Free… for Free by Chris Anderson

The free economy that has been expanding ever since our lives got digital is generating a lot of discussions these days. You’ve heard about the newspapers’ financial troubles associated to the free distribution of their content, the music and film industries’ fight against piracy or Radiohead giving their creations away to whoever wants to pay attention. Some swear that our economies will be transformed for the best by all that is free, others say it will be our demise! Truth is, information is scattered here and there and is mostly based on opinions, not facts. So is Free a good or bad thing for us?

Chris Anderson has recently released a book about the free economy that I had the pleasure to read… for free. Indeed, his book was published on good ol’ traditional paper, but also digitally on Scribd(with more free distribution channels to come). Free brings a lot of food to the table – it starts off with a historical overview of the free economy, from Jell-O to Gillette up to Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, then moves on to full course where it dissects nicely different models of the free economy (freemiums, freebies, piracy, etc.) as well as its specific effects on human psychology. The book is definitely an advocator of “free”, even though the author tries to give its negative side some coverage as well. Let’s say the book tends to bend towards Jeff Jarvis’ What Would Google Do politics – How can you compete against free? Instead of trying to fight it, embrace it. Chris Anderson states his point loud and clear, backed up with great amount of facts, case studies and examples. Once you’re done reading, it is hard not to consider having a slice of that cake integrated to your business model. But can this be sustained by any types of businesses? Also, for all these companies that succeed with their “free” model, how many just don’t cut it? Monetizing the free economy is still a challenge for many online and offline businesses, especially since ad spending and revenues keep going down. Any newspaper representative will tell you how much of a challenge it is.

All in all, Free makes for a great poster child of the free economy and is packed with examples, facts and statistics that supports this business model. Read it for inspiration and see if this can be applied to your business or project, but bear in mind that “free” still asks for creative monetization models. But eh, why don’t you check it out yourself and see if Free applies to you… and it won’t cost you a dime!

You can read Free for free on Scribd.

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Case Studies – List of “How To” Blog Posts

Case studies are a weapon of choice for your marketing campaigns. You might be wondering how such documents can help your brand’s growth and monetization. Well, just as we’ve been showing you that white papers can help you market your products in B2B, IT, tech or social media settings, we believe case studies can help you achieve similar goals. Here we’ve gathered a collection of interesting articles on how to write case studies and market them on social networks – have a look at them, they could help you improve your business strategies.

Alison Harrison wrote an article titled Writing Better Case Studies. It focuses on how to make case study documents a valuable marketing tool for your company. In this article, readers will learn 5 ways to improve the effectiveness of presenting information in a document. This article captures the benefits of keeping the document organized and simple by selecting a clear customer example.

When we create case study documents, we should provide stories that are mostly aligned to the customer’s expectations. Else, the document may not serve the purpose of presenting the required information of the research or case study. Casey Hibbard has highlighted what to avoid when creating case studies in his article titled 3 Deadly Pitfalls When Creating Case Studies. This post focuses on how stories have to deliver results by gaining attention of both “readers” and “skimmers” of the document.

Case Studies Help your customer help you is an interesting and crisp article by Phil Dunn. The article sets very clear guidelines as to writing case studies and gives pointers and insights to improve the quality of your papers. The author also underlines the importance of being prepared for the case studies’ interviews.

The ultimate motto of case study documents is to act as a catalyst in the selling process. In the series of articles listed below, Casey Hibbard has done a phenomenal job to explain to the community what to focus on when writing compelling stories made for selling. In a nutshell, the customers that you choose to feature in case studies should mirror the types of customers you want more of. Ideally, your prospects should see themselves – and their challenges solved – in the customer’s success stories that you are sharing. The collection of articles are listed below:

Here is a post about Writing a Good Software Case Study. It is specifically helpful for those who are in the software industry. Joanna Lees has well captured the challenges she faced during her marketing days and highlights the critical points that we need to take care of while writing case studies. Case studies are very powerful documents for a B2B and software sales approach. This article provides a great amount of tips for targeting software companies.

Anatomy of a case study has suggestions to make your case studies enjoyable. Most of the customers take it seriously and read the solutions provided in case studies. I think it is really important to keep the document as simple as possible and to make sure it targets a particular segment.

The white paper versus case study debate is still generating arguments to this day – which document seems to perform better? Jonathan Kantor in a post entitled Do Case Studies Outperform White Papers? takes a stab at the matter.

In the post A Tale of Two Case Studies, the author has very clearly shown what options to choose from when writing a case study. One of the key highlights from this article is to always look at the options that best represent your ideal customer as opposed to looking for great results with your solution. You’ll find the results will speak for themselves.

Here is a basic introductory article on case study writing by Robert F. Abbott. If you have to persuade others to adopt your point of view, or buy your products, or vote for you, then you might find a case study useful. This article clearly highlights what needs to be stitched together to build a story that keeps the reader hooked on.

A picture can speak a thousand words – So, jazz up your documents with relevant pictures so that customers get the pitch right away.

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Using Twitter for Content Marketing: 10 Twitterers You Should Take Example On

Is it possible to do Content Marketing on a network such as Twitter? This form of marketing is all about, well, developing quality, valuable content, but how can you make this happen in 140 characters or less? Even though it might seem counter-productive at first, developing a Twitter strategy is not only possible but also desirable since it enables live discussions around people’s content, making it contributive and alive. Where blogs tend to be planned, Twitter is about immediacy. So how do you go about developing great Twitter content?

Learn from those who do it well.

These 10 twitterers all provide their followers with valuable content and interactions. Each evolve in their own field, it be the food, music or travel industry. These people all have thousands of followers who are eager to contribute and share with one another. Start following them and have a look at their feed – there’s a lot to learn just through reading and understanding a community’s interactions!

Pandora Radio

This internet radio station out of California has a very tight and active Twitter community going. Lucia takes care of the account and content, sharing and listening with fellow twitterers. If you have a music request, she’ll be there to make it happen!

Patsi from The Blog Squad

This is not the first we’re telling you about Patsi Krakoff, though this time we’re paying attention to her Twitter feed. Patsi broadcast interesting and meaningful content that supports and completes nicely her blog while also sharing with fellow marketers.

WholeFoods

WholeFoods is extremely active with its followers – its feed is mostly filled with discussions and interactions. Ask and you shall receive as they say. By having such a tight relationship with its fan base, WholeFoods truly shows the benefits of listening and sharing for a brand.

Foodimentary

Still in the food category, Foodimentary broadcast quirky and fun food facts while making good use of current news and events. This is a great example of well thought-of content strategy.

Oprah

Ah, Oprah. She already has enormous success with her own personal brand and has taken her people along with her on Twitter. Here she successfully shares her thoughts about her show and life, as if she gave her people a behind-the-scene glimpse on her life. We do think she should follow more people and interact a little bit more.

MC Hammer

MC Hammer is very active in sharing and discussing with his fanbase, making them feel like he truly cares and listens. We also get to know this artist a little bit more each day thanks to his tweets.

Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuck is a well-known and highly successful wine enthusiast. He pretty much applies to Twitter the same straight-talking, honest content marketing he has used on his blog and Web TV. He talks with his fans and helps them while sharing aspects of his personal life. Very entertaining!

Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines

These two airline companies both hold impressive Twitter accounts. They cleverly use these to broadcast local special offers. They’re active with their users, answering their questions and needs. Also, both seem very keen at promoting local activities and the likes, going well beyond their existing business. Jeff Jarvis would say that airline companies are in the business of connecting people – these twitter feeds prove it.

Etsy

Etsy is the marketplace of artists and craftsmen. They’re using their Twitter feed to promote their users and connecting with the community, which is an extent of their website. They’re also great at promoting local communities and culture.

Would you mind sharing other twitterers who you feel have a great Content Marketing strategy?

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