April 2013 Issue #3
In this week’s issue of Media Monitoring News, we focus on insightful articles for PR pros to improve pitches, target influencers and broaden relationships with bloggers and the media.
Our separate section for social media specialists and marketers stresses the importance of video marketing and aligning metrics, while several articles explain how to improve your social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy; each network needs distinctive cultivation.
Our feature article studies the emergence of “content advertising” and how it could affect both your PR and marketing strategies. Some experts agree that sponsored content is the solution to finding revenue in online ads, while others argue that it violates the mandates of journalism.
The consensus opinion on pitching is that contacting bloggers en masse is counterproductive. The contrarian perspective of Chris Abraham’s “long-tail blogger outreach strategy,” however, may change your mind.
Also included: Some widely-discussed recent articles that we think you’ll find worthy of a read.
William J. Comcowich
For PR Pros: Feature Article
Sponsored Content: The Future of Online Advertising
The New York Times
The lines between “paid” and “earned” media, once distinct, have now blurred, as described in Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads. “Sponsored content” (also dubbed “advertorials”) now enables brands to seep into editorial space that was once the sole province of journalists. Publications work with brands to create content that aligns with interests of the publication’s audience, so that readers, publications and brands all benefit. Such sponsored content solves some of the complications of online advertising, asserts BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. NY Magazine claims in Does Buzzfeed Know the Secret? that Peretti has found the “secret” algorithm to journalism and advertising.
Susan Wojcicki of Google, in a paidContent article, maintains that paid content is the future of online advertising, as illustrated in a Pepsi video piece on YouTube where Jeff Gordon “pranks” a car salesman with a frightening test drive.
As marketers become adept at producing sponsored content with embedded brand messages, does the practice compromise journalistic integrity? Some editors think so, the Times admits, but it also points to publishers like Mashable that will not allow writers to specifically introduce the brand or its competitors, and will turn down brands that want too much control over the content. Likely result: In the long run, loss of editorial integrity, objectivity, independence and credibility will harm both journalism and brands.
A Complete Guide to Choosing Media Database Software
Over the past month, Bulldog Reporter compiled a four-chapter 2013 Media Contact and Management Software Buyer’s Guide. The report explores the value of software-based media guides in preparing contact lists for pitching; highlights the most desirable features; and explains how to choose the media contact software that best fits your needs. In its final chapter, the guide offers a head-to-head comparison of leading media databases with detailed data on each. It’s a superb reference for organizations that plan to purchase a new media contact service – or switch suppliers.
Quick Tips for an Effective Pitch
Arketi / Online PR Media
Four Tips to Give Your Pitch a Makeover assembles helpful writing approaches to keep your pitch from going stale. Pitches should be framed around people, not products, so don’t overlook third-party sources and brand advocates to focus on whom your brand or product will affect. Often overlooked is the importance of the “About” section at the end of a press release. Essential Tips for Writing Your “About” Section in Press Releases explains its purpose and how best to compose an “About” for your organization.
Build Your Network with These Problem-Solving Strategies
Five Routes to More Innovative Problem Solving introduces a series of strategies, (jargonized as “flexons”) that describe five different approaches to solving problems. PR pros should focus on the Networks Flexon, which involves targeting clusters of influencers — in this case, the media and bloggers — who share the same ideas and have tight interactions. Rather than using a traditional mass-marketing approach, the network flexon helps build relationships with sources to call for expert opinions and to distribute press releases.
America’s Most Damaged Brands and Why They Failed
24/7 Wall Street
Unsurprisingly, Martha Stewart grabs a top spot on America’s Nine Most Damaged Brands. Before listing its additional eight brand failures, the article alerts PR pros to the reasons that made these once-successful brands fall. The most common cause for a damaged reputation: erosion of core strategy. One example is BlackBerry, whose mistake was switching to business consumers and ignoring the needs of primary customers. Bottom line: A reputation can take years to build, but can be ruined quickly through faulty decision-making and execution.
How to Be a More Productive Marketer
Both marketers and PR pros will find convenient time-saving strategies, productivity tools and keyboard shortcuts compiled in 27 Time-Saving Tools and Tricks to Be a More Productive Marketer. Our favorite time-saver: “time boxing” or setting aside a break-free hour or two without attending to email (also cleverly deemed the “email quarantine”). Must-know keyboard shortcut: Hit Control-Shift-T to retrieve an accidentally-closed tab on your browser.
Where Corporate Listening and Engagement Meet
Biznology / McKinsey Quarterly
To confuse listening with engaging is costly, Frank Reed emphasizes in Defining Corporate Listening in the Online Age. In fact, impaired listening strategies can be a major factor in flawed corporate social responsibility programs, as explained in Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility: Integrated External Engagement. Common theme of both articles: PR pros often limit themselves by concentrating on just the negatives to protect corporate reputation. But effective listening and external engagement are both much more than that, the authors of both articles insist. Listening can lead to finding brand champions, journalists to distribute content and consumers who are happy with a product. A complete external engagement strategy can attract new customers, motivate employees and win over consumers.
Business Wire CEO Interprets SEC Guidelines on Social Media
The SEC’s updated guidelines that allow companies to disclose information through social media are meant to augment — not replace — news dissemination, Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz emphasized in a CNBC interview last week. She stressed that releasing company announcements only through Twitter and/or Facebook would be too restrictive to be seen as full and fair disclosure. “The more places that you can place information for journalists, analysts, and investors to consume, the better it is for the investing public,” Tamraz stated. Traditional news releases should continue to be a core distribution channel.
For Social Media Specialists & Marketers:
Video Marketing for Viral Reach
Adobe / ExploreB2B
Videos now account for 77% of viral reach on social networks, according to a recent Adobe study, meaning your audience is twice as likely to engage in video content than text-based communications. This may explain why Vine has gained a No. 1 spot on Apple’s Free App store within four months of its launch. What does it mean for social media specialists? Video marketing should play a major role in most any social media strategy. To be successful, videos must be original, creative and honest. Small businesses are at no disadvantage when it comes to video marketing, promises Top 5 Video Marketing Tips for Businesses, as all you need to create a successful video is “a sound strategy and determination.” Also helpful: Eight Rules of Consumer Engagement with Video. Rule No. 4: Focus on videos for the product page first — before the homepage or brand page. Consumers watch videos on the product page more than any other location, an Invodo study found.
Without Proper Separation, Measurement Results Are Inaccurate
In measuring with custom reporting software like Google Analytics, it’s easy for marketers to make a common mistake, explains Avinash Kaushik in Excellent Analytics Tip #23: Align Hits, Sessions, Metrics, Dimensions! Kaushik stresses the necessary separation between a “hit” and a “session” in measuring online media results. Some metrics fall into one category, and some fall into the other — and measuring two metrics that are in different dimensions can lead to faulty results. The article gets a bit technical, but Kaushik makes important distinctions and breaks down the analysis step by step.
Marketers Should Increase Use of Metrics in Social Media, Study Finds
Ofer Mintz and Imran S. Currim
Ofer Mintz and Imran S. Currim set out to determine how best to use metrics in marketing in their study of Managerial Use of Marketing and Financial Metrics. The research found that appropriate use of marketing metrics positively correlates with marketing performance. The results identified settings where managers could improve their use of marketing metrics. Key areas for improvement: social media and promotions.
Score Loyalty Points with Pinterest Followers
Social Media Examiner
How to Use Pinterest to Build Trust and Loyalty pinpoints four ways to connect with customers through Pinterest. First, tell your company’s story through archival pictures and text, as General Electric does. Displaying your history produces fun, interesting content, plus it establishes company credibility and growth. Second, recognize and honor your loyal customers. Third, make your Pinterest board a resource for customers. Finally, verify pins before you share them.
Social Media Marketing: Use Appropriate Tone for Each Social Network
Facebook is a pub crawl, Twitter is a speed date and LinkedIn is an after-work happy hour with office staff. Jonathan Greene employs those analogies to explain the different manners and tone needed at each social media venue. Each network is made up of a different demographic so that often, “marketers end up looking like the odd man out simply by taking the wrong platform-specific tones with their campaigns,” Greene writes in Which Type of Content is Appropriate for Different Platforms? To win a seat at the table of a Facebook conversation, content should be interesting and relevant — nothing too promotional. Twitter allows you to control the conversation, but content must be impressive and to-the-point.
Rules for Using Twitter: Learn from Roger Ebert
MediaBistro / Deb Sylee
Outlined from a Chicago Sun-Times article in 2010, MediaBistro shares the late film critic Roger Ebert’s 8 Rules for Using Twitter. Several of Ebert’s rules can guide social media specialists, including “I try to make my links worth a click” and “I try to keep links to stuff on my own site down to around 5 or 10%.” Ebert is quoted, “I actually go looking for stuff to tweet…I will tweet a link someone suggests on this blog. I will tweet good lines from comments here (with credit). I like to retweet.” 7 Steps to Get Yourself Noticed on Twitter echoes the importance of tweeting links to useful content to other sites. When you find someone else’s tweet useful, publicly reply to show your support, the article advises.
2013′s Most Powerful People in the Media
The Hollywood Reporter
There are few major surprises in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 listing of The 35 Most Powerful People in the Media. The list is chock-full of media regulars like Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly and Howard Stern. But what’s more surprising is who THR left off; notably, Rush Limbaugh, who is currently the most listened-to talk radio host in America. Another shocker: Only two of those distinguished selections work in the print industry.
Factoids of the Week:
75% of social media video referrals are via Facebook. (Adobe)
79% of 18- to 35-year-olds agree that negativity in a search engine result affects their buying decisions, and nearly 50% of the time, searchers will click on a negative review that is in the search results. (Social Engine Reputation Management)
91% of 2,100 Americans surveyed said they’ve been flooded with unwanted email spam. Among those, 60% said they unsubscribe from the sender’s future emails and 45% ignore future emails. (Harris Interactive)
Quote of the Week:
“The biggest change in the world today is that the young don’t learn from the old; they teach the old about the world today.” — Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum