Why we podcast…leveraging long form storytelling! #podcasts

Bobby Rettew - Podcast Desk

I have been researching podcasts across the data and insights arena for the last few months as I have really become intentional about content creation. Some of the questions I have are similar to the ones many across the podcasting spectrum have mentioned, and also the advertising industry as a whole is grappling with collectively.

I am interested in a few things, specifically with lots of questions:

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Why i hate the “storytelling” buzzword…

So my good friend Olivier Blanchard shared a post I wrote on Facebook (seen above) and this generated a pretty interesting discussion. So I thought I would share a few of the comments and my responses.

Cémanthe – you know…I 100% agree…I am tired of the industry using this buzzword –> “Storytelling”…it actually pisses me off…thus the point of this article.

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#Storytelling –> Texture is Connectivity

I was up late reading and stumbled across this article about a photoessay by Photographer Nancy Borowick sharing her story…both of her parents fighting cancer. No…this is not a story of one of her parents fighting cancer and the other standing along side as a support system. BOTH of her parents have cancer and BOTH are fighting cancer simultaneously.

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Are people remembering then searching for your story?

Image credit: DailyGalaxy.com

I was looking around for the perfect billboard image and I thought this fit so well. I just read and article from SearchEngineLand.com surrounding the idea of attribution in the world of marketing.

What is attribution?
Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events.Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding of what combination of events influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion. (from wikipedia.com)

As I was thinking through this article, I began pondering some of my larger clients. I was thinking about how they spread their marketing mix (spend) across the spectrum and how it relates to the related online search.

One of the take aways: “The biggest conversion rate (90%) is the person that uses a single click or with the same keyword typed.”

So, how do I apply this to a large organization’s marketing/pr efforts…especially as it involves our social/digital efforts. Heck, let’s narrow the field to a large hospital system.

First…it is all about the search! On all media mixes, it is more important to make our searchable keywords (that drive traffic to our conversion rates) extremely apparent. From billboards, television, to digital ads; we have to consider visually displaying the keywords we want people to use to search Google/Yahoo/etc.

Basically, this is a typography/visual design exercise. When designing any media, the words that we want people to use to search for our final digital destinations must be most visible, most readable, and most apparent.

So this is a shift in thinking a bit, especially for me.

What is our digital keyword brand?
Think about a billboard on the interstate. As we drive by, which keywords do we remember from that billboard. Which keywords catch our attention? Are the keywords people remember the ones that match our branded message? Does our audience type those branded keywords correctly into the search engine to find our services.

Think about that television ad. Which keywords are used in the ad? Are the displayed words in the ad the same keywords we want people to use to search for that service? What will they remember?

Social Media/digital ads are different…we should be already giving links with updates as we point people to final destinations.

I would love to hear your thoughts as you read through this article. Maybe you are implementing this strategy, and I am wasting your time. But, I found this research interesting as it relates to large organizations (especially hospitals) that use a multi-channel media mix.

What is the difference between Marketing and Communications? Sound Off

For all my friends, clients, colleagues, and partners out there…I want to hear your thoughts! What is the difference between Marketing and Communications, specifically in the context of social/digital media. How would you differentiate the two?

I hope you will share your thoughts! Use the comment section below to share!

Audience is our friend…love your audience

I was having breakfast with a client and friend…Sally Foister. We were chatting about marketing, social media, digital media, etc. The one thing that we kept on coming back to was the idea of knowing your audience.

She has one of the most interesting jobs, in my humble opinion, as she is the Director of Marketing for Greenville Hospital System here in Greenville, SC. Imagine dealing with all the audiences and marketing efforts for the largest Non-Profit Health System in South Carolina. Audience is key.

As we were talking…I just thought more and more about the idea of audience. It is so key in today’s balancing act of digital media, traditional media, and even public/media relations efforts. We can get so hung up on our message, our brand, our services…but sometimes we have to sit back and think about those who are receiving this message. What about those who should be receiving the message and are being marginalized by virtue of our marketing efforts.

Sometimes it it is good to pull back and really think through the people we are trying to touch, have a conversation with, build community around, or just meet. Marketing is more than just delivering a message…it is also about engaging conversation. Before we can engage conversation, we must truly know who we are chatting with…who is on the other side of the coin.

When we use social outlets to post content, do you think through who you are posting the update to…who do you want to read this message? When you are creating a video…do you think through the audience? Can you visualize the audience and see the message, hear the message, share the message through their point-of-view.

Sometimes it takes just a few minutes to do a simple audience analysis, to sit back and visualize who you want share your message with. Then, imagine life through their eyes, ears, daily routines, and heart.

When we call our parents, talk to our children, share dinner with our significant other/love one…we talk and communicate with love and compassion. We do so because we really know our audience. We have taken the time to learn how they think, how they listen, how they see the world. We listen to their responses and try to respond with respect and more thought provoking conversation. Imagine if we used this same method with our marketing efforts.

Audience is key…and marketing is still communication.

***Sally is also writing a blog, just in-case you want to read…CLICK HERE

Email is about trust.

As I woke-up Christmas Even morning, I was checking my email before starting the holiday communication shutdown. As I was looking through my personal email account, I noticed an email from Honda. Apparently, there was “an unauthorized access to an email list used by a vendor of customers who receive special offers and newsletters from Acura.” They went on to state that, “As a company, we believe that all customer relationships must be built on trust.” Honda, you are right! It is about “Trust”! Then they stated, “That is why we believe it is important to inform you of this incident.” You can click here to read the whole email.

My Holiday Message
Now this is not a mere examination of the the Honda email practices, but something that I experienced yesterday. Yesterday, I sent out a short video holiday message to my friends, family, and clients. It was not necessarily just a Holiday Message, it was a reminder to a select group of people that I will be out of town the week after Christmas. As I was putting together the email, I choose each person that will receive this email carefully based on the message. I also chose to send it out yesterday because I knew most of the recepients would still be in the office to open the email or would open it upon their return on Monday, December 27th. The purpose once again, a reminder. So far, %81 of the people have opened the message, which is about what I expected.

During the day, I received little notes from many people thanking me for the reminder, and also some that just enjoyed the funny video. Each person I know on a first name basis, and can honestly subscribe them to my Mail Client (MailChimp) because we email each other, each and everyday. We not only have a personal relationship in person but also a digital communication relationship based on information transaction.

Misuse of Email Addresses
Late Thursday afternoon, I received a Holiday Message where someone had sent an email to every email address they had in their address book. How do I know this, because all 1181 individual email addresses were in the “To:” field. This person has shared their whole client list, personal relationships, basically every email address they have with each of the 1181 people that received this note. This is a scary proposition. Two of my email addresses were in that distribution, so now I am subject to anyone who wants to use my email list for ill will. I do not know all of the 1181 people, so I have no idea if each of them is trust worthy enough to not use my email address properly. Email is about trust.

When we hand out our business cards or share our email address with someone, what are we “opting-in” to receive? How do we set expectations with the person whom we share our email address? I have four email address each with a specific purpose. I have one business email account, one personal account, one for my students at Clemson, and one for purchasing. Each has a specific purpose. I also ask people who send me business emails to my personal account to send to my business account. I also ask my students not to send class email to my personal or business account. I even ask my family to refrain from sending funny joke emails to my business account. So, when a person who has two of my email accounts sends a bulk email to all of their contacts, that is a violation of my email policy. Now I sound a little harsh, but this is how I have to manage my email.

Clemson University’s Email
Recently, at the end of the semester, some of my students were complaining about the amount of email Clemson sends to them. I have to agree…as a part time employee, I receive more email in one day from Clemson than I receive in one week from my busiest client.  I am actually a bit overwhelmed. I on average receive 30 plus emails a day about a server problem, parking reminder, poetry exhibit, and the list goes on. I just hit delete, delete, delete. It is so bad, that I miss important email buried in the tons of email I receive daily from the university. Chartjunk as Tufte would say! “Chartjunk refers to all visual elements in charts and graphs that are not necessary to comprehend the information represented on the graph, or that distract the viewer from this information.” I think it applies here!

So I asked the students to write a paper to make recommendations to the university, to use email as a better resource to engage and inform the audiences at Clemson. I found some interesting responses, but the unified answer is do a better job delivering the proper email information to the person that is the actual consumer of this information.

Digital Communication
I have so many different ways I communicate with people digitally. I use Facebook, Twitter, Email, Mobile Phone Texting, and even Skype. I use email as a more formal form of communication, more of a contractual way to document conversations. But I use email based on the relationship with the recipient. This is a mutual proposition that allows us to interact in a private environment where we understand that we will not share information unless it is a part of the communication agreement. To me, Email is about Trust.

A few weeks ago, I heard a colleague chastising someone for putting the disclaimers in the bottom of their email signature. You know, the part that explains this is a communication between the above parties and not to share this confidential information. My colleague was saying that this is too much information for people to read and understand. But it is the actions I list above that have led to individuals being forced to set expectations with the recipient. Why…well, there are those who abuse our trust and share our private information with others.

Communication is about trust. I know we can just hit delete…but should we respond to those who abuse this transaction, informing them of our expectations, educating them of how we view our “address” should be used. Would you do so if that same person walked in your house without knocking…I think this is the same thing.

To learn about the MailChimp’s Email Terms of Use Policy, CLICK HERE.

To learn about SPAM and the CAN-SPAM Act of 2004, CLICK HERE.

Health Care C-Suites…have time to blog?

One of the hardest parts of getting health care organizations to engage with blogs, is finding the personnel to actually write the blogs. The idea behind the blog is easy to sell to an organization, even the organization gets excited about the idea of the blog, but it ultimately comes down to servicing the blog. This even transcends social media technologies…once  an organization engages, then it is all about servicing the social media platforms.

This comes down to personnel and fundamental problem beyond staffing, integrating something new in the marketing/pr strategy. Hospitals and health care organizations are typically large organizations with a marketing staff that is already stretched.

Social media strategies have to integrate obtainable goals simple strategies that make time management a feasible part of the current workload. This provides a couple of things, user engagement and simple ROI. Health care marketing professionals have to find some positive result to integrate a new strategy inside the organization and their respective silo.

Executive leadership loves the idea of blogs because it gives them the power to control the message. It is an effective pr engine that allows C-Suite professionals to combat out-of-context quotes in newspapers and other forms of media. It is also provides a tremendous platform for C-Suite professionals to take a stand of health care issues related to health care reform. This issue has brought many CEO’s to the blogger world to protect the market space and the hospital they represent…why, it is a political battle that affects a hospitals’ bottom-line and patient ratings.

“Once step at a time!” – This is what I tell health care marketing directors and C-Suite professionals. If you want to start a social media strategy or a blogging strategy…do not bite off more than you can chew.

Write a mission statement for the strategy and plan out when you will service these social medias. This is purely a time management issue…plan it out! Decide who will service the blog or social media. If the CEO is going to write his/her blog, then set a schedule for them to integrate within the busy schedule. This means, integrate the proper technology to facilitate this action. Make sure IT turns down the firewalls so the CEO and marketing professional can access these sites. Also, if a marketing professional is going to help the CEO or Executive to service the blog, set schedules and goals for posts. Be prepared to step away from the schedule if a topical event comes to the forefront that needs to be addressed by the executive.

Also…create a simple strategy to measure your success. Do this from the beginning. Decide what you are “tracking.” Basically, how many times you update, how many followers, how many hits are generated via links, etc. Set obtainable goals.

With C-Suites in health care tackling the blogging world, look at other executives who are blogging. Check out the length of the posts and frequency of the updates. Also, decide whether you want to allow your audience to respond to your posts. This is crucial, because if you allow those to comment on your posts…you need to make sure respond to each comment. Find other blogs that you can regularly read. This is a part of your time management schedule and it allows you to learn not only the “in’s & out’s” of blogging, but it gets you in the language of blogging.

Social media for health care organizations is a reality, but now it us up to the organization how they not integrate the strategy but service it long term.

Great Health Care CEO Blogs:
Running A Hospital – Paul Levy – President and CEO of Beth Israel
Thornton Kirby’s Blog – President & CEO of South Carolina Hospital Association
William L. Roper, MD, MPH – CEO, University of North Carolina Health Care System