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“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.”

— Peter Wales

Datadriven PR- and marketing is the future. But the time to invest in a data warehouse is now, not tomorrow.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

“But we’re not Excel-people!”

In an email conversation with a blog subscriber, we discussed the challenges of pushing your team to adapt to a ‘digital first’ world:

The subscriber told me about how challenging it was to get colleagues who love letters to also love numbers. And, in my experience of working with many different types of organizations, this challenge is not uncommon.

Now, I love the power of the written word, too. But here’s the thing:

Technology, code, math — they’re all languages as well. In fact, they’re the Esperanto of our time; a unifying set of global languages that know no borders and defy slow-to-adapt politicians. The language of information technology is defining for our generation.

Thus, the time has come for communication professionals to step up and embrace the power of datadriven PR and marketing.

But where to start?

I suggest investing in a data warehouse.

Here’s why: [click to continue…]

When it comes to inbound marketing, most marketers think about landing pages, conversion rates, and marcom softwares. But it’s more than that — it’s a new paradigm for marketing.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Inbound marketing is a fundamental shift.

Yes, nowadays we focus more on list building, call-to-actions, lead magnets, viral loops, conversion rates, landing page optimization, a/b-testing, marketing automation, and all of that fancy stuff often associated with online marketing in general, and inbound marketing in particular.

But inbound marketing is so much more than just using various types of software to capture online leads.

Here’s why:

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Some say you should go big and wide, others say go focused and deep. Which marketing strategy is right for your business?

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Should you opt for quantity or quality in your marketing efforts?

Or a mix of both?

These are questions many businesses struggle with today.

On the one hand, we hear of businesses that are extremely successful in leveraging creative mass media campaigns, multi-channel advertising, and aggressive sales efforts.

On the other hand, we also hear of businesses that are equally successful without spending any money on advertising, brands who rely on their fanbase, influencer endorsements, word-of-mouth, and publicity.

In my experience, both sides make compelling arguments.

But which side is right for your business?

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How do you keep up with digital trends in today’s wired world — and must you become a Pokémon marketing expert now?

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

The other day, Anne signed herself up on my email list.

After leaving her email address, she was taken to a landing page where I asked her to share her biggest challenge in digital marketing and communications.

Anne’s biggest challenge was to keep up with digital trends in the accelerating pace of today’s online landscape. How can anyone today keep up?

Anne shares her frustration with hundreds of other readers who have answered that same question over the years. We become neophiliacs, always looking out for the next thing.

“Do we have to become fucking experts on ‘Pokémon marketing’ now?” she wrote.

Here goes:

[click to continue…]

The world is not flat, so why should the web be any different? New technology might just change marketing and PR — again.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

It took us a while, but we figured it out:

The Earth is round, and we shouldn’t worry about falling off the edge.

The web, however, has been flat since the start. Sure, most of us remember the debacle that was Second Life, the game-like world with pornographic avatars, that didn’t quite take.

And in gaming, we’ve been enjoying 3D experiences (“Damn, that’s the second time those alien bastards shot up my ride!”) for decades.

And so finally, after a fair share of false starts, the digital world is about to shift from 2D to 3D. So buckle up Dorothy; it’s time to kiss Kansas goodbye and go explore this magical new world.

Let’s begin in Tony Stark’s garage:

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Can machine learning predict soccer results using two years of big data from 30,000 soccer games? Yes, but not better than humans — yet.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

This is a guest post by Ola Lidmark Eriksson, CTO at Wide Ideas.

Two years ago, I asked myself if it would be possible to use machine learning to better predict the outcome of soccer games.

I decided to give it a serious try and today, two years and contextual data from 30,000 soccer games later, I’ve gained lots of interesting insights.

Here goes:

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The case study on exactly how Tinitell successfully crowdfunded a wristphone for kids on Kickstarter.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

This is the full story about our crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.

‘Tinitell’ is a wristphone designed for kids that raised $100,000 in just 10 days through crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

The campaign closed on $140,933 and the wristphone is now in production. Without any venture capital, we had to bootstrap everything.

This is the story about the project. It contains several interesting and useful learnings for anyone interested in launching crowdfunding projects.

Here goes:

[click to continue…]

According to Wikipedia: “A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. The word derives from plat, the French word for “flat.” Platitudes are geared towards presenting a shallow, unifying wisdom over a difficult topic. However, they are too overused and general to be anything more [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

According to Wikipedia:

“A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. The word derives from plat, the French word for “flat.” Platitudes are geared towards presenting a shallow, unifying wisdom over a difficult topic. However, they are too overused and general to be anything more than undirected statements with an ultimately little meaningful contribution towards a solution.”

Whether you’re in marketing and communications or not, you’ll see these platitudes everywhere. And for some reason, platitudes are becoming the go-to format for many lazy content marketers.

How can you avoid becoming one of those lazy content marketers?

[click to continue…]

Instead of trying to cram everything into one single front page, your business could make good use of multiple high-converting front pages.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

I often get involved in heated debates on what to include on the front page. It goes a little something like this:

“We really must put my work on the front page because it’s real important.”

If I then introduce concepts such as above-the-fold1, the debate often gets even more heated. And if I would weigh in by saying that certain elements aren’t that important, the chances are that someone will get offended. Like, “how dare you pass judgement on the importance of what I do for a living?”

Since this tends to be a tricky situation, to say the least, I want to give you some easy-to-follow mindsets and examples to help you get your front page strategy right.

Here goes:

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Digital marketing conference DMEXCO 2015 had 500 speakers and 43,384 visitors. Big topics included digital transformation, ad blockers, and customer journeys.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

I just got back from the digital marketing conference DMEXCO on September 16-17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany.

With 881 exhibitors, 500 speakers and 43,384 trade visitors, this is a massive event run by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (German Association for the Digital Economy).

With the main theme of “Bridging Worlds” as a backdrop for all conference activities, the big topics included ad blockers, digital transformations and of course — customer experiences. As always, I wanted to just link up my thoughts on the conference real quick.

Here goes:

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by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

What are ‘content themes’ and why should you use this technique?

The other day, this question came from a reader:

How should I prioritize where to put my time and energy between all various opportunities and social channels in digital marketing? — Camilla, Sweden.

It’s sort of becoming my modus operandi to recommend a shift in perspective:

Instead of thinking about where exactly to put energy and resources, I suggest a focus on what your most important message is — and then focus everything you got on that single message.

Like this:

[click to continue…]

Do you know exactly who you want to reach, but not exactly where to find them online? For today’s reader question, I’m looking deeper into how we can find the people we want to reach online. My biggest challenge is to find my target group. I know who I want to reach, but where do I find them digitally [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Do you know exactly who you want to reach, but not exactly where to find them online? For today’s reader question, I’m looking deeper into how we can find the people we want to reach online.

My biggest challenge is to find my target group. I know who I want to reach, but where do I find them digitally — and how do I stand out from the crowd in that channel? – Eva-Lena, Sweden.

I love this question, but it’s a tough one to answer since it focuses on the core challenge of all marketing; how to find and reach the right people with the right message.

Here goes:

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I’m starting a new series, Monday Challenges. Every Monday I will answer or discuss a question or challenge sent in by my readers. Hopefully, you’ll find this format relevant and valuable. Without further ado, here’s this week’s challenge: How can we use social media to sell and market a product that people buy very seldom? — Rebecka, Sweden. [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

I’m starting a new series, Monday Challenges. Every Monday I will answer or discuss a question or challenge sent in by my readers. Hopefully, you’ll find this format relevant and valuable.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s challenge:

How can we use social media to sell and market a product that people buy very seldom? — Rebecka, Sweden.

Interesting, right? Let’s dive right in:

[click to continue…]

I think “learning by doing” is the way to go. Here’s what I learned from creating a free email course.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Two months ago, I created a free 28-day email course.

I did have a one-week email course four-five years ago, but that was before I had an actual email list.

For the past year, I’ve been working on-and-off on creating a paid video course on digital PR, so I wanted to see if there’s any interest out there for the type of insights that I have to share.

I’m also struggling with a manuscript for a book on digital PR, and I wanted to test some of my ideas on smart professionals in my target audience.

Now that the PR course has been live for a while, I want to share some of what I’ve learned so far.

Here goes:

[click to continue…]

The internet of one, auto tagging, anomaly detection, lookalike modeling, and more — from Adobe Summit 2015.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

I’m in London at Adobe Summit 2015 to speak at a panel.

The digital marketing conference is massive with 4,000+ attendees and numerous breakout sessions.

In the audience, there are according to Adobe’s database more CTOs than CMOs, which I think is saying something of how we’re evolving as an industry. As one of Adobe’s clients put it:

“We aren’t in ‘marketing’, we’re in ‘digital’. Part of that just happens to be marketing.”

Now, when I ask my readers for their biggest challenge, many tell me they struggle with keeping up with the ever-changing world of digital. Therefore, I want to outline some exciting new trends from the conference.

Here goes:

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Content may be king. But how do you produce native content if you’re a small- or medium-sized business?

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

This week, my friends at Mynewsdesk will be launching an experiment:

They will be following Kerstin Wolgers, an 82-year old senior citizen, as she goes online for the first time in her life. Wolger’s first week online will, of course, be fully covered over at the campaign site Mynewsdesknow.

I think the campaign will show that people can adapt to a life online quickly — and actually start to produce real-time content themselves. As we’re waiting for the next 1,000,000,000 people to come online in the coming years, being able to produce meaningful native content will be a valuable skill.

The increasing need for native content was also why I was invited by Mynewsdesk to speak about inbound marketing at their annual ‘Mynewsday’ events in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

Content may be king — but how do you produce native worthy of people’s attention?

[click to continue…]

A great website can be so much more than the sum of all pages linked from your site’s navigation menu.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

We need to rethink how we structure websites.

When most people think of their websites, they think about what’s on their front page and all the pages you can get to from there.

(The massive trend with one-page websites certainly proves that.)

And those Navigational Pages are important; you do want a clean and easy-to-navigate website. However, what if there was a whole new universe of pages underneath it all.

Why would that be important?

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What’s a strategy, really? I’m at the PR conference Communicare 2014 and the word strategy comes up here and there. And not just here. It comes up in business all the time. Strategy, strategy, strategy. And strategy. I’m sure it does in your business, too. Last week I joined the Adobe EMEA Think Tank for our first [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

What’s a strategy, really?

I’m at the PR conference Communicare 2014 and the word strategy comes up here and there.

And not just here. It comes up in business all the time. Strategy, strategy, strategy. And strategy.

I’m sure it does in your business, too.

Last week I joined the Adobe EMEA Think Tank for our first session and during the panel, the question of why a digital strategy is important came up, so I explained my position on the subject.

Afterwards, I got some great feedback based on the fact that I took the time to explain what a strategy actually is — in plain terms. Not many strategists do this, apparently.

And since strategy is such an over-used and inflated term, I think it’s fair to put it as a simple question:

What’s a strategy?

Here goes:

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Key takeaways from my conversation with David Edelman, McKinsey Digital at the Adobe Summit 2014.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Last week I had a chance to speak with David Edelman, McKinsey Digital, at the spectacular Adobe Summit 2014 in London.

Not only is David a Top 5 LinkedIn Influencer, but also the global co-lead at McKinsey Digital. And before that, he worked at both Digitas and Boston Consulting Group.

Of course, I had to try and tap his brain for some insights.

I asked David to quite simply give me his thoughts on three important tech trends from an organizational perspective — and three insights on how to stay on top of the digital shift.

Here’s a summary of our conversation:

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Content marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. This simple strategy proves it — and you can use it, too.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

This article also appeared on Social Media Today.

Some experiments fail, but this sure didn’t.

With a little twist, I wanted to demonstrate how content marketing works — in particular for smaller companies. And how it could work for your business, too.

My experiment yielded some interesting results, and I thought I would share them with you.

Here goes:

[click to continue…]

How much is shared via email, messaging apps, and closed forums? According to Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic, quite a lot.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, coined what might prove to be a very much discussed term amongst social media naturals for some time to come:

Enter the Dark Social side of online sharing.

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Social media incentives for online marketing is the secret sauce. Giveaways, contests, traffic, VIP treatments, exclusive deals, special access and so on.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

What about social media incentives?

As a digital strategist, people sometimes ask me about the secret sauce for digital marketing.

In traditional PR, the secret sauce has always been conflict.

In a news-driven world, conflict simply is king (see How To Pitch The Press).

If a company is hiring, that in itself becomes extra interesting if other companies are laying people off. If you have a good product, the product becomes more interesting if it solves a problem. And it becomes even more interesting if someone specific have failed epically to solve the problem in the past.

But in digital marketing, the secret sauce in digital marketing is social media incentives.

The Narcissistic Principle

Incentives come in many shapes and forms.

Contests and giveaways are common and even if the Hippie Web sometimes frown upon such novel activities, the same way traditional PR purists frown upon using surveys for PR.

But the fact of the matter is that statistics from new surveys works — and so does contests and giveaways.

But incentives is also so much more. It’s a behavioral logic:

We share to to make ourself look smart.
We share to fit in and to stand out.
We share to express individuality.
We share to belong to our community.
We share to be more loved.
We share to extract sympathy.
We share to get ahead.

And so on.

Yet, there are just as many online corporate activities that lack any user incentive as there are press releases that lack conflict. If it’s that easy, why are we making it so hard?

At the core, it’s all about humanity.

When we want to tell the world our happy news, every fiber of our beings wants to stay away from the conflict.

When we want people to share our messages, it feels awkward to let the users themselves reign over the messaging according to their own agendas.

And this is why these secret sauces stay so elusive.

And here’s the kicker; in order to better understand how to talk, you must first learn how to shut up for a second and listen to what people want. Difficult, yes. Counter-intuitive, yes.

Better? Absolutely.

I don’t believe content to be a social silver bullet, but I seem to be in a minority on this one. Great content is merely a hygiene factor

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

At a dinner the other day, I got myself tangled up in a heated discussion on content marketing:

We discussed whether or not there were any significant differences between content marketing and the type of editorial services the PR function had been delivering since the beginning of the 20th century. We agreed that the media logic had changed they way we work with different channels, but that the basic principles of editorial marketing had stayed the same.

So it was only natural for us to agree that editorial content was more important than ever.

However, while my dinner company was enthusiastically praising the importance of great content, I soon find myself disagreeing. While I think great content is important, it’s not a magic bullet.

Here’s why:

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I follow Marcus Sheridan’s blog, The Sales Lion. It’s always a good read, but the other day I just had to push a blog post to my “read later” cue (which is sort of stacking up, but that’s another story). However, I read the post about content tipping points — and the concept is highly interesting: What [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

I follow Marcus Sheridan’s blog, The Sales Lion.

It’s always a good read, but the other day I just had to push a blog post to my “read later” cue (which is sort of stacking up, but that’s another story).

However, I read the post about content tipping points — and the concept is highly interesting:

What if every website has a magic number?

[click to continue…]

Why blog, you wonder. There are many reasons depending on your given situation, of course. Just as there are many reasons not to blog. Personally, I think there’s one reason above the others. Here goes: However nice the reporter is, it’s quite easy to feel the pressure of a million tons when your business reputation [...]

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

Why blog, you wonder.

There are many reasons depending on your given situation, of course. Just as there are many reasons not to blog.

Personally, I think there’s one reason above the others.

Here goes:

[click to continue…]

As a frequent business traveler, here’s what I would expect from my dream hotel — when it comes to its digital presence.

by Jerry Silfwer // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora
Digital Strategist // Spin Factory, Kaufmann Agency

For once in my life, I’d like to stay at a hotel where the digital world is a part of the overall experience.

I’ve stayed at my fair share of hotels, but none has ever gotten close to what I, as a frequent business traveler, would expect digitally from a dream hotel.

If I were doing PR for a hotel with a budget to match our mutually shared ambitions, here’s how I’d do it:

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