Slideshare got sold

Today’s discovery. Slideshare got sold.

scribd and slideshare

Slideshare header about Scribd

I was a very early Scribd user…. now I find they’ve bought Slideshare from LinkedIn.

This will change things for many of us who love Slideshare.

  • What happens to my slide decks shared into LinkedIn? [they stay]
  • Who still uses Slideshare [me and my clients]
  • Why is Scribd such a great platform? [sharing document images – especially long ones.]

Why I loved Slideshare

It was the first and most easy way to share decks – create embeddable and downloadable links and also do lead generation from a single place. For folks in professional services this was great if you were using education as a B2B marketing tool. I frequently recommended this strategy for my clients and it remains very effective.

What changes now?

Well, tools come and go all the time. I spend a lot of time cataloguing new marketing software and services which could be useful for me or my clients,  That’s one of the reasons why I’m often such an early adopter of these services [checkout when I joined Twitter for example].

Slides featured on my LinkedIn Profile

The functionality for slide embeds will continue to rest with Slideshare for the time being. But its utility is now altered.

Where and how expertise is shared is not the same and will continue to evolve.  And so, for now, I’m going to be looking closely at Scribd and its functionality.

And don’t forget LinkedIn – what will happen to future slide decks? Will there be alternative software for uploading them? What are the Slideshare alternatives and do they work on the LinkedIn platform?

What does Scribd do for me?

Scribd now also has functionality for reading magazines and books and audiobooks as well as slide decks.  It’s a competitor to Audible, Google Books, Kindle, Flip, Isuue and news or magazine aggregators.

All Slideshare users are automatically given a Scribd login.  Sadly they are only offering 2 months free use to Slideshare customers.

This makes me suspect that the acquisition was just to buy a user base. Sharing your slides isn’t exactly the same use case as using Scribd.

What do you think about this acquisition? Useful? Waste of Time? Who does slides today anyway?

describe your superpowers

Your marketing superpowers

Selling consultancy is hard.  And selling a professional service is doubly hard.

Niche selling is the best way to be – create a tight brief of detailed information what you do and for whom.  Stay focused and don’t deviate.

All easy to say and hard to do.

When a contact asked me “What are your superpowers?”

I’d like to get an idea of your superpowers, your ok powers, and what you don’t do as well. This will help me work out who best to refer you too, and whether you could be a supplier to me too.

I was challenged to write a decent answer.

describe your superpowers

From a Slack channel introduction automation.

 

Rebecca’s Superpowers

Clearly a lovely Americanism – but hey, who doesn’t want to believe that wearing a cape will “enable the user to fly”? superman cape fly warning
  • Business to business marketing – does what it says on the tin.  From strategy to tactics. For your Board, for your internal team, for your agency suppliers and subcontractors.

Subsidiary superpowers

Supporting the big one….

  • Marketing strategy – what is the big picture of what you need to achieve and the (likely) tactics which will get you there?
  • Customer relationship management – the strategy to build long term relationships with people who buy from your business.
  • Building a team who understands what is needed and collaborates effectively to get work done.
  • Briefing – ensuring instructions are clear and understood, delivered within brief and on budget.
  • Copywriting – explaining complex things in suitable language for the audience.
  • Teaching marketing – helping others understand the big picture and where each detail fits into the overall plan.  PLUS how to do marketing.
  • Knowing about new tools, techniques and services. I scan the outside world and am frequently an early user / adopter of new things e.g. Blogging since 2006; Twitter since 2007, Podcasting since 2013.

OK Powers

These are competencies.
  • Website management – using different CMS interfaces
  • Search Engine Optimisation – the words that get you found and the software that ensures your site is indexed regularly.
  • Customer journey mapping – how do customers find you, where and when and how to engage with them.
  • Sales – finding the right prospects, engaging with them and starting the sales conversation.
  • Pitching – when you need to present the best face of your business for a very important deal or contract.
And lastly, what I don’t do.
Do PR or organise parties.

 

 

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My copywriting process explained

I write copy for a living.

I write a lot.  Words, words, words. Each project is designed to fit into a particular desired outcome within a marketing strategy and tactical framework. I say that so you understand context.

Context in writing is both important and valuable – but more about that later.

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My actual pen and notes for B2B copywriting

How I write marketing copy

Getting a message across using printed words (as opposed to audio, images or video) is a giant challenge. Knowing how long humans have been writing, you’d think that everything that could have been written has been. And yet…. we know that’s not true.  The imagination and skill of mankind to innovate is immense.

My writing is usually business to business copywriting for marketing purposes. That’s my area of expertise. And so the steps I take begin with the outcome. What do I want to happen as a result of a prospect or client reading what I’ve written?

  • End goal is to click through to website
  • End goal is to understand how to write B2B copy
  • End goal is to reply with a  question

These examples are all valid outcomes and each requires very different copy treatments.

The first version is always factual

What are the true, inalienable facts that support the end goal? I list these in a brain dump document. Frequently these are the result of conversations with the client, the internal team and existing customers.

Then I supplement this with some desk research. Reading ‘around the subject’ can come from many sources – newsletters, online magazines, blogs, books. Interestingly, I rarely search social media for this information. My choice – it may suit your needs. The amazing Knowledge Hunter, Geoff McDowell, taught me so much about this subject.

Adding more copy material

From the wider reading I copy/paste and add in more themes, concepts, nuance, examples, phrases and keywords. I also look out for no-nos. These are things I want to avoid.

Sometimes images, colours, layouts and other visual elements present themselves from this research too. That can be very helpful as my brain often leaps forward towards the end result WAY earlier than it’s supposed to. To avoid distraction, I save and note these ideas back in the research document. By noting them, I have preserved the idea; but I’m not focusing on them at this stage. It means I don’t lose the inspiration – I can revive that thought later just by re-reading my notes.

This all contributes to a second draft. This is when I decide the overall frame for the project and HOW does this translate into the copywriting. This could be storytelling, it could be demonstration, case study, questioning, educating. There is a lot more information added, there are more concepts and overall I just write freely incorporating the research information and framing arguments, emotions and logic into one long piece of writing.

This is the place where context comes to the fore. How will the message be delivered, what will the recipient be doing or not doing? Where in the customer journey will they be? What is the outcome or next step goal in this campaign?

Editing and refining copy

This is the part I love.

Precise and concise are watchwords which I hope any client applies to a testimonial about my business copywriting.

Taking what I wrote and simplifying, cutting, removing extraneous information and honing it down into a tight, precise and well-organised message is a repetitive task and it gives me so much pleasure. Sometimes I use a technique of adding in sub-headings (as in this blog) because it helps me to organise and find the big messages in the very long copy.

Often I leave the first opening paragraph until last because it’s so hard. Sometimes I switch the first and last paragraphs – try it!

Headlines and calls to action are a separate challenge and I may do a couple of different versions or give options and let the client choose. This is because they are mostly better-informed about their product or service than I am. Teamwork helps work out what will resonate and achieve the goal.

And then I sleep on it

Yes this is really the final step before showing it to the client, adding it to a mock-up or an EDM. This is important and is one reason why planning at the first step needs to include deadlines and allowances for sleep time.

7 things I’ve appreciated after sleeping on my work

  1. My brain is fresher in the morning
  2. I process ideas while resting
  3. Better re-writes are (nearly always) possible
  4. I can check that I haven’t missed anything out [done this MANY times – but rescued the situation before the client read it]
  5. Reflect on alternative approaches which I earlier discarded
  6. Opportunity to print it onto paper and read out loud
  7. Check grammar, punctuation, capitalisations and links all working and correctly placed

And that’s it. The whole creative writing process for B2B copy.

About the picture illustrating this article.

That’s really my pen and my notebook, photographed this morning as I got a tiny bit of inspiration for a client as a result of doing some research for a different client. It’s odd the way my brain works. And I have learned to respect my brain process and to always seize the moment and make the notes when they jump into my mind. I don’t have to use them – but I’m sure I will lose them if they aren’t captured.

I do not have the neatest handwriting, yet using blue-black ink in an old-fashioned fountain pen gives me both pleasure and the chance to read my words again without guessing what I meant to write. Someday I’ll photograph some of my notes which turn out to be illegible even to me. Generally when I rush to write, legibility suffers.

The unknown part of writing inspiration

The pen also lives in a leather case. My ritual of opening the case flap and flicking back the long cover, unsheathing the pen and unscrewing its lid before writing still gives me a frisson. I never know exactly what will come out of the inky nib onto that pristine sheet of paper, onto the next empty line, or inserted between the paragraphs of print.

And the pen – a birthday gift chosen with care while on holiday. I got the nib re-surfaced by this amazing pen expert who recommended not using ink cartridges. He also explained a lot about the issues of ink/paper and my unique hand/pressure and what a converter is, not a bladder. There is a distinction between them.

So now you know my B2B writing process. What will you do with this knowledge?

 

Brief Rebecca on your copywriting project

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lockdown customer survey

Customer survey during lockdown

Continuing our series on lockdown marketing tips – how about doing a survey of your customers?

  • One goal
  • Few questions
  • Allow freeform answers as well as picklists
  • Make a valuable offer at the end.

 

Analysis of CEO message to customers

Writing tone of voice aligned with brand values is a powerful marketing tool.

This email is so powerful because the structure of this message is aligned to brand values

  1. open Reminder of their mission 
  2. Then acknowledge pain
  3. New tools that support their community
  4. Sign off with a humble acknowledgement

The full text

Dear SoundCloud Creators,

Since our founding, SoundCloud’s mission has been to give people the power to share, connect and grow through music.

As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, we’ve seen a global outpouring of tracks on SoundCloud — with a 50% surge in creators uploading in the past month alone. But behind this creative response, we know there continues to be financial loss and uncertainty for our creator community.

Last week we rolled out our first wave of creator support — our partnership with Twitch, 50% off SoundCloud Pro Unlimited, a resource guide and weekly creator office hours with our artist relations team — to help with the impact some of you are facing. This felt like a good start, but we want to do more for the long term.

Today, we’re accelerating a series of new initiatives and over $15M in direct investment to support creators on SoundCloud during this difficult time.

  • New direct fan-support button for all creators.
    We’ve created a simple button for your SoundCloud profile to connect your preferred way to receive direct fan support including Kickstarter, Patreon, Bandcamp, Paypal and more. Learn how to get this live on your profile right now.
  • $5M in free promotional support for all creators to drive more plays on SoundCloud.
    For the rest of 2020, we’re giving away all of our Promote on SoundCloud inventory. Tag your SoundCloud uploads #GetMorePlays and our editorial team will select up to 5 artists per week to feature with promotion. More details to come soon on our blog.
  • Immediate launch of Repost by SoundCloud, a new marketing and distribution service.
    Independent artists who want to take their career to the next level can now access professional marketing and monetization services plus industry-leading distribution features. Repost by SoundCloud is available to everyone, no play count thresholds. Learn more here.
  • $10M artist accelerator program to support independent creators’ career growth.
    We are committing $10M to help fuel the careers of independent artists upstreamed from Repost by SoundCloud into our artist services offering, Repost Select. Apply here.

We understand our efforts here are no match for the care providers on the frontlines of this global crisis. But we will continue to look for ways to support our global SoundCloud community, so you can keep sharing music we can all turn to in these challenging times, and long into the future.

Kerry

Rush into eCommerce during Lockdown

Today’s first quick marketing tip is about Competitor analysis – find out what your competitors are doing to market at this time

Open a search window and type your brand name vs.

Wait and see what auto complete suggests.

Then do it again for the suggested name. I did the Warehouse vs and it suggested Kmart. Then I did Kmart vs…

Set up your online shop

Getting online for ecommerce is happening for many brands due to the lockdown.

Ensure that your proposal suits your current need, the speed you need to roll it out and the ability of your marketing team to execute.

The video explains why.

 

How to write a good Covid-19 email

There are 3 types of message – two are a waste of time and effort.

  • Focus appropriately.
  • Give clear messages.
  • Understand the customer’s point of view.
  • Be practical.

Help others to stay within the Government’s Level 4 guidelines.

Subscribe to get these short update videos in YouTube or LinkedIn and please pass them to folks who need help.

 

sinking ship, crisis communications

Crisis Communications Rule of 3

What can brands say to their customers now it’s clear that business as not-normal will continue?
– two content messaging ideas are in the video

3 rules for crisis communications

  • 100% transparency
  • Write with compassion
  • Be clear, accurate and concise about tough decisions

 

 

Interest.co.nz, news website nz,

Copywriting to shorten marketing messages

Our team brings you the news about our economy that requires intensive investigation, providing an important resource for Kiwis who want to make well-informed financial decisions. Your contribution fuels our capacity to provide independent reporting & analysis, while also keeping our site open for comments & community engagement.

A case study – the client supplied the text at the top.

It was from a popup on their website.  But the display required the prospect to scroll to read it all.

I re-wrote the copy into two versions so they did not have the scroll bar appear and also to give a slightly different emphasis on the messaging.

Rewrite copy version 1

Our reputation is built on expert news reporting on the NZ economy.  We are an important resource for Kiwis making well-

copywriting, short copy,

The chosen version published.

informed financial decisions. By paying to support us, you’re ensuring we continue to be an independent, powerful media site where our analysis and your commentary builds a robust community of interest.  

Notes:

  • Shortening New Zealand to NZ is not my preferred way of writing, but suits this situation.
  • The focus on expert news is secondary to the informed financial decisions
  • Strong adjectives and a clear expectation of what the outcome will be

Rewrite copy version 2

We specialise in news about the NZ economy which takes intensive investigation and journalist resource.  Our reputation is built on helping Kiwis make well-informed financial decisions. Your support means we can continue independent reporting, expert analysis, and enables moderated commenting on the website.

Notes:

  • The focus is on the quality of journalism comes first
  • The reader’s desire for decision-making secondary (at this time of Covid19 – most are reading news pages)
  • Many like the ability to comment.  Many news sites have withdrawn this feature.