Ideas, insights and inspirations.

Great content is the lifeblood of successful brands. However, creating great content is a labor of love. It takes both an investigative mind (that discovers and uncovers brand evidence and proofs) and an imaginative mind (that infuses brand romance) to create persuasive content. Two quick reminders before I dive into the content ecosystem. First, the best college copywriters and storytellers uncover truths about an institution that it may not have even known about itself. They instinctively know that the real hero of their story is the student, the alum and the faculty member — not the institution. They tell the stories of the challenges the brand heroes faced and how they creatively overcame them to realize their personal destinies. As my colleague Todd Erkel would say, a college becomes the story it chooses to tell. Second, before you embark on your content journey, I would strongly encourage creation of a SEO Keyword Lexicon that’ll guide all future content creation. It’s comprised … Continue reading

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The primary goal of digital content marketing is to earn attention and grow brand reputation by providing valuable content – that informs, persuades, engages and delights prospects and customers. However, delivering on this goal has turned into an all-out arms race, with three distinct generations of content marketing.   First Generation: Core Content In the beginning, marketers equated content with website copy and photography. Copywriters and storytellers elevated the website copy – presenting the facts and persuading the prospects with engaging content; professional photographers were hired to lift the website experience with beautiful imagery that told visual stories. Core Content = Copy + Stories + Photographs + Press Releases.   Second Generation: Enhanced Content Once parity was achieved in basic content, marketers expanded the concept of content to include blogs and juiced up the copy, photographs and blog posts with keywords to secure page 1 rankings on Google. Enhanced Content = Core Content + Blog Posts + Social Media Posts … Continue reading

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Anyone who has ever suffered through a migraine knows the symptoms: headache, distorted vision, irritability, dizziness, nausea, etc. Anyone who has ever gone through a website content migration has probably experienced some of these same symptoms. Whether we all like it or not, in the world of digital media content migration is a necessary evil. Actually, strike that, it is a necessary good. Without the ability to perform a migration, all content would have to be manually copied from the current content management system (CMS) or entered manually into the new system. As with migraines, the key to a headache-free migration is prevention. The most important preventative steps are to understand: how your content is represented in the source system; how you would like it represented in the destination system; and how you will you need to process or transform the content while moving it. Once you have defined these three points in detail, you have essentially defined your migration path. We recently … Continue reading

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Sure, journalists make the best content marketers. We enjoy asking the hard questions, and we laugh at what you laypeople consider “tight” deadlines. But what happens when you take a J-school vet, and put her to work writing for the web? Gratitude, first of all, to no longer be working in a dying industry. But also renegotiation of styles and structures that were preached and practiced and deeply ingrained nearly a decade ago (gawd, I’m old). Bullet points, calls to action, SEO. It’s all newfangled mojo for newspaper journalists. The hardest habit to break? AP Style. Understanding AP Style: The Journalism Bible… or Cult? I’m not sure how many non-journos even know what AP Style is, but let’s just say that it’s a set of standards for journalistic writing, akin to MLA or Chicago or AMA Style. Break the rules, and your editor will whip you behind the proverbial shed. The Associated Press Stylebook is updated annually to guide punctuation, … Continue reading

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