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From Stage to Screen to Content Marketing…

A Good Start Can Go a Long Way

“Begin as you mean to continue,” Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett told a young questioner seeking career advice two nights ago at an interview I attended at the Kennedy Center here in Washington, D.C. “Make yourself a five-year plan; that will help you maintain patience. And you can’t make too many compromises.”

Blanchett was, of course, talking about a career in the arts, but there are some parallels to be drawn with any profession that one seeks to pursue—including publishing and marketing. (On a side note, I marvel at the English language. The question has been asked so many times before yet Blanchett can still find an original phrasing: Must be the 10 years she recently spent living in England.) In fact, I believe it’s good advice not just for young people but for anyone embarking on something new, be it a new business, project or even a hobby.

In her new book, “Content Is Ca$h: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic,” SIPA member Wendy Montes de Oca writes about starting to market your articles. She lists three questions you must first consider: 1) Who is my target audience? 2) What does my target audience want to read about? and 3) What might my target prospect search under when looking for this topic?

“When you start writing and repurposing your article with these questions in mind, you see that the primary keywords will naturally work their way into the content,” Montes de Oca writes. “Then, after your first draft, reread the content and pepper in any keywords that might be beneficial to the article. Keep in mind that you don’t want to repeat the same keywords throughout your article.” (We will have more from this book and its author in future SIPAlert dailies.)

When it comes to email marketing, Ricky Warren of Research Ltd. in London has a couple tips for starting out. “Remind yourself of the purpose of the email—is it to inform, to sell or to simply get a response? Do you want the reader to forward it on to someone else? This will have an impact on the best way to structure your email overall. Once you’ve confirmed the purpose,” he continues, “make sure you keep the call/s to action obvious—where possible use eye-catching images like buttons to get people to find the call to action more easily. Keep the instruction short and a verb, e.g. ‘Take the survey’ or ‘Book a demo,’ as opposed to ‘Survey’ or ‘Demo.’”

When starting to market your conference, Diane Schwartz of Access Intelligence and David Shaw of GRID Media offer three key tips about the editorial role in the process: 1) Create a conference advisory board; 2) Create pre-conference buzz—under this heading they listed: a) Integrate speakers into social content; b) Use social media to deliver bonus content; c) Conduct pre-conference surveys; d) Prepare pre-conference delivery of relevant editorial content (past profiles of speakers, collected articles on conference topic areas); and 3) Use the editor as a marketing voice to invite possible attendees. They believe that the editor should be involved in the conference, even if that involves outside training to increase the comfort level.

Blanchett of course, needs no training to be comfortable in the spotlight. Here to perform in the play “Uncle Vanya,” she was asked if it’s hard to find the time to do theater with such a demanding film career. She looked a bit puzzled actually and answered, “No, not really. I’m old enough to make my own decisions now. This is an extraordinary privilege.”

I particularly liked what she said next when asked if it was a tough decision for her and her husband Andrew Upton to take over the Sydney Theatre Company. “It would have been cowardice to turn it down,” she said. That kind of takes us full circle in the direction of the famous Goethe quote: “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”

Be bold in your decisions and don’t be afraid to start something new—as long as you mean it.


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