Content Marketing/Writing

Great B2B Storytelling in Content Marketing

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Great B2B Storytelling in Content Marketing

I’ve just completed the first draft of an advisory for B2B marketing with an agency I’m excited to be working with. I’ve done a ton of research on what’s happening in B2B marketing and content marketing, where one of the themes is the adoption of storytelling. Naturally, I found myself wondering:

Who’s doing great B2B storytelling?Ike snip

I know one super example – Cisco Systems.

Cisco created its own IT superhero, Ike Theodore (IT) Willis, and made highly entertaining animated videos about Ike’s IT challenges.

Ike has his own Facebook page and seven video episodes at last count. His popularity prompted Cisco to create its own IT Championships where 3,000 IT geeks slugged it out for a chance to win a trip to Hawaii.

Don’t be surprised if Cisco turns this into an annual challenge. What a great demonstration of going way beyond thinking of the customer to create engaging content that its customers – IT geeks – look forward to receiving and coming back to see what’s next.

But Cisco’s efforts don’t stop there.

The California based networking giant also produced a short documentary about how service providers – one of its target customer groups – pioneered the development of the telecommunications network in a series called The Network Effect. It not only garnered a lot of YouTube love but it was broadcast on TV.

The Network effect is being called a good B2B example of Transmedia storytelling. What’s that? It’s a term coined in the entertainment and movie business the refers to dividing chunks of a story across multiple platforms to form one cohesive narrative.

So who else is doing great B2B Storytelling?

I have a list that I’m developing for a second post, but in the meantime, tell me who you have noticed in the comments below.

 

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Case Studies/Content Marketing/Writing

Case Study: New Pages, Blogging Boost Traffic for Law Firm

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Case Study: New Pages, Blogging Boost Traffic for Law Firm

One reason I haven’t been too attentive to my blog is that I’m knee deep launching a blog for my client Integrative Family Law. I’m helping Carol Bailey and her team dip their toes in the blogging waters as part of an overall content marketing strategy to attract new clients.IFL Logo Snip

As editor of the blog, I gave them a list of 25 potential topics on divorce and family matters, which are their main practices of law. We launched the blog after I rewrote some of their website pages.

The attorneys chose from the idea list or come up with their own topic and then I edit out legalese, write a headline, add subheads, and come up with a question to encourage comments. Then I source potential photos and add them to the posts. I also upload the posts and manage their editorial calendar.

Summer is typically slow for divorce attorneys, but nonetheless, unique visitors to the site jumped 16 percent from May to July, which shows how adding new and relevant content to your website and blogging can have a large impact.

What are we writing about?

Divorce is big business, and people have a lot of questions about many aspects. We’re starting out with a lot of basics, jumping on news when it shows up in national media outlets, and including statistics to offer a variety of topics.

Here are some of the headlines:

  • Child Custody, Divorce & Moving: What Parents Need to Know
  • Get Parental Rights in Writing & Avoid This
  • Protecting Your Heart during a Divorce 
  • DOMA is Unconstitutional; What the Ruling Means
  • Divorce: How to Pay Less & How to Survive 
  • Divorce: What you Need to Know & Do Financially
  • Divorce with Children: What You Need to Know 
  • Divorce: 4 Things You Need to Know & Do Now
  • Divorce Statistics for Washington State, the Nation

  

In addition to the blogging, I’m writing a Divorce Guide that we’ll have available for prospects to download in exchange for their email addresses so we can create an email list of prospects to nurture.

 

 

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success: Week 5 Set up a Routine

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Week 5 in a Five-Post Series

This a blog post series for beginners on how to quickly get started with the social media site LinkedIn.

This is the last in the five post series.linkedin-button1

(Here’s the first LinkedIn post, and the second , third and fourth in case you missed them.)

This week, the last in the series, your to-do list includes:

Go back to your profile and make sure you’ve filled out your Experience section fully – I noticed a few of you only have the name of the law firm listed. Provide a description: what is a full service family law firm? How is your firm different from everyone else? Who do you want to hire you? What do you enjoy doing the most? What would you hope someone would say about you to a potential client?

Post an Update – what are you working on, what have you learned or what news can you share? Try to post one update a week, more if you can. Your connections will see your name more often and think of you.

Follow two more Groups and find additional discussions to participate in, remembering to provide value and not sell.

Follow these two LinkedIn Experts:

Jill Konrath, a well-respected sales guru is rocking LinkedIn with great tips and case studies. She’s sending out daily videos and is talking about LinkedIn on her blog.

Author Wayne Breitbarth wrote the book on LinkedIn. His book is called The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. I highly recommend it; I used it to get up to speed on LinkedIn. Wayne isn’t some slick social media salesman from Silicon Valley; he was the CFO and accountant at his own office furniture company in Pewaukee, Wisconsin when he learned about LinkedIn.

Here are a few of Breitbarth’s suggestions to hone your success with LinkedIn going forward:

Daily:

  • Respond to messages in your inbox.
  • Check in on discussions in groups you are following to see if you can add value.
  • Post a status update offering any good blog posts, information or insights you have.

Weekly:

  • Review profile updates of the most important people in your network.
  • Review the new connections of your No 1 connections to see if they would be people for you to connect with as well.

Monthly:

  • Update your profile with any new information – projects, webpages, documents.
  • Go through your connections land write two unsolicited recommendations.
  • Review your competitors profiles and see if you need to tweak any of your information.

After working on your profile for the past five weeks, you should be well on your way to having at least 150 connections in your network, at least three to five recommendations, a full profile that’s showing up regularly for keywords you chose, and regularly getting emails from other people seeking to connect with you, including potential clients.

I’d love to hear how well this series worked for you. Let’s discuss your results in the comments below.

 

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Week 4 Recommendations

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Week 4 in a Five-Post Series

In case you are just dropping by, this is a blog post series for beginners on how to quickly get started with the social media site LinkedIn.  In Week Three of the series, I asked you to start thinking of connections to ask for recommendations.linkedin-button1

(Here’s the first LinkedIn post, and the second in case you missed them.)

This week, your to-do list includes:

  • Ask 5 people for recommendations
  • Give 5 or more recommendations
  • Continue to connect with people you know

Everyone is nervous about asking for LinkedIn recommendations – you aren’t alone. LinkedIn Recommendations carry a lot of SEO weight. The theory goes the more recommendations (not endorsements) you have, the more your profile shows up in search results.

Think of recommendations as testimonials. The easiest way to get a recommendation is when someone mentions they like your work. Immediately ask the person if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial and LinkedIn Recommendation. If so, tell them you’ll send them an email reminding them what they said, and providing additional information on what skills you hope they might include.

When asking LinkedIn connections for recommendations, only ask people you have worked with for a while, and that you feel will do so willingly and freely. That may sound odd, but just like the people who ask you to connect that you really don’t know, getting a weak recommendation isn’t going to do you any good.

Ask managers and one or two colleagues at each place you’ve worked. Don’t overload your recommendations only with colleagues because if these are your only recommendations, they won’t carry as much weight.

Make sure to delete the generic, automatic wording when requesting a recommendation, and write a personal note instead.

Give Recommendations; But Don’t Give to Get

Another good way to get recommendations is to give them – but don’t expect one in return. Some people discount recommendations when they see one on your site from the person you also recommended. But I don’t.

If you genuinely recommend someone you enjoyed working with, they may feel the same way and reciprocate. That doesn’t mean you two got together and collaborated to earn more recommendations – although apparently, this is what some people have done.

Tips for recommending someone on LinkedIn:

  • Take a good look at their profile to see what words and keywords they are using.
  • Read the recommendations they already have to see where you can add value.
  • If you know this person well, send them an email telling them you are giving them a recommendation and ask what skills they may want you to mention.
  • Think about what you would say about this person if someone called to ask for a reference. Jot down these thoughts.
  • Begin a recommendation with the best thing you want to say.
  • Tell a short story or provide facts to back up what you say.
  • Provide lots of value, but be brief.

Once in a while, you may get a request for recommendation from someone you either don’t feel comfortable recommending or just don’t know.

Here’s how Chris Brogan words those rejections of a recommendation:

I’m honored you asked for a recommendation. Thanks for thinking of me. Because I haven’t worked enough with you professionally, I fear my recommendation wouldn’t be useful. I simply can’t vouch for your work experience beyond our casual interactions online. Best of luck in getting some stellar recommendations.linkedin-button1

How many?

How many LinkedIn Recommendations are enough? I don’t think there are any rules of thumb. Five is a good number, 10 is probably better if you are an independent contractor who works on a lot of projects and has skills working with small, medium and enterprise customers and who has many services to offer.

I’ll admit that my LinkedIn Recommendations have all come from people who have decided to recommend me due to the work I’ve done. I’ve only asked one person for a recommendation, and while she wrote a glowing one, it never came to my inbox. And I’m still hoping she’ll write one for me, but she’s an awfully busy woman.

 

Do you have any tips about making LinkedIn Recommendations? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Week 3: Endorsements

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Third in a Five Post Series

For those of you just dropping by, this is a series of posts for those just getting started with LinkedIn.linkedin button

As I mentioned previously, I’m helping a law firm get up to speed with LinkedIn. To help veterans and beginners, I’m creating a step-by-step cheat sheet that anyone who is just starting with LinkedIn can use to get up to speed quickly in a few bite-sized chunks that don’t take a lot of time.

Here’s LinkedIn Cheat Sheet for Busy Professionals – Week 3. You’ll find Week One here, and Week Two here.

 

This week, the five action items can be used by beginners as well as veterans:

1) Connect with 10 to 20 or more people, connecting with a handful each day this week. Think of past bosses, colleagues, clients and friends.

2) Check out LinkedIn’s new endorsement feature and endorse a few of your referral partners for their expertise. Your connections are bound to do the same for you.

  • When you pull up a profile of a connection, LinkedIn will serve up a blue box asking you to endorse them.
  • If you click on the “Skip” button, LinkedIn will serve up a box with four other people to endorse.
  • Either endorse these for the skills or click the “See More” button that will appear in the blue box.

3) Follow Two LinkedIn Groups. Start with something in your profession if referral cultivation is your goal, or if you are seeking new clients, figure out where your target market hangs out and join those groups. Don’t worry if the group isn’t perfect – there are a lot to choose from.

Within those two or three groups, browse the posts to see where you could be of value, and participate in one or two discussions. Be helpful and don’t sell. You only want to showcase your expertise and knowledge.

4) Start thinking about who the best connections will be to ask for recommendations – not endorsements, but recommendations. Make a list and save it for next week.

5) Revisit and revise your profile – Can you add any keywords, additional information or documents to make it even better? Your profile can be improved every time you visit. Think of ways to make it standout.

 

What success have you seen following these steps so far? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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