Mention Cincinnati to someone not familiar with our city on the banks of the Ohio River and they usually say something about chili with spaghetti, the Reds, Pete Rose, P&G or a conference they attended here.
Of course, those of us who call Cincinnati home could list lots of pluses about the Queen City — our thriving arts and music scenes, family-friendly atmosphere, wonderful parks, museums, affordable housing, UC and Xavier, the Bengals, Tall Stacks, strong social service safety net, variety of choices for spiritually minded folks, diverse business base…
And, most impressive to me lately, Cincinnati’s prominence as a marketing hub. On Sept. 23-24, for example, I attended the 3rd annual Digital Non Conference in downtown Cincinnati.
The event featured keynote speakers such as Greg Coleman of Huffington Post, Tim Westergren of Pandora, actress America Ferarra (Ugly Betty), Drew Buckley of Electus and Wendy Lea of Get Satisfaction. Sprinkle in Cincinnati’s own Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Digital Strategic Services, Dave Knox of Rockfish Interactive and Jerry Kathman of LPK.
In between keynotes, some of the top digital marketing minds around interacted with people who help build brands and connect customers with products and services. One attendee told me he drove from Toronto. I also shared ideas with people from Indianapolis and Lexington.
I tweeted notes throughout the event. Please review my Twitter stream on @MikeBoehmer57 and check out the #dignc hashtag. Lots of people shared lots of good stuff.
Yes, we’ve got a lot more than chili and baseball in Cincinnati!
Just over a year ago, my wife Tami started a blog to inform and inspire those affected by cancer. The blog, www.miraclesurvivors.com, has been visited by more than 7,500 people in all 50 states and 90-some countries. It has served as a platform for her book, From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. And, most importantly, it has put her in the center of a powerful community of people who support each other as they live with cancer or overcome life’s other challenges.
Here are things we’ve learned along the way that could perhaps help other bloggers:
(1) Enlist the help of a web developer to help set up and tweak the blog. In our case, Jason Bayer of JMan Studios in Northern Kentucky.
(2) Provide valuable content at least two or three times per week to maintain and build an audience.
(3) Share personal stories — both your own and those of others. Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart. Others will do the same in return.
(4) Track usage with a tool such as Google Analytics. You’ll learn what works best. You’ll find out that others do, indeed, care about what you’ve got to say.
(5) Promote the blog through traditional channels such as media relations, community presentations, networking at events attended by your target audience…
(6) Do your blog with an attitude of giving, rather than receiving. Share helpful information. Connect people with others who inspire them.
(7) Promote your blog through other social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
(8) Test the waters with paid advertising on Facebook and Google.
(9) Have an RSS and/or e-mail subscription area.
Nothing earth-shattering here. Just putting in practice some of the basics we’ve learned elsewhere. It works–if you work it! For more information, please see Tami’s one-year update.
I never would have imagined while enjoying those eight or nine Dead shows back in the day that I would learn a lot about marketing while reading a book about the band in 2010.
Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan helped me walk a few steps further in my journey into the marketing world. Among lessons shared are:
(1) Rethink traditional industry assumptions
(2) Turn your customers into evangelists
(3) Bypass accepted channels and go direct
(4) Build a huge, loyal following
Meerman Scott and Halligan draw from practices that made the Dead the top touring band of all time in 19 chapters with titles such as “Create a Unique Business Model,” “Cut Out the Middleman” and “Upgrade to Premium.” They tell how more than a dozen companies such as Rue La La, Google and Amazon have successfully employed those practices.
I learned a great deal about marketing while reading Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR a couple of years back. After devouring Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, I ordered Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. I’m really enjoying it, too.
As basketball legend and Deadhead Bill Walton states in a cover quote: “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead is like a powerful, hard-charging anthem that fills in so many blanks while closing the circle of life. Like the Grateful Dead, Brian and David are transformational visionaries with a keen eye for the second set.”
Reading their latest book will help get you Truckin’ into the new world of marketing and PR!