Yeah, it was a party! Here’s the transcript from tonight’s #Blogchat with Ann!


Tonight I’m thrilled to welcome for the second time, Ann Handley as co-host of #Blogchat!  Ann is going to teach us how to be better writers PLUS tonight kicks off LAUNCH WEEK for her second book, Everybody Writes!  Everybody Writes is doing AMAZINGLY well in pre-sales and will no doubt be an instant bestseller.  You can order your copy here on Amazon.

Here’s what we’ll be discussing with Ann:

8:00-8:20pm Central, we’ll discuss What are some tips for telling interesting stories on a blog? How do you keep the reader’s attention?

8:20-8:40pm, What are some of the common writing mistakes bloggers make that can be easily corrected?

8:40-9:00pm, How does Ann Handley write?  What tools does Ann use to help her writing and how does she find ideas to write about?


Ann will be joining us with her @AnnHandley name on Twitter, so please make sure you are following her on Twitter!  See you on Twitter at 8pm Central, everyone is welcome!


SprinklrBranderatiSprinklr today announced that it has acquired brand/influencer company Branderati.  Sprinklr is a social media management platform aimed at the enterprise and Branderati is a platform that allows brands to recruit new and connect with existing advocates and influencers.  The acquisition seems to complement what Sprinklr can offer so I decided to talk to Branderati’s Ekaterina Walter (who will transition to become the Global Evangelism Lead at Sprinklr), and Sprinklr’s VP of Marketing Jeremy Epstein about what this move means for Sprinklr and how companies will connect with and engage its advocates in the future:

Mack: Why did Sprinklr want to acquire Branderati?  What does Branderati’s platform allow Sprinklr to do that it couldn’t without it?

Ekaterina: Sprinklr bought us because Ragy (Sprinklr CEO and Founder Ragy Thomas) understood that advocacy has moved from hype to real business driver. Sprinklr’s charter is to provide end-to-end social media infrastructure. To fulfill this mission the company needed to add advocacy marketing as a core, integrated module that acts as a seamless extension of the social stack.

Branderati technology and expertise brings several things to the equation.

First, our screening technology captures API and self-reported data to align potential advocates with predefined profiles of ideal ambassadors. This technology is critical for any brand looking to create highly vetted advocacy networks at scale. By combining this screening process with the ability to identify candidates across moderation, social listening and CRM, we will deliver the most complete advocacy recruitment solution in the marketplace.

Second, from an engagement standpoint we bring the ability to create entire members-only programs that are highly targeted and personalized to each ambassador. By combing this engagement platform with the larger campaign management and scheduling functions in Sprinklr, the platform becomes a unified command center for activation of both advocates and the broader community.

Third, from a measurement standpoint there are very specific types of tracking data we provide in order to track ambassadors’ true impact. By bringing deep views of this insight into the main reporting suite of Sprinklr we provide a single source for nearly your entire paid owned and earned social impact.

Lastly, Sprinklr acquired focused expertise. We have been managing sustained advocacy programs since 2010. The experience and best practices will be a huge benefit to future Sprinklr product development and to their clients.

Jeremy: Think of it in terms that are near and dear to our heart.

Yesterday: we could find passionate advocates (listening), we could nurture them (engagement), and we could reach them en masse (owned and paid).

Today: we can do all of them, but we give brands the ability to say to these people “hey, you’re a fan, can we work with you in a special capacity and notify you of offers/campaigns/etc. in a permission-based way” and then do ALL of that from within the same platform AND measure the impact of owned, paid, and earned media on a given campaign across all channels.

Your community becomes a balance sheet asset.

No one else in the world offers this.


Mack: Does this acquisition signal a growing desire by brands to connect with and manage advocates at scale?

Ekaterina: No doubt. Now that companies have built enormous communities, the question becomes “How do we focus on those members of our communities that are crazy about our brand and will help us ignite brand love and passionate conversations around our brand?” It isn’t about vanity numbers any more, it is about the influence that drives action (conversion, purchase, etc.). And sheer fan numbers on social networks can’t do that. Yes, they can help drive awareness. But only advocacy and word-of-mouth will drive current and future customers to buy.

Brands have been struggling with this for a while now while trying to recruit and engage advocates both internally (employee advocacy) and externally (customer advocacy). Branderati platform at a minimum eliminates the headache of manual management and reporting, as well as sustainable creative engagement.


Mack: Along with the previous question, over the next 6-12 months do you feel there should be more interest from brands in ‘activating’ fans, or in simply collecting better feedback from them to apply to existing marketing and business processes?  A sort of ‘feedback loop’ if you will?  

Ekaterina: It’s a must. If you look at how Ragy built Sprinklr and evolved his roadmap, for example, you will see that it was primarily done through customer feedback. The customer needed something, Ragy listened. He consistently asked: “What can I do to help? Or perfect the product?” He brought clean “feedback loop” into Sprinklr’s product development and that was one of the key reasons why he continues to succeed.

You see, in the social economy it is all about relationship capital. That should be the true beacon of any business. And bringing customer into this process is essential for company’s success. Especially if your customer is already an advocate of your brand. These relationships impact your bottom line the most. Hence, we will continue to see more and more brands shift there mentality from “views and fan numbers” to “influence through advocacy.”


I appreciated Ekaterina’s last answer as I think this is the missing ingredient in the quest to ‘activate’ fans.  I think it’s a great fit for a social media management platform like Sprinklr to acquire a company like Branderati.  The rise of social media has made it much easier for companies to directly connect with its customers via these tools, and its fans as well.  I just hope that companies don’t focus on trying to ‘activate’ fans because they want new salespeople, but instead focus on the enormous value that could be created by leveraging fans as a feedback channel to improve all businesses processes.  The opportunity to ‘activate’ fans and increase sales generated from these fans is very real, but brands shouldn’t overlook the incredible amount of insights that fans possess into who their customers are and how to reach them effectively.

Very exciting times and I am thrilled to see the added focus that many brands are placing on connecting with their fans and it sounds like the Sprinklr acquisition of Branderati will make that process a lot easier.


UPDATE: Here’s the press release on the acquisition.


ann-smarty-print-01Note from Mack: This is a sponsored post from Ann Smarty for MyBlogU, who is the sponsor of #Blogchat in August.  You can learn more about them by clicking here

Last week I was lucky enough to co-host #blogchat talking about being featured in the expert interviews for brand awareness and influence building, so today I thought I’d follow up with tips on how to benefit from publishing expert interviews as well (there’s truly a win-win concept there)!

Attracting real people to your blog is not an easy task… especially nowadays that the web is so much overloaded with content. Building a micro-community around your blog is so essential for its success: You need people who will help you get your word out.

That’s where the concept of group interviews comes in handy. If someone is willing to provide a quote for your article, that accomplishes so many goals at a time:

  • Your content suddenly becomes more trust-worthy (With readers seeing possibly familiar names contributing);
  • You get people on board who are willing to promote and share your article (the basics of ego-bait) with the huge long-term potential benefit of turning those contributors into your blog community champions.
  • Your article becomes more in-depth and unique (thanks to the variety of first-hand experiences or personal takes shared in it)
  • You can engage your community by inviting them to feature their answers on your blog (and thus build better relationships with your readers)
  • You may discover lots of new angles of the topic you thought you knew quite well (and thus stand out)…

The Draw Of The Expert Interview: Examples

While there are many reasons for conducting expert interviews, there are two primary reasons that they work so effectively. First, they are leaning on the brand of those contributors’ namse, which holds a lot of clout on both the social web and the entire industry. Second, you are giving your own followers/readers/fans something valuable that they can use, learn from and be entertained by.

Interviews are a great vessel for well received content. Here’s an example of how one email to a prominent blogger with a single question can be turned into a useful article of its own. Here’s a more traditional q&a-style expert round-up, with each contributor telling a personal story. Here’s another approach: A group expert interview which was packaged into a huge all-in-one tutorial filled with actionable advice. Here’s another type of the group interview that doesn’t have “question-answer” format but still delivers a powerful message with first-hand examples.

There are also whole business models based solely on featuring expert interviews. Here’s a good example shared by my fellow @MyBlogU ambassador @YoavEzer: A site filled with lots of personal stories of how people embraced freedom for the sake of becoming entrepreneurs. Or this one turning interviews into a powerful course! There’s also a great example I came across at #blogchat:

I’ve experimented a lot with various types of expert interviews and I’ve seen great results, especially if I get consistent: Our weekly #vcbuzz interviews with experts (turned into on-site interviews as well) attracted some of the biggest industry names to our site: Most of them have become our site users and / or chat regulars.

The Power is in Connections

Creating awesome content is often not enough to get heard. You need eager people who will be happy to call your blog “a home” and will talk back to you. Otherwise, it’s tough to keep on. Adding expert interviews to your blog editorial calendar (and possibly approaching the task with some creativity) is a great way to get some discussion going and spread your reach!

Do you have any creative examples of blogging utilizing expert interviews? Please share them in the comments!


Hey y’all!  In this 8th episode of #FanDamnShow I talk about loyalty programs and why most companies completely mess them up.  For a good background on what we’ll be discussing, check out this post.

Show notes:

1:09 – Discussion of Loyalty Programs (that are more interesting than Andy Griffith re-runs), and why these are typically structured incorrectly

1:52 – Punch cards as an example of building loyalty to the offer versus the brand

3:40 – How to build a smart loyalty program by rewarding the behavior you want to encourage (think rewards for past behavior not incentives for future behavior)

5:02 – Wal-Mart vs Publix and why I love Publix and hate Wal-Mart based on the experience that each provides

6:50 – When you ask fans/customers to engage in an offer, make sure you reward them for doing so and an example I ran into recently where this didn’t happen for me

13:45 – Recap and how to know that your company is structuring its loyalty program correctly in order to build loyalty toward your brand


You can listen to all 8 episodes of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show on iTunes, please subscribe!




UPDATE: Here’s the transcript from our #Blogchat with Ann!

This Sunday (8-24-2014) we’ll welcome Ann Smarty to #Blogchat!  Ann will be helping us learn how as bloggers we can get more interview requests from other bloggers and sites.  Ann’s MyBlogU is the #Blogchat sponsor for August, you can learn more about MyBlogU by clicking here.

Here’s what we’ll be discussing on Sunday starting at 8PM Central:

8:00-8:20 PM – How does a blogger position themselves as an expert worth interviewing?

8:20-8:40 PM – How to get interviewed (find expert interviews to participate in)?

8:40-9:00 PM – How does a blogger make the best impression in an interview? Ann will help us understand the best way to answer questions, the best type of interview (email, phone, video) and what areas of our expertise to highlight so we put our best foot forward!


Getting interviews is a wonderful tool for helping a blogger build awareness and establish their level of expertise.  Think about it, you are getting the same exposure that you would from a guest post on another blog, but the added benefit is that other blogger or site is also interviewing you as an expert!  So it’s the best of both worlds!  We’ll chat about this with Ann tomorrow night and if you have any questions about how to be interviewed more often by other bloggers and sites, Ann can help!  Make sure you are following her on Twitter.

See y’all tomorrow night on Twitter!


Hey y’all, just a quick note to let you know about some of the events I’ll be speaking at over the next month.

MarketingProfs Pro Webinar – How to Create Amazing Blog Content That Gets Seen and Shared

This is tomorrow(8-20-2014) at 12pm Eastern time and available for free to MarketingProfs PRO members, or $129 for everyone else.  I’ll walk you through how to create blog content that’s optimized for search and social, as well as primers on creating amazing post headlines and writing more compelling content.  The webinar will run 90 mins total, with about 30 of that for Q&A.

Type A Parent Conference Opening Keynote – Think Like a Rock Star, Atlanta, Georgia, September 19-21.


I’m thrilled to be kicking off the Type A Parent Conference on Friday, September 19th with an updated version of my Think Like a Rock Star talk as the Opening Keynote.  I’ll also be on site for Friday and probably most of Saturday as well, so I’m really looking forward to spending a lot of time with everyone as I’ve heard amazing things about Type A.  You can register here.

The BIG Event: PR & Marketing – Lunch Keynote & Workshop on Creating a Social Media Strategy, Huntsville, Alabama, September 26th

I always love speaking in Alabama, especially in Huntsville.  At The BIG Event I’ll be doing the lunch keynote as well as a 3-hour whiteboard workshop on creating a social media strategy.  We’ll go through all the steps on the fly for creating an amazing social media strategy and audience participation will be big as the session will be very interactive.  The cost to attend The BIG Event is a complete steal at only $99.


So if you are in the Atlanta or Huntsville area I’d love to see you next month!


9653414876_c3ea279383_zHey y’all!  Welcome to the 7th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show!  In this 14+ minute episode I discuss:

  • The upcoming college football season, Roll Tide!
  • Using your personal social media efforts to help get buy-in from the boss for larger projects
  • How Scott Monty used what he learned early on from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere in his professional work
  • Advice from Billboard Magazine’s Katie Morse on how to get ‘small wins’ in your brand advocacy battles that lead to bigger budgets.

Interview with Billboard’s Katie Morse

Transcript from #Blogchat with Scott Monty

Hope you enjoy it!  And if you do please subscribe to #FanDannShow on iTunes!

Direct download for this episode.

Pic via Flickr user Nina Matthews Photography


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