You can’t reach your audience until you know what they have in common.
Consider: On one hand, you have a 24-year-old welder, living in a small house in a small town; on the other, you have a 32-year-old university-educated hipster art director, living in a loft in a ‘creative’ area of Toronto. What do they have in common?
Not everything should be advertised with cupcakes.
In my travels around the interwebs lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in online advertising: Cupcakes.
Today alone I counted 14 different online ads, for 14 different products (none of them cupcakes or even bakeries, by the way), which featured brightly coloured images of cupcakes.
How do you know if your campaign is working? Evaluating the value of display advertising campaigns can be real challenge. "You gauge current campaigns against past performance or compare across multiple campaigns and advertisers within your roster of brands or clients" says Pamela Eng, Product Marketing Manager at Google.
Advertisers and agencies alike are looking for more data to answer the basic questions of "How do I know if my display ad campaigns are doing well?" and "Are there credible benchmarks can I use to compare the results on my current campaign?"
Ah, databases! Thanks to computers, the internet, and a whole lot of post-secondary degrees, these days ‘great marketing’ is more about how well you collect, parse, and use data than it is about Big Idea creative.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those old-fashioned creative director types who’s always mourning the loss of ‘The Big Idea’ and pontificating about how the only really great advertising happened in the 1980s when ad agencies employed real artists, and that the kids today don’t know jack because real creativity isn’t shackled to 50-page analytic reports on demographic breakdowns. All things considered, it’s great to be able to use super-precise targeting to reach my stakeholders.
When was the last time you clicked the little RSS button on a blog you liked? If you’re like me, you probably can’t remember.
There are probably 3 reasons for this:
- Your RSS notification window is already filled to bursting with updates from blogs you liked in, like, 2008, but don’t read any more
- The 5 sites you do read on a regular basis are already bookmarked – you don’t need updates from them
- Your smart Twitter management means that you’re reading about stuff as it gets posted by people you’re following on Twitter – you don’t have to wait til one of your favourites gets around to posting something
Kroc Camen thinks
Because there’s a difference between ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’.
These days, more and more of us are getting our news online: A year ago, Pew Research reported that 61% of Americans got their news online at least some of the time; a recent study says that almost 50% of the 18-29s cite the internet as their primary – and increasingly, their only – source of news.
What is changing, however, is the use of social media in the whole ‘news’ landscape: In 2009, for example, Twitter emerged as a bonafide source of news, especially in regions where ‘free press’ is non-existent, or in up-to-the-minute local news (”Just saw a truck full of pigscrash on the highway, and now there are pigs running everywhere”).
Why is this such a big deal?
Because social media has more credibility than it used to.
I don’t know about you, but I think one of the biggest challenges Canadian marketing types face is the lack of a real Canadian perspective when it comes to trends and thought leadership.
Marketing and communication ‘gurus’ like Seth Godin, Tom Peters, and Pete Cashmore are great and all, and sites like Creativity Online(and even YouTube) make it easier to access new global creative (remember in the 90s when the only way to see cutting-edge creative from the UK was to wait for the monthly Shots video subscription to arrive in the mail?).
First off... Happy Holiday's everyone!
As a guy who spends all his time on websites at work.. what better thing to do over the holiday's than spend all my time on websites. :)
So many websites, so little much time…
I call them ‘procrastination websites’: Esoteric, well-written, hilarious blog-based sites which are so engaging that you just keep clicking ‘older posts’ until suddenly you realize that you’ve just spent 75 minutes of your life reading other people’s cellphone typos – and not for the first time, either.
(By the way, you’re not alone: Your friends and family may give you the impression that while you’re wasting your time reading about Budapest’s annual Santa Run, they’re working out, cleaning their house, learning new languages or catapulting their career. But don’t let them fool you. They’re every bit as procrastination-inclined as you are.)
Actually, you’re learning a lot about content strategy and traffic building
As the VP, Business Development of a company which connects advertisers to content publishers, I’m often asked the same question: ”How do I create and sustain a high-traffic, revenue-generating website?” (Of course, what most people really mean by this is “What do I need to do to make my blog about candy, corsets or wine sufficiently lucrative to allow me to quit my day job?”)
(And no, the answer is not ‘SEO’. SEO is not the magical mystical solution to all website traffic challenges, and it definitely doesn’t increase your stickiness.)
The answer is simple: Look at the procrastination websites you visit on a regular basis. What are they doing that keeps you coming back? How do they get you to keep clicking ‘older posts’? How do they make the process of engaging with their blog easy? More importantly, how can you turn your blog about, say, cooking like Julia Child into a big-budget movie starring Meryl Streep?
5 ways to put your blog on the right track
1. Accept that it’s going to take some time
The internet may move at the speed of light, but building a following takes a lot longer – Julie Powell spent a year cooking and blogging, and another year writing and publishing her book, before Hollywood came calling. So don’t expect to be an overnight sensation.
2. Pick a specialization and stick to it
Let’s say Rice Krispies are your favourite cereal, and every week you buy a box. Only one day you get home, open the box, and discover cornflakes inside instead. It’s the same thing with content: You can build a loyal following around almost any topic, but once people know you’re the go-to blog for Rice Krispies, they’re going to be cheesed off if you start trying to feed them cornflakes.
3. Update regularly (and on schedule!)
It’s s simple equation: The more frequently you post new content, the more frequently visitors will return. If they know there’ll be something new every day, they’ll come every day to check. Miss a week or two and they’ll find somewhere else to waste their free time. If you can’t publish every day, that’s okay: Create a schedule, post it prominently (”Updated every Tues and Fri!”), and then stick to it like glue. (One of the reasons PerezHilton is so lucrative is that it’s updated so frequently – visitors don’t just come back on a daily basis, they visit the site several times a day.)
4. Better writing = better money
Writing quality is crucial in two ways: (1) Studies show that poor spelling, grammar and punctuation makes the reading experience less enjoyable on a subconscious level, even for people who aren’t grammar Nazis themselves. Poor writing disrupts the reading flow, leaving people feeling like they’ve had to fight the copy. And (2) Good writing leads to other revenue-generating opportunities, such as books or other writing gigs. For example, the GoFugYourself Girls‘ reputation for fantastic writing led to a regular column in New York Magazine.
5. Make it easy to engage
Sites like My Very Worst Date aren’t complicated, but they make it easy for users to engage with: Posts have a consistent format (picture followed by text), pages are clean and easy to read, posts are well catalogued, etc. The voting system encourages visitors to interact with the site, while the comments sections are well-moderated and keep people coming back to respond to other commentors. By encouraging readers to contribute their own MVWD stories, they encourage repeat visits (”I should check to see if my MVWD story is up yet!”) and word-of-mouth (”Hey guys, check out this link – they published my story on MVWD!”).
Posted by Chris Patheiger
Anyone got a smoke?
There have been major changes, not only in behavior, but also in the level of public tolerance towards environmental tobacco smoke. This, of course, is a result of increased social awareness about the risks of smoking to our personal health. In North America, smoking rates have decreased by half since the mid-1960s, falling to 23% of adults by 1997. Meanwhile, in the developing world, where mass media is less prevalent, tobacco consumption is rising annually by 3.4%.