About duplicate content, plagiarism and Word of Mouth

Duplicate content is a recurring theme in content marketing. A few days ago I stumbled upon the following blog piece (down there at the bottom). Although it was written in 2015, most of its contents is still relevant today. Whoever is a Web author and enjoys some sort of visibility has witnessed the theft of their content at one point or another. It so happens that people with bad intentions, as stated by Rosalind Gardner in her piece, might confuse theft for curation, plagiarism for inspiration.

This is very evil indeed. At the same time however, Internet writers might take a bit of hindsight and brace for impact for something which is bound to happen anyway. The Web is chock full of memes and parody and Creative Commons. Copyright on the Web? Come on, who believes in this nowadays apart from Getty images (even they seem to have thrown in the towel). Let’s have a look at duplicate content and let us ask the question: “should we whine or rejoice?”

Duplicate content: how much of the same thing is too much?
Duplicate content: how much of the same thing is too much?

Duplicate content, true talent and divas

Internet writers should be wary of behaving like divas and ponder about the true value of their talent (not to mention that non Internet writers should too). Honestly, not all plagiarists are thieves. Hell may be paved with good intentions, but let’s remember that they are good. Automated blogging and duplicate content are two very different things. Here I’ll focus on duplicate content.

I have had some of my content duplicated and even though my initial reaction has been anger, on second thought I don’t think it’s the end of the world. To an extent, one might even consider this to be a form of acknowledgement.

How my perception of duplicate content has changed over the years

Over the years my behaviour has changed a lot in that respect. Even though, let me repeat this once more, every word in this piece is absolutely true from a technical point of view.

One day, as I was presenting at a conference in front of a bunch of people, one of them cried “I’ve seen those slides before! My teacher showed them to us but he never mentioned your name”.

Shock, horror! Well, not really.

Who’s got the last laugh now? The thief who was eventually taken for a twit by his former pupil? I don’t think so. If I may say so, I was particularly happy that an academic was using my content for his lectures. He may not have quoted my name but others must have. I felt proud, in a way. Read more

Influencer Marketing in B2B (as in Back To Basics) With @markwschaefer

Influencer marketing is getting big. Here and there, a lot of noise is made about instagram influencers and suchlike. With sponsored posts reaching a €2,000 pricetag in France and up to £75,000 in the UK, “influence” is becoming big business indeed. Even though some marketeers are still wondering whether what they are doing is the right thing and besides some people are trying to abuse the system.

Less is known about B2B influence strategies and much can be learnt, including for the above-mentioned marketeers, from some of the very elaborate influence strategies developed for B2B and especially in the high-tech world. In B2B, it is hard to cheat. Influence is built upon business practice and knowledge, not on hearsay. B2B is also conducive to more long-term, in-depth strategies and ethics is key. This, in my mind is the cornerstone of any good influencer marketing strategy. To prove this point I have interviewed Mark Schaefer who recently co-authored a White Paper with Traackr’s Evy Wilkins entitled “The Rise of Influencer Marketing in B2B Technology”.

the rise of influencer marketing in B2B technoogy

In this interview recorded over Skype from Mark’s home in Tennessee, the famous blogger and author has covered all the most important aspects of influencer marketing and provided tips which, in my mind, are useful to all kinds of marketeers who want to get involved in similar projects, be they in B2B or B2C marketing.

I’ve got a few questions for you about a white paper you co-authored with Traackr, which is entitled “The Rise Of Influencer Marketing In B2b Technology”. Are technology companies ahead of the bunch?

As far as the people I talked to are concerned, they really are. In fact, it was quite inspirational to me. Because like you I’ve been working in the influencer space for a long time. I wrote an early book, maybe the first book on social influencer marketing that was published in 2012, so I’ve been keenly interested in this and I’ll tell you it was so inspiring to hear how sophisticated this has become and how integrated this has become into mainstream marketing strategies. This was a very energizing exercise for me. Read more

Digital Training: My Advice to Executives In the Middle of a Career Move

Digital training? But what the hell is digital in the first place?

digital training
GEM’s deputy director, Jean-François Fiorina, presenting on 07/04/2017 in front of my students. His master class was about his social media strategy for Grenoble Ecole de Management. After all, if the Boss can do it, students can do it too, can’t they?

Digital training in the information age seems pretty straightforward. And yet. The very definition of the digital domain is mind-boggling and fuzzy. Where does it start, where does it end? Also, choosing a digital training programme, like any other kind of training programme for that matter, in any area, implies that executive students spend quite a lot of time thinking about what they want to do in the future.

This is why I have written these few bullet points, in order to help them with their choice. As you may or may not know, I am programme director at Grenoble Ecole de Management (aka GEM, a leading European school) since I am in charge of the Advanced Masters in Digital Business Strategy which welcomes 40 students from various origins every year.

Approximately 30% of these are executive students. A lot of these executive students have questions and issues they are trying to solve through a digital training programme, which remains a means for them to put a stake in the ground and show both management and themselves that a career move is nigh. In this piece, I have put together some advice for them to ensure that they are choosing the right programme and to help them with their choice of career.

  • Number one advice is, above everything, to start focusing on your career move: an executive student’s focal point must be her/his career move. You have to avoid throwing everything away just because you are oping through a midlife crisis. In other words, the first thing I do when I interview executive students for my Masters is to check whether their motivation is positive and not negative. I understand that frustration at work can happen, and that execs may have enough of working with the same people. For somebody like me who has worked for more than 30 years, it’s not very difficult to imagine nor understand what’s behind the frustration. I have been there before. Yet, All negative motivation (I hate this!) must be turned into a positive one (here is what I want to do!). To put it in the words of Daniel Porot, think of your move as as runway and imagine you are landing and not just taking off. Landing is more important, it’s the end state that matters. As a recruiter if I do not understand where you will be landing I try to help candidates with their plan and if I still can’t understand what they want to achieve, I will try and evaluate a better solution with them. Obviously, digital training and digital in general must be part of the landing plan if one wants to join the masters.

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Let’s build content brands not branded content #imbs17

Content brands vs branded content: the concept appealed to me. The iMediaBrand Summit opened with a very exciting keynote this morning in Biarritz in the South West of France. Andrew Davis (picture below) taught us not to focus on branded content anymore, and build content brands instead. Sound advice.

Let’s build content brands not branded content 

 
We are swimming in data, linkedin, data base, Big data , data you wish you had  some you didn’t. But marketers are withdrawing nice insights from very small data Andrew Davis told us today. Yet the marketing pie isn’t getting any bigger. The CMO pizza is shared among a growing number of things for we have, over the years, added so many things, we are overwhelmed.
 
We have added websites, and SEO and promotions and advertising and then we have had social media, so all budget ended up being sliced up but the marketing budget isn’t getting any bigger. “So what is the ROI for this?” Andrew asked. We need to be able to measure it.
 
We have CPC, CPM and CPA etc. but what we have at the end of the day is a very shallow understanding of our marketing actions and their impact. What we need, according to Andrew is a new way of looking at the world.
 
And I liked very much what he said about how marketers should look at the world.

Marketers should look at the world in a different manner

We look for intelligent insights which shape our marketing initiatives but to do that we have to challenge the basics of marketing understanding.
 
content brand - sales funnel
 
Like the funnel for instance. The funnel was invented in 1898 by St Elmo Lewis (above). Lewis didn’t draw a funnel though, he drew a scale. A lot has changed since then but much of what we so is still based on this 1898 knowledge though.
 
Let’s rethink the funnel 
 
To this end we need a new world view. The old world view is Ptolemy’s, Andrew said, whereby we were the centre of the universe. The way we brought people to our websites was like this but we need to adopt a Galilean view of the universe now. “We are just a small planet revolving around the Sun” Andrew Davis said. It’s hard to swallow for marketers to understand they aren’t the most valuable thing in the world though. Google has become central to people’s world today and our Websites has become lost in the middle of nowhere. As a result, the insights aren’t going to come from us but from the embracing of a Galilean model, from “acting as a customer” he added.
 
As a result, marketers should “stop asking themselves the wrong questions. This is why we have to rethink the customer journey.

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Content Marketing Tips Based On Experience (part 2)

Content Marketing tips: I built this list for my students a month ago and I’m sharing it now as I think it could be useful to many. It’s one of these subjects which seem to be very easy but it’s not. You could learn it, or at least its principles, in a matter of minutes. Teaching it is extra hard unless you are not afraid of teaching things that aren’t really – or at least not always – true and are ready to stand up for it and pretend you know the truth and all the content marketing tips and they are all fault-proof.

content marketing tips

Of course they aren’t. Ditto for Word of Mouth marketing and so it is for most subjects linked to digital marketing. One thinks one knows it but when you’re asked to do it then you realise you know nothing. Even I who have been practicing this for 22 years and more. I’m still learning everyday and it’s a good thing because it means I’m never resting on my laurels. Content marketing is all a matter of practice and field experience, trial and error and no truth holds for very long before it is questioned and all you know must be reinvented. So here’s the sequel to our latest post on Content Marketing based on the questions asked by mrs MSC students in Grenoble last month. Our last point was about time and money. I repeat the last question below and we will take it from there. This is part 2 of this blog post, which will be published in 3 instalments.

Content marketing tips

(here I will deliver my content marketing tips through the answer to a few questions I had from my students)

As for SEO vs SEA, engagement could either mean that you pay or you invest time. It’s your choice

(as seen in part one of this blog post)

But that doesn’t mean that the value of social media is in engagement dashboards. In fact, it’s not. It’s in the power to interact and to gain insights from people: clients/partners/influencers/or even the average punter (who cares as long as you have an insight?). One insight only is sufficient for you to change positively and durably a product or service and make a strong impact in your market. Yet, most marketers are lazy and prefer to pay Facebook so that they can show “big” engagement numbers even though you and I know that they are not really “big”.

To sum it up in a few words, I think there is no other technique or strategy to increase engagement, whatever it means. In my eyes, content marketing tip number one is that what is most valuable is the quality of your content (in the broad sense of the term: content could be anything from entertainment to something which is particularly mesmerising or inspirational, something extraordinary which people want to share). I know that the term quality is very subjective and that it’s difficult to define and that it could mean different things to different audiences. That’s exactly the point. Define what that “quality” means for your audience: B2B audiences will most probably favour in-depth content and B2C entertaining content. That’s a starting point, there is no matrix for defining what “good quality content” is. Yet, all we know is that…

Once your content is superior (re the above-mentioned caveat) , all the rest will follow. This is the power of Word of Mouth Marketing. Read more