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Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category
Zazoo was asked to put together a workshop article for NETT magazine on how to promote your business online using video. The article has been published in this month’s issue (see a PDF version here).
Here are a couple of excerpts:
“Online video is no longer a nice-to-have addition to your marketing mix: it’s becoming an essential tool for small businesses trying to stand out in a crowded market. Yet, often the biggest challenge for SMEs interested in creating online video is taking that first step. Your dream may be to create something that goes viral, but where do you start? How do you make it interesting enough to get people to watch – and then spread the message? The good news is, creating online video is getting cheaper and easier to do.
“….The biggest challenge for businesses, especially SMEs, is taking the first step. Video can confound people who are only familiar with traditional marketing. Developing an interesting concept is the next challenge. Viewers have been conditioned by years of television watching to expect video to be entertaining as well as informational, so that talking head presentation from your MD is an online video no-no.
“….Each video and each campaign is different, so work out ways you candetermine the success of your video in meeting your goals.How can you tell whether increased sales are due to your video? You do things like link from the video to a particular landing page on your site instead of the home page. Measure hits to this page and add a call-to-action…. As you produce more videos, you can see what type of content gives you the most business impact.”
Keep on the lookout for future articles in NETT and other publications.
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
Last week I interviewed Rebecca Lieb, US vice-president for the digital marketing research and publishing company Econsultancy, for a HotHouse podcast on the topics of search engine optimisation and content strategy. Her main message: Like it or not, the evolution of search on the Internet now means that every company is a publisher - people are going to come straight to your website for information about your products/services and about your category in general. As a result, you need to “think like an editor” and create fresh, engaging content for your website - constantly.
The podcast has now been published on the HotHouse blog - you can listen to it/download it here. I’ll also provide links to related articles that will be published on the HoHouse blog as soon as they’re published later this month.
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
Appropriately enough for a blog post on Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about love - and digital content. Basically, I believe that if you love what you do and show it in everything you do, success will follow.
Sonia Simone has just published a piece on Copyblogger inspired by Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin. Sonia writes, “One core theme (of Godin’s book) is the idea of emotional labor — bringing more human feeling and connection to your work, some essential part of yourself that can’t be automated or outsourced.”
“….When you’re starting out, it’s tempting to look for a paint-by-numbers solution. Something that tells you exactly where to start, what to do, and how to do it. Something that works a lot like a franchise, with a three-ring binder that explains what buttons to push.
“The problem with push-button systems is that you can train a robot, or an ultra low-wage worker offshore, to push that button for you. If the business’s genius resides in the system and not in you, what happens when someone comes along who can push the button 104% more efficiently than you can? Or who can push it at 97% of your cost?”
The difference between doing it by the numbers and doing it ‘differently’ is emotional labour, which, she writes, “is about the part that’s outside the system.
“It’s about the part that you can’t train a chimp to do. It’s about the part that wants your creativity, your strange ideas, your ADHD, your intersection of interests, your passion, your giving a damn, your hard thinking.
“Simply put, it’s the love that you put into it.”
This has perfect application to the content you put on your website. If you just publish the bland PR releases that you’re pumping out through traditional channels, or if you just blindly pursue an SEO strategy based on badly constructed, soulless copy that contains all the right keywords in the right density, you might get the traffic to your site, but they’ll suffer a let down when they’re there and you won’t get the conversion.
But if you put yourself into your content, show that you’ve got some personality and that you’re truly passionate about your company, you’ll get the payoff. It might be a quirky, slightly daggy video showing how customers can use your product, or it may be a blog where your CEO professes his or her passion for a 60s psychedelic band, or just personal phrases inserted in product copy.
So today on Valentine’s Day, and every day, feel the love, show the love, and you’ll get some love back. (Cue Barry White singing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”)
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
I sympathise with the traditional press, I really do. They are expending an enormous amount of effort trying to come up with ways of salvaging their infrastructure investments in printing presses, paper and distribution networks. Their latest tactic is jumping on the Apple iPad bandwagon, claiming that all-singing, all-dancing multimedia versions of newspapers and magazines (think Minority Report) will lead to a resurgence of traditional media publishing companies. But, as Robert Niles points out on the Online Journalism Review, the iPad will help newspapers and magazines in the short run, but will not save them in the end.
“I know that many news managers desperately want some technological innovation to come along that will turn back time and make people fall in love with printed content again. But paid circulation and readership were falling at most U.S. newspapers long before the World Wide Web made it easier for people dissatisfied with their local newspapers to find many more alternatives. The problem isn’t the Web - it’s that people have been rejecting and, in increasing numbers, continue to reject paying for the content offered by newspapers’ newsrooms, in any medium,” he writes.
He says the only ways that a new publishing platform will increase revenue for a publisher are if it: 1) replaces a previous platform; 2) expands availability of its content, allowing entry into a new customer market; or 3) provides a more suitable medium for its content, increasing desirability and demand.
“The iPad, and eReaders in general, don’t replace any other publisher platforms; they merely provide an additional option. Nor do these readers significantly expand the availability of content beyond that already established by the Internet and smart phones,” Niles writes.
“Someone will devise content that’s perfect for the iPad. It will likely take advantage of the device’s larger screen and portability and involve individual customization. (It’ll likely do much more, too.)
“But after a decade and a half of online production, most newsrooms haven’t substantially changed their print-focused production process. It’s hard for me to imagine that the iPad coming along will now force that change, when Web browsers and smart phones didn’t in the past.
“No, newsrooms that are suffering in the market need to quit looking for new revenue models and quit longing for new delivery platforms. Instead, they should focus on one thing… If you aren’t connecting with an audience and customers, you need to improve your content so that you do.”
He concludes: “Neither iPads, nor paywalls, nor government subsidies will long save a publication that too few care to read. Is your news business in trouble? Quit longing for saviors, and start producing better content.”
I am a digital immigrant who still loves to hold a newspaper in his hand, but I am also the parent of digital natives who would not pay for a newspaper if, well, if you paid them. We are in a transition period, and I sadly acknowledge that I am a member of the last generation that will regularly read newspapers. iPad or no iPad, the traditional media need to admit that they have to change their fundamental business model if they are to exist in any recognisable form in the coming decades.
Blogger T.J. Philpott has published a good summary of how you can create content and re-work it in several ways for use in marketing your business online.
He writes: “Useful information is always in demand on the internet. Assuming the content you produce is of good quality using content like this in multiple ways is a very efficient use of a one time effort.”
He outlines seven ways to use a single piece of content:
- Distributing content to article directories
- Creating info products by putting several pieces of content together cohesively
- Compiling pieces of content into an ezine you can offer to site visitors
- Newsletters - similar to ezines, but sent regularly to customers
- A blog post is a good way to flag new content on your site
- Online press release services can also be used to flag new content or services
- Most new material starts out as website content
I would add video content to this list. You can often find a way to create compelling video content out of text-based content, such as interviewing a customer who has had an interesting experience, or a how-to video on whatever service you were discussing in the text content. Note that I did not say create a talking head video where your MD reads out the original piece of content verbatim - this will not get you anywhere.
I have been reading quite a bit of late about the concept of content curation, a term coined by marketing strategist and blogger Rohit Bhargava to describe the role of “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online. The most important component of this job is the word ‘continually.’… (It is s)omeone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward.”
He writes that, “In the near future, experts predict that content on the web will double every 72 hours. The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for…. The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content created by others. In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers - creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.”
Robin Good writes on the Master New Media blog, “I think, that at least for now, curating content is the one thing that Google can’t take your place in doing. When it comes to researching, selecting, picking, editing, juxtaposing, illustrating, complementing, referencing, crediting, commenting and introducing, Google can just pack its stuff and go home.
“….Unless there is a growing number of active newsmasters, content curators and editors/publishers checking, digesting, filtering, grouping and organizing information inside vertical information silos you will be either submerged by information or you will be left behind when it comes to staying on top of the information you need to operate in your field.
“Business-wise, content curators could also offer an interesting marketing opportunity and a new business model that makes a lot of sense to me.”
Meanwhile, Australian digital recruiter David Jackson writes on the Digital Ministry website, “There are already a few people performing this task for companies, and it will only grow in importance. The problem I see with content curating is that most companies find it hard to place much value on the role. Although it requires a skill set that combines the sharp mind of a research analyst with the communications flair of a journalist and the commercial nous of a marketer, curating content, like creating content, often attracts a wage more akin to a junior administrator.”
Links on this topic:
I was listening to an interview recently with the head of Razorfish, one of the world’s largest digital agencies (If you want to keep up with what’s happening in the digital media, I can recommend Susan Bratton’s Dishymix program, it’s very informative).
It was both surprising and refreshing to hear this fellow, Clark Kokich, frequently use phrases such as “none of us know anything” about digital media, “we’re actually inventing this as we go along” and “there are no experts”.
If the head of an organisation that is billing hundreds of millions a dollars a year in digital media is prepared to admit this, it’s time for all of us working in this space to come clean. This is the guilty secret of digital media “experts” all over the world: no one really knows what consistently works. There are a few principles to be applied, but unlike traditional media - be it advertising, marketing or publishing - there is no established framework that ensures a certain level of response to a program or campaign.
If someone tells you they have a fool-proof way to engage your customer base and turn ordinary customers into raving fans, guaranteeing huge exposure and profits, they’re bullshitting you. We’re all still experimenting with clients’ money.
So why on earth should customers take their money out of traditional marketing and advertising budgets and give it to online? Well, one big reason is that traditional methods are becoming less and less effective as the world’s embrace of online irrevocably changes their life habits (you can hear more about this in a Zazoo-produced podcast interview with Ad Age colunnist Bob Garfield published on the HotHouse blog this week. Be warned, this interview is not for the faint-hearted.). You need to find alternative ways to reach your customers, or else your competitors will get there before you.
Ready or not, your world is changing. Finding your way in the dark with someone who has a torch, however dim, is more effective than sitting there cursing the dark. And those torches are getting brighter all the time.
- Ray Welling, Content Guy
I was interviewed a few weeks ago for an article on social media marketing in NETT magazine. The article, “Not all conversations are markets“, published this week, canvasses the views of a range of communication and marketing experts about issues in social media facing businesses today. It covers areas such as:
- What department should be responsible for social media? (My vote went for the marketing department)
- Should you try and control what your employees do and say on social networks, particularly during work hours?
- Should businesses create “trusted avatars” and “sock puppets” (unidentified company spokespeople who try and create and steer conversations on social networks)? (The overwhelming answer was ‘No’)
- Should you buy lists of friends? (Again, ‘No’)
- What’s the proper etiquette for joining in on conversations in social networks?
It’s worth a read (of course I would say that, wouldn’t I?).
While on the subject of self-promotion, here are other marketing/social media articles and podcasts we’ve produced recently, for the HotHouse blog:
- Ray Welling, Content Guy
Thanks to the wonders of WordPress, we’ve now added a ‘quote rotator’ to the Zazoo website. That means we can post all our favourite quotes for your reading pleasure. This will be updated constantly, such as this week’s quote from the erudite Paris Hilton. Let us know about any particularly salient (or amusing) quotes you think we should add.
- Ray Welling, Content Guy
OK, we’ve been skirting around this issue since Zazoo was first started, but now it’s time to tackle it head-on: to all of you who have forgotten to type the “.au” when looking for us, yes, we know that we share the same business name as a Belgian condom company (Should we have checked this out before buying the domain name and business name in Australia? Yes. Would that have changed our decision on the business name? Probably not).
Why mention this now? Well, a brand agency in the US has used a Zazoo campaign (the condom, not the digital content agency) as an example of using fear in advertising. You can view the ad below.
The brand agency, Woodbine, says the Zazoo ad “remind(s) us that functional purchases really can be driven by emotion. Revamping a brand so it connects on both an emotional and analytical level with consumers is an important step in revitalizing a faded brand image.”
By the way, I wonder if our Belgian name-sharers would mind if we co-opted their tagline for our business as well? Zazoo - fun, sexy, safe. What do you think?
- Ray Welling, Content Guy
If you’re having trouble selling in the idea of using social media in your business, Sydney-based IT/e-business consultant Jeff Bullas has written a couple of useful pieces to help you identify and problem and, more importantly, do something about it:
- 28 Reasons Why the CEO is Afraid of Social Media
- 9 Ways to Convince the CEO to Use Social Media and Enter the 21st Century
- “So much of what’s discussed online is shallow and we have real work to do.”
- “Traditional media is still bigger, we will use Social Media when it is more mainstream.”
- “Waiting on ROI (return on investment) with facts and figures.”
- “We’re afraid of making a mistake.”
- “Ask them for 5 keywords or phrases that potential customers would use to find their/your company in a search engine, and then provide a brief report showing them the results of their ranking in Google, and ask a simple question, like, ‘Did I find you on page one of Google?’ ( the answer is mostly ‘NO’). So the best question to ask them next is, ‘How are they going to find you then … the Yellow Pages?’”
- “Sign your boss up to listen by setting up Google Alerts and TweetBeep for your boss/ or the CEO, so she or he can see that there are already many discussions about your organization going on online.”
Well worth a read for CEOs and those who toil under them.
Zazoo has produced a quick video displaying our digital video services. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further info!
Kermit the Frog was wrong: It is easy being green! Zazoo’s most recent projects for Toyota Australia, created with HotHouse, have revolved around this month’s launch of the new model Prius hybrid car in Australia.
The “Prius People” vodcast project employs a social media-oriented relationship-building approach, presenting a slice of life with interesting Australians. We got the chance to work with some inspiring and remarkable people including environmentalists Tim Flannery and Tanya Ha, Eye Foundation CEO Belinda Sullivan, Today Show nutritionist Joanna McMillan Price, and technology experts Peter Blasina and Nick Broughall. Three of the videos launched this week and you can see them here.
Also with HotHouse, Zazoo implemented a blogger engagement program for Toyota as part of the Prius launch, organising information sessions for several of Australia’s top bloggers.
For more information see the Our Work page.
We’ve just published an article on the HotHouse blog on using social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter and the impact they can have on “brand you” as well as your company. There’s an accompanying podcast interview with Chuck Hester, whose book “Linking In to Paying it Forward” explains his philosophy on using LinkedIn to help others.
HotHouse blog article: http://blog.hothouse.com.au/2009/07/08/the-link-between-personal-and-corporate-branding/
Podcast interview with Chuck Hester: http://blog.hothouse.com.au/2009/07/07/hothouse-podcast-paying-it-forward-through-social-media/
Earlier this year I wrote about Queensland Tourism’s “Best Job in the World” social media campaign, where applications were sought for a six-month gig as ‘caretaker’ on Hamilton Island. The reponse was phenomenal, with more than 35,000 video applications and 8 million hits on the website - all in all, $150 million worth of exposure on a spend of $1.2 million. Nice job if you can get it!
A case study put together on the campaign, which won a record three Grand Prix awards at the recent Cannes Lions, has been posted on YouTube. The winner, a carrot-topped Pom, starts his job on Wednesday.