You’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got great ideas, and business is booming. So why not be recognized as a thought leader in your industry? After all, your competition is doing it. With blogs and social sharing platforms at everyone’s fingertips, establishing a strong presence in the sea of voices is almost as important as your product or service. The big question is, how do you get your voice heard, and how do you know what to say and who to say it to?

Here are four tips on excelling in the school of thought leadership.

Articulate what makes you special

Spend some time deciphering exactly what makes your business stand out from the crowd. How are you innovative? How is your company playing the game differently? Nothing says leader more than spearheading a shift in industry thinking. It’s not as intimidating as it might sound — we don’t all have to be Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh transforming the call center into a model of corporate culture. (read more…)

Now is what’s next.

That is how Ben Jones, creative director for Google’s agency team, ended his presentation on creativity in real-time at the 4A’s Transformation conference.

Jones went on to explain that reacting quickly to tent-pole television events with creative yields strong results, and a strong mobile strategy is what will increase brand recognition and loyalty with consumers. Long gone are the days when people would talk about social and mobile as “nice to haves” or “the next big thing.” Mobile and social took a front seat this year for all major brands and agencies.

Like many conferences over the past year, there was a lot of discussion about programmatic and the increasing need for automation within these platforms.

The topic attracted debate, and the question was asked, “Is programmatic ready for prime time?”

Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Starcom USA, drove the point of addressability and targeting the audience. (read more…)

There’s an industry gathering for everything these days: Cannes, CES, Social Media Week, and my new personal favorite, South by Southwest.

Although all tend to appeal to marketers, CES historically has been the most technology-driven, whereas SXSW has owned the culture and entertainment space (due to its three-pronged nature of Interactive, Film and Music). However, this year’s festival seemed particularly focused on technology — virtual reality, mobile shopping apps, and beacons dominated sessions and conversations.

Technology and advertising have long gone hand-in-hand. From radio to TV and the Internet, innovation has undoubtedly affected the context in which brands reach their consumers. More interestingly, I’d argue, is the influence of technology on media.

Millennials are particularly familiar with the evolution of media. We’ve been through it all — from e-mail to chat rooms to Myspace and Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, and — gasp — Meerkat.

Rather than focus on what wearables or beacon tech means for consumers, at SXSW, I chose to learn more about the future of distributed media, in a session led by BuzzFeed’s Summer Anne Burton. (read more…)

Many companies today are just starting to get a grasp on content marketing. They’re reading about it, testing it out, and trying to figure out what it is and how to do it. While content marketing is a complex operation that requires many different resources such as SEOs, graphic designers and creative teams, social media marketers need to understand how they fit into the workflow.

There are three main phases to content marketing, and social media has a special place in each:

1. The Ideation Phase

Your brand wants to make a content marketing piece, but what should it be about? Since your goal is to create something people will consume and share, you need to find out what your audience wants to hear about and gear your content toward that. How? Ask your social media manager. Social media marketers have a wealth of information such as what types of trends and topics are doing best on social media right now, what competitors are doing successfully or poorly, and general social media insights that allow you to create a piece that is most relevant to the people you are targeting. (read more…)