Way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff – Context matters

On November 29, 2009, Seth Godin wrote about what we in Sales Enablement for b2b enterprises are focused on:
Context matters!

Getting meta

Wikipedia contains facts about facts. It’s a collection of facts from other places.

Facebook doesn’t have your friends. It has facts about your friends.

Google is at its best when it gives you links to links, not the information itself.

Over and over, the Internet is allowing new levels of abstraction. Information about information might be worth more than the information itself. Which posts should I read? Which elements of the project are at risk? Who is making the biggest difference to the organization?

Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity.

I couldn’t agree more with Seth that this is an opportunity. Successfully using this opportunity will have to do with web 3.0 (semantic) approaches being applied to the stuff from web 1.0 and web 2.0 as well as understanding what information architecture is and how it can be set up for complex organizations.

For the approach to Sales Enablement I have been working with at a company with 4,000+ sales people you could say:
SharePoint (or similar) has your marketing assets for sales reps.

Sales Enablement – as the layer on top – has the facts about your marketing assets:

  • Which assets/links/comments should a sales rep read for a specific sales situation?
  • Who is the contributor of marketing assets or comments that really drive sales?

Job opening – Global Program, Sales Enablement & Communications at Avaya

Director of Global Program, Sales Enablement & Communications at Avaya

Old! Outdated!
Job Title Global Program, Sales Enablement & Communications
Business Group Global Sales
Job Category Sales Leadership
State/City (US) CO – Highlands Ranch
NJ – Basking Ridge
VO-Georgia
Country United States
Job Description Directs the development and execution of Global programs and Sales enablement tools in support of Channel Partners and Avaya’s Global Annuity Sales associates, and managers to drive increased Maintenance & Managed Services revenue. Accountable for developing, executing, evaluating, and/or managing new initiatives and programs that will involve coordination between the sales channel and other organizations, such as Marketing, Product Management, Services, and IT. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following: Offer Integration and Execution, Sales Programs, Maintenance sales training and cross team programs/communications. Develops strategic business plans and goals for a large functional unit(s). Work is performed without appreciable direction. Identifies complex business needs and develops cutting edge solutions that require full integration of the company’s strategies. A Bachelor’s degree and 10+ years of related experience is preferred. This job does have supervisory responsibility.
Qualifications Bachelor’s degree and 10+ years of related experience

 

Type: Full-timeExperience: DirectorFunctions: Management, Marketing, SalesIndustries: Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Information Technology and Services, Telecommunications, WirelessPosted: November 20, 2009 

Company Description
Avaya is a global leader in enterprise communication systems. The company provides unified communications, contact centers, and related services directly and through its channel partners to leading businesses and organizations around the world. Enterprises of all sizes depend on Avaya for state-of-the-art communications that improve efficiency, collaboration, customer service and competitiveness.

This is when you know you need Sales Enablement

Sales and Marketing Management Magazine published Jeanne Hellman‘s article ‘A Sales Optimization Strategy’, on November 16, 2009. Here the part that takes a historic look at the company [Nortel Networks] where Jeanne and later myself drove the adoption of the BizSphere Sales Enablement solution:

A Case Study

A global telecom company decided to implement a Sales Enablement strategy mid-2006 as part of a larger business transformation initiative to reduce SG&A (selling, general, and administrative expenses of an operating budget) and to address long-standing complaints from the sales force. It was a heavily matrixed, global organization with approximately 450 products, 30 solutions, and more than 90 different professional services, and every seller was expected to sell “everything on the truck.” Information was spread around 20-plus team sites and the corporate-sanctioned sales portal, which hosted more than 6,000 documents distributed among 185 different document types, not to mention the separate competitive and business intelligence sites; installed base sites; and the mix of ordering, pricing, proposal generation, customer relationship management (CRM), and tracking tools. In addition, there was no federated search (no common search platform).

As you can imagine, it took sellers hours to look for basic information (validating numerous studies from several industry analysts). Seller confidence in marketing was low and complaints were high, as was attested to by the yearly seller satisfaction surveys (or dissatisfaction surveys) that had been conducted.”

Be sure to see the post ‘Case Study of one of the biggest Sales Enablement application implementations’ as it gives you the detailed document on the case above.

Collateral Damage: Building a Content Plan

On October 14, 2009 my favorite marketing blogger April Dunford (@aprildunford) from rocketwatcher.com wrote the post ‘Collateral Damage: Building a Content Plan’ at her blog rocketwatcher.com/blog/:

“I remember when building collateral used to be a large part of a product marketer’s job.  A lousy part.  I remember the last brochure I worked on like it was yesterday.  Getting it done was a nightmare of epic arguments over screen shots, customer quotes and whether or not to include the mailing address for the European office we expected to close within a month.  The project went on for weeks and once it was done we didn’t look at again for a year, mainly because we didn’t have the budget to update it but also because we were traumatized.

Old-style collateral was all centered around the product rather than the customer.  It was designed to be as generic as possible, making it only mildly relevant to the majority of customers and regardless of what was happening in the market, the brochure only got updated when there was a new version of the product.  How backward is that?

Thankfully we’ve moved into a new era where the barriers to creating and distributing content to customers and prospects are coming down and we marketers can focus on the business of creating and delivering content that is relevant, useful and engaging to the customers and prospects that consume it.

I think every product needs a content plan.  The content plan should include delivery of the following:

  1. Web content – I still see a lot of generic web content out there.  Different segments and different buyers are looking for different types of information.  Informational needs also change as customers progress across the buying cycle.  Product marketers need to step into the shoes of each of their customers and create content that is relevant for them.  Your content plan needs to include regular updates to this information.
  2. Blog posts – There is so much great information in your company that doesn’t belong on the web site and isn’t appropriate for a press release. As the product marketer you need to be setting aside some time to plan what themes you want to cover in the blog, and creating content.  I often hear younger marketers complain that they don’t have time to write blog posts.  That’s when I get all old lady on them, “When I was your age we spent 10 weeks a year making something called a BROCHURE!!”  A structured plan for what you want to write about will make it easier to get the job done.
  3. Video – I’m a huge fan of video and I don’t think startups take advantage of it enough.  HD cameras are cheap.  With an external microphone, a bit of decent lighting some practice, you can make a marketing video that looks professional without breaking the bank.  See below for some resources to learn more about how to make a good looking video but my experience is to just get out there a shoot and edit a lot and it gets easy pretty fast.
  4. Presentations – You probably already spend a ton of time building presentations. There are lots of ways to make those available as slides alone or with a narration as a slidecast.
  5. Links – As a good marketer, you are already spending a certain amount of time watching what’s happening in the market.  You’ll find posts and articles that support your view of the market or talk about your products that you can share.  I used to use delicious for this but now I think Twitter is the ultimate tool for link sharing with your community.
  6. Screencasting – A screencast lets you capture what’s happening on your screen and add a voice over to it.  Chances are you’ve got a killer demo that you use in sales calls and at shows.  Screencasting lets you get your demos out to a wider audience. The tools are cheap and easy to use so there’s no excuse not to experiment with these.
  7. Custom collateral – At one company I worked with they had 2 major segments – retail and insurance – with separate collateral for each.  Brochures were assembled with customer quotes, highlighted features and screen shots swapped in and out depending on the audience.  Small print runs for this material are pricier on a per-piece basis but they didn’t print often and the sales force and customers loved it.  Your company probably doesn’t do many trade shows (if you are, seriously, we should talk), so gone are the days of giving out 100’s of brochures to clog up convention hall garbage bins.  Don’t waste money printing where you don’t need to.
  8. eBooks and White papers – White papers are still a good medium for a more detailed technical topic.  More and more I see these published as eBooks which makes them a bit easier to read on an eBook reader.  The format works well for content that’s too long for a blog post and too detailed for a web page or powerpoint.

I’m probably missing a couple of other things. The point is that there’s never been a better time for marketers to get compelling content out to the market in engaging ways.

Some further reading:

Whitepapers/eBooks: Search Engine People has a great post on how to Write White Papers Like an Expert with These 10 Simple Steps. If you want to publish on the Kindle, everything you need is on Amazon’s page. You can also host your eBook on Scribd (often described as YouTube for eBooks).

Video: Hubspot guest poster Catie Foertsch has 6 tips for making a business marketing video. VideoMaker has a treasure trove of information for shooting better video for YouTube including tips on what to look for when buying cameras, microphones and tripods.

Presentations: I use Slideshare for presentations and screencasts but there are loads of tools out there.

Screencasting: WebResources Depo’s 10 free screencasting tools, Mashable’s list of screencasting tools. I’d Rather Be Writing gives a couple of examples of Perfect Screencasts and discusses what makes them great.”

Subscribe to April’s blog or follow her on Twitter

Job opening – Sr. Web Marketing Mgr, Sales Enablement at Yahoo

Sr. Web Marketing Mgr, Sales Enablement

Company Name: Yahoo! Inc
Job Category: Technology; Internet
Location: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Position Type: Full-Time, Employee
Experience: 2-5 Years Experience
Date Posted: November 15, 2009

About Yahoo!

Think about impacting 1 out of every 2 people online–in innovative and imaginative ways that are uniquely Yahoo!. We do just that each and every day, and you could too. After all, it’s big thinkers like you who will create the next generation of Internet experiences for consumers and advertisers across the globe. Now’s the time to show the world what you’ve got. Put your ideas to work for over half a billion people.

About the Business Group:

The Sales Enablement team is responsible for positioning and packaging all Yahoo! advertiser products, media solutions, product launches and Search. This includes messaging strategy, customer communications and sales materials and website management. This team is a part of the B2B Marketing organization.

Position: Sr. Web Marketing Mgr, Sales Enablement

The Sr. Marcom Manager, Website Marketing will be responsible for the development, launch, and ongoing management of infrastructure of all Yahoo! trade websites. This includes ensuring the sites effectively articulate Yahoo!’s value to key audience segments, promote solutions designed to drive sales and client adoption for advertisers, agencies and small business partners. These efforts will include coordination with regional teams around the globe to ensure a unified online presence in all regions.

In this role, you will not only lead a small team in optimizing the existing trade sites and launching new sites but you will also be part of the Sales Enablement team within B2B Marketing. The ideal candidate for this position is a motivated, self-starter who understands integrated marketing and accountable, effective communications.

Job Responsibilities:

· Manage all aspects of the B2B marketing website (infrastructure, content, visual design, user experience), ensuring the website maintains rigorous quality standards and adheres to all Yahoo! legal, policy, and brand guidelines and B2B marketing best practices

· Develop a content strategy/editorial calendar for the B2B marketing website to ensure that the content is fresh, dynamic and of topical interest to key audiences

· Work closely with internal partner organizations to ensure alignment of B2B marketing website with overall brand messaging and trade marketing communications plan

· Leverage B2B marketing website for promotional campaigns, product and research study launches, and brand campaigns

· Utilize data and analytics to optimize the trade websites and increase their marketing effectiveness on an ongoing basis

· Partner with Brand Marketing and UED teams to ensure trade marketing websites represent the best user experience and most appealing visual design for key audiences

· Oversee integration of other marketing website content into the B2B marketing website, including mapping content to current template structure, making recommendations for new modules/templates, facilitating the development of content and managing the engineering release cycles and deployment to production

· Manage the globalization of the B2B marketing website, including developing a global presence and working with regions to adopt and adapt website templates and visual style guide for localized presence

· Manage the ticket process, and triage/prioritize tickets for incoming requests for updates to B2B marketing website pages; involve UED, Creative and Engineering teams as necessary to execute on necessary changes

· Monitor traffic and conversion data, and provide reports on key metrics to B2B marketing on an ongoing basis

Minimum Qualifications:

· Minimum of 3-5 years website management experience in a corporate environment, preferably in a marketing-related capacity, preferably with international experience

Strong familiarity with the digital space and knowledge of how to demonstrate the value of online to our clients as well and internal stakeholders

· Demonstrated project management skills, including planning, prioritizing, setting timelines and driving the delivery of work on multiple efforts concurrently

· Demonstrated experience managing tasks across a variety of teams, preferably including Creative and Engineering teams

· Experience managing content via a Content Management System

Excellent verbal and written communication, interpersonal, organizational, presentation and planning skills

Creative, high positive energy and an ability to execute a must

Bachelor’s degree in Marketing or related field

Yahoo! Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

Case Study of one of the biggest Sales Enablement application implementations

In September 2009 my former colleague Jeanne Hellman wrote the case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’. Here the table of contents:

Part 1: Arm your sales force with access to information

Connect the dots between marketing and sales

Optimize your sales force

Part 2: How to gain a “Knowledge Advantage”

Access to knowledge is key to success

The state of knowing

Your typical company-centric approach

Garbage in – garbage out!

Turning company spiel to customer value

Part 3: Setting the Stage for Change

Company snapshot: the summer of ‘06

At no time were we trying to get 100% adoption

Know your sellers

The revolving door

Phases and Work Streams

Part 4: Improving the bottom line

Reduced SG&A by $22M

Specific results: efficiency, time and waste reduction

Part 5: Lessons learned

Buy versus rent

Advice from the front lines

  1. Do your due diligence
  2. Build relationships
  3. Focus on the delivery of content
  4. Establish accountability for usage – it works!
  5. Ensure content availability and value
  6. Single source data
  7. Auto-generate key customer collateral
  8. Grow a thick skin
  9. Choose Wisely
  10. Adoption, Adoption, Adoption

Food for thought

Once sellers see the value, they will use it

‘The cost of running a sales enablement solution: Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content?’ is my own blog post about topics like Single Sourcing and Auto-Generation of marketing assets / content Jeanne talks about in her case study.

B2B marketing professionals are so focused on execution – they skip the planning stage

November 9, 2009:

“Kathryn Roy, marketing consultant and friend of The B2B Lead, has a great eBook, Seven Infectious Diseases of B2B Marketing — And Their Cures, […] download the entire eBook here.

There are seven problems I find so rampant in B2B companies that I suspect they are infectious – passed along as marketing people switch companies or work with contagious agencies. […] marketing professionals are so focused on execution, they skip the planning stage – and pay the price.

All too often, a glimpse into a B2B marketing department shows a hive of activity focused on meeting deadlines for updating collateral, producing an event, or sending out the next email campaign. In these environments, it is not unusual to find marketers completing projects without having done the analysis that can determine which activities are valuable and which activities not on their list would make a larger contribution.

In some cases, it’s due to a natural tendency to replicate the process and activities from a prior company. Clearly, there is a set of deliverables, like Web sites, that are common to most companies.

However, the relative priority of activities and how they are executed should be based on the dynamics of the target market segment, including the competitive environment.

“Juicing the Orange”, a book by the advertising team that came up with United Airlines’ wildly successful advertising campaign, has a free 15-page workbook (pdf ) with 127 questions to help marketing professionals deeply understand a company’s market and challenge. This analysis is its prerequisite to prescribing messages and mediums for delivery. (Not all 127 questions will necessarily pertain to your situation.)

SYMPTOMS

Inability of marketing professionals to quickly and confidently answer questions such as these:

  • What is the biggest impediment to sales growth today?
  • What are the different market segments you are pursuing and how do they weigh the relative importance of different product/service capabilities?
  • How does your offering compare with competitive alternatives on the key product/service characteristics listed above?
  • Can you describe the buying process and buyer roles and specific concerns by role for your top segment?
  • What is the target segment’s current perception of your company and your competition?

SUSPECTED CAUSES

Measuring output instead of results.

Mismatch between marketing resources and expected deliverables.

TREATMENT

Carve out time and resources to do a thorough analysis. If staff is not experienced, bring in outside help for the initial round.

Build new marketing plan based on the analysis.

About the Author
Kathryn Roy is a marketing and strategy consultant with over 20 years of experience helping some of the most successful and fastest growing B2B companies including IBM, Avid, CA, Lotus, AT&T and dozens of other technology companies.
[…]”

 

Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers

Toronto

I couldn’t agree more with Kathleen Schaub’s post ‘Eight skills for tomorrows marketers’ from November 9, 2009. However, I’m with Keith who commented on her blog that the title should read ‘Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers’:

“[…] Marketing’s most interesting new roles require skills from non-traditional disciplines.

For your next marketing hire, consider people experienced in the following areas:

1) Sales Skills: Now that 100% of B2B buyers repeatedly touch the web (both vendor’s sites and those of 3rd parties) throughout the buying process, marketing must stay active from “cold to close”. No more filling the top of the funnel and passing leads off to sales. Tony Jaros, VP of Research from Sirius Decisions asks a radical question – why is the web still in Corporate Marketing? No longer just a corporate brochure, the web is central to revenue generation. IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice says that some leading organizations (Intel, for example) are hiring CMO’s with sales backgrounds. With new organizational structures such as Demand Centers and with pressure for better sales enablement taking center stage, people with working knowledge of sales AND marketing are golden. All marketers should learn about selling.

2) Social Media Skills: It’s no secret that social media dramatically changes the buyer-seller-influencer dynamic. But only those actively participating in social media tangibly appreciate the differences between old-style one-way media conversations and the group interactivity.

3) Influencer Marketing Skills: Advocacy and relationship roles such as AR, PR, developer relations, customer advocacy, community managers and evangelists continue to move beyond traditional boundaries and broaden their role to more types of influencers. Influencer50 has identified 24 types (Barbara French lists them here).

4) Journalism/ Storytelling Skills: With buyers getting the majority of their information from the web and with sales enablement increasing in priority, there’s no end to the need for juicy, targeted content. David Meerman Scott suggests that we hire trained journalists. Our customer segments and our eco-systems would be their “beat” – listening for stories, mashing them with our messages and placing fresh, relevant, content within the conversation.

5) Process Design Skills: Marketing automation is just beginning to penetrate its market. Forrester says it’s less than 5% adopted. As anyone who has been part of a re-engineering effort can attest, it’s not the automation that increases productivity. It’s the process changes that automation enables and enforces. Deploying marketing automation will require skills such as process modeling, project management, the ability to train and manage change, as well as ease with technology.

6) Data/ Analytics Skills: Technology captures and makes available enormous amounts of data about buyer and seller behavior. What does it all mean? Two of the most valuable uses of data are the ability to reveal a buyer’s “digital body language“, as Eloqua’s Steven Woods’ new book discusses, as well as the ability to closely link marketing performance to business performance. Real data about customer behavior and real ties to revenue promise marketing leadership a bigger seat at the executive table.

7) Design Thinking Skills: CEO’s want to know, “how can I make my company more innovative?” In addition to R&D, marketing would be a natural place to source talent. In his new book, Change by Design, Tim Brown, CEO of design shop IDEO, talks about how leading companies are tapping into right-brain tricks that those schooled in the arts practice, such as brainstorming, role-playing and scenario-building (see his TED talks here).

8) Domain Expertise: Customers don’t care about our products. They care about themselves and their problems. Building a bridge between our products and the customer’s care-abouts requires knowledge of both realms.”

Sales Enablement in a nutshell

Sandeep Pandit asked the following question about Sales Enablement on LinkedIn Answers and got the great answers below:

“What are the best practices of Sales Enablement? Also please list down the activities which are required to enable Sales in IT industry.
Sales Enablement is the fine art of enabling Sales function with the tools, knowledge, resources and processes so that Sales community can go and book orders, get the same delivered and subsequently be ready to service it.”

Garry Mansfield:

“[…] Each aspect is focused on providing the customer facing teams with the material to have a real conversation with the target customer. They may be the CEO or a telecoms manager but all of them will likely be involved in the buying decision and will talk. Therefore consistency in the message is key and you should invest time to get this message clear and relevant.

From my experience the materials that helps most are those that give confidence in those conversations; this can come in the form of training, collateral, fact sheets, account planning, deal/opportunity strategy etc. Ultimately the value of what you are offering needs to be expressible in terms that the customer would understand, recognise and be able to act on.

A clear description and information on customers likely issues will help the client facing teams to engage in conversations to understand the customer better. they can then probe further for evidence and supporting facts to build an offer that is more compelling.

Also, a clear articulation of what you do, backed with the SO WHAT? answers and suitable proof points will also help to build credibility with the client.

When I speak with clients and buyers, each of them say the same thing. Broadly there are three stages to the buying process:

  1. you have to help the customer to understand that they have a problem that can be solved. and it is important enough to invest resources in to fix.
  2. you have to help the customer to explore the options available to them in solving the problem and demonstrate why the option you have is best suited to their need.
  3. you have to prove that your organisation is best placed to deliver this option in the competitive marketplace. […]”

Bob Apollo:

“[…] Sales enablement is – as you’ve no doubt concluded – a critical success factor for B2B companies. I’d suggest that there are four key elements that need to be mastered:

  1. Clarity about who your best prospects are and how to recognise them
  2. A deep understanding of the business issues that are likely to cause them to take action
  3. Clear insights into the sources of information they trust when they start researching solutions
  4. A profound appreciation of their decision making process and how and why they choose to buy

In my experience, it is critical that sales and marketing work together in a truly collaborative fashion to develop a common agreement and a common language in each of these areas.

If you can develop a clear picture of the buying decision process that your prospects go through, you’ll be in great shape to create the tools and programs that are going to have the most impact on facilitating the buying process.

You’ll also avoid the huge amount of wasted effort that most companies put into the creation of sales and marketing deliverables that at the end of the day have no impact what so ever the on chances of a prospect buying the solution. […]”

I would like to respond to the discussion above with a slide by BizSphere. It shows how the Sales Enablement approach I have worked with [at a corporation with over 4,000 sales people world-wide] provides a context sales and marketing can collaborate in to equip the customer facing teams, who have to sell very complex portfolios, with the right…

  • core messages;
  • resources;
  • internal contacts;
  • and [cross-selling/up-selling] relationships

…for the right audience at the equally complex client:
complex

resources

Context is empowering. It’s a killer sales tool. Use it and your content will be richer

Great post on context from copyblogger.com: ‘Why Content is No Longer King (And Who’s Taking His Place)’ by Larry Brooks (@copyblogger) from October 22, 2009:

“Since the very first blog, written around an ancient campfire somewhere in the moist foothills of Seattle, content has been crowned the undisputed king.

The king ruled over all that was written, be they blogs, articles, ads, fiction, or a killer love letter. All that was copy sat at the feet of the king.

Nothing succeeded without content. Writing without it was cast from the kingdom, banished as self-serving junk mail and the much-loathed “interruption marketing.”

But the king is dead.

Okay, not exactly dead, just appointed Prime Minister. Content still rules, but it’s from a more evolved perspective.

Long live the new king: context.

Because nothing sells, nothing works, without it.

The inherent power that is context

At the center of every effective piece of content is an agenda, an implied pitch residing at the heart of the content.

Content is the license, if you will, to move forward with the pitch. Valuable content gives you the right to go on to sell or promote something. It’s the embodiment of a noble premise — to receive you must first give.

You give with the hope that the prospect will stick around and finally buy something. And that is the context behind content marketing.

A commercial context doesn’t diminish the value of strong content. In fact, acknowledging your agenda can be a very smart strategy. It’s like saying, Here, I have a gift for you. Stick around. Because there’s even more where that came from.

Content creates value, and value builds trust. From trust springs the willingness to part with dollars in return for even more value.

The universal nature of context

Of course, context isn’t something we only find in commercial transactions. It’s the empowering juice of fiction, as well.

In the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s current flick, Inglourious Basterds, we see what would otherwise be an overly long, annoyingly irrelevant conversation between a Nazi officer and a terrified farmer.

Why is the farmer terrified? Why is the viewer hooked? Because of the context of the scene. Beneath every seemingly innocent line is a foreboding sense of dread.

Idle chit-chat about milk and neighbors form the content. Fear and unthinkable consequences form the context. Without the context, all you have is a rather dull conversation.

We know something really dramatic and truly horrifying is about to happen. Right after Tarantino teases and torments us into a frenzy of anticipation.

How does he do that? He has mastered the art of context in his scenes.

We copywriters should take note.

Context as strategy

Effective context doesn’t happen by accident. We need to consciously create it.

Context comes from the writer’s clarity about her goals, juxtaposed against the expectations and tolerances of the audience.

In the context of content marketing, first we deliver valuable content, free and clear. As a gift. As a solution. As narrative bricks and mortar. And in doing so we earn the reader’s trust.

Once we’re trusted, we are now able to expand on our own agenda. We get to talk more about the intended outcome of the piece. That outcome might be a sale, a subscription, or even conversion to a new idea.

In a blog, we set out to deliver value. In an ad, we pitch solutions and overcome objections. In fiction, we infuse scenes with anticipation and emotion.

And in each case, when we understand the context we’re working in, we achieve our goal.

And so, too, does the reader. Because their context isn’t what you’re selling, but what they’re seeking to take away from what you’ve written.

Long live the new king.

About the Author: Larry Brooks is a bestselling novelist and the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who love them.”

Please read the comments and leave your own at the original post.

“[…] it just means that “Content is still King”, but it also means that internet business should put content into perspective of their larger strategy.

Brilliant reframing of the ‘ol “Content is king” cliche. […]”

Responses to comments from Larry Brooks (@copyblogger):

“[…] content still rules. And to say that context is irrelevant is, well, naive. The point here, and I’m sorry if I contributed to you missing it, is that content without context cheats both the reader and the writer out of available benefit, because context ALWAYS enriches content. Context is point of view, it’s empathy, it’s an unspoken acknowledgement of need and agenda, without apology or intrusion.

TV advertising is almost all context with very little content (that cool little Etrade baby/spokesperson is pure context, as are the Budweiser Clydesdales and virtually every other conceptual approach), and yet it serves both “reader” and writer.

The point is simple, really: context is empowering. It’s a killer sales tool. Use it and your content will be richer. […]”

“[…] Context is what allows content to “sell.” It’s what pounds it home for the reader. You’re right, poor content won’t bring readers back to your page. But content drenched with effective context will not only bring them back, they’ll bring thier friends and their credit cards with them. Because context empowers content to that extent. In today’s highly competitive online environment, we can’t afford to view what we write simplistically. […]”