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  • The Spokal A-Z Guide to Marketing Terms (learn what all that jargon means).
  • The Spokal Guide to getting your first 1000 visitors from Twitter
  • 3 Blogging Templates to speed the creative process up
  • And a mini-guide on how all the different content marketing pieces fit together.

A Historical Reading of Marketing Automation and Technophobia

A Historical Reading of Marketing Automation and technophobia

Photo courtesy of SomeDriftwood

You’ve probably noticed, and I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but there’s a particular wariness amongst quite a lot of people when it comes to marketing automation. Sometimes we love it, sometimes we hate it… But we always approach it with this sense of caution that seems to be specifically unique nowadays to marketing automation. 

It would take me weeks (if not months) just to compile a list of all the articles on the internet that have weighed in on the marketing automation debate. On a daily basis, we’re flooded with blog posts that argue for or against automation, for example: Is Marketing Automation Cheating or Just Slightly Creepy? & What’s Wrong With Marketing Automation? 

The battle rages on and on, and digital marketers who swear by automation tools are going way out of their way to defend them by telling you in excruciating detail exactly what automation is, how it should be used, and why it’s such an asset when used correctly. 

The Top 10 Mistakes That Can Kill a Start-up!

You have a great idea for a business, the drive and passion that could make a business succeed, and the willpower to push this thing into life.

Of course, you’re going to make a few mistakes – It’s all a part of the learning process. But will you make one of these 10 mistakes that can kill a start-up?

Not if you read this blog post!

I’ve rummaged through the internet, reading, oh I’d say close to a billion articles, to come up with the top 10 reasons that start-ups fail. Heed these warning, and learn from these mistakes so that you avoid the fate of 90% of start-ups!

1. Failure to prepare a business plan

Mistakes That Can Kill a Start-up

Photo courtesy of photosteve101(CC Attribution)

In the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey states that you should “begin with the end in mind”.

This is where your business plan comes in.

Sure, you’ve a great idea – But where do you want it to go?

Creating a business plan will allow for you to gauge exactly what resources you’ll need in order to succeed, and what are the different outcomes that you expect to see. It gives you some clarity with regards your business goals, and allows for you to understand what areas are urgent, what areas can be prioritized lower on the scale, and where to put your resources.

Remember:

“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”

A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Professional Slideshare

This blog post has been re-purposed into a Slideshare. Just scroll on down to the bottom of the page if you’d prefer to get the information through a visual medium!

A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Professional Slideshare

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burke

You’ve heard time and time again that you should be mixing up your content.

But it’s hard to get out of your blog post funk sometimes.

A great way to make the step is with a Slideshare.

Why?

Because creating a Slideshare is a lot like writing a blog post.

Both blog posts and Slideshares work very similarly: They both aim to tell a story, while adding value to their viewers lives.

A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Professional Slideshare

Photo courtesy of yukop(CC ShareALike)

The only difference is that Slideshare presentations rely more heavily on visuals to effectively communicate these stories and use the written word to aid in understanding, while blog posts rely more heavily on the written word to communicate its message clearly, and use images to aid in understanding. 

Because of this, Slideshares require you to work with visuals as your main medium rather than text.

If you don’t have a good eye for visuals, then you may be balking at the idea of creating an entire piece of content created around visuals. But don’t worry – Powerpoint does most of this work for you. You don’t have to be particularly design-inclined to create a decent looking slideshare with Powerpoint.

At first, it can be hard (especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist) but it’s far from impossible.

You can create a Slideshare from scratch, or you can create it using a blog post that you’ve already published it. Repurposing a blog post into a Slideshare is slightly easier in my opinion, so if you’re not super confident in your powerpoint skills, I’d suggest going down this route for your first time.

Here’s how you can create a professional Slideshare, even if you’re just a beginner!

5 Content Marketing Rules That You Should Definitely Break!

Crater Lake

Photo courtesy of aspearing(CC Attribution)

There are a lot of content marketing rules out there.

These rules range anywhere from telling you how many words should be in a blog post, to the correct procedure for dealing with a marketing crisis.

And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with rules, there is something wrong with a business that is so rule-bound that they can only ever be average.

So here’s the thing with rules: Truly great businesses rarely follow them.

To be great, you have to take risks. And to take risks, you sometimes have to bend (or break) a rule or two.

Break the Rules! (photo by: Scott Kleinberg)

Photo courtesy of BrentDPayne(CC ShareALike)

Great businesses tend to view rules as more like guidelines. Sure, they can help steer a business in the right direction, but when the times calls for it, they’ll create their own course of action.

The following content marketing rules are ones that I see businesses adhere to time and time again, even when it’s clear that it’s not working for them. I see businesses cling to these rules like comfort blankets, telling themselves that as long as they stick by them, they will succeed.

But in fact, these rules might very well be hurting your business.

Here are 5 content marketing rules that you should definitely break.

What Reddit Can Teach Marketers About Relevancy (And Life)

Buddhist teacher

Photo courtesy of artisrams(CC No Derivatives)

Hey you!

Have you heard about relevancy in marketing before?

Yes?

Of course you have.

We all have. Over and over and over and over again.

It really is on every other marketing blog we read. Including this one, kind of

For those of you who missed the memo, let’s sum up what we know about content marketing and relevancy.

In general, we know that our content needs to be of a high quality. But what constitutes “high quality”? Some would argue that it means informative, others that it means humorous. Whether it’s informative, humorous, or anything in between, high quality content always engaging.

But that’s not it. We also know that content doesn’t qualify as “quality content” at all if it isn’t relevant to your audience.

This means that engaging content + relevant content = quality content.

Got it?

5 Ways To Encourage Word of Mouth for Your Business

Three wise monkeys - 5 Ways To Encourage Word of Mouth for Your Business

Photo courtesy of Moyan_Brenn(CC No Derivatives)

Before there was mass media, before there was marketing, before there was “business” as we know it today, people relied on word of mouth to spread information.

Before writing, word of mouth was the main method of transferring information from one tribe to another tribe, often by a practiced storytellers whose job it was to remember these stories and tell them to others over and over again.

Later on in our history, we notice that a familiar expression in our various forms of literature begins to appear. The trope commonly appears in history books, fictional novels, poems and movies. You’ll recognize it from its allusion to popularity, awareness and geography.

For example, the expression may be “He was known through the land as the most skilled swordsman” or “her beauty travelled by portraiture and word of mouth to England and Europe”.

Customers, Commenting & Quality: 3 Wishes for the Future of Content Marketing

Orion and Shooting Star - Customers, Commenting & Quality: 3 Wishes for the Future of Content Marketing

Photo courtesy of halfrain(CC ShareALike)

I’ve an interesting question for you:

If you could have three wishes for the future of content marketing, what would they be?

Content marketing is an ever-evolving field, which means that it’s full of possibilities and opportunities. The latest trends have signalled to us that content marketing is going through a revival and is moving away from low-quality, keyword stuffed, high-quantity content to customer centered, high-quality, engaging and valuable content.

This revival has meant that the internet is slowly becoming a mecca for useful, valuable, engaging, interesting, novel and fascinating content.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and content marketing is still in continuing to grow, develop and improve every year.

So in the spirit of looking forward to the future of content marketing, I’ve devised a list of what my 3 wishes for the future of content marketing are.

Is Being a Perfectionist Holding You Back From Achieving Greatness?

Is Being a Perfectionist Holding You Back From Achieving Greatness?

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burke

There’s a very dangerous perception in the business world that perfectionists are great for business. Of course, a number of perfectionists, such as Martha Stewart and Steve Jobs, have achieved greatness.

But we must remember that they’ve achieved greatness in spite of their perfectionism, not because of it.

Scenarios where perfectionists are good for business, good leaders or even nice to work with, are far and few between.

Does perfection really lead to greatness?

The simple answer is no, it doesn’t.

And it could be bad for business if you nurture and encourage yourself to believe otherwise.

How to Get the Perfect Image for Your Blog in Under 4 Minutes!

Framed How to Get the Perfect Image for Your Blog in Under 4 Minutes!

Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Baptista(CC ShareALike)

Getting the perfect image for your blog takes a long time. Longer than a lot of people realize.

But you’ve read the blogs, you know the statistics: Images keep your readers engaged and interested. You simply can’t go without images.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably including quite a lot too.

In my last 10 blogs, the fewest images I’ve used (excluding embedded tweets and videos) is 9, and the most I’ve used is 15. That means that on average I used 11.3 images per blog. In those last 10 blogs, my average word could has been 1,705 which means that for every 151 words I used 1 image.

Here’s a nerdy graph that I made of my findings:

 

How to Get the Perfect Image for Your Blog in Under 4 Minutes!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burke

4 Essential Personality Traits That Every Team Member in a Startup Needs

Creating a startup is a pretty big deal, and it’s not for the weak of heart.

Among other things, you need to be resilient, determined, creative, flexible and hard-working. But most of all, you need to have a good eye for hiring the right talent, with the right type of personality, for the right role.

In the end, your team is what’s going to make or break your business. The people who you surround yourself with will help you keep up with changing tides, with new innovations, with the most up-to-date marketing strategies.

You can’t do it all by yourself.

Unless you’re Superman, in which case you can probably skip this rest of this post and go save some kittens from the burning comet headed right for earth.  

On the off chance that you’re not superman and/or you’re not preoccupied with saving kittens from a deadly comet, please feel free continue reading to find out what are 4 most essential personality traits that every team member in a startup needs to succeed.