The Curata Content Marketing System

Managing content marketing strategies can be very difficult to many organizations.

First of all, they may not have the expertise in-house and may work with several agencies to help them accomplish this. Second, their efforts are decentralized with no documentation in place to help build a strategy with an end goal in place. Third, they may have content but have no clue or idea on how best to use their content. They may still believe in the misconception that you need to post anywhere and everywhere.

In fact, most companies are so focused on trying to reach high levels of hits, clicks, likes, and leads that they forget the end goal of their content marketing strategy. If your end goal is to educate your customer base or to make them feel valued as a customer, then your content marketing strategy should be governed by it and not the other way around.

One systematic approach that I found to help with developing a solid content marketing strategy is The Content Marketing Pyramid™ by Curata.

Their system is a framework that is designed to help companies formulate and document solid content marketing strategy. The framework brings order and stability to chaotic content creation. Using their words, “it can improve your focus, increase the production and it can create a predictable stream of successful content”.

Instead of grading the system myself, in fact, I use it and have downloaded their ebooks, I thought that it would be better to alert you to Curata, they have a great blog and many downloadable ebooks that can get you on the way to successful content marketing creation.

I am not a spokesman or get paid to talk about them, like you, I am just a marketer that is trying to get better at his job, and I like to share what I learn with others. The system really works and can make you a rockstar at your firm. Go to any of the links that I have provided, or click on this link to read more from the Curata Blog.

Sincerely,

Eric Toro

Are you ready for SMX 2017!

Looking to understand and succeed in search marketing? The world’s largest search engine marketing conference, SMX East is taking place this October 24-26, 2017 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001. It’s a great show to attend, I will see you there if possible and the conference allows SEO/SEM specialists to take a deep dive into SEO and SEM tactics that tackle their search marketing challenges.

SMX is the only conference entirely devoted to search marketing and how search fits in the marketing mix. For more information go to: SMX East, NYC

The conference is produced and sponsored by Search Engine Land and Marketing Land.

See you there!

Eric

What happened to us?

Hello,

Its good to be back, we started off strong and went off in the wrong direction. We opened an office in Bridgeport, CT but struggled with keeping our offices open, train and right blog post. So we decided to make some changes and we will focus more on our blogging and web and print tutorials rather than on the day to day struggles at our office.

So sorry for the delay and we will keep you posted!

Eric

 

Research your online marketing vendors

As I peruse the internet, I see more and more companies offering SEO, Internet Marketing, Link Building, Social Media Strategies and other online services to help you increase your page ranking, link juice and followers.

This is the digital age of snake oil and while there are many legitimate firms that are out there to help your online and social media presence in a very real and legal way, there are also the scammers trying to separate you from your marketing budget.

The reality is you should do your due diligence when seeking a provider, you should research everyone from your designer to your agency and if have someone handling social media check him out as well. This will ensure that you get the best people to handle your online presence.

Also be leary of your brother-in-law’s cousin who designs web pages, or your neighbor’s nephew. While sometimes it is good to hire people that you are acquainted with or receive positive feedback on, for the most part this can work against you and you will probably have a bigger problem on your hands in the long run.

I normally check out a person’s pass work and business relationships. I do not count a relative or one of their personal friends as a reference since who would give their buddy a bad review?

They should have bonafide business relationships and samples of worked performed or services rendered that show their competency as well as their ability to deliver. So that I can shorten this post here is something to remember when you hire a person or team with a real and proven track record, you will most likely achieve or receive the outcome you would be looking for.

If you cut corners and go with people that promise or say that they can achieve your outcome without any real research on your part, most likely you will end up losing money on a effort that was futile to begin with.

So do yourself a favor and research your vendors, in the long run it will save you time, money and frustration!

Click here to read an article from seomoz, a leading site on Search Engine Marketing and all things SEO related. Seomoz is now Moz and the little robot below is Roger their mascot.

Roger from MOZ

 

Why have the post been slow and coming?

Sorry to all about the posts. I have been slow since there has been a lot going on and with Hurricane Sandy my problems have been compounded. Toro Media Group was operating out of Bridgeport, CT but its a very unwelcoming city that leaves a lot to be desired. High taxes, no power (four days now) and crime have taken this city has low as it can get.

We are relocating our facility to the boroughs of NYC, where frankly there is a better business environment and more energy as well as a business friendly borough (The Bronx) and to mention born and raised in the Bronx, NY with three generation still there. Currently I am the only known family member that does not live in the city but I tried staying in Bridgeport and I kind of lost the fight.

So we will resume this week hopefully in our new location in Riverdale, NY.

Thanks for your patience.

Sincerely,

Eric Toro

Toro Media Group

 

Caminando por la Sierra - Toro de Osborne
Caminando por la Sierra – Toro de Osborne (Photo credit: Mundo Desconcertante)
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New ways to learn the skills that you need

Today’s learning is far different than when I went to school but I like the instant access the web has given us today for learning and grasping new technologies. With that in mind there are now a number of websites that you can sign up on and learn programming languages or even take business courses. These new ways can even be a factor in developing a skilled workforce from within your organization.

The following ones are great for entrepreneurs, business owners, front and back office personnel:

  • Udemy – They provide online learning for a number of different things from the arts to the humanities and everything in between. As far as learning is concerned it seems to be the most well-rounded set of offerings available on the web to date for continuous learners and it includes both paid and free courses.
  • Codecademy – More focused on the programming languages used on the web, JavaScript, Python, Ruby and XHTML (HTML) and CSS. This is a great site since you do not have to buy any additional software and the site uses various learning techniques to help you learn programming, to date one of my favorites and free for the most part.
  • Udacity – Mostly programming courses, very structured and intense, this site is currently offering a very limited set of courses but very intense and definitely for those who want or yearn higher level learning, not just the standard web development stuff, comes with homework and quizzes.
  • Gurushare – You can learn some of the older school technology here, like Crystal Reports XI and FreeMind, two programs that I use for business but it lacks many of the new applications and while I like it personally, I am not sure that it can sustain itself amidst all the other platforms for learning that are being develop and that are supported by stronger and younger communities.

These are great for learners of all ages and literacy levels:

  • Khan Academy – This is the grand daddy of the learning sites, Khan Academy site has one of the strongest communities available, it is free and the video lessons are used by brick and mortar schools all over the country. Lessons can be viewed on YouTube and iTunes alike and they can also be downloaded for later viewing using a Bit Torrent client. Their official Bit Torrent client is utorrent which can be downloaded for free (Check for system requirements, but as of this post, only available for windows). Mostly used by schools but math and knowledge of concepts will benefit you, no matter where you find yourself.
  • GCFLearnFree – This is probably one of the oldest ones on the web and probably still one of the most well-rounded ones in the whole bunch. The Goodwill Community Foundation, has one mission and that is to make people employable, so I give this site thumbs-up for their mission statement and the combination of text/images and videos makes this one of the most user friendly sites for all ages as well as for most literacy levels available. This site also includes learning social media and can be viewed on mobile devices as well.

There are many other learning sites out there, some are worth a look others are not. Google or use the Bing  search engine to seek out free learning sites and take a look at the different ones available, many follow similar styles of training others are almost nothing but text and images.

There are plenty of paid sites available which do offer good training but before you make the investment in time or money, check out the free ones first. What I learn is that online learning while good does not work for everyone, but before you make a monetary investment try it out for free first and that way you can determine if this type of learning works out best for you.

Keep in mind that if you are an employer, this could be a viable option for your employees. Many have laptops and can easily access these during their lunch hour. You can also set up rooms where after work they can logged in and take courses to increase their productivity, increase their skill levels and help them to qualify for higher paying positions within your organization.

Sincerely,

Eric

 

SES Conference – What did I think?

ses-newyork2012

In March I attended the SES conference & Expo at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. I have to say there was plenty of information being dispensed by means of express clinics (1+ hour learning seminars) to small groups and much larger venues with panels of speakers to appeal to bigger audiences.

First of all, if you read any of my post you probably noticed that I do attend many trade shows and expos dealing with marketing both traditional and online. However, in this day and age online marketing seems to be the big thing that individuals and businesses seem to focus on. The only traditional marketing trade show that I attend is the annual DMA (Direct Marketing Association) show which this year is to be held in Vegas and I probably will not attend this year.

The downside to online marketing is actually the medium itself, it constantly evolves, new standards are rapidly created and web development is constantly changing. It is like trying to hit a moving target that moves at lightning speed.

In order to stay afloat with your online programs, you need to learn new jargon, track new technologies, learn coding and understand formats. There is a need to constantly review the programs that you implement like SEO/SEM, social media, adwords, keyword placements, per-per-click and e-mail campaigns.

Many shows that I attended in the past, fell short of this idea since their focus was on grabbing new business and not truly educating the business person on what he needs to review and his ROI in relation to investments made in online intelligence (I consider all online marketing practices as intelligence). This is where SES comes in:

Most of the SES events this year covered the following:

  • How to design search engine-friendly web pages
  • Constructing a business case for your board to encourage a greater investment in search engine marketing
  • The basics of building links and why they are important to rankings
  • How to select an agency if you decide to go down this route
  • Manage your pay-per-click campaigns and analyzing your return on investment
  • Building an analytics package into your business and interpreting the results to build greater success
  • How to convert more of your visitors into buyers with refinements to landing pages
  • Better integrate search with your other marketing channels
  • Produce and optimize web video and audio content on your site
  • Tap into traffic from local search listings

I have to say that as far as SES goes it delivered, many of the companies that exhibited provided good overviews of their product and where they fit into the marketing mix. I thought that Microsoft had a great presence since they gave me a good explanation about the Bing Webmaster tools that I have recently begun using.

I also enjoyed my conversation with a company named Visistat who developed a GEO-IP based analytical and web capture software for online sales and marketing teams, BTW I started to use it as a result of trying it at the show and it had a tiered pricing structure based on usage and page views that even very small mom and pop firms could afford.

The downside to SES, many of the companies exhibiting were still catering to larger Fortune 500 companies with huge marketing budgets and many of the web applications were enterprise level programs attached to enterprise level pricing so many of the online programs were way out of our reach to use. This alone makes it difficult to keep going to these shows and finding suitable vendors with reasonably priced programs for small to medium size businesses.

Other than that I will attend next year since I did receive good information and hopefully I may try some new online programs next year if their pricing structure goes down!

Sincerely,

 

Eric

Social Media Strategies – What will work for you in 2012?

 

SEO Strategies in 2012

Search the Internet on Social Media and you will get clobbered by a plethora of options and suggestions as to how to go about your social media strategy for 2012. I will not tell you what you need to do but I will tell you that in this day and age, any business that does not have a plan in mind will suffer in the long run.

Today, all companies need to include some social media marketing into their mix, like it or not, it is here to stay and will only evolve over time. Of course not everything is created equal, for instance I manage the social media outlet for a medium business that provides services for other SMBs (small and medium-size businesses).

Their demographics or universe is quite small as compared to a consumer-based outfit that may cater to individuals on a global or regional scale. So Facebook for them is not an option because 90% of their traffic comes from industry-specific portals. These are the sites that most business people go to for specific products and services, for the most part they know where to look!

When I visited one social media trade show and let me tell you, I have been to quite a few, it amazes me that most of the attendees are still smaller outfits vying for the market on selling deals in localized markets, home goods, mom and pop shops, software, phones, magazines, books, music, foods, downloads and the list goes on.

Do you get the point, while social media trade shows provide some good information, even many of these events do not cater to markets where the need for social media may not be so clear. So it calls for you to do your due diligence and research areas where social media can be implemented effectively to increase your presence to your target market.

Let me provide one very basic example and I mean basic! For instance let’s say that you represent or work for a firm that strictly deals with HR, so for you researching LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Monster may be a start. Why, because you know that these sites or portals received huge amounts of traffic from possible candidates that fit your need or meet your business model.

I neglected to say Facebook because while they have apps that can be used to cull out business profiles from one’s Facebook account, it is still an app and many more conservative business professionals would not want to share a site with their 12-year old. Facebook is still primarily a social networking site for friends and family. See the NY Times article: Sifting the Professional From the Personal.

Of course this is my personal opinion and I feel that Facebook will eventually go the way of Myspace which is now rarely spoken about by most young people that you meet.

Enough of Facebook, the point is do your research find out where the traffic you want is going, build a company page in LinkedIn, don’t stop there, start a blog, go to WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger and write about employment issues, get links from sites that you want to build strategic partnerships with.

Adwords are good but these programs can get pricey, learn before you burn cash in any PPC program. Remember there are a lot of SEO, PPC and social media charlatans on the net, if you do decide to go the route of an agency check them out thoroughly and check their references out as well, make sure that the reference is not a brother-in-law or someone who benefits from their business other than getting quality work and good traffic.

As I said before you need it but start out small, learn as much as you can, there are plenty of websites designed to teach you about social media, just go to the marketing links on this site and you will see plenty.

Understand where your traffic is going and remember the only way to win it is to be in it!

 

OMMA Global NY 2011

Two months ago, I attended the OMMA Global in NY, which was held at the NY Marriott Marquis on September 26-27, 2011. Why I am writing so late now about the event. Two reasons I have been busy working on marketing projects that I deem more important and it took some time to sift through all the information that I collected.

Overall I think that the conference was well-attended and the discussions led by the panelists that were invited to speak was like royalty when it came to the social and multimedia frontier. The keynote addresses were given by Denise Warren of the NY Times, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, Dermot McCormack, EVP, of digital media at MTV networks. There was also Kim Kadlec of Johnson & Johnson and Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures plus a cornucopia of top speakers from many top internet firms, at least there was not a lack of speakers, the roster was long!

The bottom line to the conference at least to me is this: there are plenty of good ideas out there and many of the panelist that spoke had similar pathways of thoughts in regards to their approach, the issues they face, the medium they are using and the analytics that are evolving as they gather knowledge about their demographics. In retrospect there was much to learn and take in and it would take me hours to write a post about the event, so this weekend if time permits I will post a series of videos that I took highlighting the issues that I found interesting. So even if you were not able to attend, in two days I will sift through my video and post all the links to my site for all to see and hopefully to learn something new.

See you soon!

Eric T.

 

 

What did I think of Blog World?

 

Blog World Expo

First of all let’s say that I enjoyed attending. I have to say that the energy was there, plenty of lively discussions and so overall I say it was good to be there. I was impressed by the number of people that the show attracted. I think that the show is on the right track helping this form of media become understandable to the masses. I also felt that there is a over-saturating of the marketplace but we will get to that in a minute.

The bad news is that the event still has a long way to go, it is still in its infancy. After talking to a few social media firms there are still areas where the medium has not caught up as well. For instance we are a B2B company and while blogging is well along the way in the retail environment engaging the consumer. It still is little understood how it will impact the small and medium B2B companies who are trying to engage a much smaller defined universe of people. Many of the firms that I spoke with had two basic models:

  1. Mom and pop bloggers (plenty of them attended)
  2. Big companies with massive budgets for social media (Sony for example)

For these two groups it all makes sense. The mom and pop bloggers reach a finite audience that deals with health foods, pets, vitamins, foods, hobbies and enthusiasts. The Big companies have tens of thousands if not millions of consumers buying their products. So blogging is like having instant focus groups and users testing out products and if developed correctly creates a big R&D department which helps these large corporations understand consumer needs and wants as well as develop unique quality products that fulfill the consumer demand. So for them blogging is great.

For the small-to-medium company that targets other like businesses the picture isn’t clear at least not yet. While the value is there, creating not only relevant content but building a system that helps engage other small-to-medium companies is still not clearly understood. Everyone will try to sell you a solution, they will say this and that but under the microscope it becomes fluff and snake oil. All approaches are not the same, there are millions of blogs with tens of millions of pieces of content that are constantly posted online, there are millions of blogs not even reaching their market. If everyone was making money through blogging it would be great but that will never happen.

The reality is that blogging is more about engaging than making money, its about value-added services that can be implemented after the sale of let’s say raw materials. It is a form of customer service that can be rendered to the end-users, especially if they have questions about the usage of a certain product and its application. It is about posting information that will benefit the end-user or purchaser of the product. It allows smaller companies to build a sort of knowledge base or help section to their clients. It can be forum-based where engineers can post information regarding applications, their design and development process. It can help one understand why the product is needed and the benefits such product brings to the end-user.

I believe that blogging will become a media that will over saturate the Internet if it has not already but building a system that engages your clients or customers will continue to grow and become useful to those who rely on it. I am not a fan of all these social media companies as well as most of the people that run these events, though I enjoy attending. My reasoning is that they will all tell you how great the media is, and why not it is their bread and butter. I prefer someone who is going to dissect the media and tell me there are still areas that need to be define and there needs to be a purging of the fluff and snake oil that has become part of the media for it to be truly helpful to small and medium businesses alike.

That was my overall impression and from personal experience I have had plenty of companies call me regarding blogging applications but blogging for the sake of it is useless, unless there is an intended audience with useful and relevant content that will truly benefit the end-user.

For some more thoughts on Blog World read Nathan Lowell’s post on Blog World at: blog-world-and-new-media-expo

Tell me what you think?

Blogworld & New Media Expo 2011

For all you business and creative bloggers, this upcoming expo should be worthwhile! I do plan to attend so that I can help with my business model and mingle with like-minded professionals.

So if you plan to be in New York, you might want to attend the Blogworld & New Media Expo 2011, to be held May 24-26 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY. Click the link below to register:

BlogWorld11_NYLA_125x125

See you there!

E.T.

Head First WordPress – Ideal Book for Creative & Business Bloggers

WordPress Publication

About a year ago I started a self-hosted WordPress site for my firm. The problem was that most of the books that I got were not very intuitive. I would fumble through the WordPress Documentation which in itself was written well but in a plain vanilla way. So it made retaining information hard since there was a lack of visuals and footnotes for references. Then came Head First WordPress which was a great book for a guy like me a business marketer/graphic designer who does not have a lot of experience working with CMS (Content Management Systems) or Blogging Software.

Head First WordPress is designed to help you learn concepts and ideas fast and shows you visually what you need to do. The book designed is intentional because the layout is designed to stimulate your mind into learning new concepts and retaining them as well. I enjoyed the book because as you see in my blog I was able to implement many of the concepts that I learned into my blog. In fact this book is my WordPress Bible.

I would recommend this book for business people, creative people for anybody that really needs to learn WordPress easy and yet not be bored in learning a technical subject. I like the book because it was easy to grasp and it made learning fun especially with the visuals which helps reinforce certain concepts that you need to understand when it comes to stylesheets and other HTML markup language. As a business marketer it just makes my job that much easier, as a graphic designer with a coding background, I am glad that I do not have to labor over code like I use to some years back. So if you need a good WordPress book, I say get the Head First WordPress from O’Reilly and learn how to be a WordPress rockstar!

The Head First Series is published and distributed by O’Reilly Media.

Where is the fashion information?

It is still with us but will now be handled by our sister group at The Dicky Bow. The original site was the Rift Magazine Online, so we felt that we needed to return to our roots.

The DickyBow Site

Toro Media Group will focus on business information and delivering content to marketers in small and medium businesses. The Dicky Bow will focus on fashion related information. Both of the sites will be fully running by March 15,2011. So please be patient and check back to see the latest posts and information at Toro Media Group.