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The Work Behind Social Marketing

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 in Digital Marketing | 1 comment

My previous mini-series on Search Engine Marketing got me thinking about some of the myths of other types of digital marketing, especially social media marketing. Some people think that social marketing is voodoo. Other think it’s a new broadcast medium. The truth is, it’s just the plain old hard work of maintaining a dialog with your community. I’ve written that digital marketing techniques like SEO and SEM take a roll-up-your-sleeves effort to make them effective; you don’t just throw money at keywords and wait for the sales come rolling in. This is especially true for social media marketing. There is no “if you build it they will come”; social media is a digital marketing channel, but it’s not just about delivering content. It’s about conversations. It’s about participating. The work is ongoing, and it’s work that pays off. No voodoo. It’s not even complex or high tech. The techniques of social media marketing revolve around creating and maintaining conversations. As a marketer, you need to find the voices within your company that your audience most wants to hear. And you need to make sure that those voices come across as professional, articulate, and in step with your company goals, while remaining authentic and sincere. But even more important is in hearing what you audience has to say, and in reacting to their thoughts. You need to direct their ideas like a traffic cop to all parts of your organization, where those groups can digest, synthesize, respond, and react appropriately. This is a magical opportunity to hear what customers (or donors), potential customers, press, investors, and members of your industry have to say about you. And you have to respond. It’s a way to let the voice of the customer touch all the places in your organization that it needs to touch, so that you can improve customer support, operational execution, quality, discover features and services that people want, respond to missteps, or dispel misconceptions. You are doing this publicly, with little safety net, in a forum that will recognize insincerity, and yet professionally and in a way that you don’t open up the potential for liability. (Easy, right?) This...

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From Newspapers to Digital Media: Follow John Paton

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 in Future of News | 0 comments

I have to take a short break from my SEO series to comment on an article that appeared this past Saturday in the Irish Times: “Narrowing the gap between old and new media is the future.” This article compares and contrasts “old media traditionalist” Alan Crosbie, chairman of Thomas Crosbie Holdings (Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post) against “new media messiah” John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media (the second-largest U.S. media chain). The Irish Times article is unrelentingly harsh in its portrayal of Alan Crosbie, who does have a few legitimate reasons for his fear and loathing of new media and the Internet. After all, TCH hasn’t been that effective in tapping into digital revenue, and free online news without a revenue model can undermine the value of print newspapers. But Crosbie’s concerns seem to be more directed at preserving quality reporting and what he calls “provenance,” which I call the responsibility and accountability expected of journalists, especially in terms of unbiased reporting and fact-checking. It reminds me of the book by Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture. In an interview on the PBS News Hour, Keen said: “The key argument is that the so-called ‘democratization’ of the Internet is actually undermining reliable information… with user-generated content, we’re actually doing away with information, high-quality information, … and replacing it with user-generated content, which is unreliable, inane, and often rather corrupt.” (18 September 2007) The Irish Times reporter Shane Hegarty goes on to extol the approach taken by John Paton, who has gained a reputation not only for embracing digital media, but for inviting the barbarians–citizen journalists–into the keep. Paton is a remarkable figure, and is a likely hero in the drama that pits traditional print against new media. His blog Digital First documents his progress in the turnaround of Journal Register Company (and now Digital First Media) over the past year, and provides candid, transparent insights into his thoughts and approach. It is a remarkable journey well worth reading by anyone in the newspaper industry. I very much admire Paton: his fearless dash into the digital world, his unflinching belief in online news revenue, his...

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