Category Archives: content-marketing

Guiding Eyes story featured on US national television

It is a real privilege to work with the inspirational Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  They have an incredible mission to place guide dogs with blind individuals.

The project involves looking at all the data they have moved to the IBM Cloud: genetic data from 30 years of dog breeding and thousands of questionnaires in Word format from trainers who spend two years raising puppies.

The potential for cognitive applications like IBM Watson to find new insights which can help improve their programs is tantalizing. A group at SJSU is working on the data right now. Early indications suggest that genetic data may not be a strong determinant for whether or not a dog performs well. Fuel to fire the nature vs nurture debate?

We spent a weekend in upstate New York with the Barbarian crew and Tucker Walsh telling this story from the viewpoint of a dog.

CNBC ran a feature on this story and Creativity called us out.

We pulled together all the key story elements on this Medium page.


Experimenting with Piktochart for Infographics

We’re at that stage with the Nustory Project where we’re exploring the creation of deeper, richer content.

We’ve seen infographics grow in popularity in the last couple of years, and with that has come a number of great tools to help with the creation of these informative assets.

One of these tools is Piktochart, which came recommended by a colleague. I decided to give this tool a trial and over an hour or so was able to generate this infographic pulling together content marketing stats:

What do you think? 

The tool really is very easy to use and comes with some great features to add images and your own data.

Go ahead and give Piktochart a try yourself!

Looking for startups for content marketing projects with USC and SJSU

content marketing - business image

Are you interested in building your social presence while helping students understand how customer engagement is being transformed?

We are looking for startups interested in being part of an exciting content marketing project we are kicking off with the University of Southern California and San Jose State University business students.

nustory logo dec 2014 v1 smallStarting in February and continuing until April, a team of students will work with each startup to first build an understanding of the industry and business environment. They will then embark on a series of content experiments using Twitter initially, and progressing to the development of deeper content such as blogs and infographics. Using insights from the Hootsuite social media management platform and collaborative knowledge from IBM Connections, the students will provide a final actionable report based on their experiments.

Key points:

Duration: February – April 2015   
Student team: 4 undergrad business communications students
Student deliverables: Initial content marketing plan, ongoing network building and content curation (Twitter), one piece of deeper  content (eg. blog, infographic), final data-driven content marketing plan
Business requirements: One point of contact (eg. marketing lead) with minimum engagement time of 5 hours, access to Twitter  account (all content can be reviewed before posting) 
Faculty sponsors: Dr Peter Cardon (USC), Larry Gee (SJSU)
Industry sponsor: Daryl Pereira (IBM)

Sound interesting? More information on the project:

Also feel free to comment below or reach out to me @cagedether.

Comments on ‘Advocate Marketing Explained’ (@briangladstein)

I like the way Brian Gladstein makes his point in this presentation on Advocate Marketing:

It’s interesting that Brian focuses on the customer as advocate and not other groups such as employees or partners. That said, he does make the case why customers are increasingly important for SaaS providers whose customers can switch services at the drop of a credit card.

What struck me as interesting:

  • You should think way beyond just social media activation, but consider engaging advocates for product innovation, speaking at conferences, training.
  • Buyers get 57% of the way through the buying process before they talk to a sales rep. I’ve seen similar stats for the amount of time purchasers spend off-domain before they visit your website. Bottom line: you need to externalize as much of your marketing as possible. 
  • The agreement is one that should have mutual benefit. Make sure you are giving as much as you are getting!

If you want to find out more about Brian and this area, check out Explorics.

Once again, the @Edelman Trust Barometer calls out Academics as key influencers

The Edelman Trust Barometer is an in-depth study of brand perception, reputation and trust that the Edelman digital agency publishes annually.

It looks at many dimensions such as industry and geography with powerful insights into our relationship with businesses. One interesting finding from the report highlights the importance of academics as influencers:

Edelman Trust Barometer: key influencersThis is particularly interesting given that a lot of discussion around influencer programs tends to focus on customers, employees or other constituents of the organization ecosystem, but rarely touches on engagement with academia.

What is a key takeaway? Organizations that can engage academics and cultivate advocacy in this field stand to gain the most in terms of building their brand reputation. One word of caution: academics are at the top of this list thanks to their lack of inherent bias (unlike financial or industry analysts who receive much of their funding from the people they cover). An influencer program aimed at customers or employees can’t just be transposed onto this group. Leading with product-first is often not the best approach either.

How can businesses best serve the academic community? One way is through sharing thought leadership and an industry perspective. Another is by providing access to sales and client teams that can really talk about what they face in developing business opportunities. We have also seen incredible results from aligning academics to an event strategy: eg. taking faculty to key industry and customer events and offering them opportunities to share their perspective through video and other approaches.

So, whilst academics are growing in importance as influencers, you need to be mindful of how you engage with them.

Read the full Edelman Trust Barometer 2014 report

developerWorks Twitter account saving over $600K per month: what uplift will Google+ provide?

Here at developerWorks, we get a lot of traffic from Twitter (and StumbleUpon via the URL shortener). We’re talking to the tune of at least 200,000 clicks per month. To get that kind of traffic through other channels, such as paid search, we would shell out at least $600K – and here I’m being seriously conservative.

Great, we’re getting a bunch of traffic without having to pay any third party. But is the traffic any good? developerWorks’ core objective is engagement, and we find this Twitter traffic ranking as high in terms of loyalty (and proxy metrics such as ‘average page views per session’) as any other channel at our disposal.

So here we have a social media strategy delivering tremendous ROI when measured against other marketing channels.

Now talk of using Twitter as a marketing channel may sound heretical. Whatever happened to using social media to engage in conversation? That’s fine, but that isn’t strictly our model. We produce technical content in the shape of articles, technical demos, trials – a lot of content that really doesn’t lend itself to 140 character feedback. So we take a different approach: we adopt a content syndication model. We use Twitter to promote our content. And our content helps bolster our Twitter audience. A swirling symbiosis of content and marketing.

Sure, we’ve reached out and made ourselves known to people in our space (primarily through monitoring #hashtags), but no-one is going to follow us back if our content isn’t appealing. How do we build and promote this content? Largely by looking at what resonates with our audience and building a content and Twitter promotion strategy around this.

This really is a content marketing story. As Edelman’s Michael Brito points out:

"As long as the messaging on a company’s owned media channels is relevant, not inundated with sales propaganda, and delivers valuable information, they will essentially position themselves as a trusted advisor of content related to their own products and/or industry related information."

Being a trusted advisor really ties up with the core mission of developerWorks.

Now where does Google+ fit into this? Well, this content marketing model can be applied to any social network that has a strong technical/informational community (for this reason, we’ve seen this model work better on Twitter than on Facebook). Google+ has something to offer this segment. Google does have some history here, having evolved Usenet into Google Groups and swallowed up Blogger.

As an early example on this fledgling community, Digg founder Kevin Rose upped and moved his blog wholesale over to Google+. We’re not quite ready to go that far with developerWorks, but if the platform continues to grow at its current rate, the Google+ for Business model could be a particularly strong fit for our content marketing strategy. There’s a bunch of suppositions here, but this is definitely something we will be keeping our eye on.

If you have similar stories around content marketing on social networks, we’d be interested in hearing these!