PR Tips for Startups » Fast Company Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Sat, 05 Oct 2013 06:32:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips for Startups » Fast Company San Francisco, CA What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising? Fri, 26 Jul 2013 17:00:15 +0000 Chikodi Chima

What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing and Advertising CC Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

A startup recently approached me about being a guest blogger. It seemed like a great opportunity. To reach a new audience and flex my storytelling skills would be fun. I was very disappointed, however, when the company edited my work to be a blatant promotion of their product. #FAIL

Guest blogging is a powerful form of content marketing and a great way to to expose yourself to a new audience. High-quality guest blogs on relevant websites and communities are are one of the simplest ways to cultivate thought leadership in your industry. As a journalist I’ve learned not to have an ego about my work being edited.

However, the company in question violated the cardinal rule of content marketing; don’t sell. While I consult with startups, I didn’t agree to be a spokesperson for the company.

Fortunately it’s a teachable moment. We’ve already explored the difference between public relations and marketing on this blog, so now is an excellent opportunity to understand the difference between content marketing and advertising.

Content Marketing Puts Your Audience First CC tom@hk What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing puts your audience first

In order for content marketing to work you have to think first and foremost about what your audience needs. Putting your product or service ahead of the needs of your new readers is a fast and easy way to damage your credibility.

People know when they’re being advertised to, but they treat it as such. Content marketing allows you to engage different parts of the brain, and reach people when their guard is down. This is sometimes called “educational marketing.”

“You can out-spend or out-teach your competition,” Nathan Kontny said recently Fast Company. Teaching something new or necessary demonstrates your expertise and value. Kontny says,

Let’s say you’re selling a camera. If you have a lot of money, you can use it to buy attention. But if you begin in a spot like me, without enough money to even pay yourself, you’re better off spending your resources teaching people.

Teach people to be better photographers. Once you’ve helped someone take better pictures, you’ll have a true follower and lifetime fan. Oh, and you also happen to sell cameras?

With advertising you’re attempting to be everywhere your audience is. Content marketing allows you to be where your audience is when they need you.

Content Marketing Is About Building Trust CC Thomas Leutard What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing is about building trust

There’s a marketing adage that your audience must be exposed to your message seven times before they will be ready to make a buying decision. A combination of paid advertisements, marketing collateral and other forms of content can help you reach the magic number seven, and convert your prospects into customers.

In order for a guest blog or any form of content marketing to be effective, it has to be valuable to the reader. Resist the temptation to sell. Your agenda is already implied.

When people find your content–likely on your website or blog–they know that your agenda is wrapped up in whatever you’re saying. This is fine. If the content doesn’t speak for itself, however no one will be motivated to accept your offer.

Why content marketing is different from advertising

Advertising is, “Truth well told.” This elegant slogan for multinational advertising agency McCann Erickson sums it up nicely.

Advertising is truth well-told to get you to buy stuff. Preferably today. The goal of advertising is to drive a behavior. The goal of advertising is to drive sales.

Increasingly advertising agencies are engaging in content marketing on behalf of their clients. Copywriters, graphic designers, animators and other professional content creators are legion within advertising firms. Who better to come up with the content for content marketing?

But advertising is fundamentally different from content marketing. While content marketing seeks to educate, advertising seeks to activate. Advertising uses psychological principals such as scarcity, discounting, and positioning to get you to buy.

When your business buys advertising you’re buying the right to say whatever you want about yourself. Advertisers can tell great stories about themselves, their mission and their worldview.

Apple is a great example of a company that inspires with its advertising.

Content marketing is not about self-promotion

Content marketing is an investment in a relationship with your customer. The goal is to drive behavior–ultimately a purchase–but it is different from advertising, because the persuasion happens over a much longer time horizon. Content marketing pulls the reader towards a purchase decision, while advertising pushes. Advertising is by its nature disruptive, while content is a story we seek out.

When you’re promoting yourself you’re not giving the audience a chance to make up their own mind’s about the value you create. Even if you’re awesome. Content is a neutral third party that reinforces your value without interruption, self-promotion or pressure.

BuzzFeed Native Advertising 236x300 What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing versus native advertising

Native advertising is original content that carries a sponsor’s brand or message. BuzzFeed, College Humor, The Atlantic, Vice  and a growing number of online publishers are supplementing their revenue through native advertisements such as, which appeared on BuzzFeed recently.

Native ads aren’t cheap. In addition to the cost of content creation, placing a native advertisement can cost thousands of dollars. But native advertisements appear in the “river” of posts, as opposed to real reserved for traditional ad units, and they’re guaranteed maximum eyeballs.

While the rates may vary between publishers, the native ad platform maintains one strong advantage over traditional ad placements; virality.

While there’s an increasingly-sophisticated science of creating viral content and viral advertisements, people rarely share a marketers message on their own. Not so with original content that is educational, emotional or contains practical value. If something appeals to you, it’s likely to appeal to your friends.

Content marketing as public relations

If you’ve invested in content marketing you have already engaged in the public relations process. Content marketing is “owned media” that speaks to the needs of your target audience. If you take the added step to promote your content (as you should), this is most certainly public relations.

The hybrid of earned and owned media is when you promote your useful, owned content to relevant journalists. One of the most common forms of content marketing/public relations is when companies create infographics with information about industry trends, and then pitch them to journalists. Another tactic is to promote the publication of a white paper or another piece of long-form content.

Great content is an investment

Great content requires an investment of time or money. Your corporate blog is a great place to showcase your story, and engage customers. If you have the time yourself, or if your team has a talented writer to manage your blog, this is an excellent way to educate, challenge and inspire with your mission. The rise of content marketing is one of the reasons English majors are the hot new hire at businesses and startups. Stories are more powerful than ever for business. But at most startups time is the scarcest resource.

A number of platforms such as Scripted, Contently, oDesk and Elance will allow you to outsource your blogging and content creation to a pro. And when you decide to invest in content marketing there are countless content types to choose from to achieve different goals. And then the fun starts.

Do you need content for your website or business? If so, I’d love to help. Email me


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Global Startups Need A Stronger Voice Thu, 25 Jul 2013 04:07:00 +0000 Chikodi Chima Startups Ignore Diversity At Their Peril CC Gordon Tseng Global Startups Need A Stronger Voice

A recent Fast Company article by Neal Ungerleider left me speechless. Titled “Startup Culture’s Lack Of Diversity Stifles Innovation,”  Ungerleider says today’s buzziest startups are not innovators, and there is no excuse.

[D]espite the fact that tens of millions of American Android and iPhone owners are struggling to make ends meet–and that there are even more who are senior citizens, who live in rural areas, lack college or high school degrees, or are financially excluded–startups disproportionately target the young, suburban/urban, and middle-to-upper-class. Because of that, the technology world is missing out on a lot of innovation–and, even more importantly to the companies behind technology, missing out on potential profits.

People without bank accounts, without smart phones and who are older than 65 are virtually being ignored by founders who are young, urban and represent a cozy circle of elite universities, and pathways to success. A lack of racial, gender and generational diversity among founders means that startups compete to out-Über one another, or to improve the experience on apps and services that are only used by early adopters.

Too many solutions in search of problems

In my time I’ve encountered countless startups whose founders think Yelp is “broken,” and our trying fix it. Despite the fact the company had a very successful IPO in March 2012, and even with a user base of millions, most Americans don’t consult the site before choosing a restaurant.

TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis had a great piece about how trips home for the holidays were a great opportunity for “normals research,” spending time among people who aren’t leading-edge technology adopters. People like my mom and dad, who own smart phones (Android), but don’t tweet, check in or filter selfies. The American buying public–not to mention the global consumer–is a lot more like my parents, than like most Silicon Valley startup founders. My parents are probably seem like early adopters to billions of people still waiting to join the Internet revolution.

There’s nothing wrong with creating something people are willing to buy. But we can do so much more.

Earth from Space CC azamali Global Startups Need A Stronger Voice

Our time on Earth is finite

There are a lot of hard problems that aren’t being solved, in fact they’re not even being touched. This is largely because folks who could solve our biggest problems don’t know these problems exist. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also an opportunity that hasn’t passed us by.

“More techies and investors from different backgrounds are sorely needed,” says Ungerleider. “They aren’t needed for the sake of P.C. inclusiveness; they’re needed because the market demands their products.”

You have already answered the call

The PR Tips For Startups community is truly global and today includes readers in more than 425 cities and 65 countries. Many more, in fact.

You are part of a global conversation about entrepreneurship, innovation and a continuous cycle of disruptive technologies that will improve hundreds of millions of lives. You are heroes in your communities, in your cities and to me.

Thank you!

Entrepreneurship is the most powerful force for change, and it’s a force that does not belong to anyone alone.

Silicon Valley continues to dominate headlines when it comes to startup news. But in growing numbers mobile app developers, entrepreneurs and visionaries from Brazil, Nigeria, India, Singapore, South Africa, France, Kenya, Romania and across the spectrum are showing the world what is possible. Thank you for inspiring me. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

Your voice makes us stronger. The world needs to hear your voice. The world is waiting for your story to be told.

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