Great content is the secret to marketing success on the social web. That’s what all the gurus and expert blogs tell you. And it’s true; great content is what drives people to click, share, follow, subscribe, donate and buy. And Google seems to like great content as well.

But what exactly IS great content?

When you now go online and search for ‘what is great content’, you will not find an all-encompassing definition of what makes content great. And that is perhaps logical. Because as always… ‘it depends’. Also, content is great, when someone thinks it is great. Just like with music. Or film.

Still, some music is loved by many and some stays undiscovered. Some pieces of content get found and shared like wild fire and some die-off the moment you publish them. So, what is the secret? What happens if you dissect a great piece content? What do you find? What are the fundamental elements that great content is build on?

Just yesterday, Steve Seager published a model called The Anatomy of Great Content. The model is intended as a discussion piece for B2B marketers and strategic communicators to help improve the quality of future content.

The Anatomy of Great ContentI think it’s especially great to use as a sanity-check against your existing content!

I want to zoom in a bit on the first 3 elements: targeted, valuable & structured. In my experience, this is where marketers struggle most to get it right (‘great’ that is!). These elements are all about ‘messaging’. About what you actually plan to say.

1. Targeted

The web is about reaching people directly. One on one. You always have a real person sitting on the other end of the screen. So, you need to write your content for individuals not markets or segments.

Take a look at some of your existing content and ask yourself: WHO is this written for?

2. Valuable

The web has gone social for a good while now. It’s not about Quid Pro Quo any more. Instead you gotta give to get!. Figure out exactly what your target audience really needs and where you can help. Do research, look at your data, talk to your sales people and get the facts. It’s about their needs!

Take a look at some of your existing content and ask yourself: WHAT is the real value of this piece of content to the person I am targeting?

3. Structured

Everything you do as a publisher on the social web, starts with the question ‘what do I want to achieve?’. Then you ask ‘with who’ (targeted!) and ‘how’ (offer value!). Then you need to factor in who is saying it (your positioning) and what you are selling (specific aspects of your value proposition).

If you want to tie all that up in a great piece of content, and keep doing that, you need structure. Just like with music. Or film. A great film usually has a great story (that’s you!), great actors (that’s your staff, clients, prospects & stakeholders), great plot points (that’s the themes and topics you are talking about) and great dialogue (that’s you engaging in a conversation with your target audiences).

The combination of all that is what makes you love a film. What makes you remember it. And tell your friends about.

So as a last, but vital, sanity check against your content:

Take a look at some of your existing content and ask yourself: does it stick?

As for the other 4 elements in the model: atomised, optimised, activating & measurable… don’t bother with those until you get your messaging right! Because you hardly ever see a great film that solely relies on great photography, camerawork and special effects. Now do you?

More context and additional information download the E-book below:

DOWNLOAD THE PDF: The Anatomy of Great Content: a content marketing model for B2B marketers and strategic communicators.

Organising events is a great way for SMEs to build awareness, connect with their target audiences and establish positioning within their industry.

But organising a great event – with mutual value for everyone involved – is not easy. Quite often basic principles are overlooked.

Here’s a practical little checklist to make sure that the event you organise is worth the effort of organising and attending it!

1. Make sure your presentations connect to the target audience needs

My first advice is to make your event as targeted as possible. If you are targeting MDs or CEOs, talk about your vision on the industry or new strategic opportunities for their business. But if you are inviting medium level executives, make sure your presentations help them with the problems they are facing every day.

2. Live up to the expectation

Don’t make big claims that you can’t deliver on. Quite often events are advertised with slogans such as ‘The secret of success in social media’ or ‘How to make your online strategy work’. When you make claims like that, make sure you deliver on them. If you don’t, no matter how well the event was organised, your audience will end up being disappointed.

3. Have your attendees promote the event for you through social media

Once you have established a list of attendees, make sure they can promote the event for you. Publish teaser content on your blog or in social media channels such as YouTube or Slideshare. Connect with your attendees on Twitter and Linkedin. Ask them to share the content with their network. And oh yes, make sure the content is valuable, not just marketing blurb!

4. Keep on publishing throughout the event

Also during the event, allow attendees to send updates and photos to their followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you give them the hashtag you have claimed for your event on forehand. And of course, make sure they have access to high speed internet throughout the entire event.

5. Take good aftercare

Now that you have your audience engaged, make sure you leverage that. Publish a presentation or a video with the biggest insights of the event. Reconnect with your attendees in social media. Invite them to share. Ask them what they thought of the event to make your next event even better.

So, in a nutshell:

Publish valuable content, connect with your audience in social media and engage them in a conversation.

Happy organising!

Biggest opportunity B2C social mediaAmazingly, ‘social media’ still remains a mystic phenomenon for many B2C companies. This is because most B2C companies and brands traditionally market their products and services through advertising & promotion.

As a result, most companies enter into social media for all the wrong reasons. They see social media channels, such as Facebook & Twitter, as a great opportunity to get their ad or site in front of as many people as possible.

But is that really the big opportunity of social media?

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A few days ago I received my invite for Google Plus and finally got in. Jeey!

I am still pretty psyched about this product. It’s cool! But the question is: is this new social network going to become mainstream? Is it gonna sail or fail?

I still think that the ‘Circles’ functionality is pretty awesome. It allows you to share stuff only with the people in a certain circle.

But herein lies the problem. When I first got into Google Plus, I rushed over to the ‘Circles’ department and was eager to give it horns. But 5 minutes later I was still staring at screen, asking myself two questions:

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Just last week, Google started testing their much talked about social network called ‘Google Plus’.

Emerald Sea painting inspiration Google Plus

At first I was really surprised to see Google launching this product under the Google brand name because ‘social’ just isn’t a part of Google’s brand DNA. Google is about search. To ‘google’ even became a verb.

So, if Google wants to grab marketshare in ‘social’ it would be logical to launch it under a different brand name, right? Just like they took a bite out of the browser market using the brand name Chrome.

But after reading this article in Wired, I understood better why Google is launching this social network under their own brand name:

Google is repositioning itself.

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Copywriting and SEOSearch engine optimisation can be like a big box of misty magic for communicators, PR’s and marketers. This ‘fear’ might stop you from starting a blog. Or, if you’re already blogging, it may well prevent your content from being found by your target audience!

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Tapping into social mediaAs the client guy for we do communications I often talk to new clients. Once we start talking about the social web, I always ask them what their perception is of ‘social media’ and its business value.

In my experience there are two distinct categories of prospects: the ones that want to ‘tap into social media’ and the ones that want social media to tap into them.

Let me explain.

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Hello, and thanks for visiting my blog!

About 18 months ago my partner Steve Seager and I started our business, we do communications. We help businesses sell their ideas, products and services on the social web.

Selling stuff in traditional media is one thing. But to do this on the social web is another. It takes a radically different view on things. You need to get out of the mass marketing headset and start thinking targeted.

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Last night my business partner Steve Seager and I finally cleared some time to study the analytics on our blogs. We usually do this every day, but the last few weeks have simply been mad busy. When we took a closer look at Steve’s stats for December we saw a huge spike in traffic on December 7. A bit like a whale in a fish pond.

Where in the name of Zeus did those people come from? Did we post a great presentation? Send out a press release? Publish a ground breaking blog post? Got a mention in the New York Times? After some research we found the answer.

A Retweet.

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The perks of creating a website content plan…

If you have ever been involved in the process of developing a website, you are probably familiar with terms like navigation, functionality, interaction design, css design, use cases, flow charts and so on.

No matter how well designed & executed your website or application, it’s the content in them that determines your success. It’s your content that drives people to click, download, subscribe, & buy your ideas, products or services.
So why is it that in 9 out of 10 cases, content is the last thing that is attended to when creating a website?

I dare to say: flip it! Start thinking about your content first, then start thinking about design, functionality and other technical requirements.

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