Archive for the ‘blog’ tag
So, it’s official – while many of us (especially on Twitter) waited and watched over the weekend after All Things D broke the story, Yahoo has agreed to buy content sharing platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. The analysis has been varied and thoughtful: why Tumblr’s exit is about 30% of what it might have been (they failed to demonstrate that they could monetize on a timeline that would suit their investors/were running out of cash), why the value isn’t in their technology, but rather the networks’ function as a “vector for viral sharing“, and, finally, how Tumblr can “make money without pissing us off” (leverage tag pages, keep your hands off my content).
I had the chance to hear Tumblr CEO David Karp speak at the GigaOm paidContent Live conference in New York just a few weeks ago. In a 1:1 interview with Mathew Ingram, Karp referred repeatedly to Tumblr’s value in “Helping get people to the stuff that they’re actually going to love,” which struck me as both interesting and incomplete. If Tumblr’s value lies in not just your content, but ultimately in its ability to filter and anticipate and deliver that content in a way that adds incremental value, that’s promising. It’s also a model that requires significant technology investment (robust search and a brilliant, best-in-breed recommendation engine that uses highly sophisticated collaborative filtering). Content is like ore, and those technical filters are required to help users refine it in order to mine and generate that additional value. To do this your tech had better be killer; from what I have seen so far, I’m not sure that’s the case today.
Nevertheless, if that’s the proposed unique value prop – rather that just a publisher of cool stuff, building a better filter in order to be a content force multiplier (which is really the “building a better mousetrap” of the Information Age, when you think about it) – how do you monetize it? “Display advertising” and “paid search” are incorrect answers. These revenue models are so deeply commoditized that to begin to rely on them for revenue serves to commoditize your business as well, regardless of how unique or robust (“commoditization by association”). This is short-term gain for long-term pain, and as we’ve seen, deadly poisonous to future innovation in generating revenue from attention. If that’s the best Yahoo and Tumblr can do together, Tumblr will die a slow death like so many other past acquisitions, in this case because of what you might call the “MySpace death spiral”: reliance on eyeball- rather than engagement-based advertising erodes the user experience. Users leave (especially a risk here since micro/blogging technology is pretty ubiquitous). Eyeball-based numbers start to drop, revenue targets are missed, anxiety ensues and the short-term answer is to further junk up the user experience in order to deliver more impressions. Rinse and repeat, and within a very short period of time you have a virtual ghost town.
I would argue that this will be a hard trap not to fall into: platforms like Facebook have come to rely on the easy source of display revenue to the detriment of figuring something out that will actually allow advertisers to add value to the user experience at scale (sponsored posts are just another form of “spray and pray”). Of course, advertisers, and particularly their agencies, are the enablers here – they want three basic things: round pegs for round holes, scale, and “set it and forget it”. In my experience, anything that doesn’t fit into a CPM or CPC model is a bespoke option that is lovely to pilot, generates great results and shows the CMO some cutting-edge thinking. It then quietly gets discarded in favor of more efficient and reliable agency revenue streams.
There are three things on the Tumblr/Yahoo to-do list for 2013:
1. Push the edges on intelligent recommendation technology (just think of the dataset they must have!)
2. Innovate on engagement-based ad format design
3. Bypass agencies: try to build partnerships directly with brands to help bring scale and meaning to a revenue model that is based on adding value rather than the very comfortable “interrupt and repeat”
If they don’t get two out of three right, we’ll be talking about Tumblr in the past tense faster than you can say “Rich Kids of Instagram”
Als een politicus er aan denkt om zich op de sociale media te wagen is de kans heel groot dat zijn eerste drie vragen zijn: Moet ik twitteren? Moet ik een Facebook-account aanmaken? Moet ik…
Lees verder >
Episode #358 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
There are certain people that business leaders and marketers should be paying a lot more attention to. Adam Alter is one of those individuals. He recently published his first book, Drunk Tank Pink – And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel And Behave, and it is a truly fascinating journey into the relationship between the forces of our environment and how this shapes the outcomes of our lives. Yes, it’s deep stuff, but it is told in a very fun and compelling way (no dry academic fodder here!). Alter is an assistant professor of marketing and psychology at NYU’s Stern School of Business and psychology department. His research focuses on the intersection of behavioral economics, marketing, and the psychology of judgment and decision-making. He’s also an all-around nice guy. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #358.
Here’s a quote worthy of your attention:
"The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad." – Howard Gossage.
Let’s face it: we often make out marketing and advertising to be more important than it really needs to be. This doesn’t mean that it’s not important, creative and a part of our lives, but this quote from the famed Mad Man speaks to the reality of a media saturated world… and this quote comes at us long before the Internet and social media made it stupid simple for anyone to be a media channel unto themselves. Ads are everywhere and the game of repetition and saturation is still what captures the attention, but there’s something else happening to the advertising industry that is worthy of thinking about. It’s also worth noting that the people who care most about marketing and advertising is usually us: the people who create it. Those who consume it? They could probably care less.
More than advertising.
If you survey the land of client and agency relationships, what you are bound to find is clients who are asking for much than an advertising campaign, these days. Technology and all of the media permutations that it has created has brought us to this interesting moment in time when clients aren’t looking just for ads, but rather business transformation. They want business solutions to help them augment the brand and build more credibility. Data, research and strategy has slowly crept into the creative department and now the work is much more than a thirty-second spot or a contest. Digital has given us the ability to better inform our idea and the net result is that advertising for the sake of creativity is now more like a stunt than the foundational work of what the brand truly represents.
What a true social media strategy looks like.
Too many inexperienced marketing professionals are pawning off social media editorial content calendars and tone and manner for tweets, blog posts and Facebook as some kind of social media strategy. It is not (don’t be fooled). The more experienced marketing professionals deliver social media strategies that are, in fact, brand strategies (when done right). Transformation is never easy. Transformation is very hard. Sadly, most people are still thinking like advertisers when, in fact, they need to be thinking more like these global brands that are demanding that the agencies that serve them act as stewards for the transformation of business.
Big, big work.
It’s true that sometimes people read ads. It’s true that sometimes people like a brand on Facebook or retweet a promoted tweet on Twitter. It’s true that a lot of brands use these digital channels as another mechanism to put up more impressions in the marketplace in the hopes of screaming louder than the competition. This isn’t what world has to look like. Yes, advertising is still – at its core – the ability to persuade someone to buy something, but the real marketing can be so much more. Delivering business solutions isn’t easy. Delivering business transformation is much harder. Creating a social media strategy that is, ultimately, a better brand strategy may not sit well with the clients, but we have to face the realities of the world that we live in.
It’s not about ads… it’s about solutions. It’s not about the ads… it’s about business transformation. And so, marketing, continues to change and evolve.
My new book, CTRL ALT Delete, comes out next week.
It took well-over six months of concentrated effort to write my second book, CTRL ALT Delete, which comes out on May 21st, 2013. The thing is this: you would have never known it or felt it. In that time, I didn’t miss a client meeting for Twist Image or alter my responsibilities at the agency. On top of that, I continued to blog daily, write my weekly contributions to both the Huffington Post and Harvard Business Review and a weekly audio podcast. It was (not so simply) added on to my already rigorous work load. But, here’s the thing: it was pleasurable. Pleasurable in the same way that you went to a movie that you adored or falling asleep on the couch after a long day’s work.
Here’s the dirty little secret about writing a book…
The hard part is not finding a literary agent. The hard part is not finding a publisher. The hard part is not writing it. The hard part is selling it. The hardest part is convincing you (and people who don’t know me) that CTRL ALT Delete will be worthy of the time needed to read it. I am thankful that there is a large community of connected people who are willing to share the content that I create, but when push comes to shove and money has to exchange hands, it gets tougher. Recently, I had a conversation with Nilofer Merchant on the eve of her releasing 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era. She was commenting on how little people know when it comes to supporting an author… and she is right. It’s not clear.
Tweets are not enough.
With that, there have been instances where individuals have offered to tweet about or post to Facebook and – the truth is – that there is nothing as amazing as the kindness of people that I hardly know. But, we live in an amazingly dense world of information now. So many tweets, blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media exchanges and more, that it’s hard to get anyone to notice – beyond a tweet – about things like a new business book. And those tweets last but for a fleeting moment… and that’s only if the people these individuals are connected to are actually looking at their Twitter stream.
Beyond giving you something for free or running another contest, I am hopeful that you will help me out by simply buying the book. If you have the means, perhaps you can buy multiple copies and give them away to the people you think might most benefit from the content. And, if you’re able, perhaps invite me to speak at your organization or event. While I love to blog, write columns and record podcasts, books are the white space that allow me to take a lot of the divergent and off-the-cuff concepts you have found here, pull them together into a larger and more cogent thought, and truly deep-dive into just how much business has fundamentally changed (and what you need to do to be viable in this new environment).
Yes, there are many way to support an author.
You can buy books, tweet about it and bring an author over to your business to share the knowledge, but you can also help that author see, find and uncover newer media and business opportunities to share the information. CTRL ALT Delete is a very different book. It will help you uncover the five movements that have changed business forever (that few brands are doing anything about), along with the triggers you need for yourself to ensure that you’re employable within this new dynamic. With all of the influencer outreach, traditional media and PR work that is being done to launch this book next week, I’m also hopeful that you can keep your eyes and ears open to let me know if there’s an opportunity that I may have missed or should be capitalizing on.
I think you will love the book.
I am hopeful that you will buy it, recommend it, review it and share it. I am hopeful that you will help me uncover other opportunities to get the word out. Lastly, thank you. I know that I don’t spend much time in the comments or in the back-and-forth on channels like Twitter or Facebook, but I am reading and constantly appreciative of how these stories and ideas spread. I hope you will come along for another book launch next week and stick around long after that for many more blog postings, columns, podcasts and more.
You can pre-order CTRL ALT Delete, right here:
Success in real-time marketing is as much operations as creativity
Ever since Oreo suggested that you could “still dunk in the dark” during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, real-time marketing (RTM) has become the new black. Never mind that the phrase was first coined in 1995 by Apple marketing guru Regis McKenna; this winter, breathless media pundits across the social web touted the brilliance of Oreo and its agencies for inventing something earth-shatteringly new and exciting.
However, the real story behind Oreo’s timely tweet is perhaps not so startling after all. I moderate a weekly webinar for Social Media Today, and on one of our recent shows, David Berkowitz, vice-president of emerging media at 360i (who leads digital strategy for Oreo), reminded our listeners that the brand began building the culture and processes to support its real-time approach almost a year before, with the start of the Oreo Daily Twist campaign – 100 days of real-time content to celebrate the cookie’s 100th birthday.
By the time the Superbowl rolled around, both agency and client teams were operating like a finely tuned machine, and were about as close as you can get to experts at marketing in the moment. In Berkowitz’s words, they made content every day – Feb. 3, 2013 just happened to be a really, really good day.
A lot of the reason that Oreo was able to make this work is strikingly simple and yet totally uncommon. The agency and client trust each other. They worked together to develop an approvals process that was streamlined, they had months of practice (delivering hits and lots of misses) and had the right people at the table to make it work (including the PR team).
They could make decisions quickly, and thought thoroughly about the implications of doing it wrong – being accused of newsjacking, or worse.
In fact, Oreo was ready to go with their famous tweet, but decided to wait a few minutes to ensure the blackout wasn’t an attack of some kind (imagine how differently the analysis would be playing out if it had been?).
If you’re an organization that regularly experiences lengthy, painful approval processes on creative, you’re going to need to do some thinking before you even attempt marketing in real time. Not only because it will be virtually impossible for you to take advantage of the now, but also because throwing out a piece of RTM content is just the start of the chain. If people are interacting or responding to you in a positive way, there are layers upon layers of opportunity to keep that conversation and engagement going. You need to be able to keep your foot on the gas, and having the trust and commitment of legal, leadership and your creative team is the only way you can possibly hope to keep up.
You need to be in a place where you can sit with stakeholders and reimagine the way you market, and then be prepared to change what you imagined based on reality – not your best-laid plans. You need to be flexible, and you need to have a team of partners you trust.
Real-time marketing success is as much operations as it is inspiration – an approach that probably gives many creatives hives. It’s the orchestration of diverse teams (legal, agency, marketing leadership, communications), it’s process and it’s comfort with risk.
Both client and agency need to be prepared and plan for failure – either by getting little or no attention, or lots of the wrong kind. As Berkowitz so aptly noted: confident, curious brands that are prepared to innovate, experiment and screw up will emerge as the true leaders in real-time marketing. There is no shortcut.
Does your business have a blog? Would you like your blog to bring in more leads for your business? You already know you need to create awesome blog content, but there’s more to business blogging than just that. You also need to include a few tactics to help you bring in the leads you want. [...]
Last week I was a judge at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards, a sort of AP Cannes I guess, and I was in equal parts encouraged and dismayed for the PR industry.
The good news is that regularly in the two-day jury session, leaders of renowned ad agency groups made comments like; “this is a PR type idea isn’t it,” or, “that’s a bit old school and they haven’t thought through whether it makes PR sense too.” Some of the best campaigns in the non-PR category had hugely significant PR elements really well baked in. Colenso BBDO’s work for Monteith’s Cider or Clemenger BBDO’s work for Victoria Bitter (congrats to BBDO for being the “winningest” agency in Asia Pacific by the way) both used PR as an integral part of an idea that worked across bought media, earned media and social.
And it is also true that campaigns in the social media and events & sponsorship categories could have been entered by the more technically and creatively leading-edge PR firms (though they weren’t as it happened) and, yes, there is still an occasional naive belief that PR’s role is just to amplify a naff ad or promotion, but the best ad agencies are way beyond that. And that’s great news for our industry because what we do is taken very seriously now in marketing and in advertising agencies as we always hoped it would be.
But that’s where the good news stops. Because, with one or possibly two exceptions, the entries by PR agencies and PR departments were AWFUL. Badly written, no video supporting the entry summarizing the key points and almost always, little or no results volunteered. “How do we judge this” was the slightly bemused comment from my fellow jurists to yet another tatty entry from a PR firm. They wanted to take us seriously as key players in their marketing world, but we were making it impossible for them to do so.
And I know too well the excuses for not making the effort to enter marketing industry rather than PR industry awards, so let me relate a few of them and then respond in classic “interview your own keyboard” style:
- “Marketing is only one part of PR so it’s not such a big deal”: Marketing budgets do and will always dwarf corporate communications budgets and more Chief Marketing Officers sit on boards of major companies than Corporate Communication Officers and that will not change any time soon no matter how much we bleat about it. So let’s continue to look down our corporate noses at marketing communications or just not commit enough to the area and as we do, kiss goodbye to the single biggest opportunity for our industry and the people in it.
- “The awards are judged by ad agencies who prefer their own and don’t get what we do”: They totally get the value of what we do and in my experience are not only fair to us but generous too; it’s just that a lot of the time now, they are doing marketing and brand PR as well as us and certainly entering it into awards in a much more professional manner.
- “We save our best entries for the PRWeek or Holmes Awards”: Good thinking. Way to go. Know how many CMOs read PRWeek or have heard of the SABREs? A lot less than you think. Enter the awards that are watched by the people with the big marketing budgets, not just your boss and the PR headhunting firm.
- “Often we were given the idea by the marketing client or ad agency and just got to amplify it”: Whose fault is that? How many times do PR agencies field planners or creatives or use research to drive insight? And how often do PR clients ask for these things and, if they do, how many of them are willing to pay for it? Not often , so why should we be trusted with strategy or the big idea? Because we had a hunch or interviewed a few journalists and bloggers? Planning is a distinct area and a different skill set and requires investment. I know I used to be one. More PR agencies need to hire more of them and fast.
- “We don’t get the budget the ad agencies do”: Currently we mostly don’t deserve it… see above point for reasons.
- “PR agencies (like Edelman) are now buying media too so we are gaining influence and power in marketing whatever it might look like in awards ceremonies”: true, but 99% of the time these spends are tactical and rarely driving a big strategic brand idea
- “Ad agencies don’t get crisis or issues situations and aren’t thinking about the impact of product issues on the corporate brand or wider stakeholders”: This in my experience remains broadly true, but is a peripheral issue for most brands most of the time. You can’t drive competitive differentiation for a mobile service provider by having a great crisis communications plan at the ready.
The PR industry has had a great opportunity to take on a more strategic role in marketing over the last few years. Driven by the infinite capability of search to allow anyone to know everything about anything at any time and the arrival of social media which has revolutionized how people come together in community and the content forms they consume and share when they are there, PR thinking is indeed the future of marketing communication. Our time should be now. And that’s without even throwing in the collapse of the old divides between product and corporate brand, and between employees and customers, or the impact of activist shareholders, interventionist regulators, and NGOs and all those other things we handle so well.
But, our failure as an industry, to master a consistent delivery of insight and planning (with a few exceptions) has meant we are no nearer to being brand custodians. Our failure (again, with a few exceptions) to invest in creative people and processes that can imagine and then produce and deliver big brand ideas has meant we largely remain on the sidelines while the ad agencies get better and better at integrating PR thinking and execution into their offer.
It’s as if we collectively thought that the arrival of social media and the democratization of influence that that heralded, and the few (truly deeply competent) digital teams we built around this was enough to give us lead-agency status. That was an opportunity for sure. But we have, on the whole, failed to grasp it as an industry.
At Edelman we have been investing significantly to bridge this gap for a while now and I know of a number of other agencies and brave and smart people on the client side that are doing the same. We have more and more planners and creative directors throughout our network (and not just one banner name in New York) and on the social side, deeper and more proficiently technical digital teams and, yes, we buy media too. And we have a growing insight capability in Edelman Berland that is spreading into more and more of our offices. As the biggest PR firm in the world and an independent, we have the luxury to be able to do this. And I know other firms have similar plans or have done the same. But my plea to the industry is to speed it all up because the ad guys are coming fast from the other direction and they are making a pretty good job of it from what I have seen over the last couple of years and Asia Pacific is at the very epicentre of this.
Australia and New Zealand ad agencies are leading the charge, but I am witnessing great PR thinking style campaigns, beautifully integrated now coming out of ad agencies in Southeast Asia (especially Thailand) and India as well. I rarely saw this done as well in Europe and Richard Edelman tells me it is rare to find in the US too.
One of the measures of future success as an industry in all this will be when a PR firm wins the Best Integrated Campaign Award at the AMEs and, why not, Cannes, but for now it would be great to just judge the PR section without wincing.
Congratulations to One Green Bean for this winner in the PR Category by the way. Great campaign idea (of which the client said they were an equal originator) and seamless and brilliant integration with the ad agency.
Photo credit: The Festival of Asian Marketing Effectiveness
Are you fed up hearing about the wonders of blogging?
Yes, we all know that it boosts your credibility, visibility and drives traffic to your website, but it’s such hard work constantly coming up with new ideas.
And sometimes it feels as though you’re writing for an empty room because no one shares or comments on your posts.
So what’s the point?
The point is the credibility, visibility and traffic thing mentioned earlier. And if you find you’re not getting any shares or comments it says more about your blog posts than your lack of audience.
Every post you write has to be aimed at your readers and that means writing stuff they want to read about, which probably isn’t going to be what a God awful journey into work you had.
So before you start typing, think carefully about what you’re writing and ask yourself these questions:
1. Does it target my audience?
Every blogger has a niche; their area of expertise. Because every blogger is an expert in their field people are drawn to them to learn and get tips. So is the blog you’re writing related to that niche? Is it answering the questions your audience is asking?
If you’re using statistics, facts and figures in your post, are you sure they’re right? There’s nothing worse than using incorrect information because some bright spark will notice and shout it from the rooftops, damaging your reputation.
Always check and double check before using them.
3. Is it unique?
Obviously your content will be (won’t it?), but I’m thinking more about the way you write. Even if you have a favourite blogger, the worse thing you can do is try to emulate them.
Your audience want something different, they want to get to know you and that means developing your own style, writing personality and voice. That way your work will stand out and be instantly recognisable.
Is it, really?
Think carefully about what you’re writing – is it worth reading? Will it add value to your audience? If they find it useful they’ll share it, but if it’s a load of pointless ramblings they may well look elsewhere for the information they need.
When writing your blog (or anything for that matter), always keep your language and sentence structure simple. People don’t want to be faced with complex words and dense swathes of text; they want something that’s quick and easy to read and that’s useful.
This one really is a combination of everything that I’ve mentioned so far. If you tick all the boxes from 1 – 5 your content will be shared, widening your audience.
7. Your goals?
Although you are primarily writing for your audience, your blogs also have to achieve your own goals.
Whether that’s to drive traffic to your website, build links, promote your name and business etc.
So next time you write a blog post, bear these points in mind and make sure both you and your audience get something out of it.
Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd and blogger.
Episode #357 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
How important is a personal brand? Is that phrase even able to stay alive in this day and age? There is no doubt that our individual reputations are online and available for the world to see, but what does that really mean in a world where everyone is connected, has a Facebook profile, a Twitter feed, a blog and more? Dorie Clark has spent some serious time trying to figure out how individuals can better connect and build their personal profile and reputation. In this fascinating chat with the Harvard Business Review and Forbes contributor, the newly published author of Reinventing You looks at the power of personal brands and what they mean in this day and age. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #357.