Weblogs

Marketing in 2009

Marketing in 2009


In our ongoing effort to share resources that focus directly on social media, we wanted to direct your attention to this free eBook offered on the terrific Conversation Agent blog by Valeria Maltoni.

Twelve social media professionals talk about what they see as the key imperatives and trends for 2009, and it’s well worth downloading and referring back to all year long.

It’s free, yet it offers invaluable insight and advice.

What are you waiting for?

Did I mention it was free?

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Should corporations blog?

Should corporations blog?

Instead of answering the question directly, let’s do a quick survey of some larger corporations in the space.


This incomplete list illustrates how each company takes a different approach to information, outreach and community building.

The GE Global Research blog is a peek into their industrial research labs and is targeted to the technology set. They have dozens of contributors so the content remains fresh and wide ranging, and they incorporate lots of video.

The Graco blog also has multiple contributors (always a good idea) and focuses primarily on parenting issues.

General Motors’ Fastlane blog is “a forum for GM executives to talk about GM’s current and future products and services.” GM has been in the space for some time, and their blog gets a lot of comments, particularly in the past day or two as the Big Three are all testifying on Capitol Hill in search of a bridge loan to keep them afloat.

Most social media consultants, and I include myself, will say that a corporate blogging no-no is to prattle on about your latest product or service. Instead, you should be attempting to build trust with your community and be a problem solver. These three companies attack this issue in different ways.

GE is speaking to a devoted and passionate audience of science and technology people. GE Research Labs does not really make consumer products so unless you’re planning on buying a multi-million dollar medical imaging machine or a pulsed detonation engine (I don’t know, either), I think they’re right to break this cardinal rule. Their blog is for those who wish to stay on top of new developments.

Graco has a wide range of baby products they sell such as playpens, car seats and strollers. The blog, however, shares experiences and offers advice to the common problems that affect all parents. They do have a channel about their products, but the number of entries there is far outnumbered by those in the “Parenting” or “Babies” channels.

GM’s blog, on the other hand, is essentially a series of press releases or talking points posted by execs of the company. To their credit, though, most of the posts receive a LOT of comments and GM seems to let the community say whatever might be on their minds, and things sometimes get a little chippy. I don’t think people are feeling too warm and fuzzy towards any of the Big 3 right now, and if you don’t believe me, check the comments section.

There are tons of other big companies out there blogging (Coke, Molson, Intel, P&G and Wells Fargo, to name a few. There a good list here if you’re interested in seeing what the other guy is doing). The purpose of this post is not to hit you with a laundry list of who’s doing what. The point is to get you, your company or your clients seriously thinking about getting involved in the space, spy on your competition, learn from their mistakes and maybe even find something out about these companies you may not have known.

One of these days, “new media” will stop being new. That day is growing ever closer.

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Measuring the success of your online video strategy

Measuring the success of your online video strategy

As we all continue to refine our thinking about how “success” is measured in terms of your online video strategy, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind.

First, what IS your strategy. Too often I hear things like, “We need to get a video on our website,” or “We need to be on YouTube.” Maybe you do. But have you fully considered why? And exactly what the videos are meant to achieve?

I would agree with Forrester research analyst Jeremiah Owyang when he suggests that job one needs to be making your content embeddable and, consequently, more easily shared. As we have written before here, here and here, to  give up control is to gain control. I’m not trying to go all David Carradine, Kung Fu master on you, but think about it: people are sharing videos and talking about your company or product already. Naturally, you hope they’re saying positive things. And if they are, moving pictures beat words on a page any day of the week.

But while people are using your content however they wish, we need to stop thinking so much about the hit or click as the sole measurement of success. The conversations are happening. You may as well do all you can to try and lead them.

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Too Lijit to quit?

We made a couple of housekeeping improvements to make the blog a bit more useful. TypePad, our blogging software, has added a few new fonts and features, among them they have made it possible for links to open in a separate window. Like most good bloggers, we provide lots of links in our posts, but this way you won't navigate away from us every time you click a link. We want to keep you around for as long as possible and we like anything that makes the layout prettier and more useful.

On that subject, thanks to our pal Jason Falls, the Social Media Explorer, who told us about Lijit, which does a couple of cool things rather well. Chief among them, it offers robust search within our blog. We have 100+ posts and trying to find what you're looking for can be a little tough. Another thing it does well is create what I would call a "trust tree." (They don't call it that, but they can steal it if they like it.) If you click on "Explore" you will see a matrix of other blogs in my network, the assumption being that if you're a fan of my blog, you might also like these other ones. Finally, there are little chicklets that represent all the places you can find me online so you can follow me on Twitter, friend me up on Facebook, see my history on LinkedIn or watch some videos we've produced on YouTube. Find their widget over on the right hand side, just beneath the "Email me" link.

I'm just getting started with it, but I think it is a cool little tool. Tell me what you think. Or better yet, tell Lijit what you think and install it on your blog if you like it. They make it pretty simple to do. Not a major overhaul, but we hope you like the changes.

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Social media is stupid

Social media is stupid

When you work so closely in the world of blogs, social media apps, new media, etc., there is a
tendency to get lost in the echo chamber. We all spend so much time staying on top of what’s new both for our own sakes as well as to be able to provide reasoned and educated solutions for our clients. Yet so often, many of us are still met with the same kind of resistance, skepticism and just plain lack of understanding when we venture out into the real world. I wrote awhile back how we, as podcasters, had made the mistake of going a little ga-ga over all the tools available to us and taking our eye of the ball of “why is this new medium a game changer for our clients?” When you take your car to be fixed, you don’t really care what the mechanic had to do to get rid of that pinging sound. You just want it gone. That’s how your clients feel, too. They don’t want or need to see how the sausage is made.

There was a great post on Read/Write/Web last week about using social media for social change. Blogging for the victims of the Chinese earthquake, supporting social causes on Facebook and MySpace, using YouTube to promote charities and using your mobile phone to spread news and effect change were just some of the suggestions. The point is, the only limit to the uses for social media are your imagination.

The next time I get the eye roll, exhale and 1000-yard stare about how dumb blogging, Twitter and YouTube are, I plan on removing this arrow from my quiver.

 

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We’ve been blogging for a year?

We’ve been blogging for a year?

Well, actually 13 months. Our first post went up on April 11, 2007 and this one you are reading now is post number 100. By themselves, those numbers reveal nothing. They merely chart progress which, in itself, is important.

I am grateful to those of you who are loyal readers, linkers, commenters and forwarders. For me, writing this blog has become a way  to sort out my thoughts, analyze trends and offer up what I hope is some useful and actionable knowledge to my readers. For you, my hope is that you take away some solid information about how trends in new media affect you on a day-to-day basis, not in some ethereal or theoretical way.

As we move into year two, I wanted to restate what this blog and podcast are supposed to be about. (I really hate the term “mission statement.” I write a blog. I don’t attempt to put people on the moon.)

As I stated above, the overarching goal of keeping this blog is to help people of all digital faiths, skill and engagement levels understand how trends in new media directly relate back to their daily lives and how these trends are shaping the future of communications, advertising and television. The blog has pretty much stuck to that mantra for these past twelve months and pace of digital change does not look like it will slow down anytime soon.  My goal is to post twice a week (usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays) but I never post for the sake of posting. If I don’t have anything valuable to offer up, it may just be once a week. People seem pretty happy with that rhythm and as a piece of side advice to would-be bloggers: setting yourself up with a posting schedule that is not overly ambitious is a way to keep your own interest up as well as not fall behind and then feel as though you have somehow “failed” because you didn’t post 24 times in a week. Set yourself up to succeed from the get go.

We also try and keep the posts short and pithy (which this one most certainly is NOT but, hey, I’m allowed. It’s our anniversary for goodness’ sake!), and that seems to be appreciated by the readership as well. We’re all busy and I try and respect that.

So, I say thank you again for your faithful support. I really love seeking out and synthesizing the information contained here on the blog. I love your comments and, once again, I am grateful to those of you who think enough about it to forward it to your friends, family and co-workers. Keep it up, and I will, too.

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