Is Your Marketing Strategy Content Chum?

Just because you have a boat, a pole and a tackle box full of lures doesn’t mean you know how to fish. Likewise, just because your are cranking out content and calling it content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re actually catching customers. When it comes your content marketing strategy, ask yourself, “Am I customer fishing or just ‘content chumming?'”


People who actually catch fish know that fishing is more science than luck. Fisherman know how to find fish, which baits to use, and are agile enough to shift strategies when necessary. They know it isn’t enough to drive out, toss a line in the water and expect success.

However, that is how a lot of businesses approach content marketing strategies. They throw some content into the marketplace expecting to catch success but find their content marketing strategy is little more than “content chum,” a bunch of content bits floating in the vast marketplace. The organization may be attracting attention but not actually catching anyone. The goal of a focuses content marketing strategy is to actually land customers and establish or reinforce your organization’s brand.  Continue Reading

Does your communications strategy have one rail or two?

Have you ever considered why railroad tracks have two rails? Probably not because the answer is obvious. Unfortunately too many organizations only lay one rail of a communications strategy yet expect it to offer a smooth ride and a destination arrival ahead of the competition.


I was talking with a prospective client and exploring what it is his company needs as it repositions itself following a couple of years of rapid growth. We talked messaging, and vision statements, and speaking points, and visual branding, and elevator pitches, and content marketing strategies; you know, the bling people see and hear. But then I asked him about the other rail. Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: Why you should invest the effort

Imagine standing on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It is minutes before the opening bell on what is predicted to be the busiest trading day of the year. When that bell sounds, you better be ready to beat dozens of other brokers to the punch and buy thousands of shares of the hottest company going.

Brand Journalism

Here we go…5…4…3…2…1…GO!


The seller can’t hear you over the noise and the distraction of everyone’s arm waving is preventing you from catching his attention. It’s a free for all! Mayhem, I tell ya! Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: Three misconceptions

You may think that brand journalism is like a new and improved version of marketing and advertising. It’s kind of an old barn with a fresh coat of paint. If so, you’re wrong.

Brand Journalism as strategy

Here are three misconceptions people have and the truth about brand journalism:.

  1. Brand journalism is the new advertising. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brand journalism doesn’t pitch anything. Brand journalism isn’t a clever commercial with a perky spokesperson. Brand journalism doesn’t even have a jingle (gasp!). Done well, brand journalism is comparable to solid news and feature writing. There is no deception. Brand journalism is done with full disclosure and has substantive information at its core. Its goal is to inform readers, not sell them something. Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: A thousand words are worth a picture

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Yeah, I get that, but do you know what writers call pictures that have no words? Art.

Brand Journalism

Think of some of the great photographs you’ve seen, maybe in National Geographic or Outside magazine. You may connect emotionally with the beauty of a compelling image, but it is most often the words that put the picture into context, providing meaning that supports your emotional response. Words tell you details like who is in the photo, what they are doing, where it was taken, and other interesting tidbits. Continue Reading

The I Ching of Branding and Marketing

Branding is the attempt to set one organization apart from another. Successful branding is setting apart your brand from your competition. The ability to do so isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

A recent client in the tech industry asked me to write a corporate positing document that has one purpose: succinctly yet comprehensively explain what the company does. It has two primary audiences: potential investors and healthcare CEOs/COOs/CFOs. However, when the President/CEO of the company sent me the initial draft of what she wanted, the opening paragraph consisted of 128 words and two sentences laden with redundant tech industry corpspeak. “You can wordsmith it however you’d like,” she said. “But I’d really like to keep the tone of it.” Continue Reading

Content marketing strategy: shifting from urgent to strategic

The first step to solving a content marketing problem is admitting you have one. Unfortunately, what organizational leaders often think is the cause may actually be an effect.

marketing thumb

Content marketing and brand journalism are increasingly recognized as important elements of an organization’s branding and marketing effort. However, some organizations crank out copy like it is being fired from a Gatling Gun thinking quantity is the key to success. Leaders become frustrated with a lack of return on the effort and miss the point that quantity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. They fail to accurately identify the tyranny of the urgent as the root problem. Continue Reading

Use case studies to support content marketing strategies

If you are looking for a way to improve your content marketing strategy this year, consider case studies. Case studies are obviously not new. Organizations have used them for years as a way to provide a systematic examination of cause and effect over a period of time. True, some case studies are about as cheesy (and creepy) as a cheap pick-up line. However, today’s savvy organizations tie well-written case studies to a larger content marketing strategy and overall integrated communications strategy.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

If you’re unsure on the meaning of content marketing and its role in organizational branding, here is a great summary by Shelly Kramer at V3 Integrated Marketing titled, “Content Marketing: A beginner’s checklist.” Case studies fall within an overall content marketing strategy. Writing case studies requires a marketer’s entrepreneurial mentality and a journalist’s “nose for news” approach. Report legitimate information that establishes a favorable outcome for your clients and supports your organization. Continue Reading

Writing words that matter; 5 tips to improve your communications

Words are the molecules that create the science of language. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, estimate there are approximately a million English words, but rightly explains – as does Slate – there is no way to know for sure an exact number. We do know, however, there are several that downright annoying people.

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Ragan Communications recently published its list of 25 Least Favorite Words, compiled through an informal survey on its Facebook page. Among those making the list were: Essentially, basically, methodology, vetted, align, aforementioned, functionality and irregardless. To this list I’d like to add: Bandwidth, group-think, synergy and its cousin, synergistic. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these offending words are often organizational communicators. Stop it! Continue Reading

Content marketing done the “right” way

I found it humorous the other day when my brother-in-law was reminiscing about the early days of the Internet. He was just 12 years old when, “Welcome, you’ve got mail,” introduced itself to American culture. His point, however, was how everything has changed because of the Internet, most notably the way we do business.


Fast forward to 2006 when blogging was all the rage and Twitter was a newborn in diapers. A few people like Brian Solis were rightly prognosticating the future of social media and its impact on business, but it has really only been in the past three years that businesses are catching up. Unbelievably, some businesses haven’t yet left the social media marketing station while others simply don’t know there is a train to board. Continue Reading