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I was getting ready to present Taking the NO Out of InNOvation for a client’s all-team dinner event. My client contact was wonderful in supplying lots of information on the organization and its people. Additionally, we had already conducted a survey among the next day’s workshop participants on creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking readiness.

Yet for all that prep, there’s nothing like seeing the organization in person – both its people and its physical location place – to shape last minute thinking about specifically tailoring a presentation in the last hours before you deliver it.

In fact, having lunch and talking over the course of the afternoon with my client contact was very productive in identifying several last-minute tweaks to make the Taking the NO Out of InNOvation presentation closely fit the audiences’ needs. The changes, which included changing the order of content I’d delivered in the same order for years, also made delivering Taking the NO Out of InNOvation a very fresh experience for me.

At one point, I told our client how much I appreciated that she wasn’t freaking out. She was sitting through me creating completely new slides and moving things around on a presentation that nearly her whole company was going to see in two hours. She said she couldn’t imagine making these types of last minute changes and still being ready to talk about things in a different order than originally planned. Yet she told me all the references they checked told her I had very effective presentation skills and could basically handle whatever was thrown my way and could customize a session to exactly what they’d want.

Mike-Brown-Speaking-at-KVC-

6 Keys to the Effective Presentation Skills for Making Last-Minute Changes

Suppose you need to make last-minute changes to a presentation. Maybe you won’t ever want to make the kind of changes I was doing, but these six keys will be valuable nonetheless.

1. Think of your presentation as modules.

Consider your presentation as if it were a series of independent pieces of content. Instead of trying to memorize all your content strung together in order, know each module of content (perhaps a few slides or one section) on its own, not in relation to what’s before or after it.

2. When using slides, take advantage of animation to deliver cues.

If you’re using slides in a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, take advantage of animation to tip you off to what is next. Only reveal part of a slide when you first click on it. This gives you an idea as to what to start talking about when the slide comes up. Then as you start talking, you can reveal the rest of the information on the slide.

3. Leave space in the presentation to interact.

If you pre-plan times when you’ll ask the audience questions and take advantage of other ways to directly interact, it will reduce your dependence on specific slides and talking points.

4. Develop multiple ways into and out of important pieces of content.

If you have a couple of different ways to launch into and exit important content modules, you will be able to improvise more readily. Through imagining various potential connections between specific sets of slides and the rest of the presentation, you set yourself up for tremendous flexibility.

5. Use slide cues to let you know what’s coming.

When changing things late in the game, it’s challenging to know in exactly what order every slide is and where all the key transitions are. In this situation, you can use subtle visual cues on slides. For instance, I’ll often hide The Brainzooming Group logo on a slide at the end of a particular presentation section. When the logo disappears, I know a content section is at its end. You can also use a barely noticeable shape or a different font for closing slides to signal you, but not the audience, that a change is coming.

6. Take advantage of hyperlinks within a presentation.

For several presentations, I allow the audience to select the specific content and the order that’s most beneficial for them. To deliver this customization, I use a slide with a menu of topics and hyperlinks to each presentation section. The same slide appears at the end of each section so there’s always a natural pause point integrated into each section. This lets me know it’s time for another topic and to give the audience a chance to pick what’s next.

Boosting Your Effective Presentation Skills

Again, maybe you’re not going to join me in doing this level of last-minute presentation customization. But even if you are often in a situation of having to make a few tweaks late in the game, these tips will definitely make them work better for you! – Mike Brown

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Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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After my Brainzooming workshop on creating fantastic content at the Social Media Strategies Summit, one attendee took exception to it. His point of contention was the model we use that suggests brands think about content creation as if they were television networks. The point is television networks have been successfully creating and curating content for years; they have also historically found a balance between entertainment and commercial messages that still attracts audiences.

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In our view, for brands struggling with creating a significant amount of audience-focused content, thinking about a television network is helpful. Nearly everyone is familiar with and sees comparable television network examples that stimulate new ideas and strategies.

He told me later (both in conversation and on the workshop review) that I’m the only speaker on content marketing or social media strategy he’s EVER heard make this case. I personally think that’s good considering all the me-too crap you hear at conferences.

The challenge to this apparently unique perspective on content marketing strategy focused on two areas:

  1. TV is losing viewership so what television networks do isn’t solid advice
  2. Social media held the promise of completely new ways of interacting with audiences, and the TV model is inconsistent with that promise

It’s true that television viewership is declining. It’s also true that social media is / was supposed to be different. Despite this, I still stand behind our recommendation for thinking about creating content as a TV network would.

Why?

TV networks have always had to:

  • Consider the audience and what it likes in making content decisions
  • Wade through many more content ideas than the audience will ever see just to fill its content calendar
  • Use entertainment value as a major factor in getting an audience to stick around for commercial messages (whether paid commercials or product placements)
  • Promote their programming to help build an audience
  • Package and repackage content in multiple places to attempt to cost-effectively reach targeted audiences

While these five point don’t account for an entire content marketing strategy (which is why we share other models in the workshop), most brands struggling with WHAT content to create and curate would be so much further ahead if they did just these five things better.

While I understand where the audience member was coming from and will acknowledge his perspective in future workshops, I’ll stand with our model for now as a big jump start for brands that simply don’t currently understand content marketing strategy. – Mike Brown

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Whenever presenting to a group, I love trying out new ideas, tools, and techniques with the audience. I also appreciate the opportunity to be candid about what works and doesn’t relative to the topic we’re addressing. This is one of the great presentation tips shared early on by someone who works with a lot of speakers. I’ve adopted it, and the more intimate and interactive the setting, the more likely I will push further into successes and challenges.

During my “Creating Fantastic, Shareable Content” workshop at the Social Strategies Summit, we discussed how a content marketing strategy fits with a lead generation strategy. Typically, creating and sharing content is motivated by growing the number of prospects in your audience identifying themselves as interested in talking further about how your organization could serve them.

Covering various aspects of this content marketing strategy that must work well to make the overall strategy successful, I shared what we do well and an area we don’t do well as an organization with our own strategy.

Okay, rather than simply pointing it out, I said we “suck” at one part of our content marketing strategy.

Later, one of the great people I met at the conference remarked how unusual it is for a speaker to say his organization “sucks” at something. She wondered why I did this.

At the core, it is one of those things I sometimes say “in the moment.” The workshop atmosphere was very comfortable, making it easier for me to push the messages harder.

Presentation Tips – 3 Reasons to Admit You Don’t Do Something Well

Mike-Brown-Speaking

Beyond that, there are three other reasons why I said, “We suck.”

1. It is truthful

There are some things we do really well on content marketing, including creating business-oriented, evergreen content delivering value for readers around the world. We haven’t been as strong on following up and taking the next steps with the audience that wants to work more closely with us.

2. It is realistic

I’m suspect of speakers who paint the picture of EVERYTHING being wonderful as the basis of the credibility for the messages they share. Call me cynical, but I’ve been around too long to ever swallow that EVERYTHING is perfect with any organization.

3. An audience member may have an idea to help us improve

Overwhelmingly, I’m blessed to talk with very diverse, experienced audiences typically as eager to offer ideas as I am in offering ideas to them. If one of these smart people has an idea for how we can improve what The Brainzooming Group does, I definitely want to learn it.

What did he say?

Yes, saying we “suck” was a little strong, but it got attention, which is why I said it.

If you have us speak or do a workshop, be prepared for truthful, realistic content to help your audience better understand what to do. They will also understand the challenges that could be looming, too.

Consider it part of the Brainzooming brand promise.

If you don’t want me to say, “Suck,” however, let me know. I’ll use another word! – Mike Brown

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Before leading my workshop the first afternoon of the Social Media Strategies Summit, I participated in the day’s earlier workshops. This is something I try to do whenever I’m speaking at an event. Doing this provides new ideas, reference points, and potentially frees up topics I needn’t address as completely because an earlier speaker has covered them.

During these workshops, for whatever reason, I found myself thinking about how I process information shared during conference presentations. I began jotting down the strategic thinking questions (below) I was asking myself. It struck me that these questions tie to integrated listening. Whether the speaker’s topic is familiar or unfamiliar, and whether the speaker’s perspective agrees or disagrees with my own, I’m looking for what to incorporate from the material to adapt my perspective.

5 Strategic Thinking Questions for Integrated Listening

Within an integrated listening objective, these strategic thinking questions are ones that run through my head during a presentation:

  1. What of this material agrees with my world view?
  2. What parts challenge or contradict my world view?
  3. In what ways does this content enrich my current understanding?
  4. What should I consider doing differently (whether that’s doing something new, stopping something, or altering a current practice) based on this presentation?
  5. What are the parts of this material I don’t understand? If so, why is that?

These questions work, at least for me, to stay open to new information without completely abandoning what I think in favor of too eagerly embracing an expert’s point of view during a presentation.  – Mike Brown

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What do you do if there are multiple, separate audiences your brand needs to reach, but you don’t have the time or resources to deliver content in multiple, separate social media streams?

This social media strategy question surfaced more than once the first day of the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas.

SMSSummit-Banner

The first instance was an agency trying to reach client prospects who are CMOs in addition to marketing talent as potential employees. In another case, it was a startup organization without the existing content or current bandwidth for multi-channel social media. In a third case, it was a national travel and tourism organization catering to potential travelers in multiple countries speaking multiple languages.

Each is currently handling this social media strategy situation in varied ways.

Are my tweets bothering you?

Based on responses across all these discussions, here are ideas for how to approach this social media strategy challenge.

Step 1 – Have you determined if the audiences are complementary?

The days of thinking you can communicate in different ways to different audiences and keep the messages and audiences segregated are gone. If your brand is saying one thing in one place, you can figure you’re saying the one thing in multiple places, whether you like it or not.

A first step then is determining whether the messages targeted at one audience are going to be appropriate, complementary, or miss the mark with other audiences.

In the digital agency’s case, the separately targeted messages seem complementary. A CMO hiring an agency wants to know the agency is hiring smart, talented, and highly skilled people. A potential new hire for a digital agency wants to know he or she will have the opportunity to work with cool clients having innovative projects. Looking at this case in a simplified manner, the brand message to one audience is a complementary brand cue to the other audience. There doesn’t seem to be a downside to each audience seeing messages more directly targeted at another audience.

Step 2 – Can you test how similar the audiences are?

The situation with the travel and tourism organization is more complex. They address content in at least four languages (Spanish and English are primary) and audiences on multiple continents.

The current strategy involves repeating the same posts in different languages, typically on each social media channel. They appear to have duplicate content on each social platform much of the time, especially because of the heavy use of photos, which DO translate across languages. They suspect / know, however, that various country populations respond to different aspects of their country’s culture and seek out different content accordingly. One downside of the current approach (same content on each channel) is they train their audience to only follow them on one channel.

For them, social media strategy step two involves various “tests” of their suspicions about the need for multiple channels:

  1. Look at the audience demographic information available on each group (country and language) to see how they compare based on what is known about them.
  2. To the extent possible, examine quantitatively how each group engages with content.
  3. Set up and implement trials over several months where each group receives the same content at the same time. The objective is to compare the results and see how similarly or differently each group engages with identical updates.
  4. If emails are available for a representative cross-section of the audience, test their reactions in a more controlled setting (with an online survey) to various types of content.

While there is no one formula to answer the questions about how many channels they need in these situations, this social media strategy development approach should provide a basis to understand how complementary or disaffecting content intended for another group is when another group receives it.

Then they’ll have a better sense of the answer to the question, “Are my tweets bothering you?”  – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Is your brand STILL struggling with the right approach to deliver business results from its content marketing and social media strategy?

If so, today is a perfect day to download our free eBook, “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

If you have direct or indirect responsibility for social media strategy in your organization (or even simply question whether your brand is maximizing every opportunity it can with social business), download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.” You’ll get answers on what to do next in less than an hour.

Really.

Social Media Strategy – 20 Reasons to Download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy”

In case you need more convincing, here are twenty reasons why you should download this free eBook and take advantage of its quick, thorough assessments of your brand’s social media strategy effectiveness.

  1. It’s free.
  2. There are Brainzooming diagnostics that appear exclusively in the 9 Diagnostics eBook.
  3. You can complete the exercises within an hour and have a strong strategic sense of your overall social media strategy effectiveness.
  4. You can match your current approach to proven social media opportunities organizations adopt and find successful. (page 2)
  5. Your potential opportunities to adapt your social media strategy to better address important business objectives will be clear. (page 2)
  6. Each exercise features a related strategic objective and suggested uses to ensure you’re applying the social media strategy diagnostic correctly.
  7. There is a next step associated with each diagnostic so the actions you can take with the results are evident.
  8. If social business hasn’t taken hold in your organization as it should, you can assess which of a dozen potential roadblocks could be at work. (page 3)
  9. It will become quickly apparent whether your current social media metrics are robust enough to support and shape social business success. (page 4)
  10. Going deeper into the value of developing whole brain metrics is as easy as downloading another free Brainzooming eBook.
  11. You can determine whether your multi-author content marketing strategy is taking advantage of all the opportunities available to be truly collaborative. (page 5)
  12. There is a fast way to assess whether you should trust the members of your social media team to manage the “corporate microphone” social media represents. (page 6)
  13. Your can assign a letter grade to how well your brand’s personality translates to social media channels. (page 7)
  14. You’ll get a sense of how your brand stacks up on creating and sharing content relative to how a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands are them. (page 8)
  15. The lists associated with each social media strategy diagnostic ensure you are exploring the appropriate range of strategic variables.
  16. In an age when brands have the opportunity and need to become outstanding content creators, you can test your performance against an industry built around delivering engaging content for audiences. (page 9)
  17. The eBook includes a link to the Brainzooming social media strategy framework that organizes tons of content on your best strategic options for content marketing and social business. (page 10)
  18. By exploring your most recent status updates, you can see whether your brand is delivering a beneficial mix of content for your audience. (page 10)
  19. You can prioritize the diagnostics based on whether your brand is just introducing a social media strategy or has had one in place for some time.
  20. These nine social media strategy diagnostics can be applied collectively or individually depending upon where your brand places strategic priority.

9-diagnostics-download-butt

Convinced that taking a moment to download the “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy” book is something you need to do today?

If not, here’s just one example of how quickly it will help you. One content marketing workshop participant took just two minutes to complete diagnostic number 5 on whether the right people are managing your social media sharing. As soon as he completed it, he blurted out, “I knew we had the wrong people doing handling this, but I never knew why until now!”

That’s a great insight in just two minutes.

Start growing our social media strategy insights today!

And if you’d like more help with developing your social media and content strategy, let us know. We’re here to help! – Mike Brown

 

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Is your brand engaged in global content marketing?

For US businesses, statistics show a relatively low percentage of them export globally.

Based on that, your answer is likely that your brand has no role in global content marketing.

If that’s your answer, however, you’re probably wrong!

That’s why I’d encourage you to get a copy of Pam Didner’s book, “Global Content Marketing,” and go to school on it, even if you think you don’t need a global content marketing strategy.

Why, you might ask?

Because it will make you a better content marketer no matter how close or far you think your content audience is located.

      (Affiliate Link)

If You Have a Website, You May Be a Global Content Marketer

Pam-Didner-Book-PhotoNear the start, Pam Didner (who is a former Intel executive, a great friend, and co-host with me of an attendee dinner at the Social Media Strategy Summit this week) relates the story of Bumps for Boomers, an Aspen, Colorado-based, four-day ski program. Its objective is to get competent skiers in the baby boomer generation to take on more expert-level skiing. Its founder, Joe Nevins, developed hundreds of pieces of informative content on the topic, placed them on the brand’s website, and his small company now caters to skiers from multiple countries. All this even though his website is only in English.

As Pam points out, “as long as a company has an online presence, and as long as its products can be shipped and services performed remotely or virtually” or its audience can come to the brand (as in the Bumps for Boomers example), it is in the global content marketing strategy game.

I’ll admit that when Pam first told me about writing book, I was disappointed it wouldn’t apply to The Brainzooming Group. In the course of the conversation, the figure “fifty-two percent” popped into my mind.

Fifty-two percent represents the share of Brainzooming blog readers outside the US from more than 180 countries.

So, yes, the Brainzooming blog is a part of global content marketing too.

What to Look for in “Global Content Marketing”

I have a tremendous respect for authors and speakers who offer strategic frameworks that come from actually having done the work instead of appointing themselves experts and simply writing and speaking about a topic they have read about only.

With Pam Didner’s extensive experience at Intel managing global product launches, developing business building campaigns, and providing ongoing consultation on audience targeting, content development, strategic messaging, engagement, and social media integration, she’s a practiced expert on global content marketing.

As you would expect from someone actually doing the work, the book is action oriented.

It struck me while reading Pam’s 4 P’s of global content marketing that they are all VERBS: Plan, Product, Promote, and Perfect. And beyond simply the push to act that these verbs suggest, they are equally applicable for both global and in-country content marketing.

The same can be said of Pam’s focus on how the roles differ between a headquarters content marketer and those in local market operations. While she’s applying the concepts across countries, they apply to any situation where a content marketer with centralized responsibility is planning, coordinating, and implementing with team members in specific markets. For example, a content session I’m delivering next week for a multi-state non-profit based in Kansas City is completely analogous to the global situations Pam describes.

Get Your Copy of “Global Content Marketing” by Pam Didner

“Global Content Marketing” was named one of the Top 10 business books of 2014 by in Inc. Magazine. No matter that it was released in 2014, the concepts Pam shares are applicable this year and for years after.

Do yourself a favor. If your brand has a website and is using a content marketing strategy to influence your audiences, you need to get “Global Content Marketing” by Pam Didner today and put it into practice! – Mike Brown

      (Affiliate Link)

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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