Archive for the ‘content business’ tag
Twitter is schmoozing with Hollywood producers and network executives in an effort to get several original video series to air exclusively on its information network, said sources who spilled the beans to Adweek. Twitter declined to comment.
Specifically, an MTV-style reality series similar to The Hills or The Real World is said to be in development and may be hitting Twitter’s alternative airwaves as soon as this fall. Twitter has already shopped around the video project to advertisers, the sources said.
“Per sources, the show could live on a standalone Twitter page similar to the events page that Twitter launched in partnership with Nascar in June, although the series’ page would more closely resemble a microsite in order to feature an expanded video player,” said the report. “Another possibility is that the series would be distributed within tweets — promoted, organic, or pinned to a brand’s Twitter page — with users clicking to expand the tweet into a full-fledged video player.”
But Twitter making broadcast-style content sounds like a stretch, especially given that audiences tune in to Twitter to chime in on reality series, not watch them. The report also seemingly contradicts a recent comment Twitter CEO Dick Costolo made to reporters about the company having zero interest in being in the content business.
While not a content maker per se, Twitter, as we’ve seen, will do everything in its power to keep people consuming tweets, and the media contained within those tweets, on its platform. This amounts to Twitter cozying up to friends in the media business.
Twitter has formed relationships with Nascar and ESPN to engage hybrid viewing audiences around sporting events, and the information network has partnered with NBC Olympics to make Twitter the center of all Games-related news and commentary. We would expect exactly the same from Twitter on the video series front, which means content created by media partners that’s optimized to flow and spread through Twitter’s network.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Content is king — again and still. While content has always been the foundation of the online ecosystem, it has taken on a profound new importance over the past few years. As businesses shift their marketing dollars from offline to online, the need for relevant content to share with prospects and customers has become critical. Offline marketing tactics simply will not work on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other sites that are 100 percent content centric. Online consumers demand interesting and relevant content wherever they are or they will go somewhere else. Businesses now know that content is king in the world of online and social media marketing. But how do you get or create it?
Creating content used to be relegated to “publishers” who made the stuff with the sole purpose of monetizing it through adverting. Things have changed. Businesses now know they need to be in the content business if they want to engage with the prospects and customers who are spending an exurbanite amount of time online and on social media outlets. They are also discovering that creating great content is not as easy as it might sound. Forward-thinking businesses are hiring folks to blog, tweet, and create content appropriate for furthering their online marketing efforts. However, it is expensive and time consuming, and many smaller companies cannot afford the investment.
What to do? Before deciding how to get the content needed for successful online marketing, you must determine what is relevant and engaging in the first place.
- Determine and truly target your audience: Who are they? What interests them? What influences them? How can you solve their problems?
- Become a subject matter expert. Work with the goal of becoming a trusted and reliable go-to resource.
Once you have determined the type of content needed, here are five ways to get the content you need for great online marketing:
Creating and owning impactful content is great if you can afford to do it. The upside here is when you share your own content, it links back to your site, drives traffic, is aligned with your marketing messages, and helps further SEO efforts.
There is an emerging ecosystem of companies ready and willing to create content for you. Many online agencies offer content creation as well as tweeting, posting, blogging, etc. on your behalf. It can be a bit pricey if you want to post content daily or even weekly, but it offers most of the advantages of in-house content creation. Scripped.com is a great example.
Share and link it
This is by far the most common way to deliver content to your audience, yet has serious drawbacks. When you tweet, post, or link to someone else’s content, you are sending your prospect or customer away from your site and into an environment where you cannot measure ROI or effectiveness. While very popular, be wary of any content strategy that you cannot measure and which sends prospects to potentially competitive sites.
Until now, this has simply not been a viable option. New platforms and technologies have emerged that allow you to quickly and easily find, share, and publish to your site quality professional content from leading online publishers. This cost-effective approach enables markers to easily discover great content, drive traffic to their own sites, and leverage the credibility of independent, established brands.
This is more popular than you might think. Many don’t realize that copying content from any third-party site without permission is illegal. If you are taking content without expressed permission, make sure you understand the laws of “Fair Use” and be warned that many new technologies are out there specifically searching for copyright infringement.
Content marketing needs to be a component of any effective online marketing strategy. Most online marketers will use a combination of the strategies listed above (except No. 5, hopefully), depending on budgets and resources, with the ultimate goal of making your site a more engaging place to visit with deeper, richer content. Testing different types of content creation and licensing is the best way to discover the mix that works best for you and your organization. The key to longevity is discovering the sweet spot of how to make it easy to publish to your site and social pages. If you’re fortunate enough to get it right, you will have discovered the way to the palace.
Gregg Freishtat is CEO of Vertical Acuity and Scribit.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“Businessman hand writing concept” image via Shutterstock.
Making money in the online content business isn’t always easy, especially for publishers and bloggers who don’t have huge audiences. Besides advertising, there aren’t too many options for online publishers and even though it looked like micropayments would offer a solution a few years ago, they never caught on with the public. Today, the white label social networking service Grou.ps is taking a stab at solving this problem. It’s launching a new program called LoveBucks that allows users to buy a monthly subscription (starting at $2.95/month) and then lets them spend this money by clicking on the LoveBucks widgets on sites that sign up for the program.
The company tested this service on Grou.ps for the last month and is launching it out of beta today. The launch partners include SFGate (which should be live very soon) and developer community Sitepoint. The money LoveBucks collects is split three ways: the first 60% got to sites that that have received clicks in a given month, 30% is provided as residual for as long as a publisher is part of the program and 10% goes to LoveBucks itself.
For publishers, Grou.ps says, LoveBucks provides another avenue to establish a revenue stream without sacrificing a lot of real estate on their sites. Instead of just a Facebook ‘like,’ after all, LoveBucks’ users reward publishers with real money.
It’s an interesting concept, though it does sound a bit like the approach read-it-later service Readability took a few months ago. There, too, users could buy a monthly subscription and Readability would then divvy the money up between publishers based on how often users saved their articles on the service. Readability shut this service down earlier this month. While enough readers signed up for the service, it couldn’t find enough publishers to also sign up and almost 90% of the money it collected went unclaimed.
LoveBucks, it seems, is avoiding these issues by automatically sharing all its money with publishers every month, but the success of this program obviously depends on getting enough publishers and users to sign up for it.
Like many other marketing and PR blogs, we get a lot of inquiries from PR agencies and reps to write about their clients. I ignore about 80% of them.
Why? It’s mostly due to the pitch not being relevant. OMB is an agency blog with the purpose of promoting thought leadership for TopRank Online Marketing. It’s not a news site, it’s not a blog starved for ideas or in need to cover the latest software launch.
With blogger outreach, a lot of focus gets put on the hook or the angle of a pitch. Even if the message is relevant and compelling, I find a lot of those pitches still fail by leaving out one really important thing. Even if the pitch is only 90% relevant or if the hook wasn’t entirely compelling, including that one thing means there’s a good chance I’d act on it. What’s the one thing?
I’ll answer that question by sharing an example of a pitch that I recently received. It was a well written email, personalized, topically relevant, to the point, included data and bullet points and then the close just killed it for me. The classic:
“Are you interested in speaking to someone at [Company XYZ] who can talk about the big takeaways for marketers? I wanted to offer you the report before it’s released to the public Monday morning, so please let me know if you’d like me to send it over.”
Why does that close cause a sigh of disappointment from me? I get so many pitches and have so many other obligations besides being CEO of a fast growing agency, I really don’t have time to coordinate interviews with execs at companies promoting new research or products. I see this particular call to action so often, it must be what PR students get taught at University.
What could save the pitch? What’s the one thing missing?
Provide something to share.
PR has been in the content business for a very long time and now it’s even more important, because content fuels everything we do online. Along with the stats and bullet points for the research within the email pitch, an infographic or a link to a summary of the research plus suggested social shares would have provided something to take action on.
With a release on Monday, the suggestion could be made for Tweets and other social shares to be scheduled using Hootsuite or other social media management software. It’s so simple, I don’t know why more PR and media relations – blogger relations pros aren’t doing it.
When I first wrote about blogger relations in 2006, the focus was on being relevant, personalized and understanding the difference between a blogger’s writing style and that of a journalist. Make it easy for a blogger to cover your story and you’ll see a lot more positive responses. While the PR agency is trying to meet the brand client’s expectations, they must also empathize with the preferences and goals of the bloggers they’re pitching. An interview with a company exec vs. providing or linking to compelling content that’s easy to share or use within a blog post is like night and day for an actionable blogger pitch.
If you’re a blogger, what kinds of pitches and outreach do you find most useful? Do you find it more useful when the pitch includes links to resources or media that you can point to from a blog post or share directly with your social networks? Or do you prefer the executive interview?
By the way, I just received a copy of Deirdre Breakenridge’s new book, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional, which I’m sure is chock full of great blogger relations advice. Be sure to check it out on Amazon or BN.com.
Two interesting trends are converging at the same time, and they are inextricably linked — the rise of the tablet and the rise of the content marketer.On the heels of Apple’s outstanding Q2 fiscal results, it announced that it has sold more than 67 million iPads since its release two years ago, and the iPad represents roughly 75 percent of all tablets sold. That number is only expected to grow rapidly throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond. The fact is your customers have, or will shortly have, a tablet, and their expectations for great tablet apps — both native and HTML5 — are very high in terms of brand experience, usability, and interactivity.
Simultaneously, all marketers (regardless if they are B2C or B2B) are realizing that they are all in the content business. Content marketing is not only one of the most discussed topics in various LinkedIn marketing groups, but it is also a frequently used headline in marketing magazines. Because most prospective buyers consume your digital content before they make a purchase decision, the content marketer’s job has become center stage in most organizations.
The convergence of these trends tells us something about how mobile devices are impacting how we must operate as marketers and how consumers want to receive information from us. They want to receive information about our companies on demand. And, increasingly, that’s on a tablet.
The tablet offers marketers a new canvas on which to create engaging experiences that drive deeper relationships, e-commerce, and more. According to a recent study by Total Media, more than 52 percent of tablet users said that they would never be without one. The study also found that they are more likely to watch videos on their tablet, versus their smartphone, and that their overall consumption of rich media was much higher on tablets.
So, it’s now the marketer’s job to extend their brands to the tablet with deeply engaging, relevant, carefully curated, and highly interactive experiences. If you’re grappling with this issue, then here are five things to keep in mind as you journey into the world of tablets.
News of Machinima’s new funding first surfaced earlier this month. Google’s involvement marks the first time the company has spent money on the production of content. Previously, it had focused its money on attracting original programming for its YouTube or promoting those programs across its network.
Machinima is one of the most popular YouTube partners. The production company focuses on making videos about video games and players, and it has done extremely well on YouTube. Its YouTube channel brings in over a billion video views per month (1.5 billion in March 2012). And while this new funding may seem like a great deal for Machinima, it make end up angering other YouTube partners that already feel like Machinima’s channels were getting preferential treatment on YouTube from Google.
The new capital will be used to expand its content, global sales operations, international expansion, grow its distribution, and more. In addition to Google, the round included participation from existing investors Redpoint Ventures and MK Capital. Founded in 2008, the Los Angeles, Calif.-based startup has raised a total of $49.6 million in funding to date.
Photo via Greg Aronowitz
Content marketing—using content to promote our product or service—is a favorite promotion method of today’s bloggers. Many of us are in the content business, so content marketing makes sense.
The activities that come under the umbrella of content marketing are broad. They cover everything from guest posting to uploading content to purpose-built networks (like YouTube or Soundcloud), to offering your own free, downloadable content products on your own blog.
Content marketing opportunities are, literally, limited only by your imagination. But this isn’t to say that all content marketing is good content marketing. Or that all strong content marketing is as great as t could be.
What makes good content marketing great?
The answer to this question depends on your blog, target audience, and the content marketing goals you’ve set yourself. There’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution, though as we know, some solutions are used more commonly than others.
However, if you’re looking at new ways to use content marketing to promote your blog, these are some of the main factors you’ll probably want to think about before you jump in.
Does the opportunity support your brand values?
When we’re promoting our blogs, we’ll often look for the opportunity that gives us the biggest bang for buck. For example, we’ll aim to have our guest posts published on sites that have larger readerships rather than on those with smaller audiences.
While that’s fine, it’s also important to look at the outlet itself, and see whether it supports your brand effectively.
For example, both my Digital Photography School and ProBlogger brands use image content. So, in theory, I could use that content to market both brands on Pinterest. While the content is highly appropriate for the outlet, it’s easy to see that Pinterest is more closely aligned with the brand values of a visual brand like dPS than it is with those of ProBlogger.
While Pinterest could be a good way to market both brands, it’s a no-brainer for dPS. IF only I had time to be active on Pinterest!
Is the format appropriate?
There’s sometimes a tendency among some content marketers to jump on whatever bandwagon comes by—whether it’s creating video, or publishing a free blog manifesto, or something else.
The thing is that not all formats for content marketing are going to be appropriate for you. Let’s look at video. If you don’t use video on your blog, and have never made a video, then creating videos just to market your blog may not be the best idea. It may well take you a lot of time, and since you’re not experienced with the format, the content you produce may not be of a level of quality that supports your brand as best it could.
This isn’t to discourage anyone from trying something new—it’s just that you can make content marketing as difficult or as easy as you like. Embarking upon a brand new format purely for marketing purposes is going to be time-consuming and challenging. And the results may not do as much for your blog as you hoped, especially if (tying in the point above) the format doesn’t complement your blog’s branding.
Does the content offer a doorway into your blog?
In some ways, content marketing is like providing free samples of your product, so it’s important to make sure the content you use is a fair representation of what your blog offers. If you create a great video to promote your blog, but the blog itself contains no video, then you may risk disappointing the new visitors who were attracted specifically by your promotional video.
However, this issue goes deeper than formats. Look at what you’re communicating through the content marketing piece, and consider whether that message a) resonates with new readers and b) reflects a core characteristic or value of your blog.
Once the reader consumes that promotional piece, and arrives at your blog, is there a natural pathway for them to follow to engage more heavily with your blog on the basis of the expectation that your content marketing has set?
I’m not just talking about a conversion funnel here—I’m talking about an emotional and intellectual sense of engagement. That process may be upset if your promotional content looks different, sounds different, or delivers differently than your blog does. Consistency of message and tone is as important as consistency of look and feel and formats.
Is the content targeted to the audience?
Any potential content marketing outlet will have an audience. Does that audience reflect a market that you want a foothold in? And does your content speak to that audience?
This consideration is particularly important if you’re repurposing existing content for an outlet whose audience is slightly different from your own—and that’s likely to be the case with most content marketing opportunities.
To be successful, your content marketing efforts will require you to micro-target your brand and message to new audience sub-segments. So simply rehashing the same content over and over in different formats or outlets probably won’t be as effective as targeting each communication to each specific opportunity and its particular audience.
That means more work for us, but also a better return on the investment we make, in terms of time and effort, to promote our blogs.
Does the content provide real value in and of itself?
What constitutes “value”? The answer to that question lies with your target audience. A recent, very successful content marketing effort by CollegeHumor.com makes that point—here, value is measured in terms of laughter and fun. For your brand, “value” might mean practical outcomes, inspiration, or something else.
The important thing is that the content you’re using in your content marketing strategy provides real value. That’ll get it shared more often, backlinked more often, and more search traffic than lower-value content that exists merely to beat your own drum. Also, high-value content is likely the only kind that will meet the points we talked about above.
Your content marketing plans
As I said, the possibilities for content marketing are almost endless, but the factors I’ve touched on here are among those that make good content marketing really great. Which ones are you using, and which have been the most successful for you? Share your experiences with us in the comments.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Everywhere you turn it’s hard to escape the idea these days that brands are becoming publishers. Or at least, it’s hard to escape the idea that brands are trying to become publishers.
Only time will tell whether this is a new paradigm or a passing trend. But whether we’re talking about Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, or even a plain vanilla website — how old fashioned! — the conversation has shifted toward a heavy emphasis on content that brands either produce or curate and then distribute on their very own platform, bypassing a media intermediary.
The idea, in a nutshell, is that brands of all categories must adapt to the new publishing model and morph into something akin to their entertainment cousins if they are to survive and thrive in a media environment where it gets harder everyday to capture a consumer’s attention. Brands that had their own YouTube channels were viewed as cutting edge 18 months ago — or maybe even a little beyond the cutting edge. Today, few people ask whether a brand should have a YouTube channel. Instead, the question is, what should a brand do with its YouTube channel?
While that’s ultimately a question for each brand (and the agencies that handle their business) to answer, there are several larger questions brands should be asking about their YouTube channels. After all, a handful of brands are clearly engaging as if they’ve been in the content business for years, but many more are quite obviously stuck in neutral. So to help your brand take a look at its YouTube channel with fresh eyes, I’ve asked several agencies to share what they believe are some of the fundamental concerns to focus on when planning a YouTube channel.
With more and more businesses realising that content marketing is a great way of generating traffic to their site by gaining ranking in the search engines, and ultimately leading to more sales, we are often faced with the question “How can my business produce content?”
Business owners and managers know they need to come up with ideas but quite often come unstuck at the thought of what they can write about; that is if they even have the time to do so in the first place!
As time is often the issue for coming up with ideas for content, for the rest of this post I want to show scenarios in everyday businesses where you and your employees could be generating content ideas to be put to good use.
Your business is IT support and a customer rings you and their computer will not power up when they press the power button.
In this scenario you will more than likely go through the motions of making sure this is not a human error and work through the issue until it is resolved by replacing the power supply unit in the computer.
Turning this into content – You create an FAQ page on common human errors for computers not turning on. Plugs are often disconnected by people feet under the desk, switches turned off by the cleaners, etc. You can expand the FAQ section so that it covers common hardware failures that mean a computer will not start.
You own a golf shop on a high street.
You have regular customers and without a doubt you build relationships, even friendships, with these people. Being avid golfers you talk about techniques you use and are regularly giving advice to your customers.
Turning this into content – You develop a series of blog posts showing how to improve your swing, and you could even ask some of your knowledgeable customers to contribute or guest post.
You run a travel agency.
Every day you have customers booking holidays and you are giving advice on destinations.
Turning this into content – You create a lifetimes worth of content with titles such as “5 places to stay in Paris”, “10 things to do in New York” and “The Bucket List of Holiday Destinations”.
As you can see, there are possibilities to come up with content ideas throughout the daily working day of a business. In fact, every time you communicate with a customer there is a possibility of using that information and turning it into some form of content marketing. It could be a phone call, a letter, an Email or a brochure; you then only need to adapt those communications into a blog post, a PDF, a podcast or a video to turn everyday activities into something usable.
This blog post itself is a fine example of what I am writing about. Here at Vertical Leap we endorse discussions within our teams and bounce ideas off each other. One of these discussions was about getting our clients to talk openly with us about their business, and it was from that conversation that the idea of this post was created.
Put simply – If you are communicating, you are creating content!
I hope you found this blog useful and has given you some ideas how you can start creating some great content for your business! If you still find time and resource a challenge, talk to us, our team of Brand Journalists are ready to help.
The Guardian launches its new Media Network my essay asking whether we in media are really in the content business. Here’s the first half (in the rest, I catalog the methods I think are worth exploring to rethink our role…. I’ll be expanding on that later).
What if we in media are not in the content business?
Oh, yes, we will produce content; that’s what we do. But perhaps our greatest value is not in what we produce but in what it produces: signals about people’s interests, about authority, about topics and trends.
That is how Facebook, Google, Twitter and company see content – as a signal generator. That is how they extract value from it, by using those signals to serve more relevant content, services, and advertising. But they are not in the content business. They are in the relationship business. Shouldn’t we also be?
A US TV news executive I know complained to me recently that Facebook and Google, in his words, use media’s steel to build their cars. “Mark Zuckerberg,” he said, “does not value content.”
No, I said, Zuckerberg values more content than we do. We think content is that which we make because we are content people – we see content as a scarcity we produce and control. Facebook and Google, on the other hand, see content everywhere – in the allegedly useless creations, chatter and links made by people in the course of their lives. They see content as an abundant resource to learn from, value and exploit.
The problem is, the media is not built for relationships because our industry was born in a time of factories, not services. We rarely know who our readers are (and we still call them just readers or at best commenters, not creators or collaborators). We do not have the means to gather, analyse and act on data about their activities and interests at an individual level. Thus we cannot serve them as individuals.
Our product, content, is not built for that. It is built for masses. That is what our means of production and distribution demanded. So now we try to adapt that content for new tools, impressed that we can add motion, sound or touch to what we have long done. But our online books, magazines, and newspapers are still recognisable as such. We haven’t gone nearly far enough yet to rethink and reinvent them….