Content Marketing

The 3 Big Trends at Dreamforce 2014

You don’t need a crystal ball to see where the future will take your business. You just need to get yourself to Dreamforce, and mingle with the brightest minds and most intelligent thought leaders on the cutting edge.

But with hundreds of break out sessions, workshops and keynotes, it might seem overwhelming. Which is why we took the time to sort through the most compelling events to give you a bird’s eye view of the major trends and emerging stories. These are what we see as the three biggest themes for business leaders to watch out for at this Dreamforce 2014:

Customer Service, Evolved

THE BUTLER

A Dreamforce conference wouldn’t be complete without a cornucopia of customer service best-practices insight. Yet, this year’s event marks a new direction in the industry. From connected devices to API’s to new self-service opportunities, customer service is getting a facelift. And Dreamforce will give you a sneak peek at what that looks like.

Selected Sessions:

  • CEB – The Effortless Self-Service Experience
    Customer’s don’t want to deal with you anymore. They want to do it themselves. But research shows a huge portion of complaints originate from confusion during the self check-out period. Find out how you can make self-service as painless as possible.
  • Desk API’s: Creatively Support Your Customers
    Desk.com has been reengineered to meet the needs of this new generation of customer service. Take a look behind the scenes and see what magic is possible with their new API integrations opportunities.
  • Navigating the Future of Customer Service
    Join guest speaker Kate Legget of Forrester Research as she surveys the top 10 trends to move the needle on higher quality customer service in this new era.

Connected Devices  

8c874d764787dc39_ces2014-restdevices_mimo-0621.jpg.xxxlarge_2x 

One of the most exciting trends – if only for the really cool gizmos – is the come-uppance of the Internet of Things (a.k.a #IOT, Internet of Everything, Connect World, and so on). As we wait for Apple to finally unveil its own Smart Watch, and companies like Nike, Google and Samsung are all making gigantic in-roads into wearable tech,  every marketer worth his or her salt needs to know all about this explosive new movement.

Selected Sessions:

  • Apps for the Connected World: Supercharge Customer Data with Code Halos
    Today’s outlier companies are winning with a new set of rules: the dominate by managing the data that surrounds people, organizations, processes and product –  a “Code Halo”. Find out how you too should be building these ideas into your business model.
  • Connected Products: It’s Not Just for iPhones Anymore
    By 2020, there will be an estimated 75 billion connected devices. You’ll want to catch this session to find out exactly how and why your company can join this rapidly growing space.
  • Heroku: Your Window into a World of Connected Devices
    Join this sessions to see how Heroku Connect can send device data directly into your Salesforce Clouds to help you better understand your customers, create value and generate revenue.

For a full list of the trend setting events at Dreamforce, visit their site, here.

Gamification

arcade players

While the term has been on the buzz charts for some time now, Gamification seems to be popping up more than ever. Perhaps it’s because mobile devices and tablets have become ubiquitous, making turning processes and business apps into games easier, and more technologically feasible than ever.

Whatever the cause, it’s undeniable that gamification is reaching new heights and is bound to enter more workplaces, marketing strategies and our daily lives, as a result. If you’re keen on understanding how this major theme can affect your company and life, there are plenty of great sessions planned at #DF14.

Selected Sessions:

  • Finding Flow: A Beginner’s introduction to Gamification
    Exploring its roots in psychology and lessons learned when applied in real life situations. A great starting point on the topic.
  • Compete to Win (Don’t Motivate to Lose)
    Amazing conversation abut a powerful way to motivate your employees, and bring gamification to your team. You can forget incentives, this approach offers huge ROI.
  • Gamification: Open Forum with Thought Leaders and Experts
    A chance to ask your questions, share concerns, and get personal with the world’s foremost gamification pundits.

What Conversation Are You Leading?

Whatever the big trends are, businesses coming to Dreamforce will all be competing to own the conversations around the ones that matter most to their customers.

Pressly is a new platform that lets any business create a centralized hub and provide potential customers with a valuable content resource. And for businesses coming to Dreamforce we are offering a limited-time promotion to help you get started.

See the details here.

Happy Dreamforcing!

 

One thing every marketer should do for Dreamforce

conversation image

 

If you don’t do this at Dreamforce, you’re leaving money on the table

The countdown is on for Dreamforce 2014, one of the most spectacular marketing events of the year. Aside from a saliva-worthy roster of keynotes, break-out sessions, tech displays and parties, there’s one reason companies get excited for attending: the prospect of reaching your next customer.

Over 130,000 attendees live, and nearly a quarter million watching online, guarantees an active, enormous and like-minded audience, just ready to hear your message and perhaps do business with you.

But with all that traffic, comes noise. You certainly will be just one of hundreds of other companies, many of them with similar value props, vying to turn Dreamforce attendees into their next set of leads.

While there are endless tactics available to catch their limited attention and make the sale, there is one approach in particular that every company should think of before hopping on the plane to San Francisco:

“Own a conversation that your customers care about”

What is Owning a Conversation?

In the age of content marketing and brand publishing, Dreamforce attendees (most of whom are marketing and technology pros) no longer want to be advertised “at”. They want and expect to be engaged by brands, intellectually, and to be given valuable information. This is nothing new, of course. But the concept of “Owning a conversation” is an important key to keep in mind as you prep your marketing and sales strategy for the event, which is only a few weeks away.

Surely, your brand has a topic, conversation or timely event that is both relevant to your target customers, and unique enough to stand out from the crowd. In particular at Dreamforce, you may want to dig deep into how you tie into Salesforce.com or any of the major marketing automation platforms like Hubspot. Think of what Dreamforcers care most about, about the kinds of content they are already consuming and then pick your angle.

Why is this so important?

There are a number of reasons laying claim to a theme is so crucial to events such as Dreamforce.

  • You are sharing already: as a modern day organization, you likely already have teams of social and content sharing and pumping out some content. However, if you haven’t though through your conversation, how can you expect your readers to connect to or care about what you are saying?
  • Your readers want more than just your POV: a crucial aspect of conversations is that they have multiple points of view. Of course, you can take a stand, but as a curator, you’re job is also to bring on broader, perhaps conflicting elements and angles.
  • You want to convert that traffic: Owning is end to end. It means you own the experience, too, not just the message. It’s not enough to share across fragmented social channels and platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. You’re just sending your prospects to another company’s site. What you should be doing is upstreaming that conversation by actually owning the real estate, not just the message.

Tips:

  • Pick an angle: Pick a polarizing, authentic stance that your company believes in. There is far too much unbiased slop out there, your customers won’t have any time for that.
  • Discovery tools: One of the hardest parts is finding enough great content to fill the channel. There are hundreds of powerful tools. Find a few you like. To see what we use, read this.
  • Curation and Publishing tools: This is what demands your smarts and most of your time. How will you collect, present and share that content in a meaningful and business-driving way? Tools such as Pressly are designed exactly for that.

Want help? We’ve got you covered

If you’re planning on attending Dreamforce, we’re offering a limited time promotion to get you using Pressly’s end to end content curation service. In just a matter of minutes, you can be up and running with your very own branded content hub, which will look great across devices and platforms.

See the details of the promotion here: pressly.com/dreamforce

 

Convince your boss to send you to Dreamforce

We’ve all been there. You’ve found out about an incredible conference coming up. And you just know it’s going to be a great learning experience, and lead to serious value for both your career and potentially your company’s business.

The only catch is: does your boss see it that way too? We found this awesome post from Saleforce.com all about building the business case for going to their annual shindig, Dreamforce 2014.

Content Marketing? See more ways you can profit during Dreamforce 2014

 

So your boss needs some persuasion to agree to your trip to Dreamforce. And the fact that 95% of attendees recommend it to others is not convincing enough. Are the sessions, training and events really worth the cost and the time away from your desk?  The answer is yes, yes, yes. Let us help you prepare with four ways to convince your boss.

“Dreamforce will elevate our ROI”

Attending Dreamforce can help you maximize your Salesforce ROI. 96% of attendees surveyed said their business improvements outweighed the cost of going to Dreamforce. Attendees reported gains across key business metrics for sales, service and support, collaboration, marketing, and IT, including:

1499502_10152096414824231_1274837211_n30% average increase in sales productivity

33% average increase in customer satisfaction

32% average improvement in employee productivity

41% increase in lead volume

58% faster deployment of IT programs

“We will be motivated and inspired to perform better”

Every year, Dreamforce hosts keynotes that inspire and engage. There is no doubt that these keynotes will elevate your mind. Don’t believe us? Check out last year’s keynotes to feel the power of Dreamforce.

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“There are countless learning opportunities at Dreamforce”

1231103_10152096396249231_1145106261_nAt the heart of Dreamforce are the amazing learning opportunities. The community comes together to learn and share best practices through 1450+ expert-led sessions, hands-on training, two Cloud Expos featuring Salesforce solution showcases and thousands of partner solutions, Circles of Success where you can get your real questions answered by product experts, and even more. Explore some of the breakout sessions catered to your interests and areas of expertise here.

 

“There are networking opportunities galore”

1505341_10152096396639231_2028971390_nDreamforce is the largest gathering of the Salesforce community, and it’s your opportunity to make connections and share best practices. Whatever your role, company size or industry, the community is ready to share their knowledge, skills or a Dreamforce lunch with you. These could be potential partners, employers, employees, mentors or simply kindred spirits. Relationships are built morning and night throughout the event. Dreamforce is designed to connect you to people you can learn from, both in the online Dreamforce community prior to the event, and with the many networking events throughout the conference. Between the Welcome Reception, the Dreamforce Gala, the Dreamforce Plaza activities, and many more, you will have so many opportunities to spend time with your peers and learn from their experiences.

The Dreamforce society doesn’t end with the conference. Online and offline communities are created to continue networking opportunities and the sharing of knowledge and information.

We want you to join our keynotes, our community, and us at Dreamforce, so we’ve crafted a letter you can download, personalize, and send to your boss to justify your trip. Or get additional info on why you specifically should attend by clicking here. There’s something for everyone in your company. So pass it on.

Get smarter at Dreamforce 2014

We found this incredible guide to getting educated during this year’s Dreamforce 2014. Anyone who is attending has definitely got to check this out, below.

See the other ways Pressly can help you succeed at Dreamforce

We want you to be prepped and excited about the sessions, innovations, and enhancements at this year’s Dreamforce. Get ready for more hands-on training, more sessions, new pre-conference training, and much more.

1. Get your agenda ready!

Breakout sessions are going to be huge this year.
Log in to the Success Community now to discuss options, opinions, and experiences with fellow attendees. Registration doesn’t go live until September, but you can get a head start by looking at the 400+ sessions already available onDreamforce.com. You can filter sessions by role, product, and industry to find the perfect sessions for you.

2. Pre-conference training & Salesforce certification

You can sign up for Pre-Conference Training and Salesforce Certifications specially offered at the conference to Dreamforce registrants. One- and two-day trainings are available the weekend before the  Df13_sfdc_cert_badgeconference. And this year, we have three brand new classes in pre-conference training. Get additional information here.

Salesforce Certifications are a great way to take full advantage of your time at Dreamforce. The certification sessions, in one of seven areas, are purchased during registration, then scheduled in Agenda Builder.

 

3. More sessions

As the conference grows, so does the number of breakout sessions available for attendees. We are adding even more sessions this year, totaling more than 1,450. We’ll also be optimizing the attendee experience by repeating more sessions than ever. That means you’ll have more opportunities to attend all of the sessions you want. This year, all sessions will be 40 minutes long, allowing attendees more 1511270_10152096415469231_686245921_ntime to get to their next session.

Along with our ever-popular Product Roadmap sessions, we’ll also have Emerging Trend sessions, Salesforce-on-Salesforce sessions (where salesforce.com employees discuss how the company uses Salesforce), and brand new this year, Admins-by-Admins sessions to invigorate the admin community.

4. More HOTS

Hands-on-training sessions are hands down the most popular sessions at Dreamforce. Practicing and learning from professional instructors is extremely valuable. And after the session is over, the Orgs being used will be available for another 30 days,  1526522_10152096415359231_1836416902_nallowing you to continue practicing what you learn.

Make sure you’re ready to register for these sessions as soon as Agenda Builder goes live, but if you don’t, don’t fret. Additional HOTS will be released in the Agenda Builder after it goes live, so keep your eyes on the Dreamforce website. To ensure that more attendees will be able to participate in HOTS, the number of sessions will be increasing.

5. Next step: Workshops

After an incredibly successful pilot last year, we’ve brought Workshops back to Dreamforce. Workshops can be considered the “Part 2″ to HOTS. These are complementary sessions tied to specific HOTS that help you apply what you have learned to your own business. Facilitated by1231103_10152096396249231_1145106261_nprofessionals, these sessions utilize workbooks to show you what’s possible with Salesforce.

6. Post-show activities

As always, the Dreamforce community and conversation do not end once the conference is over. The same is true for the breakout sessions. Almost all sessions will be audio recorded, and will be available online within a week on the Dreamforce website and in theSuccess Community.

 

This post originally appeared on Salesforce.com

22 People to Follow Before Dreamforce 2014

Well, Dreamforce 2014 is on its way – and it is the must attend event for marketers all year. But it’s going to be noisy with all those parties. Aside from doing your best to stand out and make some business happen, how will you filter the noise for yourself and get the most from the event? Below is Post Code Anywhere’s awesome guide to who you should following to arm yourself for the big Salesforce.com party.

Want even more tools to guarantee a successful Dreamforce? See what Pressly can do for you with our Dreamforce 2014 Promotion.

 

Besides the fantastic parties, informative breakout sessions ( 14,000 to be exact!), visionary keynotes and the great San Francisco location, one of the very best things about attending Dreamforce is all the inspiring and enthusiastic people you will meet.

But with over 125,000 Salesforce enthusiasts expected to attend this year, it’s hard to know where to start.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of the awesome people we’re hoping to bump into – aside from Bruno Mars of course!

 

 

Headliners

Don’t expect to find these four on the dance floor but still worth following for important updates ahead of Dreamforce…

Benioff

Marc Benioff @benioff – Chairman and CEO of salesforce.com with a penchant for lavish shoes!

algore

Al Gore @algore – American politician and philanthropist, who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States.

hilaryclinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton @HillaryClinton – Former United States Secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady of the United States.

tonyrobbins

Tony Robbins @TonyRobbins – An American life success coach and motivational speaker dedicated to helping people achieve their dreams.

 

Salesforce Folk

Have a question about Salesforce? These are your guys (and gals!)

triciagellman

Tricia Gellman @triciagellman – Tricia is a senior director at Salesforce.com. With an impressive CV including stints at Apple and Adobe, Tricia certainly knows her stuff!

julieliegl

Julie Liegl @julieliegl – VP Dreamforce Conference Chair. Follow Julie for all the latest updates on Dreamforce.

toosassy

@TooSaaSy - The official feed of salesforce.com’s “super-rad” mascot. You know that big blow-up costume you’ve seen parading around the events? Yep it’s got its own Twitter account!

geraldinegrey

Geraldine Gray @GeraldineGray – Salesforce MVP and founder of Girly Geeks, Geraldine now runs Endiem, a Salesforce consultancy based in Houston.

aaronpayne

Aaron Payne @aaronjpayne – Strategic Account Director for the Salesforce1 Platform.

NicoleAlford

Nicole Alford @salesforceQueen – Salesforce MVP alum and now a Principal Success Manager in the Customers For Life division of salesforce.com.  Enthusiastic about everything Salesforce, especially SaaSy!

 

Partners and Vendors

Looking to get more out of your Salesforce CRM? Check out these useful offerings and integrations.

precurive

@precursive - A bunch of self-confessed Salesforce evangelists, Percursive makes resource management software that helps improve utilisation, reduce project cost and project leakage.

silverpop

@silverpop - Provider of both digital marketing software and, more importantly, the most amazing Dreamforce parties ever, hopefully they will be serving more neon blue cocktails this year! But be quick – the tickets sell out ridiculously fast.

financialforce

@FinancialForce - Provides cloud ERP solution for Salesforce CRM which include Cloud Accounting Software, Billing applications and Financial Management.

aptus

@Apttus - Apttus delivers Quote-to-Cash automation software in the cloud. Quote-to-Cash includes configure price quote, contracts, renewals and revenue management. Last year these guys held some really good sessions and even better Margarita meetups!

newvoicemedia

@newvoicemedia - A fantastic supplier of contact centre technology that works great with Salesforce. Check them out! 

 

Consultants, developers and other clever cloggs

philwalton

Phil Walton @sfdcphil – Phil is an expert in implementing Salesforce.com, MVP, and all-round top bloke! He also leads the North England Salesforce User Group.

jonathan-gale

Jonathan Gale @Cloud_CEO – Jonathan has over 20 years’ experience building technology businesses. He joined NewVoiceMedia In October 2010 as Chief Commercial Officer to manage sales, marketing and product strategy and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in early 2011.

Amygrenham

Amy Grenham @amygrenham – Amy is the marketing manager for Salesforce partner and Salesforce consultants, Desynit. Follow Amy for useful marketing and brand advice.

Fabrice

Fabrice Cathala @FCathala – Salesforce Architect at Capgemini, PAAs evangelist and popular blogger.

gaurav

Gaurav Kheterpal @gauravkheterpal - Gaurav is a well known name in the global Salesforce mobile development community. He’s won several awards from Salesforce for his innovative apps built on Force.com platform and he’s an active community contributor on Salesforce Developer Forums and Stack Exchange.

 

Last but not least…

We will of course be on hand throughout the event showcasing how our global address verification technology, Capture+, can be integrated within Salesforce to ensure accurate data at the point of entry in your CRM. If you have any questions – you know where to find us…

pca

Postcode Anywhere @pca_plus – Postcode Anywhere’s official Twitter account.

pcaalex

Alex Bryan @pca_alex – Seasoned postcoder and Salesforce evangelist. Alex will be manning the Postcode Anywhere stand and tweeting throughout the event.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Post Code Anywhere http://blog.postcodeanywhere.co.uk/index.php/22-people-you-need-to-follow-before-dreamforce/

Curation matters. Just ask Buzzfeed and the New York Times

wtf-coffee-buzzfeed-office-tour-dec-2012-bi-dng

On first blush, The New York Times and Buzzfeed couldn’t be any less similar. One is a flagship of  ethical and investigative journalism, almost synonymous with the notion of journalistic authority itself. The other will give you 19 amazing cat pictures you can’t believe aren’t photoshopped.

But look closer and you’ll see both media giants have evolved in recent days to deliver content in a very similar and compelling way. And the take away for marketers about how these guys are changing their game will make all the difference to your content strategy.

Curation and Creation: Your readers want both

In a recent Digiday article, Ricardo Bilton writes that the Times and Buzzfeed are starting to enter a new age of content curation. Rather than simply publishing their own stuff, they are starting to see the value – or necessity – to start assembling, collecting and giving readers an editorial snapshot of other stuff that is out there.

“It’s pretty odd at this point to imagine a reader only wants stories from any one news organization,” said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.

The curation-meets-original content approach is an important shift from how most publishers have approached their app strategies so far.

 

It’s this exact topic we’ve been hearing so much about directly from our customers in recent months. Except in this case, we’re talking about marketers and how they can build better, more powerful relationships around their content marketing efforts.

There’s no question great content can be used to efectively move consumers along the buying cycle, particularly at the top of the funnel. But we’re finding that marketers, just like publishers, have been hitting several obstacles. The space is noisey. Consumers, just like readers, think it’s strange to get all their news from just one location. So what are marketers to do?

While there are several obvious pain points we and a lot of our competitors address – we are starting to see a ton of success by doubling down on we what we feel are the two most important and exciting challenges.

Fatigue around 100% owned content experiences

 
Nobody wants to hear a brand just talk about its own products. The majority of brands get this and address this situation by creating content around their industry and/or broader topics relevant to their targets. While this is a great start, it doesn’t go far enough for two reasons.
  • Hard to produce enough great content: Being forced to create enough great original content on a regular basis is a daunting task for the most capable of content teams.
  • Lacks an authentic and complete conversation: Your audience wants to be informed and/or entertained. The more complete and fuller the content destination you can create the better. We recently spoke with a well respected company lauded for their amazing content initiatives. During a recent focus group, their audience revealed that while they love their content around relevant industry topics – it still felt lacking due to it being only their own view point.

It’s for this reason that at Pressly, we believe the future lies in topic-based, curation driven destinations. Giving brands the ability to combine owned, 3rd-party publisher thought leadership and social content into one destination will be the key to building customer relationships around a certain conversation.

Empowering content throughout the company

The second area where we are focusing our attention and seeing amazing results is around helping companies empower their entire organization with content. We often work very closely with the marketing team on creating amazing content destinations around a topic. Once this is accomplished, the next challenge we hear is how do we get our whole team (sales, support, management) to leverage the content we are bringing together. The answer lies in a very simple capability we’ve built into Pressly.

Creating thought leadership visibility

Pressly offers the ability to create individual sub-hubs under the parent hub of an organization. This enables individual team members to create a personal branded hub with the ability to flow-in and customize content from the company’s parent hub that relates to their focus / audience. Individuals can then share the content from this hub to their own social accounts and email their customer relationships.
 

You have them listening. Now what?

Of course, unlike publishers, brands don’t exactly rely on an advertising model to find their bottom line. Instead, marketers need to ensure this mixed strategy of curating and creating context actually leads to real sales.

That’s why it’s so important to not only own the conversation, but own the destination where the conversation is happening. Too many brands simply share out links, blog posts and studies – creating great engagement, but ultimately losing those leads to other websites, never to see them again.

Instead, look for a solution that lets you bring your readers to an environment you can control and set up engagement actions, for example a Pressly Hub. When you share a piece of content on Pressly, people are first taken to your Pressly powered landing page. This gives the ability to provide additional context and thought leadership on why you curated a specific piece of content. As well, Pressly helps facilitate the discovery of other related stories you’ve curated or created on the topic. Thus, keeping people around longer and increasing the opportunity to convert.
 

Drive business results

Because you are now driving engagement on destinations you control, Pressly gives the ability to easily integrate Calls-To-Action alongside content. This gives the ability to tie in your other sales and marketing platforms to complete the circle and drive real business value behind your content initiatives.

9 Incredible Internet of Things Gizmos

The Internet of Things is going to change the way marketers, businesses and people interact with the world. With the rate of things being connected to the internet increasing at an exponential rate, these changes are coming sooner than you might imagine.

Here’s a round up of what we think are some of the coolest, most inspiring and craziest ways IOT will change the face of our world.

As marketers, it’s fun to imagine how we might start to take advantage of these new web based interfaces. From a smart gun, a wireless pill bottle, to the most intimate of body parts, what will the future of marketing look like with this new connected world? Let us know in the comments your bright ideas.

1. K Goal: Vagina tracker

K Goal vagina tracker

It can already stream the internet straight to your face, vibrate around your waist when you’re slouching and track your health using only your wrist. Now, wearable technology is getting even more intimate and attempting to conquer the final frontier: the vagina.

Recently launched on Kickstarter, the KGoal Smart Kegel Trainer, produced by San Fransisco-based sexual health startup Minna Life, describes itself as a “Fitbit for your vagina,” an interactive device to guide, measure and track pelvic floor muscle exercise. It takes the form of a squeezable silicone pillow, connected to a smartphone app, that measures your “clench strength” and feeds the data back to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. It also has an internal motor for “real time vibrational biofeedback.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/jul/04/kgoal-fitness-tracker-vagina-pelvic-floor

2. The iPhone of Guns

Smart Gun

One of California’s largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch. 

The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/we-need-the-iphone-of-guns-will-smart-guns-transform-the-gun-industry/2014/02/17/6ebe76da-8f58-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

3. Smart Lighter to quit smoking

Quitbit

A new Internet-connected lighter called Quitbit will light your cigarette, but wean you off a smoking habit too.

 A new Kickstarter campaign called Quitbit takes the same monitoring principles embedded into fitness trackers and helps users track and cutdown on smoking. In a nod to the name, it’s like a Fitbit for smoking.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/13/smart-lighter-quitbit/

4. Amazon Dash – home scanner

amazon-dash

Let’s be real: Amazon isn’t going to stop until you can go your entire life without setting foot in an actual brick-and-mortar store. Now the company wants to make buying groceries and sundries from its AmazonFresh same-day delivery service even easier, and it’s doing it with a tiny little gadget called the Dash. Yes, move over Fire TV — Amazon’s newest bit of hardware is a free (for now?), WiFi-capable barcode scanner.

Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/04/amazon-dash-amazonfresh/

 

5. Smart Bike – GPS directions on your handle bars

SmartBike

 While some cars these days are smart enough to drive themselves, the bike industry has remained largely untouched in terms of innovation. But a new company wants to pedal forward with what it’s calling the world’s first smart and connected bicycle.

A Kickstarter campaign for the Vanhawks Valour smart bike connects with a smartphone app and brings tech like GPS directly to the handle bars. The concept is part of a greater effort to help bikers keep their eyes on the road, especially during high-traffic commuting times.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/14/smart-bike-vanhawks-valour/

 

6. Nest Protect – Love your smoke alarm

nest-protect1

Everyone by now has heard of Nest’s smart thermostat. But their newest product, Protect, solves another problem at the home: those annoying and sometimes un-safe smoke alarms.  Great design and more proof that the future of smart homes is amazing,

Read more: https://nest.com/ca/smoke-co-alarm/life-with-nest-protect/

 

7.  Electric Objects – smart art

smart art

There’s more art on the Internet than in every gallery and museum on Earth.

But many of these beautiful objects are trapped. They’re trapped inside of devices like our phones, our tablets, our TVs, our laptops — devices designed for distraction, living between texts, tweets, football games and emails from work. 

So we wanted to make a new way to bring art from the Internet into your home.

Read more: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electricobjects/electric-objects-a-computer-made-for-art

 

8.  Pill Bottle

pillbottle

 AdhereTech, a New York City-based startup, released a wireless pill bottle at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show it claims alerts patients when they have to take their medication and keeps track of their usage and dosage.

The pill bottle uses lights, speakers and sensors to track how often the bottle is opened and closed, humidity and how much medication is removed in real-time. Using cellular technology, it then sends the information on to doctors, pharmacists who can monitor it.

If the medication isn’t taken on time, users receive a phone call or text message alert as a reminder.

 

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

 

9. The FingerReader – for visually impaired

blindIoT

Scientists at MIT are developing a ring-shaped device they claim can read aloud text to people with visual disabilities in real-time.

The FingerReader, worn as a ring on the index finger, has a small camera mounted on top and speech software that converts text from books, newspapers and menues into audio.

The audio device, which took three years to design, connects to a laptop or mobile phone and includes a text extraction algorithm, allowing users to read single lines or whole blocks of text when selected.

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

Not another Content Curation list

miners

Or: A Day in the Life of a Content Curator

 

The idea for this post started out as a list for all the great content tools out there to help you find the stuff that you – a content curator – should be curating.

It started that way. But in a matter of minutes, I’d already dug up a list about 100 long. It was obvious this list wasn’t going to actually ever be read by anyone.

Many people claiming to be a curator, seem to think of their job as simply throwing huge lists your way. Big, unmanageable, indigestible lists… But since the whole point of content curation is to actually make people’s lives easier, to make some sense out of all the noise out there, these lists sometimes defeat the purpose, when done badly. They are simply laziness.

What I decided would be more useful is to highlight how I actually find the stuff I curate, and share that very specific, limited process with you. As a result, hopefully I’d give something tangible to chew on.

1. You do need tools, but you don’t need all the tools

As I continue this journey to figure out the best practices of content curation, I’ve stumbled across dozens of useful tools to dig up material seemingly relevant to my readers. I am sure a lot of them are great, and just as many are terrible. Unfortunately, the day is only 24 hours long, and I can’t simply spend it clicking tabs and bookmarks to all these services, hoping they’ll serve me something new.

My job after all is not just about re-sharing links. It’s about putting them together meaningfully. So even though there’s a million ways to find content and even more actual good pieces of content out there, it’s meaningless unless I actually carve out some time to make sense of it all, like I am doing right now.

So, what I suggest is you find a few services that seem to do the job, and stick with those. If they aren’t working for you, switch it up, tweak the settings, keep at it. But I highly doubt you’ll have any issues finding content. The tools are all very similar, many of them free, and they’ll all do an admirable job of what they’re supposed to do.

Personally, I rely on a few things for discovery. I have TweetDeck set up with curated twitter lists of the influencers in any given topic, for instance, this list of CMO’s for out CMOhub. And I have narrowed that one down even further by filtering for engagement – I only want to see the stuff getting retweeted.
I also have the same filters set up on key hastags, like #iOT for our hub all about marketing in the age of the internet of things, as well as this hub, our content curation best practices collection.

Finally, I’ve landed on a few good aggregation services that I have been going back to regularly. These are free and easy and serve up tons of stuff I am not finding on TweetDeck: BuzzSumo, Feedly, ContentGems. I haven’t yet picked the winner, and eventually I might pick another service. But these are great, for now.

2. Be a journalist, not just a news reader

Part of your job is reading all these articles. But an even more important aspect is to dig deeper, follow hunches, write down angles, and keep track of all these little magical thoughts that bubble up while you’re consuming the primary sources.

I use Evernote for this. Whenever an idea for a story pops up, I’ll give it a tag and start saving those pieces to Evernote. This might be a list of the people in the article, and eventually I’ll interview them to generate some new, fresh content, that you can’t find anywhere else. Or it might be a list of the companies that keep popping up in all the news articles – what are the main players in IOT? And what can I learn by following them directly, that I’d otherwise miss if I was just reading what surfaced on Mashable?

However you choose to order this, the point is to let your mind freely associate new story ideas as you’re exploring the content mountains. It’s this creativity that will inherently bring value to your readers, and it’s exactly what we need to see more of in our content curators. I think it’s probably the only way the pros ever think up something more original than mere list bait.

3. Present it meaningfully, and beautifully

It’s funny, but a majority of the focus of curation tips seems to be about where to find what you are sharing, and very little thought is spent on how to present it in a way that will be more useful to your audience. I think if you’re simply re-tweeting, or rounding up stuff on your WordPress, you’re doing your readers a disservice. Formal elements, and the way content is consumed is equally as important as what is being served up.

The reason is pretty simple, and it goes directly back to the allusion of the art curator. What would be the point of picking the very best paintings and works of art, if your gallery was impossible to walk through, or if the lights were turned off? Similarly, if you’re doing the hard work of curating content, you better make sure you provide your readers an enjoyable, cross-platform, engaging experience. This serves their enjoyment but it also leads to better conversion and higher returns on your efforts, as a marketer. Curation, after all, is often being done by brands and businesses, so it would be a shame to do all that hard work, for it not to pay off.

Obviously, I use Pressly to curate content in beautiful and engaging way. And so do many other major brands and publishers. Once I’ve rounded up my list of good articles to share, I use the boomarklet and then it’s sent right to the hub I want. From there I can customize, feature and edit that article to be even more useful and engaging on my hub.

Final say

I hope this snapshot of the day to day life of a curator helped you out. If you have any amazing services that you can’t live without, or any extra pro tips from your experience, please share in the comments.

 

 

 

5 Great Articles to Get Started as a Content Curator

Five resources for content curators getting started.

Five resources for content curators getting started.

Content curation might be all the rage – but if you’re a marketer trying to break into the practice, where do you begin?

We’ve assembled these keystone content pieces that provide a valuable starting point for anyone hoping to get started as a content curator, or simply wishes to know more.

1. Manifesto For The Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job Of The Future ?

Way back in 2009, Rohit Bhargava from the Influential Marketing Blog put his stamp on the Content Curator job title in this seminal manifesto. At the time, the idea was such a novelty that he offered up a free book to anyone who had it has their official role on their business card. Something tells me that today he’d be giving away a lot more books.

A great starting point to see how the need for curation has evolved over time – and what curators are really supposed to be doing, and what their deeper purpose is.

The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for. To satisfy the people’s hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online.

Read now: http://www.rohitbhargava.com/2009/09/manifesto-for-the-content-curator-the-next-big-social-media-job-of-the-future.html Continue reading “5 Great Articles to Get Started as a Content Curator” »

Why Content Curation is the New Black

As content marketing is embraced by more brands, there’s growing discussion about the merits of content curation.

On one hand, there are curation advocates who believe brands can deliver relevant and value-added content from other sources. Not only does curation engage target audiences but, as important, it can be a cost-efficient way to drive content marketing efforts.

content curationOn the other hand, there are people who believe brands are just make more digital noise by curating content. For them, it’s bad enough that brands are creating content, let alone distributing the content of other people and brands.

So who’s right when it comes to content curation?

And why are some people so down on  content curation?

In many ways, it comes down to the value of sharing content – be it content that a brand creates or content it curates.

At the end of the day, created and curated content are designed to drive brand awareness, customer loyalty, community building, and expanding the sales funnel.

In the process, brands thrive when their content marketing activities are thought provoking, information, insightful and interesting. If you’re going to get involved with content, you better offer value at some level.

As much as brands want to create their own content, there is huge value in curating content.

It’s a smart and efficient way to provide target audiences with other ideas, viewpoints and opinions. To not leverage curation is like only talking about your ideas. After awhile, your efforts start to lose steam because there is a lack of variety.

Now let’s be clear; curating content for sake of curating content has its pitfalls. A brand can’t simply go through the motions by curating content that offers no value or insight. That would just be a waste of time.

Instead, brands need to be strategic, agile and opportunistic about content curation. They need to be cognizant of the topics, ideas and trends that are capturing the spotlight. They need to offer up new angles or ideas when curating content, rather than just piling on.

In many ways, content curation is part-science, part-art. It requires intelligence and insight about when to curate content, as well as restraint and discipline. There will be times when curated content can be well received, as well as times when it’s simply white noise.

As brands get more comfortable with the idea of content curation, they will learn how to maximize its value. This will create a win-win proposition for brands and, as important, their target audiences.