The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and take a look at all the blessings that have come your way throughout the year. I love Christmas time – probably more than your average dad who pays the credit card bills for presents stowed upon two spoiled kids. I say I, we (Liz, my wife, and I), are truly blessed to be able to pay it all off before Santa comes next year – seriously, that’s what it feels like, giving a new meaning to “celebrating” Christmas every day of the year.
Sawfish Online is taking a break from business today. There won’t be any quips about content marketing and SEO or boring stats on analytics. This is Christmas, dammit! So let’s trade our favorite Christmas stories and Santa Claus right here, whether they’re sappy, funny, nostalgic, sad, whatever the story, share it. I’ll share a couple of mine since it feels as if there are two forms of Santa Claus, when you believe in and when you become Santa Claus.
First, I’ll tell you when I truly believed in Santa Claus (and I still do). Little did I know when I was 6 or 7, that Santa Claus is a spirit, a real life feeling and idea that good will be delivered. Since this one Christmas when I was little, it’s always been my thing to help other people whenever I could, whether it’s Christmas or not. It happened one year when my dad wasn’t working. He worked for Caterpillar building tractors. It was about 1980 or 1981, and things were real slow. And, if I remember it right, my dad was laid off from work a little before Christmas. I remember there was a lot of quiet discussion in the house because we didn’t have a lot of money, and there wasn’t any guarantee that presents would be under the tree Christmas morning. I know that would have openly destroyed my mom while dad would have been the quiet, stoic person he is while it killed him inside.
Then the magic of Christmas happened. The local union hall dad was a part of with Cat had a toy drive for all the families that were out of work, and delivered gifts to all of us kids along with a turkey for dinner. Indeed Santa Claus delivered, solidifying my belief in him and trust in people that there will always be more good than evil in this world, only if we believe. After that Christmas, things were more “normal” for us, and Santa would bring train sets and dolls, but nothing could ever beat the soccer ball and footie pajamas that Santa gave me that Christmas.
Now to present day of being Santa Claus. It was early December of this year as Liz and I stayed at a fancy, historic hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. It was fun but way too quiet without both kids being with us on the trip, so the last morning there, we hurried up to pack our bags to check out.
When the elevator opened on the lobby floor, there he was, Santa Claus with three elves setting up his chair with gifts for little kids to come see him in this beautiful lobby. Being the kid I am, I dropped my bags, yelled “SANTA!” and walked over to give the jolly ol’ St. Nick a hug. Now, being 40 years old, I obviously know that wasn’t Santa himself, but one of his helpers. C’mon, right? But holy crap, it was still Santa, and Santa was just excited to see a kid my size (and let’s just say I make Santa truly look like an elf) come over and give him a squeeze. It was magical, and you can see the big grins on both of our faces in the picture Liz took of us. Santa thanked me for all cookies I left him throughout the years. I explained, in detail, what the kids wanted this year, and then Santa asked what I wanted. I told him this year was different, that I have everything I need, and I was going to leave him an extra special gift on Christmas Eve.
“What’s that?” Santa asked.
“Santa, I’m going to leave out the good scotch just for you,” I told him. You can have as much as you want. It will keep you warm, you know?”
Santa broke out laughing.
“Ho ho ho, young man that will be between you and me,” he said. “I won’t tell Mrs. Claus.”
We hugged, shook hands and as Liz and I headed home while Santa probably stood there thinking “who the hell was that and is he drinking already?”
And I know for a fact that Santa is bringing everything the kids wanted. Ahhhhh … the magic of Christmas. Merry Christmas from Sawfish Online!
P.S. Here's a little Christmas Cheer...
And Then Someting Totally Pointless
That’s a headline I’ve always wanted to write, but the right opportunity seemingly never comes along, so I thought I’d make my own opportunity. Why not, right? If you’re a lover of irreverence such as I, then you probably know the headline is a take from a famous line in the movie “Caddieshack” where Rodney Dangerfield yells out a famous line to end the movie after Noonan sinks a putt to win a tournament.
I bring this up because, yes, I’m watching “Caddyshack” as I write stuff, and I’ve been really getting into LinkedIn lately. Wait…what?! Seriously, in my mind, it all makes sense so hold on there, Judge.
First of all, I’d like you to know that according to this numbers puzzle that’s been floating around my LinkedIn news feed, I am a genius (says so right there) … so I got that going for me. There’s also an article mentioning a prediction that 2015 is the year our salaries will start to rise like the good times we once enjoyed as if they would never end. Merry Christmas!
There’s also another blog that gives great insight into content and the bottom line (you can read it here: http://linkd.in/1C6e3pp). The line that really struck me was how consumers make a purchase decision more than half time before engaging the vendor. Sometimes that percentage, according to Forrester Research numbers quoted in this blog, can be nearly 90% of consumers trust content such as blogs, product pages, user manuals and other documentation. Product reviews, of course, are huge.
What does it all mean? Well, to me it means the one with the best content wins. Sure pricing and reputation do come into play, but you can have the lowest price in the solar system, but with no content to support the product or service, then people won’t trust it – if they find your product at all.
Fine, then, if everyone’s content is All-Universe how do you stand out?
Great question and thank you for asking it! This is where (hopefully) this blog comes together and you get a sense at what I’m saying. No. 1 thing beyond good content is to have that content support your personality and brand. So many times I’ve had a client or vendor approach me and say “so-and-so is doing this, why aren’t we?” Well, because you are you and they are them and I am me, we’re all different and need to be unique. Besides, those other people could be failing miserably and you don’t even know it.
For me, my brand is my personality or else I’d just as soon work at Sears or something, but putting your personality out there can be daunting, scary and dangerous – if you do it wrong. You can go too far, of course, and I’m here to tell you I’ve sailed that boat more than a few times. You can also (to keep with the sailing theme outta nowhere) run aground – fail – miserably and come across as a know-nothing-egotistical-arrogant-hack that thinks he’s clever … or funny. Soooo not the case.
Be yourself. Make content that drives your, or client’s, brand’s personality, and guess what, you’re gonna get paid. Guarantee it. I declare 2015 to be the year content is no longer destined for the stiff bin. It’s time to take chances and make this shtuff swirl.
And now for something totally pointless: http://bit.ly/1C3uR3e
Merry Christmas you crazy kids!
Recently, we at Sawfish Online were asked to participate in a content marketing survey from contently.com. As much as I (Larry) wanted to really be a wise guy and skew the numbers for the sake of getting giggles out of the 601 marketers in the survey, I didn’t. Actually, we took it pretty seriously because, after all, content marketing is a big thing we do here at SawfishOnline.com.
Before I get to the numbers just handed out, let’s just say when Forbes declared “Content is King” for 2012, it was just the beginning. Since then, content, and original content that is unique, personal, personable, engaging, attractive, and, most importantly, good, drives almost everything in business. When I say “almost everything in business,” it’s about the website, customer and user experience, interactions with customers and so on. Basically, if your business doesn’t have a good website with good content with a good customer and user experience with good interactions with the customer to make them feel noticed and special, then you’re business if going to struggle to say the least.
Yes, the numbers. The findings of the survey were interesting but not very surprising. I’ll hit some highlights for you and then give you the link to the actual study in case you want to peruse the details.
Here’s the newest trend: disruptive banner ads are gone
Creating good, unique content doesn’t come easy or fast, either.
The best types of content for ROI are still sort of a jump ball, and there’s a pretty good explanation for that which I’ll get into in a few minutes.
What’s really interesting is, “I don’t know” came back in the middle of the pack with 17.77% of marketers saying what content is best for ROI. “I don’t know” also scored 17.44% when asked what content is more effective licensed or original (original won overwhelmingly with 69%). When you’re asking perhaps $100/hour or even more for your content marketing business, “I don’t know” isn’t good.
For me, personally, at Sawfish Online, how to measure ROI is the absolute hardest thing to do. It’s also the most expensive since any software worth its reputation is going to cost some real dollars. And then trying to learn it? Oh man, I’d rather go back and sit through an entire semester of Psych 101. Forget it!
Which leads me to my final thought: you can’t push a button and say “there you go, there’s your ROI.” Nope. Content marketing ROI is much like building a skyscraper. It’s going to take time, money, intense thought and planning, patience, creativity when you least expect it, and persistence. And when you do content and do it right, the marketing is almost like it’s on autopilot, and the ROI will be a loyal audience that enjoys a long-lasting, two-way relationship.
You can read the entire content marketing survey here: bit.ly/sawfishonlinecontentroi
Sorry for the rather long post, but there's a lot of important information to think about and digest. I hope you're finding joy so far this holiday season. Now go deck the halls.
Larry is a content marketing professional, an experienced copywriter, avid fisherman, amateur sailor, teller of kinda funny jokes, pancake connoisseur and an overall OK guy who founded Sawfish Online.