Inbound Marketing Workshop - Content

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Inbound Marketing:Content


In the past, there has been a tradeoff between cost and quality and/or volume. It cost money to hire professional designers with the tools and experience to layout high quality brochures, journals, or magazines. Today, there are some inexpensive tools that allow you to do this yourself, but printing in high volume is still expensive and a bit labor intensive.

But the other problem with the do it yourself approach is that its a little bit like putting a teenager behind the wheel of a car for the first time and expecting them to navigate traffic in Manhattan during rush hour. Without some training and a little bit of experience, they are probably going to crash. We engineers and scientists are particularly challenged because we are predominately left-brained thinkers by nature, training, and job description. We are analytical, detail-oriented, serial thinkers and were darn proud of it! Its a great skill set for problem solving, but they arent particularly well suited for creating remarkable content.2

So what is remarkable content? Its an email that with a subject line that is compelling and content that gets its point across succinctly, maybe even entertainingly. Its a presentation that not only keeps people awake, but inspires. Its a white paper that feels more like youre reading a Stephen King novel than the phone book. Its a blog post that poses a simple question and ends up starting a movement.


great product, poor marketing

A superior product with poor marketing is a Betamax. 4

mediocre product, great marketing

An mediocre product with a great message is a Shamwow. 5

great product, great marketing

put a dent in the universe

And a great product with a great message is an iPod.

Compelling content takes a good idea and makes it great, and it takes a great idea and puts a dent in the universe.

Remarkable means something that is worth taking notice worth talking about. Remarkable content spreads itself and takes your ideas along for the ride. It makes it possible for people to fully appreciate you, your Section, Division, Department or District.


Be Remarkable 7


Boring is invisible. Remarkable products and remarkable people get talked about. How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?7




Compelling: Storytelling

The secret sauce of great storytelling is conflict. If you remember one word from this section of the presentation, I hope its this one. As humans, our brains learn from actions and consequences, and conflict is always in the middle. We have a need, a desire, a lust to find out what happens. How does the story end?

All conflict begins with what McKee calls the Inciting Incident, which is an event that radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonists life. The remainder of the story is a quest to restore that balance and that can only be accomplished through conflict.

So far, this sounds a little esoteric so lets try to apply it to our real life example of disaster recovery. Heres the inciting incident: Between February 7th and March 14th, 2009, more than 400 bush fires across the state of Victoria, Australia scorched over a million acres of land. Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) had one of its control rooms completely incinerated. With only five days worth of water stored, an emergency response plan to rebuild the control room and recommission the plant went into action.9

Once the inciting incident is established, its time to move the story along by creating acts. Ive developed a template based on his techniques that Ive actually turned into a worksheet that is proving to be very effective for crafting book chapters and blog posts. I think if Mr. McKee ever saw it he would either think it was a clever adaptation of his teachings or else lose his lunch Im not sure which.

In a nutshell, the template begins with an inciting incident, then contains a series of action/reaction complications centered around a controlling idea that inevitably reach a climax, at which point the closing value of the story (relative to the opening value) is revealed.

Now I could spend at least forty five minutes on that one sentence, but since I obviously cant Ill use another example. And just in case some of you think I was cheating by using something as dramatic as a bush fire, this time Ill use a chapter from my upcoming book (sorry for the shameless plug) Content is King.

Remember that all stories are character driven. Your challenge is to identify the conflict in your story and personalize it for your reader by attaching it to an emotion. The frustration of knowing a PID loop can perform better. The accomplishment of implementing an industrial standard. The friendships that are formed at ISA meetings. When you have a story, tell it. When you dont a story, write it. It can be done.10

Compelling: Visualsimplicityrestraint


I like to think of restraint as forced simplicity through the application of constraints. Does your graph really need data labels, a header, a footer, a legend, axis labels, and a background image? Is all of the extra stuff adding to your message or distracting from it? Is your chart really more effective by making it 3D? As engineers we like to be thorough and so sometimes its difficult for us to restrain ourselves. But its more effective to include only enough detail to make our point and if youre in doubt, throw it in an appendix or handout.12

Compelling: VisualCRAPontrastepeitionlignmentroximity


when using contrast, go big or go home

Contrast is an interesting subject to me because it has the dual ability for both good and evil from a design perspective. The danger of contrast is that small differences between similar items on a page actually trigger a stress response. And the fascinating thing about that are the evolutionary effects of living in a dangerous environment. Think about walking around an African savannah for a moment. Seeing a lion a thousand yards (excuse me meters) away in the middle of a field might be off-putting but its no cause for panic. Its very easy to assess the danger level due to the lack of ambiguity. On the other hand, a slight rustling of a bush or modest color differential a few feet away could indicate the presence of a saber toothed tiger, which is cause for great alarm.

When it comes to contrast, its a matter of go big or go home. Significant differences is size, shape, orientation, or color are effective ways to convey differences, organize sections, and create interest. 14

for unity

repeat design elements

Repetition is a principal that involves using same visual element over and over throughout your content. This element can be a font, an icon, a spatial relationship, etc Another word for repetition is consistency. But much like contrast, its most effective when we deliberately kick it up a notch.15

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam vel augue eros, convallis bibendum augue. Aenean venenatis varius orci, quis adipiscing arcu mattis quis. In egestas sem et velit adipiscing pretium.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam vel augue eros, convallis bibendum augue. Aenean venenatis varius orci, quis adipiscing arcu mattis quis. In egestas sem et velit adipiscing pretium. alignment

Use alignment to establish relationships between design elements, rather than haphazardly dropping things onto a page where ever there is space. If you are consistent with alignment throughout a piece, then you can combine it with contrast as a double-whammy by changing it up to call attention to something important. The point is to make a deliberate, conscious decision every time you place something on a page or slide.

In this slide, for example, just the simple act of changing the alignment of the text clearly joins it to the image. When the text is left justified, it almost feels like the text and the image are repelling one another like recess in first grade with boys on one side of the school yard and girls on another.16

Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametconsectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam vel augue eros

Etiam interdum fringilla lectus sed suscipitPellentesque dui purus, facilisis id molestie non, adipiscing vitae erat. Ut lorem quam, ornare vitae scelerisque et, rutrum vitae odio. Cras sagittis enim eget nisl mollis euismod. Phasellus nec lectus quam, vel gravida neque. Nullam at condimentum velit. Integer nunc eros, eleifend et lobortis lobortis, elementum at massa.

Mauris id nunc miOrnare tincidunt turpis. Aenean neque metus, dignissim quis luctus placerat, volutpat id urna. Cras lacinia enim quis ligula ullamcorper a luctus nisi suscipit. Donec sed orci vel magna rutrum posuere ullamcorper id massa.

Quisque accumsan tempus quamAc pretium sapien rutrum et. Aenean fermentum risus eu urna tincidunt rhoncus. Aliquam a sapien non felis auctor tristique non lobortis diam. Ut sit amet massa libero. Fusce tellus urna, sagittis condimentum fringilla a, tincidunt a dolor. Nullam adipiscing lorem vel lorem ultricies sed facilisis ligula eleifend.

Sed euismod sapien at orci dignissim consectetur ac quis turpis. Maecenas ac leo augue. Integer eget diam tristique risus laoreet feugiat quis eu nunc. Cras vel egestas orci. Sed ac mauris massa.proximity

Proximity means spatially group together items that are related and separating items that are not related. It makes your content easier to navigate and understand. This slide shows you a bunch of words that have no meaning, but their proximity tells you an awful lot about their relationship to one another. We can see here that there is a title and a subtitle, three main ideas, and a conclusion.

In addition to organizing your design, proximity can also provide meaning by establishing relationships like equality (or inequality), imminence (or distance), cooperation (or obstruction), and so on



Remarkable: GiftyFor Immediate Release

Sept-1, 2010Brag, blah blah blah. Brag, blah, brag, blah.

Were awesome because blah blah blah.


Remarkable: Shareable




Remarkable: Shareable


Remarkable: Accessible




BloggingSEO Features Baked In



BloggingSEO Features Baked In

TitlesMeta DescriptionsKeywords


BloggingMore pages = more juice









Balance & variety





Book:Social Media for Engineers &