content marketing in Australia is set to increase by 61 per cent, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they will be 'significantly increasing' their budget this year.
Obviously this augurs well for the nascent content marketing 'industry' in Australia.
In the spirit of highlighting the positives locally, here are 11 excellent examples of content marketing from Australian brands (with a bonus three extra brand mentions at the end!).
What do you think? Have you got any others you'd like to add to the list?
I first wrote about TrinityP3 back in March last year when I interviewed Darren Woolley, the founder of TrinityP3 and key driver behind the brand's stellar content marketing efforts.
TrinityP3 is an independent strategic marketing management consultancy that assists marketers, advertisers and procurement with agency search and selection, agency engagement and alignment.
In the early days of Trinity P3, Darren's focus was mainly on trade media relations and B2B database marketing; today, while the company still maintains a growing database, most of Darren's focus is on the creation and distribution of content relevant to the marketing and advertising industry.
A well-maintained high quality blog sits at the heart of TrinityP3's content efforts, however the company also has a solid presence on SlideShare and YouTube, and is active across the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn.
If you're in the business of marketing professional services, you could do worse than keep an eye on what Mr D. Woolley is doing when it comes to content creation and social media.
Eco-friendly adventure travel company Intrepid Travel uses content and social media to connect and inspire its customers.
Its Intrepid Express Blog is all about "real travel, real traveller tales", and is jam-packed with photos and stories, travel ideas, tips and advice.
However, Intrepid has taken things a step further by entering into a partnership with The Perennial Plate – the filmmaking, travelling, sustainably-eating, chef and documentary-maker duo, Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine.
According to Intrepid's website:
Over 18 months, Daniel and Mirra will travel around the world with Intrepid, showcasing some of the most inspiring, intriguing and sustainable eating stories from around the world. Their culinary expeditions will take them to some of our most popular destinations, with tantalising taste treks through Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Turkey, South Africa and Argentina.
Brilliant stuff, and I think this whole area of content partnerships is something we're going to see a lot more of in coming years, so at this stage, Intrepid are well ahead of the game.
The Perennial videos are notching up solid view counts, with the one below ('A Day in India') having been watched over a million times.
As you'd expect from a company that's focused on building a community of fans, followers and advocates of its brand and what it stands for, its efforts on social networks are also first class - it has over 147,000 likes (and lots of engagement) on its Facebook page, a solid following (35,000) on Twitter and, interestingly, some 760,00 people have them circled on Google+ (indicating that Google's social network is not the 'ghost town' some critics would have you believe!).
All of this makes Intrepid Travel a brand worth keeping an eye on when it comes to content marketing!
Women's activewear brand Lorna Jane continues to go from strength to strength in the content marketing stakes, both here in Australia and overseas where the brand is actively expanding.
What Lorna Jane does better than most brands is live (and effectively communicate) its philosophy, or reason for being - 'Move Nourish Believe'; so much so it has become a key content driver for the company.
Its standalone Move Nourish Believe website essentially acts as the brand's content hub - it features heaps of articles of interest and relevance to its target audience (i.e. it doesn't just bang on about Lorna Jane products but covers topics such as healthy eating, skincare, lifestyle and motivation, plus profiles of Lorna Jane 'active living advocates'); plus forums, videos, healthy recipes and details regarding Lorna Jane events.
On the social media front, Lorna Jane shows what it takes to build a community across platforms such as Facebook (close to 800,000 likes), Twitter (19,000 followers), YouTube (where its videos continue to rack up multiple of thousands of views), Tumblr (for daily doses of inspiration and motivation), Instagram (180,000+ followers) and Pinterest (17,000 followers).
The brand also has a free iPhone app that "Track your runs, walks and cycles via your iPhone GPS while you move to live an active life".
All in all a really classy marketing effort that, with a strong focus on social and content, genuinely adds value to the lives of its customers - a strategy that by all reports seems to be paying off for the brand.
In a video interview I recorded last year with Shawn Callahan from Melbourne-based 'corporate storytelling' consultancy Anecdote, he mentioned how blogging was critical in building awareness of the firm's expertise and developing relationships with prospective clients.
Indeed, today - coming up to nine years since it was first established - the Anecdote blog still acts as the 'engine room' of the company's overall marketing effort and provides the business not only with excellent Google 'juice' but also helps its partners to develop relationships with professional executives (read: potential customers) all around the world.
However, Anecdote doesn't just blog.
A monthly e-newsletter ('Anecdotally'), speaking engagements and whitepapers - along with the blog - form the core of the company's content strategy, while Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all contribute along the way.
And then there is SlideShare. While Shawn has only uploaded six presentations on the slide sharing platform (with no uploads in recent years), most have thousands of views, with one ('The Essentials of Business Storytelling') attracting over 20,000 views. The content gift that keeps on giving, you could say!
The fact Shawn and the good folk from Anecdote have been maintaing a content-rich blog since 2004, potentially making it one of Australia's longest-running corporate blogs, gets a big tick from the PR Warrior!
Australian accounting software company MYOB made the decision last year to dig in and build a 'must-read' multi-author blog aimed fairly and squarely at the company's core target market - Australian small business.
Called 'The Pulse', the blog provides "news, views and ideas for your business" written by in-house staffers plus a solid roll-call of subject matter experts such as financial planner Liam Shorte, business coach Des Walsh, Natalie Giddings (marketing), Adam Turner (technology), social entrepreneur Melina Schamroth and leading blogger and digital strategist, Gavin Heaton.
The fact MYOB produces and commissions a regular stream of useful and informative articles shows great commitment to the cause.
However, more impressive is the company's decision to blog across a multitude of topics that are of interest and relevance to its audience, not just the obvious subjects such as accounting, tax and finance. The latter subjects are covered, of course, but the foresight to go beyond this and establish the blog as an information-rich small business resource is to be applauded.
(DISCLOSURE: I'm a regular contributor to the MYOB blog; this article, in which I list thought leaders on social media you should follow, had at time of writing racked up close to one thousand shares across social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - testament to the growing audience MYOB is attracting to its blog).
kikki.K, the Swedish-inspired retail chain that's home to all things stationery and home/office organisation, was established in 2001 by creative entrepreneur, Kristina Karlsson.
Today, the brand has over 70 boutique stores across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, plus an online boutique that services the rest of the world.
A stylish 'Inspiration' blog that reflects perfectly the style and substance of the kikki.K brand is the jewel in the brand's content crown; it's actively maintained and well structured in terms of specific categories (e.g. An Organised Life, Food Inspiration & Recipes, Styling & DIY Projects plus quick Q&A conversations with artistic individuals), while the Happiness Collaborative Project is a nice touch and comes from the heart of the brand's founder.
Extending the love of stylish stationery into the realm of social media, kikki.K also has a solid and, importantly, consistent presence across Facebook (52,000 likes), Twitter (8000 followers) and - naturally, given the visual appeal of the subject matter - Pinterest (8000 followers, well curated enhanced with copy, which is something you don't see often) and Instagram (15,000+ followers).
The brand has also tapped in to online publication platform ISSUU (although the content here skews promotional i.e. gift guides and look-books).
In essence, the Open Wealth Creation team of property specialists guide people step-by-step to build successful investment portfolios in the Australian market. Transparency via the relentless provision of relevant information - content that educates and empowers - has been the cornerstone of the company's content marketing strategy.
One of the reasons Open Wealth Creation's content efforts are having such a positive impact on the business is because the concept has been wholly embraced by founder and CEO, Cam McLellan (pictured).
Over the years Cam has amassed a substantial portfolio of commercial and residential property, and built a group of companies that employs over 100 team members and have been listed in five BRW fast growth lists. However, rather than 'hit the hippy trail' as Cam likes to say, he has committed himself to 'opening the kimono' and creating content that helps people better understand residential property investment in Australia.
Cam has written and self-published a book (from which he has also produced a free PDF mini-ebook), writes (with the help of his team) a regular blog (which includes articles and information-based videos), plus provides visitors to the Open Wealth Creation website with free access to a 13-part video education series (email required for the latter).
Does all this work? Cam says it does! Open's sales output has doubled and his office receives daily enquiries "that are all warm leads".
(DISCLOSURE: I worked with Cam and the team to help them develop and implement their content marketing strategy).
Give credit where credit's due, Telstra has been one of the leading lights when it comes to adopting social media for the enterprise (remember this Mashable article from 2009?).
Importantly, Telstra has maintained a corporate blog for many years, with posts written by a sweep of experts from within the organisation. The blog, called 'Telstra Exchange', covers technology, community issues and initiatives, as well as Telstra news.
The company has also produced
Meanwhile, the brand's free magazine for small business - Smarter Business Ideas (sent regularly to 300,000 SMEs) - is a top notch content marketing initiative.
Whereas much of Telstra's content seems a little ad hoc in nature (but very extensive), Comm Bank's efforts appear more structured and focused.
The jewel of Comm Bank's content marketing is its Women in Focus initiative - "a community of women who are doing extraordinary things".
Women in Focus is brilliant, well thought out and executed, and is a genuine, active community, complete with forum ('Community Noticeboard'), events/event listing, publications and blogs, videos, Comm Bank Insights and social media channels. I also like the CommBank Entrepreneurs Hub, which contains a 'What Kind of Entrepreneur Are You?' video series.
Also of note, Comm Bank provides huge utility with its mobile apps, notably its Property Guide App, while its CAN portfolio of advice and tips is a valuable resource for the various stages of our lives.
Other initiatives include a thing called Signals ("Where you can learn about the spending patterns of other Australians just like you"). I'm not sure where this fits exactly in the overall scheme of things though :)
Netregistry provides online services such as web hosting, domain name registration and web design.
At the heart of Netregistry's content efforts is its well-maintained blog, which covers all things online marketing in a simple and sharp manner.
But wait, there's more (resources).
The company's stockpile of online videos is solid; I particularly like the way they've segmented them into relevant categories, along with transcripts.
Ditto with an e-book series, all nicely categorised for easy access.
If you want to know how a professional services operator can build their personal brand via publishing platforms and social media, then look no further than Charles Badenach, a principal and private client adviser with the Shadforth Financial Group in Tasmania.
Where to start? Charles has cleverly built upon his social media and content marketing efforts, so much so that he has well and truly stamped himself as an authority in the financial planning space, not just in Tasmania but Australia generally.
For starters, there's Charles's blog which, along with a steady stream of news, is informative and written in a lively manner (very important with a somewhat dry topic such as personal finance).
His video efforts work well - a good mix of interviews with experts, clients with good stories to tell, plus Charles 'to camera' riffing on a particular topic of personal finance.
Here are three other excellent examples of small business content marketing in Australia that should definitely make this 'awesome' list, but I've covered them before on this blog and in other forums - click on the links to be taken to in-depth VIDEO INTERVIEWS with representatives of each company:
UPDATE: I produce a podcast series called The PR Warrior Presents 'The Connected Brand' - episode 15 was dedicated to this article.
Check out the podcast series here.
Australia's premier event for bloggers - the Problogger Training Event - is over for another year.
It was the fourth time in as many years that Darren Rowse and the crew from Problogger have run the annual event, which serves as an excellent barometer of the state of blogging in Australia.
With that in mind, I'm happy to report the local blogging scene (maybe we should start calling it an industry?) appears to be in pretty good shape!
Between 400 and 450 bloggers piled into the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast to absorb the latest information on growing your blog, your brand and your business using content marketing and social media strategies.
Put in perspective, this was double the number of people who attended the second event in Melbourne in 2011. The 2013 confab was run over two days and had backing of the likes of Virgin Australia and Tourism Queensland (both did a sterling job of leveraging their involvement in the event), among other sponsors.
So what does this mean for brands and marketers?
Simply, the seismic shift in the online media landscape continues, with increasing numbers of new influencers making their presence felt - on the social web, yes, but just as importantly, at the cash register and in other areas too.
Regular readers of PR Warrior will be aware I tend not to look at blogs in isolation but rather try and connect the dots of the reach and influence of the people who write them.
It became obvious at the Problogger event that many serious bloggers in Australia are becoming fully-fledged content creators, community builders and mini-media enterprises in their own right - they shoot video and/or photos, some produce audio content via podcasting, and most are hyper-connected across social networks. They are telling stories that resonate with their audience, growing their following organically through word-of-mouth not only through their blogs but also social networks, and building their brands in accelerated fashion.
Clint Gregan aka Reservoir Dad is set to extend his sphere of influence into bricks and mortar territory with a forthcoming new book release. Ditto Styling You's Nikki Parkinson. Ditto Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes.
And there were hundreds of others in attendance at the Problogger event who in their own unique way are finding their voice through blogging, as well as leveraging multiple channels to actively share stories and ideas, grow their visibility, build authority in their particular niche, and speak to - and engage with - hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of people across the country (and in some cases, internationally).
At the conference we heard from New Zealand-based Trey Ratcliff (wearing possibly the only Google Glass in Australia), who urged the audience to live in the now. Ratcliff has amassed a global audience of millions across his blog (Stuck In Customs) and various social media channels (he has a following of 6.3 million on Google+ alone), and has built a hugely successful enterprise off the back of his personal brand. He is one of the micro mavens I cover in my book, microDOMINATION.
Amy Porterfield, from San Diego, showed us there was a heck of a lot more to Facebook that simply posting updates with pretty pictures.
Jim Stewart demystified the murky virtual waters of SEO and helped bloggers better understand how to get found on search engines; founder of the Australian Writers' Centre Valerie Khoo provided tips on blogging for business; award winning film-maker and photographer Hailey Bartholomew shared ideas around making videos on iPhone/iPad; while Ed Dale (pictured above) piqued participants' interest in the nascent (but growing) area of digital magazine publishing for iPads/tablet devices - yet another exciting frontier we're about to experience!
Darren Rowse aka Problogger - who has amassed an audience of five million across his two blogs - carpet-bombed the packed audience with gems of inspiration.
And finally, in an excellent move by the organisers, singer-songwriter (and an engaging public speaker in her own right) Clare Bowditch inspired the packed venue with her stories and authentic charm (catch Clare in action below).
Bottom line: If you think blogging is simply about pyjama-clad narcissists typing away in a basement writing posts for nobody in particular, you'd be barking up the wrong virtual tree.
Blogging today is all about connecting and engaging with real and growing audiences; sharing stories and ideas and generating discussion and two-way interaction on and offline; but most of all, it's about building and fostering a sense of genuine community of fans, followers, supporters, enthusiasts and advocates of the blogger's brand, of who they are and what they stand for.
On an obvious 'surface level', a thriving local blogging scene provides brands with myriad exciting opportunities to partner with active content creators in interesting ways to reach new audiences and gain valuable third party endorsement along the way (whether paid, or earned).
On a deeper level, however, brands should be looking at how bloggers are creating content, building their own media brands and connecting with their community across multiple channels - and learning a thing or two from them!
These are all pointers to where marketing and PR is headed generally. Ignore them at your professional peril.