Thursday, February 7, 2013

Content marketing turns your customer acquisition strategy around 180 degrees

By Mark Helfen

We are now meeting at:
Silicon Valley Innovation Center
3200 Coronado Drive. Santa Clara, CA 95051

Content marketing turns your customer acquisition strategy around 180 degrees. Instead of using advertising to find customers, create valuable content so customers will find you.

Or so says Barry Feldman, speaker at Monday’s SVForum MarketingSIG, February 11. Feldman “creates compelling content by telling stories” at his eponymous business, Feldman Creative. The idea is that by creating content of value to your future customers, they will start down the path of being current customers.

The dynamics of marketing communication have changed, putting customers in control, making an advertising strategy much harder. People don’t like being sold to.

“We all have our media filters on,” said Feldman. “We consume as little advertising as possible.”  In creating web contents, you need to “ditch the pitch,” treat the reader as a friend, and create content that is valuable. He recommends a “journalistic approach.”

Some people have described content marketing as a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. By having “real” content using lots of the right words, search engines (meaning Google) will consider your page as valuable to their search customers, and it will appear higher in Google’s results.

But Feldman recommends against this, saying is compromises the quality of your content. Don’t write for a robot - create value for your customers. You need to be aware of how Google ranks pages, but it can’t be the driver. Besides, as Google’s engineers keep improving their ranking it’s getting harder and harder to fool their search algorithms.

So, are you ready to create invaluable content? The presentation will include a 7-step list for getting started, including a number of potential topics to cover in your writing.

Feldman practices what he preaches, and is clearly a prolific writer. You can see examples of his work here:

Your Site is the Mousetrap, Your Content is the Cheese

Why You Shouldn’t Do Content Marketing

Do You Have the Skills to Cut It in Content Marketing?

And most recently:

Only Birdbrains Bet $4,000,000 on the Super Bowl

And for some more help in getting started, Feldman recently published an ebook:

The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing available here.

But maybe you don’t think you’re a writer at all. Some people are “writer phobic,” caused in some cases by “perfection paralysis.”

Well, you don’t need to be a great writer, as long as you’re knowledgeable on your subject and understand what your customers want. But if you can’t write, speak (or as Feldman puts it, “yakk”.) Talk into a camera, telling a compelling story using your knowledge and enthusiasm, and use the resulting words as a basis for you or someone else to write content based on what you say.

So come by Monday, and get started with getting your customers to come to you.

Please sign up on our meetup page:


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

He can be reached at:
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

LinkedIn Endorsements – Decide how to use them

by Mark Lewis 

There has been a lot of talk about the new LinkedIn Endorsements.  Most of the discussions have included some healthy skepticism about the new feature that started to appear in Beta around September of 2012.  Certainly there is room for the skepticism; I have heard of plenty of examples of people getting endorsements from connections that have no idea about their expertise in that particular skill.  In addition, there is an presumption of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  Personally I think that is a self-imposed perception; people generally want to be helpful so they feel compelled to endorse their endorser, if you do that - do it right.

Endorsements are the social media version of recommendations.  We have all trained ourselves to have short attention spans in the way we read and the way we interact with each other.  LinkedIn has just made it easy to support people for the work that they have done.  And let’s face it, endorsements drive a lot of traffic back to LinkedIn and that is good for…LinkedIn.

We all have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of endorsements.  You can choose not to show an endorsement from someone that you don’t feel really knows you possess those skills.  Don’t let your endorsements section get bloated with these endorsements.  You can in turn only endorse people for skills that you can legitimately say they have.  Look at it this way, if a hiring manager were to call you for a reference based on the skills you endorsed for someone, could you give them examples of how that person demonstrated those skills?
I have a statement in the summary of my profile that addresses endorsements.  It is as follows:

I appreciate the genuine endorsements I have received from my close connections who know and value my work. In turn I endorse others whose work I can personally recommend. I view endorsements as a quicker and easier way to recommend someone but I treat them with the same integrity as a recommendation

You can see how I incorporated it into my profile on my LinkedIn page here:

Of course a full recommendation of someone is always better and you should eagerly write those recommendations when asked.

Endorsements are not going away so you should decide now how you want to treat them.  I recommend taking the high road and maintaining the value of this feature for everyone.


Mark Lewis is a marketing executive with hands-on experience across the marketing mix.  He can be found at and he is always interested in connecting with new people.