The Content Marketing Blog

How to get more return on investment from content


5 (less traditional) ways to create and share knowledge online

The communication of knowledge and ideas is intrinsic to the human condition. Our earliest ancestors had a rich oral tradition, through which they passed on what they knew about the world, often across great distances. Our systems of communication have evolved and matured, from those oral traditions to the earliest cuneiform writings and all the way up through books and newspapers, to radio and television. With the advent of the modern age and Al Gore’s gift of the Internet, we’re now able to share our knowledge, ideas, and lots and lots of cute pictures of cats, around the world in less time than it has taken me to write this sentence.

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This is the most popular post you’ll read all day

In a recent post for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson investigates what drives people to read content online. As a writer for a popular news site, it’s of interest to Thompson to find out what people are clicking on and why when navigating through the endless amount of web content available. Though it sounds like a boring study of analytics at first, his findings and references are actually super interesting.

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How much knowledge is too much?

Whether you are trying to be a successful entrepreneur, parent or friend, it’s wise to calibrate your knowledge meter. How much knowledge is too much? Is there such a thing as having too much knowledge and if so, how do you know when knowing too much actually hurts you, rather than inspires you?

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Operation: Integrate all the things!

A few nights ago, I was sitting on my couch about to get down with a bottle of wine and some Netflix. I grabbed my phone and opened the XBox SmartGlass app, which basically works like a virtual game-slash-remote controller. As I was mindlessly scrolling, my dude and roommate — an audio engineer — walked in with his iPad, frustrated and annoyed that this new interface app he’d downloaded allowed him to create and manipulate different sounds, but didn’t automatically sync up with his main program, or allow him to save audio files to Dropbox.

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Learning to learn: the heart of reading

I was always a bookworm. In fifth grade, I was one of the only students in my class to finish every last book on the Battle of the Books competition list.

Fast forward a few years and here I am: one of those people who can’t stand the thought of reading on an electronic device simply because of the pure joy that comes from opening up a new book and turning each page as more new information is absorbed.

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Learning to learn: asking questions and taking names

I went to a huge college. And by huge, I mean almost 40,000 undergrads.

By nature, this meant that I spent a lot of my class time as follows: find a seat in a lecture hall among 400 of my “closest friends,” listen to one professor in the front of the room talk for 45 straight minutes, take notes, leave, repeat.

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Should social networks curate their own content? Or should users do it?

The challenge [for social networks] is to create something of permanent value for the community, to offer more than a temporary spotlight.

gdecugis‘s insight:

Austin Powell comes back on PaidContent the recent announcement by Tumblr to shut down Sotryboard and lay off the editorial team that was highlighting and curating Tumblr’s best content.

He makes a point that it’s been extremely hard for most social networks – with the notable exception of LinkedIn with its influencer program – to add value by curating its users’ best content.

I wonder whether that’s actually such a big deal.

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Learning when to promote your message, and when not to.

One of the hardest things about becoming the “voice” of an organization is figuring out what in the world to say. Do you promote your group endlessly? Do you send out fun links you think your constituents will enjoy? Do you talk to your fans and figure out what they want? Well, the answer is yes to all the above. However, it’s very easy to fall into the trap many other organizations do and either promote the heck out of your mission or refuse to talk about yourself at all. Both tactics can result in you missing out on customers, constituents or funding and even chase your current followers away. So how do you find a good balance?

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Twitter and its impact IRL

Here in the US, the Dow recently tumbled almost 150 points in a “flash crash” caused by widespread digital panic. What was the cause of this panic? Twitter.

The bigger story is that someone hacked the official AP Twitter handle and tweeted a false report of a terrorist attack on the White House, which claimed that the President had been injured in said attack. This is significant in the grander scheme because the Dow essentially measures the health of the US economy and a hit of this magnitude means lots of people (deserving or otherwise) needlessly lost a lot of money in nanoseconds.

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Effective community building for social change

NOTE: Eric is talking about the non-profit sector, but these rules apply seamlessly to for-profit operations, personal brands, and enthusiasts.

There are currently around 1.5 million non-profits registered in the US alone, with total contributions amounting to just under $300 billion. But while many charitable organizations do spend more than 66% of a donation on their actual mission, it is a rare case. Perhaps more importantly, donors have very little control over their money and how it gets used, or to what end.

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Lame to fame: 4 tips for optimizing presentations for Twitter

Presentations and slideshows have been historically one of the most boring and standard corporate media currently available to employees and management. They are meant to purely educational or purely for selling — they are very rarely anything but a pitch or a corporate update. But with the rise of Slideshare as a platform for sharing a new kind of presentation, a lean, value-adding, and stand-alone type of presentation, and its proof as a viable option for driving traffic, the “corporate presentation” can be leveraged for more than its functional purpose and optimized to spread the company or personal message via social media.

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Clash of the Titans

Recently, Flipboard, the reading platform for iPad, announced a new feature allowing users to create their own personalized magazines with Flipboard content. Ironically, we also recently unveiled a new feature. We created, an interest-based reading application powered by content and curated by our community of users. Why is this ironic? Because the two huge platforms for curating and consuming content have simultaneously entered each other’s spaces at the exact same time.

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Educate and engage your customer through social media: The Zappos Strategy

We are more than just shoes! Zappos is a service company that just happens to sell ________. These are two statements that sit at the core of everything Zappos is, and guide Zappos as a company that continues to innovate. As the Social Community Manager of Zappos, I want that answer to be clothing, fashion, snowboards, footwear, cookware, bedding, and so much more. But Zappos is typically associated with 2 things: Footwear and great customer service.

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Learn by embracing the pain and asking for feedback

I admit it. It can be more than a little terrifying to find out what other people think of you. Up until that point you can pretend that all is well and you’re doing absolutely nothing wrong. The moment you say “What do you think about…?” your world might totally shatter. Therefore it’s a little nerve-wracking to ask.

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Power to the people.

Putting the power of message amplification into the hands of the sharer equalizes the content landscape: the person who understands the myriad behaviors by the many types of people who would be interested in sharing your specific brand of content and then actually executes on these idiosyncrasies successfully will win. Not just the person with the biggest budget.

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Spreadable vs Viral: What it actually means for content

Recently at a SXSW panel, the authors of the book Spreadable Media were discussing the future of internet media and how “viral” content is actually not viral at all. The panelists argued that virality (in the traditional medical sense) is passive — a host doesn’t choose to contract a virus and doesn’t choose to spread it through his body. The virus spreads by its own means. They made the point that “viral” content and media (think Gangnam Style) are actually active choices; that virality in media doesn’t just happen. A choice is made by a user to share that specific piece of media within their own networks.

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A communication revolution and the rise of mobile user-generated content

Isn’t it time for text to enter the mobile UGC (UGC) revolution?

When Facebook bought Instagram for $1B last year, some called it genius, others called it luck. But whether we think that deal made sense or not, it marked an important change in the history of the web in general and of mobile internet in particular: the rise of mobile user-generated content.

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The Book Revolution

Books are the vessels for some of our earliest learning and repositories of our earliest information. Consider epic poetry (Dante’s Inferno), folklore (Grimm’s Fairytales), tales (Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales), and religious texts (the Bible, Tanakh, To Te Ching). We turn to books for wisdom, knowledge, and contextual information for an incredible multitude of things, from basic definitions of words to esoteric compilations of opinion about the proliferation of algae.

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6 Things The Smartest Brands Do To Win People Over

What marketers and Internet professionals can take away from these two examples is that the best idea always wins, not the biggest budget or the most over-the-top content.  The “best idea” is the concept that most effectively identifies the best strategic things to communicate to a target audience through the most appropriate, natural channels, and then executing the idea in a meaningful, authentic, and value-adding way. If you do this correctly, a simple 520 word editorial could have more positive impact for your brand than a $500k major conference keynote.

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Fundamentals of Impactful Speech

Some say that President Obama’s inaugural address this year trumped the one he delivered four years ago, and perhaps any he has ever given as Commander-in-chief. I am a strong advocate of women’s and gay rights, and I teared up when the president boldly said:

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

Regardless of what you think of him, Obama is a powerful speaker. His skills were only amplified by the inauguration ceremony, which was held on the day when we celebrate the great civil rights leader and orator Martin Luther King, Jr. In this digital age, we talk about what makes a good blog post, viral video or paid advertisement, but we often disregard the importance of impactful verbal communication. Like memes, there is an intangible essence to what makes a powerful speech stick out and intrigue you to the point where you can’t help but share it. From presidential addresses to stories told generation after generation to live theater, the tradition of oral history harnesses the power to move the masses. It is a testament to the abilities of the human mind that through the spoken word you can form a movement, change the public’s perception and cement a legacy. It is the stuff that wise men, do gooders and evil doers are made of.

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