Archive for November, 2014

Yeah.  It’s a thing.  It’s a real day and it’s recognized globally.

So what is World Toilet Day exactly?  It’s event driven, action focused and strives to address the 2.5 billion people whom do not have improved sanitation.

1 billion people still defecate in the open.

Imagine women and girls risking rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.  I can’t even fathom this and I’ve traveled the world.

Don’t Look Away

Okay.  So now that I’ve got your attention.  What can WE do about this?  My pal, Titus started a non-profit that supports these opportunities.  He garners financial gifts that build water well and schools.  Schools!  With indoor toilets that get clean water from wells.  The 25 Group exists to make a better world.  And so does World Toilet Day.

Equality and dignity is the theme of World Toilet Day 2014.  Maybe you don’t care about equality.  Fine.  But we all want to keep our dignity.

When I was a kid and went camping, I had a place to defecate privately.  When I was in the Army, I had safety and the protection of my brothers.  I certainly have no concerns or fears when I use the restroom today.  I’m spoiled by insanely cool iOS apps like Charmin’s Sit or Squat.  It tells my and my girls if we should sit (clean toilet) or squat (disgusting and dirty toilet).  But we always have options.

Today is not a day to celebrate.  Today, when you have your daily constitutional, look where you are.  And think about this.  Today is a day for action.

WTD

Without the evolution of social media and all the channels that have developed, content marketing would be a concept left undiscovered.  Content marketing is a marketing tactic that uses content tailored toward specific individuals.  Content tailored for a specific audience has more potential to influence the reader, since its content that is useful, shareable and of interest to the reader.  Without channels to distribute tailored content created for specific targets content marketing would not exist.

The Life-Force

Social media has allowed for content to be distributed, shared and discovered on levels never seen before.  It has brought on the mentality of instant information.  Anything unknown is immediately discoverable and anything that you want to stay in the past is quickly accessible.  To be cliché, social media is a game-changer and opened up infinite possibilities, and marketers paved the way to new target reaching options.

Content Creation

Creating content for target audiences and personas is the main goal in content marketing.  Content that is created has an objective.  This objective is to reach your target audience and engage with them.  By developing content it’s easier to mold that content from the beginning stages of creation to engage specific targets.  Knowing who you want to target before you create content is a starting point, that way you can decide how you want to engage them and how you want them to engage with you.

The End Result

Drive your target audience to act, whether it be simply sharing the content, starting a conversation or socially reacting by “liking,” “favoriting” or “commenting” on the content.  Great content should advise, offer an opinion, explain or be topical to related industry trends.  Interesting content can’t be great without visual aids such as; videos, image quotes or photos.  An example of created content would be blogs; they are one of the most common ways to create content, and are a great way to share experiences and to tell a story.  Blogs can be targeted, they are shareable and can include any form of multi-media.

WM_ContentMarketingModel_Infographic

Content Curation

This is a term coined to describe distributing content that has not been originated by your brand, but shared because of the relativity to industry content, the likeliness that the content will resonate with targets and the possibility of interaction from the target audience.  This strategy allows for content to be shared that wasn’t created, but curated to engage others on topics that are industry related, but not necessarily on topics that you would create and distribute as branded content.

Curating Tools

There are some great tools available to curate content for your target audiences and in-line with industry topics.  Paper.li is a great site that allows you to create custom digital newspapers.  These branded digital papers pull news articles on subjects that you designate when setting up your personal digital newspaper, and are a great way to compile industry related news features.   These digital papers compile industry related features that you can pick and choose which you’d like to distribute to your targeted audiences.  Industry related blogs and RSS feeds like Tumblr are always a good go-to when searching for topics to share with targets.  Swayy is a platform that offers personalized content to share from your own social networks and influences.  They simply provide you with an email daily updating you on news regarding your social following.  Google Alerts are a personal favorite of mine.  I have a Gmail account created to just host my Google Alerts.  These alerts are emailed daily and pulled by Google depending on your set search terms designated when you sign-up.  These alerts include every mention of your keyword online.  You can also curate content from your social networks by sharing posts by your social following or by social media leaders like Mashable.

Social Media Channels

In order to distribute your content to where your audience is, you should evaluate social channels and determine where your audience is engaged the most.  You wouldn’t want to waste your time on social channels that don’t host your target audience.  It boils down to knowing your targets demographics and knowing the demographics of each social channels majority audience.  Delving into current social media channels analytics will help measure engagement of each platform.  Content testing can help conclude which social media channel will work best.  See which platform gets more traction from the same content posted, and the platforms that perform the best are ones that should be focused on.  You don’t need to be everywhere just where you can reach your target audience.

According to PewResearch 74% of all internet users, use social networking sites:

  • 71% of online adults use Facebook.
  • 22% of online adults use LinkedIn.
  • 21% of online adults use Pinterest.
  • 19% of online adults use Twitter.
  • 19% of online adults use Instagram.

Building your Audience

Building a social media audience organically can take time, because you are starting from nothing.  It took some time to develop my very own following through evangelists for my personal brand, but once I identified those that were interested, I engaged them with content that piqued their interest.  Once my evangelists saw that my content was useful they shared it, leading to their following gaining interest and leading to more followers in my network.  The task is to share content that gains traction with those following and their following.  You want to be able to grow your following organically through people who are truly interested, so you can engage them and they can engage with you.

Don’t Buy Frenemies

Fans that are bought will only hurt your potential engagement, since they’re not part of your target audience it’s not a guarantee they will be engaged.  You want an audience that is engaged with your content, because to win at social media you measure your engagement not your following.  You can have thousands of followers, but if none of them are engaged, your content isn’t reaching your intended target.  It’s being muffled by an audience who could care less what you’re trying to say to them.  Build your audience organically by identifying your true evangelist and get them content they’re interested in sharing, and watch your following increase.

Social Media Distribution Strategy Checklist

Social Media Distribution Strategy

Leverage Content Marketing through Earned Media

Earned media is important endorsements, 3rd party reviews and award wins, and they leverage what is being said about your brand. Other earned media include social sharing by others, traditional/trade publication pick-ups, content placed on aggregator sites and from bloggers writing about your content.  Earned media is still the strongest and most trusted, 88% of people trust earned media over owned (branded) media per Nielsen Research.  Because of the credibility that earned media provides it is one of the hardest media’s to obtain, but when you do get that type of recognition it’s great to combine earned media with owned and paid media to increase awareness of your brand and the earned media received.

Media Mix

By incorporating your earned media with your owned media, it adds value to owned media.  To achieve this media mix add earned media recognitions to brand assets like logos, websites, email signatures, business cards, social media profiles and anywhere else you would want to promote your earned media through owned media.  Another media mix is earned media and paid media.  Paid media is buying attention for your brand, and can be effective when marketing, because nothing promotes itself.

CM graphic

No Social Media, No Content Marketing 

Social media plays a vital role when developing content marketing strategies.  If there were no social channels to specifically target and distribute content, then there wouldn’t be a need for content marketing. Social Media paved the way for content marketing, a revolutionary concept to reach your target audience and keep them engaged through content.

I became a mentor, because I lost a bet.  It may have been the first time ever that I was content with losing, because of all the amazing perks and rewarding sentiments that followed.  Watching the group of guys that I mentored on “the quest for authentic manhood,” really uplifted something inside of me, and that’s when I found my love for leadership.  I could care less about the corner office or the title, what I care about is leadership and providing those I’ve mentored with the tools they need to succeed and become model mentors themselves.  It’s rewarding as a whole, difficult in the transition phase but I would never look back and say it was something I’d do differently.

Mentoring is Important

Mentoring is important to me, because I was never aware of my own potential until my mentors clued me in to my own potential.  My mentors were always aware of the potential within me before I could recognize it myself.  They helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses, and developed me.  That is why I will be forever grateful.  Without my very own mentors I would have never recognized the potential to become who I am now.  That’s why I pay it forward and mentor those who I see have potential.  Mentoring goes hand in hand with personal branding, because you are identifying who you are and playing up your strengths to develop that personal brand.  Personal branding refers to branding yourself as a professional in your industry.  Creating awareness to who you are and what you stand for; your ideals and your beliefs.  This should translate through everything you distribute throughout all media channels.

Mentoring is part of your Personal Brand, or Should Be

My initial reaction was shock when I found out that people didn’t even consider mentoring as part of a personal brand, during a recent Twitter chat that I guest hosted.  The personal branding as a whole is being true to yourself and sharing your experiences.  Those experiences influence others, and as a personal brand those experiences should positively encourage others to become the best they can be.  Developing a personal brand gives you a chance to influence others, and I would personally recommend others to pursue this approach of mentoring.

Developing your Brand

Developing your brand

The Power of a Personal Brand

Personal Branding is both hype and a must have.  You’ve got to be able to hype yourself, but at the same time be authentic, entertaining and personable.  The whole personal brand goes back to putting people back into business.  People do business with people not with big brands.  If you can’t bring a personable touch to what you do, then you won’t find many customers throwing money at you or your brand.  A personal brand allows people to connect with a person, either face-to-face or through digital channels.

Personal Brand Leaders (that I like and respect)

@JamieCrager

@LouImbriano

@JohnCMaxwell

@Gitomer

@MarshaCollier

@AnnTran_

@JoePulizzi

@AnnHandley

@Robert_Rose

@PeterLoibl

 

Corporate Branding

Every company or corporation should have a brand.  A brand translates who you are and what you do by presence, logos and slogans.  Every personal brand should contain the same concepts, and also leverage a corporate brand and be a part of the brand’s culture.  To truly incorporate your company’s brand, promote the companies brand through your personal brand.  Personal brands may become heavier weighted than corporate brands depending on engagement and influence, but it should always be tied back to the businesses’ brand and the corporation’s bottom line.

Influence Branding Perceptions

Personal brands can definitely influence how others see and perceive corporate brands.  That’s why it’s smart to stay on top of your game.  You have to stay authentic and safe, while acting as an extension of a corporate brand.  Also, if it happens that your personal brand becomes more influential than your corporate brand you then become “The Face,” and with that there is a lot of responsibility. You must uphold the corporate brand guidelines, while staying true to yourself and perceiving your personal brand as an extension of the corporate brand.

Off the Record

The trick of a personal brand is to bring a humanized element, while still maintaining some privacy.  You want to be able to share the experiences that make you, you, but you don’t want to compromise more personal details about your life.  If you have themes for things in your personal brand, it will help you categorize topics to share with your audience, by not sharing too much.  You can categorize what you share by using hashtags or blog categories.  Being personable is what allows for personal brands, but then again you are an extension of your corporate brand.  So don’t share things that would be compromising to you or damaging to the way that audiences perceive your corporate brand.

Personal Branding Tips

Personal branding tips

Mentoring

If you would like to start a personal brand that can decipher both personal and professional traffic, you would first want to think of the similarities that both you and your corporate brand share.  While in this discovery phase figure out what you want to be known for, and these concepts and themes will be what you convey, and will be what your audience expects from you.  Also, it is very important to notify your employer and work with them to establish that your brand is in-line with the corporate brand. Who knows, they might give you all the assets you need to launch your personal brand.  Once the benefits are explained, and the idea of how you can help leverage the corporate brand is understood, you might have nothing but open doors.

Be personable, be you, share experience, help people and let people get to know you on a more personable level.