Category Archives: Digital Media

Creating a Digital Marketing Command Center

At the 29014 Digital Marketing for Business conference I presented on how to create a digital marketing command center.

When starting a digital marketing program or position, it’s often important to quickly set up essential social listening, curating and sharing platforms. You will need a command center where you can quickly scan relevant and timely content as well as distribute original and curated content to your networks.

  • Develop a monitoring station using search query results (Google, Bing, Twitter), blogs, and RSS feeds
  • Organize a content monitoring station into channels that can be shared with organization, team members, stakeholders
  • Create triggers to track outbound email, social and other digital communications into a Google calendar
  • Integrate a tracking calendar with an editorial content calendar

Speaker Notes

Digital marketing has created explosion of content. Alongside with all the content is the need to manage the monitoring, tracking and other tasks associated with digital marketing. In managing digital marketing for various companies I’ve found myself repeating the same process to streamline and organize digital content.

I recently had the opportunity to present about this topic at the Digital Marketing for Business event in Raleigh. The session, Creating a Digital Media Command Center outlined the steps described in this post and the presentation below.

Digital landscape has created a whole new level of media. Time to market with content can be immediate, real time.

So we can only keep track of so much stuff. Two monitors are great and I’m sure 4 are awesome but you can only look at one and do one thing at a time.

Mapping Your Digital Property

So this is your digital property. You don’t own all of it but you own most of it. Between your owned and earned media there is a gap. We want to drive everyone to our landing pages and convert them but how do we attract them if we’re managing this?

Data Types

Different types of data that you can put into Digital Command Center. Infrastructure/performance is specific to your site speed up time, etc.

Content is both the content you push out as well as what you have available like photo libraries. KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. These are what everyone has in their goals and you should have a way to measure it. Typically conversions are the top KPI in digital marketing. Conversions can mean different things to different companies.

Create a Monitoring Station

Google search offers definitive search agent to gather relevant content on the web. Determine top 10 terms to track. Also determine if you can narrow down search using parameters such as location, negative search, by domain. So best advice is to create your top 10 searches to track. You don’t want too many as the results can become overwhelming.

Now that you’ve cast your net you need to pull the feeds together into a single user experience. There are many tools that can do this but I’ve been using one tool the past several years that works very well and has a great free platform.

In preparing this presentation and grabbing screen captures I discovered Netvibes promo video and thought it did a great job of demonstrating the concepts that I’m going to present. Now I must state that I’m not a customer or affiliated with Netvibes in anyway, I’m a simple freeloader of their software! They do have an analytics platform but I have not used it yet but it is a paid option.

So here’s a sample of a monitoring station I built in Netvibes. This is based on a profile of me and all my digital presence. I can build this for my competitors as well to monitor what they are doing. I can put each competitor and or subject stream in a tab to organize the content.

With all this content coming out we are bombarded with too much content. 5 tips to do this and that but what do you need to get your job done today?

One thing I really like about Netvibes is the ability to scan by groups and then review the subset later.

Use Triggers to Automate and Track Content

Curation is key part of digital marketing. But in reviewing this content we find stuff we want to share with our employees, customers and prospects. A really nice feature to have is a sharing option in any Digital Command Center. Once I’ve reviewed my articles I can share them straight from here.

I use Hootsuite as a social media management platform and find that its publisher feature is a great way to manage my planned outbound social messaging. After curating I tend to go to the schedule and review content again and when it’s timed to hit each platform. This will be important in a few slides and I’ll show you why.

Hootsuite does have a RSS syndicator but to be honest with you I don’t like it. It’s not as easy to use as Netvibes and hard to group and share with the team.

Robots and triggers are simple automation programs that perform an action in reaction to an event. That event can be an email, tweet, post, campaign, or an event like reaching a milestone like lowering your bounce rate or hitting a sales goal.

The tool I use is called If This Then That It’s free and you can base your triggers or “recipes” on your social accounts and other actions like email. you can also base it on activity within a community using a hashtag or other keyword.

Now here is the result of these triggers in my editorial calendar. I use Google Calendar to plan and track my content and events. The solid bars represent the planned activities while the timestamped text entries show actual activities. This way I can match my activity against my plan and share with the team.

Share Your Results with Dashboards

So you’ve created your monitoring station, activated your triggers, now it’s time to share the results. The best way to do this is to create a simple link you can share with the team and have them review on their leisure. Also email weekly updates of the top KPIs to remind everyone of the fantastic dashboards you have created!

What are you going to be measured on for performance? Those KPIs need to be front and center. But at the same time you can create other reports on infrastructure status, content performance, SEO analysis, PR, you name it.

Once you get questions from the team, create new dashboards to answer the questions.

Right now I’m testing a basic dashboard tool called Cyfe. I like it because it allows me to create simple dashboards from the majority of my data sources. Each dashboard is comprised of widgets. You can create multiple dashboards with several widgets. The widgets are the individual blocks you see on this dashboard. Each one represents a KPI, metric, RSS content feed or custom data.

Custom data can be as easy as an excel table with some basis syntax formatting.

TV mode is a great feature for dashboards and Cyfe and several others offer this. Have a blank HD monitor in your office? Stream and rotate your awesome Digital Command Center Dashboard and update the entire company!

Content Marketing Automation and Integration

With all the digital media channels out there you can spend a huge amount of time curating and sharing content across multiple social networks and channels.  Integrating content across networks and channels via an automation strategy can save time and money spent doing repetitive tasks.  But I want to note that this is not an all or none strategy and should not be adopted for all your communication.  Instead I approach content automation as a strategy to integrate original content with curated content in order to develop a stream of content.

Some of the basic tactics necessary to deploy this strategy include establishing a digital diet of content.  Content aggregators and curation tools are a great way to do this.  Creating great content day in, day out is a challenge.  There’s no reason why you should not view curation as a way to keep your social media streams active and healthy.  Every social media expert will tell you share great content in addition to creating your own.
Think of your content marketing automation as a daisy chain, whereby each event links to another.  There are several ways to do this.

Search to Syndicate

Search queries on Google and Twitter allow you to create an RSS feed.  These RSS feeds can be displayed on your blog or can feed a social media account like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.  You can also use email to syndicate content via email to add articles to a queue.  So here is how I do it.
I use content curation tools on my iPhone and iPad like Zite, Flipboard, Pulse and other sources.  Articles that I read and think my friends and followers are interested I share by sending via email to Buffer.  Buffer allows you to schedule and share content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and set up a schedule according to what day and times you want to share for each network.  My buffer feeds my personal Twitter, LinkedIn and the Square Jaw Media Facebook page.
Remember the daisy chain I mentioned earlier?  Here’s where that comes in.  Buffer only hits 3 sites but I want to also share to my Square Jaw Media Twitter as well as save to my bookmarking account on Pocket.  Here’s where my trigger tool comes in.  If This Then That ( is a trigger based tool that allows you to daisy chain your content automation to several networks.  So I have one trigger that is activated when my Facebook page shares a link and post it to Twitter and a second that bookmarks the article on Pocket for archiving.
Here’s where the daisy chain effect comes in.  I don’t want my personal and brand page to push out the same link at the same time.  So I use IFTTT to push out my Square Jaw Media tweet at a later time by staggering my Facebook fan page Buffer queue.  That way there’s some time distance between the two tweets.
At a less complex level Facebook, YouTube and other tools allow you to port links to other networks when you add or bookmark content.  For example when you you add a video to YouTube you can have it post a tweet and status update on Facebook.  At the same time you can also do this for content that you save as a favorite.  This is a great opportunity to share content that is relevant to stakeholders.
Another great syndication tool is NetworkedBlogs. If you are reading this post on Facebook, NetworkedBlogs did that!  NetworkedBlogs allows you to syndicated your blog to your Facebook page and profile when you publish.

Repurpose Content

The concept of repurposing content on social media should not be overlooked.  One way to accomplish this is to use the Tweet Old Post WordPress plugin to share older posts along with more current content.  As long a your content is relevant and timely this works well to drive traffic to your site.
RSS feeds have so many uses in content automation it’s hard to list them so I’ll mention a few.  If you host events or blog about them many times you want to include links to other blogs and sites that reference your event.  In the past this meant going back to articles and adding links.  But you can use In Post RSS Plugin to update a post without having to login to your blog.  By adding a link to a bookmarking site like Delicious or Pocket it will add the link to the post dynamically.  Remember to use tags to separate and segment content so you don’t spam our post or feed with unrelated links.

Don’t Forget the Sidebar

Sidebars are a great place to display content on our website or blog.  Videos, slides, photos, links and other curated content can be shared on every page of your site or segment the content and share only the specific relevant links for specific vertical markets like health care, technology or manufacturing if necessary.
In conclusion, these tactics are not a replacement for interacting and responding with users on social networks. If you try that you will soon find out that your readers will call you out and you will lose some level of trust with your audience. Instead employ a content automation strategy to augment your content marketing efforts.

How Social Is Your TV?

At the February Triangle Social Media Club event I had my eyes opened to the world of “social TV.”  The speakers were Gregory Ng (@gregoryng), Tim Arthur (@timarthur), Damond Nollan (@damondnollan) and the MC was Ryan Boyles (@therab).  The panel showed what their entertainment centers consisted of, their top 5 shows and one guilty pleasure as well as shared insights, wants and desires of social TV.

Social TV integrates social networks and television, movie and music habitsThe rise of digital enabled devices has allowed for greater integration of social networks and websites with our TVs.  All four on the panel had a gaming device such as Wii or Xbox to stream video but the setups were different in other areas.  For instance Damond’s strategy was to reduce his monthly entertainment expense while allowing everyone in his household to have their own streaming device.  While Greg preferred to subscribe to Direct TV for sports as well as the ability to watch live events as they happen.

The presentation embedded at the end of this post gives a great view into the different setups.  The panel also listed their favorite shows and guilty pleasures.  All four panelists picked “The Walking Dead” as one of their top 5 shows.  While I’m not a fan of Zombie genre, I was interested to learn why they were enthusiastic.  The show had a big following and even the largest cable debut of the season.  Combined with fan chats, celebrity after show appearances; The Walking Dead created a community of fans and a forum.

That’s where social TV has real potential.  It’s one thing to check in to a show and share that on Twitter and Facebook.  This can lead to shared interests among your social circle.  But where it takes off is creating a true fan community that works similar to bulletin board forums of the early 90s.  Ryan explained how super fans create private blogs on Tumblr with their own language and rely heavily on aliases.  Most best practices posts will tell you to be authentic, but in the world of social TV DISQUS did research that showed that alias communities had greater interaction and participation.

What does all of this mean to marketing and advertising folk like me? It represents a new opportunity to build relationships with fans in a new way.  While Ryan recanted GaryVee’s mantra of “marketing ruins everything” it does not have to.  The panel discussed how media companies can build respect and report with users versus just selling to them.  For instance, what if a social TV app could provide live channel notifications and share that among friends?  The idea that sharing old school living room experience allows for more intimate content and engagement with a global audience is truly unique.

Tonight the Oscars is being broadcast and I’ve already seen hype around the fact that this will be the most social and interactive award show to date.  That’s an easy claim if the majority of last year’s activity was Twitter and Facebook chatter.  But as social TV develops there is opportunity to engage fans and talent in real time.

I want to thank Ryan for hosting the panel and sharing the presentation on his SlideShare space as well as the other panelists for sharing their frank and honest views on the tools, technology and changing landscape of social TV!  Plus Greg’s guilty pleasure of “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” was classic!  Also I was finally able to meet Tim Arthur in person after several months of chatting on Twitter and blogs and found out that we have many similar interests including Breaking Bad and Californication, two of my favorite shows!  Also thanks to WNCN NBC 17 for hosting the event and studio tour from Kim Green @producingk.