Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, new walls are being erected that challenge the fundamental right of the public to free news and information. However, free today no longer means free from bias or state control, but instead not paying for content. News Corp.'s announcement that it would introduce pay walls has set off a firestorm of response -- the majority of whom say it will not work. The minority see Murdoch as the potential savior of professional journalism, an ironic twist for the man behind The New York Post and other tabloids. Others focus on the proposed model and respond that it could work, if News Corp. can apply the lessons it has learned from pay television and the music industry, which evolved its model in response to illegal downloading.
There is certainly humor to be had watching, sprawled out in the comfort of another century, the way previous generations handled – or didn’t – destabilizing changes that we now take for granted. We are now obligated to live in a culture of conversation with its simultaneous flattening of things like expert culture and its ever-expanding choice of content providers and options.
The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?
Now that we've pushed back from the Thanksgiving table and returned to work, it's worth focusing a moment not on our abundance of blessings, but on our glut of content across platforms. These blessings are decidedly mixed. Faced with multiple options we graze and gorge on empty calories, but rarely succeed in satisfying our hunger.
Thought leadership, branded content, content marketing, and native advertising are all stops along the continuum of how ideas are expressed, and products are marketed, over the Internet. But it is getting awfully hard for the public — and even some marketers — to tell the difference.
Social-media content has grabbed the spotlight in the last few years, as marketers figure out how to engage consumers through tweets, posts and viral videos, but what of paid advertising? With Twitter's recent IPO, paid social-media advertising is back in focus.
This year has seen many thought leaders chime in on the quantity versus quality content argument. Marketers are trying to find the right balance. The more time they spend on quality, the less time they have for production. Seems like a fair concern, right?
We work with lots of companies big and small to develop and execute their content marketing strategies. Each has its own challenges to overcome on the way to connecting with its target audience, which may include time, resources and the competition. In many cases, though, the biggest challenge isn’t financial. It’s psychological.
But are millennials going to view this as lipstick on a pig?
Last week, Google+ announced some small updates to its platform. The news hasn’t made huge waves, but these two new features could spark some big changes in the way people create and find content on the web.
Marketers Left to Sift Through Flurry of Options as Agencies, Talent Houses, Productions Studios Look for a Piece of the Action.
How is it that clients are not able to produce quality content for their purposes, but I receive an average of 35 emails a day offering me content?
MTV is starting a digital content lab called MTV Other to produce short-form programming that will live on its new iPhone and iPad app as well as MTVOther.com.
In the new world of content, where do you currently stand? Where does your company stand?
Content marketing has changed the ways that businesses sell to a B2B audience.
Before you create a blog, draft content for your brand-spanking-new website or start tweeting, first define your “brand voice.”
Walmart is revving up its "content engine," and it wants brand marketers to supply the fuel, though it can also come from consumers or even the Defense Department.
Content marketing is a hot topic among CMOs, and I see it as one of the primary factors that can make –or break –brand authenticity in today’s marketplace.
Any effective approach to content has to put the consumer at the center and must be able to adapt based on cultural trends and consumer insights. The action of being quick-to-market with compelling content based on real-time cultural trends is a much tougher challenge.
Regardless of industry, finding and sourcing relevant content and internal resource constraints were the top two roadblocks to successful content marketing programs.
Lots of companies have committed, recasting stories through platforms that look more like digital magazines than traditional websites, and more. While all the attention may give it the luster of a fad today, brand content is nothing new.
NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content.
2012 has been the year of growth for content marketing. Brands have begun to embrace the discipline as a vital part of their overall strategy. What was once a conversation on “why content marketing” has turned into a conversation on “how to.”
Ahead of today's Halo 4 release The Verge has revealed that plans are underfoot at Redmond to develop a gaming tablet, the Xbox Surface. It's a seven-incher and its production has so far been kept apart from existing Xbox lines.
it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.
In a bold first-day speech, the BBC’s new boss says the corporation must stop thinking that online innovation means repurposing broadcast content and instead ‘create genuinely digital content for the first time’.
Trapit For iPad is the latest in a wave of news-reading apps designed to make finding and reading online content on a tablet easier, more intuitive and elegant.
These news items recently caught our attention: P&G shifting money from marketing to social media. And GM walking away from advertising on Facebook. Question: Are these events contradictory or complementary?
We sat down with Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Officer, Fitness, Sporting Goods & Toys at Sears Holdings and Gilad de Vries from best of breed content discovery platform, Outbrain.
Hulu could soon start requiring its users to prove that they also have a cable or satellite subscription. This would obviously turn Hulu’s current business model on its head. It’s not clear how many of the service’s 31 million users currently don’t subscribe to cable TV, but chances are that the service’s audience would shrink after this move.
Consumers today can no longer rely on a few trusted editorial sources to filter the noise and deliver the most important news and information. Instead, consumers must make sense of the vast amount of information that reaches them daily and constantly make decisions about what to take seriously and what to ignore. Increasingly, they are turning to Social Curation
Every day, more and more brands are creating compelling, original content, and the medium of choice for these initiatives is Web video. The latest example is Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with eco-focused media company SHFT.com, “The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World”, a documentary series profiling industry professionals who are trying to transform their industries with eco-friendly sustainability solutions.
Spotify and Hulu are among the companies that have taken advantage of the Facebook Timeline format to create long histories despite their relative youth. It’s an accessible form of brand content, but what happens when the novelty wears off?
Google is marching steadily towards Larry Page’s reported goal of a “single, unified, ‘beautiful’ product, across everything.” It started last year, as redesigns came to all of Google’s big products, Search, Maps, Translate, Reader, Gmail, YouTube, etc, etc. A black navbar appeared, which Google later announced it was removing, only to then reverse course and keep it. And then, earlier this month, it announced Google Play.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
Thinking back, I've always considered news as a dialogue rather than a monologue. I've preferred conversations to speeches. That said, I don't often hang out on street corners or in neighborhood bars partaking in random conversations about the weather or the Mets. I like my conversations curated.
We like to think of the social web as green fields in which we are just now sowing best practices and first principles. After all, if there are no hard-and-fast rules, then anything goes. We get to come up with our own laws and axioms and declarations of "here's how it's done." But if you look at the longer history of the social web, it's clear that some principles have been around for a long time. And nothing brings those principles into focus like a look at the social web's first big controversy, all the way back in 1987: The Great Renaming.
According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, by the end of today the Web will fill up with more information than what had existed in entirety prior to 2003. Much of this deluge is being created by ordinary netizens, rather than by corporations. The Web has become a raging river filled with tweets, status updates, photos and videos. There's both a positive and negative side to this story. In fact it has spawned a divergent debate of ideas.
One of the deep ironies around Google's near-monopoly over the search industry is that its spare interface and text-based aesthetic has made the act of searching a commodity exercise -- most users don't notice (or care) how they arrive at their digital destination. Yahoo aims to change that perception, as well as make a dent in Google's dominant market share, with a heavily revised search product it released Thursday.
It seems to me that the problem with dinosaurs was that they had such short arms. Looking at the small rubber T.Rex I have in front of me, it's obvious that they were incapable of feeding themselves in a civilised fashion, they weren't going to be able to punch anyone, and they'd never be able to knit the warm clothes they needed for the ice age. But advertising is kind of like paleontology, in that we're always looking to locate the dinosaurs; it's like finding the fat kid at school, so at least you don't come last in the 100 metres. And various people have recently suggested to me that digital agencies are the threatened species - not the big bad indistinguishable behemoths of traditional adland, the agencies named after people whom even John Tylee has never met.
It's going to be a green Christmas, at least in consumer-electronics sales. Bolstered by a flood of new products such as motion-controlled game consoles, 3DTV, e-readers and tablet computers, sales are projected to keep the industry growing at a strong clip. The Consumer Electronic Association predicts $175 billion in shipments for 2010 in the U.S., a 3% increase over 2009 and a $9 billion jump in the group's earlier January prediction. What's more, not a lot of it will be purchased off the sale rack.
We are working in times of exponential growth in the media landscape. To the marketer, it seems as though new media channels for reaching/ engaging audiences are emerging in near real-time. The diffusion of innovation curve for digital/mobile innovation is no longer bell-shaped, it's practically vertical. We move from a glimmer of an idea to mass consumption in no longer than a few CPG purchase cycles.
Google gave a live demonstration of Google TV at Berlin’s IFA Tuesday, and CEO Eric Schmidt promised it would be a couch potato’s dream come true. “Once you have Google television, you’re going to be very busy,” Schmidt said. “It’s going to ruin your evening.” Google TV is the search giant’s bid to bring the web to the biggest screen in the house in a big way, something TV viewers and web surfers (often the same person) have tended to resist as distinctly different experiences. But as the internet becomes a more viable delivery system for the kind of content we associate with the Barcaloungers and TV sets, Google, Apple and others are trying to get a piece of that action as well.
The content creation business is thriving these days, especially now that the Conventional Wisdom has all but freed it from having any direct connection or relevance to actually selling anything. Instead, one of the new deliverables of today's marketing is often a contest of some sort, which I think is even worse than not saying anything meaningful about a brand.
For the first time in history, brands are trying to navigate a two-way channel of communication. Social media requires a value exchange between the consumer and the brand. Here are some reasons to think of it as one giant party.
On Thursday Google boosted an attempt to make the Web real time by launching a dedicated engine that locates content on Twitter and Facebook -- but social media expert Brian Solis said such efforts could prove futile. Context rather than content has become king -- and consumers will find the most valuable engines and social media sites have the ability to index for relevance rather than real time. Traditional search, real-time search and social search remains disconnected from social media, Solis told a packed room at an event Thursday night hosted by Linked OC, an organization for Orange County, Calif. business professionals. And because he and millions of others can't spend time searching for information in more than three places, the future of search becomes contextual and lives in semantics, matching results not only based on the "likes" of the person searching on the Web, but also those of socially connected friends.
The growing dominance of social media compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to fostering relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program. Content marketing differs from traditional methods that employ interruption techniques in the belief that delivering helpful, relevant information drives profitable consumer action. The idea of sharing content is increasingly driving marketers to make proprietary intellectual assets available to influential audiences. Savvy content marketers create fresh information to share via all available media channels, on and off-line.
A day doesn’t pass without headlines proclaiming that social media is changing everything (as are mobile, geo-location targeting, etc.) Two recent pieces raised some valid, challenging points around whether social media is truly critical for every brand/property to participate in – or whether the question of becoming ’social’ should be evaluated more strategically against objectives and performance measures, without the urgent, ‘act now or lose out!’ sense of hype. The second piece also got us thinking about the different considerations and implications that social media represent for brands vs. media properties.
AOL's hyper-local news division Patch launched its 100th news site today, underscoring just how quickly AOL is advancing its bid for original content through journalism. The company says it will launch 400 more such local news sites across the U.S. by year's end as well as hire 300 more journalists. A growing swell of mass-content players are tempting content from a wide variety of freelancers, of course, with more companies sure to adopt the model in their wake. Earlier this month one of the biggest content generators, Demand Media, announced its plans for an initial public offering. Last spring Yahoo bought another one, Associated Content, for some $100 million. But these platforms and companies aren't all the same, whether for advertisers or for freelancers.
Starbucks stores nationwide now have free Wi-Fi, but details around the second piece to the coffee retailer’s digital strategy — the Starbucks Digital Network — have been slim. Here’s how Starbucks plans to cater to digital consumers and premium content providers through its Digital Network. The Starbucks Digital Network (SDN) will be available to customers at company-operated stores beginning this fall. With SDN, Starbucks hopes to engineer an in-store, third-place experience like no other by offering exclusive and premium content from hand-picked content providers, including Apple, The New York Times and leading health publisher Rodale.
Google’s recent announcement that search spend growth rates are slowing represents that search marketing as we all know (and love) it is changing. Advertisers still use search engines to market much the same way they did five years ago. But as consumer behavior expands to include searching through apps or communities or via non-PC devices, marketers will need to think about search marketing as more than just SEM and SEO. At Forrester, we expect search marketing to evolve into an umbrella term which means using any targeted media to help an advertiser get found. What changes are afoot to provoke such a redefinition of search marketing?
Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets. The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind (with the exception of viruses, spam and the like).
Vice is happy to be known as a hipster media company. From its headquarters in a former warehouse in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the company oversees magazines covering youth culture in 23 editions distributed in 26 countries, an online television network and a record label. Vice’s identity — and skill at content creation — is precisely what makes its current partnerships with Dell and Intel both possible and surprising. The deals call for Vice to create sites filled with images, videos and text that evoke a cool-kid image those companies want to connect with, although not necessarily with specific products.
Two Hearst newspapers' websites have gone live with new sections from Demand Media, one of the content-generation companies that tap thousands of freelancers to generate countless articles. Some observers argue that content farms are winning web traffic and ad revenue away from traditional publishers without matching the quality that traditional newsrooms provide. But Demand has been providing a travel tips section for USA Today since April, and BNET reported in April that Demand had signed a deal with two Hearst papers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle.
For this latest edition of Dumenco's Media People -- an ongoing series of conversations with media grandees -- I interviewed longtime print guy Keith Blanchard, most famous for being one of the founding editors, and then editor in chief, of the U.S. edition of Maxim. Blanchard was hired by puckish publishing legend Felix Dennis, whose original Maxim in the U.K. had already rocked the glossy world by popularizing the cheeky "lad mag" sensibility. Today Blanchard is North American executive creative director at Story Worldwide. I spoke to him about leaving a career in edit for life on the agency side. The interview took place at Story headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and was continued over lunch and supplemented by e-mail. What follows is a condensed version of a much longer conversation.
Who cares if your content is fun, right? Does fun make the cash register ring? And what if you’re a business-to-business company selling dead-serious stuff? Won’t it undermine your credibility, marginalize your message, and disrespect your products if you don’t approach your marketing with gravity? In business, it’s tempting (and easier) to use the same boring words everyone else uses. But you’ll be far more approachable (and a whole lot more engaging) if you lighten up a little.
Shared links have a longer shelf life on Facebook than Twitter, and Buzzfeed sends more traffic through re-shares than direct clicks. That's two of the things my agency learned when we launched a stealth social-media experiment through a site we created called Jerzify Yourself. Jerzify Yourself was created in January of this year, a week after the season one finale of the popular MTV show "Jersey Shore" that attracted an audience of 4.8 million. The site, written in a few days in Flash, allows users to upload their headshot onto a stylized body and morph themselves into a Jersey Shore "Guido" or "Guidette." Or as New York's Village Voice put it: "The gist is Snooki-grade simple: upload a medium-size jpg, scale the image to fit, choose your spray-tan shade, pick your pose -- and holy Freckles McGee, you're magically recast as a human meatball." Why did we do this? To evaluate the power of social media and spreadable content.
I know we're not supposed to say it out loud, but a lot of CMOs and agency types think that advertising is going the way of the dinosaur, the Model T and conversation without emoticons. Consumers want to engage with content instead of get interrupted by ads, or so the logic goes, so we celebrate social campaigns like the recent one from Old Spice, and find favor only for commercials that are entertaining. Making a sales pitch just isn't credible anymore. Now that we're well into the social-media revolution, I think it's time to revisit the three assumptions on which this argument is based.
Every time you navigate from website to website, or video to video, you’re driven by the experience. And yet, when we share content online — whether it’s scrolling through a Flickr photostream from your friend’s wedding, or a live-streaming video — we are often left feeling that something is missing; that for all of the attention on social networking, there are few social media experiences that match the fun of hanging out together with friends in person. The old debate about what is more valuable — content or distribution — doesn’t capture the whole picture because it’s the user experience that counts. It’s pretty clear now that social interaction is a key factor in driving “stickiness.” We want to socialize, interact and engage around content. So why has this type of interaction been missing from most digital media experiences? One way to look at this is through the lens of the music industry.
Five years ago Huffington Post launched as a left-leaning blog, featuring commentary from Hollywood heavyweights, political pundits and its co-founder, Arianna Huffington. Today, it counts more than 20 vertical areas, from religion to tech, 50-odd editors and, by ComScore's last count, 23.2 million unique visitors. It also boasts ambitious plans for its business, having hired nine months ago Greg Coleman, a media veteran from the likes of Yahoo and AOL, as president and chief revenue officer. Ad Age sat down for breakfast with Mr. Coleman to talk about selling "social ads," the task of moderating three million comments a month and why the newest vertical will be big business.
Social data is overwhelming. More customers, buyers, and consumers are creating content everywhere they go. Companies cannot scale to match this in a 1:1 basis, and most companies are in early phases of the 8 Stages of Listening. Earlier this year, I made clear investments in researching the Social CRM space and Mobile+Social space, it’s clear that Social CRM is starting to get wind under it’s wings, and mobile/social is certainly happening at consumer level. So what do I see happening next?
Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" -- the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy editing Wikipedia, posting to Ushahidi (and yes, making LOLcats), we're building a better, more cooperative world.
The content strategy movement has captured the hearts and minds of Web practitioners everywhere. For many (and I count myself among this camp) content strategy (CS) represents a vital next step in the evolution of what we do and how we provide value. At Teehan+Lax, we've started to formalize a practice and dedicated role around CS. But here's the catch: when we mapped out what we needed and compared this to the standard definition for CS, we realized there was a gap. Let me explain what I mean.
Publish2 has unveiled its first big play — a news content bartering system intended to make major online news sources capable of achieving scale, to let a network of news providers compete with syndication monopolies like the Associated Press and others, and to allow trusted brands to leverage quality content across media, including print. Karp’s premise is that there is a latent “content graph,” analogous to the social graph being leveraged by Facebook and Twitter.
Starbucks plans to make Wi-Fi free in all its coffee shops, which at this point is about as revolutionary as letting people use the restroom if they buy a scone first. Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming the sort of thing that people expect for free at cafes — like napkins, coffee stirrers and listening to people discuss where their relationships are going. I’d love to play the standard “too hip for Starbucks” card, but the fact is that I’ll occasionally drive through one when I’m in a strange town and don’t want to brave the coffee at some intentionally misspelled place like Kountry Koffee or Coffee Dee-Lite. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have my choice of places that can provide a better latte and a reasonably fat pipe, so free wireless isn’t enough to pull me into a Starbucks for an afternoon of reading MetaFilter while absorbing enough caffeine to kill lab mice. But then I heard that Starbucks is upping the Wi-Fi ante by providing internet content that you can only get at its stores. It’s like Starbucks is turning into a series of little inverse Chinas, keeping out the rest of the world so that only Starbuckians have access to the coffee chain’s proprietary websites.
Per Wednesday’s speculation, LA private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners has confirmed it’s buying social network Bebo from AOL. Criterion isn’t disclosing any deal terms or price, which has been reported at $2.5 million by PEHub or $10 million by TechCrunch, two years after AOL bought Bebo for $850 million.
Starbucks’ coffee drinks have become synonymous with the high costs consumers are cutting back on these days, but at least the Wi-Fi connections in its stores will no longer require a credit card. Starting July 1, Starbucks will let anyone connect to its Wi-Fi network for free. This fall, the company will add a content network called Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo and other sites, which will include local content you won’t be able to read anywhere else. Both offerings will be free.
People are more excited about the prospect of content delivery than they are about the devices the content may be delivered on. According to a survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers by Chadwick Martin Bailey, people were significantly more excited about the prospects of renting movies over the Internet and surfing the web while watching television than they were about 3D televisions, the iPad and Google-powered Android phones.
AOL is planning to hire hundreds of journalists, editors and videographers in the coming year as it builds out its content-first business model. David Eun, president of AOL's media and studios division, is expected to announce the push in an all-hands meeting of the group in New York today when he lays out his strategy for the unit that will include grouping all the sites into 17 "super-networks."
A couple of days ago I wrote a post about exposure and visibility and how quality content that is valuable takes time to create. Everyone agrees with that sentiment. However, when push comes to shove, with very few exceptions, people tend to spread content that is more popular -- even when popularity means less helpful, sometimes incomplete. The ability to think critically is a gift -- it's also the underpinning of an effective business strategy, where you work from your core competencies. I worry that much of that ability gets lost to the desire to fit in and become popular -- to make the quick list, in blog parlance.
Yahoo Inc. will soon roll out new ways to view content from Facebook Inc. across its websites, according to people briefed on the matter, as it aims to prevent Yahoo users from defecting to the social network. As part of a partnership with Facebook announced last December, Yahoo will begin allowing users to view their stream of Facebook updates—which Facebook calls the "news feed"—from Yahoo.com and Yahoo Mail, these people said. The company will also more easily allow users to post actions they take on Yahoo, such as uploading a photo to Yahoo's photo service Flickr, back on Facebook, these people said.
If you're trolling the web and hit upon an Examiner.com story, you might think you're reading the San Francisco Examiner. But you're not. Instead, Examiner.com is a crowd-sourced content play with the backing of billionaire investor Philip Anschutz. With over 40,000 freelancers in more than 240 neighborhoods, the Denver-based start-up aims to dominate every province of local news, bringing marketers and advertising along with it.
Mr. Burke, speaking at the All Things Digital conference on Wednesday morning, said he believes that putting content and distribution under one roof would allow Comcast to expand its offerings to customers. "If you think of distribution as technology, and the ability to get content to consumers, the ability to have that content will let you do more," he said.
And this is the problem with just about every lame speech, every overlooked memo, every worthless bit of boilerplate foisted on the world: you write and write and talk and talk and bullet and bullet but no, you're not really saying anything.
Social media might be old. It might even be a dead buzzword. That’s why you need to paint a picture that’s more meaningful and encompasses what “social media” as a label really is. Some of us have been thrust into social media simply because the online landscape showed potential for online conversations. Others have been there for over a decade. Regardless of the many years of experience you have in the online space, the ideas behind social media and social media marketing are applicable to everyone. Let’s take a look at some lessons, takeaways, and tips.
With the meaning of a brand wide open to public interpretation and prone to hyperbole and misconception, corporate managers must thread a thicket of sticky challenges to successfully communicate brand mission, values and philosophy. Moreover, as brands become the publishers of their own unfolding stories, they need intelligent editors who can provide stakeholders with a stream of high-value content that is packed with utility, seeded with inspiration, and that is honestly empathetic. Anything less will not suffice in a world where consumers can simply click away or spin around and mount a web-wide counter-attack on brands that refuse to walk their talk.
A few weeks ago, as Steve Case was flying above Sterling, en route to Dulles International Airport, he looked down and saw the sprawling campus that is home to the company he co-founded 25 years ago this month -- the pioneering service that took millions of people online for the first time.
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.
Plummeting newspaper circulation, disappearing classified ads, “unbundling” of content—the list of what’s killing journalism is long. But high on that list, many would say, is Google, the biggest unbundler of them all. Now, having helped break the news business, the company wants to fix it—for commercial as well as civic reasons: if news organizations stop producing great journalism, says one Google executive, the search engine will no longer have interesting content to link to. So some of the smartest minds at the company are thinking about this, and working with publishers, and peering ahead to see what the future of journalism looks like. Guess what? It’s bright.
Calling the output of writers, musicians, moviemakers and even the artisans of branding's dark arts "content" is like referencing the substance of every meal "food," or labeling the specific events of human experience "life." It has slipped into common usage due to the prevalence of technology and, since qualitative attributes don't necessarily register on site architectures or CRM flowcharts, it replaces substantive description with referential convenience.
As the Information Age barrels forward, a new role has emerged. While new platforms-from Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr-have turned consumers into creators, they’ve given way to more writers, more content, and (as we painfully know) more choices. But there’s something else. Content creators are not passing content through traditional editorial channels, nor should they be. The cost of filtering content has passed from the pocket of the publisher way downstream to the pocket of the consumer. As a result, we as consumers are left in the position of having to decide what is worth our time. Whom should we pay attention to? Whom should we ignore? Who decides which content is exceptional and what to tune out?
There was a time when YouTube was considered a wild-wild west of content — a place where marketers shied away from uploading their commercials, let alone building a branded channel. But these days, YouTube has become more mini-van than stagecoach. From Toyota Sienna’s high-profile television commercials urging consumers to visit their YouTube channel, to (what might be considered the anti-minivan) Harley Davidson’s fan-centric YouTube universe, there has been a noticeable shift in corporate adoption of the platform. Whether your brand already has a YouTube channel that’s in need of a facelift, or if you’re interested in developing one from scratch, this article will provide some practical tips and valuable tricks to help you kick-start the process.
TV viewers by now are accustomed to seeing product placement in their favorite shows. But how will they react upon seeing "program placement" in their commercials?
One of the hottest trends in marketing is for brands to commission the creation of content — sometimes chock full of product placement, sometimes low-key in trying to peddle their wares. One of the softer-selling projects of late is to be introduced on Thursday night by Stella Artois beer. It is a documentary film, 12 minutes long, about the increasingly scarce art of wall painting, by which billboards are painted directly onto building walls.
In Part One, we focused on how to make your brand findable and shareable in social media. A white paper by Gigya validates the shift to, and resulting importance of, social search and its dependence on crowd participation. Online businesses must optimize in order to earn referral traffic from social networks. With the advent of social feeds — a live stream of friends’ activity shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter — consumers can more easily rely on trusted personal relationships to determine what’s worthwhile to read, watch, play and buy online. Honestly, there are too many top 10 lists, and I subscribe to the Spinal Tap school of numeration, so this list will go to “11!” Here are 11 steps for optimizing your brand for sharing and social search.
The first time I noticed the word "Content" had changed, I was being ushered into the inner sanctum of Zappos by a woman answering phones in an Elvis Costume. Why is there a content department at Zappos? Don't they sell shoes and other nifty stuff? Well, it turns out, at Zappos the folks who make images, text and product information for the Web site are working with Zappos "Content." Makes sense, in a Zappos kind of way, I thought at the time. But in the eight months since that visit, the world has changed. All of us, it now appears, are in the Content business.
In late January, Toyota watched the hundreds of stories about its recall situation flow through Digg and saw the passionate comments and conversations triggered by those stories. Toyota was already an advertiser on the user-voted news aggregator, but execs at the company concluded that ads weren’t going to be enough. In a fast-changing crisis, the carmaker needed a PR platform where it could listen and interact with consumers.
The markets tumbled, retirement savings dissolved, and home values evaporated as every principle and presumption about individual investing was called at least into question, and more likely to account. Now financial services firm Vanguard is promoting the answer: stop investing, and start Vanguarding. It bought a four-page magazine spread to reveal this crucially useful insight (I saw mine in the latest issue of The New Yorker), and the story unfolds as follows
Global luxury group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) has launched Nowness.com, a web platform that allows luxury brands to showcase high-quality branded film content against a more sophisticated design aesthetic and insider editorial voice that luxury-goods consumers have come to expect – and that the broader audience of YouTube or Vimeo might not currently call for.
Should we be surprised that the biggest fight over freedom of expression in years involves Google, a company that produces algorithms rather than articles? Probably not. Google executives struck a blow for free speech in China last week when they announced they were moving their service to Hong Kong after a series of mounting conflicts with the government over the privacy of its users and the free flow of information. That would seem to put Google in league with newspapers, television news divisions and other outlets that look to protect information from government control. But no, Google insists, it is definitely not a media company.
There will be lots of news leaking about Facebook’s product announcements at their upcoming F8 Developer Conference in April. That’s because they’re already starting to test out a lot of the new stuff with third party developers, and once two people know a secret, it isn’t really a secret any more. One of the new features we’ve been hearing about is the extension of Facebook Connect and the Facebook API to allow publishers to add a “Like” button to any piece of content on their site. Sound trivial? It isn’t. This is likely part of Facebook’s Open Graph API project that will incentivize third party sites to interact deeply with Facebook by sharing content and associated metadata.
Social media monitoring is the practice of monitoring social media for topics and mentions that are of interest to your company or brand. Social media monitoring is generally discussed with in the context of online reputation management. However, social media monitoring can also be used to help promote a brand, aid customer service, contribute to product development, and measure off line marketing efforts, among other things.
Is a computer terminal like a movie screen? Well, for the past few years, TV networks and other purveyors of TV programs online have tried to display their wares in an environment much like an old movie house: The screen around the video is dark, the lights can be dimmed, and the tableau contains little else to distract you from your snippet of entertainment. But a computer monitor isn't the untouchable silver screen. With that in mind, some media outlets have been slowly mixing in other elements to keep activity-prone online viewers rooted. NBC today is unveiling an online-video viewer placed smack dab in the midst of other interactive content related to the program a fan chooses.
At the Web 2.0 Expo, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk gives a shot in the arm to dreamers and up-and-comers who face self-doubt. The Internet has made the formula for success simpler than ever, he argues. So there's now no excuse not to do what makes you happy.
Wired is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover. It consistently exposes me to new ideas and topics. For that, I'm grateful (and a longtime subscriber). But when it comes to the iPad, I really don't understand what the Wired crew is doing. Yet, reading over this analysis piece by Reuters' Felix Salmon, I'm dismayed to see a return to the days of silos and closed content. Here's how Salmon puts it.
The U.S. District Court has just made public the documentation in the controversial Viacom vs. YouTube case. It's a goldmine of data, most of which is really dirty mud-slinging by Viacom, based on internal emails from YouTube's past. Google's been quick off the mark to react to the unsealing of the court documents, and has a blog post defending its position and decrying Viacom's tactics already. Viacom's argument, it says, is based on misconstruing "isolated lines from a handful of emails" from way back in YouTube's history, and spinning this information into the suggestion that YouTube was "founded with bad intentions." The post also alleges that Viacom "secretly uploaded its content to YouTube," and then roughed up the footage to make it appear to have been leaked.
The day when commercials are indistinguishable from the programs they support finally arrived -- just before 10 p.m. Eastern last Thursday night. That's when an ad for Dr Pepper ran after NBC's insider-y sitcom "30 Rock," making use of recurring character Dr. Spaceman, played by comic Chris Parnell. In the spot, which was paired with a more-traditional TV commercial for the soda, Mr. Parnell's fictional medical practitioner decried boredom and told viewers how drinking Dr Pepper could banish it. A few moments later, viewers saw the credits roll for "30 Rock." Staffers from "30 Rock" were not involved in the creation of the commercial, according to a person familiar with the situation.
I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts about the iPad and the direction that Apple is taking computing along with it. It’s really an extension of the way they look at the iPhone, which I found unsettling at the time but with the iPad, we’re all finally coming around to the idea that they really, really mean it.
The marriage of brand advertising and free content is facing peremptory annulment. There is no shortage of punditry around “the death of the media company” and whether it is a just dessert or a societal travesty. But that’s looking at it from the media company and consumer viewpoint – what do advertisers think about all of this? Where is online advertising headed and what does that mean for free content?
There's a struggle with defining "branding" in digital. Some people claim that brands should be about utility, others that we need to build brand platforms and yet others think that brands should entertain us and give us something to talk about. Yet overall, surprisingly little has changed in the actual branding strategies in the industry. Something is wrong here.
Sumner Redstone famously called content "king." Rupert Murdoch recently upgraded that to "Emperor." While there is certainly some truth to that when looking at online content -- see Hulu's rapid growth as an example -- there are far more cases where great content does not seem to matter at all. At the very least, I think it is fair to say that even if content is king online, then distribution and marketing are the "crown princes." Good content or not, understanding and embracing digital distribution and marketing will prove critical to everyone in the entertainment industry.
In his seminal pop-book, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they can reach a state of "flow." He talks about performers and athletes who are in the height of their profession, the experience they feel as time passes by and everything just clicks. People reach a state where attention appears focused and, simultaneously, not in need of focus at the same time. The world is aligned and everything just feels right. Consider what it means to be "in flow" in an information landscape defined by networked media, and you will see where Web 2.0 is taking us. The goal is not to be a passive consumer of information or to simply tune in when the time is right, but rather to live in a world where information is everywhere.
New Balance is looking to get a foothold into consumers’ daily lives with a new set of 365 short films—one of which will be released every day over the next year. The 15- to 30-second films, which began appearing online at NewBalance365.com on Feb. 22, are a figurative exploration of the theme of balance. One film, for instance, might feature dueling banjo players performing different parts of the same song. Another film could show the proportional relationship between the sun and clouds.
Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.
As a brand, publisher, designer, photographer, artist, or filmmaker, the social web is your new distribution channel as well as your portfolio for intellectual assets. Whether you’re in the business of creating, marketing, selling, or distributing media, the social Web is an incredible medium that can create a brand, establish visibility, and build demand, all without active promotion. It’s about letting your expertise or work market itself through the practice of a socialized form of inbound marketing that helps make content discoverable when people search.
We're at the beginning of a major shift in how we find, consume and interact with information. If the 2000s was the Google decade, then the 2010s will be the Facebook decade. Already, you can see the writing on the wall - pun intended.
If you’re ready to think of your blog as a business (one of the hot topics over on Third Tribe Marketing), one way to do that is to start thinking of your blog content as the core of a distribution flow. In the little drawing to the left, I’ve put your subject matter at the heart of your system, and then have recommended you look at your blog, other products, education, and partnerships as the four areas you might consider. Note how I’ve moved your blog off to a branch and not to the heart of the drawing. Let’s talk through it.
One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create. When blueprinting a social media strategy, enthusiasm and support typically derails when examining the resources and commitment required to produce regular content. Indeed, we are programing the social web around our brand hub, which requires a consistent flow of engaging and relevant social objects. Social objects are the catalysts for conversations — online and in real life — and they affect behavior within their respective societies.
Sociologists have developed elaborate theories of who spreads gossip and news — who tells whom, who matters most in social networks — but they’ve had less success measuring what kind of information travels fastest. Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why? Now some answers are emerging thanks to a rich new source of data: you, Dear Reader.
ESPN will rebrand its live sports centric Web property ESPN360.com as ESPN3.com starting on April 4. Executives at the sports media giant said that the name change reflects the way the company increasingly views the site, as a full-fledged third network that complements ESPN and ESPN 2. "We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens,it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product’s and the industry’s evolution,” said Sean Bratches, executive vp, sales and marketing.
Have you noticed how much content drives conversation in Social Media today? Take a quick scan of your Twitter stream or Facebook wall and you'll likely notice that the vast majority of tweets and post contain a link to content -- be that video, photo or even written (in the form of an article or post).
If you're involved in social media efforts within your company, are trying to carve out a niche as a social media pro, or just want to understand what this new space is all about, personal web projects are crucial to honing your skills. Here are some tips for making your personal web efforts an effective part of your ongoing professional development.
Fueled by the music industry's ongoing turmoils and, finally, books going digital at a very rapid pace, there is a lot of debate on how to deal with the fact that many people habitually share i.e. redistribute digital content without any of the upstream users making their own payment. How can you monetize content when the copy is free? This question is a key issue across the board, whether it's in music, eBooks, news, publishing, TV or movies. The fear is, of course, that once a digital item has been purchased by one person it can be easily forwarded to anyone else if it is in an open format, thus seriously reducing the possibility that someone else will actually pay real $ for it, as well (of course, the same is true for supposedly locked or protected digital content as well - it just takes a bit longer). No more control over distribution = no more money. Right?
Great content doesn't grow on trees, doesn't work in a vacuum, and doesn't need to be driven solely by what your readers tell you -- you need to have a strategy built around content to grow a site. Glen has written a really useful post that can help you see why content needs to get most of your attention -- he built and sold a site. He lists many characteristics that are part of my experience as well. Your results -- in this case mine -- may vary depending on the level of commitment and focus you put on them.
Agencies and clients alike often talk about “viral marketing” as if it’s something we choose to create. We describe viral as if it’s an inherent quality we can design into our campaigns, or a deliberate strategy we can execute on. But for the handful of “viral campaigns” that explode into cultural phenomena each year, hundreds of other efforts have little or no impact at all. In spite of this, we often continue to insist that we know how to “make things viral,” while also reassuring ourselves that some efforts “just catch on better than others.” Unless we want to spend another year burning time and resources in the pursuit of that belief, it’s time to accept a difficult truth: viral isn’t a quality that we, as marketers, have the power to bestow. In fact, viral isn’t an inherent trait that advertising can have at all. Viral isn’t what a marketing campaign is, but how that campaign spreads. And when a campaign does achieve viral propagation, it’s not simply a function of what we do as designers and planners. Instead, it’s a function of deliberate choices that each consumer makes about what is worth sharing and why.
The money continues to be on the promotion and now engagement phases of customer acquisition. White papers are a dime a dozen, so are loads of articles and posts patiently written with the audience in mind. Tell me the truth, you've been guilty of wanting to hire someone who can write crisp copy that sells, which is not the same as just writing copy, without wanting to pay them a premium for doing so. You are not alone.
Three-quarters of Japanese social network users access the sites only from their mobile phones. This observation comes from a survey conducted last year with almost 4,000 social network users in Japan by Mobile Marketing Data Labo. They found that 75.4% of respondents only accessed social networking sites from their mobile phone (and not from their PC). The number only accessing it from their PC (and not their mobile phone) was very low at just 2%.
Media companies would be better off handing their online video activities to Google’s YouTube video-sharing site than pursuing home-grown efforts such as Hulu.com and the US cable industry’s TV Everywhere initiative, according to senior Google executives.
As a rough 2009 draws to a close, the digital marketing world is looking ahead to 2010, hoping to deliver stronger growth in the sector, which is one of the few bright spots in the media world. What lies ahead? We identified 10 trends that are sure to make waves in 2010.
Some things amaze me, like this year's social media and content marketing predictions list. What does one sent email and two tweets equal? Over 100 predictions from 60+ of the best and the brightest in marketing, content marketing, custom publishing and social media. No kidding! Just check out this list below.
How Ashton Kutcher is pioneering a new kind of media business, bridging Hollywood, technology, and Madison Avenue. Really.
This time last year, I wrote about the 10 ways social media will change 2009, and while all predictions have materialized or are on their way, it has only become clear in recent months how significant of a change we've seen this year. 2009 will go down as the year in which the shroud of uncertainty was lifted off of social media and mainstream adoption began at the speed of light. Barack Obama's campaign proved that social media can mobilize millions into action, and Iran's election protests demonstrated its importance to the freedom of speech.
Stories from US newspapers are being copied without permission on the internet on average 4.4 times, rising to as much as 15 times for the largest national publishers, according to a study that forms the basis of an industry push to get paid more for online content. A month-long study of how 101,000 articles published by 157 newspapers proliferated around the internet found that more than 75,000 sites reused 112,000 almost exact copies without authorisation. A further 520,000 articles were reprinted in part.
AOL’s new chief plans to combine algorithms, marketing partnerships and cheap freelance writers in order to turn the stale web property into a vibrant online content factory pumping out stories to fit the zeitgeist. Tim Armstrong, a former Google ad executive, wants AOL to create automated content for the people. The idea is to mine search data and traffic patterns to find the latest hot searches and then automatically commission matching stories from a bevy of freelancers at Seed.com, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In its heyday, "This is Your Life" was seen by a broad swath of viewers tuned into their Philcos all at once, never dreaming that someday it could be rebroadcast, paused live, accessed on another gadget, or that its entire run could be contained on a thin metal disc. Almost 50 years later, we're almost similarly in the dark. Those Samsung flatscreens in our living room might still be the go-to device, but they are fast being joined by computer monitors, laptops, gaming consoles, iPods and mobile phones distributing content once solely accessed by TV, or in some cases, content that competes with TV. It's conceivable—and probably inevitable—that TV/web convergence will lead to us ordering up movies, pizza and even advertising while watching custom-tailored content and interacting with social-network buddies at the same time. The question is how these services will work together and who will manage and monetize them in a world where the TV networks operate with a mass-media mentality and are anxious to keep $60.5 billion in ad revenue from going the way of Philco.
There is an almost overwhelming number of options on the social web for businesses to create and participate in communities. You hear a lot about Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter (Twitter) communities, and even LinkedIn Groups; but businesses have another option when looking to build a community online that’s often overlooked despite having nearly 40 million users: Ning. Ning allows businesses to create their own off-site social network for their brand’s community, and participate in existing conversations with the communities they are looking to engage. Here are 6 ways businesses can put Ning to work.
You've probably heard by now that "your brand is no longer yours." The assertion's based on simple math. In the era of blogs, discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools, virtually everyone can get online and talk about your company and its offerings. As a result, the amount of information your marketing and PR departments can generate is only a small percentage of the total volume of content on the Internet about your firm. What's more, if some of the external voices become as popular, or perish the thought, more popular than your official voice, then they're going to show up high in organic (as opposed to paid) search results.
Online content can be "much better" -- and its improvement will be the focus of the next development stage of the Internet, AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said Friday. "That's why we are making such a big bet there," he said during a keynote appearance at the annual Media and Money Conference in New York. Adweek parent the Nielsen Co. and Dow Jones co-hosted the event. He argued that the first wave of Internet development focused on access; then platforms -- from Facebook to iTunes -- were in focus. But the next step will be content, which hasn't seen as much innovation, he said.
Over the past several weeks, leaders in the search industry launched an aggressive, very public series of campaigns designed to capture the elusive future of search mind and market share. The accelerated evolution of “real-time” search, introduced to us mostly through the adoption of Summize, which was eventually acquired to now serve as Twitter search, inspired both Google and Bing to release new iterations of its search engine to now include live Twitter results. Bing also announced a deal with Facebook to include status updates and shared content that were intentionally earmarked for public consumption – although this is expected to go into effect at a later date. Each announcement was strategically timed to release during the prestigious Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco while the technology world focused on tomorrow’s trends discussed during the show. With the great deal of attention thrust upon these two industry giants, Yahoo is now rumored to also have a real-time strategy in the works. Unlike Bing and Google however, Yahoo is potentially seeking to either partner with or acquire a current real-time search player.
A U.K. firm is set to launch a camera to capture every moment of a person's life. While you may reel at the privacy implications, I'd wager that the high price of not capturing and sharing every moment of our lives will soon dwarf the cost to our privacy.
Coca-Cola is no longer content to merely teach the world to sing in perfect harmony - it now wants to teach the world how to be happy, appointing a team of Happiness Ambassadors to show us the way. A team of three young people are to attempt to visit the 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold in 365 days, finding out what makes people happy and sharing this with the world through social networking sites.
The "give away free content so advertisers can reach an audience" model has been around for decades, starting with free broadsheets, then radio, TV and, most recently, the internet. But the internet has, almost stubbornly, not been able to follow the inevitable ad-supported formula that accompanied "traditional media" for so long -- that consumers will accept your content in exchange for viewing ads. What went so wrong so fast?
Two events of recent days underscore for me how old-media executives are not comprehending the collaboration economy: how it adds value, how it creates efficiency, how it operates under new currencies. Add this to the other blind spots these old media powers have about the new economic reality: the imperatives of the link economy, the need and benefit of giving up control, the advantages of creating open platforms over closed systems, the value of networks, the post-scarcity economy and the art of exploiting abundance, the need to be searchable to be found, the deflation innovation brings, the value of free, the triumph of process over product…. This is what I wrote in my book about. Trying to get media to understand it is why I wrote it. Behind each of these new laws of the new age is a set of consequences that result if you don’t at least try to understand them and continue to operate under the expired rules of the industrial economy.
Nearly every brand exercise doubling as content has come across as just that: overproduced shtick that has no compelling reason to exist independent of the beflogged marketer. You can stick however many aching-for-work actors you want in an IKEA or in front of a Dell computer, but unless you give them something interesting to do, viewers will check out the first few minutes of the first episode before dismissing it and moving on to a content-first play -- say, Marvel's dark, extravagant Motion Comics.
Television is going cross-platform. Video content is becoming unshackled from the broadcast transmission towers, terrestrial coaxial cable plant and the living room television sets of old. While the business models for Web-distributed video are far from developed and proven, video content creators and producers can now use the Internet to deliver their programming directly to the vast majority of U.S. households. This trend is already impacting the television industry in a significant and disruptive way, and its effect is intensifying. Many companies are now taking steps to try to control their destiny in a future where TV can be consumed "everywhere," on a multitude of different and widely distributed devices and platforms. So today, I am going to discuss my thoughts on how this future might play out -- who might find the elusive business model for profitable cross-platform video scale, and who might not.
Samsung Electronics Co.'s profits are on the rise again as its chip and display businesses recover from operating losses earlier this year. The turnaround recently helped push its market capitalization past Intel Corp.'s for the first time. But amid that success Samsung also is trying to address another concern: matching Apple Inc.'s ability to sell content and software that run on cellphones and other devices. Apple's iPhone has led the way in demonstrating that consumers are becoming more interested in devices that can tap the Internet or run clever applications. The same phenomenon is spreading to TVs and DVD players, which increasingly will be connectable to the Internet in coming years.
By now, most consumer marketers know they could be using Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), blogs, and other social media platforms to boost brand recognition, engage customers, and drive sales. But getting a social media marketing program started – and keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the industry – can be daunting. The good news is that with the right technology tools, social media marketing programs can be managed at scale and can help the entire organization (not just the marketers!) find out what customers are saying, sharing, even feeling about your brand or business. When thinking about the technology tools you need to launch, measure, and optimize your social media marketing and online customer engagement programs, it helps to organize your efforts into categories: listening and monitoring tools; editorial, publishing, and content syndication tools; and conversation measurement tools. There are hundreds of tools out there, but here are some of the more popular and effective ones that can be put to work for you.
All content is not created equal. While valuable content is the linchpin of an organization's marketing strategy, different types of content map to different part of the buyer's journey. McKinsey published a report earlier this year that confirmed what many of us with the ear to the digital space have known for a while - people don't like to be funneled into a neat graphic. We're way past calling buyers consumers. Even as the term may be technically correct, it has an image problem. I prefer to talk about customers and since last week was customer service week and I was traveling, I thought we could have more than one customer conversation this week. In the digital space, your content is likely to be activated by participation.
One of the wisest bits of advice I've gotten in my advertising career came from an old creative director who once noted that "there's a reason 'America's Funniest Home Videos' is a top-10 show." His point, which predated You Tube's sneezing pandas and dancing babies by at least 10 years, was that the most popular entertainment is often the safest. Which doesn't make it bad or wrong or awful. It's just not cutting edge. It's something to keep in mind as we move deeper into a world of democratized content, one where consumers are their own editors and make the call as to what gets passed on.
It was not so long ago that employees in most retail environments were held in little regard by marketing teams. Sure, there was some training, but in the main they were under utilized as brand communicators. This was obviously something of an oversight and since the sale of Zappos to Amazon and the 12 page essay on the company in The New Yorker, it's now fashionable to make sure employees are a critical part of your brand arsenal. The latest case is Starbucks who seem keen to shine a light on the diversity and personality of its employee base and is turning to user generated content to collect the stories.
I know it's all PC and cool to say that numbers don't matter. Number of fans, followers, readers of your blog -- none of that matters. It's all about just writing and sharing great content because that is the core of social media. [dramatic pause while I hug myself] Personally, I disagree. I think it's easy to say numbers don't matter when you have 30,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 fans on Facebook or an email list with over 100,000 readers. And it's easier to fall prey to that thinking and not challenge it, poke at it and see if well maybe... it's flawed somehow. I think numbers do matter for two reasons.
Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the website as the dominant digital channel in the brand’s communication tool kit? This question has been the focus of much discussion recently as statistics over the last three years show a significant decline in unique users to the websites of prominent brands. And while the number of website visitors declines, the number of people visiting social media and networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter increases dramatically.
Every hour thousands of new videos are uploaded online. Blog posts are written and published. Millions of tweets and other short messages are shared. To say there is a flood of content being created online now seems like a serious understatement. Until now, the interesting thing is that there are relatively few technologies or tools that have been adopted in a widespread way to manage this deluge. We pretty much just have algorithmic search, with Google (and other search engines) as the most obvious example. Social bookmarking and social news have been around for some time (ie - sites like Digg or delicious), and new models of aggregation like Alltop are springing up to help us navigate all this content as well. The real question is whether solutions like these will be enough. By some estimates in just a few years we will reach a point where all the information on the Internet will double every 72 hours. Double.
In the five months following Tim Armstrong's appointment as chief executive of AOL, the former Google executive has announced his plan to turn the subscription-based Internet provider into an online media and advertising giant. The first order of business was building content. Then he worked on creating a more powerful advertising network. Now the focus is marketing the company, which is trying to shed its image as a tired, unfocused Internet behemoth.
Business blogging can be exceptionally rewarding. When done correctly, a successful blog can bring attention to your business, can attract new customers, and can turn your current customer base into the type of fans that companies like Apple, Netflix, and Ben and Jerry’s have: people who will not only buy your product or service, but evangelize it to their peers. Of course, like anything, there is a right way to go about starting a business blog and a wrong way. Creating a blog for your small business isn’t easy; it requires hard work and the ability to think creatively about your work. But if you avoid the five big mistakes laid out in this post, your chances of building a successful business blog will be much better.
Ford is into the eighth month of its Fiesta Movement social-media program to promote the eponymous car from Europe by letting 100 young social-media-savvy Americans drive the vehicles for several months. Each month, Ford has been assigning tasks to the "Agents" involving lots of driving and just as much blogging, Twittering, YouTubing and Flickring. This month, they will be sent to do things likely to generate more attention than what they have previously done, including training with U.S. Navy SEALS, learning to cook with insects, and going hiking in the Rockies.
The first Tiger Woods video game, released in 1999, was available as an off-the-shelf disc for the Sony PlayStation console or the PC. Today Tiger Woods games, including the just-released "PGA Tour 10," are available for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox, PCs and mobile phones. Gamers can download new golf courses and equipment, buy expansion packs, play in live online tournaments, stream play to a PC or Mac and order up a specially created iPhone app. Marketing has followed a similar course.
For more than 100 years, marketing has largely operated as a push paradigm. We create messages and funnel them through the media to reach stakeholders. Push remains viable. However, with time on social-networking sites and search engines rising, we need new ways to engage and reach people multiple times across different sources. That, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, is when consumers will trust what we have to say. That's what the "power of pull" is all about.
The ﬁrst video on YouTube was uploaded at 8:27 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, 2005. It’s called “Me at the Zoo,” and it features the musings of Jawed Karim, one of the site’s founders, as elephants nose around in hay behind him. The video has a certain pleasing obviousness. “Here we are in front of the, uh, elephants,” Karim says. “They have really, really, really long” — suspense, but no double entendre — “trunks.” Karim turns to face the elephants as if to confirm his observation. Waits a beat. Readdresses the camera. “And that’s pretty much all there is to say.” The video is 19 seconds long.
I recently gave a talk titled Free the People! at the Potomac Forum’s Government 2.0 Leadership, Collaboration, and Public Engagement Symposium in Washington, DC that generated enough interest for me to post my slide deck and write a summary for a wider audience. These thoughts constitute some of my early ideas about “offensive social media” for organizations (this talk was particularly geared towards a government audience, but the fundamentals apply to the private and public sectors more broadly).
There are plenty of Twitter tools out there designed to help you understand Twitter metrics. These tools come in handy for measuring change in tweet fluctuations, charting follower count numbers, finding out hashtag frequency, and quantifying Twitter activity. Most of us, however, will find ourselves wanting to know more about the tweets themselves, and to really understand the context and content of a tweet.
Marshall Kirkpatrick takes on the “RSS is dead” meme, started by Steve Gillmor, but really started by all those people who haven’t been using RSS much anymore. My answer to Marshall: I’m not in the news business anymore, but if I were I’d keep Twitter up on screen. I’ve been looking closely at Google Reader’s latest features, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and I gotta say that most of what shows up on TechMeme shows up in my Twitter feed up to a day earlier.
As a company, Whole Foods has impressively embraced social media more than most, gathering over 1.2 million followers on Twitter and 123,000 fans on Facebook in the process. While it is easy to understand why a relatively young company or one started by a tech-savvy founder would so completely embrace social media communication tools, it is quite a bit more remarkable for an almost 30 year old established brick and mortar company with roughly 50,000 employees and over 270 stores worldwide to have done so.
Picture this: it's the year 2062 and Mark Zuckerberg, having recently celebrated his 78th birthday, is still, against all odds, running Facebook. The once-invincible social-networking behemoth has seen better days, and financially it's coasting on fumes -- Facebook's 38th round of venture-capital funding is about to run dry -- but no matter. Zuckerberg's still large and in charge, even as competitors eat away at his market share. The problem, of course, is that he never took TCOL -- total consciousness osmotic lifestreaming -- seriously, and now upstarts are using the device-free technology to run circles around Facebook.
GOOGLE has an outsize image as the deft master of information. Its superior technology seems to pitilessly grind up its rivals. But Google’s domination in search has proved hard for it to match in some information domains. When serving financial news and information, for example, Yahoo draws 17.5 times the traffic of Google, according to comScore Media Metrix.
By now, we’re all pretty familiar with how digital music works: People get sued, content gets deleted, and start-ups go bankrupt. YouTube’s ContentID marks a welcome change from that routine by freeing people to infringe copyright while generally keeping copyright holders happy. In an area known for bitter lawsuits and hastily issued “take down” notices, this is that rarest of birds: a feel-good digital music story.
For a time, Internet advertising was a rising tide lifting all boats. But as ad spending ebbs, there are more arguments about where on the Web advertising is the most fruitful. The fight over shrinking Internet ad dollars pits online publishers that offer premium content against major Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. Portals and publishers, meanwhile, also have to compete with the ad brokers that sell often cut-rate leftover ad space on Web pages with less visibility.
Larger ad formats might be in vogue right now, but when it comes to online display advertising, bigger is not always better. Ad effectiveness depends less on size than it does on shape and placement, according to Dynamic Logic.
Among the conundrums left by the newspaper die-off: What is the new model for local news and information, once the sole province of community newspapers? MSNBC.com snapped up one of the more promising efforts, EveryBlock.com. The startup, founded by programmer and journalist Adrian Holovaty, was funded by the Knight Foundation's "news challenge" program, an annual contest for innovations in local news.
Sure, 2009 has been tough so far, with most trend lines pointing way, way down. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Here at Ad Age, we decided to find some media properties that are actually moving the needle northward this year to see what's working in these difficult times. So what is working? First up, great, must-have editorial and entertainment is a common thread. Know your audience. Help marketers tailor ads for that audience. And constantly revamp a trusted brand to stay relevant and indispensable. Easy, right?
The office at Ninth Street and Broadway in Manhattan in the former Wanamaker’s department store has all of the trademarks of a well-financed digital start-up. Young people eat pizza and chat about applications while others are jammed into conference rooms discussing search optimization. The only oddity in the futuristic tableau comes when you step off the elevator to see three large letters: A O L.
One of the top 10 questions in social media marketing asked is “How do we kick start our community?” This post aims at providing some resources for brands that are preparing their community strategy. The old adage of the field of dreams isn’t true -if you build it–they won’t necessarily come. Brands must have a kick start plan to be successful with their community. Below, I’ll list out some practices I’ve heard from companies that have had successful communities, and I’d ask you chime in and add more ways, let’s get started, I’ll be as specific and actionable as possible.
There's something a little heartbreaking about the very existence of "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture," by Bill Wasik. After all, it's a meditation on living, breathing virality that resides between the hard, dead covers of a book. I can point you to its Amazon page or to any number of reviews and write-ups -- including, most recently, James B. Arndorfer's "Father of Flash Mobs on the Future of Viral" in the Ad Age Bookstore -- but the actual pages of "This" are trapped, even on a Kindle, in their own separate, fixed, unlinked world. And so, for this latest installment of Dumenco's Media People -- an ongoing series of conversations with media grandees -- I took Bill Wasik out for tea recently in New York City, near the headquarters of Harper's Magazine, where he's a senior editor, to attempt some ... interactivity with the living, breathing social-media observer and mischief-maker.
Content may be king, but it won’t ever get the royal treatment outside the confines of your company’s website unless its dressed for success with a killer headline and description to match. A lot of interest can be generated with great content and some proper positioning. Positioning, in this case means solid headlines and descriptions to accompany the content at a variety of access points across the web.
The signs are everywhere. The New York Times is close to bankruptcy. Magazines are dying in droves. The music industry is trying anything to make a buck. The TV networks are wondering if they can keep selling increasingly expensive space in return for an increasingly smaller audience that time-shifts its way out of having to watch the ads. Meanwhile, business plans that held the words "advertising funded" are being rewritten, while multitudes of newspapers and content sites are closing down because of lack of income.
Does Rupert Murdoch have one more revolution in him? The man who took over newspapering in Australia and Britain, and upended the cable news business here, planted a new flag last week, pronouncing that, contrary to popular reports, information does not want to be free; it actually wants to be paid for.
For a moment last week, it seemed like paid content was really on the march. Rupert Murdoch announced his intention to charge for every News Corp. news site. DirecTV, the second-largest pay-TV provider, was found in talks to launch a web-video service -- for its paying subscribers. And a comprehensive new forecast reported that consumers were spending less time with media that's heavily subsidized by advertising -- and more with media they pay for.
Media brands are jumping onto the iPhone. USA Today? There’s an app for that. “The Rachel Maddow Show”? “Entertainment Tonight”? Public radio? Yes, yes and yes, there are apps for those. Now, if only there were an app that showed media companies how to make money on the iPhone.
Media consumption is changing. You don't need me to tell you that. But you may be unaware just how much it's shifting as we embrace "the stream." What's the stream? It's a way of consuming content as a continuous feed of brief bits, singles, 10-minute videos, tweets and status updates. It reflects the societal shift from analog to digital. And it's a natural fit for the web, where attention spans are minuscule.
It has been said recently that online digital video as a medium is like the early days of movies, in that people are getting used to watching longer online-video content (longer than two minutes) because "the medium is growing up." In effect, these people feel that, as the online-video medium and its audience continue to mature, that audience, like early movie-going audiences, will learn to accept longer-form content.
As a business owner who uses digital technology as the backbone of my business, I found Chris Anderson’s latest book inspiring and useful. Even though ‘Free: The Future Of A Radical Price’ has generated a negative backlash (including a piece on this site), I found it both an incredible encyclopedia of business in our time plus a lens through which to look at my own business.
Late last month, IAC Chairman Barry Diller said that it's "mythology" to view the Internet as a system of free communications. He’s absolutely right; what's wrong is why he'd even have to say it, or that it would merit any news coverage.
According to a new survey published by private equity company Veronis Suhler Stevenson, consumers are getting wise to advertising and are choosing to avoid it. In 2008, for the first time, people used more paid content than ad-supported stuff.
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
Internet fads have proven to be short-lived, "jumping the shark" and falling from grace as swiftly as they rose. Twitter will prove to be the exception because of its one permanently-redeeming quality: simplicity.
Yahoo's long nightmare is over, having finally offloaded its search business to Microsoft after years of rumors, negotiations and reversals. Now all it has to do is figure out what comes next. A new era at Yahoo began the minute CEO Carol Bartz signed the paperwork turning over the right to conduct searches on Yahoo's huge network of Web sites to Microsoft in exchange for 88 percent of the revenue generated by Microsoft's Bing. Now Yahoo is first and foremost a media company, in the business of attracting as many people to its properties as possible in hopes of selling lucrative ad deals on those pages.
Like everyone else I’ve watched the print media world fall apart over the last few years. The poster child for that industry is the New York Times, of course, and their many missteps in recent memory have been well chronicled. In early 2008 Marc Andreessen started a New York Times Deathwatch, and the company’s financial performance has degraded since then. I keep wondering what would happen if the top 10% of the writers at the NYTimes just…walked out. I know it’s crazy, but let’s just explore this a bit for the heck of it.
Welcome to the third interview in the Social Media Mavens series, where I talk to some of the top minds in corporate social media, and learn how their companies are crafting their social media efforts. Today's installment features a recent chat I had with Kodak's Director of Interactive Marketing and Convergence Media, Tom Hoehn. Tom has also been a driving force behind Kodak's social media efforts, which includes the stellar A Thousand Words, which is one of the best corporate blogs out there.
If you're at all lucky, you'll spend at least part of this summer far away from spreadsheets, reports, ad consoles, and bid management software. While there's nothing wrong with single-mindedly focusing on all the granular data associated with search, too much data, all the time, can rot your brain. With this latter point in mind, this week's column attempts to wrestle with some large-frame issues that I think deserve attention, because, as we learned from the financial crisis, it's often the most basic, most obvious issues (such as whether all subprime mortgages that were being issued could possibly ever be repaid) that can blow everyone out of the water. In other words, just because nobody's talking about something doesn't mean that it's not real enough to kill you.
I've been thinking about the integration challenge with social media. Advertising, marketing, and public relations need to work together - and in this environment, they need to put the customer is the driver's seat. I'm sure you'll find reason to build on the analogy or help me rebuild it.
There is no centralized location in the digital world. Increasingly, digital content spans platforms and devices seamlessly, connecting users with information and with each other. In doing so, it democratizes and levels the traditional playing field for the persistently connected audience, becoming a global platform capable of providing ubiquitous access to content and experiences. For brands, it represents a new priority, influencing the digital tribe.
Time and time again I see the discussion about free content, free services, free products, and how they’re going to liberate/destroy/change the current economy, especially when it comes to the Internet. Often, one important point is neglected. When it comes to free, it’s not the price that’s crucial.
A new Columbia Journalism Review opinion piece argues persuasively (in my view) that Google “owes” something to traditional journalism and news organizations. Google, typically, is a stand-in for “the internet” in these discussions. This notion of responsibility to publishers is unpopular among bloggers and Internet denizens more generally.
Fifteen years ago — before Google or Wikipedia or blogging or Craigslist or podcasts or YouTube — the technology investor and pundit Esther Dyson wrote an article analyzing the business of “creative content” in a future where the Internet made distribution essentially free. “Creators will have to fight to attract attention and get paid,” she predicted. Enforcing copyrights won’t be enough, because creators “will operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace where much of the intellectual property is distributed free and suppliers explode in number. . . . The problem for owners of content is that they will be competing with free or almost-free content.”
Engagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.
The march of technology has disrupted the implicit contract that has driven the media business for a hundred years or more: Publishers/programmers provide quality content; advertisers help subsidize the content and, in return, get to show commercial messages to audiences; and consumers enjoy the content and accept the ads that subsidize all or some of the cost.
If you are reading this, I am doing my job. Roughly speaking, that is the compact that has underpinned the ties that bind those who write the news to those who read it.
Television programs such as “The Simpsons” and “CSI” are for the first time commanding higher advertising rates at Web sites including Hulu.com and TV.com than on prime-time TV.
Google started it. Social media, especially with tools like FriendFeed, magnified it - page one is the place to be. The top of page one is especially the place to be. Those few days when Conversation Agent was at number five on AdAge Power150 many checked out this blog from that list. From number 16? Not so much.
At this point, I don't need to lament anymore the ailments of the print-newspaper industry. It's a well-chronicled and covered story.
The Newport Daily News in Rhode Island has a new digital strategy: close its free, ad-supported site and sell an electronic edition that costs more than twice as much as getting the print paper in your driveway. It's a bold move that just might work. So why isn't every newspaper so brave? What if every newspaper gated off everything tomorrow? What if newspapers embraced the idea of "going Galt"?
Things are moving very quickly now, in fact I was pleased to learn about these contextual ads from my new friend Corey Brien in SF yesterday. In my latest report “The Future of the Social Web” we pointed that in the near future we’ll start to see web pages dynamically created based on user profile ID in social networks. Essentially, your corporate, media, or ecommerce site could provide contextual media, content, and advertisement based on users’ info before they login.
After a decade and a half of evangelisation by the likes of Seth Godin (re his book entitled: Permission Marketing) and those who followed in his footsteps, Marketers are now finally waking up to the idea that pre-formatted communications aren’t the right way to engage with customers.
Google would like YouTube to become profitable -- a tough task when it's providing free bandwidth and video storage for much of the world's videos, most of which have limited interest to advertisers. But providing all that bandwidth isn't as expensive and YouTube is far closer to break-even than previously thought, according to IT outsourcing firm RampRate.
I miss the good ol' days of global brand strategy. It used to be so simple: Develop a single, absolute definition of your brand, then produce content -- mostly TV spots and print -- that was generic enough for local voice-over talent to translate, perhaps augmented with an image or two for local color. What was important was that those absolutes of brand were constant; the delivery component was tactical. "Think global, act local" was the mantra we stole from the world's do-gooders in the 1970s, and it was supposed to save money on production costs while ensuring consistent delivery of our messaging.
Micro-blogging service Twitter remains the preserve of a few, despite the hype surrounding it, according to research.
One-point-five seconds. If you believe neuroscientists, that's all the time we have to get someone's attention with our marketing messages. In little more than the blink of an eye, each of our targeted customers plays judge and jury to our marketing handiwork and decides whether to pay attention to us or banish us to the ash heap of misspent marketing dollars.
It should come as no surprise that the entire sports world is reaching out to fans with social media tools. But just how engaged are these groups with the latest in communications technology? Because the National Basketball Association (NBA) is in the thick of its playoffs, we’ll use them as a guinea pig.
Social media and the explosion of (potential) digital destinations has bubbled up the question about content.
There’s been a hell of a lot of chat recently about exactly how you can make money through social media. So far, the only ones cashing in have been the founding principals when they sell off a fraction of their site to a traditional media company, which immediately gives them an insane valuation in the billions. Right now the situation smacks of the late nineties, dot com “Field of dreams” model. The one that said if you build it they will come, then we’ll start making dumpster loads of money by selling lots and lots of really shitty and intrusive advertising on the site. It didn’t work ten years ago and billions of dollars worth of VC money went down the rancid tubes of hundreds of short lived Silicon Valley start-ups.
An alarm went off on some desk at The New York Times business section: Oh-oh, time to slam blogs again. But the latest assault reveals as much about The Times and the culture of classical journalism as it does about bloggers. Like the millennial clash of business models in media - the content economy v. the link economy and the inability of one to understand the other - here we see a clash over journalistic culture and methods - product journalism v. process journalism.
I thought Twitter hype had reached a fever pitch with the big Oprah appearance. Boy, was I ever wrong.
This is one area of social media and especially blogging that has always irked me. The belief that if you create great content, you are set. That your blog will be inundated with thousands of visitors just dying to get the chance to glimpse your verbal greatness.
Content doesn’t spread on the web because of its inherent qualities. We choose to share content because of its value within a network.
In a world of near-ubiquitous computing, where an ever-expanding collection of devices turns readers into an army of co-creators and news distributors, The New York Times is trying to figure out its place. And the venerable Gray Lady's place in this world, increasingly, rests squarely with turning its readers into, well, something more.
Ailing news organizations seeking to make money from both online readers and the Web sites that republish their stories are looking at the way music publishers collect a fraction of a cent for every song played in public, from the corner bowling alley to the stage of "American Idol."
The social web trend is more or less complete. Oprah's gone Twitter, your co-worker has a MySpace problem, and if your parents aren't bugging you with Facebook movie quiz invites, they probably will be by the time you're done reading this. People are flocking to these sites in record numbers, as Facebook now boasts over 200 million users worldwide, and Twitter has grown 3,000 per cent since last year. But for the social web to evolve into its final stage and take flight, the walls that separate these services, their users, and everything they create are going to have to come down.
For those of you increasingly convinced that you're the last human alive who doesn't get the point of Twitter, I have comforting news: Nobody does. Not really. Sure, the twittering masses (17 million registered U.S. users, by latest count) have some idea what their habit is good for. For many, Twitter's steady stream of one-line updates — "microblogging," as the form is known — is a low-maintenance way to feel connected to family, friends, celebrities. For others, it's a marketing tool, a public diary, a communal news feed, or even, simply, a sort of brain game — a text-message Sudoku, where the daily challenge is to fit the maximum amount of cleverness into the minimal space of a 140-character limit. But knowing how people use Twitter isn't the same thing as knowing why they use it. And that turns out to be a puzzle even seasoned Twitter watchers have found difficult to crack.
I accept that people and brands are going have a use for their own websites (I still do). Given that, the important questions are: What role will your website be playing within the overall context of the internet as a whole? Are you spending and an amount of money, effort, and time that is appropriate to that role? Would you be better off putting that money, effort, and time into developing content?
Time Warner is going to spin off AOL by the end of the year. It should hurry up. It paid $124 billion in 2001; while that's less than a decade ago, it might has well have been a different planet. The Internet was fast becoming the superhighway for business and entertainment, and AOL owned one of the first and largest tollbooths. It was the Google and Twitter of its day. AOL made money, and seemed poised to be perhaps the dominant portal for Internet experience. Some critics even worried that it was poised to take over the Internet.
As YouTube has grown into the preeminent video sharing service online, marketers have tried, with limited success, to broadcast themselves and to reach audiences with their messaging. And while individuals have used YouTube as a platform to step into the spotlight, most brands have been left behind in the shadows. Save for the occasional media-supported viral video blitz, or user generated contest, commercial success on YouTube has been elusive to the many brands that have tried to reach for that brass ring.
Let’s face it - unless you are YouTube or Hulu, you are looking for ways to build audience and streams to capture more in-stream advertising dollars. Nowhere is this truer than in the news market where CNN, the leading online news site, has a 1.2% market share in streams (Nielsen), and is selling-out 100% of its video advertising inventory. While media companies continue to pursue traditional audience development strategies, such as video SEO and social distribution, they must also pursue the underexploited opportunity of “internal syndication” of video content.
As publications continue to struggle or fold because of dwindling advertising revenues, one is thriving by selling not just ad space, but entire marketing campaigns.
When you start something new, especially if it's something you've not done before, you really have no idea how you will organize around it. One of the most frequently asked questions - and objections raised - to the use of social media is that of time, or rather lack of.
For more than 100 years brand marketers have largely focused on push - a mix of tried-and-true tactics that include paid and earned media. However, that was before the Attention Crash, which is changing the economics of digital marketing. The endless supply of content is taking a toll. It has forced consumers to make hard choices about where and how they spend time. Today people are browsing less and going deeper into a small number of sites. The exact mix of destinations change. What they have in common, however, is that they are all useful.
How much would you pay to read this page? At about 2,000 of the roughly 50,000 printed words in a typical copy of the Financial Times, it should in theory be worth about 4 per cent of the newspaper's cover price - 10 US cents, 17½ euro cents or eight pence. To readers particularly interested in the subject, perhaps, it may be worth more. To others, though no journalist would like to admit as much, it will be worth nothing. Similar questions are being asked with growing urgency in boardrooms across the news industry and the wider media sector, as stalling economies challenge the foundation on which most content owners' digital strategies have been built.
Over the last year, I have had to explain how social media works to diplomats, defense officials, and academics and students focused on fields as diverse as international affairs, management and sociology. I have found that first-timer find social media confusing because of two reasons.
Molding aspects of a social media in a medium to large sized corporation can be tricky. Old fashioned corporate philosophy dictates control over the flow of communication be regulated by the proper in house channels only. In the evolution of social we see individuals representing company ideals and company brands when we use to see press releases and public relations broadcasting their spun version. The core of the company's foundation ordinarily was concealed unless a controversy manifested and then public relations was brought in to fix it.
For the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY a key model we want to build is hyperlocal. There are, of course, many views of hyperlocal and it will involve many different kinds of players, from sole bloggers to news organizations. The way I’d like to attack this is to try to create one or two optimal models for sustaining coverage in a towns, or collection of small towns, or neighborhoods in a city - the size of critical mass of the ideal minimarket is itself a key question.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine sent me an email telling me that she had shared my coordinates with a journalist friend of hers who had been recently laid off. She asked me if I would mind helping her friend explore career opportunities in corporate America. He was a Pulitzer finalist - so he can really write a report. At the same time as layoffs are more and more frequent in newsrooms, corporate America is hurting for people who can write valuable content. Many organizations may be holding off hiring at the moment, but this need is only going to increase for those companies that understand the value of content marketing to their bottom line.
Condé Nast folds Portfolio even as it starts Wired in print in the U.K. So which are we to take as the harbinger for the future of magazines?
It’s fate that GeoCities dies at the same moment that MySpace reshuffles and reboots its management in the face of no growth (which, on the internet, is the same as shrinkage). What they have in common, of course, is that they are platforms for creating content.
The Wall Street Journal, one of the few newspapers that charges for content online, released an app for the iPhone Wednesday which sets their content free, poking another hole in one of the internet's oldest pay walls.
The global publishing giants have declared war on the new technology generation of content distributors -- but they have lost sight of what consumers value and how they want to get to the value. It's time to separate content creators from distributors. It's time for a new business model which requires technology understanding and leadership to develop -- and one that new generation search applications like Google News and Digg for the consumer, or FirstRain for the professional investor, can sign up for to get the right news to the right people at the right price for them.
Remember back in the Paleolithic era of the Internet, when people said things like "paradigm shift" and "information superhighway"? Back about that same time, it was the informed wisdom that "content is king."
Techmeme is one of the sites that Robert Thomson, managing editor of the The Wall Street Journal, presumably thinks is a "parasite" or "tech tapeworm in the intestines of the Internet." The Web site aggregates links to stories. Along with the links is a short description of the news. Thomson and others in the newspaper industry say it's unfair and unlawful for Web sites to profit from their content without compensating them
This is the first full episode 100% dedicated to content itself. Last week was a context setter. In this episode, I test drive the Kindle 2 from a marketing/branding perspective.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt walked into the lion's den Tuesday as the closing keynote speaker of the Newspaper Association of America's annual conference and got a polite reception from publishers who often blame him for their ongoing economic woes. He addressed head on publishers' criticisms that Google unfairly makes money off other people's content, reminded the news executives they have the absolute power to keep their content out of the search giant's mix and told them, as nicely as he could, that they stopped innovating online more than a decade ago.
The Associated Press said Monday it is launching an initiative to better control its newspaper members' material online. Under the initiative, whose details are still being determined, the AP will work with Web portals and other digital partners to track -- and pursue legal action against -- publishers that use this content on the Web without a license.
For marketers and publishers of the social Web, design matters. Creative matters. Ideas matter. It is true that properly utilized data can drive better decision making, but it is also true that all the data in the world doesn't create innovation without interpretation, and data doesn't always lead to great design (especially when the data is about the wrong thing -- clicks, anyone?).
Disney and YouTube are in the final stages of negotiations to put clips from ESPN, ABC and other Disney assets on YouTube, according to sources familiar with the situation. The two companies would share revenue, with Disney controlling the ad inventory; YouTube and Google could get some inventory to sell. As important, YouTube would refer back to ESPN.com, ABC.com and the other Disney sites. Disney declined comment; a YouTube spokesman said the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.
I have a list of URLs for projects that I would love to do, if I had nothing better to do. All of these projects are content marketing related. In some cases, I want to write about something like business travel. In other cases, I want to write product reviews. In all cases, these are commercial ventures, and have a revenue plan as well as a larger business goal in mind. The thing is, I have no time to run any of these projects. None. I’m working over 80 hours a week, and these will require more attention than I can give them. The problem gave me something to consider: what I’d want (and by extension, what I feel other people would want) in an executive editor for a blog.
The Greek Chorus of technologists and the digerati continue to belittle marketers for their slowness in shifting ad budgets online.
Social media isn't a good medium for advertising. It is the worst medium for advertising. It will never work. It hasn't worked for chat rooms, message boards, AIM or other socially interactive mediums. Jason Calacanis, founder and CEO at Mahalo, told OMMA Global Hollywood attendees Monday that social media may not work, but search does.
We're not convinced the best way newspaper companies such as Hearst, McClatchy and A.H. Belo can serve their various private and public shareholders is to try and win the online advertising game.
The Internet shatters all forms of advertising. “The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed.”
Over the nine-day experiment (4 days of advertising the tweetfest and the five days I tweeted) I learned a lot about Twitter and how to use a Live Tweet strategy to market a brand. And while I can’t share everything here, after all a girls gotta have a few secrets, I have included about 85% of the what we learned in hopes of instigating discussions around Twitter and more importantly, embedded journalism as a marketing concept.
We’ve always wondered why Nokia has persisted in making its phone-users use the telecom company’s own proprietary content sharing services like Mosh when there were plenty of good and popular sites already being used by their subscriber base.
Social news-sharing site Digg is one of the web's top crowdsourcing success stories. By letting its users vote up content that interests them, thereby deciding what belongs on the front page and what doesn't, Digg has rewritten the rules of news gathering and information sharing on the web. The site has also earned a reputation as an excellent resource for breaking news -- whatever story, blog post, video or photo is currently burning up the web, chances are you saw it on Digg first.
Email newsletters can be a powerful tool for marketers, supporting customer relationships, boosting loyalty, and driving engagement. What a shame, then, to waste the space with content that hasn't been strategically planned. I get some e-newsletters that are so full of unrelated articles that I have no idea how I'm supposed to consume the news therein. Let's leave the 25 Random Things to our Facebook friends and create optimized newsletters instead.
Facebook began to roll out a new design of its homepage today, with a number of subtle features intended to make feed-based social networking more intuitive for the typical user. When the company first showed off its plans last week, we and many others compared some of the changes to microblogging service Twitter and lifestreaming service FriendFeed. But upon using the service, significant differences become more clear — and point to Facebook’s long-term strategy of gradually opening the site up to the web.
These days, everyone knows that one of the hottest stories any newspaper can cover is that of its own demise. The collapse of print advertising and the downturn in sales, at the news stand and through subscriptions, has led to a frantic search for new ways to monetize content that’s often available online for free. Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands.
The rise of advertising-supported media may be getting a new wrinkle. Actually, though, it's kind of like an old crease. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes' new "TV Everywhere" initiative looks to add a seemingly quaint way of doing business: having consumer pay for TV/video content. Specifically, consumers buy a subscription that allows them -- via a cable, satellite or telecom provider -- to view cable TV network content online.
We're now in what I am starting to call the perfect storm for social media. On one side we have lots of very smart and accomplished professionals who are and have been using these tools to network, learn, and some to market themselves successfully to new jobs and careers. On the other we have many companies that are starting to see the need for different answers to growth than the diminishing returns not guaranteed by traditional channels.
Net neutrality has for several years been touted as a sort of desperate stand by the internet's independent content providers to fight telecoms from charging for the right to use bandwidth. Its proponents have warned that if unchecked, telecoms may create fast lanes, essentially destroying smaller sites that cannot pay, and crippling internet entrepreneurship. Now the tables have turned on the ISPs in what may be a growing new trend. ESPN is leading a push for internet content providers to charge ISPs for the right to use their sites.
Newsweek is planning a redesign and some shifts in content to fashion an opinionated take on events, aimed at a much smaller, and wealthier, readership.
Turner is revving up another branded microseries initiative, signing General Motors as the sponsor of a five-part strip bowing Jan. 28.
ESPN will air a prime-time documentary that was conceived as a marketing vehicle for German automaker Audi. "Truth in 24" is scheduled for March 20 and focuses on the performance of Audi cars in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
With once-profitable newspapers and magazines slashing, burning and declining, you have to wonder where all the content will be coming from as more people go online.
Nickelodeon is launching a new online site for kids. UpickDaily.com allows its young users to share, vote, poll and post their thoughts on various topics. In essence, the site lets kids be their own content providers and news aggregators about TV, movies, games, sports, stars and more.
For years, we in traditional media have consoled ourselves about the increasing irrelevance of our work. First, we insist that content is king. When that argument doesn’t add up, we say that classic 20th-century forms like Hollywood movies and glossy magazines breed natural digital extensions. The third argument says we have to change.