Tag Archives: blogging

Copyblogging 101

Taking an exam

Do you remember back in school when you were taking a big test – also the most quiet time of any school day – and you could almost “feel” the eyes of the person next to you stealing looks over at your work to see how you had answered a particular question? The natural reaction was to take your non-writing hand and casually put it over your work in a way that made it impossible to see your answers. This was of course unless it was this really cute red-headed girl named Tricia who I had a huge crush on and for whom I would have crossed a bed of burning embers. She could have any answer she wanted!!

Over the last few years, there has been a cataclysmic change going on concerning published content and material covered by copyright, especially on the Internet. The old saying, “What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet” is definitely true, however with the propagation of content around the world, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor whether someone is “trying to copy your answers.”

I have blog readers from all over the world and for all I know, someone may very well have copied and pasted content from my posts into their website and claimed it as their own. I certainly don’t have the means to investigate the millions of blog posts that are put onto the Internet every day to see if someone stole my content so how am I supposed to protect what is rightfully mine? Guess what, you can’t.

This may be quite discouraging to you aspiring authors who envision one day publishing a book but the fact is, there are millions of bits of information put out into the world every day, of which 1% could easily be saying the same thing in a slightly different way and therefore construed as copying. But who is really capable of a completely, totally, original thought?  Aren’t we all influenced in subtle ways by every experience we have, and therefore when a thought does come, are we absolutely positive we came up with it? Or, as is more likely the case, the idea was planted in our brain by some experience and our thought is really just our spin on it.

Seth Godin, in his blog “Originality” says that those who truly are the idea creators, the ones who come up with that completely original thought, are generally shunned by society as being weird, crazy, out-of-touch, eccentric or just plain off their rocker.

This article isn’t about condoning outright plagiarism, and for those that do steal, there is a special and very warm condo reserved just for you in the after-life, right next to the lava river and scenic volcano, where you’ll become very familiar with a pitchfork.

No this is about being sure to give credit where credit is due. If you want to put your spin on an idea that you got from someone else, be sure and give them credit. Anyone’s idea can be improved upon in a thought provoking and interesting way, one that has your special experience and flavor.

I’d love to know your thoughts and if you need help with a strategy for blogging, please get in touch with us, we would love to help.


Your Outsourced CMO


You’re Really Not Ready for Social Media, Are You?

The social media pig

There’s an old saying in the opera business, “Never teach a pig to sing because it will frustrate you and irritate the pig!”

I bring this up as I recently had the pleasure of talking with a company that provides professional services, specifically architecture, which has enjoyed a long history of providing innovative, functional designs and building planning for their clients.  They have enjoyed the luxury of great word of mouth referrals that have meant a continuing stream of business, which has fueled growth and provided good salaries for many employees.

This firm is now at a crossroads.  There is a concern that there are many opportunities, for which they are well qualified, that they are simply not hearing about.  There are deals happening that they aren’t aware of until an RFP goes out and they’re in the situation of bidding for low profit work, and as we all know, you can starve to death answering RFP’s.  They are significantly more successful when they can get involved in the early stages of planning, to be able to influence design and staging decisions in their favor.  What’s more, their pool of referred leads from existing clients is either not providing a sufficient number of high quality leads or that well may be starting to dry up.

Into this situation I introduce their website that is some number of years old, is primarily a static online brochure, is hard to navigate within and doesn’t provide easy ways to capture leads nor to encourage any visitor interaction.  Any efforts at search optimization are minimal at best.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In preparation for meeting with this firm, I was curious to see what kind of conversations from the architectural industry existed in the blogosphere.  Having looked at a number of aggregator sites, and doing some simple keyword search, I was able to conclude that there are ample opportunities for this firm to begin to become engaged in a dialog about their industry and for which they have a passion.  There are questions being raised and design theories being discussed that would enable this firm to present themselves as not only experts, but also as concerned professionals in the advancement of their art.

My biggest mistake was to use the words, social media.  The immediate response was, “Well, we’re not big believers in Twitter and Facebook, we just don’t see how those apply to our clients, what’s more, those involve so much time that the payoff is hardly worth the effort.”  It didn’t surprise me to then hear that the principals of the firm thought their website was just fine, that it was not really all that important and no money needed to be spent there.

I had one of two choices: try to teach the pig to sing or simply walk away.  I chose the latter.

I have found an interesting series of seven B2B case studies put into a well organized ebook by the good folks at MarketSherpa and available at Hubspot.  If you go to page 56 of this ebook, you’ll find a case study of a professional services firm, an accounting firm, who used social media and SEO to build a lead generation machine that drove direct sales.  In fact, they saw their website traffic increase by 68% and generate 10 to 15 leads per month!  The old website generated no leads at all.

You can choose to ignore what is happening in marketing right now.  You can say that it’s just not for you, and maybe it’s not.  But if there is a conversation taking place out there in your industry, and you’re not part of it, then you’ve lost a big chance to stand out.  You’ve also probably missed a great opportunity to grow your business.

Well, are you ready?

All my best,


The CMO Outsource

Why Blog?

I get asked this question from many business owners who are contemplating stepping into the social media waters.  How is the investment of time and energy going to turn into more business?

It is important to ask how you can measure a return on the investment because if as a business owner you simply don’t have time to consistently contribute valuable articles to a blog, you will surely need to hire someone to help you.

Here is the answer I give.

First, blogging will not produce an overnight success; it will take time, probably even months of time.

Secondly, you need to have specific goals you want to accomplish.

Thirdly, you should research to see if there are conversations taking place out in social media that pertain to what you do, your skills, your industry, your competition, your passion.  If you find that conversations are taking place, then you must become part of the dialog or you risk being left out.

Blogging enables you to help people who have questions or problems that you can address.  Once you’ve entered the dialog, it is imperative that you are genuine.  Ideally, you become an expert in your readers’ minds and that converts into trust, which as we all know, is the key to making the purchasing decision.

Like any other marketing effort you make, and blogging is just a part of your overall marketing plan, you must measure to see if you are achieving the kinds of results you set out in the beginning.  Tools are available that will give you eyes into what is happening.  Are you getting comments?  Are you having conversations?

Jeff Bulla has conducted an interesting survey on blogging in his article “11 Reasons Why People Blog.” It is very eye opening.

If you have questions or are unsure about whether blogging makes sense for you, drop me a line.


The CMO Outsource

Those Blasted Bungled Botched Blogs

Bad articles thrown in the wastebasket

I’m kind of particular about what I spend my time reading.  There’s just not enough time in the day for reading badly written blogs, yet small businesses trying hard to get some momentum, some attention, frequently turn to putting out blogs that aren’t well written just for the sake of getting more eyeballs.  Not a good strategy since your blog can contribute to your overall brand.

I don’t know the author, but if you have a few extra minutes and want a good example of what not to do, go to “The Hyperlink In Between Written Content for Sites and Branding.” I’m not sure whether they were making a joke to make a point but I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Make Sure that Punctuation and Spelling are Correct-This seems obvious but I must admit, I see mistakes all of the time.  It is really about attention to the details.  If you are focused on the details in your blog, then you’re probably focused on the details of serving your customer.  For some great direction and many humorous tips, I recommend Liz Craig’s blog.
  2. Give People Credit Where Credit Is Due -As was once said, “when you steal from one person it is called plagiarism, yet when you steal from many, it’s called research.”  (I can’t remember who to give credit to for this quote)  It is really easy to put links into your blogs that will take readers to your source’s website if they would like to learn more.  It helps their website by having an inbound link and it is the right thing to do.
  3. Be Careful When Using Humor-It is really a cool thing if you have the talent to be funny when you write but you know, it’s not really all that easy.  That’s why comedy writers get paid so much. What seems funny to you may not be to your readers and in fact could alienate them.  If you are a frustrated comedy writer and your blog is your outlet, use humor cautiously and judiciously.
  4. Give your Opinion on Your Subject-If all you’re providing is information, people can go to a zillion places on the Internet to get information.  What people really want to know is what your spin on this subject is.  Why do you have a passion to write about it?  Let people inside your head (I know in my case that’s a scary place to be) so they’ll get to know you and you become a person to them instead of just a company.  This is where you can build trust.
  5. Have Fun and Tell Stories-People will travel far to hear a good story.  Surely you have actual life experiences that can bring a rich texture to your subject and help your readers relate to what you’re saying.  It will gain you many loyal readers.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


The CMO Outsource

Article-Based Advertising Can Get Results

Classical booksEveryone loves the storyteller who captures our minds and tickles our desire to be entertained, to be carried away to a world that only exists in our imaginations.  It’s what makes the classics so accessible and worth reading; their creators were incredible storytellers.  I wrote a recent blog about how to use storytelling in your marketing,  but there is a recent post about a two year consumer preference survey which supports this concept of creating content on the Internet that can help build brand awareness and drive sales if written as an article or in a story-based form versus other methods of online advertising.

Jack Loechner, writing for the Center for Media Research, sites a two year study conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation whose results show that “article-based advertising was preferred by 53% of respondents who said they are ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to read and act upon the material, compared to 51% a year ago.”  And of the age demographic of 25 to 34, there was a 66% favorable reaction.  Even the affluent, those making in excess of $75,000 per year, showed a 60% likelihood of reading and acting upon this kind of content.  These results far outdistanced other methods of Internet advertising like pop-up ads and sponsored search.

In examining closer, we find that this two year study was sponsored by Adfusion, which is a company that writes “advertorials” for their clients that are placed in publications around the country.  These are stories that are made to appear as articles but are really brand promotions.  This could cause us to invalidate these survey results; however I believe that would be a hasty conclusion.

I am not saying that when writing a blog, article, or newsletter, that there should be a blatant self-promotion or an attempt to fool people into believing that they are reading a legitimate article when in reality it is simply brand advertising.

What I am saying is that if you provide value through the telling of a story, and your readers find it interesting, then you will likely see a positive reaction to your brand. This in turn can support the other methods of direct advertising which are a part of your overall media mix and as the survey above shows, can bring measurable results.

What are your thoughts?