Content Marketing Creativity from an Artist’s Point of View

Posted May 9th @ 5:44 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

At a time when the role of content marketing creativity, craftsmanship, and strategy are being discussed in blogs and podcasts like Jay Acunzo’s Unthinkable.FM and Jason Miller’s The Miles Davis Approach to Content Marketing Strategy, I was reminded of the words of photorealism painter Richard Estes, quoted in Richard Estes’ Realism:

I think the popular concept of the artist is as a person who has this great passion and enthusiasm and super emotion. He just throws himself into this great masterpiece and collapses from exhaustion when it’s finished. It’s really not that way at all. Usually, it’s a pretty calculated, sustained, and slow process by which you develop something. The effect can be one of spontaneity, but that’s part of the artistry.

I think the real test is to plan something and be able to carry it out to the very end. Not that you’re always enthusiastic. It’s just that you have to get the thing out. It’s not done with one’s emotions; it’s done with the head.

As someone who has been inspired by Richard Estes’s paintings throughout most of my life, I find both inspiration and peace in his words.

The context of the words

What’s fascinating about Richard Estes’ paintings, as you can explore in the above book, or at numerous locations online) is the relevance of his words in the context of the intricacy of his images, which often include reflections and reflections of reflections.

  • What is his message to you?
  • How do you feel about his words?
  • What is he saying about deadlines versus “minimal viable product” and topics like “getting it shipped?”
  • Is content marketing a form of art?
  • What do these words mean to you, if you’re an author writing a book?

Share your comments below. Is this a content marketing creativity or productivity topic you’d like to see addressed more often from an artistic points of view?

How Newsjacking Lead to Content Marketing Success

Posted February 1st @ 6:06 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

One of the Content Marketing Institute’s most popular SlideShare presentation was based on one of my guest posts–a success I now credit to David Meerman Scott’s Newsjacking.

Click the image to view the SlideShare presentation based on my post, 12 Months of Content Marketing Ideas for SlideShare Presentations which appeared February 19, 2013.

For two years, it was the Content Marketing Institute’s most viewed SlideShare presentation.

And, out of the Content Marketing Institute’s 135 SlideShare presentations, it’s still their 8th most popular!

Only recently, however, do I recognize the role that David Meerman Scott’s Newsjacking played in the article and presentation.

I now realize that I was an “Inadvertent Newsjacker.”

My success was based on techniques that David Meerman Scott described in his 1911 Newsjacking ebook!

Newsjacking was the catalyst

After watching David’s recently-released Mastering Newsjacking video training program, I suddenly realized that Joe Pulizzi’s Feb. 2, 2013 blog post, 24 Top Content Marketing Questions Answered in Less than 140 Characters, was the catalyst that inspired me to write my original post, which appeared on two weeks later.

In his post, Joe Pulizzi, the Content Marketing Institute’s founder, called SlideShare, “the most underutilized content distribution tool—and it’s not even close!”

Joe’s words were my catalyst to action.

I had recently discovered SlideShare, thanks to Todd Wheatland’s game-changing book, The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare:  How to Build Your Brand, Generate Leads, and Create Opportunities.

I was so impressed by how Todd’s book showed me how I could leverage my PowerPoint skills and existing content to reach a new audience that I immediately reviewed it on Amazon and followed up with several posts on SlideShare topics:

  1. Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Success with SlideShare. Amazon.com review, September 28, 2012.
  2. 11 Ways to Use SlideShare for Content Marketing Success. Content Marketing Institute, October 26, 2012, relates SlideShare to 4 stages of author publishing success.
  3. Why SlideShare is a Content Marketing GameChanger for Authors.  This Published & Profitable post shares specific tips for using SlideShare to sell more books. October 29, 2012.
  4. Content Marketing Checklist: 22 To-Dos for SlideShare Success, Content Marketing Institute post contains 2-page presentation content and design checklist. November 16, 2012.

At the same time, of course, others were writing about SlideShare’s marketing power, notably Greg Ciotti’s fine 10 SlideShare Strategies that Will Boost Your Content’s Value.

Newsjacking turned interest into action

But, it wasn’t until I read Joe Pulizzi’s words, the most underutilized content distribution tool,” that my interest turned to passion!

Joe’s words were the catalyst I needed; they challenged me to ask myself, “Why aren’t more content marketers taking advantage of SlideShare?”

This lead me to explore the underlying causes. This lead to the conclusion, “a lack of content ideas!”

A lack of content strategy and content ideas is the usual cause of procrastination, lost opportunities, and last-minute frustration and stress.

Once I had identified the problem, the solution, 12 Months of Content Marketing Ideas for SlideShare, immediately occurred to me because it provided a year-long formula, or content strategy, for monthly blog posts and SlideShare presentations.

The big lesson…

Newsjacking works–even when you’re not aware it’s working!

Instead of trying to recreate the wheel with fresh content, do what David Meerman Scott shared in our recent interview, Newsjacking Tips for Authors and Content Marketers:

  • Start each day with a cup of coffee, reading every page of the top national newspapers and checking the trending topics on Google, Twitter, and elsewhere.
  • Look for breaking news stories where you may be able to inject your firm’s story into the topic in a helpful, relevant way.
  • Take immediate action; act sooner, rather than later. Be the first, and be scrupulously prompt in responding to comments and media requests for more information.

The only thing I can add to David’s advice is:

  • Be on the lookout for words and phrases that challenge you, or arouse your curiosity and passion for solving problems and helping others.

My pulse rate increased when I read Joe Pulizzi’s words, “SlideShare is the most underutilized content distribution tool — and it’s not even close!”

Joe’s words galvanized me into action. I hope you will allow yourself, or train yourself, to be constantly on the lookout for similar catalytic moments.

David Meerman Scott’s Mastering Newsjacking can be the missing link in your content marketing strategy.

I encourage you to share your Newsjacking questions or content marketing success stories below, as comments!

How to Use Newsjacking to Promote Your Book

Posted January 25th @ 6:30 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

David Meerman Scott’s blog post the day after President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Speech shows how to use Newsjacking to promote your book or latest content.

Click the image to visit David’s original blog post and observe how David skillfully discusses the context and contents of President Obama’s speech, which he calls “a communications triumph.”

America’s Next Moonshot

In the next section, however, David picks up on one of the President Obama’s best lines in the speech and uses it to build a bridge between the State of the Union address and Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program that he co-authored with Richard Jurek.

Success involves bridging, not selling

Notice that David doesn’t “sell” Marketing the Moon; he merely describes it.

He subtly promotes his book by drawing a parallel between the need in the 1960′s to build public support for the Apollo Lunar Program and the equally important need to build similar public support for a “program of discovery” to cure cancer.

Newsjacking in a nutshell

A careful reading of David Meerman Scott’s blog post, and the links to recordings and transcripts of President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, provides an excellent introduction to the power of  Newsjacking.

As a bonus, while you’re there, be sure to read the comments and David’s responses to them. They contain good examples of dealing with alternative viewpoints. 

Afterwards, you may want to visit David’s Mastering Newsjacking site where you can learn more, download a Newsjacking infographic, and review the course contents and the way the various lessons build on each other.

Related Newsjacking posts

Here are a few other resources you may enjoy:

  1. Mastering Newsjacking interview. Recent recorded interview with David Meerman shares origins of new Mastering Newsjacking training video and important lessons for authors.
  2. Elements of Infographic Success. If you’re interested in using infographics to share your story, you may enjoy my analysis of David’s original Newsjacking graphic, and compare it to the latest version.
  3. How David Meerman Scott Newsjacked Amanda Palmer. Another case study of Newsjacking in action.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions!

David Meerman Scott Shares Key Author Profit Tip During Newsjacking Interview

Posted January 19th @ 6:15 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

During our Interview with bestselling author David Meerman Scott reveals power of Newsjacking as a content marketing toolrecent interview, David Meerman Scott shared an author profit tip that may change your approach to writing a book!

I recently interviewed bestselling business author David Meerman Scott about his new Newsjacking video training program. You can download or listen to our interview for free.

Newsjacking is the art and science of inserting yourself into breaking news stories, in order to generates sales leads, adds new customers, and gets media attention.

David popularized the term Newsjacking five years ago. Since then, he’s been speaking about it, conducting workshops, and sharing Newsjacking ideas with CEO’s around the world. He’s also been blogging about it collecting new data and examples.

His latest blog post is an excellent example of Newsjacking at work!

His new Newsjacking video training program provides a step-by-step guide for businesses, organizations, and nonprofits of all sizes. It contains information that is usually reserved for those attending his $20,000+ keynote presentations that have taken place on 6 out of the world’s 7 continents. !

The author profit information David shares

About 44 minutes into our interview, David revealed a surprising author profit statistic based on his experiences as a worldwide bestselling business author.

Many will be amazed by David’s revelation. Others will use it as a North Star to guide their future writing and publishing plans.

David’s background (or why his story is so important)

David has written 7 books for a major publisher, one of which (The New Rules of Marketing and PR, 5th edition) has sold over 365,000 copies in 26 languages around the world.

44 minutes into the interview, David compares the earnings from his bestselling books compared to his initial earnings from his video!

After you download or listen to my interview with David Meerman Scott,  share your impressions as comments, below.  (And, feel free to share the link with your friends and coworkers.)

Simple 2016 Editorial Calendar Template Keeps Your Content Marketing on Schedule

Posted January 4th @ 6:55 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Keep your 2016 content marketing on schedule with this Simple Editorial Calendar mind map template.

You can read about it, and download a free copy, from my latest post on Mindjet MindManager  blog, Replace Content Chaos with Content Certainty.

I designed it for my friends and clients to keep your content marketing on strategy and on schedule throughout the year.

Scalable, week-by-week content planning calendar

My Simple Editorial Calendar MindManager template offers a scalable solution suitable for entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals, or growing content marketing agencies and departments.

The mind map template makes it easy to plan, execute, and track a year’s worth of content marketing creation, content curation, and social media content promotion using a  single, easily shared and updated, mind map.

You can instantly toggle between a “big-picture” view of your 2016 activities, or you can zoom in to focus on just a single month’s schedule. This provides a week by week view as well as space to delegate tasks and track deadlines, priorities, and progress.

Content marketing–on schedule and on strategy

Never before has it been so easy to keep your content marketing on schedule and on strategy.

  1. On schedule. You can easily delegate tasks and assign Start Dates and Due Dates for each task and each project using MindManager’s Resource sand Task features.  You can see at a glance which projects are on schedule and which are falling behind. You can also track the monitor the social media comments and overall performance of each project.
  2. On strategy. The ability to view your 2016 content marketing activities from an overall perspective or a month-by-month or week-by-week perspective provides a “big picture” perspective allows you to make sure each project aligns with your 2016 content marketing editorial mission and content goals. It makes it easy, for example, to create your content around your quarterly and yearly book or ebook publishing goals.

After visiting my MindManager blog post and downloading my my 2015 Simple Editorial Calendar mind map template, share your comments, impressions, and questions!

Meet Liam Hughes, Curator of Biggerplate–the World’s Largest Mind Mapping Library

Posted December 30th @ 6:47 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

If you use mind mapping software, you’re probably familiar with Liam Hughes, the founder of Biggerplate.com.

Biggerplate.com is the world’s largest online library of downloadable mind maps and mind map templates.

At Biggerplate, you can choose from thousands of free mind map templates and mind mapping examples to show you how real people around the world are using mind maps every day to improve their working and learning.

Looking for specific mind map examples and templates?

Biggerplate offers you several ways to search for mind maps. You can search by:

  1. Categories, such as business, education
  2. Topics, such as writing, marketing, or planning
  3. Popularity, the number of times a map has been viewed or downloaded
  4. Mind mapping software programs, such as MindManager, iMindMap, XMind, MindGenius, ConceptDraw, iMindQ, MindMeister, iThoughts, etc.

You can also search by specific terms, i.e., editorial calendar, bestselling business books, or best books for writers.

In response to the popularity of last year’s interview with Liam Hughes, I recently asked Liam for a 2015 update. Here are the highlights of our interview.

Ian’s story reflects an engaging combination of passion, entrepreneurial spirit, community building, and technology.

When did you first become involved with mind mapping?

The first version of the Biggerplate website was launched in 2008, but my first exposure to mind mapping was probably a year or so earlier.

My discovery of mind mapping software at university saved me from failing my degree!

Mind mapping made a profound difference by helping me retain more of what I read and learned, and helped me organize my thinking and go deeper into topics.

This profound experience fueled my desire to create the mind map library which came to be known as Biggerplate.com! But, let’s return to that later…

Why is mind mapping growing in popularity?

There are a number of factors at play in my opinion, but if I was choosing a top three, it would be the following:

  1. Mobile/tablet growth and the accessibility of relatively cheap mind mapping apps. The combination of new platforms and affordable apps has introduced more people to mind mapping. With the proliferation of iPads and similar devices over the last 5 years, I new people have been introduced to mind mapping– even if they don’t necessarily recognize that they are ‘mind mapping’, or identify themselves as ‘mind mappers’. Mobile mind mapping applications are becoming part and parcel of their daily working activity, regardless of what they, or anyone, calls it.
  2. Increasing appreciation and use of  ‘visual’ working approaches. This can be seen through the growing popularity of infographics, and topics like sketch noting and visual facilitation. There seems to be a greater acceptance of the fact that we’ve maybe gone too far down the road of linear information. There’s increased recognition that non-visual working methods may be hampering our ability to connect up dots, make innovative associations between information, and generally stimulate our minds a little more. This paves the way for exploring mind mapping.
  3. Most importantly, I genuinely believe mind mapping has found it’s ‘time’ in terms of the problems and challenges people are facing at work in this current decade. There is a feeling of relief about the help mind mapping tools and applications can provide. I’ve talked a lot about mind mapping being the ‘missing link’, and I believe this is becoming more true every month.

There are people in all sorts of job roles who lack the right tools to help them organize and manage their ideas and information.

There are millions of people out there trying to organize their ideas and information in Word documents, or Powerpoint slides, or on scribbled notes, or in complex project management software. These are not the right tools for this job!

In many cases, the tool that should be employed first is a a mind mapping tool. You use this to do the up-front thinking work, and only once you reach clarity in your thinking do you switch to the other tools to produce the required outputs (presentations, proposal docs, project plans etc).

Regardless of the end format; if the up-front thinking work has been done using mind mapping, the end result will almost always be more organised, more succinct, and more effective.

What are some of the highlights of your research and your experiences working with mind mappers from around the world?

The highlight is quite simply the people themselves. There’s a shared mindset that I’ve spoken about many times before. It’s really quite extraordinary actually.

I’ve met and engaged with mind map users from so many different countries, job roles, industries, and cultures over the years, and (almost) all of them seem to share a mindset that is open, collaborative, innovative, and inquisitive.

It’s not to say that everyone thinks the same. Far from it. The mindset is one of:

Genuine interest and enthusiasm for learning, asking questions, exploring alternatives, and figuring things out. It’s genuinely infectious!

I certainly don’t think mind mapping caused this, but I think people with this mindset seem to be the early/natural adopters of mind mapping, which is a truly great thing. These are the type of people that will be most effective in communicating mind mapping to others, figuring out where exactly mind mapping fits in the modern era and then driving adoption worldwide based on that understanding.

Tell us more about Biggerplate’s origins.

At university, I had not been a very diligent or engaged student, and was therefore very behind in my studies ahead of the key exams that determined whether you could stay at the university, or get politely asked to leave!

I’d been very easily distracted by all the non-academic things that I was doing, and as result, found myself two weeks away from these critical exams, with very little knowledge of the subject matter required.

Purely by chance, and totally outside my university, I was introduced to mind mapping software, and immediately got it. As a last roll of the dice, I decided to mind map all the different modules I was (supposedly) studying, and surprisingly managed to scrape through the exams, and eventually earn a degree.

As far as I’m concerned, mind mapping software was entirely responsible for me getting that degree, and off the back of that experience, I had the idea to create an academic resource for students, where they could get academic content, but in a mind map format that they could then edit and adapt to their own needs.

Once we got the first site up and running in 2008, it quickly became clear that business users were actually our main audience/user, and the site has taken on a strong ‘business’ focus ever since.

I still have a strong personal desire to take mind mapping further into higher education as I originally intended, as I still think it’s a tool that young adults really need at that stage of life. We still want to put something together to do this, but for the moment it’s a bit beyond our resources.

What has been Biggerplate’s guiding vision?

Our aim is simply to be the best source of mind mapping content, learning, and community in the world.

Everything we do has to support moving closer to that goal, otherwise we don’t do it.

We have certainly not reached that goal yet, but we have made some really positive steps towards it over the last couple of years in particular.

What have been Biggerplate’s signature achievements during the past 12 months?

Probably the construction and launch of our own API has been the major achievement over the last 12 months, although it won’t mean much to many people, at least not until they start seeing “Upload to Biggerplate” buttons appearing in their favorite mind mapping software!

The API will enable direct and seamless integration between mind mapping software applications and the mind map library at Biggerplate.com, enabling upload and download activity to happen directly within your software. This will be a powerful and desirable value-add for software users.

This has been a big investment for us as a small business, and a real challenge in terms of our technical team resources. We’re very lucky to have two great guys driving the technical development who figured their way through this, but it was certainly a big challenge.

However, the initial feedback from our software partners has been extremely positive, and this really points to a very exciting 12 months ahead, and some great possibilities for mind map software users and Biggerplate members!

(Any developers out there… take a look at http://developers.biggerplate.com/ to learn more)

Did you ever imagine Biggerplate would emerge as the world’s largest mind map sharing community?

Well it of course sounds very arrogant, but yes actually!

After we’d been going at it for a couple of years, we started to feel pretty confident about what we were doing, and the way we were doing it.

Building the site was one thing, but engaging with the individual users, and I mean really getting to know and understand them has really been the secret to the success to far. As a result, for a long time we have viewed the ‘best in the world’ goal as something perfectly achievable, rather than some lofty, unrealistic, or eg-driven ‘mission statement’.

What are some recently introduced Biggerplate features?

We’re really excited with the launch of our new Biggerplate Blog, which was really long overdue! The new blog is really now part of the Biggerplate site, and gives us far more scope to gather, share, and showcase how our members are using mind mapping around the world, which is a very exciting prospect.

A relatively new section of the site is our Community Marketplace, which is a very simple area that we built to try and support some of the great small businesses that make up our community.

We previously had a section of the site for people who provided mind map training to list their services, but we realized that this was perhaps too restrictive, as many people use mind maps to deliver their business services, or to run their business, but they may not provide training as such.

The new Marketplace enables any Biggerplate member (who has uploaded a mind map) to list their business on our site, and hopefully gives them some great visibility to a worldwide audience.

We like this sort of thing. As a small business (we have just 6 people) we know that getting visibility can be a real challenge, and every little helps!

Why are so many mind mappers eager to share mind maps on Biggerplate?

I think those who share on Biggerplate do so because they recognize that we’ve built something that’s really for mind mappers, and almost obsessively so.

There’s no mixed message when it comes to Biggerplate: we’re 100% focused on mind mapping.

If you’re into mind mapping, and you discover Biggerplate, our hope is that you instantly recognize that this is the place for you.

If you’re naturally inclined to share what you’re doing with mind maps, then discovering Biggerplate should feel like you’ve found somewhere that was built just for you!

However, that being said, if you look at the number of Biggerplate members who actually upload maps to the library, as a percentage of the total community, it’s probably less than 1%.

Most people who use our site, do lots more downloading of maps than uploading. So in fact, many mind mappers are somewhat reluctant to share their mind maps, sometimes because their maps contain private or client-specific information, but often because they (incorrectly) assume that nobody out there would be interested in their maps, and/or that their maps are ‘not very good’.

It’s really important that we constantly communicate to users that there is always someone out there who will find your mind map useful, either as a source of inspiration (i.e., “I’d never thought of using a mind map to do that…”) or as a direct time-saving start point (“I’ll download and use this map as a starting point rather than creating my own from scratch”).

Equally important is the fact that Biggerplate has no interest in telling anyone that their mind map is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and neither do 99.99% of the mind mapping community. Share what you’ve got. Someone will get something out of it, I can promise you that!

Anything you’d like to hint at coming down the pike?

E-learning is a big focus at the moment, and there should be some visible outputs in this area within the next few weeks, which we think could be very interesting. Other things include, but not limited to:

  1. More integrations with leading mind mapping applications.
  2. Full translation of the website into several languages (long overdue).
  3. Mobile optimisation of the site (also long overdue).

And more features and functionality specifically designed for those members who are sharing lots of maps. 2016 is going to be busy…!

What some of the cities where you’ve hosted Biggerplate Conferences and training programs?

The Biggerplate Unplugged conference has so far been held in London (twice), Paris, Utrecht, San Francisco, and Berlin.

The next stop is New York in March 2016, which is already shaping up to be a fantastic gathering of Biggerplate members and the wider mind mapping community!

Our training workshops are starting to expand further, and we’ll be focusing largely on what we have identified as our key cities over the next year or so as we try to grow this part of the business.

The cities of focus for us for several reasons are London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels. For now…!

Where are events being held during 2016?

The big one our annual Biggerplate Unplugged Conference, which is taking place in a fabulous venue in New York on 10 March 2016. The conference is a great opportunity to connect with others from the mind mapping world.

It’s a great place to pick up a wealth of tips and insights into how mind mapping can be used and maximised in a range of contexts across business, education, government, charity sector etc.

Who attends events like Biggerplate Unplugged?

These events are really enjoyable, partly because they attract a mix of mind mapping novices and experts. This creates a great learning environment, and a really lively day of discussion and collaboration!

Further to this will be the continuation of our Brunch Club meetings, which are small meetings (10 people max) in those key cities identified earlier, where we are engaging with members of the local mind mapping communities in order to learn, discuss, and explore ways that we can grow the regional engagement with Biggerplate and mind mapping in general.

These have already proven extremely beneficial to us in terms of gathering ideas and feedback from our members, and we’re confident that these meetings are going to be really influential in how we drive greater mind mapping adoption in certain regions! Plus…. everyone loves brunch!

What is the role that mind mapping will play in the 21st Century?

Well, I’m not sure we’ve got the definitive answer yet, but it’s certainly the definitive question that we’re trying to answer. We’ve been saying for a long time that mind mapping is the missing link, and must have tool for modern workers in business and education. But that’s not enough; we’ve got to figure out exactly where it fits, and how.

We’ve got to identify those missing links that are most suitably filled by mind mapping, and equally, we have to recognise the areas in which mind mapping may not be the best tool for the job.

I think we’re getting ever closer to improving our understanding around this, and in fact, this will be the central theme of Biggerplate Unplugged in New York next year, so if anyone out there has the answer, or at least a perspective to share, I hope they’ll book a seat at the conference!

How much does it cost to access Biggerplate’s mind map archives?

Biggerplate is free to use if you are participating as an active member (meaning you’re uploading content onto the site, and not just downloading).

Basic users can download up to 5 maps a month, but this can be unlocked either by uploading a map of your own, or by upgrading to a Biggerplate Plus account for unlimited downloads for the year. This upgrade costs $19.99 for the entire year.