3 Ways to Make Content Marketing Meaningful

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Over the last few years, much of the marketing world has turned to content marketing: the idea that the best way to engage with audiences and raise your visibility is to share robust, usually educational content for free. This content takes many forms - blogs, videos, podcasts, books (and particularly ebooks, given their ease of distribution), material on social media, and more. Basically, anywhere and any way that folks learn.

Recent studies have, time and time again, shown the the same thing: content marketing works. It works in large part because there's a hunger for substance in marketing - for folks to talk to one another, teaching and sharing knowledge, rather than talking past one another with fluffy pitches. But as the research has shown, it's not just a feel-good strategy, but a serious driver of growth. So how do you go about implementing it for your own organization?

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by Steve Hall    Sep-26-13    
Topic: Online, Opinion, Publishing, Research



The Pros And Cons of Prankvertising

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Prankvertising, an advertising strategy that makes its point by tricking, scaring, or "pranking" an unsuspecting person or audience, seems to be the hot thing in advertising these days. It's riding on a push from marketers who believe that content creation is the best way to get and keep a brand in front of consumers online. They may be right about content creation, but when does a prank go from good advertising to a bad joke?

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by Steve Hall    Sep-24-13    
Topic: Guerilla, Opinion



4 Tips For Dealing With Difficult Clients

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In my years as an agency media director and account director, I worked with many different personality types - including one long-term client who, for many years, wouldn't respect me or my work. One day he angered me so much I screamed at him for five minutes straight, telling him I knew exactly what the hell I was doing and he should shut up and listen to what I have to say.

While I certainly don't recommend letting your anger get the best of you or screaming at your clients, in this particular case my years of attempting to placate, coddle and generally bend over for this particular client never worked. It wasn't until I stood up to him with the same forceful authority he always commanded that he respected me. And from that point on, our relationship was wonderful.

Read the rest on the Central Desktop blog.

by Steve Hall    Sep-13-13    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Opinion



Why Kenneth Cole's Syria Tweet Was Smart Marketing

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You've heard the old adage "any publicity is good publicity," right? When marketers are on the receiving end of "any publicity," that usually means bad publicity. And it's usually not intentional. Oh, sure, there are marketers like GoDaddy and others who play the "banned ad" PR card by claiming a network banned their commercial from the Super Bowl when, in fact, the brand never had any intentions of running the submitted version. But for the most part, marketers avoid bad publicity like the plague.

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by Steve Hall    Sep-11-13    
Topic: Opinion



What is 'Social Good' And How Can Brands Benefit?

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What do we mean and understand by the term "social good"? This is the first question brands must ask themselves before incorporating social good into their business model. It is not a homogenous and neatly defined entity. Rather, social good is an umbrella term that incorporates many business practices, effects and outcomes.

Because social good is a fluid and evolving concept, it is up to each startup to set their own definition of "social" and "good." If you don't have parameters for social good, you can't thoughtfully incorporate it into your business model.

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by Steve Hall    Sep-10-13    
Topic: Cause, Opinion, Social



How Agencies Have Reinvented Themselves for the Social Era

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The rise of social media has forced marketers and agencies to re-evaluate how they structure teams to better handle this new layer of marketing communication. It got us thinking.

How are agencies reconfiguring their teams to better function in the digital and social marketing era? How have agencies benefited from working not just with traditional creatives but how have they cast a wider net to include developers, freelance specialists and other partners? How do they then guard against "too many chefs in the kitchen"?

We queried several agencies and asked them what they are doing and what they have changed to improve how they work in an increasingly interconnected but complex industry. Some have retooled their org charts. Other have formed close partnerships. And still others have formed teams of people with seemingly unrelated skill sets.

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by Steve Hall    Sep- 4-13    
Topic: Agencies, Opinion



This is How Facebook is Going to Die

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Yesterday, Facebook's market value topped $100 billion. Zuck must be smitten his baby is now worth close to last year's original IPO valuation. Market confidence, which Monday included a stock price increase of 1.9% to $41.34 with a daily high of $41.94 (the highest since the IPO), is said to be bolstered by belief Facebook just might deliver on its mobile advertising promise. The upswing is certainly positive news for the social network which hit a stock price low of $17.73 in September.

But can Zuckerberg, whose baby now realizes 41% of its quarterly advertising revenue from smartphone and tablet-centric promotions, really make a go of it when recent Pew research find teens have a "waning enthusiasm for Facebook"? The report states dislike for the incessant over-sharing that is part and parcel of the service. But, more importantly, teens are miffed all their parents and their parents friends are now on Facebook.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-27-13    
Topic: Opinion



Why Content Marketing is Just One Small Part of Inbound Marketing

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As HubSpot hosts its INBOUND conference this week, inbound marketing is taking center stage. Though as big and as popular as this conference -- and its focus, inbound marketing -- has become, there still seems to be a debate over whether or not the term inbound marketing is the same as another term used to describe a similar process, content marketing.

Writing on the Covario blog, Russ Mann argues content marketing is the more encompassing term of the two. He suggests inbound marketing is limited to earned (we would argue owned) media strategies that are designed to drive traffic and conversions to a marketer's website whereas content marketing places its emphasis on content creation, spreading that content far and wide without necessarily focusing on traffic and leads.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-21-13    
Topic: Opinion, Social



Do Advertising Awards Matter?

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Just over a month ago, the world's advertising industry descended upon Cannes, France, for its annual Festival of Creativity. At this event, agencies the world over are awarded for their creativity and, in a few small cases, for work that actually increased sales.

Cannes of course, is but one of many advertising awards festivals that occur over the course of the year. But it's the biggest, the brightest and the most coveted of all. Certainly much of the entered and winning work is worthy of praise. And certainly the individuals behind the work deserve to have the spotlight shown on them in the presence of their colleagues, coworkers and friends. But...do awards matter?

By matter, I mean a few things. Do awards generate business for the agency? Do they further the career of the individual creative? Do they positively affect the brand for which the agency won the award? Are they a metric a brand can use to determine the capability of an agency? For an article I wrote for Central Desktop, I turned to a few in the industry to help answer these questions.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-12-13    
Topic: Opinion



Nate Silver Trashes New York Times Sales Force

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For a man who has the ability to predict presidential elections, Nate Silver's recent comment about the sales staff at The New York Times was shortsighted and displayed a surprising lack of understanding of the tectonic shifts that are occurring in publishing and advertising. It's as if he hasn't realized that the disintermediation of the ad sales process through trading desks, RTB and other forms of ad tech has had a decimating effect on CPMs and, hence, the ability of a publisher and its sales force to generate healthy revenue.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 9-13    
Topic: Online, Opinion, Publishing








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