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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category
eMarketer’s recent report on the use of online video by the consumer packaged goods sector has uncovered some interesting results, such as the numbers showing that people are expecting to be entertained by companies as much as they are expecting to be marketed to.
Across nearly all of the categories, entertainment rated as high as marketing (see above). Solving problems and offering incentives to buy were the highest rating expectations, on average.
The survey, conducted among nearly 600 US new media users, demonstrates the strength of online video and shows how consumers’ perceptions of marketing and advertising are changing, as the line between content and promotion becomes increasingly blurred.
“Digital video content, whether delivered through a computer, mobile phone, handheld device or TV monitor, has the potential to ignite two-way conversations between consumers and brands,” said Tobi Elkin, author of the report.
According to an eMarketer summary of the report: “Putting a hard number on the dollars spent by consumer packaged goods marketers on online video content is difficult, as outlays are not included in measures of paid advertising spending. Assessing its effectiveness is likewise a problem for marketers. The same metrics issues that bedevil marketers trying to assess the effect of online advertising on their brands also plague the ability to evaluate the performance of video content.”
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
A recent article in MarketingProfs has some insightful comments about what sort of content you should put on our website to engage people and get them to keep coming back to your site.
Bob Knorpp, president of the advertising, marketing and social networking consultancy Cool Beans, makes the point that your website should be about the future, not the past. He says, “I could have easily filled my website with descriptions and photos of my past projects. But I hated that option,” because perusing a list of past accomplishments at a website is like “reading a history book and calling it cutting-edge thinking.”
He creates weekly podcasts and video clips related to the podcasts, tweets about site updates, and has a Facebook and Wikipedia page. Although the amount of effort sounds exhausting, he says it helps his business in three ways:
- It establishes him as an experts
- It provides context for clients.
- It makes him better at his job.
“Having your customers engage with a growing body of content is one of the surest ways to raise the perception that you are expert in your given field, and create a path toward ongoing loyalty and advocacy with your brand,” Bob says.
Shameless plug: If you want to emulate those efforts but don’t have the time/internal resources, Zazoo can help you create relevant, up-to-date, optimised content.
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
I came across a useful posting about Internet content by Leo Demilo on his Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us blog. He writes:
“There are a lot of people who say that content is not king. And while I am not saying that content IS king, I don’t fall into the camp that content is NOT king either….. I believe that REMARKABLE content is king. Why?
- Remarkable content gets talked about by other bloggers and webmasters.
- Remarkable content get links by other bloggers and webmasters which in turn get MORE links (links beget more links)
- Remarkable content establishes your site as an authority site BECAUSE of the links from your peers.
- Remarkable content confirms that your site must be good because it is talked about (social proof)”
While Leois writing specifically about people setting up their own blogs, I think the same principles apply to corporate website content - and they are a strong argument for setting up a corporate blog if you don’t have one already.
What does he mean by remarkable? He means copy that doesn’t just use well-researched keywords to draw the punters in, but content that is interesting, original and thought-provoking. It’s not enough to just drag someone to your site; you need to give them a useful experience once they get there.
If people find you via a search engine (and that is the case with the vast majority of web traffic), then they want to find out more about you and are thinking about doing business with you. Give them a reason to do that with remarkable content.
To those of us who remember school as a distinctly low-tech experience, it may come as some surprise that teachers are turning increasingly toward digital content to make education more engaging and effective.
A report on THE Journal highlights a recently-released study showing that more than 75% of K-12 teachers were using digital tools in the classroom last year, up from 69% in 2008. Meanwhile, 72% of teachers reported they stream or download content from the Internet, up from 65% in 2008.
According to the study, “A majority of preK-12 teachers indicated they strongly agree that TV and video content is more effective when it is integrated with other instructional resources in the classroom. A majority of teachers are more likely to use five- to 10-minute video segments rather than entire programs. This is one indication that teachers are becoming more strategic in their selections and targeting use for specific purposes.” Or it could just mean that they are reacting to the fact that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
This means that companies will need to rely on digital content more and more as the next generation graduates into the workforce. I’ll avoid the obvious pun about an Apple for teacher…
Ray Welling, Content Guy
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:
Daniel Flamberg, managing director of marketing agency Booster Rocket, published his predictions for interactive strategies for 2010 on iMedia.com this week. One of them was about the growing use of online video for business. He wrote:
“Video is the meme of choice online. It seems that everyone has and uses a video camera to upload all kinds of content online. In 2010, if you can’t be found on YouTube and its competitors, you will be invisible. (my emphasis) Look for considerable competition among sites vying to rank second. Watch vertical video sites attempt to increase their visibility, if not their utility or viewership.
“….Also look for new ways to emerge to tell stories in video. There appears to be a very broad tolerance for homemade videos and video with very modest production value. Videos will be shorter and better tagged. Many will be clickable, and some brands will try to create (or re-create) a branded online serial aimed at their psycho-demographic target. The Holy Grail is still the video that achieves altitude and is virally passed to zillions around the world.”
As more companies realise the importance of Internet content to sustaining their business, more and more will turn to low-cost video content for their websites.
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
Jonathan Salem Baskin, who was the subject of the most recent podcast we produced for HotHouse, has written an insightful post about the continuing importance of text in online communication on his blog.
“If video killed the radio star, wasn’t video supposed to obliterate text?” he wrote. “It hasn’t. Not even close. Who would have thought that 2009 would witness instead the continued resurgence of the written word?
“As opposed to video, text is a ‘hot medium,’ if you buy into Marshall McLuhan’s theories about media (and I do, for the most part). Even when viewed online, words engage a single sense, and thereby establish a direct connection that is richer in specific information and meaning than more participatory, or ‘cool’ multimedia experiences.
He goes on to ask: ”Why do businesses use words so poorly?
“Maybe because words seem free when compared with the cost of producing a video or sound file. Perhaps because social media conversations are so fast and frequent that specific word choices seem less important. One of my pet peeves is that we still use words to satisfy ourselves; we talk to our aspirations for our brands, and not to make those direct connections to readers.
“I think the year proved that what companies say matters, whether as the inputs into social media, or as the tool by which they make those direct connections with their consumers. But it has to be accurate, honest, and credible. It’s harder to get away with a lie when it’s literally spelled out; conversely, if we use words to state truths (and avoid all of the nuances that distract or lessen them), then text is a powerful tool that transports across technology platforms, and works with all age groups.
“I believe that 2010 will give us great and useful opportunities to use video and other media to communicate with our customers, but I suggest that there’ll be even more, better, easier, and more cost-effective chances to wring more impact and value out of the lowly, simple, written word.”
Use of video is growing quickly, but there are some things that will always work best in text format.
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
Sarah Chong, writing on the Penn-Olson website, has this week published “20 Hilarious Social Media Comic Strips“. Many of them are really funny, whether or not you work in this space. I’m not sure where many of them came from and I’m not sure about the copyright implications, but here are a couple of my favourites:
- Ray Welling, Content Guy
Here’s a plug-in that shows you just how fast the social media sphere is growing.
Get your own here.
- 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
A recent survey has revealed that the public relations department, not the marketing department, runs social media in most organisations. As one commenter, Jeff Bullas has written: “I thought I knew who was in charge of Social Media in corporations until I came across this survey.” The results were:
- PR is in charge of digitalcommunications in 51% of organisations, compared to 40.5% for marketing.
- PR is responsible for blogging at 49% of all organizations, while marketing is responsible 22%.
- PR is responsible for social networking at 48% of all organizations, compared to 27% for marketing.
- PR is responsible for micro-blogging at 52% of all organizations, compared to 22% for marketing.
Mind you, the survey was run by ipressroom.com for the Public Relations Society of America, which may cause some people to mutter, “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” I wonder what the results would be if this survey was done in Australia?
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.