Content Marketing-What is it?

Every so often a new buzz phrase pops up in our industry. Right now, it’s “Content Marketing.” People ask us all the time if we do content marketing. It’s not a new concept-marketers have been using content marketing strategies for a long time. So what is it? Trusty Wikipedia gives a quick and easy definition:

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.”

Content marketing is basically smart marketing, and it’s perfect for social media. No one wants to log into Facebook and be told what to buy-they want to make those decisions on their own. How do you as a business steer potential customers to your product? By becoming a resource to them. Provide them with useful information that is relevant to your brand that makes them trust you with their purchasing decisions. It works and your customers will thank you.

Six Steps to Analyzing Your Social Media Strategy

It can be daunting to think about coming up with creative strategies that push your brand forward without pushing advertisements in people’s faces. But as you dive in, it becomes the fun part of the marketing process. Think about it-your business, or the business you work for, has a story, and is passionate about something. Let this vision permeate your content marketing strategies.

If you need inspiration, check out this great presentation from SlideRocket (love these guys). Don’t be afraid to get started-2013 is your year!

Getting Hacked All the Way to the Bank

Having your Twitter account hacked seems like it could only have negative consequences. Someone somewhere has access to information that you intended to keep private. Safeguards failed, mistakes were made and now someone is passing himself of as you: an unsettling thought. But for companies and brands, the old adage seems to ring true: There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

After hackers targeted Burger King and Jeep earlier this week, both companies experienced small spikes in new followers. Shortly thereafter, MTV and BET latched onto the passing opportunity to play a prank on their followers by swapping Twitter handles (how zany!). Despite the lameness of the ploy, both accounts received modest bumps in their follower counts.

Earlier today, Donald Trump tweeted his account had been hacked, which would explain the Lil’ Wayne lyrics he posted. It’s probable that he was actually hacked but it wouldn’t be a shock if The Donald (or one of his underlings) recognized a chance to keep himself “relevant.”

Hackers are always going to be a threat online but in these instances, they proved to be more of a nuisance (if not nonexistent). Part of the interest in hacking stems from the collective fear of being hacked or having private information stolen online. There’s an undeniable humanizing factor when a company with billions of dollars has the same problem as your grandmother who’s still using AOL.

Moving forward, companies will surely find smarter and wittier methods than the “OMG WE GOT HACKED LOL” antics of MTV and BET to elicit that sort of response from their followers. But, social media platforms exist largely for the purpose of sparking dialogue and people are talking.

As for the companies that were actually hacked, they’re enjoying a greater level of public exposure. In the wake of “Hackergate,” Burger King earned their highest number of Google searches since the company announced it was going public last summer, while searches for Jeep were at their highest level since the aftermath of a government probe regarding gas tank fires. Seems like getting hacked is a small step in the right direction.

A Focus on Chicago Entrepreneur: Darren Guccione

I recently had the opportunity to meet Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security. Keeper Security is the top grossing Utility app in the World. Darren has been through some crazy ups and downs in his life. His story is inspirational and helps me stay on course when things become difficult. I wanted to share some of the valuable insight I received from him with you. Enjoy!

“To make something simple is extremely difficult.”


Darren Guccione
Founder and CEO @Keeper Security

Since the early 90s, Darren has had his foot in the water in all sorts of industries. Darren got his bachelor’s in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering from U of I Urbana-Champaign in ’91. After a gratifying position in product design, he decided to make a big switch and got his master’s at DePaul University for Accounting and Finance. He worked in accounting, specifically mergers and acquisitions, and he had a client who quickly teamed up with him to create the first e-commerce software engine for the computer reselling industry. In 2000, it was sold to CNET Networks Inc. In 2011 he cofounded Keeper Security.

How did you have the resiliency to keep moving forward when things were going wrong?

D: In order to be successful, as an entrepreneur, it’s 95% behavioral. It’s the things you probably hear, but you don’t understand until you experience what it is like to suffer and go through pain. That’s what makes you really strong. That’s what makes entrepreneurs succeed. It’s being able to feel like one day you are on top of the world, and the next day you’ve been kicked in the stomach like ‘what the hell just happened?’ But it makes you even more determined to succeed. Rational people go to work at an office, because starting a business is freaking hard. Starting a business, even if it’s a hot dog stand, or a bar, or a technology company… technology is different because starting a business is hard, (but) starting a technology company is really hard because the technology itself is hard. Most people can’t build a tech asset amazingly well, let alone turn it into a business. You have got to be relentless in your behavior no matter how many times you screw up or how many times people say ‘you can’t do it’ or ‘that idea sucks.’ If your heart or your gut… but it’s really your gut, tells you otherwise, then you have got to follow it.

Besides resiliency, we know it takes a great team to get through those moments…

D: It does, and you have to be a strong leader. If you have a business, your employees either emulate you or they go against you. There is no in between. If you are a whiny CEO or you complain, not good. Don’t ever complain or whine in front of your team. Think of yourself as a lion: “you’re tough as ****”

And if you’re afraid?

D: No, no, no. You have to think about it like this. Fear is the best thing in entrepreneurship. Fear makes you focus. The key is… there are 168 hours, not 40 hours. That’s 128 extra hours (working) compared to the average human. Entrepreneurs are in the 128 hour range. After 40, I go home at night, and that’s what I come up with my strategy. “Where is keeper going next year?” “What’s the future?” That **** doesn’t happen during the day, are you kidding me? I got 300 e-mails during the day, phone calls. I’m putting out fires, you know? All kinds of craziness. But at night time, it’s quiet. When everyone else is asleep I work like a mad scientist. And on Sunday, after I play with my kids, I’m planning my ****. And on Monday I execute. If you think about this, if you are working 100 hours a week… let me tell you something: luck is where opportunity and persistence collide.

A Note from New Media: You Can’t Ignore Me

It wasn’t long ago that I met with a media relations professional from a Chicago-area university. The most memorable piece of our conversation was in regards to social media. She said that what’s now classified as “new media” or “social media” will not before long be considered plain ‘ol media. The statement really made me think. If you are paying any attention, (which you should be), the use of “new media” is becoming more important and it cannot be ignored. When it comes to social media, in particular, I am fascinated with the 2+ way conversations it can create. For example, through a little app called “Get Glue,” I can ‘check in’ to my favorite show and comment on the episode as it plays out with what first seems like a ‘modern chat room’ full of strangers. We quickly become friends…all through a simple app.

Looking to kickstart your socila media presence? Read our social media starter plan

But what about your business, is it important? Of course it is! New media and its interactivity allows you to connect with your customers in ways you never could have before. Whether it’s advertising deals, providing customer service or just releasing new information about your company, you need it! Keep the words “connection” and “interactivity” in mind as you build your social media presence. It won’t be long before you’ll have no choice but to accept it’s important and here to stay!