CategorySocial Media

Content Marketing with a DIY Video Animation Tool

Which format communicates an idea better: a 90-minute presentation or a 3-minute video?

I recently attended a presentation in which the speaker took 90 minutes to explain the concept of “content marketing” and how it can draw customers to your business. At the  end of the presentation, several people in the audience — many of whom were just beginning to contemplate having a website — were a bit confused.

Actually, the phrase “content marketing” has been around for a long time. The Wikipedia page for “content marketing” was created in 2008.

Content marketing is essentially storytelling with a specific goal.

Content marketing objectives

Typical uses of content marketing include:

  • Sell something;
  • Engage an audience;
  • Provide vital safety and health information;
  • Persuade people to take an action; and
  • Share your vast knowledge with the public.

I’ve been doing content marketing most of my life, beginning in the mid 1960s when I was an editor of the school paper in sixth grade.

My consulting practice, Jonathan Lehrer Communications, manages blogs (example: Gary H. Smith, Chicago property tax attorney), produces email newsletters (example: Thornton High School Alumni Legacy Fund) and provides the voice for podcasts (example: College of American Pathologists).

Getting more attention on Facebook by using videos

If your content marketing plan includes Facebook (and why wouldn’t it?) you should know that the post will reach more eyes if it includes video. But isn’t quality video expensive to produce?

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Using Twitter and Facebook in Adverse Event Situations

Twitter in crisis communications

Put Twitter in your crisis communications plan.

Dear Mr. Communicator: We’re a large nonprofit organization with a crisis communications plan written in the pre-Twitter era. How can we incorporate Twitter into our handling of adverse events?  a cautious PR exec

Dear Cautious:

You have an alert, well-trained staff and a detailed crisis communications plan. Here are some suggested tweaks about tweets.

In the examples below, I’m using ORG and Organization as the hypothetical name of your group.

Preparing to use social media a communications crisis

Ensure that key staff members and your leadership have their own Twitter accounts. These don’t need to be actual personal accounts, but they could have usernames like ORG_communications and ORG_advocacy, etc.

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Core Concept: Key Ingredient for Blogs, Facebook and More

Dear Mr. Communicator: Should I blog? Should I be on Twitter? — an executive looking for inspiration

Use your Fundamental Idea as the key ingredient, whether the recipe is for a blog, a website a company brochure or a white paper. If you get this right, you deserve latkes — potato pancakes — with applesauce (lower left).

When clients ask me these questions, the answer is almost always, “do you have something to say?” In other words, if you don’t have a message — a Core Concept — it’s fairly useless to worry about how you’ll deliver it.

To the business owner who dreams of getting a lot of “likes” on his Facebook postings, the concept of a message strategy can seem a bit foreign. So I illustrate it by talking about my favorite topic: dessert.

Lately, as I have been having occasional business meetings at Baker’s Square – for their free wireless Internet, of course – I’ve been thinking about pies.

Should I have Country Apple, French Apple or Apple Cinnamon? Should I accompany the pie with a cup of apple-flavored herbal tea?

They’re all different formats of apples, and obviously they couldn’t exist without the apple.

(At about this point, it should occur to you that in my fruit-flavored analogy, the apple represents the Core Concept. Clever, no?)

Let’s expand the analogy to include just plain apple slices, apple slices with peanut butter, apple slices in a salad, applesauce (on potato pancakes, of course), apple cider and taffy apples (a favorite of both my wife, Estee, and my daughter, Lia).

Before Blogging, Know Your Basic Message

If you don’t have an apple – a Core Concept – you’ll have a hard time coming up with something to blog about on a regular basis.

But if you have a basic message, or a perspective on your business, you’ll never run out of topics.

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Facebook – the Ultimate Word-of-Mouth Tool

In a recent survey on synagogue marketing that I conducted, Jewish leaders said word-of-mouth is their most effective marketing technique. In the same survey, they admitted that while they have Facebook pages, they mostly can’t say whether Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is worth their effort.

Word-of-mouth is successful because it’s a marketing message from the most trusted source: someone you know. (Admittedly, not everyone I know carries the same amount of trust.)

Facebook, with its extensive friend networks and ability to communicate personally and honestly, ought to be the ultimate word-of-mouth tool.

If you’re a synagogue executive director or a leader of any non-profit, some of these ideas might help you get more out of Facebook. (Feel free to ask me for help!)

Make Facebook more effective in a synagogue, membership organization or non-profit
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Marketing the Shul: What’s Working and What Needs to Work

Presented to The Future of Jewish Non-Profits Summit, July 11, 2011, Chicago, Ill.

When it comes to synagogue marketing (and very possibly marketing churches, too), technology is trumped by the old stand-by: personal contact. Paid newspaper advertising doesn’t seem to work well, and the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of social media.

As a lifelong professional communicator, and former president of Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah in Wilmette, Ill., I constructed an informal survey (using Google Docs) which I sent to Chicago-area synagogue executive directors and randomly selected rabbis, as well as Conservative synagogue presidents on a national listserve.

Facing competition from the Internet, iPads, the golf course and other non-religious distractions synagogue leaders are eager to find marketing techniques that will engage current members and attract new people, without draining the temple’s resources.

What’s working and what isn’t

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Presentation: Anatomy of a Blog

This presentation was prepared specially for a training workshop about blogging at the Jewish Vocational Service of Chicago. Contact us if you’d like to have the full presentation at a meeting of your organization.

“Critique My E-Newsletter” Yields Tips for a Better Email

Does the banner image on your email newsletter need to be as large as my house?

That’s the question I considered today while reviewing some email newsletters on the Constant Contact user feature call, appropriately “Critique My Email,” a page where I landed while working on the enewsletter for my client, the Middle East Peace Network.

Regardless of which email newsletter service you may use, the suggestions I gave my fellow Constant Contacters may be useful tips for a better enewsletter for you.

BANNER IMAGE: Should be attractive, engaging and compatible with your Web site. And it should be fairly small. Try looking at your newsletter on a tablet or netbook computer. If the banner takes up more than a third of the page, it’s too big. Why? Because you want readers to see your most important content without scrolling.

BOREDOM: Engage your readers by replacing generic headings — especially in your Table of Contents — with specifics. Instead of “April Newsletter,” use something like “Spring Cleaning Tips You Can’t Live Without.”

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Experts explain the benefits of blogging for business and education

Why Blog?

By Jonathan Lehrer

My ego has been a bit underemployed lately. (By “lately,” I mean since I was the P.A. announcer at Niles North High School in Skokie in 1971.) So today–Feb. 1, 2011–I am giving my ego a birthday present: A blog, with the ego-feeding title of “MrCommunicator.”

(Please don’t tell my ego that about 10 billion people have treaded this ground before me.)

From left: Joe Weber, Chris Ruys, Wally Podrazik, Jill Stewart, Scott Meis

From left: Joe Weber, Chris Ruys, Wally Podrazik, Jill Stewart, Scott Meis

So for my first official post, I reached out to journalism profs, writers and professional communicators to muse about why people bang away at the keyboard when they could be enjoying Craig Ferguson. Or, better, sleeping.

  • Wally Podrazik says people blog because they have to.
  • Jill Stewart says she blogs because she can.
  • Joe Weber sees blogging as a way of living out a fantasy.
  • Chris Ruys uses blogs to promote her business.
  • And Scott Meis says a blog is a form of “personal brand positioning.”

Chris Ruys, owner of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a self-described child of the ‘60s, points out that most of what she’s learned is “out the window” in these days of social media.

Chris blogs “to share the new rules of marketing, PR and communications with my subscribers, friends, followers and connections.” While she runs her boutique PR firm–which she aims to promote in via the blogosphere–Chris still finds time to write for two blogs: “Getting Social” (about social media tools) and her newest online endeavor, chrisruys1on1, a subscriber-based blog with tips, tactics and advice on social media, public relations and communications.

What Chris is doing is “personal brand positioning,” in the view of Scott Meis, a Digital Group Manager on Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact team.

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