Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

By joepulizzi published May 27, 2009

Why You Need to Publish a Custom Book: Q & A with Eloqua’s Steven Woods

Digital body language I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Woods (CTO at Eloqua) recently when we were both speaking at Online Marketing Summit – DC. We came to the subject of our respective books (mine Get Content Get Customers, Steve's Digital Body Language) and how they serve as the ultimate marketing tool.

Readers of this blog know that we (Newt Barrett and I) originally self-published Get Content Get Customers in 2008, with McGraw-Hill picking up the rights to the book in 2009. Outside of this blog, the book has been the #1 driver of success for both myself and with the organizations I'm involved.

With that in mind, I wanted to know what Steve's book has done for him, both personally and for Eloqua. Steve was nice enough to share his time and answer my questions below. After you read through this, you, as a professional and a stakeholder in your company, should think seriously about writing a book that positions you as a trusted expert in your field.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Just talked to Steve who said he'd be happy to give away a copy of his book to our readers.  Anyone who comments is automatically entered in a drawing to receive a free copy. So…comment away.  Thanks Steve!

Joe – What was the purpose behind writing the book?

Steve – We’ve been working with marketers for 10 years to understand how they are interacting with today’s new buyer.  These marketers have all realized that today’s buyers have fundamentally changed; they use Google, various online sources, and social media to find their information, rather than interacting with a sales person.  As a marketer, they are looking at how to engage with this new buyer and facilitate their overall buying process, rather than trying to sell to them.  As we’ve helped these marketers, we’ve had a great opportunity to dig deep into what it takes to be successful, and the mistakes you can easily avoid as you evolve your marketing organization.  Every time we spoke with our customers, they were very interested in the lessons of what pitfalls to avoid, what is critical to think through, and how to succeed in today’s B2B marketing environment.

As the space has evolved, there have been a lot of new companies springing up who are suggesting that it’s a problem that can be solved with technology alone.  Today’s marketers know that engaging with today’s new buyer requires a new way of thinking about their business, not just another flashy piece of software.  So many marketers were asking us to help them think through the business problems, rather than just the technology, that we knew we had a story that needed to be told.

Why a custom print book over something else?

I think there’s still something about the format of a book.  Regardless of whether it’s a physical book, or on Kindle (we did both), the length of the format lets you dig into an area more deeply than you would if you were reading a one or two page article online.  We wanted to give marketers something that they could take on the plane, relax, and make their way through, getting immersed in the topic for a few hours.  I’ve had many marketers tell me that that was exactly how they read the book, and when they landed, they had a host of new ideas to take back to their teams and get started on.

I think each format has its own unique characteristics, and they work best when they are used together.

Talk a bit about the process for getting the book written and produced.

That was an interesting  process.  I would say that it took about a year, start to finish, to do the writing of the book.  I still had a day job, so much of that was on planes.  A trip from Toronto to San Francisco gave me at least 3 hours of uninterrupted writing time, for example.  However, I also wanted to share the stories of how various marketers were tackling the challenges of engaging with today’s buyer, and where they were succeeding.  To do that, I had the marketers behind 30 of the most fascinating marketing challenges tell their story, and included those in the book.

The interview, editing, revision, and approval process for those 30 stories took almost as long as the writing itself, but was probably the most interesting for me, as I had the chance to talk with some of the best marketers around.

Interestingly, I found out that you only need cover art and an ISBN number to get your book up on Amazon.  We had it live for pre-order at least 6 months before the books were ready.

Start to finish, it was about 18 months to complete the book.  I outlined a rough time line in a blog post I wrote when the first copies arrived, for those considering the process.

How do you balance the need for not being “promotional” in a book with the need to drive business?

It’s a good question.  I wanted to make sure that we didn’t talk at all about our technology or solutions in the book so as not to be promotional.  However, in educating the market about what’s possible, how to think about the challenges and opportunities, and what is critical for success, the book has been a big driver of business for us.  I would say that it helps in three ways:

  • Early Stage: as marketers are thinking about their plans and initiatives, having them aware of what’s possible in the space, and how they can engage with today’s buyers better and more effectively leads to a higher level of interest in our space in general.
  • Mid-Funnel: each story in the book gives readers an idea of what’s possible.  Some of those stories trigger an “aha” moment, and lead to a conversation about a way we can help that marketer’s business that may not have been thought of previously.
  • Buying Stage: the book gives marketers a more comprehensive view of all the people, process, and technology elements that are needed to succeed.  Armed with this, they are better able to ask deep questions and get beyond the “pretty demo” phase when they are evaluating solutions.

So, although the book itself is not promotional at all, it definitely helps us in all aspects of the sales cycle.  The more educated potential buyers are about our space in general, what’s possible, and how to truly achieve success, the better we do.

Once you have a book created, how do you best leverage that marketing asset?  How do you get the word out about a book?

It’s a great asset to leverage, and we are using almost every channel to leverage it.  The Digital Body Language blog talks about many of the ideas in the book and both drives awareness and keeps the conversation going.   We use everything from Twitter and email marketing to press releases and banners to drive awareness of the blog as a central point in promoting the book.  Similarly, the book provides a great foundation for webinars with other thought leaders in the industry, relations with social media luminaries like yourself, speaking opportunities, and direct client engagement.

So, what kind of results are you seeing because of the book?

The results have been fantastic so far, and we’re just getting started.  It’s the stories that really help; we’ve had so many examples of people we were talking with who read an example and said it was exactly what they wanted to do.  That led to a great conversation about their business and how we would make them successful.  However, the real indicator of success was when they went out into the market and did their research into alternative solutions.  When they came back to us saying that they had seen a variety of pretty demos, but were now able to ask the hard questions about how their business would get to success, I knew we had succeeded with the book.

Would you do anything different?

Like any first experience it’s a learning experience.  I think that if I did it again, I would start the conversations in social media well before the book launches.  We started the Digital Body Language blog at around the same time as the book launched, which meant that it was still building momentum well after the book was out.  Starting the social media conversation around the topics in a book well before the book launches allows you to build buzz and momentum prior to the launch.

How about a second book?

Definitely something under consideration…   There has been a great response to a lot of the topics I’ve covered on the Digital Body Language blog that were somewhat outside of the book’s main topic.  Not sure of exactly what the book would look like or when, but it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about very seriously.

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By joepulizzi published May 19, 2009

Kodak: Why Content Strategy Is the Key to Marketing

I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Hoehn from Kodak at Online Marketing Summit – DC last week.  Tom has a really cool job at Kodak, where he is director of brand communications and convergence media.


After my presentation on the Keys to Social Media, Tom and I got to chatting and we realized that we focus on many of the same things, the most important being the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and compelling content as a core part of marketing. Tom was nice enough to participate in this Q&A about Kodak’s content strategy.  There’s some gold nuggets in here…enjoy! Thanks Tom!

: Does Kodak have a content strategy that’s a part of their overall marketing strategy?  If so, how do you integrate it into the plans?

Tom: Yes, our content strategy is two pronged. First, we focus on content creation that showcases our products in use. We have a long history of doing this. Our Tips and Projects Center is the best example.
It is chock full of examples, projects, tips, and inspirational photo essays. The second part of this strategy is about distribution. We use the content in a number of different permutations and distribute through our various channels based on seasonality, promotions, etc. Channels include our website, blogs, partners sites, social media, e-mail tips, etc. You can see our social media presence at

Joe: When you hear the phrase “content marketing”, does it mean anything to you?

Tom: It means everything to me! Seriously, we love how people use the products we make to tell the stories of their lives. It is great to work in a category that enables people’s self expression. Giving voice to those stories and inspiring others is what it is all about.

Joe: What does Kodak call the process of delivering consistent, educational and entertaining information to customers?

Tom: Our job.  It is an expectation of our customers that we walk the walk and talk the talk and have quality content. We make sure that we leverage Kodak’s businesses and sponsorship for content at every turn. It is in our DNA.

Some examples include:

So there you have it, we are nuts about content! 😉

Joe: How do you take customer education to the next level to drive increased loyalty and sales?

Tom: The next level? In my mind it isn’t always about what we think people want to learn. Amplifying the voice of the millions of people who take pictures, do cool things with them, and share with others is the big opportunity for us. People take 70 million pictures every day with Kodak cameras. Yes, you read that right. Don’t you think that is quite an incredible wealth of source material that can be tapped?

Joe: Kodak has been in the middle of social media for a while now.  What’s worked really well?  What are you no so sure about?  What hasn’t worked?

Tom: Our blogs, starting with A Thousand Words, have been active since September 2006. That is ancient history in the social media space – in terms of large companies blogging it is positively prehistoric! The stories and photos we have shared from everyday Kodak people have been acclaimed by many. We get kudos for recognizing the space and how to use it. We are adding value to the conversations that are occurring. We are not shoving marketing messages at people. That doesn’t work and we knew that from the outset.

Our distributed publishing model has worked really well for us. We decided not to have a few dedicated Kodak rockstar bloggers and opted to have many employees contribute. It helps to spread the work. I am happy to say we have published every business day since our launch – that is no small feat. A wise person by the name of Joe Pulizzi 😉 mentioned that “Frequency” is an important aspect of blogging. It looks like we embraced that from the get go. Every post contains a few photos (of course), most have more. One post I did actually had over 200 clickable thumbnails (but that is a story for another day).

A benefit we saw that was unexpected was the employee pride in contribution. They loved the fact that anyone could contribute their stories and were proud to share with family, friends, and their networks.

Joe: How is Kodak promoting the use of social media within the company?  Do you have set guidelines?

Tom: We have a simple social media policy that was crafted with input from marketing, legal, our IT group, and corporate security. It contains very sound and practical advice and isn’t overly restrictive. We promote the use of social media channels to product marketing groups and adoption rates vary. I find that people are eager to learn and we are happy to share our experiences.

Joe: What’s the next great frontier regarding online content? (is there one?)

Tom: It is the power of you. Instead of everyone being famous for 15 minutes perhaps we will be famous to 15 people. Telling your story requires content. Text, photos (yes!), videos (naturally!). What stories are you telling to your network?

Joe: How about print?  Do you do any print magazines/newsletters for BtoC or BtoB?  Wondering what your take is on the distribution of print content?

Tom: Yes, we do print and make products that support print. Did you know Kodak has commercial businesses that are in the printing and packaging industries? It is a multi-billion dollar per year category for us. That being said, we use print for B2B publications for our Entertainment Imaging (motion picture)
and Graphic Communications (printing) businesses. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that print also extends to personal needs. Are your precious memories locked on a hard drive somewhere? I hope not!

I hope you found this Q&A helpful.Thanks Joe for inviting me.
Leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks, tom @tomhoehn on Twitter

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By joepulizzi published May 14, 2009

10 Thoughts About Online Marketing: The Week in Review

I was on the road again this week (this time DC) for two presentations (Speakerbox and Online Marketing Summit) on content marketing and social media, one MENG webinar (from Reagan National airport) and what seemed like dozens of meetings. While on the plane trip home, I jotted down some things I learned about, discussed with others, or thought about along the way. Thought you would enjoy.

  1. Analytics – The three most important areas to continuously monitor for content improvement are the bounce rate (exit rate after just one page), most popular/least popular content pages, and top referring sites (where your customers are coming from). What else?
  2. Looking for good eBook examples. David Meerman Scott’s blog, right hand side bar.
  3. As I discussed Twitter with practically everyone, it seems the lastest Twitter tool that is catching on is HootSuite. It allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts. Looking forward to diving in.
  4. More and more people are starting to understand content marketing as I travel the country. It’s the buzz word for 2009 as far as I can tell…and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I may have to start talking about something new.
  5. Online Marketing Summit has flat-out the most approachable marketing attendees on the planet.  Everyone is smart, helpful, outgoing and willing to learn.  Kudos to Aaron Kahlow and team.
  6. Over the last three weeks I’ve given seven presentations.  Here’s some interesting stats from the combined audiences (marketers and publishers). % of people that have made a buying decision using the following over the last three to six months. Yellow Pages (5%), Direct Mail (10%), Print Advertising (5%), Search Engines (90%). I heard David Scott ask these questions during a speech and I’ve been using them ever since.  Thanks David.
  7. More stats on social media usage – 40% are using Twitter, but only half of those people are actively using it. About 95% are on Facebook.  Last year at the same time, that number was about 20%. Amazing adoption of Facebook.  Next year at this time, I expect that almost everyone will have a Twitter account like it or not.
  8. The best way to get more speaking opportunities is to give more speeches (I know, obvious right?). Last two days I’ve done three presentations and have six offers for additional speaking opportunities. Very cool.
  9. I read the best article ever about travel tips this week from Peter Shankman.  Great blog…always helpful and interesting.
  10. Writing one blog is hard.  Making time for another is a bit easier, but still takes time. Launched a new blog targeted at content providers this week. Check it out. The Junta42 blog is a TypePad blog. The blog uses the WordPress Thesis theme, which I found from reading Brian Clark. So far, I like what it can do.

And last but not least…after talking about Blendtec religiously for the past two days, I end my day at Reagan National waiting for my to-go Omelet Sandwich before I get on the plane, and this was in front of me.

What did you learn this week?

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By joepulizzi published May 13, 2009

Last Day to Save on Social Media Success Summit 2009…

Wanted to send out this final reminder on the early bird savings for Social Media Success Summit 2009. If you are interesting in the best of social media learning, today's the day!

Social Media Success Summit 2009 is the first major online event dedicated to helping businesses succeed with social media marketing. OVER 500 of your peers have already signed up.

Simply one of the best lineups I've seen anywhere.

Presenters include bestselling authors and social media marketing experts such as Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine Library TV), Darren Rowse (Problogger), Mari Smith (Facebook guru), Jason Alba (wrote the book on LinkedIn), Ann Handley (MarketingProfs), Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Chris Garrett (Authority Blogger) and Denise Wakeman (BlogSquad).

Here are some of the sessions:

* How to Create a Mega-Following and Mega-Sales With Social Media Marketing
* Building a Loyal Facebook Following for Increased Profits
* How to Grow and Engage an Audience on Twitter
* Using the Power and Reach of LinkedIn to Grow Your Business
* How to Productively Engage in Social Media Marketing
* Five Reasons You Need to Be on Twitter (and Tools to Help You Manage)
* Social Media Start Up: 3 Key Tools to Build Your Social Media Marketing Plan
* How to Attract Tens of Thousands of People in Mere Days
* Using Social Bookmarking for Improved Traffic, Links and Visibility

Thursday (5/14) is the last day to get the early bird discount – $200 savings (40%).

By joepulizzi published May 8, 2009

If You Are a Marketer, Watch this Video of Gary Vaynerchuk

Thanks Gary Vaynerchuk.  In a few years this will be the norm, but right now most companies still don't get it. See more of Gary at this exclusive social media event.

By joepulizzi published

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

I was invited by the great teams at Advancement and DATAForge to  talk about personal branding success and wanted to share the presentation.

There are some excellent personal branding specialists that I follow (thanks Dan Schawbel), but the presentation below was based mostly on what I feel has made me successful.

What I emphasized to the group was that you don’t have to do all ten steps to be successful.  The most important part is that you pick the steps you can commit to and consistently execute those steps.

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

  1. Update Your Online Profiles Now. LinkedIn, Facebook, and your Google profile are the most important. If you don’t have it already, buy your domain name. As a standard practice, all business cards you collect should be sent invitiations via LinkedIn. Finally, hire a professional to take your picture.
  2. Start a Blog/Get Involved in the Conversation. I use WordPress and TypePad for my blogs, and you can be up and running with either in a short period of time. Follow and comment on the top 10 – 20 blogs where your customers are hanging out. Answer questions on LinkedIn Answers and Yahoo! Answers. Follow your name, brands and keywords at Google Alerts. Find and get active in a Google Group that makes sense.
  3. Write a Book. Okay, this is a tough one. If a book is out of the question, start with an eBook. If you can do it though, start here (writing a book when you have no time to write a book).
  4. Create and Distribute Content of Interest to Your Customers. Develop a permission-based newsletter and consistent white papers/ebooks that will help your target group and position you as the industry expert. Share presentations on Slideshare. Use Twitter to distribute helpful information in your expertise area (here are eight Twitter steps to follow). Give away the “secret sauce”.
  5. Write for Everyone (no matter how small). Yes, it’s great writing for media sites such as AdWeek or Chief Marketer, but if you are asked to write for someone…anyone, do it. Even the smallest blog site can influence someone that you may not have had an opportunity to reach.
  6. Pick 2-3 Key Associations and Get Active. Once you do, always go to cocktail receptions, get on the committees/boards, and don’t commit to anything unless you can do it well.
  7. Speak, Speak, Speak. Once you start doing the first six points, you’ll start getting asked to speak at events. Remember, sometimes small, intimate events can spread your content farther than large events (so don’t dismiss them).
  8. Always Be Helpful (even if you feel like you are wasting your time). You will start to get many people coming to ask you for help and advice. That’s great! Sometimes you can’t help everyone yourself, but you can point them in the right direction.  Follow up with everyone.
  9. Pay Attention to Google. You are who Google says you are. If you can’t be found in Google either at all or for the right things, you won’t be found. It’s that simple.
  10. Get Behind a Charity/Cause. Hopefully, you are already doing this, but building your personal brand has to be about more than just you.  Pick one charity to get behind and make something happen for the better.

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By joepulizzi published May 6, 2009

Prepare the Way: We will all be media companies

Sat in on a great panel yesterday with Amanda Watlington (Searching for Profit), Christina Howe (Avid) and Rebecca Lieb (eConsultancy) discussing what the world’s leading brands are doing.

The discussion was all about content (loved it!).

One attendee asked this question to the panel. “Right now social media is hot, but what is the next big thing we should keep our eyes on?”

I was the first to answer, and this immediately came to mind, and it will happen (is happening).

Over the next few years (not sure exactly when), we won’t be able to tell the difference between media companies (publishers) and companies that off non-informational products and services.

Look at it this way. Advertising and traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective. Engagement is fostered today by delivering consistent, relevant, compelling content to our customers (like P&G) – or – showing them a good time (like Blendtec) [for more on that, check out this custom content post about UPS]. That content creation is the fodder for getting involved in the online conversation and positioning your brand as a trusted solutions provider.

At the same time, media companies that have developed great brands and loyal audiences around delivering content are having trouble selling advertising. They all know that traditional advertising (even online display in some cases) is not going to bounce back. So, they are looking at developing products their readers can buy like data products, online software tools (i.e., Smartools from MarketingProfs), and actual manufactured products ala what Martha Stewart has done.

Whether you are a brand that offers products and services or a brand that offers information as the product, this completely changes your business model.

This is coming, and soon.  Actually, it may even be here but we haven’t noticed yet.

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By joepulizzi published May 1, 2009

15 Steps to Small Business Online Marketing Success

We’ve been working a lot lately on a list of necessary steps to take with your online content. As we compiled the list, it became clear that this would make a very helpful checklist for small- or medium-sized businesses. As you’ll see, not a lot of detail, but a great list to check against.

If you see any additional ones to add to the list or other helpful links, please comment below.

  1. Fresh Web Content. A minimum two times a week, update your site with fresh, relevant content for your customers. An easy-to-use content management system like WordPress will help.
  2. Hire a Journalist. If you don’t have the resources to consistently develop content, hire a journalist or outsource your content to an expert content team.
  3. Install Google Analytics. Many small businesses have a website but aren’t paying attention to who’s coming to the site and how they are getting there. Use analytics information to find out more about your customers and how you can solve their pain points.
  4. Set Up RSS Feeds for Your Content. Google’s Feedburner or Feedblitz will work just fine.
  5. Start a Blog. Starting a blog may be the key to your program. Post at least twice a week and talk about what is going on in your industry. A blog should not be promotional at all. When done right, you will position yourself and your company as a thought leader.
  6. Comment on Blogs. Find the 15 to 20 best blogs that you feel attract your typical customer and post at least once a week.
  7. Site News Section. Develop a news section within your site. Keep it updated each month. For a more robust option, check out HP’s newsroom.
  8. Regular Online News Releases. Plan for at least one “online news release” per month. This could promote the eBook, fresh content, events, new promotions, etc.  As long as it’s valuable, you can promote it. Here is an example.
  9. Develop an Enewsletter. Developing an outbound communications tool is critical to maintain and grow relationships with customers, and will faciliate spreading your content. Be sure your newsletter is “opt-in” (they gave you permission).
  10. The Free Content Giveaway. Create an eBook as a packaged content download for your customers and prospects. If you need your customer information (leads), you may opt to ask for basic information before download. If you want your content to spread and be shared, set it free. Here is a great discussion about “gated” content. Some excellent eBook examples are David Meerman Scott’s “New Rules” and our “Trust” eBook.
  11. Twitter Tips. Instead of creating a Twitter account that is all about you, think of your Twitter account as a channel. Determine what your ideal customer pain points are, and then deliver content through your Twitter channel that they would benefit from. Use Twitterfeed to automate your RSS feeds from your blog or web articles. Use Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter conversation. Here’s a Twitter primer to get you started.
  12. A Facebook movement. Instead of creating a Facebook fan page for your company, create a movement or cause. I thought Shama Hyder did a great job of this with her ACT Blueprint.
  13. Set Up Your Company in LinkedIn and Maximize Your Profile. PR 20/20 has an excellent post that will get your LinkedIn profile into shape.
  14. Pay Attention to Your Google Profile. Here’s a step-by-step to setting up your Google profile.
  15. Listen and Learn. Set up your Google Alerts account to track what customers are saying about you, your brands and the keywords that drive your business. Here’s a quick how-to on Google Alerts.

Just a reminder…these are all tactics to use as part of your content strategy.  Determine your content strategy first, then use these steps to execute that strategy.

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By joepulizzi published April 29, 2009

Callaway Goes Digital with Online Magazine Launch

I had a nice email conversation with my friend Nick Green from MacDUFF about their recent launch of the Callaway Online Magazine.  Here are some of the outtakes.

Joe –  Why did Callaway decide to produce this?

Nick – MacDUFF approached Callaway Golf about a year ago with the idea. With print and US Postal Service charges on the rise and marketing budgets under stress we felt the time was right to go online. Callaway is a technological leader in golf and believe the iMAG can reiterate their stance.

(Note from Joe – MacDUFF refers to a digital/online magazine as an iMAG. MacDUFF built the Callaway iMAG using flash technology.)Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published April 23, 2009

Not Web Content, Quality Web Content

Interesting research from the Aberdeen Group on how web content management technology is transforming digital marketing.  This is a gated report, so you’ll have to sign up to get it…but there is some quality information in here about the evolution of web content.

Portions of the report discuss the corporate goal of improving web content.  Getting content is usually not the problem for businesses.  Almost all organizations have truckloads of content.  The challenge is taking information inside and around a company and creating valuable, relevant compelling content from that information.

On that note, the top three web content strategies for improving web content as discussed in this report are:

  1. Improve quality of web content.
  2. Use segmentation.
  3. Integrate web content management strategies with other technologies.

Number one (improving the quality of web content) wins this battle in a landslide.  And rightfully so.

The disconnect in most businesses is this: the average company still generates the majority of their web content/information focused on the company, brand products or services. That’s great for the few customers that know exactly what they want.

The rest of your customers and prospects are saying “I don’t care about your products and services. I care about myself and my personal and business needs.

Are you among the 81% of businesses looking at improving the quality of your web content? Then create content that addresses what your customers care about. Solve their challenges.  Solve their pain points. Be relevant. Become their trusted adviser.

That’s how you improve your web content – and is the start of a content marketing strategy.

Special thanks to David Drickhamer for sending on the report.

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