Four Things Content Marketers Need to Learn to do Better

When you think of content marketing, what definitions come to mind?

  • A way to earn attention and interest in social channels?
  • A response to media fragmentation?
  • A return to direct marketing fundamentals in a digital age?
  • A strategy to maintain search rankings?
  • A sustainable way to build and maintain customer relationships?

While all these might have fundamentally different meanings, they’re all right. And everyone agrees that defining those meanings it is hard.

It’s no secret that businesses are becoming inundated with requests to increase the amount of content they produce. At the same time, the ask for measurement is increasing but the ability to perform still wavering.

At the Expion Social Summit, Ryan Skinner, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research discussed the “elephant in the room” known as content marketing.

“Content marketing is like bubblegum – it takes the shape of whatever marketer’s mouth it comes out of” said Skinner.

Forrester describes content marketing as:

A marketing strategy where brands create interest, relevance and relationships with customers by producing, curating and sharing content that addresses specific customer needs and delivers visible value.

It’s something immediate and enduring, centered on the customer and his or her situation and delivers an intrinsic benefit to an audience.

Earn goodwill by meeting a need. Customers will seek out and share content with visible value

Skinner went on to outline four things he sees that marketers need to improve at to succeed in content marketing: making valuable stuff. finding audiences, maintaining relationships, and optimizing performance. 

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Join me in the River City for a panel on Crowdfunding at One Spark 2015


I’m excited to announce today that I’ll be joining the One Spark Speaker Summit at their 2015 One Spark event in Jacksonville, FL. Having lived in Jacksonville fro 2011-2012 I have a lot of great friends and memories from living in a place that’s ripe for technological explosion. There are so many great features the city has that young entrepreneurs can take advantage of to grow their business.

At the 2015 Summit, I’ll be leading a panel entitled:

“Crowdfunding Strategies: A Blueprint for Success”


  • John Boitnott, Serial Entrepreneur and Columnist, Inc. Magazine
  • Ryan Feit, Founder & CEO, seedinvest
  • Drew Hendricks, Founders Space, AudienceBloom and Contributor, Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur
The One Spark festival is an interactive experience that allows attendees to support ideas and projects that inspire them and decide on the next big thing. Creators and companies actively pitch for funding throughout the entire event, and One Spark’s mission is to connect creators and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to make their ideas a reality, which is why they’re hosting this summit for the first time in conjunction with the crowdfunding event.


Other confirmed speakers joining me will be:
  • Jeff Hoffman, Founder,
  • Daymond John, Founder, FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank
  • Tamara Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing, Eventbrite
  • Ted Murphy, Founder, CEO & Chairman, Izea
  • Maya Penn, Maya’s Ideas
  • Joy Randels, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO, New Market Partners
  • Jason Surfrapp, Founder, IWEARYOURSHIRT

For more information about One Spark visit their announcement post here.

one spark daymond john

Three Lessons Retailers can Learn from Alexander Wang and H&M

Originally published on LocalMaven

The world of retail fashion is competitive, and brands are constantly having to reinvent their offerings and analyze consumer demand in order to stay in business. For a brand like H&M, valued at #31 on the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands List, partnerships are often a way to connect the world of high fashion with the average consumer’s price point while continuing to position themselves as a leader in the space.

This week a new collection from Alexander Wang and H&M launched in select H&M stores and online to a frenzy. #alexanderwangxhm was trending and the company saw a huge lift in social media and also in their stock price.

The line, which fused high-fashion with sporty influences complete with swim goggles and boxing gloves, absolutely blew up, with lines of people camped out around the corner at the stores like it was some type of new iPhone event.


Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 12.43.07 AM


Not only were people buying up these items, they were reselling them for twice the retail price online.  Even eBay themselves tweeted about the items to drum up conversation in the frenzy.

So what can other retailers learn from a successful partnership like H&M to drive this type of in-store traffic? Here are a few thoughts: 

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If Cuepoint was a magazine, these are what the covers might look like

I’m a sponge of music culture, and historically music magazines have been the definitive place for checking out awesome photography and long-form content about your favorite acts and stories in the music industry.

Some of my favorites growing up were Downbeat, Waxpoetics, Rolling Stone and Scratch Magazine.

The covers always fascinated me just as much as the content, and when I first started reading posts on Medium they had a very comfortable, magazine-like feel when you were scrolling down each article.

I’ve been a fan of Cuepoint since they first started pulling together articles on Medium as a formal collection.

You could tell there was a magazine cover just dying to break out of each post, so I decided to whip up some of their images for fun.

Here’s my interpretation if Cuepoint had magazine covers. Enjoy.

Oh and full disclosure, I’m not really a graphic designer, and would never consider myself much of an artist…this is just for fun.


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Three Lessons in Business from a Former Navy Seal

Originally posted on the Expion Blog

At Expion’s Social Summit this year in Raleigh, CEO of the McChrystal Group and former Navy SEAL David Silverman spoke about how leadership lessons from the battlefield translate into solving the complex problems that face corporations today.

Know when it’s time to regroup and create a plan

Silverman explained that from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for total of 444 days.

President Carter decided to take action and rescue these individuals but during the early stages of the rescue, two planes collided and the resulting footage was shared with international media by Iran. In its wake, the US was sorely embarrassed because here’s the “world superpower” and they can’t even get to their objective.

Out of this failure came the conclusion that there was no single organization capable of doing the tactics, techniques and procedures for how the special operations community was going to operate, and so they created Joint Special Operations Command. this team was combined of some of the best from the SEALS, Delta Force, Army Rangers, and other branches.

In today’s omni-channel marketing world, corporations often struggle with the changing dynamics of new platforms, and the consumer behaviors that can either influence, or be influenced by the shifts of new technology.

When the barriers to completing the goals change, so should the teams working on overcoming these obstacles. It’s important that all departments of a corporation are informed and onboard with top level goals of a company to be able to bring the best of each department to share and work together to solve problems. This comes from informed and honest leaders who have the foresight to adapt when necessary.

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Is #AlexFromTarget Fake or Real?

I wrote an article about how Target should respond to the #AlexFromTarget Meme. Last night, it was been widely reported by CNET, Buzzfeed and others that some company is claiming responsibility for the #AlexfromTarget Meme. I think that’s a load of crap.

Here’s the article in question where the founder claims responsibility.

Now all the media are so willing to give him credit for this. I still am skeptical here, the Breakr CEO doesn’t seem to be telling the whole story. The media is seeking an answer for what’s unexplainable and they’re rushing to the first person to claim responsibility. Where’s the evidence?

I’m sure it’s what he wants his company to do in an ideal world, and I’m not knocking his company, but maybe it’s not all true?

Having worked with a number of influencer networks before like theAmplify (and even my own with Delmondo) the story is rather possible, but I’m just not buying it all the way through.

What I think is more believable is that this company MAY (and a big may because this is giving them serious credit that I still think is undeserved) hopped on a trend while it was early knowing that a certain number of factors made it a ripe conversation to blow (a fair nod to his fangirl-type targeting), and they probably then went ahead and amplified the hell out of it with a network of creators (there were a lot of solid videos going out in a short amount of time so that leads one to believe there was some communication ahead of time) but I would be surprised if they planned that from inception.

If so, hell of an ad campaign and my hat’s off to them.

Why else would the person who initally posted the photo go into hiding and now say she didn’t work with breakr? How come so many Vine and Youtube stars knew about this AlexFromTarget meme so fast? All good questions.

Despite where it started there were very real posts being created, many different memes sprung up and content was across multiple channels, and it’s a great example of why brands need to be listening to their audience in order to craft a message that resonates with them.

Six Ways Target Could Respond to the #AlexFromTarget Trend

Imagine that you’re a typical high schooler. You throw on your red team t-shirt and khakis and go to work on a Sunday like any other teen in America. You’d like to maybe get enough gas money to go out and be a clown on Friday night with the rest of your friends.Instead you come home and open your Twitter and find that not only is your name trending, but thousands of people have made creations and memes with your likeness.

Such is the case for one, Alex from Target, better known now as #AlexfromTarget. What started with a simple photo being shared has now turned into an internet sensation. Here are just a few facts:

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Four Tips for Maximizing Twitter Engagement with your TV Audience


It’s that time of year when kids go back to school, football is starting, baseball is ending, Mr. Autumn Man is walking down the street with his coffee, and television’s top shows come back for their big premieres.

At this point, it’s pretty well-documented that Twitter has been positioning themselves in the mind of network execs as a platform complimentary to TV, and user numbers seem to support their claims. In fact, 85% of users active on Twitter during primetime TV hours tweet about TV, with 66% saying they like to see Tweets from official show accounts according to a survey from FOX, db5 and Twitter in May.

Seeking to dig deeper into the relationship between a show’s Twitter strategy and its viewership, Twitter announced results of a data study that looked at two groups of like programs, ones that made live-Tweeting an active part of their strategy, and ones that did not. By looking at both they were able to identify some key trends and benefits that digital teams inside of media and entertainment companies can take advantage of:

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How Mondelez is Creating Value by Hacking their Corporation

Originally posted on Expion’s Blog

When we think about the word hacker, it often raises concerns about being violated. Cell phone hacks, credit card hacks, illegal invasions of privacy.

But at Expion’s Social Summit in Raleigh B. Bonin Bough, Vice President of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International, suggested a second definition, hackers as experts of programmatically solving problems.

Many big organizations have been slow to adapt at the speed of digital. Bough highlighted companies like Dropbox, Square and Pinterest who have all achieved valuations in excess of $2B in a short period of time. Conversely, companies like Levi’s and Radioshack have comparatively plateaued in terms of growth in a similar time.

For Bough, this hits home personally. He referenced a study Bain conducted that stated by 2020 every single consumer package good sold in a grocery store will be connected to the internet. As a company that sells more than 8 billion products per month, it’s feasible that Mondelēz could become one of the world’s largest technology companies.

But to Bough, Mondelēz wasn’t prepared for this change. How could big organizations like his reinvent career opportunities and team structures to prepare for this new generation of created value?

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