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Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

 

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The Colors of Content Marketing

You never really know what you are going to end up with on a remodeling project. Once you open up the walls and ceilings (can of worms), a completely new set of problems have a way of presenting themselves. And once that ordeal is over one of the most difficult decisions is envisioning the paint on the walls. Is the light going to reflect or absorb? Flat, Satin or Gloss?

Almost everyone I know has re-re-painted because the color “looked perfect on the chip and all wrong on the walls.” Paint Manufacturer’s solution = provide an online color tool to assist consumers with a decision.

This may be one of the most obvious examples of content driving a sale. Even general contractors use pantone swatches on the job but at home while drawing up estimates they use online color tools. Homeowners still collect swatches like baseball cards but more and more decisions are being based off online color tools. Content that helps customers make a choice between product x or y — or in this case yellow narcissus vs. cozy cottage is what the new content revolution is all about.

The Pro Tool:

Pantone.com – Since 1963, Pantone has established itself as the standard for innovative system of identifying, matching, and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches. This tool is a grid-based tool fashioned for the graphic design crowd who know need to calibrate printers, compare cotton swatches and determine paint colors down to specific pantone numbers.

Homeowner Tool:

Behr.com – The Behr Color Smart tool allows homeowners to start their color tour by Pantone number, browsing all colors or through use of their pre-selected inspiration images. This tool assists the color-overwhelmed with custom color pairings selected by designers. The Color Smart tool also allows users to upload their own home photos where they can be “painted” by the tool. Very cool.

Aside tips:

Once you decide on your colors keep in mind that Home Depot utilizes a 4 color paint system and will have more colors available than Lowes, who uses a 3 color system.

If a company sells calculators or lawn fertilizer or there are just as effective opportunities to present content drivers en route to a sale as color matching tool: Success stories, Video Podcasts, micro-sites and other customer reference collateral all serve the same purpose. Keep your customers engaged, and informed they will come back wearing your favorite color – green.

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Print Imitating the Web

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There are only a few magazines that keep my interest from cover to cover: Esquire, Dwell, NY Times Magazine, and a bunch of indies that we will discuss another day. The reason I am engaged from page 1 to page whatever is the content and the manner in which the content presented — Esquire especially. For those of you involved in print and the web, here is an interesting article in NY Times last week about Business Week becoming more “weblike”…more

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There is a place for User Generated Content (USG) – Epinions is a great example and Amazon is another. The echo of “write what you know” rings true on both of these sites and provides useful content assisting buyer on their way to the checkout basket. Then there are the content farms, more concerned with rising to the top of an SEO search, than promoting your brand. A quick search for “content writer” in Google resulted in 293,000 results. The top return was a company asking you this:

“Have you ever wondered as [sic] what is the importance of writing articles to your websites? You must have come across many article sites specially designed to post the articles you have written. Why are such websites designed and what is their importance? Just go through this article and you would be in a better position to answer all the above questions.”

Not the sort of corporate editorial you want promote your brand, especially if it can land your company at the top of search engine results. Dig around the Internet and you will find companies paying “writers” $5-7 dollars for 500-word articles.

Click here for a story published today by the Guardian covering low-quality articles produced by word farms. In addition, remember that SEO is an important part of your business and content management should consider SEO, but not at the expense of your brand and message.


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We usually understand our value to customers, but we rarely take the time to speak directly to them. Instead, we try to speak to everyone, as if our message were a 7-11 open 24-hours a day. For late night munchers, we have Crunch and Munch in aisle 2; for early morning health conscious gym-rats, Luna bars near the front register; forgot milk for coffee in the morning guy, fridge 4.

When we take the time to target who we are speaking to, they speak back to us, in the way of sales. Target-Connect-Measure-Repeat. Everyone together now: Target-Connect-Measure-Repeat. Make it your mantra.

A good first step is identifying your target customer. I recently used this example for a client:

“They are a 40-year-old couple. She is an ad exec, he is an architect. He collects vintage sneakers and drives a new Land Rover but longs for a vintage one. She drives a Mini Cooper, runs every night after work with her Weimaraner, and likes chick-lit.”

Make it realistic but fun and try to think of it more like an ad campaign than the foundation for an article or corporate collateral piece.

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When you walk in the door of a new store, a relationship begins right away. A bell dangling on a string above the door says — “I want to know that you have arrived.” A desk or counter says — “Come to me.” And when nothing is said when you walk in, well that speaks volumes, too.

The moment customers view your website, read your corporate editorial content, or glance at the cover of your magazine, the relationship goes under a microscope. From there on in, it becomes a case of managing expectations: you’re either crawling out of the hole from a typo, unfocused content, poor message, or living up to a high expectation that you may or may not be able to meet, manage, or maintain.

All businesses want to establish themselves as experts regarding their service or product, but most just show you what they have for sale, tell you how great they are, and send you off to the Buy Now button or 1-800-number. Consumers want informative authentic content that speaks to them directly. Speak to your audience with honesty about what you are going to deliver, then deliver it with a smile. Just opening the doors and asking for the sale these days isn’t enough. “Content drives action.”

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The Summer of Content

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This summer has been busy: New York, Connecticut, Boston, Cape Cod, and now EAT MEDIA is taking another road trip to San Francisco to work with the folks at POOCH. We started this business just over 6 months ago and so far the response to our outsourced editorial management has been fantastic. Marjorie Scholtz, and her team at POOCH, have embraced the EAT MEDIA concept and have been great to work with — the first POOCH magalogue will be launching late October 2007.

We are slowly wrapping WEB 2.0 delivery and content into our business model but sticking to our core competency of providing professional managing editor for hire services to corporate clientele, for both print and online. Because…

-Success stories and white papers don’t have to be dull as Wonder bread.

-Producing fresh, relevant content weekly, monthly or quarterly can be managed outside your organization and retain your voice and message.

-And if you want to sell diamonds, your content better shine like one.

We don’t doubt for a minute that our customers can’t produce relevant content for their business. The question isn’t can they do it, but rather what else they could be doing to move their business forward.

I interviewed Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-hour Workweek” last month; he had this to say about sticking to your core competencies.

” It’s really going to be the people who can multiply the effects of their core competencies and eliminate the time consumed by non-core competencies by outsourcing them who are going to be the highest performers.”

Every employee with a marketing degree and an Aeron chair would love to spend more time solidifying their message and generating unique content to support their brand. But the reality is there are meetings, events, emails and more fires than there are hoses. So we are building our team of professional writers and creating an infrastructure to seamlessly assist our clients with their content needs.

 

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