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How to create brighter lives with content marketing

By Alexandra Reid

Two content marketing all-stars, Katherine Fletcher and Darin Diehl, presented at Social Media Breakfast Ottawa on Wednesday on how businesses can use rich, interactive content to increase brand awareness, build communities and generate leads.

Katherine is the senior vice-president, senior partner and managing director of digital at High Road Communications, an interactive communications agency. She was also appointed in 2007 as a global chair for Fleishman-Hillard’s international digital practice group where she works with a small, global team of digital leaders to drive innovative digital communications with specialists worldwide.

Darin is the assistant vice-president of digital communications at Sun Life Financial Canada, and the leader of the team that developed BrighterLife.ca, a social media-powered, consumer-focused portal where Canadians can engage with the brand and each other about financial challenges and opportunities they face in their everyday lives.

Katherine and Darin developed and executed the content marketing program that would support the launch and ongoing success of BrighterLife.ca. On Wednesday, they explained the efforts that went on behind the scenes that helped it become an award-winning site. I also had the opportunity to chat with Katherine before the show to glean some more details about their content marketing program.

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Great articles roundup: freemium, firing the founder, the Dropbox effect, corporate accelerators, and higher ed entrepreneurship

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are TechCrunch, The New York Times, VentureBeat, Bloomberg Businessweek and Boston Magazine.

Should your startup go freemium?

Over the last several months, there has been an intense debate about the viability of freemium business models. For some, freemium is a costly trap, a business model that sacrifices revenues and forces a startup to support freeloaders who will never become paying customers. For others, freemium is the future of business, the logical conclusion for a world in which the cost of bandwidth, storage, and information processing approaches zero. Both sides agree that the model is extremely powerful. As Rob Walling of HitTail notes in a recent Wall Street Journal article, freemium is like a Samurai sword: “unless you’re a master at using it, you can cut your arm off.”

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CMI-MarketingProfs report reveals B2B content marketing confusion

By Alexandra Reid

Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently released a report on the state of B2B content marketing in North America that declared, “B2B marketers are spending more, using more tactics, and distributing their content on more social networks than they have in years past,” but that they are also “more uncertain whether they are using various content marketing tactics effectively.”

The 2013 B2B content marketing benchmarks, budgets and trends survey was emailed to a sample of B2B marketers from among MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute members and subscribers. A total of 1,416 B2B marketers responded from North American companies in August this year, representing a full range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes. The majority of respondents were from advertising and marketing companies that have fewer than 10 employees.

The survey found that 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, but most are challenged with producing enough content. This is different from previous years when the top challenge was producing engaging content.

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October roundup: What does it take to bring technology to market?

By Alexandra Reid

As usual, we covered a lot of ground on our blog last month.

We explored why startups should focus on problems, not platforms, and why they shouldn’t outsource their core competencies. Francis explained why marketing involves much more than just creating a message and delivering that message with the tools of advertising and public relations. Mitch Joel supported that argument by stating that marketing is everything. Leo shared lots of great media relations advice, teaching us how to pitch to busy journalists without becoming a nuisance. Of course, these just scratch the surface of the topics we covered.

In case you missed any, here is a handy roundup of our posts last month, ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

October 16: Meet ..duo by Alexandra Reid

October 11: Montreal’s Notman House enters final funding stage by Francis Moran

October 10: Mitch Joel on why marketing is everything by Alexandra Reid

October 15: Social media gaffes: They can happen to anyone by Megan Totka

October 22: The plight of product managing myself by Peter Hanschke

October 24: ‘Put away the cozy image of the little old lady knitting a sweater for the grandkids’ by Alexandra Reid

October 9: Apple versus Samsung – Every patent owner’s dream by David French

October 2: Why I started learning code: a marketer’s perspective by Alexandra Reid

October 4: Marketing is about more than the colour of your new website by Francis Moran

October 23: Pitching to busy media figures in various media environments by Leo Valiquette

October 17: The thin line between being persistent and being a nuisance by Leo Valiquette

October 30: Make sure you’re barking up the right tree by Leo Valiquette

October 18: Canadian angel investors to gather in Halifax next week by Francis Moran

October 31: Pitch perfect: Startups should focus on problems, not platforms by Alexandra Reid

October 25: Communications planning: The principles by Caroline Kealey

October 3: Startups: Do not outsource your core competency by Leo Valiquette

October 29: The allure of building enterprise products by Jesse Rodgers

Image: 10Wallpaper.com

Pitch perfect: Startups should focus on problems, not platforms

This is the ninth article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screach, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screach is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Alexandra Reid

Not everyone understands a platform. But everyone understands a problem.

That’s a hard lesson a lot of startup teams fail to grasp.

You’ve seen this pitch before — The technical cofounder goes on at length about the ins and outs of the wonderful new technology his team is bringing to the world. He explains what it is, what it does, and shows you all of its cool features. But when you look to your left and right, you see your fellow audience members’ eyes glazing over, and before you know it your mind begins wandering to dinner plans.

He was enthusiastic in his pitch, and it’s awesome technology, yet he failed to reach you.

Why?

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