Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 4.38.54 PMRecently, Hammock helped its long-time client HealthTrust launch reSOURCEs, a new section of HealthTrust’s public website. The site features insightful and helpful related to the healthcare supply chain, industry topics and clinical best practices—all topics of relevance to HealthTrust membership. Materials managers, clinicians and healthcare executives can explore relevant articles and insights from industry authorities, healthcare professionals and HealthTrust subject matter experts.

The site provides fast access to stories originally in the print version of The Source, HealthTrust’s member magazine that Hammock helps publish every quarter. The site also provides a channel for HealthTrust experts and Hammock healthcare writers share fresh outlooks on current challenges and opportunities facing healthcare professionals in the supply chain.

Jeff Cornwall, Belmont University entrepreneurship professor and longtime blogger (The Entrepreneurial Mind), recently invited Rex Hammock to appear on the video version of his blog — a show produced by the Nashville-based web video network, Talkapolis. In the 10 minute episode, Rex explains the customer media and content focus of Hammock Inc. — and our role in the context of today’s marketing landscape.

In the current Idea Email, we explore ten traits displayed by companies that use customer media and content that works to help customers discover their products and to build long term relationships with those who become buyers and users.

Here are six companies we believe are demonstrating some of those traits.

[Hammock’s Current Idea Email was released this morning. Subscribe now to receive your own copy.]

hammock the idea email header bright ideas for businesses

Google penguin 2.0, outsmart google

Idea: You’ll never outsmart Google, so stop trying.

google penguin 2.0

Credit: ThinkStock

The current Hammock Idea Email points out the folly of investing in tactics advocated by those who promise they can magically improve the way Google ranks a company’s website. “You’ll never out-smart Google, so stop trying,” we advise.

Overtime, the only way to influence Google’s ranking is to, first and foremost, have a great product or service. Then follow Google’s guidelines and recommendations rigorously. This means, create a website filled with the most helpful, insightful information your customers look for related to the market niche your company serves.

With the release of the fourth version of Google’s war on link spam, an upgrade to the company’s algorithm they are calling Penguin 2.0, the message is clear: Try to outsmart Google and you’ll likely be penalized in the future.

There are dozens, make that hundreds, of things you can do to improve your site’s findability. Here are just five things you can do to make your site Pengiun 2.0-friendly:

five tips for successful eBook subscription series Our current Idea Email is focused on the customer relationship-building opportunities of using a subscription model for the distribution of ebooks.

Here are 5 tips we believe will help such a series of ebooks to become popular with your audience.

Keep it Short

By short, we mean 5,000-10,000 words. This is the length of a long magazine article. A business-to-business marketer may offer longer books, if your audience seeks content of a technical or academic nature. And a how-to or recipe series may be comprised of ebooks with less words. However, the success that Amazon.com has seen with Kindle Singles provides the proof-of-concept that short books are popular among people with demands on their time, but who desire more understanding than a blog post (like this) can provide.

coke 8-pack lessons from coca-cola's website publishing model Hammock’s current Idea Email focuses on the approach the Coca-Cola Company has taken to radically pivot away from what most companies do with their corporate websites. Traditionally considered little more than a brochure website and repository for press releases and administrative content, Coke has transformed the site into an ever-changing and engaging “publishing model” site called Journey.

Here are some of the lessons learned from the first six months of the new approach, according to Coca-Cola executives, including Ashley Callahan, Coca-Cola manager of digital and social media communications, who made a presentation about Journey at last week’s Custom Content Council Conference. We also added some observations from our analysis of the site.

hover finger william sonoma customer media

To find these features on Williams-Sonoma.com, hover your cursor over the Recipes tab.

In the current issue of The Idea Email (subscribe, view current issue), we explain why we’re inspired by how the retailer Williams-Sonoma has made the creation and use of customer media and content a part of their mission statement.

Here are three of our favorite ways they display their commitment to “helping customers become great cooks” in a way that adds value to the cookware they sell. (We could have added lots more.)

sous-chef series logoThe Sous-Chef-Series: Williams-Sonoma has partnered with The Tasting Table for a free weekly email and website series featuring the stories of up-and-coming chefs from around the U.S. Why we like it: Great stories and recipes are coupled with Williams-Sonoma cookware that’s related to the dish being shared. A great example of “content-enabled commerce.”

minuteWhile Rex Hammock was in Oxford, Mississipi earlier this week (see previous post), Mr. Magazine Samir Husni interviewed Rex and posted a couple of “Mr. Magazine Minutes”–Rex’s answers to a couple of questions.

On his blog, Professor Husni wrote:

“You can call Rex Hammock, the founder and chief executive officer of the Nashville-based Hammock Inc., any name you want, except that of a Luddite. Rex bought his first Apple Mac in 1984, and has been tempted by the Apple ever since. On Twitter he is simply known as @R. He is all over the web, the digital sphere and more.

So when Rex came to speak to my magazine students at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media yesterday, I seized the opportunity to ask him two questions, after he completed his presentation to the students.

Here are Rex’s two Mr. Magazine minute videos. (If you are on the front of the Hammock Blog, click through to see the videos)

the invisible man, minimalism, the best marketing is no marketing [Post by Rex Hammock]

I recently ran across an insightful essay named, “The best interface is no interface,” written last August on the blog of the San Francisco-based product design firm, Cooper.

I recommend reading the entire essay, but here is a key quote:

It’s time for us to move beyond screen-based thinking. Because when we think in screens, we design based upon a model that is inherently unnatural, inhumane, and has diminishing returns. It requires a great deal of talent, money and time to make these systems somewhat usable, and after all that effort, the software can sadly, only truly improve with a major overhaul. There is a better path: No UI (user-interface). A design methodology that aims to produce a radically simple technological future without digital interfaces.

At Hammock, we share a similar a point-of-view. We believe that one of the signs of great customer media and content is how well it removes barriers between customers and the organizations with which they choose to have relationships. Taken to its logical conclusion, the goal is to remove everything between the two, or, at least, to make it appear that transparent.