what’s your leash?

my dog likes to eat her leash — while we are walking

i want to be mad at her but i realized I’ve been chewing at my leash all my life

wouldn’t you tug at the leash that led you around?

moreover – why aren’t we the leader and the led? So often someone or something else leads us and we follow or try to — and like my adorable and conflicted dog we think we can run farther and faster than we can and that leash just forces us back into a line and path we didn’t necessarily agree to.

so I ask you dear reader (if there are any of you) – what is your leash?

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photo by http://instagram.com/torojefe#

so — I’ve been trying to figure out the path to simplifying and trying to understand how to balance all the little beings in me (artist/professional, southerner/new yorker, christian/anarchist, gypsy/girlfriend) and wondering do i need to kill one to allow the other to survive….or can you be all of these things in one being?

then I remembered this song and it seems about right…only I wonder via a blog or a painting rather than a rubber room.

Ophelia — coming to terms with dualities

Reblogging myself: Diagnosing content marketing in the healthcare world

Originally posted on PharmaLive

Social media and digital engagement are inherently tricky for the pharmaceutical industry, which lacks specific guidelines for social media—especially regarding how drugs should be marketed in the social space. The beauty of adopting a content-focused plan is that it allows Pharma to concentrate their messages on providing value and disseminating information to a highly defined target without getting hung up in engagement and communications loopholes.

How does Pharma engage without engaging?

By telling a story and providing resources you can become a valuable and welcome addition to your end users’ social media mix without the risk of engaging in touchy conversations. As a content creator, you start the conversation, and you own the message and the moderation. For many healthcare brands, the need to disable comments on social channels or steer clear of two-way conversations in open channels provides a challenge in engaging the right audience. Such brands often resort to proprietary communities or limit their social engagement to blogging.

If you create vibrant content and strategize the right distribution points, you can broaden your digital presence and achieve social scale without navigating the two-way conversation rapids. By thinking about the end user, the stories and resources that the user wants and needs, the brand can become a valuable asset no matter what entry point they take.

You’ve got the science, now get the sexy!

The good news is, you likely already have a ton of content: studies, research, data, insights and testimonials. The challenge is how do you package it so it catches your target audience’s attention? Once you’ve got your sexy on, where do you strut your stuff?

Great listening audits synched with your end user information as well as key terms associated with your drug category will not only tell you where the folks are, but what kind of content they are already consuming. With this knowledge comes power – the power to craft your content into stories, graphics and videos that will truly break through and drive engagement from the right people, in the right manner.

Consider working with digital creatives to leverage these insights to develop unique and sharable pieces of content (e.g., infographics, motion graphics, and patient stories in animations or interviews). You can then distribute this engaging content via Facebook and Twitter, as well as digital ad units, email, and blogs that will have legs beyond your own channels and will be shared with your users’ networks. Of course you’ll need to follow all necessary disclaimers within this content.

“Doctor Recommended” in 140 characters…

Going back to your listening audit you should have a good idea of where your target user is engaging. Whether you have a presence in that channel or not, you can still reach them and get the clicks you deserve. There are a few ways to do this. For Facebook, highly targeted paid ad units are an effective approach as is general sharing of the content from your blog and website. For Twitter, getting partner influencers or medical journals to distribute your content will reach your audience (always noting any relevant disclaimers). Leveraging paid media units like Google CPC and other iAd units that follow your targeting will give you additional scale. Remember to ensure the content is sharable to increase the potential for organic virality once you’ve captured users’ attention.

#Taketwo and tweet me in the morning.

Now that you’ve figured out how to convert that mass of information you have into viable, attractive content AND you’ve distributed it in a strategic way, it’s time to regulate and perfect. What is so amazing about social and digital is that, rather than performing a zillion trials to get the product right, you can immediately change the formula. With real-time insights you can immediately see how your campaign is doing, meaning you can optimize by quickly adjusting your strategy. If your infographic is doing really well on Tumblr but not on Pinterest, you can stop investing as much time in Pinterest and increase production for Tumblr.

The options for the right formula are endless, the prescription for the best results will change month over month, but the baseline diagnoses is that content is king, even for Pharma companies, no matter what your social footprint is. And with that I’ll spare you any more medical analogies and let you start combing your library for content thought starters!

Renee Alexander is Director of Social Marketing Strategies at Rosetta.

Remix it up + Three Tenets of Content Marketing

Yesterday I talked about how there are no new ideas, just new channels. I got a few emails about that post and have been talking with former clients and colleagues about the theme of content marketing. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for analogies (sometimes they rock and sometimes they flop). One of my favorite analogies  is talking about how marketers should take a tip from Hip-Hop and “remix.”

What this means is finding something tried and true:

  • your brand promise
  • your core audience
  • your brand’s key differentiators

and mix it up with something new and fresh that allows you to present the pillars in a new way:

  • a physical event amplified through digital (road show/concert/art event/stunt)
  • a mobile app (always on)
  • interactive content (online, in media,in person)

Problems arise when people throw out the baby with the bath water and end up with nothing. Don’t compromise your brands equity, turn your back on your core consumer or abandon your brand’s values. You do not have to completely alter what your brand stands for to compete in the new digital environment.

The tenets I have been preaching since 2007 continue to ring true no matter what device or methods you tell your story:

  1. Be Authentic
    1. the big difference with these new mediums is the transparency. Unlike the radio show days you have thousands (maybe millions) of digital investigators ready to pounce on anything not accurate or on the up and up.
    2. you have a chance never before to befriend your consumer and be part of their lives EVERY DAY not just for a :30 commercial but for the duration of their digital day…make it count!
  2. Ensure you are ready for the spotlight
    1. do you have great customer service? is your product living up to its promise? can you handle the magnifying glass?
  3. Tell a Story
    1. Make a story (not a fairy tale) out of your brand promise and equity
    2. tell the story of your company, the people there, the reason for being, the values you stand for
    3. Find like brands and entities to tell your story for you

Follow the three tenets, do it in a new way and you’ll be remixin it to win it like some of the best (this is my fave example of old standard meeting new medium):

Content Marketing: Not So New

As I read all these blogs and articles about how ‘Content is King’ and ‘Brands must be Content Creators’ I am baffled that the authors find this so ground breaking. Brands have been creating content since the beginning of brands.

The only things that change are the medium by which the stories get told. Instead of 3 page advetorials in newspapers or pamphlets or branded farmers almanacs it’s now mobile apps and branded video games.

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Check out these vintage recipe pamphlets each created by a popular food brand like Jell-O, Pillsbury and even Dove soap (featuring the great Julia Child).

At the height of radio people would gather around their large console radio and tune into shows like the Lone Ranger, Guiding Light and a myriad of comedy hours. All brought to you by brands like Dreft, Super Suds, Borax and more.

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And now, 75 years later we marketers think we’re doing some majorly innovative thing by turning brands into creators. Not to sound like a broken phonograph but I’ve been saying for years that there is nothing new about social media and relationship or content marketing.

Perhaps we should instead look to the past to inform our present and lay the groundwork for our future. Stop being so focused on who is the most innovative and rather focus on who is the most productive — who makes the next “Soap Opera”. Soaps are called that because they were sponsored by Soap brands after-all; mini operatic radio dramas aimed at house wives to get them to become loyal to this soap or the other. If you liked Guiding Light you’d be a Tide woman; All My Children and you were more likely to align with Dreft. Having worked on similar brands recently I can tell you the mentality is still there as evidenced in our Mommy blogger programs and TV companion apps during daytime television.

As they say, there are no new ideas…so read up on your brand history, get grounded in the past to propel you to a more successful content filled future!

It’s a New Year

My whole personal brand building plan of last year is totally out the window, yet again I have gotten wrapped right on up into other projects. I’m not going to make any resolutions because, I mean let’s be real here.

I’ll do better (she says to herself) but more importantly…what happened to me rebelling against only writing for my paycheck?

DAMN…only one thing left to do:

Thanksgivi-Meme

A lovely little meme has popped up as we enter November, the month of thanks and giving. It may be little irony that it has happened in the wake of some tragic weather events across the world, not the least of which is Hurricane Sandy which hit both of my home towns (NYC and VA/OBX).

The FIVE DAILY GRATITUDES seems to have a few origins but has taken off with people posting a status update on Facebook every day in November with 5 things they are thankful for. I noticed a few of my friends start this up the other day some with very earnest and heartfelt bullet points, others getting a little cheeky (my fuzzy slippers, my red lipstick).

I think this is a lovely idea and certainly will help us become reflective and appreciative for our abundant first world lives…but yet again I fear we will fall into social media laze.

The sense of doing good we get from posting things we are thankful for could be a bit too passive. While yes it is illuminating and certainly more meaningful than posting about Taylor Swift or what pasta you ate for dinner, it still is just a few pixels of  light.

I wonder what would happen if, in addition to or instead of these daily posts, we reached out to 5 friends we haven’t spoken to in years? Perhaps give 5 things away from our closets or cupboards? Maybe give $5 away to a worthy charity or write 5 letters to shut-ins, veterans or those still serving? Give love to 5 dogs at the pound? Spend 5 minutes saying thank you to folks in real life, like the cashier at the grocery store? Maybe spend 5 minutes in a neighborhood that is unfamiliar or scary to you to see how the other half lives? Perhaps volunteer at 5 different places in November?

You see I am constantly troubled by how our virtual lives give us a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that may in fact be keeping us from genuine, tangible, physical action and love.

This is a hard conundrum for someone in social media and a few folks (more than a few) get this right. (I’m looking at you @HardlyNormal, @Kanter, @PeterShankman)

I’m thankful for social media and the ease of connectivity in times of emergency. For the ability to reach out when I am down and immediately have friends, fans and followers share an encouraging word. For the instant satisfaction of a sad or uplifting or cathartic video.

Just please let’s not forget that there’s a world beyond our smartphones and laptops and that we are not our avatars…

Two THANK YOU videos today for you, one that will get stuck in your ear, another in your heart:

Donate to more folks in need and support Mark’s work: CLICK HERE

MAYBE NOT….

OK so maybe “QUIT” is a strong word.

It was bold and foolish to think I could just turn my back on my work after having such a robust, varied and successful career. The real goal, as in all things it to find the balance.

I CAN have that great Social Media/Digital Strategy career AND write and maybe one day have a family…it’s all about the balance.

So as the water subsides from Hurricane Sandy outside my window, I am clicking around looking for the role that will provide just that,  the stability of the career but the peace of mind to allow me to follow my creative urges.

If you see anything, let me know! 

The Moody Blues have the right questions…