Learning to Blog

Over the last 8 weeks this blog has been quite an experience! In addition to learning about emerging media, the internet of things, and enchanted objects among many other topics, the course for which this blog was started has added blogger to the list of learnings. So with this experience, I’d like to share my perspective on writing and keeping a blog.

  1. Just Write It. If you have an idea, write it down, type it up, get it out of your brain and into writing – don’t wait.The writing doesn’t have to be perfect,  you can revise it later.
  2. Set time aside each day to follow up on your industry. This does not include scrolling your personal facebook and instagram accounts. Utilize content tools such as flipboard or  LinkedIn’s Pulse where you can choose content topics and find out what companies are doing that is working in marketing and advertising and find out the latest and greatest regarding emerging media, new technology, etc.
  3. Give yourself more time to curate than you think you’ll need. In order to find interesting information that hasn’t been discussed in 20 other similar blogs, it takes time to sort through large amounts of data and find information that will intrigue your readers and keep their attention.
  4. Finish what you start. Continuing the point from # 2 – writing down your thoughts and ideas is important, but finishing the draft and hitting that publish button is even more important. Chances are distractions (good and bad) will take over, you’ll lose the thought, and end up with endless unpublished drafts. Set time aside each week to bring your thoughts to fruition, proof and publish your drafts.
  5. Have fun with your content. A blog is a chance to share your ideas of the industry – while its important to include current trends and industry info, it is also okay to highlight the fun and light-hearted side of emerging media – i.e. see post on Pi Day.

 

What tips or advice would you give to the next class of IMC619 bloggers? Feel free to comment!

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It’s Live from Across the World

This past weekend Facebook officially rolled out their live capability for groups and events. This comes not too long after the the launch of the live capability to stream to users within Facebook post. The biggest different between live for groups and the previous live capability? Live for groups allows users broadcast to just the people in the Facebook Group. Although Google introduced this concept in May of 2013 with Google Hangouts, many companies have taken on this capability to create their own video stream sharing service. So this new capability brings about an interesting question – with all of these live platforms, it’s important as marketers to take a look at what draws users to these live platforms as well as what pushed them away!

Facebook Live
User Benefits: Users are able to share live experiences with family and friends who are already in their social media community and with groups/events they may already have created all within the existing app.
User Downfalls: Too soon to tell. However if the app capability has similar issues that Google hangouts experienced, the success of the stream may depend of user mobile connection.

Periscope
User Benefits: The popularity of this Twitter owned Platform is on the rise and accessibility to experiences are endless! It is mostly easy to use and you can search users by geo-location to see what is going on around the world.
User Downfalls: Similar to the aforementioned connection issues, many users experience buffering and connection issues of the broadcast through the entire video. In addition, as a first time user, tuning into a video – it was not as easy to figure out how to turn off comments as one may have imagined.

 

SEO for Beginners

Although Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a new topic in marketing, it is somewhat foreign to many new brands. So what is SEO and how can brands use it to leverage their business? Read on for a few simple details.

Let’s first start with why SEO is so important. Think of it as the search engine’s road map to find your web page – the better the directions,  the more likely potential customers are to find your page when searching the internet. When you start planning your content and website pages in terms of SEO, you make it easier for search engines to show your page in search results.

So how is this possible? There are several easy steps that brands can take to ensure they are showing in search results (without spending money).

  • Utilize keywords in your website content: Make sure to include and repeat the words that describe the product or service you offer in your content, in an intriguing and captivating way. For example – if you are writing a blog about a pet grooming service, you would want to include your keyword and 3-5 similar words such as pet grooming, dog bath, pet spa throughout your content over and over. Entrepreneur recommends to include your keyword 2 to 5 percent of the time. For example, if you’re writing an article of 500 words, you’ll want your keyword to appear at least 10 times but no more than 30.
  • Set up seamless navigation: Just as it was mentioned in the beginning of this post in making it simple for search engines to find your site, you also want to make it simple for users to navigate your site once they are on it. Make sure that your page displays a simple menu system that lists all pages in the menu and that each individual page displays this same menu. You also want to ensure that users have an easy way to find their way back to the previous page for a simple user experience.
  • Optimize your page: In other words organize your page so that all of your information, content and keywords are working together to get the best results possible.

perfectly seo optimized page

 

So what other recommendations have you found to work in your SEO efforts that have been simple to implement?

Telling an Intriguing Story

Story telling – defined as the conveying of events in words, sound and/or images, often by improvisation or embellishment is also a growing method of content marketing. Over the last few years, storytelling by brands has become a popular method to engage consumers and draw them closer to a brand message in order to turn them from interested participant to loyal customer. Not only  is it a great way to engage customers and build a brand, but  it’s especially useful when the brand are just starting out, launching a new product, or re-branding their image. In this post we’ll take a look at the top recommendations for storytelling:

  1. Think about the type of consumer you want to attract as this will help you begin the building blocks of the type of story you want to tell. Do you want to attract the sports enthusiast or the thrifty shopper? Develop a persona for your target audience with characteristics and motivations for what makes this audience your ideal consumer.
  2. Develop a compelling message that speaks to your target audience. Your message should so engaging and motivation in a way that it shows the consumer the bigger picture and helps them to see what it would be like to own your product or utilize your service. i.e. Check out GoPro’s YouTube Page for a better understanding of what is meant here.
  3. Find your outlet to tell your story – where does your target audience hang out? Is your story better conveyed via long form video (YouTube) or short form video (Instagram, Vine) or is your story better told through short form content (facebook, twitter) and images? (Instagram)

Once you have developed your story and have created content, you can begin to promote and advertise to a wider audience where you may be more likely to obtain new audience members. For ideas on how to promote short form story telling check out Instagram’s new 60 second advertising capability here.

What brands have you noticed are doing a great job of promoting their brands through story telling?

 

What can you say in 60 seconds?

Instagram now offers advertisers the option to promote their brands with 60 second advertising spots as opposed to the previous 15 seconds the growing social media photo platform has previously offered. This change comes from Instagram as a reaction to the amount of time users spend watching video. “In the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent. And longer videos mean more diverse stories from the accounts you love.”

The idea behind expanding the video capabilities, as discussed in Forbes, comes from studying the timelines of user-ship in watch YouTube videos. It is also about giving the Instagram customer what they want.

The brand also stated that while it is opening this feature up to advertisers for the time being, it will be available to all users in the coming months. As a Instagram user personally, I look forward to the time when they open up the longer video capability to users – sometimes there is just more to be said, but it’s not enough to add a video to YouTube.

It will be interesting to see how this changes the content of advertisers as an additional 45 seconds could make a huge difference in terms of what else could be said by a brand through a video clip.

So, the question remains, what can you say in 60 seconds?

Connected in 3D

Enchanted objects, also known to much of society as “smart objects” seem to be the buzz word of the last few years (or more); beyond smart phones, smart cars, smart thermostats… the list goes on, these objects take smart to another level through their connectivity and capabilities to simplify our lives. Among the topic of enchanted objects the latest and greatest in technology that comes to mind is virtual reality goggles. In the words of Joanna Stern, author for the Wall Street Journal, “You can take a class of fifth-graders across the world without needing permission slips. You can inspect the counter tops in that dream house you’ve been eyeing. You can feel your heart pound as you practice your big speech in front of a room of people who aren’t actually there.”

Virtual Reality goggles are going to change the way that marketers are able to sell to consumers, and this is just the beginning. As the world of technology creates newer and more sophisticated interactive devices, marketers will develop new ways these devices and technologies with the internet to market to consumers. As technologies improve and marketers can technically put an object “in a consumer’s hands” to visualize and persuade the purchase decision making process. Imagine sitting in a new car and having the capability to test its speed and ability to stop from your own living room – the possibilities of sales with virtual reality are endless.

As technology continues to enhance and empower our lives, the possibilities that these objects will bring could be endless. We are moving toward a world that if you can imagine it, someone can build it.

virtual-reality-survey-infographic-kids-and-teens-1

 

Standing Out is a Good Thing!

When it comes to diversifying yourself and your brand, all most brands want is to be noticed. So this one goes without saying, but its important to stand out in a world of digital ads yelling “click me”, emails screaming “read me” and video ads blaring “watch me!” And if you have experienced any of the above interactions with other brands advertising in the digital space as a consumer, you understand from a marketing perspective how crowded the online advertising arena has become. So to bring to light how to differentiate your brand in a world of clutter, here are a few important tips from top industry blogs who have developed very diverse ideas on the topic.

standing-out-in-a-crowded-industry-speaking-topic

  1. Customer Service is KEY! Strong brands are built on exceptional customer service. It’s simple – take care of your customers like they are your family – they deserve it! And, in a world where unhappy customers can (and will) tell you about all of their negative experiences with their brand, take the time to understand where their dissatisfaction is coming from, get the the root of the problem, and prevent it from happening again.
  2. Maintain a Consistent Brand Image: From banner ad, to social media post, to email message – your brand should maintain a similar look and feel throughout all of your advertising – without saying the exact same thing over and over again. For example, if some of your promotions are lighthearted and humorous while others are conservative and formal, you are sending a mixed message. Developing a distinctive personality is part of becoming recognizable and unique.
  3. Find a Balance – Figuring out the right target audience, the right platform, and the right message takes time. Striking the right chord takes time and effort, testing, and more time and effort. If you have analyzed your messages and adjusted your efforts based on what worked well (and what didn’t) and your messages still aren’t resonating with potential customers – perhaps it’s time to draw a new map.

 

What methods have you taken to diversify your brand? What has worked well and what has failed?

Who’s Celebrating Pi Day?

Bill Gates said it best in 1996 when he published his article Content is King.

“If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”

Content can be anything that a brand creates (or regenerates) and that provides useful information to the consumer. By this definition, almost anything on the internet could be considered content, however, it’s a matter of whether or not the content intrigues and peaks the interest of consumers that makes a difference for brands.

Personally, I enjoy  seeing brands use social media platforms to playfully bring to light events and observances that otherwise go unrecognized. So today, in honor of Pi Day, let’s take a look at how brands are messaging their content in celebration of the day:

Pizza Hut

The national pizza restaurant ran a contest in which customers had the chance to win 3.14 years worth of free pizza for being the first to answer math questions correctly through out the day. “Nobody knows ‘pie’ like Pizza Hut, but this March 14, Pizza Hut is dropping the “e” in honor of Pi—3.14—everyone’s favorite irrational number,” Pizza Hut said in a blog post announcing the promotion. And, the brand did a great job of promoting their contest as several big name site such as fortune and cnbc picked up the contest and featured the brand giving free publicity to the restaurant chain and the contest.

pizza

Brook’s Running

The sporting goods apparel and footwear company took to social media to celebrate pi day in running mileage with their tweet, “We’ll be running 3.14 miles today in celebration of . Who’s in??

brooks

Disney

Even Disney joined in on the pi day fun with their clever math supporting tweet, “Math is sweet!”

disney

These are three great examples of ways in which brands leveraged the day to draw consumers closer to their brands and closer to their products/services. So often brands are set on selling that they forget to humanize their content and enjoy the fun side of marketing their message. As a marketer, take some time to use platforms where your audience is engaged and provide fun, relevant, entertaining messages. When you take the right steps with content marketing, you really can have your pi and eat it too!

Catching Up to Speed

Being that it is 2016 and emerging media has been a discussion topic for quite some time now, it would only be appropriate to kick this blog off with a brief review of emerging media in social media. Although social media sites mike MySpace and chat applications like ICQ and AOL were well on their way in 2006, this review will focus on the last 10 years to keep it brief (and to spare you my trip down memory lane of using ICQ).

Social Media in 2006:  Not only was MySpace still the most popular platform, but Twitter had just kicked off in July and Facebook launched its Newsfeed which was a very new feature for social media in general and somewhat uncomfortable for a lot of users . Lastly, YouTube, which was only launched a year earlier was acquired by Google.

new-media-timeline-e1455890319643

 

Fast-forward to 2016, over 200 social media sites exist today.

jess3_briansolis_conversationprism4_web_800x600

Needless to say social media platforms are growing faster than most people can keep up with. It is probably no surprise that the increase in usgae from businesses and consumers alike is changing our culture and the way we intereact with one another.

Reportedly, nearly two-thirds of all Americans use social media according to Pew Research. Not only is the channel seeing overall growth, but it is also changing the perspective on everyday topics such as “work, politics and political deliberation, communications patterns around the globe, as well as the way people get and share information about health, civic life, news consumption, communities, teenage life, parenting, dating and even people’s level of stress.” (More to come on this topic on another day).

With the rise of consumers using social media and the changes in the way they are using it, marketers have endless opportunities to shapre their messages in new, creative ways that allows for the consumer to become a part of the message. How maketers manage this allowance will be the determining factor in the success or failure of their message.