Storytelling story-selling content is the new advertising, marketing & PR.
It’s a harsh new reality all businesses and employees have to face. You can still shell out tons of dough for advertising, marketing and PR campaigns and get retro-returns on your dollar, or you can do what people resonate with – story-selling by storytelling.
SERIOUSLY … NO STORY?
Have you ever heard this?
“We have great products with amazing features – but no story.
We rock. We smoke. We’re the greatest. Features, functions, speeds and feeds. That’s us. Rock on Dude and Dudettes!
But no story.
NO STORY – NO GAME
You got no story. You got no game. You got no game – you got no business. (One of the best things about publishing your own stuff is you can riff horridly constructed anti-prose with non-grammatical grammar and get away with it.)
Whatever business you’re in you have a story. If it’s a good story it informs, educates, entertains and helps people down a path to find a solution to the problem they have.
The trip down the path is your story.
Your story is littered with adversity, obstacles, problems, helpy-helpers, wise sages, pitfalls and pratfalls (always emphasize your own pratfalls; it’s an endearing quality – exposing yourself to ridicule and humiliation. Makes you human. Authentic. If you don’t win the business you still might make some new friends.) and eventually, when you get to the end of the path, you will successfully solve their problem and deliver a solution. That solution is their payoff, and your profit.
PRINT & DISTRIBUTE YOUR OWN CURRENCY … LEGALLY
Well, not so much print – but create. Print is so Gutenberg. The truth is that your business success, whatever business you’re in, hinges on your ability to create remarkable content. Remarkable problem-solving stories. But no matter how great or remarkable your story may be, it still has to be discovered or found first.
CHUNKS AND CHUNKS OF CONTENT CHUNKS
I’m throwing out another formula here.
1-10-1 (soon to, in a parallel universe, be inversely parallel to E=Mc2 famous-osity)
What the “H” does that mean? Pretty simple actually. No matter how great your story, your product, your Grandma’s peanut-butter jalapeno sardine & anchovy cupcakes are, people have to discover it before it receives rightful recognition. To do that you have to EARN the readers attention. And that’s hard now. There are over 1.5 trillion URLS being searched every day by Google and over one million new blog posts published every day. Content speeds by at supraluminal (yes, it’s a real word) speed. So, an Einsteinian luminosity of equational (probably not a real word) simplicity is called for. A new light-bending equation of content creation …
Your title or subject line must capture the reader’s attention in one second to EARN the right to …
… more of their time. In that 10 seconds, you have to intrigue, pique or totally discombobulate the reader into believing you are trying to share helpful, unique, specific information. If you do that you EARN the right to …
… of their precious mind-time. In that minute you have to share ideas, information, insights and information that might make a real difference in their life of business or business of life. If you do that you’re on the right path … the P4 path. (that alliteration isn’t path-etic is it?)
Think chunks of content. Easy-to-read, easy-to-digest chunks of content … like Grandma’s peanut-butter jalapeno sardine & anchovy cupcakes. One second chunks. Ten second chunks. One minute chunks. Now, for more good stuff ahead.
DEATH, DESTRUCTION & A GOOD BOILING IN OIL
Now, here’s the part where I try to share information that will make a difference for you – no matter what business you’re in. When you start creating your own currency of content it can, inadvertently lead to a …
If your company doesn’t have the ability to create and publish helpful, unique content, it won’t survive long. It’s a punishing reality. Losers get the death penalty. People are searching for answers to their problems, which your company may have the answer for, and people are willing to pay for won’t find you. The only way to fight that is to kill all…
Corporate gobbledygook. Using “words drained of all meaning,” ( I heard Steve Wynn use that in a speech once – I cribbed it from him). Absolutus vomitus eruptus words … like seamlessly integrated, world’s leading provider, etc. For an in-depth list of torridly horrid, fatuously flatulent, superbly superfluous corporate gobbledygook check out my Bio. I think I used all of them.
DESTRUCT AND DESTROY!
The kind of communications (written or spoken) that you’d rather be boiled in oil or burned alive before having to read, listen to or try to comprehend. Wherever possible, weed out as much dreck and anesthetic corporate gobbledygook as you can. Some will always slip by, like an invisible virus to infect your site. But do your best to fight the good fight.
HELP ME OUT?
It takes discipline, rigorous creativity (yes I said rigorous creativity) and is a demanding job to consistently create, write and publish quality content. I don’t care who you are. Write and re-write. Cut, destroy, destruct, boil in oil. I’m not particularly good at it. But I’ve written with, interviewed and know many that are.
FROM ANOTHER PLANET?
The list below is where I’d start if I were new, struggling, a grizzled veteran or had recently arrived from another planet and was trying to create my own storytelling story-selling currency. They’re the …
BEST OF THE BEST STORYTELLING STORY-SELLING SOURCES
Read the book. Absorb it. Do it. Keep it by your side. Travel with it. It’s the Bible of attitude, style and grace – in writing and life. A true classic. Like the man himself. And check out“The Power of Resistance: Lessons Learned from Bestselling Author Pressfield,”to get a snapshot of what I’m talking about. Steven’s definition of “Resistance” with an “R” plays a big and attributed role in my next pick which is …..
Seth’s a bestselling author for a reason. Simplicity and clarity are hallmarks of his writing style. Great thinking is his art. I’ve read all his books. I’ve been waiting for him to write the “Purple Donkey” book, but I guess he hasn’t got around to it yet. When he does it’ll be his “Tour de Force.” Anyway, his book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable,” is the new employment reality. If you’re not a Linchpin person with a Linchpin mindset – you’re either unemployed or about to be. The “report to work and just be present to watch the clock” mentality is no longer the world we live in. You have to be remarkable. In any job you do.
Steven Pressfield & Seth Godin pave the path of attitude, gratitude, and force of spirit. David Meerman Scott walks down that path paving it with real-world case studies and examples of how to turn content into cash. This book is in its second edition and was a BusinessWeek bestseller for six months. I pull it out regularly, just to see where I screwed up.
Sure Bob has a great testimonial from David Ogilvy,
“I don’t know a single writer whose work would not be improved by reading this book – including me,”
…but that’s not why this book is a must-have. Bob nails the formulas that help stretch and refresh your mind. He gets it. Writes simple. Sells big. And it’s all about work and process with him. I particularly like his 4 “U’s” for titles. All titles should be Useful, Unique, Urgent, and Ultra-specific. And his “38 Great Ideas for Your Next Headline,” is something you can pull out anytime your having a mental block. But let me share one really intriguing little-known fact about Bob. He has a flair for eclectic, high-value, high-fashion hat wear.
The back cover of this book should be required reading for authors, writers, marketers, PR professionals and anyone that wants to understand how to draw people into your story with well–written, eloquent simplicity. Pick up the book and read the interview “A REAL Business REALITY CHECK with Bestselling Author Guy Kawasaki.”
Featuring an Interview with Al and Laura Ries, authors of WAR IN THE BOARDROOM: Why Left-Brain Management and Right-Brain Marketing Don’t See Eye-to-Eye – and What to Do About It.
There’s a war going on in American business. It’s a war that needlessly inflicts serious economic harm on customers, employees, companies and stakeholders.
It’s a war that causes great ideas and products to vanish. To get lost in the clear fog of logical logic. A devastatingly destructive war that helps bad ideas take root and grow (albeit briefly), nurtured and justified by common sense and … logical logic.
LEFT-BRAIN MANAGEMENT vs. RIGHT-BRAIN MARKETING
What does that mean? How does it work? What to do about it? Find out in this interview with bestselling authors Al and Laura Ries.
BUT FIRST …
The markets being the shape they’re in – no jobs, no money, no hope, economic despair, destruction and disheartenment all around, I thought it’d be the perfect time to start a new company.
So I did. It’s called “Kayser’s No-New Media.” I specialize in old media – none of that highfalutin New Media Web 2.0 vaporware. My differentiator? I go back through time, find and revive great ideas from the past that have gone bad, mostly because they were ahead of their time, or were poorly executed.
See, I understand the left-brainer vs. right-brainer war mentality. I’m above all that Byzantine internecine strife. In fact I’m going to profit handsomely from it because I’m a “Know-Brainer.” I use both sides of my brain, that’s why the new business is booming. Well … at least my one ( beta account – no money has actually exchanged hands yet) account is.
My first job is for an auto manufacturer. Yes I know, not the best time to be dealing with the auto industry. But my client is getting mega bucks in new investment (from taxpayers) … what an opportunity! And this auto dealer has total faith in my new approach. We’re getting ready to rock the Auto World. There is only one catch. They asked that I run my ideas and marketing concept by some world-class Marketing & PR strategists. “No problemo,” (Sometimes I speak German to impress new clients) said I. “Piece of cake.”
I’m going to trust the reader not to leak the top secret details of the project below – or crib the idea. Here’s the concept.
We’re bringing back the Edsel.
Sure it was a colossal flop. Worst car of all-time. But that was only because it was way ahead of its time. It was a DaVinci-like beauty.
And the name – Edselzilla?
Car sales are all about the name. Has to be something that rolls off the tongue. Has to be memorable. Meaningful.
I crafted a crafty neologism from the words “Zilla” and “Illa,” and came up with the name, which also has a scintillating etymological iconic meaning … and could it roll off the tongue any easier?
FULL OF HIGH-TECH PRODUCTS
I made sure the engineers loaded the Edselzilla with incredibly complex and sophisticated products that most people will never use. Products like seats that vibrate and shake to the music – different beats – different shakes, depending on the music. Slick, huh? And, taking advantage of the latest in nanotechnology advancements, the Edselzilla computer sensors monitor the mood of the driver (based upon complex gluteus-maximus seat vibration algorithmic calculations) and displays it for all to see. Can you imagine? A blue-green car means a peaceful driver. A red car … road-rage candidate.
And reliability? We rock. What’s one of the biggest value props for a car? Reliability. The Edselzilla prototype’s been road-tested for a year. It’s better than anything on the market. Tops the Lexus and the Mercedes even.
LOW-END OF THE HIGH-END, HIGH-END OF THE LOW-END
Price Point? A mere $150,000.
We’re going to own the low-end of the high-end, the high-end of the low-end and the almost-highest end of the ultimate high-end. How? We’re going wide. On the drawing boards we have a product line wider than the Grand Canyon. Proof?
Nedselzill: This is sorta niche’ey. For all the guys named Ned Line. Probably not a big-seller at first.
Pedselzilla: The Environmentalist/Green Crowd Line- Equipped with pedals.
Qedselzilla: For the up and coming Quantum Physicist Line
Redselzilla: The only car for People with Red Hair Line
TEDselzilla: The Ted Nugent Fan Line. Comes with a zebra-skinned, M-60 machine-gun attachment on the hood, wood-burning grill on the dash (can cook up to 30 lbs of wild game – cookbook included). Coolest feature? The TEDselzilla’s doors flip up and turn into concert venue-sized speakers. Personally, this is the one I’m buying when it comes out – before Ted Nugent captures the Presidency in 2012.
Weaselzilla: For Politicians Who Raise Taxes on Everyone but Themselves Line -This one will be huge.
We’ll own the market.
Now … for the coup de grâce . A “slam dunk” as a CIA chief once said. I personally negotiated a distribution deal with one of the largest retail chains in the world. Exposure will be incredible. Edselzillas will soon rule the world. Guess who the distributor is?
The largest retailer in the world! The biggest audience. Take your breath away? I knew it would … that’s about it. Wait until Al and Laura hear about this. They’ll probably want to invest.
ENTER: AL & LAURA
Al Ries and Laura Ries are the dynamic father and daughter duo that have reshaped branding in the 21st century. The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR ruffled more than a few feathers and changed the way we look at advertising forever.
Al and Laura Ries have been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Business Week, and USA Today.
Laura is a frequent media commentator appearing on Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, ABC News, CBS, PBS and Bloomberg.
WIN THE BOOK: For keeping the secret I disclosed above – the first 20 people that send me an e-mail at email@example.com with “TEDZILLA” in the subject line will win an autographed copy of Al & Laura’s new book.
FINALLY – THE INTERVIEW BEGINS
Steve: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I have a few questions about “WAR IN THE BOARDROOM,” and then want to run a real-world business branding concept by you. First … why did you write this book? What prompted it?
Al Ries (Al): 40 years of frustration. Marketing and Management are at war. In our years of consulting work, we have participated in many battles over marketing strategies and tactics. On many occasions, we have lost those battles and have the scars to prove it. The reason for the war is that marketing and management don’t understand each other. The reason they don’t understand each other is that their brains are different.
Laura Ries (Laura): Management people tend to be left brain thinkers. Left-brainers are verbal, logical and analytical. Marketing people tend to be right brain thinkers. Right-brainers are visual, intuitive and holistic. Our goal with this book is to help establish better communications between marketing people and management people. Better communications leads to better branding.
Steve: Examples of left-brainers?
Al: If you’re the CEO of a major corporation, chances are good you are a left-brainer. Management people tend to be logical, analytical thinkers. In order to make decisions, they want to be supported by facts, figures, market data, and consumer research.
Laura: Directors of Marketing. If you’re in marketing, chances are good you are a right-brainer. Marketing people tend to be intuitive, holistic thinkers. They often make decisions by “gut instinct” with little or no supporting evidence.
Steve: What about “Know-Brainers” (like me) that use both sides off the brain equally?
Al: We call that “Ambibrainerity.” It’s similar to ambidexterity. Most people who are thought to be ambidextrous (switch hitters in baseball, for example) are really left-handers who, with a great deal of practice, have taught themselves right-handed skills. Or vice versa.
Laura: Ambibrainerity is extremely rare. While you can learn to exercise the less-favored half of your brain, working both sides equally is almost impossible. Depending on how you were born, you are going to have to live your life either as a left-brainer or a right-brainer. Every occupation seems to attract people who favor one side of their brain or the other. It might take logical, analytical thinking to run a corporation, but it also takes intuitive, holistic thinking to run the marketing program for that same corporation.
Steve: Is there a common theme or thread that runs through these left-brain vs. right-brain wars?
Al: Yes. There’s usually a common theme to the lost battles. Management argues for ideas and concepts that are just plain “common sense,” a reflection of their left-brain thinking.
MARKETING=INTUITIVE. NOT LOGICAL
Laura: We argue for ideas and concepts that might not be logical, but intuitively we believe are ideas that will work, a reflection of our right-brain thinking.
Steve: I’m going to ask a dumb question …
Al: Who decides in these wars? The deck is stacked. Every marketing decision has to be approved by management. Guess who loses? Of course marketing loses. But more importantly, the two sides are engaged in a war that undermines companies, careers, brands, stockholders and consumers alike.
Steve: Okay … How about a real-world example of an idea battle that management won that marketing would never have thought of? Maybe something from the auto industry – since it’s a hot topic right now. (I’m prepping them for my pitch here. Subtle … isn’t it?)
THE REALITY OF PERCEPTIONS
Al: Okay. Let’s talk about the Volkswagen Phaeton. It’s a high-end luxury car, priced at $100,255, and received glowing reviews from Forbes and USA Today. Business 2.0. hailed it as, “Overwhelmingly the best value among high-end luxury cars.” Remember this. Left-brain management types deal in reality. Facts, figures, charts and numbers. Management acknowledges the importance of perception, but believes that perception is just a reflection of reality.
They think if you change the reality, you change the perception.
The reality was that the low-end car sales were being taken over by Japan and Korea. Chinese brands were poised to enter the US market. Logic dictated that Volkswagen needed to move upstream – up market, to the more profitable high-end luxury cars. It’s completely logical. Common sense. And completely wrong.
THE PERCEPTION OF REALITY
Laura: Right-brain marketing types deal in the reality of perception. What matters to marketing people are not the “facts” of a situation but what’s in the mind of the consumer, which may or may not correspond with reality. What’s in the mind of a “Volkswagen” consumer? Do you think buying a $100,000 car is?
Changing reality is easy; changing perceptions is exceedingly difficult.
Steve: And what happened?
Al: What do you think?
Steve: Well, I’ve never really heard of the Phaeton. But … it’s a Volkswagen.
Al: Exactly. It’s a Volkswagen. Not a BMW. Not a Lexus. The company couldn’t give them away. The Volkswagen Phaeton was introduced in November 2003. Since then, only 3,354 units have been sold in the United States.
Laura: Perception won out.
Steve: But what if it was the best product on the market? The absolute slickest-sweetest-superior and most reliable? Like a Mercedes. Loaded with high-tech features, bells and whistles that would awe a NASA astronaut? Wouldn’t that make a difference? Save the day?
Al: That’s your left-brain coming out. Management believes that nothing matters except the product. Building a better product is the objective of most chief executives. Wrong. Now let’s talk about “reliability.” Where do you think Mercedes Benz finished in an “Automotive Brand Reliability” survey by Consumer Reports … out of the Top 35 Brand names?
Steve: 1st or 2nd?
36TH OUT OF TOP 35!
Laura: Meredes ranked 36th in the 2007 Consumer Reports “Predicted Reliability” customer survey. Right-brainers know you don’t win with a better product. You win with a better brand.
GOING DEEP AND WIDE
Steve: What if they would have had a deep and wide product line? Be all things to all people? Wouldn’t that have turned the tide in their favor?
Al: That’s logical. Sounds like common sense.
Steve: Absolutely. (I knew I was on to something big now)
Al: Left-brain management types always favor a full line. Common sense suggests that a full line of products and services allows you to sell more than if you had a narrow line. Completely wrong. That’s why it’s so hard to win these battles. Common sense is a tough opponent.
Laura: Right-brain marketing favors a narrow line. Selling is the second step in a marketing program. The first step is building a brand in the mind. Building a brand with a full line can be difficult because you don’t stand for anything. And if you don’t stand for anything …
Steve: But if you stand for all things? You’ll surely sell something. I mean it’s just common sense.
Al: Management counts on common sense. Management approaches every situation in a sane, sensible way. Their emphasis is always on the product and the execution. Like I said … very hard to win a battle because common sense and logic … are so logical.
Laura: Marketing counts on marketing sense. The more experience a marketing person has, the more he or she realizes that common sense is usually wrong. Often the illogical, uncommon sense “marketing idea” produces the best results.
Steve: So how do you think this played out when planning for the new high-end Volkswagon Phaeton?
Al: A bunch of people sat down with reams of reports, data, facts, looked at the hard market realities they faced and came up with the logical idea of a $100,000 plus V0lkswagen. Then they had to justify it. Make it make sense. A $100,000 plus Volkswagen. Can you imagine? Why … that’d be like bringing back the Edsel and selling it at WALMART as a high-end luxury car.
DAWS MOMENT (indicates a Deep, Awkward Silence)
Laura: A right-brain marketing type would have never thought it was a good idea. In the automobile field what matters is the brand. Not the product. Perception dictates reality.
Steve: What’s a right-brainer supposed to do when dealing with left-brain management?
Al: Speak their language. Facts, figures, market share analysis. Present their intuitive ideas to a logical thinker logically, in their language.
Laura: Right-brainers have to sell their visual ideas to left-brain management types in verbal terms. Talk about product benefits and features instead of “positioning” the brand in the mind.
Steve: Thank you so much for your time. But … I have to admit something. I’ve been disingenuously disingenuous. I’ve asked most of these questions because I’ve started a new company – and we’re rolling out a new car model. I wanted to test the concept with you. Both from the left-brain and right-brain approach.
ANOTHER DAWS MOMENT
So … I went through the whole EDESLZILLA concept.
A BLACK HOLE DAWS MOMENT
Steve: So what do you think of my Edselzilla? It rocks? Too much left-brain? Right brain? Or …
HOW DEEP CAN A DAWS MOMENT GET?
I don’t know if the reader knows it or not but Al & Laura would be considered right-brain creative types. So they did what any right-brain creative type would do. Presented their answer in a visual.
About Al Ries & Laura Ries
Al & Laura been have been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Business Week, USA Today, Marketing News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brandweek and countless other domestic and international magazines and newspapers. Laura is a frequent media commentator appearing on Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, ABC News, CBS, PBS and Bloomberg.
Al and Laura are branding gurus known for delivering business insights with wit, wisdom and worldliness. They are sought after speakers around the world including the U.S. India, China, Europe and South America. So far they have worked in 60 countries and counting.
Al is Chairman and Laura is President of Ries & Ries, the marketing strategy firm they founded in 1994. Together they work with clients like Microsoft, Ford, Disney, Merck, Frito-Lay and Unilever.
I received an e-mail from a reader espousing the benefits and yes, even absolute necessity, of using PowerPoint slides during sales presentations (see see below).
“Steve! No way you can give a sales presentation without PowerPoint. Business people expect it … demand it! You must be a marketing bonehead!
Obviously the reader doesn’t know me.
Do I look like a marketing bonehead?
But, the vehemence and hard-core fanaticism of the reader’s comments (which I do not include here due to my civil nature) made me rethink my position.
That’s right. I might quite possibly have been wrong. As hard as that is for me to admit, it’s true. I’m flip-flopping. With a slight qualification.
If you can pass the PowerPoint Presentation Proof-of-Pudding Test below, you are one of those rarefied elites.
A superhero among PowerPoint presenters. (That includes anyone that uses PowerPoint slides to present an argument or presentation of a project, business case, or intelligent information.)
A Business Presentation Without PowerPoint Slides?
Can you really give a business presentation without PowerPoint?
Probably. But only if you can pass the Proof-of-Pudding test.
Dare you take the PowerPoint Proof-of-Pudding Test?
The next presentation you give or attend, take note of what occurs after PowerPoint slide number five is swiped/swished onto the screen. Unless you really are “da man,” the Steven Spielberg of the sales presentation, 99 percent of the people in attendance will fall into one of the following disruptive descriptive categories:
1. The Mighty E-mail Master Multi-tasker (MEMM)
The MEMM reads their e-mail on desktops, smartphones, laptops, PDAs, or wireless (or all three at the same time) during your presentation. He looks up occasionally, feigns interest, may smile on the rare occasion and spews a few meaningless corporate acronyms to let you know he’s in the room, then … puts his head down, empties all e-mail folders – including sent, draft, and trash – and proceeds to the nearest online sports or horoscope web page.
*A special note on the MEMM. MEMMs tend to be the most vociferous critic of the presentation after you leave. They can clearly and concisely detail the flaws in any presentation to which they don’t pay attention.
2. The Diligent Dutiful Drone (DDD)
The DDD stares, smiles, nods, drinks, and laughs on rare occasions (keep your distance … could be flatulence) and most closely resembles a display-case manikin. What’s nice about the DDD is:
A. They smile and make you feel a little better about yourself, and
B. They have ZERO influence.
They don’t want to be there.
• You’re boring.
• You’re lying.
• They know it.
But, they’re masters of the art of being actively employed while daydreaming.
3. The Game Player (GP)
A real classic. I like him. Type “A” introverted extrovert. Flips open the laptop, occasionally tries to hide online game-playing activities, but goes to no great effort. Looks up every five to seven minutes and convincingly nods understanding of complex technology, processes and people issues. Has canned industry-analyst quotes or research that is prattled off machine-gun style in the blink of a PowerPoint swish. The GP can typically play between three to five online games at one time, within communities ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 users; answer all attacks; and defend and super-power-pack energizing, life-protecting, virtual-shield questions via Instant Messenger (IM) in less than one second. Very efficient.
4. The D*mn Data Destroyer (3-D)
The 3-D may smile occasionally and has insidiously iridescent eyes and a serial-killer smile that yells, “What lie are you telling?” The 3-D exuberantly researches each fact you use in your presentation and typically has between 800 to 1,000 search engines at his disposal intelligently configured to automate the process of destroying your credibility. His success rate is over 90 percent. Keys to look for: Sometime after PowerPoint slide #10 of your presentation, if he has failed to find a factual misstatement, his eyes turn a glowing red and some spittle or drool visibly emanate. Steer clear … 3-D is extremely dangerous.
5. The “ME-ME,” or the “I’m Much Too Important to Be Here”
The most irritating of presentation attendees, ME-ME, answers all e-mails, never looks up, never pays attention, and takes all cellphone calls while in the meeting. The only courtesy extended to you is turning around backwards to bend over while talking to the auto-repair shop on the cellphone. Sometimes ME-ME even stoops to feigning a cellphone call by testing the ringer … “Sorry, I have to take this very important, business-critical call.”
WARNING! ME-ME is just as dangerous as 3-D. To be able to pull off this offensively rude behavior, ME-ME actually has some power and/or authority. Me-Me is predisposed to not liking your presentation most probably because it wasn’t a ME-ME idea.
Therefore it stinks.
And so do you.
You recognized the categories didn’t you?
But that’s okay. Everyone does. It’s the nature of the business presentation.
However, have you given a PowerPoint presentation presentation without seeing one of them?
If so … YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR:
PASSIONATE POWERPOINT PRESENTER’S HALL OF FAME!
Currently there are no members …. you’d be the first.
If you flunked the test …
Do the PowerPoint Punt!
Throw your 58-slide, PowerPoint presentations and reverse-flash, creative swipe/swish, corporate-acronym gobbledygook out the fourth-story window.
There are 1,000,000,000,000 + (one trillion plus) unique URL’s in Google’s search index.
Do you have one? If so, you’re lucky.
Each day there are approximately 2,000,000,000 (two billion) Google searches by people trying to find information, ideas and insights to help solve their problems.
Do you or your business have good answers to offer for some of these problems? Answers that can help create new sales, customers and a hopeful future in these challenging economic times?
If so, you’re lucky.
But how can you or your business stand out in a world with one trillion unique URLs and two billion daily Google searches? How can you or your business be discovered and break through in an exploding online world that includes 14 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute? With over one billion views per day? And all of these other weird and wacky Web 2.0 ways to communicate?
How Can You Break Through?
Think Like a Publisher
Fight daily on the battleground of content. Publish great ideas, information and insights via New Media applications. Publish content that is helpful, educational, unique, specific, credible and –
written in a storytelling way. Content that affects the way the reader (prospect, customer, employee, etc.) does their job―for the better.
The End of PR and Marketing
The latest-greatest buzz calls this concept “Content Marketing.”
“Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. In contrast to traditional marketing methods that aim to increase sales or awareness through interruption techniques, content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.” Wikipedia
It’s not really “content marketing.” It’s not PR. It’s not marketing. It’s survival―for you and your business. That, by necessity, means a successful collaborative communication effort between Customer Service, Sales, PR and Marketing to create and support new business. That’s what it’s all about; creating, supporting and growing new sales.
The good news is that there has never been a better time with more creative, cost-effective ways using New Media applications to do that. You don’t need a $100 million marketing and advertising budget. Real companies are doing it successfully – right now.
It requires successful collaborative communication efforts between disparate business groups. It requires breaking down the secretive silos in businesses that so often strangle breakout success. That smother fresh ideas and disdain approaches by “outsiders” of the business group – even though they’re in the same company. That seeds and sows a reclusive, restrictive, “us against them” mentality.
Collaborative means playing well with others. Successful collaboration means doing it so well that the customer is served, problems are solved and the business makes money. Siloed domain expertise egos need to back off, back up, back out or just get out of the way. Who isn’t tired of hearing “They (insert the favorite hate group of the day – Marketing, PR, Sales, Service, Product Managers, etc.) Just Don’t Get It!”
Times are tough. Hate to go all “Three Musketeers” on you but …
“Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno”
“One for all, all for one“
– should be every company’s motto right now.
Below are some of the New Media Web 2.0 (for lack of a better term) capabilities and applications available to support the sales and service I’m talking about. Examples of how real companies are using New Media to help grow their businesses are included. Try them out. Plant your flag in some or all of these new territories if they fit your business needs. But to succeed, know this: They need active, authentic, honest participation to help grow and create new business.
For an Experimental SlideRocket Tour of New Media
For a quick visual introduction to some of these New Media tools, view the SlideRocket presentation below, or come back to it later. It’s best viewed in full-screen mode with audio on.
Also, I have personally used or experimented with all of the New Media apps below―some with great results, others not so good. So, if you have any questions, just e-mail me and I’ll get back with you. I’m not an expert, but I am a prolific experimenter, which means I’ve made way more mistakes than the experts who are focused on one little niche. I’m a multitasking mistake-maker.
Companies use bookmarking sites like Delicious.com and StumbleUpon.com to create interesting and helpful resource and information libraries for customers―and to attract new prospects.
StumbleUpon is also a social bookmarking site. It allows you to vote, rank and recommend interesting websites. You’ll find some spectacular hidden treasures there if you care to take a peak. Though not the darling of the media like Twitter, StumbleUpon’s popularity is undeniable. They have over 7 million members.
The idea behind a YouTube (or other video-sharing site) channel is to create a video learning lab for products and solutions. Short video clips to help educate, entertain and inform customers and prospects.
Quick tip―one thing I learned. Save the video under names of which people are likely to search for. I named my first 25 videos something like DSC145735. Then I wondered why no one was viewing them―well, no one except the people that searched for DSC145735.
“Twitter is a free social messaging utility that allows users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.” – Wikipedia.
Twitter is a low-/no-cost way to engage customers and prospects with short, headline-like chunks of content. Twitter, to be most effective, needs a lot of participation, especially from product managers, customer service, sales, PR, marketing and others―real, authentic, helpful and non-salesy or promotional fluff.
Twitter is my favorite. It’s amazing to watch ideas and information explode and ripple through the Twitterverse. For a recent example read, “Tesla on Twitter – Twitter on Tesla.” Take heed though, it’s a challenge to write something meaningful, clear, concise and compelling in 140 characters or less. That’s 15-20 words. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
Are there companies using Twitter for business? Yes. Are there sales being generated via Twitter and sites like it? Yes. Dell attributed $1,000,000 in sales last year to its Twitter sites.
Though sort of old hat, blogs are simply the best and most powerful sources of dynamic content to help customers and … your business. Blogs are a way to showcase your thought leadership. To share your information, insights, ideas. See if they resonate. Test the waters. For business examples check out GE and IBM’ers blogs. They have thousands of them. That’s right, I said thousands.
If you want to do some in-depth research, check out Guy Kawasaki’s “All the Top Blogging News.” It’s a one-stop shop of information and resources on blogging.
WARNING! Blogs Can Be Big Trouble
Blogs can be troublesome though. Big trouble. Especially if some employee or blogger goes wacky-wild-west off-the-deep-end on an upside-down triple-gainer-rant of a blog post. Below is my favorite example of an out-of-control blogger. He ought to be fired because …
He simply has too much fun. No one should be able to do cartoon-torials, yuck it up, muck it up, enjoy blogging and keep a job. I mean all seriousness aside … what’s the deal?
Widgets are embeddable pieces of codethat can be installed and displayed on a website. They’re reusable. It’s a great way to let others promote your website or content, and they will, if … you provide them useful widgets.
Try it out yourself. Create a widget. I use Widgetbox, but Wowzio is excellent too. Watch out though – they’re addicting.
What’s a blidget? A Blog widget. Pretty simple. It captures a blog in colorful, adjustable frames and displays multiple blog post headlines.
The blog post titles are live. Each blog headline is an opportunity to attract people to your blog. Each time a headline is clicked it takes the reader right to your blog. Test it for yourself. I’m a big fan of blidgets. The one above has received 20,510 views in three weeks. (That was a shameless self-promotion. I have to out myself on that one.)
Yes, you guessed it. You can even make a widget out of a Twitter feed.
FriendFeed is a social media content aggregator. What’s that mean? Basically all content, images, video, and audio files published by contributors on any of the 49 social media sites it accesses is aggregated into a live feed. Like a Wall Street Stock Ticker–without the associated pain. It is an exceptional place to discover new content from multiple sources and formats. Robert Scoble is big on FriendFeed Vs. Twitter for many reasons. I’d agree with him.
How Companies Can Use Friendfeed – by Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang. As an aside – Jeremiah, in my opinion is absolutely one of the best, if not THE best, social and New Media analyst around. Class act. If you want to keep up with everything that’s going on in the social computing interactive marketing world, check out his blog or Twitter account – http://twitter.com/jowyang
Facebook and other similar social networking sites such as MySpace are powerful opportunities for businesses – if, once again, approached with a helpful attitude. Why? It’s where a lot of the world online population is now. Facebook has more than 150,000,000 (million) active users and is growing at the rate of approximately 450,000 new users per day.
Those kinds of statistics tend to blow the mind. But there are reasons people are flocking there. I like it because it’s pure opt-in. No one can stalk or spam you. A lot of people have found me on Facebook that I hadn’t heard of for years. Of the two, Facebook and MySpace, I’ll give you the best explanation of demographics that I heard from a soon-to-be 16-year-old girl and her brothers in college: “MySpace is for music, Facebook is for friends and business.” That’s concise, clear and short enough to use as a Tweet.
Linkedin is an online network consisting of more than 30 million professionals globally representing 150 industries (from their website.) It’s a way to find and be found―for jobs, old friends and groups. It’s also a way to investigate a company or potential job. I use it, but am not a “power user.”
Plaxo is also a similar online network of people. They have more than 40 million hosted address books.
ADDITIONAL WEB 2.0 SALES SUPPORT TOOLS:
Featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine, January 2009, Animoto is a video creation platform. I wrote a story with “The Boys of Animoto” in October of 2007 – and have been using their product every since. If you are doing a presentation of any kind that needs spruced up, or might benefit by the use of a “movie-like trailer” to help banish the boring – you need to ANIMOTORIZE.
SlideRocket is a Web 2.0 application, built on Adobe Flex that allows you to create, manage, measure and share secure, online presentations. You can import PowerPoint presentations from offline to online. And, you can export presentations from online to offline. Key? You can create, edit and access your presentations from anywhere in the world. No need to email or carry round a flash drive. SlideRocket has some visually stunning effects.
Check them out in full-screen mode. Simply click the screen to advance slides.
Use the new media applications and capabilities to share great ideas, helpful information and insights to connect with and help your customers. Jump in. Test them. Experiment. Find which new media capabilities might be right for you and your business.
They work … but only if you think anew, act anew, and disregard the stultifying and stiflingly destructive “Us Against Them” siloed business mentality.