Most of our friends know that at ROBYN, we are focused on honing our marketing skills... And we enjoy sharing what we have learned! To this end, we are thrilled to introduce a side project we've been working on: The 7 Minute Smarketer.
The premise behind the podcast is to sit down with innovative marketers who are experts in different disciplines and give them 7 minutes to make us smarter. The podcasts are hosted on the7 Minute Smarketer website, which you can hear by clicking the button below...
Bobby Lehew: Hello everyone! Welcome to another episode of "7 Minute Smarketer." This is Bobby Lehew and sitting here is one of my favorite folks of all time, Mike Koehler. Mike has spent the past 15 years involved with the web, online communication and content. Mike directed new media efforts at one of the largest public relations firms in the state and new media efforts for the largest newspaper in the state. Mike is currently the President Chief Strategist for Smirk New Media. He is a leader in new media and content strategy. Mike, you were doing content and new media when it was pioneer days. That was down in the wagon wheel ruts.
Mike Koehler: It used to be called journalism; I think is what it's used to be called. But yeah, I was always a newspaper guy growing up since I was in college. That's what my dad did. We were writing and sharing information with people before it was called content.
Bobby Lehew: Absolutely. Well, you know the premise. Basically, the premise is you have seven minutes to make us smarter marketers about your topic or you owe me a beer. I don't care what time of the morning it is, you would still owe me a beer if we don't get there, but I know we're going to get there just based on what little we've talked about so far. Primarily this audience of Smarketers, they are small business people too, and there's other business people because we're all marketers now, I would say.
Mike Koehler: Sure.
Bobby Lehew: But what would you say, Mike? We have seven minutes. I'm going to set the timer here and we will go.
Mike Koehler: My big area that I like to talk about the most is content and how you share what you already have between your ears in order to connect with your customers and really let them know what your expertise is. When they come to the point where deciding to spend some money, they know that Bobby knows about this and Mike knows about this, and Jim Bob down the street knows about his area of expertise.
Bobby Lehew: It's about leadership in your particular niche?
Mike Koehler: Right. A lot of people, when they first take the step into the web, both in social and in blogging and just content sharing, that's an area that really stresses them out. "What am I going to say? How am I going to fill this?"
Bobby Lehew: Not just small businesses, but big businesses, too, right?
Mike Koehler: Yeah. How am I going to fill this up everyday?
Bobby Lehew: The answer really is a struggle for a lot of folks.
Mike Koehler: Yeah. That's my main feedback when I talk to clients, they say, "I want to do something on the web but what am I going to be talking about?" The old canard of, "Do I need to tell people what I had for breakfast?"
Bobby Lehew: Right. What's your primary nugget of advice for these folks?
Mike Koehler: My main focus is talk about what you already know. People pay you to deliver a certain service, that's whether you're in a professional services venue or you're the guy who comes and unclogs the clogged‑up toilet. People are paying you for your expertise. All you need to do then is translate that into content on the web and a lot of folks have content spread all around their office, stacked high on their desk that they just need to realize they need to put that in some sort of digital point.
Bobby Lehew: They make it too hard?
Mike Koehler: Yeah, I think they do. For example, I'm speaking this week to church leaders about how they connect with their existing audience they have, how do they do that on the web and then how do they strengthen their brand on line? Well, these people come to me too and say, "We don't have any content to share. What are we going to be putting out everyday?" Well, to them I say, "Well, you have a bulletin that you hand out every Sunday that is chock‑full of calendar items that you can populate on your Facebook."
Bobby Lehew: Church market, right.
Mike Koehler: Yeah, what activities are you up to? What needs do you have that you're calling out for in a tri‑folded piece of paper on Sunday.
Bobby Lehew: Is this as simple as taking your everyday events and saying, "How can I make this public?"
Mike Koehler: Yeah. It goes back to really a concept we developed when I was at the newspaper and our physical platform was shrinking more and more everyday. We had to put stuff out and then print a page. And we only had so much space to do it in, but then this great platform comes along in the Internet that is a bottomless pit as far as what you could fill it up with. We really would tell reporters, don't waste, you don't have any wasted content. Don't have any wasted time. We're investing in your time to go out and gather this information. We want to be sure that you're giving all of that information that is even relevant to at least one reader on one of our platforms.
Bobby Lehew: Don't leave it on cutting room floor.
Mike Koehler: That's right. That's really what we talked about, is no, to go back to my days when I worked at McDonald's when I was a kid. You don't want any, no waste. We don't want to be throwing away 20 hamburgers at the end of an hour because we didn't sell them.
Bobby Lehew: Because there's a presumption that that wouldn't really matter to anybody but there is an audience for that.
Mike Koehler: Right, and it goes towards your expertise. If you are the beat ragger for instance of the OU football team and you have access that no other regular person, reader has access to, anything that you find out from those people is going to be valuable for people who don't have the access to the same information or the same expertise that you have.
Bobby Lehew: Right.
Mike Koehler: You might think it's pedestrian, but to the interested people, be they customers or be they colleagues or whatever, that's going to be valuable information.
Bobby Lehew: I love that pedestrian comment because one of the things we're starting to discover and I'm sitting in a meeting and I'm thinking, "I wish I had that content just captured right there." It's just a conversation between normal people.
Mike Koehler: Right. It's like what you're saying to people before, look at popular culture these days. There's four shows about pawnshops on TV. There's two shows about guys who go around and buy auction items out of abandoned storage facilities. There's an exterminator show. There's a taxidermy show. There's all of these people with professional expertise sharing that and people are gobbling that up just as casual TV viewers. Imagine what they would do then if they are people who potentially want to do business with you. They're even more interested in how you do what you do. How do you deliver, how do you put a plan together for them. Just opening up that curtain really defines it for folks.
Bobby Lehew: I love this topic because I tell small businesses all the time that you actually have good stories crossing your threshold everyday. If you're a business person and you're selling, you have transactions going on all the time and so those are stories. You just have to learn how to interpret that story and it's not really hard. You just have to learn to start pushing that outward. I'm going to put you on the spot here for a minute. I have a question for you. Social media special ops?
Mike Koehler: Yes.
Bobby Lehew: This is a phrase I haven't heard you use yet but I'm going to go ahead and throw this. That's probably out there. I didn't make this up. I probably read it. But you do a little bit of this for brands. Are there some tips for marketers that want to employ? I'm not pimping Mike's service so that nobody gets me wrong.
Mike Koehler: Feel free.
Bobby Lehew: [laughter] But if they want to employ somebody to work for them on their behalf, are there some special tips you want to give them, having somebody come in and write content for them or monitor the social media? What have you seen as best practices for that?
Mike Koehler: The most important thing is that first friendly conversation that you have especially if you're outsourcing to somebody like me. That person needs to understand the voice of your company because that has to be consistent from what's on social to what's in your collateral to what people get when they walk through the door. They need to make sure what your key messages need to be and then they also need to understand what your customer service levels are, what denotes a crisis on the social web.
Bobby Lehew: Yeah, good point.
Mike Koehler: What denotes something that we need to pass along but not necessarily take action on. DEFCON levels is what I call those.
Bobby Lehew: That's right.
Mike Koehler: If they can understand your voice, your customer service mindset and then your key marketing messages, then they're going to walk out of there and you're going to feel secure that they are speaking on your behalf in a way that you can feel really comfortable with.
Bobby Lehew: That is awesome Mike. Our seven minutes are up and you definitely made us smarketers. Too bad because I was looking forward to that beer but the coffee was great. The coffee was good. But thanks Mike and I really appreciate your time man. We'll have to do this again.
Mike Koehler: All right. Thanks Bob.
October 20, 2011