Visual content: An anecdotal experience

I have been a frequent sharer on LinkedIn, passing on some of the many interesting articles, etc. I see on my news feed. I have been pretty chuffed to see that my posts average about 50 page views each, with the odd like and even more odd comment. Mindful of the research showing that tweets and Facebook updates with images get a better response, I occasionally shared infographics or memes and, sure enough, the view rate was significantly higher. Then I came across this meme yesterday:

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Funny? Tick. Pop culture reference? Tick. Relevance to work? Tick. I shared the photo, and within minutes my iPad was pinging me constantly with messages that people had either liked or commented on the post. I was mildly impressed with the 58 likes and 7 comments I received (I know this isn’t earth shattering, but it’s a great result for my account), but this afternoon when I logged onto my account I saw that the post had nearly 2,500 views – more than 20 times my previous best.

Why such a difference? My educated guess is that this meme in particular struck a chord with people who have ever encountered unrealistic expectations with a client/boss/stakeholder (which is just about anyone who has ever worked or studied!) At any rate, I think I’ll be posting more memes in the future!

The content marketing revolution – and pigs

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Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article I came across written by James Carson and published on Econsultancy:

“Content marketing costs less than advertising, and more people engage with it.

“It sounds like a revolution but actually there are some rather unkind hidden truths in all of this.

“Much like the pigs at the end of Animal Farm, with the evil predecessor gone, what’s replaced it looks… very similar indeed.

George Orwell, Animal Farm:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Advertising is a waste of money and has been for more than ten years…

Read the full article

John Fogerty and the power of revival

I managed to cross off an item on my bucket list over the Easter weekend by attending Bluesfest in Byron Bay. Great music, interesting crowds, and plenty of hemp shirts for sale.

One of the highlights was hearing John Fogerty performing Creedence Clearwater Revival classics in a tightly-packed two-hour set. It was like being transported back to Woodstock, or a Vietnam War protest rally.

You’d think that, playing songs that he first performed more than 40 years ago, Fogerty would be a bit jaded. But he looked incredibly fresh and vibrant as he hopped around the stage playing the riffs and belting out ‘Proud Mary,’ ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and scores of other classics. That fresh look was no doubt helped by the fact that at age 67, he still has a full head of hair (damn him!)

The main reason for that appearance is because, as he pointed out during his performance, he’s only recently begun playing those old songs again. Due to a combination of overexposure and anger over contracts and credits (Fogerty wrote nearly every hit CCR recorded and sang and played lead guitar as well) he refused to play old CCR songs in concert for more than 25 years, as he tried to make a career as a solo artist.

It was his wife who convinced him to pick up the old CCR tunes again a couple of years ago, and, as he told the Bluesfest crowd, he is now having the time of his life, re-embracing the songs he wrote and sang in his youth, and entertaining audiences who were too young to see him perform them when they were new.

There’s a lesson here that can be applied to nearly any business. Even if you’re truly passionate about something, it may be a good idea to lay it aside before it becomes a rut, and try something different for a while. You can then return to that earlier passion with fresh eyes and insights gained from years of experience.

Did you ever get fed up with a youthful pursuit you thought you really loved, or moved on because you thought it was time to grow out of it? I know plenty of people who started out as journalists, and after a few years moved into management because it was the sensible thing to =do. Many of them returned to writing 20 or 30 years later, bringing a varied life experience to the role and displaying a rich storytelling technique that they couldn’t have achieved 20 years earlier.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas 

More social media tools than you can stick a pin into

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So you think you’ve finished your studies? You may have graduated years ago, but let me tell you, in today’s economy, school is never out.

If you don’t have it already, you need to develop a philosophy of life-long learning. Things are changing much too fast to rely simply on what you learned at uni or TAFE.

For example, whether you’re a small or a large business, you can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore trends like social media. That means not only mastering existing tools, but staying abreast of emerging tools, as well.

It’s pretty clear that most businesses should have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But when it comes to using some of the newer social media tools for your business, how do you pick a winner? You need to look at factors such as the take-up rate, how it integrates with other tools, and whether it offers something that is not only different, but hopefully useful, as well.

Google+ is one on the cusp (though, supported by and integrated with the raft of Google tools, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be there for the long haul).

The location-based tool Foursquare, used by more than 15 million people who check in at locations and share their visits with friends, has had a lot of publicity and has attracted venture capital investment. But how important is it to people to become the ‘mayor’ of frequently visited spots? Are people using it mainly to make their friends jealous about where they can afford to go on a holiday?

A tool that I think ticks more of the boxes is Pinterest, an online pinboard service that, in the words of CBS Moneywatch, “attracts people who need to organize the chaos of Internet-age information overload.”

Pinterest describes itself as a social network meant to connect everyone in the world through the things that they find interesting.

The site lets you create and curate multiple pinboards in any category you can create, as well as following others’ pinboards. It falls somewhere between window shopping and actual collecting. You can log on through Twitter or Facebook, so you can tell your friends and customers about your boards.

At the same time, In contrast to Facebook, Pinterest pinners may end up choosing to follow people they don’t know purely based on the photos they curate, creating seemingly random new networks.

Read the full article on Smarter Business Ideas

New ways to make Jan happy

From my NETT blog:

Most of you would remember the Yellow Pages “Not happy, Jan” ads from a few years ago, where an assistant was avoiding her boss because the Yellow Pages had just come out and she had forgotten to book the company’s ad. As she scurries down the street, the boss spies her and shouts out the window, “Not happy, Jan!”

It was a really memorable campaign (I still hear that phrase in common use), and it highlighted how critical it was to have your business listed in the one directory that was in every home and every business. And what a money-spinner for Telstra; they charged like a wounded bull for Yellow Pages listings, and you grumbled but shelled out the money because it was the only game in town.

How the mighty have fallen! If you want to find out not only a company’s address and phone number, but opening hours, complete product line and ways to buy, you now jump on the Web. Meanwhile, Yellow Pages are used as doorstops or are ending up in recycling bins as soon as they’re delivered, while Telstra is resorting to buying Chinese companies and doing deals with the government on the national broadband roll-out to keep its shares out of the basement (yes, I bought shares in T2 at several times their current value and no, I’m not bitter about it).

So you no doubt have a website and, if you’re a keen reader of this esteemed publication, you have optimized your site to make sure those customers who formerly relied on the Yellow Pages can still easily find your business. But are you prepared for the mobile web?

Take this test: grab a smart phone (if you don’t have one, borrow one from one of your children) and type in your web address. What do you see? Chances are, you won’t like it – particularly if you use Flash on your website.

Read the rest of the article

 

“Stupid strategy, if you ask me”

Here’s a video I helped produce recently for HotHouse Interactive, announcing their move down the road to new premises. Look for the Hitchcockian cameo at about the one-minute mark!

Consumers to companies: give us entertaining online video

eMarketer’s recent report on the use of online video by the consumer packaged goods sector has uncovered some interesting results, such as the numbers showing that people are expecting to be entertained by companies as much as they are expecting to be marketed to.

Across nearly all of the categories, entertainment rated as high as marketing (see above). Solving problems and offering incentives to buy were the highest rating expectations, on average.

The survey, conducted among nearly 600 US new media users, demonstrates the strength of online video and shows how consumers’ perceptions of marketing and advertising are changing, as the line between content and promotion becomes increasingly blurred.

“Digital video content, whether delivered through a computer, mobile phone, handheld device or TV monitor, has the potential to ignite two-way conversations between consumers and brands,” said Tobi Elkin, author of the report.

According to an eMarketer summary of the report: “Putting a hard number on the dollars spent by consumer packaged goods marketers on online video content is difficult, as outlays are not included in measures of paid advertising spending. Assessing its effectiveness is likewise a problem for marketers. The same metrics issues that bedevil marketers trying to assess the effect of online advertising on their brands also plague the ability to evaluate the performance of video content.”

Reprinted from the Zazoo blog