Posts Tagged ‘internet content’
So you think you’ve finished your studies? You may have graduated years ago, but let me tell you, in today’s economy, school is never out.
If you don’t have it already, you need to develop a philosophy of life-long learning. Things are changing much too fast to rely simply on what you learned at uni or TAFE.
For example, whether you’re a small or a large business, you can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore trends like social media. That means not only mastering existing tools, but staying abreast of emerging tools, as well.
It’s pretty clear that most businesses should have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But when it comes to using some of the newer social media tools for your business, how do you pick a winner? You need to look at factors such as the take-up rate, how it integrates with other tools, and whether it offers something that is not only different, but hopefully useful, as well.
Google+ is one on the cusp (though, supported by and integrated with the raft of Google tools, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be there for the long haul).
The location-based tool Foursquare, used by more than 15 million people who check in at locations and share their visits with friends, has had a lot of publicity and has attracted venture capital investment. But how important is it to people to become the ‘mayor’ of frequently visited spots? Are people using it mainly to make their friends jealous about where they can afford to go on a holiday?
A tool that I think ticks more of the boxes is Pinterest, an online pinboard service that, in the words of CBS Moneywatch, “attracts people who need to organize the chaos of Internet-age information overload.”
Pinterest describes itself as a social network meant to connect everyone in the world through the things that they find interesting.
The site lets you create and curate multiple pinboards in any category you can create, as well as following others’ pinboards. It falls somewhere between window shopping and actual collecting. You can log on through Twitter or Facebook, so you can tell your friends and customers about your boards.
At the same time, In contrast to Facebook, Pinterest pinners may end up choosing to follow people they don’t know purely based on the photos they curate, creating seemingly random new networks.
Read the full article on Smarter Business Ideas
- Tags: Australia, content, digital content, e-marketing, internet content, Journalism, Marketing, online marketing, Ray Welling, SMARTER BUSINESS IDEAS, social media, social networks
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By Ray Welling
In the competition between digital natives – Gen Y, which has grown up with online technology and digital immigrants – those of us who can remember typewriters and phones with cords attached – for primacy online, it seems that the digital natives have gained the upper hand.
Think Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, and a billion dollar online empire by the time he reached his mid-20s) vs. Rupert Murdoch (MySpace, phone hacking scandals, declining dead tree media empire). Or Natalie Tran (24-year old Australian vlogger with 156,000 Twitter followers, more than 400 million YouTube views and a cozy career in the making) against say, Tony Abbott (50-something Australian politician with 56,000 Twitter followers but no YouTube channel).
If you read the media reports on what’s hot on the web, there appears to be a strong relationship between a lack of history and Internet success.
But it’s not that simple.
It can be useful to have a long-term view of the online world, which only a seasoned digital immigrant can have. If you can combine that with knowledge of traditional, pre-Internet business principles, you can look past current fads and build a business model that’s sustainable.
For example, the current obsession with whatever is the latest online application exploding in the public consciousness ignores the fragile nature of web success.
With all the current talk of community-building and developing personal relationships, you’d think the concept was invented by Facebook. Digital natives may be too young to remember, but digital immigrants will recall that when MySpace burst on the scene, it was seen as the long-term future of social media. That is, until Facebook came along.
Early digital immigrants can go back even further and remember GeoCities, an online community where people could create personal pages and create a following of fans, which was all the buzz way back in the 20th century.
And consider the power and ubiquity of the Google empire. It may be hard for digital natives to fathom a time pre-Google, but digital immigrants can remember when Yahoo! was seen as the impregnable leader in search (As an aside, it used its cash reserves to buy GeoCities back in 1999), a crown it took from the equally-invulnerable Alta Vista.
Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas
- Tags: advertising, Australia, content, digital content, e-marketing, Internet, internet content, Journalism, Marketing, Ray Welling, SMARTER BUSINESS IDEAS, social media, Video, video content, YouTube
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From Ray’s NETT blog:
What are the most important factors to consider when you’re communicating ideas to people? How do you get your message across successfully?
From my days as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines through to my current work presenting digital marketing messages or lecturing to students, a few common themes have emerged in terms of what works consistently.
Actually, I exaggerate – there is really just one fundamental rule in successful communication: make your concept relevant to your target audience.
This is expressed as a couple of acronyms:
• WIFFM – what’s in it for me?
• WSIC – why should I care?
If you can understand what matters to your audience and work out how to relate your message to their concerns, you’ll get your point across.
This principle isn’t limited to written, visual or verbal communication messages: it extends to the communication of ideas, and can include the dissemination of those ideas through a variety of media.
Take music, for example. My favourite band of all time is the Doors, led by the late great Jim Morrison. The Doors tapped into the Zeitgeist of the 1960s with music that protested against traditional mores.
Their sometimes dark messages about love, fitting in and pushing back against parental barriers struck a chord with young Baby Boomers who were just starting to flex their muscles and question the structures of the world that they were inheriting.
Read the full story
- Tags: content, digital content, digital marketing, e-marketing, internet content, Jim Morrison, Journalism, Marketing, online content, online marketing, Ray Welling, social media, social networking, The Doors, zazoo
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From Ray’s NETT blog:I’ve written in this blog previously about the extra demands on your business time created by new technology. One of the biggest pressures is the pressure to publish.
Rebecca Lieb, former chief editor of ClickZ and head of information merchant Econsultancy in the US, said to me in an interview, “Brands are not just businesses; they’re now media companies.” As a result, she said, all businesses now have to think like an editor.
That means you need to stop viewing your marketing with a campaign mindset (with a beginning, middle and end) and adopt a long-term perpetual strategy.
Constantly changing content is a necessary feature of this approach. Your online presence – your website, your social media activities, etc. – is now, to use one of my favourite phrases, “the beast that must be fed”.
I make part of my living out of helping large organisations “feed the beast”, while some companies hire their own in-house team of writers and editors to produce search-friendly content for their various online outlets. But most small businesses don’t have a big budget (or any budget at all, in some cases) available to feed this hungry mouth. What can you do?
You need to work smart and plan how you will feed the beast effectively and efficiently. Thinking like an editor, you will want to develop an annual editorial calendar for creating new content for your site, as well as publishing regular features and “sticky stuff”, quirky things that keep people coming back to your site.
So what types of interesting content can a small business produce without breaking the bank? Here are a few examples..
Read the full article
- Tags: content, digital content, digital marketing, e-marketing, internet content, Ray Welling
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In an interview with Zazoo published this week on the HotHouse blog, Econsultancy vice president Rebecca Lieb observed that the Internet is bringing about a fundamental shift in power within companies from advertising to marketing.
She says that “not only has online search technology made it simple for customers to connect with businesses, the evidence shows that most searchers are going straight to a company’s website for more information about their products. In other words, it’s not advertising driving people to your business online, it’s search.”
Companies, she says, need to shift their thinking from an emphasis on advertising to an emphasis on marketing and content creation. That means there’s “lots more media to play with. And it’s free – but that doesn’t mean you can mess with it.”
In the digital age, she says, you need a long-term perpetual strategy. To be able to successfully develop and execute a perpetual strategy, according to Rebecca, “You need to think like an editor.”
“Brands are not just businesses,” Rebecca says, they’re now media companies.”
An excerpt from the story:
“…traditional media based their business model on a (mostly) clear separation between advertising and content. What happens when the ‘advertiser’ is also the content provider?
“In the digital context, according to Rebecca Lieb, ‘Being authoritative is more important than being objective – though transparency and disclosure are incredibly important.
“’If, for example, you’re a sporting goods company and you publish information on your site about mountain climbing. That information can be entertaining. The information is not invalid, as long as you know where it’s coming from.’
“Rebecca concludes: ‘The rules aren’t different; it’s the channels that are shifting.’”
Are you ready to act like a publisher with your website and social media program?
- Tags: advertising, content, digital content, internet content, Marketing, online content, publishing
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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
- Tags: content, digital content, internet content, NETT, online content, online video, online video content, Ray Weling, video content, zazoo
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Hindsight’s a wonderful thing… a couple of blogs have picked up a copy of an article printed in Newsweek back in 1995 that dismissed the Internet as a fad. I love the title: “The Internet? Bah!” Writer Clifford Stoll dropped a number of clangers in his original article. Here are a couple of examples:
- “Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.”
- “…no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”
- “…Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.”
- “…the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading.”
- “Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert. And who’d prefer cybersex to the real thing?”
In one report on this article, Clifford Stoll himself commented on his article, saying, “Wrong? Yep.
“At the time, I was trying to speak against the tide of futuristic commentary on how The Internet Will Solve Our Problems.
“Gives me pause. Most of my screwups have had limited publicity: Forgetting my lines in my 4th grade play. Misidentifying a Gilbert and Sullivan song while suddenly drafted to fill in as announcer on a classical radio station. Wasting a week hunting for planets interior to Mercury’s orbit using an infrared system with a noise level so high that it couldn’t possibly detect ‘em. Heck – trying to dry my sneakers in a microwave oven (a quarter century later, there’s still a smudge on the kitchen ceiling)
“And, as I’ve laughed at others’ foibles, I think back to some of my own cringeworthy contributions. Now, whenever I think I know what’s happening, I temper my thoughts: Might be wrong, Cliff…”
At least he’s man enough to admit he got it wrong…
(Reprinted with permission from the Welling Digital blog)
There may be a disconnect between the types of online content that customers want and the types that marketers think they want, according to a recently-published survey.
Marketing Sherpa and IDG Connect asked both marketers and buyers what types of offers would be increase the likelihood of clickthrough, and there were some sizable differences between the two groups. Marketers placed more weight on the impact of educational content (92%) and free research reports (86%) than buyers did (65% and 64%, respectively).
Marketing Sherpa reported that “While educational content, such as whitepapers or relevant industry research reports have their place, sending too many of these offers can further diminish their impact in buyers’ eyes. You need to create the right mix of offers, timed to stages of the buying cycle and contact role, to encourage continued interaction with your email messages.”
The survey revealed that buyers are receptive to receiving industry news and articles from vendor sources (84%), but only 73% of marketers felt the same way.
Marketing Sherpa recommended that marketers ”consider developing competitive comparison tools or guides to help prospects manage the buying process. Although more marketers than buyers said these tools increased their likelihood of a click, buyers still ranked comparisons and buying guides third on this list.
“….It’s difficult for a vendor to present a competitive comparison in an unbiased way, but at the very least you can provide a framework for doing competitive comparison.”
The survey asked how much more likely recipients were to click on certain types of offers. Surprisingly, buyers gave the highest rank to promotional content.
According to IDG Connect VP Bob Johnson, “Buyers want to see your promotional content. They need to understand what you do as a vendor, and need details about what your products and services offer.”
However, you can’t try to pass off promotional content as educational content. “That angers and frustrates them,” says Johnson.
Email body copy is another area in which marketers can provide more value for subscribers.
When asked which features would make vendor emails more useful, buyers ranked “highlight key words and points” (using bold fonts and hotlinks) third out of 12 options - more valuable than social media links, and more valuable than graphic imagery.
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
Phyllis Zimbler Miller writes this week in the Internet Business Examiner about a cost-effective way to drive more traffic to your site - turn your existing text content into video content.
She writes, “Turning your written content into short (2-3 minute) videos can be a very effective way to repurpose your content.
“You can break up the content of a long article or post into two or three short videos of you talking about the subject and then upload these to YouTube with appropriate keyword tags. Next you can embed the videos on your own site and leave the video link on other places around the Web.
“Of course, it’s a good idea to include your site’s URL on the video itself so that anyone seeing the video can instantly connect to you.”
While I think repurposing text content as video can be very effective, I would caution against just producing a talking head video of someone reading out your articles verbatim. You need to be a bit more creative and think of how you can tell the story visually, using pictures and graphics, rather than just someone’s face. That creative touch can mean the difference between traffic arriving at your page and bouncing off, and traffic that stays and moves down the conversion funnel.
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.
- Tags: Apple, content, digital content, internet content, iPad, newspapers, online content
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Media companies, Technology, Writing
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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.
- Tags: content services, digital content, digital copywriting, digital marketing, internet content, online content, website content
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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
- Tags: content, digital, digital content, digital education, education, internet content, online content, video content
Posted in Technology, Video, e-marketing, social media
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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:
- Tags: content, content curator, content strategy, digital, digital content, digital copywriting, Google, internet content, online content, online strategy, rohit bhargava, Writing
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Always on the lookout for good articles about the importance of copywriting for online projects, I came across this posting by Shane Atchison on the ClickZ site, in the form of an interview with the lead writer at the ZAAZ agency in the US, where Shane is the CEO.
Pithy quote from the article: “Even though copywriting is an art form, it’s firmly grounded in logic: the clear communication of a concept or call to action. As such, agency writers are keenly aware of usability, analytics, and optimization, factors that drive our project goals and metrics. Words heavily determine how a site is used, therefore analytics help determine the kind of content writers develop for any site.”
- Tags: content, copywriting, digital content, digital copywriting, internet content, online content, Writing
Posted in Marketing, Technology, Writing, e-marketing, social media
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