January 4, 2010
In the face of increasing migration online by readerships, audiences and advertisers, it appears that only the foolhardiest of businesses would ignore this ongoing trend as we enter 2010.
It stands to reason that as more and more switch to online sources for news, information, products and services, the advertisers and commercial realities of mass migration follow. And in the face of massive revenue declines, we’ve seen the offline publishers – mainly the newspaper and magazine proprietors – attempt to woo audiences in cyberspace.
According to Advertising Age:
“Aware of the need to lock in faithful readers, most newspapers are turning online to deepen these relationships. No print publications can attract the high numbers that Google, Yahoo or even TV companies boast, so the quality of the relationship becomes critical if they want to bring advertisers on board.”
This certainly makes for a sensible approach – and the old adage of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ applies. Magazines have followed suit, too, with a plethora of titles ditching their offline print runs and vamping up online-only versions in an attempt to cut costs and revitalise readerships.
UK newspapers have tried a number of tactics, such as launching specific microsites – the Mirror’s celebrity website 3am, for example, was launched to pull in a small number of loyal fans who could then be effectively marketed to relevant advertisers for a high perceived value.
Businesses, too, are looking online to increase their marketing spend in the light of falling offline interest: after all, as the marketing manager of a medium-sized firm in the UK, would you continue to invest in expensive magazine advertising amid falling circulation and readership, or pump revenues into online portals such as Facebook which has more than 330 million regular users? No brainer, really.
Twitter, according to PC magazines, has experienced a 1,382 percent growth in the last 12 months. Whilst the revenue models are still being discussed by Management at Twitter Central, there is no doubt that when they decide on how the social media platform will sustain itself beyond venture capital funds and grow, the newly-recruited sales teams across the world will be in a strong leverage position to entice businesses on board.
Not that online migration is all linked into social media platforms – the picture is, of course, bigger and broader than this. Whilst social media remains the big story over the last decade for online marketers, the inexorable drift towards all things Web shows a bigger picture of audience migration.
A bigger picture which digital marketing cannot fail to ignore, or to adapt to.
It has been estimated that nearly 50 percent of American newspaper advertising revenue has now disappeared, whilst there has been a 27 percent increase in the number of American readers accessing online news portals for daily updates. Where, we wonder, are the advertisers now heading? The answer is clear. They must go where the audiences are, or follow the print publications in their decline.
Not that the picture is all doom and gloom. Current advertising rate cards for printed products are amongst the lowest figures for years, but in the face of declining readerships, few marketers see the inherent value in saving budget to reach fewer potential customers.
The mantra has always been ‘minimum spend, maximum reach’ and the Internet is answering this call. Quality content still drives much of the traffic movement online, and savvy marketers should be looking to advertise on social media platforms such as Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter (when able to) as well as some of the popular and well-read blogging sites relevant to their commercial sectors.
Often, the spend required to advertise here is far less than traditional sources offline, although the actual reach and buy-in from online audiences is higher: no phone call to make, simply a click of a mouse, a purchase call to action, a credit or debit card transaction, and both online advertiser and customer are happy.
So, when it comes time to review your quarterly ad spend, and the usual monthly call arrives from the sales executive on your key industry title, are you going to once again sign off the spend – or are you going to investigate the increased reach and buy-in you could well gain online instead?
Audience migration has been instigated by the Internet – your marketing focus needs to follow suit. Not convinced? Remember that nearly 75 percent of all the top Brands are now advertising on Facebook. Your audiences are online – are you there yet?
November 29, 2009
Pondering the question as this incredible film screens again tonight.
Tagline for Stephen King’s screenplay? ‘Miracles do happen’ and on the face of it, we might just see a few yet. In time.
In a week which saw the juxtaposition of the first annual Golden Twits awards in the UK for top tweeters alongside concerns over the threat posed to British creative industries from filesharing, it seems hard to see anything miraculous evolving for many media types in the current online climate. Jobs continue to be cut, journalists continue to leave the industry, the media platforms continue to lumber forwards. Where, oh where, are the miracles?
If we follow The Green Mile, miracles arrive from the most unusual sources.A scampering mouse, a gigantic lifer on death row.
For example, the growth of digital agencies and their focus on utilising content in the development of search engine marketing: the days of putting content online for the sake of it seems to be a dying activity. The gigantic lifer on death row can be likened to traditional media operations, whilst the scampering mouse could be a social media start-up, offering hope and new revenues.
The lesson is this: miracles can happen for our hard-pressed journalists, but they have to be carefully sourced.
And for these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be discovered, both newly-graduated journalists and experienced Hacks alike need to be adaptable, open-minded and above all, willing to accept things they cannot necessarily see evidence of.
Such as social media: it doesn’t seem to represent anything other than a time-consuming fad to many hard-nosed, traditional media types and online marketers. The ROI isn’t immediate. Bin it. Lose the platforms and re-invest in what’s been done before.
However, what these old-school diehards fail to see is that for a miracle to work, it needs nurturing. Devotion. And time.
Time to engage, grow, and excite audiences. Time to allow offers, services and products to be introduced. Time for social media channels to become the miracle opportunity which a select few organisations and individuals are starting to see presently.
In the dark? Wondering how social media can be your next content-based miracle? Thinking it’s just a waste of time?
Watch The Green Mile – the mouse has all the answers.
November 26, 2009
The proliferation of social networks represents both an opportunity and a threat to many. Therein lies the juxtaposition of ‘We know our audiences are there, but how do we engage them?’
Here are some low-cost, high-impact ways in which you can engage audiences using social media:
Social media networks are useful for attracting, engaging and building a community of loyal audiences. This can be powerful for online communication efforts on a number of levels, including talking to existing audiences, building rapport with potential readers and advertisers, and linking them together to increase a sense of community.
Many communicators have used Facebook, with more than 300 million current users, to set up fan pages and inform their audiences of products, services, news and offers.
Social networks are a powerful research and development tool. The collection of people mixing and exchanging news, information, spending patterns, dialogue and feedback can give you a wealth of information for current and future products and services.
This can be delivered through crowdsourcing, or direct one-to-one contact with established readerships.
Social networks are a powerful research and development tool. Social media networks can provide a plethora of opportunities, and without an expensive marketing research campaign behind them.
Twitter, for example, has been leveraged by a number of companies, such as Zappos, which set up an account on this social network specifically to deal with customer service queries. Their Twitter account is followed by more than 1.3 million people.
The company has 400 employees, all of whom have Twitter accounts and who contribute to the company’s Twitter feed. This has helped to bolster customer service, provide an excellent point of contact for customers, and also to act as a showpiece for the firm’s outstanding approach to servicing customers both online and offline. It has also helped to increase revenues over time.
Marketing & Promotion
One of the biggest benefits of social media networks can be the speed, ease and global efficiency with which new products and services can be launched. Routes to market, via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes and blogging, can be leveraged effectively and in a timely manner.
Competitions, product launches, service initiatives, online forums and polls – there are countless ways social media networks can be utilised to add value to an audience online whilst increasing the buy-in.
At a time when traditional advertising has less impact than at any previous point, and customers are able to voice poor service or treatment instantly across social media networks, the ability to show transparency via social media networks is a great credibility-builder.
The days of purely broadcast messaging as we know it are coming to an end.
The audience, particularly the increasingly social media-focused customer, now requires a rapid response to queries, great service, information to be readily available, and not to be sold to.
In short, transparency wins with the modern audience.
Is your social media engagement reflecting this?
November 10, 2009
Not sure, but it’s looking like the traditional PR providers are on their death knoll, according to recent reports.
Such as this article from PR Twitterati and non-traditionalist Mark Borkowski, highlighting that tools such as Sidewiki are pushing the Ab Fab brigade to the brink of extinction. Not that he cares of course – his kind of PR is contemporary.
Then there are the new breed of PRs, such as We Are Social – instigators of the Innocent Drinks Twitter feed and much, much more. I can imagine traditional PRs reading this new kind of PR delivery and quite literally crapping themselves when a client mentions the words ‘social’ and ‘media’ in the same sentence. Great work, and totally audience-focused for Innocent.
Wondering what a traditional PR looks like? Check out Rubella Pymley-Bowles from Ostentacious PR for a few clues. Awful.
Let’s face it – editors are pulling sources of news and articles from a multitude of areas now, including social media channels. The availability of news, comment, and public interaction means that the Press no longer ‘relies’ on PRs to fill up empty spaces offline and online when deadlines draw nearer. That’s right, PRs – the Press don’t need you, even if newsroom numbers have been cut.
Another important fact for those buying PR is this – the “It’s who you know” argument – so often rolled out by PR firms to newly-signed clients – is less and less relevant: let’s be honest, most media contacts are shifting weekly at the moment, let alone staying put on a publication or news site online for months on end. Those days are relegated well and truly to pre-Recession.
So, the death of PR? Maybe the end of a certain type of PR. As an editor, I’m not sorry to see it go. I welcome in the new and say a goodbye to the bad old days when up-their-own-arse PRs controlled far too much content supply into the British media.
My predictions? More and more media channels will open up, leading the Press to work with fast, reliable, non-pretentious distributors of information. Contemporary PRs have nothing to fear. Old school Ab Fabs? Time for a career change, I think.
August 19, 2009
…short and simple – check this for information. Superb.
July 10, 2009
At least, according to this today.
Actually, in part I agree: many of the traditional publishers in the UK observed the coming of digital and internet-based publishing, blogs, twitter, and the numerous online innovations, instead remaining focused on the print options only.
The readerships, as consumers, have voted with their feet and mouse clicks, and more of them are migrating to free content online than ever before: the hundreds of redundant journalists across the UK lay testimony to this.
But still, in spite of overwhelming evidence indicating that newspaper management needed to engage the audience, the reader, the market, in the places they choose to get their news, what have many done? Continued observing, done nothing, introduced no innovations, given minor allowances to the digital age by copying content from print to the web…and wondering why readerships walk.
Let’s not forget one simple economic fact: when a product or service no longer serves the market, it becomes obsolete.
And so we see the current state of the British newspaper industry. They forgot to nurture the relationship with readers. And then bemoan the state of advertising and consumer interest when the paginations keep plummeting on a daily basis.
It’s all about listening to the market demands and repsonding accordingly. It looks like for some it’s too late. As we all know, when you lose their interest, readers rarely ever come back. This simple business rule applies to the publishers too.
July 8, 2009
Here’s a guy that’s got it right – for the readers, advertisers and online consumer in general. Great service and fantastic business model. Plus, a genuine, sparky, fun, professional, switched-on, and digitally-savvy commercial editor.
Not just that, but the site offers something new, refreshing and contemporary – not just a re-hash of newsroom content, as you’ll find here. At last, an online content portal for news-hungry readers looking for objectivity, plus great advertising opportunities.
Bravo. Nice Tweeting from him too – check it out here.
July 1, 2009
Well, according to this it does.
Statistics from the Guardian’s Charles Arthur highlight that the mass consumer is migrating with incredible proliferation to tweeting and facebook status updates, rather than spending time writing and posting blogs: Arthur goes to suggest that time is a factor. As always, most people will take the easiest, least-effort path to content creation.
But, the argument for blogging – certainly in terms of marketing strong content and attracting potential customers, media readers and building loyalty with existing clients – all form a powerful case for the continued influence of blogging.
After all, despite the fact that – according to the New York Times – 95% of all blogs are being abandoned for quicker forms of content provision and distribution, it is still very much the case that despite the billions of blogs out there which have died and been forgotten since the blogosphere really took off in 2004, blogs are still read and given significant attention. If the content is good. A blog selling stuff soon fades, but a blog giving advice, hints, tips and insight stands the rigours of Twitter and the like.
More importantly, for me, although tweeting and linking on facebook gives a snapshot, a brief indicator of attitude, business ethics and other micro-indicators, the true test of endurance will come from a sustained, thoughtful, insightful blog site.
June 29, 2009
And I, for one – and as an ex-Northcliffe Newspaper Group Editor – welcome the dedication, drive and determination which today sees the launch of Bristol24-7, the brainchild of ex-Western Daily Press journalist Chris Brown. Bravo.
Its mix of news, opinion, sport, business and comments offers a direct competitor to the grinding online effort rolled out some time ago by the Bristol Evening Post, which is largely a hotch-potch of editorial taken from the newsdesk journalists copy anyway.
The original and online-focused content delivered by Brown could well prove to highlight that the targeted, intense, community-based hyperlocal approach will win through after all. I wish him every success in this exciting news venture.
June 26, 2009
At least, that’s what the top brass at Journalism Online are predicting from their latest paid-content business model.
The story on the Guardian’s Digital Content Blog makes for interesting reading: not least due to the optimism, foresight and unshakeable belief the Journalism Online founders have in the model, but also in their faith in the micro-payment niche which appears to be growing in poularity amongst online publishers. This has, I think, real implications for all businesses looking to increase revenues, attention and loyalty via online content and associated offers: heck, look what it’s done for Apple.
What I am really pleased about is the simple fact it all comes back to quality content.