Posts Tagged 'blogging'

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.

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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?

What is the Strategy Behind This Email?

I got this email today:

Hello,
My name is _________, and I write for the (Insert the name of something not even close to what I do) blog at_________
Would you be interested in receiving a guest post submission from me?
What I had in mind was just coming up with an article on theme with your blog and sending it to you for your approval.
I don’t have a specific topic in mind, so I’m happy to write on whatever topic you request, if you have a specific request.

Please let me know what you think, I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,

_________

Seriously? Where is she getting her direction? Is there a strategy here? Did she come up with this on her own? Did a boss tell her that this would work? Let’s assume it’s automated, aren’t there filters so that you can at least focus on certain niche markets? Is this in a book somewhere?

And we wonder why sometimes blogging, SEO and search marketing get black eyes.
Who wrote it?  A puppet?

The Most Effective Social Media Strategy… That I Forgot About

Call it an epiphany. Over the past few days I have gone back to my roots and I feel better about it. It’s almost as if I’m reading Naked Conversations again. What is it that has reinvigorated me? A new tool? A new app? Nope, it’s even more simple than that. It’s right there in front of us and yet I think we’re getting so caught up in a perceived race of sorts that it has caused us to lose sight of a stark reality.

Here’s what it is.

About 5 days ago I decided to start reading “other people’s” blog posts that caught my eye. Prior to that, I read the faves of my peeps and moved on. I was just consuming. In some cases I commented on the new blog posts I read,  in others, I would point out to others that this person is worth following on Twitter. If not that, I reached out to that person either publicaly or privately, and just told them that I thought they were doing great things. Simple.

The effect?

It felt good for starters. I was giving back again. The essence of social media-talking to people. It’s why we gushed about social media in the first place. The connections. The conversations. I think all of us, me included, sometimes get caught up in the chase, or the numbers, or the push for discovery and we lose sight of the thing that made it so great in the first place-and still do, the variety, the freshness and smartness of other people that you meet and get to know.

This epiphany has also extended to using Twitter in a more conversational manner when I can. It’s really easy and convenient to watch the tweets roll by and click on links of interest and leave it at that. But far too many of us have preached to others about using Twitter to have conversations with brands and customers etc. etc. Well guess what? Try it. Try talking to people instead of just pushing info out. The effect has been nothing short of really cool again. Quit consuming so much and start conversing.

Somewhere along the way the conversation has been trampled upon. But it still has a vital and vibrant pulse. You will get more out of your experience if you go back to having conversations. Period.

The Social Media Press Box

When things are going good we don’t need to do anything. Maybe.  That’s what a lot of companies and people do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So somewhere along the line, the Cleveland Indians have decided to “fix” something. According to ESPN the Indians have established a 10-seat section in left field for bloggers and social media users in an effort to engage fans and further the Indians’ brand in the social media space. It’s called the Tribe Social Deck.

Hmmm…

I think I like the idea. Maybe it’s just the timing of it that I don’t like. So tweeters and bloggers get a press kit, media guide and press releases, and are free to update followers and readers throughout the game just as they normally would. But unlike the traditional press box, they don’t get any access to players or managers.

What will the tweets and live blog updates look like if the product on the field sucks? Isn’t that like fanning the flames? There is not a “stated” policy in place that requires them to say positive things, but I can see it now…

The Indians are down 6-0 in the 3rd but there seems to be a lively game of keeping the beach ball alive in left center#Indiansrock

This could be a problem. By hiring or inviting this social media deck to the game aren’t the Indians setting themselves up to go against the MLB social media policy? Check out this quote from Curveball: MLB’s tight control over social media

Multiple sources have confirmed to me that Major League Baseball is cracking down on Twitter usage, ordering MLB.com writers to cease tweeting about all non-baseball topics and scolding players for their Twitter usage in general.

I know, apples and oranges right? In the defense of the Indians they are allowing the fans to let it flow and are not going to try and control the message. It will be interesting to see however, how many games brutal honesty will get you in the social deck. The Indians are hoping that reaching out to influential Bloggers and Tweeters who happen to be passionate Indians fans will be the bridge to a warmer and fuzzier relationship with “other” fans. Transparency might only get you so far.

So while the Indians aren’t directly telling users what to send out to followers and the like, the whole process can have some influence on the type of coverage the team is getting.

OK, in theory I get this, and I would probably try it as well. I’m just not sure it’s going to work. It’s going to end up being subliminally manipulative of the message and the conversation. It’s like paying for blog posts. Look at this quote from Dominic Litten:

“They’re reaching out to people that are Cleveland sports enthusiasts or fans because they know these are the people that are going to spread that message: ‘Hey, it’s fun’ or ‘The Indians are doing cool things.'”

I agree but let’s see what happens. At the least, I applaud the Indians for trying. It’s just that the timing is not the best given the product on the field. But hey as we have always said, the conversations are happening with or without you-I just hope the Indians have thick skin.


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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