Tag Archives: marketing

Straight Out of Content: 7 simple strategies to rebuild your blog’s content calendar

Straight outta contentLet’s face it: “content” is dirty word in many corners of the internet. At best content marketing is misunderstood by clients, and at worst it’s the illegitimate lovechild of black-hat SEO “ninjas” and “social media experts”.  Maybe that’s why so few marketers want to talk about their content strategy and inbound marketing efforts.

But content marketing is no secret, even if it’s misunderstood by so many people.  Perhaps that’s because “content” is such an all-encompasing term, covering everything from blog posts and social media updates to presentation decks and infographics and much more, that content marketing remains vague to many of our clients.  And because our clients have different business goals and audience opportunities, it seems unlikely we’ll ever come up with a better term to describe all the media tactics we can pursue to help build businesses using content marketing strategies.

So to help demystify content marketing, I’d like to share some strategies for one of the most common problems my clients run into: updating a blog and maintaining a content calendar.  Even the most experienced copywriters and content marketers run out of fresh blogging ideas every once in awhile, so here’s a few common blog post types that can help you get the blog back on schedule: Continue reading Straight Out of Content: 7 simple strategies to rebuild your blog’s content calendar

Why Did Apple Announce Its Watch So Early? A Strategic Marketer’s View

Today Apple is expected to unveil its new Apple Watch (finally), but six months ago it wasn’t clear to everyone why Apple announced their newest product so early. So that same day in September I wrote this blog post about why Apple might have announced their newest product so far in advance, from a marketing strategist’s perspective.

Post originally appeared on September 9th, 2014 on MattHurst.com: Continue reading Why Did Apple Announce Its Watch So Early? A Strategic Marketer’s View

Late Majority: How Smartphones Matured the Mobile Market

In 2012 smartphones became the majority of mobile handsets in the U.S. for the first time, keeping hundreds of millions of Americans constantly connected to the mobile web and increasingly using apps. This was a change many had anticipated, including yours truly who wrote about best practices for the mobile web way back in the first month of this blog circa 2009, naive to the changes smartphone apps would have on consumer’s daily activities. As far as predictions go I missed the mark a bit, though hardly as far off as Steve Balmer. It’s another example of how it’s hard predict how consumers will embrace and use technology until it’s in their hands.

Back in 2009 I was just another early adopter hoping on the iPhone’s bandwagon, and like many early adopters in Roger’s diffusion of innovation model I found new ways to make my smartphone fit my internet enabled lifestyle; none of which would pursued my parents to buy smartphones of their own. But it was clear which way the wind was blowing in digital: the future would be increasingly high-speed on mobile, and smartphones would reshape how we use the internet.

We can use this same approach – measuring the trends in mobile – to anticipate what’s next in the market. Today smartphones make up nearly two-thirds of mobile phone owners (65%) in the U.S., putting these devices in the “late majority” phase of adoption. That means the exponential growth we’ve seen in mobile is likely to begin tappering for smartphone makers, though providing more opportunities for publishers and marketers alike in the years to come.

To help tell the story of how the smartphone market has reshaped mobile and visualize the current state-of-mobile, I built an infographic (see below). First a disclosure: I created the infographic using publicly posted data published an industry-expert source (Nielsen) who are also my employer, though the ideas shared on this blog are my own (see my policy page for full disclosure): Continue reading Late Majority: How Smartphones Matured the Mobile Market

Marketing Movember: Promoting Men’s Health Through Social Marketing

Before and after for Matthew Hurst's Movember mustache in November 2010

Movember is about much more than growing a mustache, it’s also about putting a new face on men’s health issues.  When I first heard about No-shave November I didn’t know about the connection to men’s health, so I had no reservations about shaving my mustache for a job interview. But a year later when my new employer sponsored Movember participants I learned all about their fundraising for cancer research and raising awareness for health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.  For a third year I’m participating in Movember, but the history of Movember actually goes back much further and serves as a great case study of using social marketing to promote men’s health.

When Movember started in 2003 it was just a fun idea between two friends in Australia, but it quickly grew into a global phenomenon. Within a couple years their small group of friends expanded to reach thousands in Austalia raising millions of dollars for prostate cancer research, incorporating into the Movember Foundation by 2006.  Gaining charity status in the US in 2009 helped the organization grow abroad, but also to attract partners to their cause alongside individual participants. Today Movember has nearly 1 million participants in 14 countries who raised over $100 million last year.

Key to Movember’s success is not just the great cause it supports, but also the global marketing campaign that promotes it.  Anyone who visits their website will be impressed by the creative media ; everything from videos starring famous mustachioed celebrities to personals flyers and smartphones apps, used by participants and for supporters of Movember.  But perhaps the most important promotional tactic is much more personal- their mustache growing participants:

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

Another popular part of Movember is their own social network, MoSpace, which gives each participant their own page to raise funds and interact with supporters.  Mo Bros and Mo Sisters use the social network to make updates on their progress and also allows them to share their Movember campaigns on other social networks.  The site also serves means to personalize their Movember efforts within their social group, a proven tactic whether to raise funds or awareness within a social marketing campaign.

Continue reading Marketing Movember: Promoting Men’s Health Through Social Marketing

August’s 7

They say one’s influence is limited not by the frequency of their communication, but by the quality of ideas and recommendations. At risk of diminishing my own role as an online opinion leader of sorts, here is my monthly anthology of 7 ideas I think are worth sharing with others.

Blog: Things Marketing People Love.  If you ever work in or with a marketing agency, this will make you LOL.  You have heard these words bandied about as if they were sacrosanct, although on their face they mean very little.  Since we’ve already learned about white people and journalists, why not marketing?  And make your own submissions via Twitter.

Colleague: Gabe Bullard.  Back when we were working on Highway 61 (revised), there was no one who’s insights into online communications I trusted more. That hasn’t changed, so if you’d like to share these ideas, he’s still on the internet.

Meme: #hcmyth . With so much disinformation being active spread about Health Care reform, why not make fun with ridiculous myth-making of your own?  My colleague Beth Carpenter helped start and promote this hashtag on Twitter, which set off any number of LOL funny myths about health care.  My favorite? “RT @tobytobitobe : Under ObamaCare, all Starbucks beverages will be pre-ordered “skinny, nonfat, hold the whip.” It’s for the best. #HCMyth

Music: Blip.FM . As you might have guessed reading my post about music and opinion leaders, I am enamored in the peer recommendation system of Blip.  Or maybe I just enjoy playing DJ, even if it’s just to my Twitter followers.

Social Network: 3121. This is an idea who’s time has come; the social network for Capitol Hill staffers. While you need a House, Senate, or Committee email address to sign up (still in beta), it’s easy to see the promise of a networked directory (3121 is the extension of the Capitol switchboard) that connects people and ideas in such a focused audience. Congrats to the National Journal and New Media Strategies, and god luck on launch.

Theory: Balance of Power. In politics, this describes a group of strategically allied parties that come together to create parity in systematic power.  In the world of hip-hop, there are Great Powers (Jay-Z, Kanye West, 50 cent) and middle powers (The Game, T-pain, everyone on Def Jux). This theory actually works well when it’s explained at length, so please

Video: Mister Rogers defending PBS to the US Senate. Your favorite neighbor was always there for the children, inspiring many generations of kids to know they are special and loved.
One time I was asked “what’s cool and new in your ‘hood?”, to which I replied:

Being polite, friendly, and helpful. Lately I’ve been helping my new neighbors move in, or even just talking with them about things I would ordinarily care less about. Since we’re together we might as well stay. Sometimes they don’t even steal my packages.
But as usual, the cool things in my ‘hood are IMAGINATION and MAKE BELEIVE. It helps out a lot when you live on the wrong side of the trolley tracks. Won’t you be my neighbor?

Please support your local public media.

Continue reading August’s 7

Digital TV: Convert Now

By now you know the drill: broadcast television is switching from analog to digital signals. There are a few ways to keep receiving television of course: if you get cable or satellite nothing will change, but it you’re still using an antenna signal on an older television you’re going to need a DTV converter box. Fortunately you can get a U.S. Government issued coupon that covers most, if not all of the cost of these new set-top boxes before the transition on Friday June 12th, 2009.

While you probably know all about the Digital Televison transition, chances are you have family members or friends who still aren’t ready, even if they’ve already heard. So the Department of Commerce (partnering with the CEA) consulted with myself, as part of a group of American University students, to get the word out to young people so that we could help those we know prepare for the transition. Using a YouTube video contest, our objective was to strategically reach out to this audience so that they would be ready to help others get equipped in time before the transition. With our sights set on the original February 17th transition date, we were ready to use this contest to target these technology-connecting audiences.

Of course creating buzz with a YouTube contest takes more an announcement and a prize; although our partners had produced an original video and sent out press releases, the contest did not gain traction (or stand out from dozens of others competing on YouTube at any time). So my consulting group needed to do a little more: we created a social media presence for the contest on Facebook and used word-of-mouth marketing to engage potential entrants on YouTube.
We even wrote a script and shot a short video (watch above) mock-entry into the contest to show just how easy it could be to make a qualifying entry. These tactics helped to spur 12 contest entries, 5 videos of which were deemed finalists for the public to vote on the winning entry. More importantly the contest created discussions, both online and offline by contest participants and viewers, about the DTV transition within this target audience.

Ultimately it’s hard for any group to take credit among the myriad of messages supporting the switch, but I’d like to think our tactics contributed an outreach to a key public whose unique role might make the difference. Of course we’ll find out for sure on Friday June 12, 2009 just how many American’s television sets will be left in static.