Blog Like the Big Brands: Boeing

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When we talk about unforgettable narrators in literature, we think of Huck Finn, Patrick Bateman, Humbert Humbert and Holden Caulfield. Every story needs a dynamic storyteller, and this is no different in blog creation. The most popular blogs, corporate or otherwise, have a distinctive voice that can also thread together a variety of topics. But your brand doesn’t need to be a personality-driven one to employ a compelling narrative. Boeing Commercial Airplanes, for example, uses the knowledgable and friendly voice of one of its employees to tell the brand’s story.

For a personal and less technical touch, Boeing relies on vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth. Randy’s Journal turns what could be a dull and robotic affair of blogging for Boeing into something fun to read. Tinseth blogs about his love of travel, experiences working at Boeing and, above all, lots of cool photos of the company’s airplanes. Tinseth’s images set against the simple blog design make an enormous impact. Boeing and Tinseth know that a blog about commercial airplanes better have lots of photos of the flying machines, and Randy’s Journal delivers. Take offs, landings, stunning aerial shots, airplane assembly photos and even photos from Randy’s own travels are all here and used wisely. Original images of the behind-the-scenes action at businesses are the easiest and most dynamic ways to provide visual content for your company blog. Randy’s personal recaps and pictures from corporate events along with easy-to-follow explanations of new Boeing programs and innovations keep the blog professional without getting dull. Whether it’s a 767 or 787, Randy blogs with an undeniable enthusiasm that air travel fans and regular old blog readers alike will find hard to dismiss. Each post on Randy’s Journal casually tells the readers a bigger, more powerful story. 

And that is what great narrative is all about. Narrative is often defined as a “spoken or written account of connected events; a story.” Using a CEO, longtime employee or a business owner is an easy way to make that narrative personal. Nobody knows your brand’s story as throughly as the folks who show up there every day. But it isn’t the only way. Compelling narratives can be built by a variety of channels, some of which you are already using in content marketing. The stories of your brand can be connected through customer narratives, social media narratives and even photo narratives, like Boeing’s, to give your readers a better idea of what your company does and what its story is.

Fashionable Facebook Pages That Awe & Inspire

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Facebook for business continues to evolve, and so do the ways marketers use the platform. Long gone are the days of branded Facebook pages rich in one-sided, sales-driven messages. Today, company Facebook pages can be information hubs, industry journals and a lively spot to talk to followers. Leave it to the fashion industry to come up with smart, stunning and stylish ways to market on Facebook.

When an old-school fashion staple like Burberry wants to reach out to a younger buyer, Facebook is an ideal place to start. Burberry’s page is filled with the kind of luxury the brand has always been associated with but bent to a hipper, more youthful audience. Currently, the page features photos from a new campaign featuring UK “It Couple” Tom Sturridge and Sienna Miller, for example. Burberry also takes advantage of Facebook’s improved video capabilities by posting videos from recent runway shows.

But let’s say you’re not that fancy a dresser. Fine. With nearly 38 million “likes,” Converse must be doing something right. The iconic shoe company uses Facebook to post the kind of things its fans are into, like music, skateboarding and viral videos. Converse excels at speaking to followers rather than at them and therefore encourages lively discussions in its comments sections.

And for incredibly chic and trendy foreign fashion labels like UNIQLO, Facebook is a must. The Japanese retailer is opening 10 more stateside stores this fall, so a steady stream of interesting posts and fabulous photos is essential for keeping fans, both new and old, excited.

Who needs a glossy, overpriced fashion magazine when you’ve got Gucci’s Facebook page? The mainstay of high-end branding for 92 years running stays fresh and on the cutting edge with a Facebook page chock full of slick videos, incredible images and the latest from the runways. Gucci keeps its whopping 11 million fans on the edge of their seats by continuously updating, reinventing and changing its page.  

In the end, that’s what great Facebook marketing is all about. Every business can take a cue from the fashion industry and keep their pages as fresh and innovative as the designs coming off the runway.

Twitter Gets #Satisfried By BK

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Every once in a while, a Twitter marketing effort — usually a hashtag or promoted tweet — takes social media by storm. If the hashtag is popular enough, traditional media takes notice, and before you know it, we’ve got a bona fide marketing phenomenon on our hands. Burger King fired up one for the record books yesterday when it introduced us to #Satisfried.

Most viral hashtags start with a great name and #Satisfried is no exception. The clever pun was concocted to promote Burger King’s new Satisfries, a lower-calorie, lower-fat french fry. According to USA Today, Satisfries have “30 percent less fat and 20 percent fewer calories than BK’s current fries. (And 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than McDonald’s fries.)” They also have a rocking hashtag. Released on Tuesday, #Satisfried was tending almost immediately. One Twitter user chirped, “Whoever came up with the term #Satisfried is a genius. A genius, I say.” Others used #Satisfried to talk about the hazards of fried foods while others employed the hashtag to profess their love for Burger King. The hashtag effortlessly transitioned from marketing to conversational piece, which is what every Twitter marketer hopes for.

Yet Burger King wasn’t just content with a great hashtag. In celebration of #Satisfries, the company got chatty with Twitter followers who used the tag, posted tons of photos of the product, answered questions about Satisfries from the Twitterverse and generally played every Twitter card in the book in hopes of getting people excited. The long-term popularity of the product is impossible to predict at this early stage, but we think Burger King’s efforts are paying off. Food bloggers are already praising the product and the media frenzy continues to rage on. 

Readers, what promoted Twitter hashtags have you found to be particularly clever and which ones are less than appetizing? And while we’re at it, will you try Satisfries?

4 “Can’t Miss” Types of Blog Posts

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There are specific foolproof things that hook us as audience members in all types of media, time and time again. In the movies, you can’t go wrong with a heart-pounding car chase. On television, a cliffhanger is a good way to get people to tune back in. And books that seamlessly introduce new characters and story lines to be carried over to the sequels have topped the bestseller list for years. Blog writing is exactly the same. There are certain types of posts which repeatedly draw readers, are perfect for social media and help you hit the SEO jackpot. Here’s four of our favorite types of “can’t miss” blog posts:

4. Photofest: It still has yet to be proven if a picture is actually worth a thousand words, but it could be worth a thousand page views. Posts with images from company functions, snapshots of your latest products and original graphics are not only popular blog fodder, but great for linking on social media.
3. Make ’em Laugh: We’ve said it before and we’ll probably say it again — funny blogs make money. Funny or Die, The Onion, Cracked and The Rich Kids of Instagram are blogs that live to make us laugh. But you don’t have to be a professional comedy writer to infuse your posts with laughs. With great ghostwriters, any blog for any kind of business can provide a much-needed chuckle. 
2. Make a List: A friend recently confessed she started reading books more because she needed to read something “other than a list with pictures by it.” Our friend is right: Lists are everywhere (hey, you’re reading one now) and their popularity isn’t waning anytime soon. Five accessory ideas, 10 quick recipes, 20 energy-saving ideas… you get the idea. We heart lists and so do blog audiences. 
1. Teach em Something: It gives us a glimmer of hope that the No. 1 reason we read stuff on the Internet is to learn how to do something. Yet satisfying our insatiable desire to learn is not only great for the human race, it’s also terrific for our blogs. “How-to” blog posts consistently rank high in searches and can potentially have long, well-read lives. Blog posts that show how to fix something broken, repurpose something old or cook something delicious are like magnets to blog readers. Teach your audiences something valuable and they’ll be back.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Mint.com

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If you are a small business owner thinking about using to branded blog creation to create content for your website, help your SEO and spread the word about your company’s products and services, we say go for it! Blogging is your fastest and most affordable solution to creating custom content your followers will want to read. Yet what if you feel like your company has very little to blog about — that your business is so specialized that it won’t be able to sustain an entire blog for very long? We still say go for it! Blogs like the one created by online personal management service Mint.com inspires us to widen our nets when it comes to blogging.

Mint.com was created in 2006 by tech entrepreneur Aaron Patzer and acquired by Intuit in 2009.  The site and its various apps help users track bank card, credit card, loans and assorted transactions and balances for free and from anywhere. Sounds like a great service; then again, how much can you really blog about it?

A lot, apparently. “5 Ways to Pay Loans Off Early,” “The Best Used Cars of 2013,” “How Employers Save on Telecommuting Employees” and “5 Fast and Frugal Recipes to Kickoff the Football Season” are just a handful of posts that have appeared on the Mint blog over the last few days. Mint has slyly turned its blog into a money-saving and financial trends blog that looks like a lifestyle magazine (and reads like one, too). This giant range of content, which all still falls under the bigger goal of helping folks manage their money, is now endless, thanks to a little imagination and creativity. It’s fitting that the blog’s logo calls it “MintLife.” This immediately puts the idea into our minds that this is a blog and a product for whatever life throws our way. And just like that, the door is opened for bigger and more diverse blogging topics. Brilliant!

As bloggers and small business owners, expanding the scope of our blogs is more than just a fast fix for future content. In doing so, we also expand our audiences and explore bigger topics outside of our industry bubble while giving our blogs insurance for longer lives.custom content,blog creation

What the Best Email Newsletters Have in Common

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If a branded email newsletter is a big part of your content marketing strategy, the Awl published a great piece this week you’ll want to check out. “A Guide to Our Golden Age of Internet Newsletters,” written by Aleksander Chan, profiles the best, most entertaining and informative email newsletters.

“The email newsletter is the most special of all emails,” Chan writes. “At their best, they’re a miniature rush: This isn’t something I have to deal with. This is for me — to enjoy, to ignore, to save for later, and then to be completely done with.”

Chan cites Letters of Note, a weekly newsletter filled with vintage letters and postcards, as well as Now I Know, one which features “random knowledge that you didn’t even know you cared about.” Goodreads, McSweeney’s, Muck Rack Daily and Harper’s Weekly Review all made the list. While all of these are terrific reads, they couldn’t be any more different as far as style and actual content goes. Yet each of these noted newsletters contains that magical ingredient which makes for a superb newsletter: diverse content. Successful newsletters, whether they be from Amazon or the local church, need a variety of articles and tidbits to appeal to wider audiences.Don’t like the article about home decor? Here’s one about pet care! Bored with the new location remodel article? Read an interview with a stylist instead! Readers will subscribe if you come up with an assortment of articles they can enjoy and savor — and they’ll dump you as soon as they get newsletters filled with too many sales pushes or repeat articles.

Also, in the smartphone/tablet era, it’s important to keep the articles to a reasonable length. People will read the 3,500 in-depth New Yorker piece from the comfort of their own couch.We noticed each of the newsletters on the Awl’s list are all the delicious bite-size kind of thing you can enjoy anywhere. Email newsletters are ideal for retailers who sell lots of products, non-profits who need to profile their monthly achievements and any company generating a variety of news stories. 

What are some of your favorite email newsletters? Tell us in the comments section below.