Showing posts with label content marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label content marketing. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Will Media Use Your Photo?

Last week the Central Connecticut Valley Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosted a luncheon with top media executives who shared ideas on the shifting role of imagery in media.

Provide media with newsworthy images
For starters they all agreed social media has drastically altered how journalists operate. Outlets are under continual pressure to get out the news first and fast.  Which means accuracy of information often suffers.  We know Twitter can break news at lightning speed but spare a thought for the editors and producers who need to monitor and react to tweets and simultaneously check their accuracy in a breaking news story. 

Today devices abound.  Anyone with a smart phone now sees themselves as a photographer.  Which makes the job of traditional newspaper photographers and TV crews more difficult as they compete at media conferences and other events with amateurs jostling for the perfect pic snapped from their Androids or Iphones.  

Of course many outlets, especially smaller ones, capitalise on the smart phone trend and invite readers and viewers to share their imagery. After all it is just more grist to the continuing content mill. But only a foolish editor or producer would use something without due diligence.

In recent times most media outlets have evolved guidelines for absorbing user generated content into their coverage simply to keep up with the new wild, wild West where citizen reporters can scoop  news faster than gumshoe journalists.  

So the typical questions media outlets ask when offered content include: 
  • Firstly and most importantly: is it breaking news or otherwise newsworthy?
  • Can we verify where the information or imagery comes from? Who owns it?
  • Quality-wise can we use it?
  • Does the image 'have a verb'.  In other words does it tell a story, show something happening or someone reacting to something happening?
  • Can we use it freely or are there limitations?
  • Does it show children or other groups for whom explicit permissions are needed?
Content marketers want to see their imagery widely spread online and in traditional forums.  But before offering up something consider the media filters an editor or producer will apply before deciding to use it.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

American Conference Scores Content Points

Sometimes you can easily overlook how serious you must be to succeed at content marketing. 

Once you begin a conversation with clients, customers, citizens or fans it takes time, effort and energy to maintain the connection, keep things fresh, build audience and generate loyalty.

For example take the newly established American Athletics Conference which is staging its inaugural Women Basketball Tournament this weekend.  A dedicated digital team is communicating the match-ups between 12 teams who have traveled across the US to compete.  Located court side and venturing into locker rooms, the digital team opens up the tournament to fans beyond the arena through scores, updates, images, video and interviews.  And all done at sizzling pace.

Pre-game the Conference provides mountains of player, game and season stats that would satisfy the most passionate fans of women's basketball. 

During each of the tournament's nine games fans can follow the action live on social media through scores, video and images.  

Following each contest they can either commiserate or celebrate their team's performance with post game notes, video highlights or after action quotes from players and coaches. 

The digital team runs the Conference's 10 dedicated or personal work-related social media accounts supported court-side by a video cameraman with backpack technology and a  photographer.  Which means as fans in the stadium sip beer and enjoy the game, the team is splitting eyeballs between hoops and laptops to create a treasure trove for fans over the next four days.

Of course small business, not for profits and most government agencies will never be expected to work at such intensity.   But the American Conference offers up a content marketing lesson for each.  Get serious about engaging because you need skills, firm focus and an awful lot of stamina to succeed with the people who are most important to your organisation.

For the record the digital team at the American Conference  is @, @ and  @ They synchronize efforts with other PR and marketing staff managing traditional media arrangements including live TV coverage of each game.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Marketing By The Coffee Cup: A Tale Of Harvard And Yale

I collect coffee mugs of places I've been. 
Sometimes they measure the marketing experiences I have had.    

First impressions count in content marketing, just like they do in the rest of life.  That first encounter is the point from which a customer either grants or withholds permission for you to have a continuing conversation with her.  And those conversations can stall or blossom into a relationship that benefits you both.  

But do first impressions count in the academic world?  Absolutely and here's a small example.

Harvard and Yale are two of America's long standing and most prestigious schools.  Both have produced US presidents, esteemed diplomats, corporate leaders, pioneering researchers and generations of blue chip lawyers.  I recently toured both campuses to saw first hand how they introduce their brand to the world. 

Yale traces its roots back to the 1640s but its marketing is as fresh as anything corporate America  serves up today.

It is a bitterly cold New England morning when I arrive at the Yale Visitor Centre, a colonial building on busy Elm Street in New Haven. Straight away I feel welcome. I'm guided to the restrooms, shown where to park downtown and invited to inspect the highly visual displays throughout the Centre.  

Dead on time a welcome video comes on to tell me about student life.  Theater students at Yale have been assigned the task of turning what could be a dry topic into a music video. Blending facts and stats with great imagery and a dollop of fun, they create a video that just screams energy. A hat tip to whoever has produced this.  They obviously know something about communicating.

Then I am out in the cold for a one and half tour of Yale's historic buildings.  My guide, a student from Singapore, is informative, easy going and punctuates history with talk on current happenings and stories about student life. I like the guy.  His energy and enthusiasm leave the feeling he is excited about being at Yale ... and if he's excited then I am too even though I'm only visiting. 

When tour time ends, I return to the Visitor Centre, ask some follow-up questions and leave clutching campus newspapers and a bag of literature (which I read).  I have had a good experience and want a  Yale memory to take back home.  I buy a $6 branded cup for my coffee mug collection. I leave happy. I've been engaged and informed so if for some reason Yale should ever contact me ... hey I'm ready to listen.  

More importantly Yale has set up a positive platform for future conversations with the parents and high school grads on my tour looking at places for a college education.


The coffee cup I don't have
A few days on and I'm at Harvard.  Again it's brutally cold if anything Boston is colder than New Haven. Harvard was established in 1636 and now has around 2,400 faculty members and 21 000 students. It's world famous.  Like Yale I sign up for the free campus tour.

I do so in a sparse, barren shopfront opposite the old campus. The staff are efficient but lack the warmth that attracts visitors and counters a cold day.  A corporate video grinds away to the side.  A continuous loop shows authority figures like deans and professors talking about how important they, their research or their courses are.  The acoustics are poor, the walls are bare and I'm not paying attention.

The tour commences. An undergrad student takes us around.  While my Yale guide snakes me through alleyways and squares, my nice enough Harvard leader sticks to a tight script moving me quickly from site to site. I certainly don't get that special backstage feeling I get at Yale.  The weather is cold and the experience is marginally warmer.

When the walking ends I search out a Harvard coffee cup for my collection.  At Harvard's official shop I can't find one and the staff have not much interest in helping either.  Later I spy one in a nearby bookshop but it's expensive and still it's freezing so I need to move on.

So .... Harvard leaves an impression but not enough to register a coffee cup.  On the other hand every time I use my  Yale mug it will always bring back memories of communicators who put personality in their marketing.  

Harvard and Yale give me a free lesson.  Put personality into your content marketing and you're off to the best start possible in building a relationship.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Who Do Aussies Really Trust?

2014 Edelman Trust Barometer - Global Results from Edelman Insights

Trust is critical in content marketing or any other form of communications. The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer shows who people around the globe trust. 

The Australian results are interesting.  Overall there has been an increase in the trust levels of Australians over the past 12 months. Specifically trust in:
  • Not for profits is marginally up.
  • Trust in media is up six points.
  • Business has taken a 10 point leap in trust levels.
  • There is a higher level of trust in government.
Interestingly Australians trust business slightly more than they do governments. 
Globally people want CEOs to communicate in a clear and transparent fashion, tell the truth regardless of the situation and regularly engage with employees.  For a clear majority these behaviours count more than CEOs being active in the media.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Strut Your Stuff Gold Quill Style

Last year Canberra communicators created some outstanding content marketing campaigns so how should we recognise that Aussie excellence?  

It's time to enter the IABC’s 2014 Gold Quill Awards which celebrate the best of the best communications and marketing practices from around the world. Entering the Awards can bring international acclaim to a local campaign success.   

Winning a Gold Quill boosts your resume, earns global recognition for your team and is a source of personal pride in your accomplishments.

Entries close on 10 March 2014 so start today by visiting IABC.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Branded Journalism: Texas Style

Branded journalism is standard in content marketing yet it's not new. Over 70 years ago it was being used to sway Texas voters.

In 1941 Lyndon Johnston (LBJ), later to become the 36th US President, was campaigning to become a Senator in his native state of Texas.  The election was hotly contested and the battle for the attention of voters was fierce.

The only source of news for many voters in rural Texas was the 25 newspapers that published weekly in farming and ranching communities across the State.  Few publishers were professional journalists and most were often short on cash and short on news to fill their pages. Some were prepared to print articles provided by the candidates in return for advertising. Payments for this political advertorial were small, because at that time local merchants could buy an ad for 50 cents or a $1.

Johnson had poached accomplished newspaper men for his campaign.  In an early example of branded journalism, these reporters provided the small rural outlets across Texas with packaged news stories and pictures of their candidate. Content could be a copy of a recent speech, a favourable item from the campaign trail or an endorsement by a local identity. And the content kept coming - edition after edition - throughout the campaign.

The payments paid off and Johnson received massive coverage throughout the State.  His team never rested, recycling particularly good print coverage as radio content in the numerous broadcasts Johnson's campaign arranged over the 10-week long campaign.

Ironically Johnson was beaten in the Senate race by then Texas Governor Pappy O'Daniel.  Pappy, himself a savvy media operator, used his popular, weekly hillbilly radio show to champion his claims for the Senate seat. 

Winning only by around 1000 votes, it seems Pappy's down home style and branded journalism out manoeuvred LBJ's more polished efforts. 

Which proves that many of today's communications approaches we hold up as new, someone somewhere has tried before. 

(Source - Johnson:The Path to Power by Robert Caro.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Content Marketing for Smaller Players

I've been in the US in recent weeks, so it's some time since my last post.  So let's start back with something good.

My Canadian colleague Martin Waxman recently gave a presentation on content marketing, storytelling and start-ups.  Here's Martin's simple but very effective approach.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Australia Is Ready For Content Marketing

We're super connected, everyone is now a publisher, we're busy and trust levels are low.  So it's time for a new approach to communicating as Australians move from mass audience to  niche communities. 

(Summary of a recent address by Contentgroup's David Pembroke and myself at the National Press Club in Canberra.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Template: A Content Marketing Secret

Peter Yorke is one of India's top content marketers.  In this interview he reveals how content marketing tools and templates can guide staff, save time and help clients.

 I have known Peter for years and always look to him for great insights into creating great communications.

(Sorry about the sound quality.  There were some Skype issues during our conversation)

See Peter's views on when you should outsource your content marketing.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Content Marketing Is Like a Bullet Train

Stop, go, pause.  Stop, go, pause.

Traditional marketing and most PR moves from one campaign to the next. You plan, implement, await  results, adjust and start over again.  

These traditional approaches are like a milk train chugging from point to point, stopping at all stations along the way.  The journey is slow and steady.  There is lots of shunting and grunting with station masters along the way putting themselves between you and your customers. The passengers continually hop on and off.

Content marketing on the other hand is more like a hi-speed inter-city bullet train. You step aboard for a journey with few planned stops until you reach your destination.  

There are no third parties between crew and passengers, and hopefully the passing scenery (your content) is so engaging your travelers enjoy the journey with time and kilometres flying by.

Related post:  Content marketing: why now?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

4 Reasons To Outsource Content Creation

Peter Yorke is among India's most experienced communicators
Content marketing may be new to Australia but elsewhere it is more established. Take India for example.

My friend Peter Yorke runs a very successful content marketing agency in Bangalore India.  We recently spoke about why a company might want outside help to implement a content management strategy.  

Peter has been helping Indian B2B companies - mainly in the tech space - develop and share content with customers and others. He has been doing this for nearly five years and has come the conclusion that outsourcing content creation and strategy carries distinct benefits.
  • Firstly, outsourcing provides flexibility.  It lets companies scale their content creation activity up or down depending on their budget or what's happening operationally. And  it can provide the surge capacity if serendipity delivers an opportunity too good to miss.
  • Contracting content creation guarantees customer service levels.  You're paying for a content asset (piece of work) tailored specifically for your audience.  Being a commercial arrangement you can be confident it  will come in on time and within budget, making things more predictable than relying on internal staff who, let's be honest, are often diverted off to other priorities.
  •  An outside agency brings a fresh set of eyes to your operations.  They can spot a good case study for online publication or turn up a story to round out a speech although it's been sitting under the noses of staff for some time.
And finally, Peter points out that content marketing is still so new, CEOs just may not have the in-house talent to start up a content marketing strategy. 

What do you think?  If content marketing is all about relationships should you keep it firmly in-house? 

Listen to how Peter uses content marketing templates to guide staff and help clients. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If Content Marketing Was A Train ....

Stop, go, pause.  Stop, go, pause.

Traditional marketing and most PR moves from one campaign to the next. You plan, implement, await  results, adjust and then start over again. Traditional approaches are like a milk train chugging from point to point, stopping at all stations along the way.  It is slow and steady and with with a lot of stops and station masters along the way putting themselves  between you and your customers.

On the other hand content marketing is like a hi-speed inter-city locomotive. You hop on and you're there for the journey.  The crew and passengers are together until they safely reach their destination and during their travels get to understand and appreciate each other. 

Related post:  Content marketing: why now?


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Content Marketing: Why Now?

"Content is information others find useful or entertaining or both.  
 It is not necessarily what you want to tell people.  It is what they want or need to hear.  Content marketing is about providing that type of information on an enduring basis." 

The term ‘content marketing’ may have recently landed in Australia but the practice of content marketing has been with us for a very long time. 

Down the centuries people have always shared their content.  It could be in the form of knowledge and awareness of the world around them, transferring skills, warning others of danger and or just passing along useful facts, figures and opinions.  

Today the demand for helpful content, from reliable sources, is the greatest at anytime in history. That is because personal and corporate communications are changing fast, our lives are busier than ever and we are increasingly selective in choosing who we listen to.  
  • Families are time-poor. Too many people want our attention and we would be simply overwhelmed if we surrendered to their demands.
  • Since 2003, social media has accelerated the pace and rate of communications change.  Social media has an insatiable appetite for information and gives us a channel for direct and very personal information.  It also gifts us each of us with a publishing platform and a filtering system.  We now have numerous options to receive and share information, anytime, anywhere, any place.  And we can easily block out information from those we distrust, don't now or who hold different interests or attitudes.
  •  Recent Australian research shows we are skeptical about what we hear. We mistrust brands, business, government and other traditional sources of information.  (2013 Edelman Trust Barometer for Australia.) and operate on the basis that no organisation has the right to be heard.
  • Traditional media used to be the dominant communications channel for most of us.  Now it is fragmenting and as it searches for new business models, it is becoming one more way - not the only way - to connect people with similar opinions, behaviours or needs.                                                       
So it is time for a different PR approach if we want to find, produce and share the type of information that will connect us to our customers, clients or fellow citizens.  

Enter content marketing, an evolution of old-style marketing.  It is a system that is gaining traction in the US and now emerging in Australia.