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We’ve published a tremendous amount of free content since the Brainzooming blog launched in 2007. As we adapt and expand our own content marketing strategy, one goal is to add new value to evergreen content we’ve already created.

This strategy means adapting, repurposing, and repackaging content in ways that add value for current readers and help us reach new audiences. It can also mean changing where and how we share Brainzooming content.

17 Ways to Add New Value to Evergreen Content

As we often do, more than willing to share our strategy ideas with you as we develop and implement them.

Evergreen-Lookup

Here are 17 ways we’re considering to add new value to evergreen content we’ve already developed:

  1. Update the content to enhance its timeliness
  2. Expand the content so it is more comprehensive
  3. Strengthen the content by making it better researched and authoritative
  4. Create a more effective order for the content
  5. Deliver the content in shorter chunks
  6. Communicate a single piece of content in a longer format with greater depth
  7. Add detail to the content so it answers questions more thoroughly
  8. Increase the frequency with which you publish for those who want more
  9. Decrease the frequency with which you publish for those who want less
  10. Tell a story with the content
  11. Convert the content into an eCard
  12. Enhance the content with lots of photos
  13. Deliver the content across a wider range of media
  14. Create a podcast from the content to make it more portable for the audience
  15. Change the medium in which the content is delivered
  16. Compile separate, but related pieces of content into a more comprehensive format (eBook, compilation video, presentation, etc.)
  17. Recompose the content from a different perspective

What can you grab off this list for your content marketing strategy?

We’re further narrowing this list of ways to add new value to evergreen content. What ideas could work best for you on this list to deliver greater value to your audiences from your 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 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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I love speakers who hit the stage and have the effective presentation skills to engage and audience immediately, bringing them into a learning and growth experience throughout the time together.

On the flip side, I cringe when speakers inadvertently start erecting a wall between themselves and the audience either through arrogance, indifference, insufficient preparation, a lack of presentation skills, or some other reason.

Effective Presentation Skills – 16 Ideas to Immediately Engage an Audience

Audience-Wideshot

Sitting through a painful presentation where a speaker decided about ninety percent of the way through the presentation to try to engage the audience (and failed), I jotted down this list of sixteen ideas you can do to immediately engage an audience:

  1. Work with meeting planners beforehand to ensure audience members don’t feel cramped or are sitting on top of each other
  2. Have audience members mingle with each other even before starting what you’re going to do
  3. Get off the stage (for at least a few moments) and walk among the audience
  4. Be self-deprecating
  5. Do funny stuff early and let the audience know it’s okay to laugh
  6. See if audience members are doing (or have done) the thing you are talking about and let an audience member explain it to the group
  7. Ask audience members to share safe, non-self-incriminating opinions
  8. Use questions with the group that have multiple right answers
  9. Prompt physical demonstrations of being awake – applause, standing up and moving, raising their hands, etc.
  10. Have everyone do the same thing as a group activity
  11. Talk to a few audience members ahead of time and identify which ones would be willing to get things started
  12. Have audience members perform a safe ice breaker that doesn’t make them feel silly
  13. Invite audience members to do something they know how to do in a slightly different way
  14. Have audience members create something that is easy to create
  15. Fall down in excitement or exasperation
  16. Share positive things you’ve learned about their organizations and ask them to tell the audience about why they are having success

Those are sixteen ideas I’ve seen work.

What have you seen work for speakers to immediately engage an audience that we should add to the list? – 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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We were talking during a business development call about the advantages and approaches to what is commonly called “influencer marketing,” and how a consumer brand might incorporate it into its social media strategy.

The Limitations of Most Influencer Marketing Strategy Implementations

Ingluencer-MarketingPut simply, influencer marketing involves a brand attempting to engage with individuals that have attractive, targeted audiences the brand hopes to reach with its marketing messages. The potential influencers can range from celebrities – either the “real” or the “Internet” type – with large audiences to experts and personalities attracting audiences with shared interest in particular subject areas.

My comment was the way we see brands approach influencer marketing, the strategy and execution is typically woefully lacking.

Too often (at least based on the inquiries The Brainzooming Group receives), the initial engagement comes via email or Twitter right when the requesting brand expects help and support. There’s an assumed interest in devoting time, effort, and attention to promote a book, app, or event simply based on the presumption that whatever the organization is pitching will be interesting for your readers.

The Right Way to Build Mutually-Beneficial Relationships

Contrast that with the initial and ongoing interaction we’ve had with Stephen Lahey of the Small Business Talent podcast. Stephen, who is the recognized number one Brainzooming fan, started actively sharing Brainzooming content within his network several years ago.

After some time, he reached out to talk on the phone months in advance of starting his Small Business Talent podcast. It was a two-way conversation about both our businesses and aspirations, including his plans for the podcast. That and subsequent conversations turned into a request to be a guest on the new podcast at a mutually convenient time.

Our relationship has grown into multiple appearances on the podcast, creating completely new, three-part Brainzooming content for Stephen’s audience, and regularly commenting and sharing new podcast updates. In addition, we have regular calls that continue the discussion about our business strategies. And all the while, Stephen remains unbelievably generous in sharing our content daily with his audience across multiple social networks.

The thing is that’s not an exclusive relationship Stephen has with Brainzooming. He’s doing the same things with other past and future podcast guests.

That’s what building an engaged network of supporters is all about.

The challenge is though, it takes planning, it’s not immediate, it’s not quick, and you couldn’t easily hire an agency to implement the strategy for your brand. Brands thus default to what passes for influencer marketing, thinking they can check that box off the social media strategy list.

7 Lessons for Improving an Influencer Marketing Strategy

If you want to pursue relationship building and engagement (as opposed to simply influencer marketing) here are our seven recommended lessons:

  1. Don’t make your initial contact a request for someone to do something for your brand.
  2. Go beyond electronic communication to engage personally and actually TALK with each other.
  3. Start by GIVING something to the individual you want to build a relationship with so you have done something for them before you ask them to do something for your brand.
  4. Have a variety of ways for the individual to engage so he or she can pick something that fits their aspirations and needs.
  5. Introduce the individuals you are targeting to one another and others within your network to create stronger connections.
  6. Do as much of the work for them as possible to increase the likelihood they will share your messages.
  7. Concentrate as much on elevating their stature as your brand’s stature because doing so will in turn increase your brand’s exposure.

These recommended lessons are harder than a slapped together influencer marketing strategy. They’ll actually work to create long-lasting relationships with your brand, however.

You decide what strategy makes more sense for your brand. – Mike Brown

 

Want to Learn More about Small Business Talent? You can find Stephen Lahey and his online resources at www.smallbusinesstalent.com (subscribe to the podcast and find more of your ideal clients using The SmallBusinessTalent.com LinkedIn Power Checklist® – it’s free).

 

“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. 

You're minutes away from stronger social media success!  Download



 

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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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.

150223-TV-Exec

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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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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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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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!

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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