Search: Digital Future

Monday, 23 July 2012

Be a thought leader: Creating, finding and sharing great content


One of the most common questions I’m asked is where do I find all my content that I publish on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks? It’s a great question that can make or break you as a thought leader. If you’re consistently posting low quality or poor information this will hurt your reputation and quickly drive Followers and Connections away. On the other hand, having a focused stream of excellent content is one of the paths to being a respected thought leader. I usually publish between 5 and 20 posts per day, every day. So where do I find all this relevant (and hopefully useful) information?

Here are a few tips and information sources that I find useful when talking about marketing, digital, social media and technology:


The best content is your own.
 
This might seem like a pretty simple idea but with the millions of people tweeting, retweeting and reposting other peoples content it’s often overlooked. The best content, always, is the unique content that you create yourself. Not everyone has deep industry knowledge and many years of experience but everyone has a perspective. It’s simple – write down what you think.  This could be anything from a long, comprehensive article on an aspect of digital like Search Marketing or Mobile Advertising, or could be a short opinion piece you’ve written in response to someone else’s content or events/news in the industry. The important thing is to add your own flavor, in your own voice.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are 3 great blogging platforms I recommend. Google’s
www.blogspot.com is what I use for my blog. You might also want to consider www.wordpress.com or www.tumblr.com – they’re all great. They’re also free and easy to set up.

Tips for creating your own unique content.


Not every blog post needs to be the length of a novel, nor does it have to be Shakespeare. It doesn’t have to be written text either – an image, infographic or a video are great for conveying your thoughts and ideas. Here are 5 tips for getting started on your own blog content:
  1. If you want to be a thought leader in digital, you need to stand for something. There are a lot of different areas of digital including social media, online advertising, creative, web development, video, mobile and search marketing. Pick the ones you’re most comfortable with, or are most experienced in, and simply write. Staying on topic and focus is good. It lets your ideas flow more freely.
  2. Short is great. A few simple lines or a couple of paragraphs is all you need.
  3. Longer is better. Sometimes you need to dive deeper into an issue, or feel particularly strongly about a topic. Break your content into sections (similar to this article) and write it down. In-depth articles are more likely to be shared, so when you get some spare time and the passion to write, go do it!
  4. 4Critique other peoples work. Look at articles on professional publications such as Mashable, Tech in Asia, TechCrunch, Forbes, Marketing Magazine, Ad Age, link to them via your blog and comment on them. Add your own insight or thoughts. Strongly agree or vehemently disagree. It’s your opinion that counts.
  5. Move beyond the written word. Some of the best and most sharable content is visual. If you have the time and inclination (and don’t feel like writing), get a video camera out and talk through your ideas. Publish it on your blog and make sure you create a YouTube channel. Images and infographics are also fantastic. Either share other people’s images and infographics (but please make sure you acknowledge the owner/source and are not infringing copyright), or better yet create your own.
Twitter (as well China’s QQ Weibo and Sina Weibo) are the best content aggregators in the world.

Twitter and Weibo are social services that allow you to Follow “interests”. This is fundamentally different from services like Facebook, which encourage you to connect to friends, family and colleagues in more of a social or fun context. The difference is that often you don’t share the same interests as the people you connect with on Facebook. It’s extremely rare that all of your family and friends work in the same job, share the same taste in music or like the same things. But you like them anyway and want to stay in touch. This is your “social network”. Twitter on the other hand is an “interest network” – it encourages you to follow acquaintances, strangers (and sometimes friends) who have the same job, work in the same industry or generally like the same things you do. This means that Twitter is fantastic for finding like-minded people in digital marketing, social media, e-commerce, technology, etc.

The best source of content sharing is Twitter. Follow as many people as possible who you feel are thought leaders or inspire you in what you do. Digital marketing experts have flocked to Twitter and are posting interesting stuff all the time. Take advantage of the unrestricted rules that allow you to follow up to 2,000 other people (note: you can go well beyond 2,000 people but you need to have about the same number, give or take 10%, following you back).


Be a little shameless as you cut and paste other people’s Tweets, or repost content you’ve been directed to. Its good etiquette to list the person you found the content through though, so keep this in mind before blatantly stealing without appropriate recognition. Or you can simply Retweet (RT) other great Tweets you find. Just remember 5 things:
  1. Focus is good – talk about areas where you want to be a thought leader or seen as an expert.
  2. Throw in a bit of personal info now and again, but be aware that the vast majority of people don’t want to know what you had for breakfast or intimate details of your last visit to the doctor.
  3. Interact with others, particularly the experts. Try to thank those that RT your Tweets, or simply comment on great Tweets you come across. Twitter might be focused on building your interest graph but it’s still social.
  4. Follow and Follow-back is the etiquette, but not the rule. You don’t want your Twitter feed filled with “How to make money online” scams, pointless quotes or irrelevant information. Be nice and follow most people back but carefully read the persons bio and previous Tweets to ensure their content is relevant.
  5. Be considerate and acknowledge others – it is great when others RT you or share the same content you do. But if you don’t bother occasionally thanking them or acknowledging where the original Tweet came from, people get tired pretty quickly of freeloaders (or even worse plagiarists). It’s just not cool.
Some of the key digital marketing leaders I recommend you follow on Twitter include: @Econsultancy @eskimon, ‏@hannahlaw, @JamshedWadia, @jeffbullas, @ladyxtel, @MargeryLyle, @Mashable, @rachelyyhuang, @ruhanirabin and of course me! @DamienCummings

Professional tech & digital-focused publications I recommend.

If you’re new to sharing content or just starting out, you’ll quickly realize that there are a few very influential publications that most people are sharing information from. Here are the leading blogs and publications I find useful:

There are many advertising and marketing publications worldwide. I focus my reading on Asia, specifically Singapore, Southeast Asia, Australia and China so my list is influenced by this. There are many great publications around the world, so I encourage you to find others in your country. Here’s my reading list:

www.adage.com

www.adweek.com

www.adnews.com.au

www.bandt.com.au

www.mumbrella.com.au

www.marketingmag.com.au

www.marketing-interactive.com

www.campaignasia.com

www.campaignsingapore.sg

www.brandrepublic.com


Other excellent reading.

It’s not just the big players that make an impact on me. I regularly read through some of the industry thought leader’s blogs, as well as interesting content from other industries. These include:
www.jeffbullas.com
http://blog.firebrandtalent.com

And of course my own blog “Digital Future”: http://damiencummings.blogspot.sg

Best of luck in your content creation and sharing, I look forward to seeing you on your Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media!
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