Archive for the 'blogging' Category

What’s Next for Tumblr?

Yahoo’s recent announcement of its intent to purchase Tumblr has brought out the virtual fangs. Lets take a look at some of the more creative responses.

Tumblr users are passionate and are worried about what will happen to their platform. Is that passion enough to keep their pages safe from being “Yahoo’ed?” If the deal goes down, Tumblr as you and I once knew it, may be done. Though the spin is that Yahoo will not screw it up, it’s tough to think that advertising, for example, does not become a focal point of the pages.

The evolution of a “social” start-up usually takes two paths, maybe three. There’s the fledgling, cash strapped version that dies the slow death never fully realizing its potential. There’s the doomed from the start version that never gets the funding it needs or just may be a good idea poorly executed and then there’s the Flickr, Posterous, Instagram, Tumblr variety. The types that get bought and are altered forever. Never fully being what they once were and not resembling what they once used to be in their newest and improved iteration.

Picture the arc of the  social startup looking something like this…

Lot’s of hope and promise, a grand show, a fitting finale that everyone loves and then it’s gone. Is that what lies ahead for Tumblr? How about Facebook?

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Why Should You Comment On A Blog Post?

I was reading an article today titled,  Behind the Wheels: An all-too-real Cinderella story it had 12 comments. The piece was beautifully written and it was interesting to see what those 12  people had to say. Which got me to wondering:

How come useless throw away blog posts and articles have tons and tons of comments and the good stuff gets next to nothing?

Part of the question also emenated from this post, Why Your Networking Sucks — And the Secret to Doing it Right which had 30 comments, but also sucked people in, including me, because it held the promise of revealing a…secret.

I felt like a sucker. I knew that the post wouldn’t really reveal a secret that I had not read countless times before. So why did I click on it?

I have narrowed it down to these five things:

  1. It’s all in the title of the post
  2. Salacious content always works
  3. People are suckers for lists
  4. People like  a good car wreck
  5. People want the Cliffsnotes

But the next component after you have read the post is, what do you do? Do you share it, save it, or comment? Why should you comment? Here’s a couple of ideas or thoughts.

  1. Something in the post moves us
  2. Agreement-You want to let the writer know you are with them
  3. Disagreement-You have been moved to tell them they are wrong
  4. A desire to be seen or heard-self promotion/branding
  5. The notion that someone else will read what you have written and respond to you and maybe something else is kindled
  6. The desire to be a jerk-Happens a lot more than you think
  7. The need to pick a fight-Bored people with nothing better to do with their time

 

Social media has changed the game for journalists, for newspapers, for magazines, for bloggers and readers. It’s created a two way mechanism to have a conversation. When you write a blog post or an article, do you write it for the purpose of being heard, to offer up your two cents, to share your perspective, or to have conversations, or for SEO purposes?

As a reader, should we all be obligated to comment on a blog post? What would our world be like if we all were required to provide an educated, thoughtful comment to anything we read? I know some of us barely have time to respond to emails let alone a blog post, but I take solace in the fact that we all now have the opportunity to be heard should we so choose. Though we  have an obligation to comment thoughtfully, it just doesn’t happen that way. As a reader or “blog commenter”, have you ever thought about what you wanted the outcome of your comment to be? Think about that.

The Soft Metric of Good Content and it’s Impact on the Digital Footprint

Last week I asked via Twitter what the shelf life of a blog post was. I got some interesting answers. The essence was that there is no shelf life-they last forever.

In marketing, digital marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing our success needs to be measured by both hard and soft metrics. Often times we are urged or encouraged to fail fast and fail often because that’s the best way to learn and the secret to digital marketing success. Yet, most marketers might be pressuring themselves in to measuring success by measuring hard metrics when there are plenty of soft metrics to measure success by.

When we create hard and soft metrics, let’s make sure that we are measuring realistically what is possible long term from our initiatives. Let’s make sure that we can add an element of longevity to digital content that extends beyond the lifespan of the campaign. Let’s make sure we can measure what can be measured.

Let’s define the time frame of when we plan on measuring, and then add a soft metric component to that time frame so as to extend out that campaign. One of the great soft metrics of content marketing is that it is tough to measure it’s long term effect on your business or company. Soft metrics could be measured in so many ways beyond the lifespan of a “campaign” if we set them up to be.

Thus, it is really difficult to sit here and say that certain digital campaigns are out and out failures. Don’t get me wrong, out and out digital #Fails do exist and do have long term implications on positive brand perception-it’s why reputation management is now a service offering.

I’m talking about those campaign that look like they just didn’t work. Look, I’m cool with  reading and or writing about how failure is part of the deal and that some people think that in order to succeed you have to embrace failure! I just don’t want to wrap my digital strategies around short term expectations of success or failure. It’s kind of like preparing your teams for losing, or accepting losing and not looking at the bigger picture, when that big picture could be next year or the year after, or saying that because you didn’t score in a basketball game, that you failed.

Marketers want to succeed, and yes some initiatives will not always hit the mark, and yes they will learn from them. But let’s expand the lens and look at the landscape of digital marketing and understand that the digital footprint can last longer than the lifespan of the marketing campaign.

Let’s not revel or bask in digital marketing  failure when we haven’t defined success or failure in both long terms and short terms. The soft metric of good content means that it may be around long after you have left your current company.

Social Media Specialists Are No Longer Needed

If you’ve been in this business for any length of time, then its time to take your collective aggregate knowledge of social media and add it to the overall mix of what you know and do. We’re at least five years in and I want you to quit being a social media specialist, because you aren’t one any longer. Simply put, and I’ve written about this at various points in the past, we’re all becoming social media generalists.

I used to be  an SEO specialist until  what I did just became a small  part of the daily mix of things that I did for our clients. There was also a time where I used to do nothing but manage PPC campaigns until it just became part of each clients overall web marketing strategy.

We all did something before social media

We all could mildly claim that we are or were bloggers at one point in time, except that it’s now merely part of what we do for our clients and respective companies. Same with video/vlogging, same with social media optimization, same with email marketing, same with creating websites, designing logos, writing copy, and creating tag lines; at one point in time it was unique and special but now-it’s just a sum total part of the collective us. We’re pulling from our collective experiences now. It’s natural and expected.

By now social should be a small part of what you do, but not all of what you do- At least for some of you. In fact, and I know a lot of you who fall into this category, there was a time where you owned social media and no one else could touch you. You were oracles of the social media soundbite.  Not anymore, social media knowledge bearers and practitioners are multiplying like rabbits and they know the game just as well as you do except…

You still have an advantage...

When I first got started in social it was for reputation management purposes and even then it wasn’t as much about the conversation as it was about understanding social media and its relationship to search… or I should say a blogs relationship to search (Facebook and Twitter weren’t even part of the conversation yet) Back then, a lot of you SEO’ers were merely concerned or wondering how to hyperlink signatures with keywords-I know that’s what I did, but then I evolved and so did you. Case in point.  I can bet all of you who have had a blog longer than a year can now spot a noob to the blog scene. How? When you get comment spam from people who insist on hyperlinking their generic, lame, weak, comment to a no-follow keyword based signature, you know… and you ask “Did they really just do that”? You’ve evolved.

Let’s digress

Things are changing. skill sets are changing- for example, if you are a PR practitioner, when did it become imperative that you understood how to not only write for your client, but also how to write for search? Or where the title of the promo piece was as important as the content contained within? Or better yet, when was it asked of PR practitioners that they had to understand the value of making connections with people in social networks? or starting blogger outreach campaigns? The PR person of today has many skills across multiple disciplines. They have to have them to survive.

Things change, people learn and skills evolve.

For Marcom people adding social to the mix is just another in the long list of things that are now just part of the job description. Yes we all still have to deal with the pretenders in the space, the snake oil salesman if you will, but for a lot of us, social is just part of the mix now. There was a time where I hated hearing the comment, “Yea but there is no ROI in social”; Now? I love to hear that comment so that I can fire both barrels of justification back at them. I’ve evolved and so have you. Marcom people need to know social, marketing, writing, PR, email marketing, advertising and design. Do they have to have deep knowledge? No, but give me breadth if I can’t have depth.

The next act

You see for a lot of you, your baseline level of knowledge in social now sets you up for what’s next. For those of you with an agency background, social is now just a part of what one does when creating a campaign. In some cases it’s the cornerstone, in others, it augments. Same with design. It’s a given that sites will have social components now-The hard part used to be finding people who could carry out the idealistic social initiatives aligned with the campaign, not any more. The troops are waiting for their marching orders.

Now social media failure isn’t so much based on the unknown or the person with a lack of knowledge, as much as it is based on a weak strategy, poor management, the wrong KPI’s or bad tactics. For a lot of you, you are the ones that will lead the charge into the new era of well rounded, seasoned generalists with skill sets that cover, tech, social, marketing, pr, and web. That’s the person I want and that’s the person that brands need.

Anti-Social Media-The Anonymous Comment

The new iteration of the 4th estate is represented online with gusto. Outlets such as MSNBC and Scripps insist on traveling at hyper speed with us on the information super highway. They have embedded the social tools and capabilities into their new web sites to allow us to have a voice. We can now weigh in on virtually anything on their websites with our thoughts and words. There is one looming and large problem though.

We have to be babysat. With good reason.

It’s like children who look around and realize that no one is watching and thus decide to do something stupid. I find it amazing that adults view the ability  to freely and anonymously comment on any story, as a green light for stupidity and hate.  Not realizing a few things:

  1. It has no value
  2. You’re weak because you hide behind a computer to make your anonymous comments
  3. You could be found

That’s not social media. That’s anti-social media. It has zero redeeming qualities. And yet we sit here and question criticize large media outlets for a) Not being transparent b) Not allowing comments and b) Censoring their comments because of 1st amendment rights. And they do the same-To allow anonymous comments or not?

In some cases some media outlets allow everything, some allow nothing, and still others blur the lines on what is acceptable. They prune foul language and spam and yet some things make it through. The bottom line, they can’t just “let it go”. It can’t run itself. People are incapable of behaving.

Here’s your example:  You are a media outlet and you post a story about someone dying in a car wreck and through the open commenting system, some of the comments say something like, “He probably deserved it”? or “He was a jerk”.

What do you do?

Your bonus question. The commenter has revealed themselves. Do you allow the comment or not?

On Influence and Bad Blog Posts

I like differing opinions, thoughts and comments. I think it’s good to have a variety of thought. No one likes a yes man right? Except maybe in the social media world. Then sometimes it resembles a quid pro quo type of environment. I’ll promote your stuff you promote mine. The thinking is well illustrated by David Armano with his depiction of influencer ripples. If your content can be promoted by the right people than it can reach more people. It’s why companies are so hot on the influencer thingright now-find the influencer and get eyeballs and sell product. Look, I’m down with helping my friends out but…

Today’s online influence is overblown, overrated and diluted and can be gamed.

Here’s why. What if the content sucks? Yet because you and I are friends and we read and promote each others stuff we’ll retweet and share content sometimes sight unseen.  That’s kind of jive isn’t it? Yet it’s effective.  That’s not really fair to the reader is it? But it works. What if the reader is someone on the outside and is trying to “get in” to the world of social media? They might share and promote your crappy content too. Add the element of two people with very large networks of followers and subscribers sharing content and you can see how this can all be affected. Crappy content always has a fighting chance with a killer post title and a supposed influencer sharing it.

How about these 2 scenarios? The first one I’ve been sucked into a bunch of times. You see a compelling blog title tweeted, you click on it and it’s end up being something that you might wrap your dead fish in. The second, I will refer to this definition from Wikipedia.

A spam blog, sometimes referred to by the neologism splog,[1] is a blog which the author uses to promote affiliated websites, to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites or to simply sell links/ads.

We’re all suckers for a great blog post title. Why? Because we’re hoping for fresh, we’re hoping for a different POV. We’re tired of repetitive thoughts, posts and comments without any backbone.  A lot of people have ceased writing for their audiences and are writing purely for search, link juice and hollow authority. Unfortunately there’s no end in sight and we’ll continue to be influenced into clicking on and reading. Hoping.

Who are You Blogging for? Your peers or Your Customers?

Recently,  Chris, our VP of Marketing sent me an email. Here is a snippet:

The ” Transitional social media marketing document” you sent me is way too vague for a rookie, and makes me go…Blink, Blink.  Again, yet another example of writing to your peers and not the target audience….

I thought or assumed I had sent him a good, insightful, explanatory document of how we go about our business in social media; and I told him he could show that to his clients and that they should have a pretty clear picture of what we do.

Lee Corso of ESPN College Football Gameday has a pretty popular phrase he uses just about every Saturday during College Football season…

“Not so fast my friend!”

There are a couple of problems with my “thinking” and it starts with my blog. I write what I know on my blog. I write to share my knowledge and I write to exchange thoughts and ideas of our industry with others. Yet very seldom do I write blog posts that our prospects or potential clients might understand. Occasionally I do, but the majority of the time I know I’m writing for my peers.

And that’s a problem. A small one for me, but a larger one for others.

In writing that document for Chris and our prospects, I was writing something that I understood, and those of you in the social media bubble understood. But not too many “other” people outside the bubble, like SMB’s or people just starting out, would have been able to grasp it.

We need to (I need to)  step back and understand who we are writing not only our blogs for, but also our white papers, our web copy and our sales literature.

If it’s for SEO purposes, then chances are it’s speaking to the search engines and not really to your customers. If you can somehow straddle the line of SEO and write for your customers and prospects, good on you.

If you write your blog for the sake of peer approval-that’s cool, but then what is the strategy for your blog?  To be liked by the folks in your industry? If that’s it, well then good on you.

It’s funny but we stress all the time about the mechanics of writing good blog posts and making sure its thematically written, has all the right links, a good title and what not but really…There are only 3 questions you need to answer.

  1. Why are you writing it?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. Will they understand it?

Not only does that apply to your blog but every other piece of written content you crank out for your company. You may understand it, but will they?


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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