MySpace has Suited Up (and Sold Out?)

Posted by Graham Henry | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, Landing Pages, News | Posted on Jan 15, 2013

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Myspace Landing Page

Myspace.com has been getting a lot of flack today for replacing their normal landing page with this promotion for Justin Timberlake’s new single, Suit & Tie. While not unprecedented (Justin owns Myspace jointly with Specific Media Group), this move has struck a lot of people as crass and alienating, linking the usage of Myspace so closely with liking Timberlake that many may bounce simply to avoid the association. Writing as someone who actually enjoys Justin’s music and acting, this still comes across as a little presumptuous, and it doesn’t make me like Myspace any more than I already did.

So what can this teach us?

First of all, this is a great example of how your approach to cross-promotion can affect the way both you and your campaign are perceived. Had Suit & Tie been promoted separate from the login options with a large image or video, this move wouldn’t have irked so many people; they could have clicked through to Myspace and been no worse off. By forcing customers to interact with the music to use Myspace, Timberlake and Specific Media are imposing themselves on their audience, forcing them to do something that they don’t necessarily want to do, and making them subtly uncomfortable in the process.*

So let that be a lesson: next time you want to cross-promote, make it optional, not obligatory.

What do you think of Myspace’s recent decisions? Is the site headed in the right direction? Leave a comment below or check out Myspace is Back for more info.

*There is an option at the top of the landing page to continue to Myspace normally. It’s white text on gray background and so small I missed it my first time on the page.

Social Media Tips and News – A Vicious Cycle

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Content Marketing, Facebook, Opinion, Social Media, Twitter | Posted on Feb 02, 2012

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When I Read new SoMe Tactics or News on Websites I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day

My blog post since January probably gave you the impression that I am over social media ‘experts’ making sweeping claims and reporting on seemingly obvious ‘findings’. Like any marketing tactic, social media require common sense. Any level of common sense went out the window when I read a ‘report’ on Mashable today:

Only About a Third of Tweets Are Worth Reading [STUDY]

I am sorry to single out Mashable on this, but so many people are guilty of posting really trivial articles and sensationalizing them. Really, people don’t care about most tweets? Go figure. Most people don’t care about what the majority of people say, and the stuff people do care about they listen to. Twitter is no different than real life interaction insofar as ‘caring’ is concerned. You won’t care about Tweets if you follow the wrong people.

Twitter is 100% situational. A friend of mine who uses Twitter to stay in touch with friends wouldn’t care about all the marketing Tweets I read daily. Something being ‘worth reading’ is an entirely subjective concept, trying to add hard data to something with so many variables is simply a waste of time.

‘But Justin, now we have HARD data that only 1/3 of tweets are worth reading’

Great, now we can stick a number to a concept that has been understood since Twitter launched. With over 200 million tweets being published a day, it is no wonder that people don’t care about the majority of them. Remember, marketing is common sense and social media marketing is a subset of marketing.

In Groundhog’s Day, Bill Murray didn’t only have to come to terms with the banality of the film’s portrayal of Punxsutawney, but he had to deal with seeing the same thing day in an day out. This brings me to my next major issue with the content creation & syndication by ‘Social Media Experts’:

All of the tips you are giving, people have read elsewhere and you are merely repeating them!

Instead of being a parrot, be a critical thinker. If you have been saying something like ‘Engaging your users is the only way to have an impact on Social Media’, why don’t you do the following:

  1. Give examples of campaigns that have used engagement to build a social network
  2. Identify the trends
  3. Report on the trends with facts and data

Also, make sure to constantly question whether ‘engagement’ is actually a best practice. No matter how central a concept is to your efforts or who wide spread it has been adopted, it is always good to analyze it. Marketing has changed so much in the past few years and will continue to change rapidly. So always have a shred of doubt in your methodology, it will help you be more successful.

I guess to  close this rant, I would like to say the following:

Instead of publishing reports that simply don’t matter or repeating the same old tips, add value, critique and context to your content. The only way to be successful as a marketer is to grab the attention of the public, if you are spitting out the same old banalities people will go from reading your article and saying ‘Who Cares?’ to never reading your articles again.

Comment please!

/rant

Content Type Across Digital Marketing Mediums

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, email, Facebook, Landing Pages, Social Media | Posted on Feb 01, 2012

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Content May Be King, but make sure the Right Content Governs the Right Kingdom

An admittedly nerdy title, but I think it makes a good [enough] point. Producing unique content is crucial for a marketer’s success online, but content is definitely not ‘one size fits all’ (maybe that is a better title). Yesterday I talked about how important the form of your Facebook page, email designs, website, landing pages etc… is for your digital marketing success. Today I want to talk about content, and cover two main points: Amount of Content, Type/Tone of Content.

Amount

The amount of content you provide is crucial. Too little content and you leave the visitor with too many questions. Too much content and the user gets bored. Be aware of both your audience and where you are publishing this content!

Website
A website should cover everything and anything about your company insofar as it is strategically placed and linked effectively. You want to give a history of the company, talk about milestones, talk about your product(s)/service(s), include what people think of you, utilize visuals to increase security etc…

Your website should be able to answer any questions that your visitor has and also build trust and rapport with your prospective clients. Since your site will likely be large with information spread across many different pages, utilize a ‘Search Bar’. There are two reasons you need a search bar: if you are monitoring what people are searching and on what page the visitors are searching, you can notice trends. If people are searching for similar terms on a particular page you should probably include that information on that page.

Facebook
Facebook requires much less information than a website, though you should include basic company information under the ‘Info’ tab. You should include clear calls to action, e.g., Like us, sign up for our newsletter, etc… On top of the static content on your Facebook page, you also should post short blurbs with industry information that engages your often.

Landing Page
Landing pages are a very focused ‘island’ of information. The content should be about the product or service with a clear call to action, e.g., Buy Now, Fill out the Form for a Free ebook, or Register Today. Your landing page needs to be focused on the single task at hand while building a sense of trust and security (especially when you are trying to make a sale).

Email
Similar to landing pages, this amount of content on an email is limited. People know who you are so you don’t need information like company history or executive listings. The amount of content needs to be focused and consistent with the Subject line.

Type/Tone

Website
Content on websites is focused on informing the customer. So the content that is produced here is in large part asymmetrical and dense. There is variation in the tone of website content, particularly among Web 2.0 companies. Some have taken a very relaxed approach, and while this may work in B2C a more serious approach is maintained in the B2B realm. 

Sites really require the ‘full monty’ when it comes to content. Text, images, videos, you name it.

Facebook
Facebook content is casual, helpful, and thankful. Companies on Facebook are trying to build a personality and rapport with their fans. The type of content that is posted is very light including questions like ‘What are you doing this weekend’ or asking trivia questions.

It is important that a company varies the type of content they post on their Facebook page. The EdgeRank algorithm dictates who sees the content you post, and varying the ‘weight’ of your content is necessary for a good EdgeRank.

Landing Page
A Landing Page is straight and to the point. There is a clear call t o action that lists the benefits of the service, product, event, etc…Videos have been known to keep people on a Landing Page longer. Normally you want your page to have great looking images, a list of benefits, testimonials from users and security icons.

Any type of content you post, be sure to test it to get the most out of our landing pages! Landing pages should never be stagnant, even when you have a ‘winning’ landing page.

Email
The type of content you provide in an email varies on how obtained the recipient’s email address. Remember content is not ‘one size fits all’ and this is particularly true with email marketing. Even if you compiled the greatest newsletter with the most important information that is laid out in a way that just pulls the eye’s of the reader in may be flagged for SPAM if it is something the eyes don’t wish to see.

Assuming that you are sending to people who want to see the type of content you send, be sure to have a good ratio of text to images in your emails. People generally have their images turned off, so don’t rely on your images on the initial opening of the email.

Hopefully that clears up the content you should be posting, what would you add or remove?

Including Social Media in your Digital Marketing Efforts

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, email, Facebook, Social Media | Posted on Jan 05, 2012

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Consistency is the Name of the Game

In 2011 companies and marketers sought to combine social media marketing and traditional marketing. Obviously social media marketing is just one tool under the marketing umbrella, however people continue to think that it is this alien entity. If there is one thing you take away from this post let it be this:

Social Media Marketing is like any other marketing tool, treat it as such.

I have put together several posts on social media tactics. Any regular reader knows that I believe if you are taking part in Social Media without clear, measurable, and realistic goals you are wasting your time and money. Would you run an email campaign and not analyze the data? Would you not analyze your ads performance and just dish out dollars without knowing your return? OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T! So stop doing that with social media.

Now that I went off topic with my standard Social Media Marketing rant, let me get back to the post I wanted to write.

On the surface it looks like social media and other marketing outlets are completely different. The audience has different expectations on a Facebook page than they do when they see an email, visit a website, or click an ad. The following is the fundamental differences between digital media:

Type & Amount of Information Displayed

Digital marketing has many different nuances, you have a website, landing pages for ads, email marketing and social media marketing. A user expects a particular type of information from an email, and to deviate from this would negatively affect your campaign. If you are sending an email that is promoting X% off of product Y, you wouldn’t include information about product Z (assuming this product is not on sale too).  Why wouldn’t you include information on product Z? Because it adds more information than your user needs or wants.

This same logic applies to your Google Adwords. When you are running an adword campaign, you do not want to send a user to your home page. There is too much information on the home page, and whatever the user was looking for when she clicked your ad will be more difficult to find. Landing pages are great ways to increase content because it serves up relevant content to a user who is actively seeking it out.

A website is the encyclopedia of your company, it has all the information of your history, your staff, your products etc. A website also has a professional tone that speaks to people rather than engaging them in a conversation. There is an incredible amount of information for the user that is looking for it, and this information is presented in a way that builds confidence in the user about your brand.

A Facebook page has much less information than your website and this is by design. Users can learn the basics about your brand and then move on to the most important part of a Facebook page, interact. How you post information and share data on Facebook is completely different than a website. You aren’t talking to people on Facebook, you are talking with them. This greatly changes the type of content that is on your Facebook page, rather than being the encyclopedia of your company it is more or less your brand ambassador.

I like to look at landing pages as islands of information. The people who land on these pages are expecting a certain amount and type of information, it needs to be digested quickly and be sufficient enough to entice the visitor to act. These pages, by design, have very little navigation and limited information. Landing pages can get increasingly personal with geo-targeting and other cool tricks, but the type of information that landing page’s display must fall in line with the visitor.

In most cases, you have the most information about your user when sending emails out. People receiving your emails have opted in to your marketing efforts and are expecting messages from you. The better you segment your lists, the better your campaigns will perform. Since you have so much information about your audience when sending emails out, you can send highly targeted messages to a crowd that will have a positive response. Including merge fields can make emails very personal. An email is arguably the most personal form of digital marketing, which is why a message can have minimal yet targeted information.

So what?

Well now that you know the amount and type of information that is to be concluded on your different media outlets, you need to develop a consistent way to display this information. Much like when a user clicks an ad they expect to see information that is reflected in the ad they picked, you want to have consistent branding across your pages to solidify your marketing efforts.

One way to do this is through consistent design and visual branding, which is why we have been developing a digital marketing suite to reduce the hardships of coding and designing.

Syndicate Contnet – A How To

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Content Marketing, Social Media | Posted on Dec 05, 2011

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Creating Content is Hard – Learn how to get the most out of your work

Content marketing is the hot topic theses days, even more so than Social Media marketing. I have been to countless talks and have read several books that preach about the benefits of content marketing. I am a huge content marketing advocate, but even as an active writer it is hard to come up with new topics and engaging posts each day (especially if you are active on Social Media and Blog).

Original content is gold, and much like the gold rush people are continually rushing to have the most original content across various topics. This is turning into a major saturation of information, so how do you get people to read what you have to say, constantly create fresh content AND continue to fulfill the rest of your position’s responsibilities?

The ‘harder than it sounds’ response goes like this:

Recycle your content by syndicating snippets across different publishing mediums

WARNING: Don’t start sounding too spammy, by tweeting out the same lesson periodically through out the day. People can see when you are just ‘reposting’ something, when you recycle your content think of it as more of a ‘reboot’.

Below are the best ways I have seen people re-purpose content without sounding like a broken record.

Spreading the results of survey over a blog series & Tweeting main Points with a link

Throughout my ‘best’ list you will notice that most of my advice is around creating a series of posts. This is a great practice for 2 reasons. (1) Your readers will know what to expect in the future and (2) you are not using up all the valuable research you have done on one long post. Also, longer posts are often skimmed through, it is generally better to write anywhere between 500-800 words on your blog.

When you post a new addition to your series, send it out through social media outlets. Don’t just post a tweet ‘Read my new blog post’ give context. Use a fact from your post and link to it. If you want it to spread further utilize hashtags, mention people who you think should read it and ask people to retweet it (with a simple ‘PLZ RT’).

Interviewing an expert and instead of publishing the interview create a series about lessons learned

This was a nice tactic I learned from Will Reynolds from SEER Interactive. When Will spoke at the Affilaite Summit he had by far the most engaging and informative keynote giving amazing SEO tips, Social tactics and how to create stellar content without exhausting yourself.

People do not like typing, so if you are asking an expert in the industry for an article or guest blog they will likely decline or ignore your request. People tend to spend a fair amount of time on their posts and it would take a while for them to craft something for you based on their own standards. However, you could try to set up a time to interview them. ask for 30 minutes or an hour of their time and here is the trick record the call (obviously ask if this is okay). There are some services out there that will then create a transript from the recording, giving you a lot of content.

This could give you several high quality blog posts that have the interviewed expert’s fingerprints all over it.

Writing a transcript for videos and posting it on your blog

This is a just a good idea for SEO practices and for recycling your content. Some people prefer to read over watching videos, so having this option will better engage your user base.

Quoting & Linking an article and giving a fresh perspective

This is a great way to build relationships with bloggers that can get you back links, give you fresh content and building you up as a thopught leader. All of us have read an article where we think the author either (a) missed something or (b) didn’t consider some other variables. So instead of spending a lot of your time coming up with brand new content, you can ride i n their wake while offering some new substance to their post.

On top of publishing new content you will also spark discussion if the author notices your post (protip: make them notice by Tweeting at them)