Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Thank you, protein bars, for keeping our secret that you are just a candy bar – Jimmy Fallon

Christoph

November 28, 2014

My Fitness Tips

Every Friday, late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon writes funny thank you notes. The clip below includes the protein bar note. “Thank you, protein bars. I know you are just a candy bar. You know you are just a candy bar. But I’m glad we can share a delicious chocolaty lie together.” – Jimmy Fallon’s […]

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Holidays are full of stories

Christoph

November 25, 2014

Stories

The holiday season is upon us and of course it’s full of examples of the power of stories. Some of them are authentic and others aren’t quite true – like Santa’s story. But even Santa’s story is an example of the importance of authentic stories. Think of how excited children are when they believe. Once […]

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What should brands do on social media on a holiday?

With the holiday season around the corner, what should brands say on social media? In general, brands should only be talking about the holidays when they have something to do with them. Everyone getting on Facebook and posting “Happy Thanksgiving” gets old quickly and is a bit lazy. It’s just as bad as some brands […]

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Where to buy running shoes

Christoph

November 21, 2014

My Fitness Tips

I’ve bought running shoes in a store and online now. As much as I like the convenience of online shopping, buying running shoes online just doesn’t seem to work for me. I prefer buying my running shoes after trying them on, touching them and seeing if I really like their look. In 2014, that’s only […]

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Documenting the stories of our pets is also meaningful

One important step – one that is easy to forget – in telling any story is to document it when it happens. You can document a story by: jotting down notes (0n paper or your smartphone) taking smartphone pictures (or use a better camera if you have one) shoot video Tweeting right then Pictures, as […]

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Stories presented in an unappealing way might as well not be shared at all

You are sitting in a room of about 150 people. Right in the middle. You are at a conference that you begged your boss to let you attend. This speaker knows his stuff – at least that’s what you’ve gathered from written materials – social media, web articles, etc. The audience welcomes the speaker with […]

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Diet tip: Eat through everything in the house

Christoph

November 14, 2014

My Fitness Tips

One technique that works for me when I’m trying to cut calories and weight is to eat through everything in the house before going back to the store. I eat the canned soup that has been in the pantry for a few months. I get something from the freezer that was being saved for who […]

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Fox News Interview with Navy Seal Who Killed Osama Bin Laden Shows the Power of Story

Christoph

November 13, 2014

Stories

The November 2014 Fox News Channel interview with Rob O’Neill showed the power of stories in several ways. O’Neill, a former Navy Seal, was part of the team that raided terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s compound a few years ago. O’Neill killed him after a decade-long hunt after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United […]

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Things we do online, but not usually offline

Christoph

November 13, 2014

Social media

As you know, I love the opportunities online publishing has given all of us. We can publish our own stories, connect with people and easily research topics of interest. But there are some things that many of us do online, that we hardly ever do offline. Some examples: Winking at people. 😉 Rolling on the floor […]

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How to find credible content and how to be seen as credible online

On November 10, 2014, I was the guest on #socialchat on Twitter and we discussed how to know if content is credible online and how to be seen as credible. Here are some of the questions that we discussed: How do we know content shared is credible? Credibility is established over time. Often traditional media […]

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Offline behavior can help online engagement

Part of any online engagement strategy – like blogging or social media – can include offline components. After all, people still spend some time offline and face to face – as hard as some people might find that to believe. I like to do this through a few ways: I have printed business cards for […]

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Before and after photos: Don’t forget about the long road in the mirror

Christoph

November 7, 2014

My Fitness Tips

I’m actually very aware of my weight. Even though I’ve lost 100-some pounds since 2007, I still see myself as fat from time to time.  Hey, where did this flap of fat come from? It wasn’t here yesterday. I gain half a pound and I feel bad about myself. I try to not let it […]

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One way to control calories at restaurants

Christoph

November 7, 2014

My Fitness Tips

I love those under 500 calories menus that some restaurants have now. (Thank you to those restaurant owners!) Not every restaurant has them (yet) unfortunately. So what can we do when we end up at a restaurant with no low-calorie foods? One option… Don’t think of it as a meal and just see it as […]

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The value of traditional media in content marketing

The traditional media world has changed since 2007 or so. There’s no doubt about it. Ad revenue is down and tons of journalists have been laid off over the years. When I was first working for media companies from 2001 to 2007, I didn’t even know anyone who had been laid off. Today, I know […]

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Four steps to maneuver office politics efficiently in authentic storytelling

There are distinctive parts to any authentic storytelling project and its implementation: Deciding what topics we have something to say about and then deciding to get started. Workflow – who is doing what and when and how long will it take? Maneuvering office politics, All three, alone or as combinations can kill authentic storytelling projects. […]

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iPhone Photography – Remember to move for better angles

With this beautiful fall weather around the Midwest in the United States, I’ve seen people head out with a professional photographer to take family pictures in front of the pretty fall colors. Others are using their iPhones to snap their photos. If you are going to take advantage of this natural backdrop, don’t waste time. Leaves […]

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VIDEO: 7 Ways to Get on a Blogging Schedule

Here are the slides from my session at the Minnesota Blogger Conference on Oct. 25, 2014. Successful bloggers and content creators get on a schedule and publish their content in a structured and orderly fashion. Getting on a schedule helps with production times, decreases stress, helps with search engines and assures your audience knows when […]

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My dentist knows me and that gives her something to talk about

As you may know, our second daughter joined the family in July 2014. In October, I visited my dentist for a routine check-up and cleaning. In the middle of all the usual dentist-type discussions, the hygienist and later the doctor both independently from each other said: “And you guys had a baby, right? Boy? Girl? […]

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My Twitter pet peeves …

Christoph

October 21, 2014

Social media

I love Twitter and have made many meaningful connections over the years. But there are some practices that don’t necessarily add much to the conversation, in my opinion. In no particular order, here are some of them: Sending automated direct messages thanking people for following. Telling new followers they should also follow you on Facebook. […]

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WordCamps are full of stories – I remember specifics

Christoph

October 20, 2014

Stories, WordPress

I’ve spoken at a number of WordCamps in 2013 and 2014. All had their unique personalities and I remember specifics from all of them. A good reminder that specificity in stories makes them memorable. WordCamps are regional WordPress conferences. Here are my main stories from each. Dallas/Fort Worth All speakers received a belt buckle as […]

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Who is your audience? Is it internal or external?

Defining our audience is helpful and can make the stories that we share more relevant to our target audiences. Most organizations have external audiences of consumers (people who might buy things from you), customers (people who have bought things from you) and advocates (people who spread your message). Sometimes audience members move back and forth […]

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iPod helps disconnect at the gym

Christoph

October 10, 2014

My Fitness Tips

I used to listen to the 200-plus songs in my iTunes library on my iPhone while exercising. I ran out of storage and started looking for alternatives. New, larger iPhone? Too expensive. No music? No way. Walkman? What? iPod shuffle? Couldn’t figure out why I would get one of those. iPod Touch? Looks like an […]

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Sharing and Consumption of Stories Can Become a Habit

Christoph

October 9, 2014

Books, Product reviews

Neale Martin’s book “Habit – The 95 Percent of Behavior Marketers Ignore.” explains how people do many of their tasks and use many of the products they use because of habit. Habit outweighs loyalty – even when customers say they are loyal to a product and the product served their needs.   This occurs because […]

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Why is it so hard to respond on social media?

Twenty percent of brands don’t respond at all to customers on social media, according to this PR Daily article from July 2014. That’s better than the 70 percent cited in this 2011 Convince and Convert article. Responding to people sounds easy in theory. Somebody says something to us, we respond. We do it all the […]

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It’s about the experience

Christoph

October 5, 2014

Stories

Stories that we can experience are memorable. But not everyone wants to experience everything the same way – so options are always great for the audience and/or the people participating. For three years now, we’ve visited Bart’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch north of Marion, Iowa. It’s fair to say it’s a tradition (and part of […]

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Running in southern Iowa at the Honey Creek Resort

Christoph

October 3, 2014

My Fitness Tips

During the summer of 2014, we vacationed at the Honey Creek Resort in southern Iowa. The resort along Rathburn Lake offers a nice place for a family get-away. Daily activities for children and adults. On-site water park. Our room was just doors from its entrance. Very convenient. Trails. Boat rentals. Bike rentals. A modern playground. Patios […]

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Stories that are similar to our own bring out emotions

Christoph

October 1, 2014

Stories

I’m writing this in 2014, with two beautiful daughters at home, but my first experience with adding a child to our family was terrible. In 2006, our baby boy decided to arrive way too early and did not survive, Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It’s part of our story and won’t be forgotten. […]

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Sunrise run tips

Christoph

September 30, 2014

My Fitness Tips

I love sunrise runs. So much that I Google “Sunrise Cedar Rapids” on many evenings to determine if I have time to head out on one. I do the same when traveling. If I have time, I try to be out and running about 20-25 minutes before the official sunset time. I usually run around […]

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iPhone photos are great but not always the way to go

Everyone can now be a photographer. With the majority of Americans carrying smartphones it’s easier than ever to take photos that we think are worth sharing. As our Facebook friends can attest, many are shared publicly in seconds. I take all of my photos with my phone and don’t even own a camera. When our […]

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O’Hare ground stop and flight cancellations get people to share stories and solutions

Christoph

September 26, 2014

Stories

A fire at a regional FAA facility caused a ground stop on Sept. 26, according to ABC. I was flying home to Iowa from the Internet Marketing Association conference in Vegas when I was caught in the delays and cancellations. I had taken the red eye back to O’Hare when the gate agent announced that […]

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