Archive for the ‘gawker media’ tag
Do you respond to comments to your posts? Do you spend time making comments on other blogs? Have you set comment guidelines for yourself?
Show me the money
Why do we care (beyond “social proofing” our sites)?
Are comments still valuable?
Whenever I read posts, I also read the comments. There have been many discussions about lack of comments on blogs now that people use social networks more. You’ve probably also seen what happens when the comment box is overtaken by a mob.
Tech blogs and mainstream media digital publications tend to have more extremes in opinions, and language. Gawker media introduced a new commenting system recently, and much discussion ensued. Is this a good thing? What is he trying to accomplish?
Beyond those two broad categories, I see some communities where the comment area is thriving — where it gets closer to conversation.
Where entrepreneurs gather
AVC blog — entrepreneurs discuss the issues they face, learn about running a business, evaluate technologies, and use the opportunity to learn about others like them to then meet them in real life.
A nice side effect of the online activities is the community spilling over to adjacent blogs like Gotham Girl and those of community members.
The best example of the value of commenting is the investment Fred Wilson’s firm Union Square Ventures made to support the development of the social inbox Engagio build by community member William Mougayar. (here’s my review)
Where the small army that does world domination gathers
This is the blog by Chris Guillebeau who set out to help people take over the world and is literally putting his money where his mouth is. Which is the reason why the World Domination Summit sells out in minutes (1,000 seats).
Guillebeau is a successful infopreneur, a new generation of enterprising professionals who make a living by providing useful and timely information to the people who need and value it. (here’s my review of his latest book)
From day one, he focused his content to tell people what he was going to do, then tell them he was doing it, then following up with the results of what he did. In the process, he continues to feature members of the community and their success.
There is a there, there
Some of the take aways from the 2012 Engagio survey was:
- Building and nurturing online communities is the #1 cited benefit of commenting online, whereas promoting your product or services is the least important benefit.
- Top 3 most annoying things about commenting systems: low quality of comments, author not participating, delayed moderation.
- 62% of users seek out online communities of interest to discover conversations that impact work, travel, lifestyle, real estate, or product purchases, and 42% make purchasing decisions based on these visits.
Comments are feedback, one of the main reasons why conversation is still so important in business.
They help build relationships for doing the important stuff offline: like going from readers to buyers then customers, making friends, meeting business partners, getting financing, etc.
The best way to get comments, if you are not going to go the controversial route, in which case you will need to have strong moderating skills (and time), is to build content that speaks and is useful to a specific community you’re looking to serve.
Being open to comments is a good start.
Yes, there are some “how to” things you can do with your writing to solicit input:
- ask good questions
- be the intelligent contrarian (not just for the sake of it)
- build community as in the examples above
- reciprocate with comments on other blogs (this alone will set you apart, it’s that rare these days)
- write unfinished or raw posts
- write short posts that start important conversations
- survey your readers
- write about topics that resonate with the community you built
- use humor
- be personable
You can think of others that appeal to you. The important part is being consistent with your writing, keeping your appointment, your promise to readers. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, doing what you say you do counts more every day.
Responding to comments helps show your readers that you are listening. That’s important especially if you are in the service business. The action of referring to the content readers share with you and addressing questions sets you apart. It shows your commitment and earns permission.
It may also be worth revisiting how you think about leaving comments in other blogs.
What more can comments add?
I’m sure you’ve noticed that many blog posts often gather the “great post” and “‘atta boy/girl” in the comments. That is when you are fortunate enough to get comments to your posts.
If you are leaving comments like those in other blogs, I encourage you to reconsider. You may be missing an opportunity to develop relationships with the blog’s author(s) and with other members of the community.
The main reasons why commenting is often left out of content marketing strategies are (the obvious link bait using a company name and a suspect email excepted):
- being time starved. There is only so much time you can dedicate to writing at other people’s bogs. You need to tend your own sites and client work.
- testing the waters. You’re not sure who else will be reading and commenting at that site and are still getting to know the author. Will they respond? Is this going to be a waste of time?
- being afraid of not sounding knowledgeable. The more popular the blogger, the easier it is to feel intimidated.
There is also the issue of negative comments, and getting emotionally tricked into making larger statements than intended. Things like: “I’m the only blogger who brings this up…” forgetting that the mark of a professional is being appropriate, regardless of the circumstances.
I value comments because I value building long-term relationships and comments are a good first step to signal interest and potential involvement. Many of the people I value as friends and colleagues I met in the early days of blogging.
Admittedly, I used to comment on other blogs a lot in the early days and have since slowed down to a crawl.
Partly because during the life spam of this blog I went from being the corporate executive to the agency side, then to consulting while exploring new opportunities, which is where I am now. There has been an evolution of my thinking to go with that as well.
Do you value comments?
[baseline idea for the article from a post I wrote for The Blog Herald four years ago]
[image by Ben McLeod]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Gizmodo posted a “story” yesterday entitled “We’ll Pay You for Photos of Mark Zuckerberg.” Desperation aside, this is as crazy as it is stupid (And we’re not even sure it’s legal).
See, Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of a company. Sure, that company is all about sharing with friends, but when you have more than 14 million people subscribed to your page, sharing a photo or a link on Facebook becomes an entirely different beast. He’s scrutinized on everything that he’s ever publicly shared. Just take a look at the IPO hoodie bonanza.
So it makes sense that a CEO, a businessman in its truest sense, wouldn’t want to be splashed across magazine covers and speculated about on gossip columns (which is essentially what Gizmodo’s media network, Gawker Media, is centered around). He kept his wedding fiercely private because marrying your long-time girlfriend, and likely one of the only women you can trust, is an intensely private affair.
So why bother him? I mean, if I (as a reporter) witnessed Zuck beating his dog or something totally insane, I would probably snap a picture and send it to my editors. It’s our job to expose the truth even if the truth is messy. It’s not, however, our job to sick the wild masses onto CEOs so we can rake in clicks from pictures of Zuck walking his dog. (From what I’ve heard, most public sightings of Zuck consist of him and Priscilla walking the dog — thrilling, I know.)
There are a couple of things to consider here:
Everybody cares about Zuckerberg, so these photos are sure to bring in some traffic. He’s a fascinating fellow, who changed the world in a very real way. Plus, he’s hella rich, and rich people are interesting. The same was true for Steve Jobs — people prodded into his life as they could, taking pictures of his car and perhaps too fiercely delving into his medical history. But did he like it? No.
Did he deserve it? Hells no!
Now, I understand that media can get a little cut-throat. Hell, Gizmodo basically ruined its reputation as a real tech blog the moment it paid for that iPhone 4 and got into a spat with Mr. Jobs. Sure, the site probably saw more traffic that day than it ever has (or ever will again), but now it’s a tech culture blog that never gets invited to any Apple events.
And guess what? They’ll never be invited to any Facebook events either once they get a picture of Zuck picking his nose.
Just like any of us, Zuck has the right to keep his private life off of Facebook. And Gizmodo’s price of $20 per photo is even more desperate than their story’s headline.
I’m disappointed, Giz.
Good luck dodging amateur photographers, Zuck. (And buy yourself a nice hat and some sunglasses. Looks like it’s going to be a long, weird summer.)
Editor’s note: Nick Gonzalez is a web entrepreneur and former journalist for TechCrunch. Nick has seen the PR business from both sides; first while at TechCrunch and later working with Covered Co., a Silicon Valley PR/Marketing agency that has worked with companies like Dropbox, WhatsApp and Secure.me. Nick currently resides in Dubai, where he co-founded Nervora, which represents MENA region ad sales for the world’s leading publishing brands including Conde Nast, CBSi, Hearst, Gawker Media, and more. He can be found on LinkedIn.
There are two kinds of stories: great ones and the ones that have to be pitched. This article isn’t about great stories.
I have a lot of fond memories from TechCrunch — being there when the YouTube acquisition broke, covering the rise of Y Combinator, and generally speaking to people a recent college grad had no right chatting with, let alone interrogating about their company. However, getting pitched wasn’t one of them.
Pitching the press is a lot like trying to close any other business deal — sans the excitement of any money changing hands. In fact, “selling” a pitch means creating more work for the writer, who has to dig into the details of your pitch and craft a story.
That being said, let me help the inquisitive PR professional or budding startup CEO with some perspective on how to help the stories that need to be pitched make it through the process.
Know the Type of Story
Before you even bother picking up the phone, know what kind of story you’re pitching. While creativity makes a story interesting, most follow a pretty standard template. There are financing stories (Company X raised Y from Z), traction updates (X is growing like a week), product launches (X wants to be the Y of Z), the counterfactual (you’d think X, but really it’s Y), wow numbers (Did you know that X,XXX,XXX do Y?), and many more. Notice the patterns. Be the patterns or break them with a thoughtful opinion piece.
I always preferred talking to founders over their PR handlers. They could not only answer the questions more completely, but also conveyed a real excitement about what they were doing. Also, founders garner a lot more empathy because not so secretly everyone writing at a tech blog wants to be them (Paul Carr, Ben Parr, Eric Eldon, need I go on…). If you’re not a founder, you’ll need to figure out how to get a lot nerdier quickly and network with all those wanna-be founder writers.
Know Your Writer
Each writer has their own perspective and style. Get to know them and it will help guide who to approach and how. Follow up with writers that covered similar companies. Share an intelligent perspective based on their previous stories. In other words, don’t pitch MG on anything other than Apple.
Find Free Cycles
TechCrunch now has a lot of writers. You may want your story to be written by one of them in particular, but you’d be better served by realizing they all reach millions of readers each month. Mostly likely the top writers are busy on pressing stories or pet projects, so you could do yourself a solid by reaching out down the lineup to find someone with some free time, the kind of free time that can be spent vetting your story to write-up themselves or pass on to someone covering your beat.
Writers are Lazy
It may not be so much that writers are lazy, as they are pressed for time and starved for the kind of attention that only writing yet another story about the Facebook acquisition of Instagram can sate. But what I really mean is that writers are the curators of interestingness. News is by definition what is now novel. You make your story infinitely easier to get picked up by doing some of the heavy lifting and placing it in an interesting package. Story vehicles like industry studies and info graphics educate while letting the writer take care of the rest of the exposition.
At the end of the day, it’s all about trusted relationships. By staying in the industry, your longevity lends some credibility to your competence and ideally more solid connections. If you know a writer well, it’s not a guarantee of a story, but it’s the best shot at getting written up. Also keep in mind that it’s a small industry. So try not to be this guy.
Gawker Media is seeking a passionate programmer who wants to take on a challenging and highly satisfying role as a Scala developer in our New York office (rated one of the city’s best by Time Out New York). More »
Hello friends! As of today, I’m saying goodbye to both Lifehacker and Gawker Media. It’s been an amazing six years at Gawker, and I’m grateful for the time spent here. More »
Brian Moylan, an editor at Gawker Media (and self-proclaimed “Gawker shit talker” on Twitter), remembers a recent spate of 20 minutes that seemed like the longest ever. He couldn’t click the refresh button on enough browsers fast enough. Having just spotted a Tweet on Billy Crystal’s feed announcing the nine-time Oscars host would be emceeing the Academy Awards yet again in 2012, he posted the news.
Moylan then realized the Academy had not yet confirmed the information—and anxiously awaited confirmation hoping the post would not have to be taken down (or crossed out and amended).
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Gawker Media is getting ready to Fleshbot, its blog devoted to adult entertainment and human sexuality.
The network contains a roster of successful sites, from Lifehacker and Gizmodo to Jezebel and Jalopnik, each relatively well respected in its niche.
However, Fleshbot doesn’t seem like such a good fit for Gawker anymore. The site doesn’t appear in Gawker Media’s public lineup of online properties, and Fleshbot editor Lux Alptraum wrote recently that Gawker’s “sales strategy and technology platform have ceased to effectively support Fleshbot’s needs.
“We think someone else could be a much better partner to grow the site with us, and as such, Fleshbot is for sale.”
Gawker Media chief Nick Denton told All Things D this morning that Fleshbot “Just hadn’t fit for a long long time” but that he held onto the property “because [he is] slow to realize the inevitable.”
Of course, being cynical journalists, we’re wont to follow the money when inexplicable business decisions come to light. After all, bad fit or no bad fit, Denton had held onto Fleshbot for eight long years — in Internet years, that’s something close to the lifespan of your average Galapagos tortoise. The site may have been simply underperforming financially (which Alptraum hinted at in noting a lack of marketing support, perhaps?), making it an easy target for amputation from the Gawker family — or making its own leadership seek out new owners.
One thing you can take to the bank, though: The day a porn site can’t make money on the Internet is the day we all pack up and go home.
Filed under: media