Many times I get the call to consider working on a project that needs to be completed in less than a month…and the only focus for project is for an event. I always spend time meeting with the folks to listen to the project. We spend time thinking through the goals…but I have lots of questions and thoughts for everyone involved to consider.
Preamble: Typically I like to work on projects that are more than just “emergent care”. What do I mean, the project has to have more than just the immediate “focus”. Many times I find the project only solves a small portion of what really needs to be communicated. I like to work on projects that have long-term thinking and provide long-term, residual value to the audience. More than just one production that solves a short-term problem.
I am a business person and I am not-only try be a good steward of the resources provided to complete the project at-hand, but also be mindful of the content that is created beyond the production. I like to put together a comprehensive plan that leverage’s the stories that are captured.
Let’s Think Beyond: I am a strategic communicator and the first thing I like to do is consider the overall communications plan from two perspectives: the campaign and the organization. I like to understand how this production fits into these plans. Why…because we are telling stories and we are capturing lots of content that *can be* used beyond the project. We probably use 15% of the content captured in the final production, that is 85% left over that is quality content…stories that can be used in other initiatives.
I like to think about the audience. There are many audiences within this particular project and across the organizations communication initiatives. I like to think…what audiences would connect with the different content we capture. What is the most compelling content from an interview we conduct and how can each response to a question fit into a bigger part of a communications plan.
I like to think delivery. We live in a digital communications era where sharing and consuming content has become a vital part of our daily lives. Let me share a few statistics:
From Edelman Digital: “In 2012: 56% of consumer web traffic was video, YouTube users watched more than 36-billion hours of video and online video was the fastest growing ad format (up 55%).”
We are watching content and consuming content through out the day. This content is helping us make decisions from the car we buy, to the physician we choose. But, also….this content cannot be consumed unless it is shared with a community. How about that 1%?
The 1% Concept: This One Percenter concept is based on research from Jackie Huba’s book, Citizen Marketers. She discovered “that the most highly engaged particpants in a community make up a tiny percentage of the overall customer base but are vocal passionate evangelists who bring new customers into the fold through word of mouth.”
If you have wonderful content, wonderful stories to tell…why not leverage all 100% of that content to engage the most loyal fans…your 1%. This is why I believe that Content is KING. Yes…the stories we capture have more than a shelf life span…they are valuable stories to be told and used beyond on little event, one little campaign, one little production.
These stories are connections…emotions…words of advocacy. They do not deserve to be put on the shelf and used down the road when you think it might be appropriate. We should leverage all 100% of the content captured in a production to engage that 1%.
I want to work with people who want to do more than just one production…I want to work with people that want to treat their all their content as prized possessions, stories to be told beyond the one event, the one project, the one production. I want to help people capture and tell stories to create more than a movement…I want to work with people to create a series of movements over time…advocating using all the stories we capture.
So ole Olivier has pulled his punches and has shown us how headlines work…force individuals like me to pull over from a five hour road trip to write a post…somewhat related.
In his witty post about blog content, generating revenue from the blog, converting content into traffic, thus traffic into revenue…has led me to a discussion, especially as it relates to his headline:
“10 Digital Content Strategy Lessons from the Olympic Games.”
He goes on to pull this premise:
“”Content is king?” Bullshit. Traffic is king. “Content,” or rather the promise of content is just the pull, the pitch, the promise. The real carrot is the revenue from that traffic.”
I agree and I want to add to the debate.
Ok…I am going to use these two premises from his argument to make a point…
First…my thought is this…Stories Are King…Stories Sell…Stories Generate Revenue. Social Media is just the marketing tool to generate the traffic and buzz that feeds to the stories! Guess what, NBC is capitalizing on this free market of real time information exchange.
All week, people have been bitching and complaining about the Olympic spoilers. Think back to Tuesday when the Women’s Gymnasitics won Gold, first time since 1996. Huffington Post and many other outlets posted pictures and information immediately to the front pages of their websites, then tweeted and shared with the world.
People were fussing and complaining about this information coming across their social timelines and newsfeeds. They may been spoiled, but it was one hell of a marketing channel that NBC leveraged later that evening.
LaTimes reported: “NBC made the team’s story the anchor of its taped Tuesday prime-time coverage, which drew an average of 38.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.”
They go on to tell us, “It was the most-watched first Tuesday of any non-U.S. Summer Games since 1960, when American Olympic telecasts started.”
This storyline was one that captivated online, US audiences. We looked at the headlines, we complained we found out early. But…OOH BUT…do you think that Tuesday nights viewership would have broken Olympic viewership numbers without the social share of real time information?
Now let’s get to the story. We as American’s know the competitiveness of Women’s Gymnastics in the Olympics. I remember watching Mary Lou Retton capture our hearts with her amazing story and her amazing Gold Medal performance. Yep…it was 1984 and it was a perfect 10. You can watch it by CLICKING HERE. Thus the storyline gains American context.
As U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney was congratulated by her teammates after competing in the vault in the women’s team competition Tuesday at the 2012 London Olympic Games…the storyline was in place. The Gold was secured…and the social space blew up Tuesday.
From BlueFinLabs.com: As the US Women’s Gymnastics team wins Gold (just after 10am ET), roughly 23K comments/minute made on social outlets. And that was not the peak for the day. As the men’s swim team won the 200m Freestyle Relay, the social conversation peaked around 34.8K comments/minute.
The Women’s Gymnastic Gold story created buzz…this story generated social eruption…this story created a social awareness better than any digital tv guide. People knew they had to go home and watch the story unfold. And NBC capitalized by making this story the anchor of the taped delay broadcast.
They watched the social eruption and capitalized on the story. What does 38.7 million total viewers mean…ad revenue.
“Combined with higher production costs in London, NBC had expected at one point to take a $200 million loss for the games. NBC paid $1.2 billion for the rights to show the games on TV and online in the U.S. Before the games opened, it said it sold more than $1 billion in ads, breaking the record of $850 million set during the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Ahead of the London Games, NBC got 10 percent more for every minute of prime-time advertising compared with the Beijing Games. It also tripled its pre-sales of online ads to $60 million, as it’s streaming all events live for the first time.
Better ratings could mean higher rates for ads sold at the last minute. They could also help the network, which is fourth overall in U.S. ratings, promote new shows in its fall lineup and boost viewership of non-sports programs such as “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” during the Olympics.”
So…23K social comments/minute during women’s gold and 38.4K social comments/minute during men’s swimming gold led to 38.7 million total viewers. Do you think this will help ad revenue? I bet NBC is going to capitalize on the moment when America was spoiled with this trending story.
Story’s Sell…Stories are King…and the real time social share was the channel that tied the story to the viewers online, converting them to watch later. They wanted to watch for their own eyes. Traffic (or the measurement of the traffic) just gives something for the bean counters to sell the story. If you don’t have a story (a compelling story with layers)…you don’t have traffic.
One of the more interesting things that continually fascinates me…we are still burying social links. What do I mean, burying social links on websites, televisions ads, print ads, etc.
Websites: I see more and more links to organizations, brands, individuals’ social links at the bottom of a website…or even below the fold. I wonder if web designers and developers are engrained with working with template based methodology? Maybe we just do not know what to do with the links? If we are blogging and have great content…why are we making it so hard to find the blog? Oh, let’s put the link to the blog at the bottom of the homepage and bury the blog in the navigation.
Television Ads: It is easy to just add the social media outlet icons (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) at the end of the spot. Watch some of the popular ads and you will see a glimpse of these icons in the last 3 seconds of the ads. Most of these outlets just put the icons without the link address to the social link. People need to see the exact URL and not just a Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube icon as an afterthought.
Print: Same as websites and television, these links and outlets are after thoughts. Social outlet icons or event links are buried at the bottom of a design or where we can squeeze them in somewhere. These icons are put there for “awareness” yet only bring awareness for the outlet as an organization, but give no URL to go find the links and engage.
This makes no sense to me?
It is my belief that a YouTube channel has the greatest reach than any other social outlet. Yes, it is a destination social outlet where Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube. So if Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube, why are we making it hard for individuals to find these social links?
Let’s look at YouTube…it has twice as potency as all the other social outlets. Links to YouTube videos last twice as long in the social space than links to any other content, basically has twice as long half-life as other social links. Here is the research from bit.ly on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/06/links-sharing-bitly/
Also…social media-related YouTube stats are just as impressive. YouTube says that on average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link. Meanwhile, over on Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day. OK, with these stats…we should make it easier for our audiences to find our video content.
Let’s take a look at this YouTube video by Fancy Feast. It is one of their newest campaigns, encouraging you go find more of their YouTube links to watch the whole “engagement” story. But at the very end, they include a link to the channel, but is so small and short…you have to go to Google and search for it. Oh yes…that is what they want you to do…search for the content. We will get back to that in a second.
Reminder…Gthe point of this campaign is to get you to go watch the rest of the videos, to watch the whole story. The link is so small and so short when watching on television…I guess you have to use DVR to see it.
Organizations are lazy with their social links hoping that the user will use keyword searches to find content. Why are we making it so hard for our audiences to find our social outlets…we want them to engage in conversation? We want invest tons of money in these outlets, why the heck are we making it hard for our audiences to find them.
Let’s let look at some more stats:
“As of February 2011, YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month. We spend around 2.9 billion hours on YouTube in a month — over 325,000 years. And those stats are just for the main YouTube website — they don’t incorporate embedded videos or video watched on mobile devices.” <– via Mashable.com.
So what do these stats tell us, we expect people to search for content. We do not do this intentionally, maybe the smart advertisers do, but most average organizations do not think about this. The social search of Google and Bing ranks content based on searches, creating millions of dollars of revenue from our inability to tell audiences the direct link to a social outlet or social piece of content. The more clicks to the content, the better the search is refined, the higher the rank of the content or social outlet.
Advertisers who are not generating income (direct or indirect links) should do a better job of giving audiences a direct URL or link to social outlets and social content. Why…we want audiences to find content as fast as possible, because CONTENT IS KING.
Oh…this whole argument is based on the premise that your social outlets have viable a community and wonderful content to engage. So if your Content Is Not King…then keep on burying those links.
Content is Passion Write passionately…I say. So many people have the hardest time writing inside a blog, especially in the very beginning…why? They are searching for their voice. A blog is created for some reason, it could be for business or even for a personal reasons…we write because we have something yearning inside to share. We share it on a public space because we want to connect. We could write in a private journal, but there is some reason we write publicly. We have a passion and it drives our fingers across the keyboard.
Connecting our passion with focused writing generates an audience that can connect, engage, and share. This focused writing channels the passion into key words that begin to index inside the search engines. This allows like minded individuals to find you (YES YOU) based on topics and keywords. The more we write from the heart, the more people can connect based on the social search algorithms that drive Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other outlets.
Content is SEO Your blog is your mother ship. It is the hub for almost all your digital media properties…why? It is so dynamic and content rich, it provides a rich field of words that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines index daily. Your mother ship is the home base because we share what we passionately write in one single place…our blog. We share this blog via social outlets, distribution points like newsletters, word-of-mouth, and even email. We point people back to our blog because it is the home of our most creative, carefully craft thoughts.
We want people to read, so we will do just about anything to get them to read. Each time we share our content via distribution points, and direct them back to our blog…the search engines love us. The more we write, the more hits we get, the more we share, the more our confidence grows, the more we find our voice. The more we write…the more the search engines index our dynamic home base. SEO is driven by passionate writing!
Content is King I hear more people say this is “bullshit”, specifically that content is king. I disagree…it is proven by the SEO and the community that finds you based on the passion you write. The more you write, the more you find your voice, the more you focus…the more you connect. As you focus your writing, you can use outlets like Wordle.net to create word clouds based on your writing.
Wordle.net will create this “cloud” providing indicators of the words most frequently used in your posts. This is an indicator of your passion, the passionate content that allows people searching the search engines to find you and connect. As you fine tune those key words, focus your passion…the better the content of your blog is shaped. Your voice matures and you begin not only writing for your audience…yet writing with your audience. Why…because your audience has found you, commented on your posts, and inspired you to write more. Content is KING.
My wife and I have been cleaning out our attic and working on the baby room. I found an old picture from 1998 when I attended the NPPA Oklahoma Workshop for News & Video. NPPA stands for National Press Photographers Association, which is a group of people who believe in one common goal, telling a good story visually. So why do I bring this up in my blog…well, it goes the very foundation of my business.
As a young journalist, the NPPA along with many workshops like Poynter Institute in Florida, I learned how to listen, capture, and craft a compelling story. From technical proficiency, which included using camera, sound gear, and our linear edit bays to visual storytelling that believed in capturing the moment. These skills have stayed with me over the years and influence how I approach every project I work on today.
Being a good storyteller is a subjective trait…many different people have different approaches. Some use writing, some use photography, some use technology. I use my cameras and my digital knowledge. I have learned how to transform that storytelling, journalistic approach into a marketable business in today’s economy. Now what does that mean?
Every project I work on whether it uses video production, new media, teaching, or coaching…I work to find the story in each context. I use a stoytelling approach to each and every project that crosses my desk. I was trained as a journalist to listen for the stories. Yes….listen for the stories. When I would go into a breaking news scene, we were trained as photojournalists to listen visually. Carry our cameras on our shoulders and our microphones in front of us and listen for the stories.
We would capture images from the field during hurricanes, conventions, fires, events, etc. and listen for the story. Listen for people talking and those colorful metaphors that painted the picture. We were trained to look at every situation and then turn 180 degrees to find those who were describing the story. Why…what better way to capture a story than through the eyes and ears of the people who are experiencing the situation. We resist writing voice-over in our scripts…it signifies we did not do our job collecting quality interviews and moments. We aim to allow people to tell the story, not some third party voice-over.
So how does photojournalism and storytelling translate into new media including blogs and social outlets? Storytelling is an amazing tool. It gives us the opportunity to tell stories, third person accounts through outlets like video, blogs, journals, and other new media tools. It allows us to capture other peoples’ thoughts in a way that we can share them others to enjoy. It provides and opportunity to bring the audience into the context and see thing through someone else’s lens. It also provides and ethical approach to content creation. We learn to honor those whom we are using to tell stories, to represent their interests along with ours as well.
We have an opportunity to take a project, a blog, a video, a message and bring the audience into a theater, our digital theater. We have a chance to see something through another lens by using words, video, pictures, sounds, etc. We have a chance to stop writing corporate copy, generating brand messages…instead craft a story that can translate to the people around us.
One of my favorite things to do on a project is a little ethnography project. When I first start working with a group, I like to emerse myself inside the story. I like to find myself inside the context, then start capturing the sights and sounds of the message. Their are many ways to tell a story, but I chose to tell it through another’s viewpoint…to capture reality for others to enjoy. Content can be king!
Recently…I have become increasingly irritated with rubric’s and how-to’s that are consistently floating around the social space. It is driving me up a wall. Most of this is inside the world of blogging and the social space…that we must find a way to create a path for the perfect blog, that we must create the perfect social “strategy”, and there is a formula for social media messaging.
It is my humble opinion that those that are preaching these strategies, rubrics, and methods are in the business for their checkbooks. Each time I watch the tweets come down the timeline, “5 ways to do…”, “how to measure…”, the perfect blog must have…”, it is all about generating revenue for the person writing the posts.
Writing from the heart and creating great content is not “BS”. You cannot put a path to success when it comes to writing, connecting, and building an online community around a social outlet. There is no magic cookie cutter. Anyone that is selling this, pushing this, or tweeting this is selling it to generate their own income streams and not bringing value to this initial open source community.
If you do not have a passion for writing…then while the hell are you blogging? If you do not have a passion for exploring ideas, generating genuine creative thoughts, and connecting with others online…then why are you interacting in the social space.
I have read more and more tweets and blogs screaming to re-define the word marketing in this social space or 3.0. Many of which are searching to create a whole new space based on consumer trends and big company strategies. Why are they are re-defining this…well it is helping them land the next retainer deal, speaking engagement, big corporate marketing gig. But those same folks who surround themselves in chats an online discussions pushing what they deem is innovation…well they are actually trying to put this social space of user created content into a cookie cutter, placing a marketing dollar to each tweet, blog post, youtube video, and Facebook update.
These same “innovators” are actually stifling the social space right back into the same old marketing channels. Each of these spaces are becoming distribution points of corporate generated content specifically geared to track and generate a metric. Why, because the CEO’s and the VP’s of Finance who sign-off on these initiatives need a metric. We are right back where we started when the social space was beginning to appear.
Twitter is now the AP Newswire, Facebook is the new email chain, and YouTube is now our living television set. Just distribution points for those pesky marketers to generate a strategy for ads, product placement, and sponsorships. WTF…hashtags that are sponsored? Great…can’t wait. Sign me up.
“Because hashtags are important, packing tweets with them defeats their purpose. It muddies communication – of all people, Comms peeps should know the vitality of clarity, and the cost of clutter and noise. Why so many Healthcare pros don’t understand such a simple concept is beyond me, but I digress.
I’ve thought to myself: you know, Twitter once had so much promise, and now it’s becoming all serious business and so-called marketing. What a shame. We’ll all lose in the end.”
Thanks Phil, I do not think we will all loose…but there is a big ole shift.
Several months ago, I was talking with a very smart lady, Robbin Phillips after she came and spoke to some students at Clemson. She says it so nicely…(i am paraphrasing): “there is just so much noise out there in this space.” I have to agree.
I blame us…us marketing people have gone out and screwed it up. We had to find a way to put in some sort of cookie cutter system so we can track it and metric the crap out of each profile and communication channel online. Hell, we are even spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars for companies like Radian6. We want to track those conversations. And we will pay top dollar to analyze the heck out of those conversations.
All of this stifles innovation. It stifles passionate writing. It stifles true connection. It prohibits individuals to use places like blogs, YouTube, and other creative outlets to become pioneers. We want each of them to think there is a rubric for using these channels then track the success. Why can’t success be simply creating content, writing passionately, making a cool video. What if the only person that you were communicating to was just one person. If that person read it, listened to it, connected with the message…then led to see life through the authors eyes…then success? Right?
I remember when I was working on my thesis for graduate school and some of the many academic articles that followed. Each person in the academy I spoke too told me that getting an academic thesis or academic article approved was like jumping through hoops. My mother calls it “Hoop Dreams.” Yes…it was almost like social construction of knowledge. My genuine ideas were shaped to meet the expectations of those academic gate keepers whose agenda’s were played out in each word that was written. Some argue this process is necessary to form true scholarship…to meet the expectations of the academic world. I see the value in this process, but I also see the value in allowing true innovative writing and thinking to shine.
The connection here is that regardless where we go, where we write, what we create….someone wants to fit it into a cookie cutter paradigm. The social space is starting to shape-up to be just that. We marketers and new media people are trying to force clients, organizations, and small businesses into a framework that meets the needs of our pocket books. Why not just teach the technology and how them to utilize this framework as a place to share our inner thoughts, a place to express our inner beings.
Content is King. Communities grow as content and ideas are created. In order to connect we must share our thoughts and communicate.
I think there is a true progression in the way people create innovative content and connect through their ideas.
Idea —> Content Creation –> Content Shared —> Ideas Consumed –> People Connect … then the cycle starts over again.
A blog is just a place to hold thoughts. A video is visual representation to share motion, action, sounds that represent our creativity. These are just technological theaters for others to engage with our ideas. If we are thinking, writing, sharing in a way that the people that are truly interested in reading, listening, watching, understanding…then their peripheral vision will disappear and become completely engaged in the passionate content we create!
The video above talks about my buddy Marty Boardman and how he is using his blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to build his real estate investment business. He has done this through writing great content, storytelling, and keeping a focus on his mission. Ultimately his passion shines through these social outlets.
About two years ago he had hit rock bottom with his real estate business, after generating millions in business. He and I are very close, he was best man in my wedding. So I taked with him about using a blog to start taking control of his message and use it as a focal point to educate the public about his business. Every two weeks on a conference call, we would chat about his successes. He started using his blog to write passionately about real estate investment, his business, and his goals. He started using Twitter to build relationships online and research other real estate investment news and opportunities. He started using Facebook to build a community of people with the same interests and used YouTube to show his properties and also as a video blog.
By writing and generating great content, writing passionately, connecting with others…he has leveraged these tools as a major business focus. Via these tools, he has built quality relationships that have led to over $250K in investment opportunities over the last year. He is a storyteller and he used his storytelling skills to engage his audience with passionate writing and focused content. Because of this content, the community found him and engaged with his passion.