Saturday, February 20, 2010

James Andrews - Turn Your Company into a Content Machine

This post contains paraphrased notes from SoCon10 breakout speaker James Andrews on how to turn your company into a social media content machine.

How easy this is; just use the tools. The content will come in many different forms -- your lives, your clients' lives. The uninteresting stuff is content. Really think about everything as content. Have fun with it.

What’s important is the conversation that content creates; you can’t measure these things in pure numbers.

Use crowd sourcing regularly; it gives legs to social media.

Focus on audience backgrounds, then implement content. Produce a show for them. Engaging conversation streams are basically a TV show.

How to get started

Start with listening.

Find influencers through social media. Listen to them; talk to them. Go where the people are already gathered and bring them in. Ask your readers where they are (get their content from) and then post your content there.

Have a goal very specific to what you want to accomplish; if the goal is X, then use the tools to do that. Have the courage to try things, measure them, throw out what doesn’t work, and try new tactics. Constantly reinvent.

Tag and archive everything. Big fan of hash tags (#). They provide the ability to give context. Create your own. Make a story.

The beauty of social media is that the ‘riches are in the niches.’ There is an opportunity to create real activitism.

On email newsletters

Big fan of email newsletters; they give legs to your content. There is too much stuff out there; email newsletters become a deliverer of content, i.e. ‘Here are the 20 things you missed on our blog/YouTube channel/whatever.’

If you are producing content, it is critical to have email; you want people to be able to easily get it and share it.

Some tools to consider
  • Ustream: free, video streaming; uses it all the time.
  • Vokle: free, video production tool
  • Blogtalkradio: create your own radio show; get your thought leadership out.
  • Posterous: the easiest blogging platform; write it, email it, and it’s on your blog formatted. Syndicates where you want it to go. A great tool for new bloggers.
  • iMovie: video editing; mid-level is fine.
Some hardware to consider
  • Blue microphone: sound is critical; make the investment.
  • Flip cam: turn everyone into content creators.
  • Tripod: hold your camera steady.

Be prepared with backups; stuff breaks.

But remember, grainy photos are OK; authenticity gives a dimension.

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