Tuesday, July 19, 2016

4 Quick Books That Will Boost Your Career Now


If you follow my blog, you know that I read a lot of books. Earlier this year, I came across four books that can impact your work performance right now. Not only do they offer concrete tips. they're quick reads (one or two days).

If you're looking to improve your productivity, creativity and presentation skills, read on. These books offer advice with real world examples and stories to keep you turning the pages to learn more.

The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day by David Horsager

Efficiency and productivity are major themes in business. David Horsager (@DavidHorsager) explains how to re-organize your daily tasks to be more effective at both.

He demonstrates how to use Difference Making Actions (DMA) to achieve your goals in 90 days. Every morning, write down the five most important things you can do that day to reach your current goal. Those five items are your focus for the day.

Learn how to:
  • Plan your day.
  • Avoid many of the time-sucking activities in which we engage.
  • Maximize many of the actions we do every day (including meetings!).


Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This book comes recommended by Ann Handley (@AnnHandley) and Jason Miller (@JasonMillerCA). With those two endorsements, it's a must read. Austin Kleon (@AustinKleon) covers 10 themes that will have you exploring your creativity in new ways.

Kleon starts with the notion that nothing is original. Something influences every artist and every work of art. With that thought, allow yourself to take things that you love and that inspire you and recreate them. The key is to put your own spin on it.

One of my favorite examples is how Kleon was such a fan of Jurassic Park, he wrote his own sequel. Look to your favorite artists and "fix" their work by creating it the way you would want it to be.

Also, surround yourself with the best and smartest people you can. He says you're only as good as the people who surround you. It's said often ... if you're the smartest person in the room, find a different room.

Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh Macleod

To enhance creativity, Hugh Macleod (@HughCards) recommends doing just what the title says: ignore everybody. He explains that while you don't know if your big idea is good, neither does anyone else. even close friends won't understand it as well as you do.

Known for drawing cartoons on the back of business cards, Macleod believes everyone is born creative. We were all given a box of crayons in kindergarten. As we get older, boring text books replace our creative outlets. Most of us hear our inner voice that wants to be creative and "wants the crayons back." But, our "adult" voice tries to quiet that inner voice.

His 40 keys help you ignore your "adult" voice to explore your creative ideas.

Steal the Show by Michael Port

Ok, this book will take you more than a day or two to read. I'm including it because it goes into detail about how to improve any presentation you have to give.

Michael Port (@michaelport) posits that all presentations are performances. This approach will help you prepare keynote presentations, client pitches, job interviews and more.

He describes the mindset you need to find your voice, identify your role for each situation and work through your fears. He then explains the principles to build your presentations to achieve your objectives. These will teach you how to prepare your performances to engage your audience. Finally, he goes into detail on how to craft and build your presentation.

Going far beyond the picture-your-audience-in-their-underwear advice, you'll learn to connect with your audience to inspire and persuade them. Whether you're a professional speaker or just give occasional presentations, this book will help you improve your performance.

These books include so many tips, it's easy to find at least a handful that are applicable to your career. These aren't changes that are hard to implement. Most include helping you rethink how you approach your day or your processes.

Do you have other books that have had positive impacts on your work? Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Thanks for reading! If you like this post, please share it with your friends and sign up to receive my posts through email.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Stay Positive When Life Sucks


I've had people tell me that I'm always positive. And, for the most part, I am. At least I try to be. Some have asked me how I do it. I wasn't sure if I should write about it. But I saw a recent tweet in which someone asked, "How do you stay positive?" (not to me, just in general), so I decided it might be helpful. But, keep in mind that I'm not a psychologist. This is just how I deal with things.

I'm an easy going guy. I don't get stressed out often. A lot of times, that's by choice. Years ago, I heard a quote (it may or may not have been in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer):
There's another version explaining how a positive attitude is a spark for extraordinary things. The point is that big things happen to everyone. What defines you is what you do when those events happen. That idea has always stayed with me.

I try to take a second to think before reacting to things. I try to think of the aftermath of the reaction. There aren't many benefits to getting stressed out or pissed off. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a saint and I do have emotions that come out. But, if they're negative, I try to keep those thoughts in my head or move on as fast as I can to positive actions.

Taking a positive attitude helps your brain work at its best. You can control your brain to be more positive. Your prefrontal cortex allows you to focus your thinking on coming up with solutions for your issues.


The following tips help me keep my situations in perspective. One or more of them may help you too. 

Understand Things Can Always Be Worse

I know it's a cliché, but it's true. I got into a car accident a few weeks ago. It was my fault. It came at a time when money was a bit shorter than usual. Oh, and it was the day before my wife's birthday. Sounds bad, and it wasn't great.

The first thing I thought was that no one got hurt. That was the main thing. The car damage was only to the body and headlight (nothing structural or mechanical). It was in the shop for a couple of weeks, but it was only a minor inconvenience. I had to get up a little earlier than normal to take my wife to work on the days I needed a car. Certainly not the end of the world. As far as car accidents go, this could have been much worse. Knowing that made the ordeal less stressful for me.

Look At the Bigger Picture

Life always has ups and downs. But when you look at the bigger picture, most of us have a lot more ups. So, if you're going through a hard time, understand that it's just a blip on your life journey.

It's not always to realize it when you're dealing with it. But, once everything is back in order, you can look back and chalk it up to a life experience. I'm also willing to bet that you come out of it better than before. Adversity builds character, right?

Reframe Your Situation

Sometimes changing the way you look at a situation allows you to see things in a new light. If you're in a miserable job or in a job search (like I currently am), use the experience to realize that there may be a better job out there. A better position, a better company, better pay - turn it into an opportunity. Changing your outlook will help you realize you have the chance to improve yourself and your life. Don't get discouraged if you can't see the outcome yet or don't know what it will be. Trust yourself that it's there and that you'll be ready for it.

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Yep, another cliché, but applicable here. I know that sometimes it's hard to be positive. In these cases, it's ok to fake it. Tell yourself to be positive and act like you are. Just like forcing yourself to smile can boost your spirits, acting in a positive manner will help you feel better. Pretty soon, the positive feelings will be genuine.

Exercise

Exercise offers great benefits for your mental health. It reduces stress by releasing norepinephrine, which helps your brain manage stress. It also releases endorphins that make you feel happy. Not to mention that exercise helps you feel better about yourself in general. 

To steal a line from the Tesla song, "So What!", "Life's beautiful, and life sucks." We all go through hard times. Sometimes it seems like you can't catch a break. But, by following these tips, you can keep a positive attitude and get back to where you want to be before you know it.

What do you do to stay positive? Tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends.

Think Like a Proton image via Zazzle.    
Fix-It Felix, Jr. image via Wikia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Are You Experienced? Ushering in a New Marketing Era like Jimi Hendrix


Originally published on www.pr2020.com/blog.
The first time I pushed “play” on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (on a cassette if you remember those!), it blew me away. This was in the ‘80s after already having heard guitarists like Eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to hear that sound in 1967 for the first time when there was no other guitarist like him.
The ground-breaking impact he had on guitar and the state of music itself is incredible. From the sounds he created to the way he performed on stage, Hendrix changed the face of music.
Just like Hendrix ushered in a new era of guitar playing, Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) and Carla Johnson (@CarlaJohnson) are ushering in a new era of marketing—Experiences. But this time, instead of catching up after the fact, I’m witnessing it firsthand.

The first notes dropped at Content Marketing World (CMW) 2014. Robert Rose didn’t so much give his presentation about Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing as he evangelized it. It was uplifting, motivational and educational. All that was missing was the choir in the background, Rose lighting a copy of the book on fire on stage and a thunderous “Amen!” from the congregation (us).
From this buildup, this book has a lot to live up to. And, it does without a doubt. Below are a few of the key points I took from reading it.

The Seventh Era of Marketing

While Rose’s presentation at CMW laid the groundwork, the book pushes us right into the experiences era. The marketing environment has changed, and the role of the marketer needs to expand.
What’s driving us into the “Experiences Era”? There are three main causes:
  • Customer relationships are more complex than ever: Customers expect products and services to be excellent. Experiences need to be the differentiating factor for buying decisions.
  • The democratization of content: With so much content available from brands, friends and family, our content has to work harder to stand out. It must be valuable and useful for customers.
  • The marketing department must take a holistic view of the customer experience:We need to be more strategic and create appreciated experiences to build our audiences. Even after we persuade them to buy, we must continue to nurture the relationships to satisfy them and earn their loyalty.

Redefining the Role of Marketers

Just as Hendrix blew open the role of the lead guitar, Rose and Johnson are redefining the role of marketers. We can no longer be simply considered support for sales and other departments. We need to execute at all aspects of the business and help guide the company’s strategy.
The authors see the role of marketer evolving into three main areas:
  • Growth Drivers: Marketing is essential to achieving the goals of the organization. Other departments need to recognize our expanded role in executing the overall strategy.
  • Unifiers: We need to collaborate with each department and steer the whole organization toward creating experiences that wow customers.
  • Innovators: We need to use our view of changing customer behaviors to help the rest of the company evolve as customers do.

The New Four Principles of Marketing


When Jimi Hendrix came on the scene, the rules of guitar playing changed dramatically. Guitarists no longer had to stand in one place with little movement. Those that did were now boring. To see how Hendrix impacted other bands, check out how the Who’s stage show changed after Hendrix.
The rules of marketing are changing faster than ever as consumers change their behavior. The authors cite an article, “Rethinking the 4 P’s” by Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado (@ConradoEduardo) and Jonathan Knowles (@typetwo). They adapt the traditional 4 P’s of marketing (product, place, price and promotion) to the SAVE framework: 
  • Solution (instead of product): Focus on showing how you meet customer needs, instead of product features.
  • Access (instead of place): Build your strategy to impact each customer experience regardless of the medium or location.
  • Value (instead of price): Emphasize the relationship of price with customer benefits instead of comparing to your costs and competitors.
  • Education (instead of promotion): Offer content to highlight how you solve specific customer needs rather than generic mass marketing messaging.

The Shift to Content-Driven Experiences

“…new marketing strategies must focus on creating experiences that deliver value that goes beyond the product or service.” – Robert Rose and Carla Johnson
So with this new marketing era, how do we get there? We need to think about content, marketing and experiences in a new way. The marketing team needs to manage content to focus on experiences while also being strategic. Content is an ongoing process and not a campaign with an expiration date.
The content itself must have purpose and value to change the customer’s behavior (convince them to buy). To achieve this, Rose and Johnson use the following categories:
  • Promoter: Appeals to customers’ needs and wants to drive decisions.
  • Preacher: Helps customers to find your products to drive awareness and engagement.
  • Professor: Fuels interests and passions to drive meaning and establishes your expertise.
  • Poet: Speaks directly to feelings and convictions to drive emotionality to change a belief or spur an action.
The key is to balance your content among these four to reach your goals. Customers in different stages of the sales funnel need different types of messages.
In the book, the authors also walk you through the framework for a content creation management system. They illustrate success with this approach with case studies and examples.

Experience is Catching On

Hendrix couldn’t have brought on a movement in music by himself. Other bands and artists were onto this new phase of rock music and helped to spread its popularity. In the same way, this one book couldn’t bring about a new era of marketing by itself. It may be the best examination of a new age, but it needs support from other thought leaders to reinforce the movement.
This is happening as you can see by just a few examples here:
  • Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) said on his podcast, Unpodcast, “The stories we tell are not brand stories. The stories we tell are experiences with companies and with people.”
  • Jay Baer (@jaybaer) explains in What the Convergence of Customer Service and Marketing Means for Business, “Marketing has evolved beyond just customer acquisition. These days, marketing teams must consider the entire customer experience. With 91 percent of companies reporting that their marketing teams play a strong role in executive decision making, the ability for marketing to interact across departments is essential.”
  • Corinne Sklar (@csklar) wrote in Marketing in 2015: Make the Customer Experience Count, “In the modern, connected world, nearly every company is working towards a digital frontier of meaningful customer experiences across all channels.”  
  • Mack Collier (@MackCollier) wrote in Think Like a Rock Star, “If you can find ways to improve your customers' experience and environment, you are communicating to them that you understand their point of view. This is an incredibly powerful way to connect with your customers, earn their loyalty, and cultivate fans.”
College marketing courses could (and should) use this book as a textbook. I recommend it for all marketers. As we navigate the new Experiences era of marketing, Rose and Johnson have set the stage for success.
In the words of Jimi Hendrix, “Are you experienced? Well, I am.“ You will be too.
What’s your take on the idea of Experiences being the next era? Do you agree or do you think this is just another buzzword of the day? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Image source: Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing: 7theraofmarketing.com; Robert Rose: PR 20/20 (@pr2020); Jimi Hendrix: Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Create Magical Marketing Like Disney World

Taking It Back - Walt Disney World

I'm a huge Disney fan. I know. It's not the rock music stuff I like to write about, but I was into Mickey Mouse well before I learned how to rock out. As a kid, I believed in the Magical World of Disney. Now as an adult, there may be no bigger marketing influence for me than Disney.  

Earlier this year, I made my third trip to a Disney Park. This was the first time I've been able to really pay attention to the marketing. The first time I went I went to Disney World, I was five. And, I don't remember much of the trip.

In 2005, I went with my wife (then girlfriend) to Disneyland. She's a huge Disney fan. I proposed to her that night after the fireworks (She said "Yes!"). So, I was more concerned with figuring out what I was going to say (and not losing the ring pinned to the inside of my pocket).

This year's trip was to Disney World and was just for fun. I couldn't wait for the Disney experience without having anything else on my mind. I was as excited as Stewie on Family Guy when he went to Disney World.


The trip was incredible. We visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot in two days. We probably pushed it a little too much (we also spent a day at Universal Studios). Our feet were killing us for most of the trip, but it was worth it. Besides the fun, the trip was my own personal workshop on outstanding customer experiences. Here are my five biggest takeaways.

MagicBands
Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - MagicBands

Leaving out the fact that I looked for one of the slowest weeks of the year, one of the challenges of a Disney trip are the crowds and getting to do everything you want to do. In fact, in the mid-2000s, guests indicated they were less likely to return because of these issues. Disney understood that was an issue. This led to the biggest overhaul to Disney Parks' infrastructure: MagicBands. This Wired article explains the background story of these bands and what it took to get them implemented.

In short, MagicBands are wristbands that work with the MyDisneyExperience app to enhance a visitor's experience. The bands do the following by just touching them to a sensor:

  • Grant park entry.
  • Open your hotel room doors.
  • Buy souvenirs.
  • Make restaurant reservations, pre-order your food and have it automatically brought out to you.
  • Make FastPass+ reservations and grant access to the rides.
  • And more!
Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Maleficent Dragon

The MagicBands give Disney a ton of visitor data from what rides you go on to what you buy. They can use this data to better personalize your experience.  The data can also influence the operations of the parks. For example, they can see when areas of the park get too crowded. To help move the crowd along, they can offer an attraction or character appearance somewhere else in the park to lure visitors away from the bottleneck. This allows visitors to do more by spending less time waiting in lines.

The bands also make it easier for visitors to spend more money. Less time in line offers the potential for more time spent in shops. And, making a purchase is just as easy as touching your MagicBand to a sensor. No fumbling around in your wallet or purse to find cash or a credit card. Just the absence of this act makes it very easy to lose track of how much your spending.

If that's not enough, the MagicBands arrival at your house offers a major point of excitement. The bands are packaged in a box that reveals the bands lined up and labeled with each family member's name. And, of course, you can buy MagicBandits to decorate your MagicBand with your favorite Disney characters!

Disney Resorts


Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Resorts - Mickey Mouse

For our trip, we stayed at the Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter. We looked at non-Disney resorts, but this was reasonably priced and the benefits of staying on-site more than made up for any extra cost.

First, Disney resorts include free shuttles to take you to and from the airport. And, once you check your bags at your departing airport, they're taken to your hotel room. You don't have to pick them up at the airport.

With the MagicBands, you don't even have to check in to the hotel. They'll send you a text when your room is ready. We went to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) to hang out for the day and came back in the afternoon and went right to our room and our bags were there.

There are also free shuttles and boats to take you to all the Disney parks, Disney Springs and other resorts. No cabs or Ubers...unless you go somewhere non-Disney, like we did to Universal Studios. Even then, it was easy enough to get an Uber.

Another big feature of staying at a Disney resort is the Extra Magic Hours. Every day, one park opens an hour early or closes two hours later for resort guests only. Check out your favorite rides again or plan on hitting some of the more popular rides with a smaller crowd.

The Lines...Oh, the Lines

Taking It Back - Disney World - Dumbo
With FastPass+, you can avoid some of the lines for your favorite rides. You can't skip them all though. So, there are distractions to make the wait easier. Some of the rides incorporate videos that help to tell the story of the ride. Other rides, like the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, have activities to keep kids occupied.

Granted, that's not exclusive to Disney parks, but they do it well. One feature that I've never seen anywhere else is the Dumbo the Flying Elephant pager system. Kids can play in their playground and parents get a pager that tell them when it's their turn to ride.

The Shops...Oh, the Shops

Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Frozen
I don't know how long they've done this, so if this is old news, I apologize. But, most major rides exit into a shop themed around the ride. For parents hoping to take their kids into one store on the way out to get a souvenir, you're out of luck.

From a marketing and merchandising perspective, it's brilliant. I don't know how parents get out there without spending an extra fortune in toys. I saw kids' eyes just light up as they entered the shops - especially the "Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber" section of the Star Wars shop or anything Frozen!

How does that relate to a great experience? Good question. With your MagicBands, you can have your purchases sent to your Disney resort room. You don't have to carry them all day. Just make sure to keep track of what you buy!


Interactive Games

Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Mickey MouseDisney offers ways to engage visitors as they explore the parks. The most famous way is by finding hidden Mickeys. There are images of Mickey Mouse incorporated into the design of Disney attractions throughout the parks. There are books and websites that offer clues and guides to find them. But, as the park changes and attractions move, some of the Mickeys move with them.

There are also interactive games including A Pirate's Adventure, Wilderness Explorers, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. We didn't do any of the games, but they sound interesting. Maps, cards and/or clues unlock the adventures through videos and interactive screens.

The Best for Last - The Characters!


Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Characters

What would a Disney World trip be without all the Disney characters? There are many shows that feature Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and your favorites. There are also a bunch of scheduled meet and greet times throughout the parks. The parades are one of the best attractions and give you a chance to see a wide range of characters.

Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Pluto
The one thing that I missed was the random encounters with the characters. As a kid, I remember running into Mickey, Chip and Dale, Goofy and many more. I'm sure the scheduled times are a better (and safer) way to make sure more kids are able to see their favorites. But, it feels a little too organized which actually takes away some of the magic. Although, I'm sure if I was a kid, I wouldn't care as long as I got to meet Mickey Mouse somehow.

All the marketing points aside, I loved our two days at the Disney parks (and our one day at Universal Studios)! It was fun to be a kid again and take in all my favorites. Especially now to see Star Wars and the Muppets rides and shows...although the Muppet movie is a bit dated. And where is Animal! Disney doesn't have the rights to implement Marvel characters in their parks east of the Mississippi River. And it doesn't look like they'll get them anytime soon. Those are still held by Universal Studios. Regardless, this won't be the last trip to Disney!

Have you been to Disney World or Disneyland recently? What was your favorite part? Tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, please share it with your friends!

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Taking It Back - Walt Disney World - Aerosmith - Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

Image Source: Main Image - Anthony Quintano via Flickr; Other images are mine.

Monday, May 30, 2016

5 Ways to Rock Your Content Marketing Like Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick - Content Marketing World

Like many, I first became aware of Cheap Trick (@CheapTrick) through "I Want You To Want Me" playing on the radio. I remember Robin Zander belting out the intro, "I want YOU to want...ME!" Then Bun E. Carlos's drum beat leading to Rick Nielsen (@CheapTrickRick) blasting the opening guitar licks. Bassist Tom Petersson (@CheapTrickTom) rounded out the band.

I don't remember how old I was when I first heard it - it must have been early 80's. The intro and the chorus lyrics may be the first bits of classic rock that made a memorable dent on me. I was too young to appreciate the song, but I recognized it when I heard it. As I got older, I could really hear the musicianship and how they all worked together. I became a fan of the song. Then, songs like "Dream Police," "Big Eyes" and "Surrender" hooked me. Seeing them live in the 90's cemented it. They're fun, funny and they rock as well as any band out there.

Finally, this year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included them in their induction class. They may have worked harder than any other band to get in. They have no plans to slow down any time soon. They've got a brand new album, Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello, and will  be touring throughout 2016 and beyond. One specific concert has me very excited. They'll be the entertainment for Content Marketing World in Cleveland in September. Cheap Trick is the perfect band for this event as there are five content marketing tips they can teach you.

1. Create Content Consistently

Cheap Trick - Robin Zander and Tom Petersson

Content needs to be consistent so that you can build your audience and for them to know what to expect from you. Cheap Trick offers short, catchy, guitar-driven songs. They've released 17 albums in 39 years (not counting live and greatest hits albums). That's a level of consistency that you don't get from most bands.

Not only are they often releasing new music, they tour relentlessly. This year alone they'll play at least 150 concerts. Few bands, especially those approaching 40 years, play as often. Over the years, they've headlined their own shows, opened for countless bands (Aerosmith, Motley Crue, KISS, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Queen, Foo Fighters, and many more), played festivals and corporate events (did I mention they'll be performing at Content Marketing World in Cleveland in September?) and will even play the '80s Cruise in 2017. Nielsen says in an article for Rolling Stone, "I haven't unpacked since Budokan." He's referring to their band-breaking live album, At Budokan.

2. Understand Your Audience

Cheap Trick - Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson

Early on, Cheap Trick understood who their audience was and what they wanted. Petersson told Rolling Stone why they kept their songs short and powerful. "People go to bars to pick up girls and dance. They didn't want to hear Emerson, Lake and Palmer."

And, just like any good content marketer knows, you need to hook your audience and hold their attention from the beginning. Petersson expressed in a separate Rolling Stone interview, "And because we were a bar band, we just had the sensibility of getting to the point really, really quickly."

3. Offer Unique Content

Cheap Trick - Rick Nielsen Guitars

To create a buzz and build an audience, you need to have a unique aspect for them. What can you offer that no one else can.  Rick Nielsen is known for his guitars. His most famous guitar is his five-neck guitar that he plays in concert.

He changes guitars often (most guitars are only used for one or two songs). Fans get to see favorites like his "Gonna Raise Hell" guitar, his Uncle Dick double neck guitar or any number of Beatles-inspired or checkerboard guitars.

Another unique aspect is that they may have started the trend of playing entire albums in concert. They played their first four albums in 1998, before other bands adopted the concept years later.

4. Engage Your Audience


Cheap Trick - Rick Nielsen Guitar Picks
One of the best things about Cheap Trick is that they know how to engage their audience. Early on, they had a group of hard core fans who would go to all their shows. During a song called "Fan Club," they would call out these fans' names.

One of the fun things of going to rock concerts is catching a guitar pick from the band. It's more than just a little plastic souvenir. It offers a connection and tangible experience to make the concert more memorable.

Rick Nielsen takes this to whole other level. While some bands may throw one or two out from time to time, Nielsen throws out handfuls at a time often. He estimates that he tosses around 500 picks into the crowd at every show! Instead of just a select few walking out with a pick, he spreads it out to as many people as he can.

5. Grow Your Influence

Rick Nielsen with Foo Fighters

Influencer marketing is the latest buzzword in content marketing. Influencer marketing is utilizing industry leaders to spread your content to a larger audience. One way that Cheap Trick did this was by playing on other bands' albums and making appearances. Rick Nielsen has made appearances on albums by John Lennon, The Yardbirds, Hall and Oates, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons and, most recently, Foo Fighters.

On the flip side, Cheap Trick has also influenced many bands. Countless bands from the '70s through today cite Cheap Trick as influencing their music. These include artists as diverse as Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot), Motley Crue and Aerosmith. They just played with Pearl Jam for guitarist Mike McCready's 50th birthday.

The Orange Effect Foundation and Rock Your Speech

Beyond the content marketing points above, there's another reason Cheap Trick is perfect for Content Marketing World. Tom Petersson and Content Marketing Institute (CMI) founder Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) have children that are affected by autism. They've both started foundations to help families help their autistic children learn to communicate.

Joe (with his wife and CMI COO Pam Kozelka -@PamKozelka) formed the Orange Effect Foundation to help families receive early speech therapy. This early intervention was helpful for their son. Research shows this therapy improves communication and their quality of life.

Tom Petersson and his wife, Alison, created Rock Your Speech to help kids with speech disorders "find their voices through music." They saw how music motivated their son to vocalize. They incorporated basic expressions, like "I'm hungry" and "what's your name" into rock music. Through repetition, he was able to learn to say these phrases. Through Rock Your Speech, they offer these songs and music videos (that help with reading) to families.  

2016 is proving to be a huge year for Cheap Trick and I can't wait to see them at Content Marketing World. If you haven't yet, register today! Plus, use code SM100 to save $100 now!


Image Source:
Feature Image from Content Marketing Institute
Black and white photo via Malco23 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0



Monday, April 11, 2016

2 Epic Rock and Roll Weekend Events: Guns N’ Roses and Rock Hall Inductions


If you’re a rock fan like me, then you know that this weekend was pretty epic for rock music. I’m speaking, of course, about the return of Guns N’ Roses and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Granted, I didn’t attend any of these shows, so my views are from an outside perspective. That said, if you were there, please give us your perspectives in the comments below.

Guns N’ Roses

Rock music has needed a shot in the arm for quite some time. The Guns N’ Roses concerts have catapulted rock music into the limelight in a way we haven’t seen in some time.

There have been other reunions that had the potential to be as big as this but fell short. Led Zeppelin made huge news when they got together for one show (with Jason Bonham filling his dad’s shoes). But, they didn’t go any farther than the one show.

Van Halen made big news with their reunion with David Lee Roth. Their reunion has lasted longer, but Roth’s performance has been a far cry from his original heyday.

Even without all the original members, this reunion already seems bigger. That may be due in part to the aura of danger that always surrounds this band. Everyone is expecting the tour to implode at any time. Their volatility has always fueled Guns N’ Roses and kept everyone’s attention.

The surprise show at the Troubador last week didn’t dampen the excitement for the two shows in Las Vegas. We finally know who’s in the band, but how would it all come together? Well, here’s what we know so far that will fuel much of the success of their summer tour:
  • How They Sound: The band sounds incredible. All parties have been active lately, so I don’t think anyone was expecting a trainwreck. But, the biggest question is if Axl’s voice would hold out. Lately, his voice has sounded good at times and just awful other times. Well, so far, his voice sounds the best I’ve heard it sound since they started touring again.
  • What Version of the Band This Would Be: With no Izzy or Steven Adler, it was clear this wasn’t going to be just a celebration of the Appetite era. With no Matt Sorum or Gilby Clarke, it wasn’t going to be an Illusions era focus either. It’s a continuation of the modern day Guns N’ Roses. They even included a couple songs from Chinese Democracy. At least, they’re \ the two strongest songs from the CD, Chinese Democracy and Better. If you’re holding out hope that you might hear a Velvet Revolver or solo Slash song, I wouldn’t hold your breath. It’s still clearly Axl’s band. The set lists have been a good mix, though.
  • What Kind of Surprises Can We Expect: It was fun to see Sebastian Bach join the band on stage for “My Michelle” during their second show. Axl and Bach have remained close over the years. But, the biggest surprise so far isn’t even a person. When word came out the Axl had broken his foot, he vowed that the show would go on. How would he do it? By sitting on his own rock throne, of course. But, not just any throne. The actual throne that Dave Grohl had created for the Foo Fighters last tour. Grohl might just have a side business creating touring rock thrones.
  • Will Axl, Slash and Duff Get Along: It looks like they’re all enjoying themselves so far. I don’t think they’ll ever shake the perception that it could all come crashing down in a split second. But, I think that’s part of the draw. People love to speculate on what might set one of band members off. Will Axl start the show at a reasonable time (midnight for the two Vegas shows)? Who know what kind of stipulations are in their contracts? You can bet that everyone is covered (band members and venues) in case it goes south.
  • Will There Be a Place for Dizzy: Of course. Other than Axl, Dizzy is the longest tenured member of Guns N’ Roses. Let that sink in. 

It’s been fun to watch the excitement so far. While I wish it was all five original members, I’m still glad to see the big three. We’ll see how long it lasts.

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions


In a year that offers one of the best “rock” classes that we’ve had in a while, the induction ceremony seemed to come and go with barely a blip on the radar. For some reason, it was on a Friday this year. There was a little controversy…if you can call it that.

NWA called out Gene Simmons for saying he can’t wait for hip hop to go away (Simmons answered back here). They included the obligatory disclaimer that they are rock and roll (please, just stop already…). It seems there are more and more inductees that have to justify their inclusion.

Controversy came from new inductee Steve Miller. He criticized the Rock Hall for his treatment. He would like to see the whole process changed including “who you can invite, what you can do, how long you can play, what you can say…”.

Luckily, the biggest news of the Rock Hall inductions was good news for Cleveland. Cleveland will now host the induction ceremony every other year. Cleveland.com’s Chuck Yarborough explains why that’s important for Cleveland in this article. He also gives a great explanation of the two Rock Hall boards and the differences of each. It puts a lot of the activities as they relate to Cleveland in perspective.

Getting the ceremony every other year is a huge win for Cleveland. It will hopefully help to rebuild Cleveland’s reputation and credibility for supporting rock music. Too many rock bands skip Cleveland. I’ve always felt that the Rock Hall should help to make it easy and attractive for bands to come to Cleveland.

Things are looking up in the rock world. Exciting things are happening that hopefully we can continue to build. Enjoy it and support the rock bands that come to Cleveland. The more we support the bands that come, the more that will make sure to include Cleveland on their next tour.

As I said above, if you were at one of the Guns N’ Roses shows or the inductions, tell us what you thought. Even if you didn’t go, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, sign up to receive my updates by email. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Image Source: Cheap Trick via Mike Burns Wikimedia Commons