From the category archives:

Traditional Media

Promotion via Blogs and Social Media: Innovative Companies are Abandoning Traditional Marketing for Web 2.0 Approaches

by Steve Broback on May 24, 2007

The marketers present here at FiRe not only seem to embracing social media as a great way to drive sales, but in at least two cases, it’s been the only/main way they have promoted their wares.

From the podium this morning, Dave Winer was asked if there was a business model for podcasters. His response was that one might not get paid directly for podcasting, but there might be indirect revenues. As an example, he said that Scripting News was successful in generating sales revenues (I assume for Userland Software) and yet the business never took out ads. Winer indicated that his blog was the key traffic driver.

During lunch I was fortunate enough to sit next to Simon Hackett who is the founder and managing director of Internode Systems, and Agile Communications. Coincidentally, Internode also has not spent any money to speak of on traditional outreach and yet has been extremely successful. Simon told me that much of their success has been due to the positive word of mouth exposure gained from hundreds of hours he’s spent monitoring and contributing to the broadband community forum whirlpool.

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Content is Everywhere: What Business Bloggers Can Learn from CBS

by Teresa Valdez Klein on May 14, 2007

CBS’s first attempt at providing its content online met with less than enthusiastic results. The reception has been so bad that CBS’s new internet strategist recently told the Wall Street Journal that the URL for its online media service should be called “CBS.com/nobodycomeshere.”

So CBS is changing gears. They’re making deals left and right to make their content available for free in at least ten different web-based venues. I was particularly excited to read that they’re in talks with Facebook to allow users to share CBS video on their profiles.

To succeed, media companies will need to get used to the idea that the natural habitat of content is no longer restricted to one format or one viewing platform. By opening their content up to a number of different channels, CBS is embracing this concept wholeheartedly.

There are takeaways here for businesses that are not traditional media companies. Remember what John Battelle said about all companies being publishers? It’s still true. And since all businesses are publishers, they need to make sure that their content is just as available to the people they want to reach as CBS does.

Here are some general things to think about:

  1. How do(es) your company blog(s) look on mobile phone browsers?
  2. Are your podcasts buried on your company website, or can people find them in podcast directories?
  3. Is your content being repurposed anywhere? How can you add additional value for people who view your content in that format?
  4. How many different ways are you enabling people to share your content? How does it display on Facebook’s shared links service? Do you have links that let them share it on Digg?
  5. Are you getting click through from people’s Google Reader link blogs? Find out who is sharing your content and thank them.

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Murdoch Aims to Monetize Online Wall Street Journal Content, Adapt Paper & Ink to the Web

by Teresa Valdez Klein on May 2, 2007

In a time when people are leaving newspapers for the Web media mogul Rupert Murdoch has made a $5 billion bid for Dow Jones — parent company of the Wall Street Journal. That’s 67% above market value!

The Journal’s own Stephanie Kang writes that Murdoch’s interest in the Journal is primarily about online content. In a recent interview, Murdock touted the unique value of financial journalism: “You can charge for it,” he said simply.

Murdoch has long said that newspapers need to adapt to the Web. If the family-run Dow Jones accepts his friendly bid, he’ll be in a unique position to lead the way.

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Newspaper Readers Abandoning Print for Blogs

by Steve Broback on April 30, 2007

Today in the Wall Street Journal, the article Circulation Falls at Many Papers describes how readers are transitioning away from paper-based news.

Many of the nation’s newspapers continued to post circulation declines, reflecting the industry’s continuing battle to hold onto readers migrating to the Internet and other media, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Meanwhile, in January 2007, Netratings announced that traffic to blogs aligned with newspapers surged in 2006.

The number of visitors to the blog pages of the top 10 online newspapers grew 210% in the past year, far outpacing growth to the parent sites. Nielsen/NetRatings found that while the unique audience to online newspapers grew 9% from December 2005 to December 2006, the number of visitors to blog pages at the top newspapers skyrocketed and accounted for 13% of the parent sites’ total traffic.

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Advertising: Reebok Bypasses Traditional Portals for Blog Networks

by Steve Broback on April 25, 2007

According to the Wall Street Journal today, smaller, more flexible blog networks offer advantages for advertisers. Reebok is one company who is putting more emphasis on blog ads:

And the ads didn’t show up just on Glam.com. Glam has assembled a network of roughly 300 similarly themed blogs, Web sites and magazines that it links to — broadening Glam’s reach. Glam’s female-oriented network drew 10 million unique U.S. visitors in March, making it the second-largest women’s online property after NBC Universal’s iVillage, according to comScore Media Metrix.

“You are not just hitting one portal; you have thousands of these other sites. By showing up incrementally on these other sites, you are getting more bang for your buck,” says Marc Fireman, head of digital marketing for Reebok.

Blogs also are more flexible with their coverage — but at the cost of editorial integrity?

Glam has also shown it is willing to blur the line between editorial and advertising by, for instance, getting its sponsors mentioned in its network of blogs. While bloggers have editorial control over their sites, they’re often receptive to anything that looks like news in the fashion, style and beauty areas. For example, Glam Media announced yesterday the launch of a handbag designer competition with Hearst Magazines’ Marie Claire. During the day, a number of blogs noted the news with links back to the contest’s site. In the Reebok campaign, the Glam-affiliated fashion blog “Couture in the City” recently posted an item about the Glam exclusive “Scarlett Hearts Rbk Giveaway.”

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The Case of Emily Hilscher: How the Blogosphere’s Journalistic Ethics Took Down Rumors Perpetuated by the Mainstream Press

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 23, 2007

Bloggers aren’t highly regarded for our journalistic ethics. We’re often maligned for not checking facts, publishing half-truths, running with innuendoes, and becoming one big echo chamber. All of these criticisms are not without their merit.

But sometimes the shoe is on the other foot. We all remember the way that the blogosphere called Dan Rather out on his damaging mistake regarding phony documentation about president Bush’s service during the Vietnam war. This week has presented another such opportunity, one that the blogosphere has attacked with relish.

Eighteen year-old Emily Hilscher was the first victim in last week’s tragic killing spree at Virginia Tech. She was an aspiring veterinarian who loved animals. Pictures show a sprightly girl with sparkling blue-green eyes. She was often photographed riding horses or goofing around with a silly expression on her face. She was beautiful and very compelling.

The mainstream media spent a great deal of time fixating on Hilscher because she was the first person killed in the massacre, and because the circumstances of her death made it look initially as though she was targeted specifically. The college and the police originally believed that the murders of Hilscher and her neighbor Ryan “Stack” Clark were an isolated domestic incident and questioned Hilscher’s boyfriend, Karl Thornhill at length.

Meanwhile, speculation in the mainstream media went way off track. Some mainstream papers speculated that Hilscher’s murder was the unfortunate result of a lover’s quarrel. Others went so far as to insinuate that some infidelity or cruel rejection on her part was the catalyst that set off gunman Seung-hui Cho’s murderous rampage. Wired cited but did not link to unspecified “news reports” that claimed, “Cho had been dating one of his first victims, student Emily Hilscher, and that she broke up with Cho two weeks ago.”

Hilscher’s friends, family and her boyfriend were thunderstruck. How could the media get it so wrong? And how could they say such things about the person they loved so much just days after she was brutally murdered?

Some bloggers perpetuated the rumors, but a critical mass resisted. Questions arose, aided by a Facebook group that became a hub of information for those who were seeking to distribute the real facts about Hilscher’s life and death. Some mainstream press venues also picked up the call for truth. A week later, very little doubt exists that Emily Hilscher was not involved with Cho.

Last week, I wrote that the most compelling information about the Virginia Tech tragedy could be found on blogs and social networks, rather than in the mainstream press. Now it appears that the most factual and relevant information about this senseless tragedy is also available in the new media, rather than the old.

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Blogs Displacing Newspapers: Ad Revenues Shifting

by Steve Broback on April 23, 2007

Sarah Ellison and Suzzane Vranica report today in The Wall Street Journal that for most newspapers, online advertising growth won’t be as strong as predicted. Blogs and other news sources such as myspace are partly to blame:

Media buyers also indicate marketers are beginning to look beyond traditional journalism sites, realizing many news junkies go elsewhere, too. “Advertisers are getting less scared of blogs and newsgroups and now are beginning to take money away from the traditional newspapers’ sites,” says Greg Smith, chief operating officer of Neo@Ogilvy, an interactive ad agency owned by WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

Another significant drain profiled is the move toward search-focused ads, which of course is a key source of revenue for many bloggers. FYI that we’ll be hosting sessions contrasting ad networks for bloggers at our next event.

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A Business Blog is Part of the New Value-Add Structure You Want to Provide to Your Customers

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 18, 2007

Jeff Jarvis has a great post up this morning that explains why cable is a dying platform for content distribution. Because of the Web, content is becoming commodified. No company can have a monopoly on great content. The new platforms are those that enable people to share content freely. Like Google and YouTube.

Jarvis argues that the future of media is in enabling people to connect with the information they care about. But even if you’re not in that sector, this still matters to you. Because like John Battelle told us last year all businesses are publishers now if they want to stay competitive.

The questions you should be asking yourself: How can we use emerging platforms to enable our customers to do what they do better? How can we do that without trying to control the outcome of every conversation? How can we reach out to our customers organically by providing a value add that is compelling to them?

Blogging is one way of doing this. Chances are that someone within your organization knows a lot about what your customers care about. Find that person and encourage them to spend company time sharing that information in the spirit of reaching out to your customer base. If you enable them with some critical piece of information, chances are that they’ll stick around to see what else you can offer.

Self-promotionally, I should mention that our conference this September is going to cover this new organic outreach in a big way. I’m especially excited to discuss it with the newcomers at our “Social Media Bootcamp” on Day One of the conference.

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Social Networks Obliterate Mainstream Media as Information Source

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 17, 2007

The recent tragedy at Virginia Tech has shocked the nation and provided the cable news stations with a 24/7 stream of graphic, tragic images. Viewers have been treated to round-the-clock coverage that repeats the sad facts of yesterday’s massacre — the death toll, the locations of the separate incidents, the statements by President Bush and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger — ad nauseum.

But in this most recent national tragedy, the most compelling, hard-hitting and provocative sources of news have not been mainstream. The most important news has been broken by the students of Virginia Tech themselves as they share information and grieve together on the student-oriented social networking site Facebook.

Just as September 11th, 2001 cemented the blogosphere as an important source of news, so has the Virginia Tech incident cemented the importance of social networks in how people get their information.

Couple this striking fact with the recent study that concluded that viewers of Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Colbert Report were more informed about current events than viewers of FOX News or CNN and you start to see a pattern emerging: mainstream news is being rapidly eclipsed by other forms of media, both old and new.

As always, the most compelling and informative content will always draw the most eyeballs. People are moving away from mainstream and network television as more varied and compelling options present themselves. Needless to say, marketers will need to pay attention to this fact moving forward.

Author’s Note: The thoughts and prayers of the entire Blog Business Summit team are with the Hokie nation today as they recover from yesterday’s tragedy.

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Avoiding the Echo Chamber: How Live Search Can Help You Find Precious “Hidden” Content Nuggets

by Steve Broback on April 15, 2007

At the last Blog Business Summit, I had a nice chat with Mary Hodder where we commiserated on how we longed for a blog search engine that would let us find posts by authors with little to no formally recognized “authority.”

As experienced bloggers know all too well, Technorati and Google easily help us find posts (and authors) that are linked to frequently, but in my mind that just advances the echo-chamber problem. What I’ve wanted is a way to find authors, articles and posts that are largely “undiscovered.”

We have a blog called bigbusinessjet.com that is sponsored by Greenpoint Technologies and covers the rarified space of owning and operating ultra-expensive business aircraft. Today I found a highly relevant article put forth by Dealmaker Magazine (a site with a PR of zero (?!)) that no one else has blogged about, hence has been ignored completely by Google Blog Search and Technorati.

How did I find it? I used the (thankfully under-appreciated!) Live Search from Microsoft. Live Search has some easily accessed parameters that enable you to find unpopular pages that have been recently been updated — and can even provide an RSS feed for that search. The essential parameters are found under the “Advanced” link, and the key settings are within “Results ranking” which brings up 3 sliders (see below.)

Live Search For Bloggers

What I asked for was newer results that are relatively unpopular but match closely the search string “bbj3″ — which is the industry term for the Boeing Business Jet Version 3. Note how I could just as easily have entered the parameters as text.

Without Live Search, I don’t know if/when I would have found this article. Probably after some other blogger picked it up I guess…

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