Copyblogger, Social Media Examiner: Live from Content Marketing World
Silent Bob to Social Media
Today’s CMWorld opening session featured Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com and Michael Stelzner of SocialMediaExaminer.com, after a funny and content-fueled performance last night by Kevin Smith. Here are highlights:
On personal flaws…
“We’re all writers, and writers are nuts,” says Brian Clark (BC) of Copyblogger when asked about behind-the-scenes challenges. Michael Stelzner (MS) admitted, “My biggest weakness is me. You can’t always strive for perfection.”
Your formula for success?
BC: “We are reader focused, and we don’t take for granted that people will care [about what we write about], and we actually do what we recommend.”
MS: “[We aim to offer a] ‘Nordstrom experience’, all about service.” He adds design plays a major role, too. “Serve others, lift others up. Give, give, give.”
How do you decide what content to produce?
BC: “I’m not a fan of asking directly.” Rather, Clark says he’s a fan of observation first, even though it takes longer. What are people’s problems? Desires? Trust that the audience will tell you what they need. Once you have audience you can develop solutions tailored to them.
MS: “Our SurveyMonkey survey, ‘State of Social Media 2009′ was also intelligence gathering/investigative exercise.” This now-annual survey ask open ended questions, providing invaluable content ideas. In exchange, participants received the compiled report for free.
How do you define content marketing?
BC: “Giving away valuable information to build an audience and eventually sell to them.”
MS: “[Content marketing is] developing information an audience loves, which builds fans, traffic, and your list.” He adds, “Give away your best stuff. People will ask: ‘How much more will I gain if I hire/pay for product?’”
Your take on building a personal brand or a business brand?
BC: “I likes being behind the scenes, building the business,” but admits that his personal brand is tied closely to it. Clark gave the example of Pete Cashmore of @Mashable, handing over his Twitter account to employees ( BC runs copyblogger twitter account himself). Clark notes, “Do they [audience] want the real you, or the you that fulfills their needs?” and reiterated, that he intentionally places content and products before self-promotion.
MS: “I knew I couldn’t scale Michael Stelzner [as "the Whitepaper guy"] so now I make the spotlight shine on other people.” This gives him the flexibility to eventually sell the site later. “If you want freedom, be careful building a personal brand.”
What’s the biggest mistake you see others making?
BC: “Not focusing on audience’s wants and needs—you’re a servant.” For example, it’s egotistical to ignore great headlines, scannable chunks, and other easily-consumable formatting.
MS: “People promoting their stuff in your content—no one cares about your stuff or want to be converted.”
Next major social media tool?
“Google+ is a force to reckon with” says Stelzner, who added that he thought it will give Facebook a run for its money once a version comes out for business. “Also,” adds Clark, “Google+ seeds Google search results, so, good to get in now.”