A Surprising Role Model for Turning Content Into Knowledge


I wrote this for Hammock Inc.’s Idea Email.


Click the photo to find the Library Journal cover story about the Nashville Public Library being named U.S. Library of the Year. (Note: This photo is a thumbnail of a wonderful photo shot by my friend and photographer hero, Bob Shatz.)

Because an Idea Email is sent every other week to subscribers across the United States and globally, we try to keep our references universal, not local. But when something big happens a few blocks from the Nashville office we call Hammock HQ, we can’t help wanting to share.

And no, I’m not talking about the unprecedented way in which locals (including us) have gone nuts over the success of the Nashville Predators and their first appearance in the finals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff (#GoPreds).

I’m talking about the Nashville Public Library being named Library of the Year by the trade publication Library Journal. You can read all the reasons why here in the magazine’s cover story.

Because the word library is associated with the physical book (or codex), many have mistakenly placed libraries on the endangered species list. But in addition to the resources and programs great public and academic libraries have embraced in the digital age, these libraries also serve as role models for making content—the core value a company provides its customers—organized and accessible.

The professionals who run libraries are experts in gathering and organizing information critical to workers and customers (or any audience served). They are trained in creating ever-changing taxonomies of knowledge. They’re on the frontlines of finding new ways information can be there when you need it—not just when a writer clicks submit.

As we move into an era of more complex digital media, the skills of trained librarians (and the many other titles they go by) will increasingly become a model for capturing, organizing and making accessible the knowledge that gives your organization a unique and unbeatable competitive advantage.

Wait. Did I just write the word “unbeatable”? #GoPreds

Folio: Followup

I’ve now done something I never thought I’d have the chance to do: Follow up on a 20-year-old magazine cover story. And since I’ve only been on one magazine cover, this was my only shot.

A shout-out thanks to Tony Silber who conceived the original story “way back when” (about custom publishers going digital in 1996) and who thought it would be fun to compare the Q&A then, to what they might be today.

One thing I didn’t do 20 years ago was Tweet, but Hammock already managed a couple of web forums and a very active Compuserve group (I was the sysop). We were creating CD Rom projects and publishing branded magazines and books. It was those foundations that enabled me to “get” everything that has been built on such foundations.

There is so much that great content can do for marketers. Unfotunately, when marketers think that content is limited to SEO and lead generation, it’s hard to explain all the other benefits of great customer media and marketing with content.

Oh well, no doubt I’ll still be trying to explain that 20 years from now.

Blast from the past: Revisiting Rex Hammock’s 1996 Folio: cover story https://t.co/ybIFATw782 pic.twitter.com/xqJQVbbnEt

— FOLIO: (@foliomag) April 5, 2017

‘I Want to Know’ Moments & ‘I Want to Buy’ Moments

On Hammock’s Idea Blog, we’re discussing the two types of customer moments that marketers should prepare for by developing “content assets.” It’s similar to a concept in Hammock’s eBook Content Along the Customer Journey. Rather than thinking that marketing with content is a series of posts, tweets, likes, consider all the way content assests can be developed to reach customers at those times they want the information you can provide.

Google calls them:

1. I want to buy moments.
2. I want to know moments.

“I want to buy moments” are those situations where consumers have seen a TV ad or are trying to find the closest restaurant or drugstore. These are the moments for which consumers use Google most often.

“I want to know moments” are those situations where customers are doing research or product owners are trying to better understand something they’ve purchased. Because so many marketers don’t have the content that serves these customers’ “I want to know moments,” they’re turning to Google to find the answer.

Read more at Hammock.com’s Idea Blog

Why Customers Are Willing to Pay Not to See Your Ads


The current Hammock Idea Email explains how and why ad-blocking isn’t just a browser plug-in hack. Blocking ads is also a multi-billion dollar business. It’s based on the notion that advertising doesn’t always need to be at the transaction intersection when dollars are exchanged for content. Oftentimes, customers become so overwhelmed by the crush of ads on the internet and traditional media, they are more than willing to pay media companies for the chance to view (listen to, watch, read) ad-free content.

And many media companies have learned that there are billions of dollars in potential revenue in allowing people to pay for ad-free content, rather than subjecting them to personalized ads or the sheer magnitude of ads that appear on a web page.

Here’s a link to a web version of the email..

How would you define your content strategy?

“Content is kind of a wanky term, which we have got to reframe. It’s commoditized, overused and misunderstood. (Our approach is) brand expression, it’s storytelling. What we’re trying to do is be topical, be loved, be endearing, be enduring and always, always try to surprise and delight. That’s the outcome we desire, what keeps us up at night and excited.”

Peter McGuinness
Chief Marketing Officer, Chobani
(via: Digiday)