Content is King

You have a brand website. You have a blog. You have social media networks. You have banner ads. And, yes the list of tools and resources you utilize on a daily basis to extend your brand’s awareness and educate consumers goes on and on and on. But, how do you make sure that you have fresh and interesting content to keep consumers coming back for more? 

Content is key to the success of your emerging media efforts. Even back in 1996, Bill Gates commented that content would be king of the internet kingdom and drive its overall success. But as Gates points out, the word “content” takes on an even broader meaning now that marketing has shifted to an online presence.  No longer is content simply just newsletter stories. It is videos, podcasts, tweets and Facebook posts. It is the lifeblood of the brand, and it must be interesting enough for people to share with others, and it must encourage people to interact with the brand. If it does not accomplish these two objectives, then you may have to rethink your content…and overall emerging media strategy.

Ask questions. Be creative. Provide thought leadership on trends. Check out this recent article from USA Today for more tips. And while it may be geared toward small business owners, it provides valuable ideas that any brand can use – regardless of size.

Yet, how do you plan for great content? Yes, sometimes inspiration just comes to you, but let’s face it, even the greatest marketer hits creative roadblocks. I tend to either brainstorm or walk away from the task and work on a completely different project. Yes, I know these are two very different approaches, but each has proven beneficial to me. Maybe those suggestions will help you, maybe they will not. This list also provides some great ideas to get those creative content juices flowing. Are there any creative content approaches that are missing?

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Questions Weighing on a PR Person’s Mind

As a PR pro, there are two questions that seem to constantly come up in conversations with clients as well as in the IMC program at WVU: how do you measure success, and what is the next big thing?

It has been argued time-and-time again that impressions and ad equivalencies are a thing of the past. Yes, it is finally time to say goodbye to the cost per column inch (I hear old school PR pros rejoicing throughout the country). Yet, as we say goodbye to one form of success measurement, we are about to welcome a new way to measure, especially in this emerging media world in which we live.

I found this recent blog post from measurement guru Katie Paine especially interesting. Paine details her 10 predictions for measurement in 2012. I agree with her on many points. For example, we will be competing for media coverage over the Olympics and the presidential elections. Note to self: start thinking of my media hooks right now for my clients.

I also concur that mobile will be even more predominant in our market and measurement will be a must. In fact, a recent study conducted by InMobi demonstrates that smartphone and tablet use will continue to grow in 2012 meaning that mobile needs to be on the radar screen of every marketing communications professional. And, as such, it will be critical to develop different ways to measure mobile success. I foresee us measuring success through not only engagement, but also through how people are reaching a site. For example, are people using a standard PC to reach your website, but are they using a smartphone to access it? If so, it is critical that your website has a mobile version. Too, make sure your site can easily be read on a tablet.  By determing the device on which your audience is reading your site, you will be better able to tailor not only your site, but other marketing outreach initiatives as well. 

One of the areas in which I don’t agree with Paine is that there will not be a new Twitter or Facebook. Yes, Twitter and Facebook have had explosive growth, but after reading this article in The Washington Post, I began to think whether or not is it possible for the next big thing in social media to happen this year. Has she heard of Pinterest?

As more and more people turn to other methods to search for news and information, could the next social media phenomenon appear this year? It could, and it may. In emerging media, the one thing I have learned is that you cannot make absolute statements because it is definitely a world of the unknown, and the next big thing can come to the forefront tomorrow.

What do you think?

The Blackout

January 18, 2012: was it bigger than the blackout that rocked much of the east coast in 2003? While lights didn’t suddenly go out across homes, many websites went dark in protest of SOPA, the anti-piracy bill that has been swirling around Congress.

The blackout was a coordinated effort by some websites, including Wikipedia, asking consumers of the internet to take some sort of action  – writing their Congress person, signing a petition – to demonstrate your opposition to a bill.

An article posted to the LA Times yesterday afternoon stated that nearly 49,000 people had “liked” the Against the Online Piracy Act page on Facebook, and Google reported that nearly 3 million Americans had signed one petition or another demonstrating their opposition to the legislation.

Information was swirling about SOPA yesterday, and with every person that opposed the Act, there was another opinion associated with it. This morning, I was happy to see that the Public Relations Society of America had taken a stand against it. As a member of PRSA and the president-elect of the Greater Cleveland Chapter, I tend to look to the organization for further insight about timely issues directly impacting the industry in which I work.

Here is PRSA’s statement:

We respect the protection of a company’s or individual’s intellectual property rights, while also firmly believing in the freedom of expression and the continuation of an open and unrestricted Internet. As such, we oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). It is the opinion of PRSA that SOPA and PIPA, as currently written, overreach, threatening the innovation and development of the Internet.
Consumers should have access to legitimate content. Copyright owners should have practical means of protecting their works that also consider and serve the public interest. And technology companies should be free from undue legal or regulatory burdens.
We take today’s news that members of Congress wish to revise both bills as a hopeful sign of a renewed willingness to compromise in a way that balances the competing interests of all parties.

It is our hope that lawmakers will not impede the growth of the Internet or the public’s access to online content by passing laws that aim to censor and unnecessarily target content providers and search engines in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

I agree with PRSA in that I am hopeful that congress will revisit these bill and see the damage they will cause. What are your thoughts? Do you think Congress will listen to the outcry?

Coffee, Shower, Emerging Media…Just A Part of the Daily Routine

The alarm goes off. I immediately turn over and grab for my smart phone. I check my email (both work and professional);  see if I missed any text messages while I was in dreamland; review my Twitter and Facebook feeds; jump to the local news site for major headlines and the weather; make a Words with Friends move; and maybe even read a few of my favorite blogs. 

It’s just another typical morning for me, and it is evident that emerging media is part of my daily routine. Some may say I’m addicted. I prefer to say that I like to be connected. I’m not alone in my need to immediately look to my social media sites in the morning.  In fact, according to a 2010 survey from Retrvo, nearly half of American adults check social networking sites before they are out of bed. In addition, 16% say this is how they get their daily news. Look at more fun facts from this survey, here.

Do you have the same morning routine as me? Do you think you might be addicted to social media? Look at this checklist to see if you exhibit the signs of a social media addict.

Now, all kidding aside, emerging media is a part of our daily lives, and this is what makes it so very important to us – whether you are constantly logging onto various websites or not. It is how we interact with friends (both new and old), how we get our news and how we expand our horizons. It is the new way to communicate, making it critical to both understand and embrace.

We live in a world that continues to change and evolve, which makes emerging media so compelling. Every day, it is different. What is new today, may not be new tomorrow. Remember MySpace? Remember at one time when a company having a blog was so very unique? Remember when you had to call a number to interact with the customer service department of a company?

Why all these questions? Because, the answers to them demonstrate how the media world in which we live has changed. Our world is content-driven – content can be developed quicker and distributed quicker. We live in a society that has emerged itself in media, making emerging media a critical component to our daily lives as marketers and citizens. Look at this speech from Michael Pranikoffs the director of emerging media for PRNewswire. Here he talks about how emerging media is a very much a part of our lives, even if we do not realize it.

Did anything in this video surprise you?