Posted on August 9, 2010. Filed under: Best practices, Marketing and Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: audio, best practices, blog, brand, broadcasting, Diva Marketing Talks, marketing, niche content, podcast, podcasting, podcasting tips, PR, public relations, RSS, Social Media, streaming content, Toby Bloomberg |
It’s on-demand subscription-based audio content that lets you grab someone’s ear.
Of course holding onto that ear takes finesse.
Just spouting marketing messages doesn’t cut it. Then it’s an infomercial, and who’s going to subscribe to that?
You must make it worth someone’s while to pay attention to what you have to say.
Interview with Toby Bloomberg, host of the podcast series Diva Marketing Talks
Toby recently shared some of her podcasting tips with me, about the art of being a good moderator and how to create podcasts that reach out and touch customers in a meaningful way. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Can you describe your concept for Diva Marketing Talks?
Toby: My concept is that since social media is a conversation, I don’t want to have to interview people. And the one-on-one thing, to me, is an interview. So I always have a least two guests, sometimes three.
What do you think makes for a good podcast moderator?
Toby: There are a few things that make for a good moderator. One is making sure you have a guest on who will share information and talk. Because the worst thing is to have someone on who just doesn’t talk. And you want to have someone who understands, in social media, they’re giving value-added information, not pitching their own company.
The second thing is to create an environment and atmosphere where they feel comfortable to talk.
And the third thing is to prep your guests for the show… I put questions together. I put concepts together and I give them to the guests and say, “Here’s our content direction. Whether or not we follow it depends on where the conversation goes, but here are the issues we’ll talk about.”
When it’s time for the show I’ll start off with a question and see where it goes. Sometimes it does turn into a real conversation. I will encourage people to talk to the other guests and to ask questions of me, so it has the feel of a conversation, instead of me interviewing two people.
What are some reasons a company might consider doing a podcast series?
Toby: A podcast is no different than an audio file that’s on the web. What makes it unique is that it has an RSS feed that gives you the ability to dump it into an MP3 player. And that little technology changes everything. It gives you the ability to do what people call “time transfer.” You can put it into your video or MP3 player — into your iPod your iPhone and iTunes — and listen to it whenever you want.
So that’s what makes podcasting so different and valuable. It’s that people aren’t tied to their computers any longer. They can listen to it wherever they want.
You can use podcasts to create thought leadership to build greater understanding and awareness of an organization or a topic. But it can also be used in other ways. For instance it can be used to train a sales force. You can do a podcast on product development, new product features, whatever. Give MP3 players to your sales force and they can listen whenever they want.
Another thing is take a cheap MP3 player — we’re not talking about iPods — load it up and give it away at trade shows.
What would be on those trade show podcasts — product information?
Toby: It can be product information. But it always has to be value-add. Because who’s going to listen to something about your new features or your latest widget? You can position it however you want. You can do a little show.
Is there any type of business that either does or doesn’t lend itself to podcasting?
Toby: You’re disseminating information. So if your target audience is comfortable listening to information in a given format, it will work. It really goes back to who your customers are… I think today we’re not looking at technology as much as information.
How can a business know what kind of information is of interest to their target audiences? How should they define their podcast strategy?
Toby: You just ask your customers what they want. Tell them you’re thinking of doing a podcast series and ask, “Is this something that you might want?” They’ll let you know. And they’ll tell you what they want to hear.
Especially in a B2B environment, where relationships are so critical, even more than B2C, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to touch base with customers that perhaps you haven’t talked to in a while.
So pick up the phone… Take a look at the customers that you’ve been wanting to develop stronger relationships with, or people you just missed closing a deal on. It would be great to go out to prospects and say, “We haven’t talked to you in a long time. This is what we’re thinking of doing. What would you like to hear?” It gives you an opportunity to open doors.
You can build a whole strategy behind that. Why not tag the podcast with “Thanks to Tom Jones at XYZ company for giving his input on this topic.” Thanking people in a public forum is always a nice thing to do. You don’t have to mention if they’re a client or not.
In your e-book Social Media Marketing GPS you note how podcasts can bring out your personality and create intimacy between the people behind a brand and its customers. How does that happen and why is that important?
Toby: Voice and tone add another dimension than text. Even if your company has a blog, or a Facebook page, or is tweeting, it brings you a little bit closer… And audio gives you the opportunity to add a different type of information.
When you write, and when you speak, your words come out differently. I think a good podcast forces you to talk in a conversational manner. So if you’re taking in a conversational manner people tend to relate to you as a person rather than as a company. The bottom line is people like to do business with people they like and this is one more way for somebody to get to know you.
Say a business makes a product that does not seem to present itself as being all that interesting. It’s some kind of widget. How do you make something that is not inherently fascinating into a podcast series?
Toby: You don’t, if it’s something that’s inherently boring. Like if it’s a widget that goes into another widget.
It’s like Intel Inside. Think of how brilliantly they positioned themselves. They knew that nobody wanted to talk about this little technology piece that went into computers, they positioned it as Intel Inside — this is what makes everything work. So perhaps isn’t going to be about the widget, because how much can you talk about the widget? Maybe it’s about trends in the industry.
What about allowing people to call into the show? Why might a company want to do that?
It gives people an opportunity to get information that they may not be able to have any other way. It gives you an opportunity to interact with potential customers. And if somebody has a really deep question, you can say, “Let’s take this offline and I’m happy to make sure you get the information.”
It’s one of those things that could go wild, depending on the company and the questions. If you’re doing it where you can tape the show you have the opportunity to edit. If you’re doing it live, obviously you don’t have that, so I think it takes a very skillful host. Because then you’re not only in the world of social media, really what it amounts to is you’re in the world of public radio.
OK, final question: If you were to give only one tip for businesses about podcasts, what would it be?
Toby: Make sure you understand the type of content your audience finds interesting and work around that. It’s Marketing 101.
But with any kind of social media we’re really diving outside of traditional marketing… It’s a sidestep. Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily relate to you product or service directly, but rather, tangentially.
That’s where I see a lot of companies miss the mark. When some people think being in social media means not being sales oriented, they think it means a softer sales pitch. But more than not, it means not even going in the sales direction, but making sure you have information that can support your customers in your particular industry… It is different than any other kind of marketing because it’s built on value-add.
Many thanks to Toby Bloomberg for sharing her insights. If you want to keep up with Toby’s thoughts on a regular basis, subscribe to her Diva Marketing Blog, or follow her on Twitter at @tobydiva.
Meanwhile, other posts I’ve written that relate to Toby include:
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of Toby’s ideas about podcasting? Do you have more thoughts on the topic? Please share. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Posted on June 8, 2010. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations | Tags: blogger relations, blogging, branding, business, business marketing, Business Strategy, community, connect with customers, content platform, crowdsourcing, cyberbranding, e-book, ebook, ghost blogging, marketing, marketing communications, marketing guide, metrics, online conversation, podcast, research, roi, Social Media, social media ethics, Social Networks, tweet, Twitter, vlogging |
Twitter is a powerful publishing platform. But when messages are limited to 140 characters it has its limits, right?
Well, less than you might think — if you’re as resourceful as Toby Bloomberg. She recently published an ebook based on interviews conducted via Twitter.
A guide to social media, one tweet at a time
As Toby explains in the introduction to her free ebook, titled Social Media Marketing GPS:
“The goal was to create a comprehensive body of knowledge that could serve as a roadmap (GPS) for developing a strategic social media plan. My thoughts were if this could be accomplished in a series of 140 character tweets it might help ease the apprehension for people new to social media, while at the same time, providing a review and offering some interesting ideas for those more experienced.”
Toby admits the whole thing was conceived as an experiment.
Based on the result, I’d say it’s a success. Social Media Marketing GPS is a shining example of the power of communication conveyed through social media.
Featuring advice from 40 marketing pros
The book features tweets from 40 professional marketers, all of whom are avid practitioners of social media.
Some handle social media for corporations or agencies, while others are solopreneurs. Contributors include Paul Chaney, Mack Collier, Roxanne Darling, Ann Handley, Beth Harte, Neville Hobson, Tim Jackson, John Maley, Scott Monty, B.L. Ochman, Connie Reece, David Meerman Scott and Liz Strauss.
Certain of those names are well known; still, I like that Toby didn’t simply turn to the uber-darling “usual suspects” of social media to create her book.
Not that there’s anything wrong with superstar power. It’s just nice to hear from others who are in the trenches, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, Facebooking, Tweeting, branding, and otherwise successfully engaged in social media marketing.
That, of course, is part of the beauty of social media: It helps level the playing field for who has a voice (and impact) in the marketplace.
Big ideas presented in bite-size nuggets
Each chapter of Social Media Marketing GPS features useful ideas and opinions regarding social media strategies and tactics. Topics covers tools and platforms, ethics, metrics, branding, blogger relations and more — all presented in bite-size nuggets.
In a way its presentation strikes me as being akin to how you might use a yellow marker when reading, to highlight essential details. Only in this instance, the content is strictly the highlights.
Toby is the consummate conversationalist
Toby — who, in case you did not know, is a popular blogger and marketing maven in her own right – serves as ringleader, instigating interviews with a leadoff question. She embellishes each chapter with concise introductions and summaries of key concepts, and then closes out with questions to consider when creating a social media marketing plan.
These questions also invite you to think about each topic — on your own — which enables Toby to create a kind of conversation between the ebook and its readers.
Of course, if anyone knows how to generate stimulating conversation — virtual or otherwise — it’s Toby. She does it all the time on Diva Marketing Talks, her podcast series featuring chats with experts about all things social media. Those familiar with the series may note a considerable overlap between her guests on Diva Marketing Talks and the individuals featured in Social Media Marketing GPS.
Useful to both new and experienced marketers
Meanwhile, Toby does succeed in her goal of creating a book of value to both newbies and those experienced in social media. Wherever you may fall on that spectrum, I recommend you give it a read.
And by the way, if you happen to have an e-reader, the book is specially formatted for this handy gadget.
- Deni Kasrel
Have you read Social Media Marketing GPS? What do you think of it? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Posted on April 6, 2010. Filed under: Communications Strategy | Tags: brand, branding, communication, competitive analysis, content, content analysis, content audit, content strategy, editorial strategy, engage your audience, marketing communications, message map, messaging, podcast, point of differentiation, text, user-friendly, Video, web, web site, web strategy, website |
It’s a popular catch-phrase of many a marketer.
But how many actually practice what they preach?
Talking the talk and walking the walk are two different things. From what I can tell, there’s a heck of a lot more talking than walking.
Generic content abounds
Case in point: I’m working on a consulting job where I recently completed a competitive analysis of approximately two-dozen websites belonging to organizations all operating in the same field of business. The analysis considered a variety of factors including website design, information architecture, branding, content and use of social media.
I observed discernable differences in design, user friendliness and overall site organization. Certain sites had more videos and podcasts. This seemed mainly a sign of financial standing — the well-off places can afford more of these assets.
The character and tone of web text ranged from technical to institutional to consumer-friendly. Meanwhile, the messages and information contained in text and videos for nearly all sites was so similar as to be interchangeable. “We have innovative cutting-edge technology, teams of experts, personalized service.” Blah, blah. Yadda, Yadda.
Content is often created in a vacuum
When everyone’s saying pretty much the same thing you’re not making a case for why to choose your product or service over someone else’s.
All too often organizations create content in a vacuum. Their goal is to meet business objectives and state their offering.
But really, that’s the least you can do. For content to be king you must present compelling distinctions that make someone think, “Ah, now there’s a difference that matters to me. I’ll go with this one.”
It isn’t just about you, or even your customers. It’s also about your competitors.
It’s the difference between being a commodity and being a preferred choice.
Put your website to the test
Surely this is not news. Still odds are if you conduct a competitive analysis of websites for businesses operating in your industry you’ll notice a lot of repetition.
In fact why not do it? Visit the websites of your competitors. Read the text, view the videos and listen to the podcasts. See if you can pick out even a handful of differences in content and messaging. I mean real points of singularity, not simply using other words to say essentially the same thing. Be sure to include your own site in the analysis.
If your content stands out, more power to you. If not, start planning for how to make it so.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Books, Marketing and Public Relations | Tags: blogs, book, Communications Strategy, corporate video, David Meerman Scott, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, new rules of marketing and PR, new technology, onine video strategy, online marketing, online media room, online video, podcast, search engine marketing, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Social Media, Social Networks, successful blogging, understanding buyer personas |
Yet for a while, there weren’t any best practices on how to do it.
Then along came David Meerman Scott — veteran marketer, popular blogger, and author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
Overflowing with sage advice on how to leverage the web with new-style press releases, blogs, podcasts and other emerging media, the book became a bestseller.
New tools mean even more new rules
In the three years since that first edition social media exploded. Prompting Meerman to write a revised version, The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition, covering even more tools, plus a fresh batch of case studies.
I thought it would be nice to have Meerman share some pearls of wisdom with readers of this blog. He was kind enough to agree and we enjoyed a lively phone chat. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Interview with David Meerman Scott: Author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR
It seems one of the things you’re getting at with The New Rules is you have to understand how people find things, and be aware of what they do online, period. Then you fit your marketing and PR into that. But if you don’t get how the web works, you’re lost. Is that accurate?
David: The technology is a solvable problem. But the aspect that you can’t get wrong or you won’t succeed, has to do with the way that we have traditionally talked up our company, which is to hype our products and services. In the 4 P’s of marketing — one of the fundamental tenets of marketing — the first “P” is product. But people don’t really care about products and services, what they care about are themselves.
What happens is, a company will say, “Oh, I’ve got to start a Twitter feed,” or a blog, or whatever. And the first thing they do is exactly what they’re doing already to market their company. They build a blog and the blog is about their products.
There are some products that you can do that for. If you’re Apple and you start a blog about the iPhone, that can work. But for 99.9% of the companies out there, talking about your products won’t work. What you need to do is understand your buyers really well. Understand what their problems are and then create something interesting on the web that will appeal to them and that will help them solve problems. That’s the part that most people get wrong. You have to understand your buyer’s persona.
You pay a fair amount of attention to search, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Yet that’s an area a lot of PR people resist, because SEO strategy may not follow AP style.
David: Right. There is a lot of truth in that. Fundamentally, every person on the planet who has an internet connection is using search. And the last number I heard is two billion people are connected to the web. So being visible in search engines is critically important.
But one of the things I like to point out is search engine marketing, at its core, is about creating the content that people want to find. And that’s exactly what we’ve been talking about. It’s understanding your buyers really well and creating content that allows them to solve problems in the words and phrases they would use.
That’s more important in my mind than worrying about the nuances of meta tags and where the text should be placed. Granted those are important, but in my experience a lot of search engine experts will focus way too much on those technology aspects of search and not that much on understanding that people are trying to reach amazing stuff that will then be indexed by search engines.
A lot of those highly search engine optimized pages that you see in the rankings at the top of the page; excuse my language, but they suck. They’re poorly written and the images are no good. Then conversely, you come across something and you go, “Wow, look at this. It’s exactly what I’m looking for.” In my mind, that’s what search engine marketing is. It’s creating amazing content that makes people go “Holy cow, that’s great.” That’s not really about the technology; it’s about the information.
Let’s talk about your suggestion to create an online media room — but for buyers rather than just the press. From my own experience this is a tough sell with many PR people. You can explain how when a release is on the web anyone can see it, and although they understand this as a concept, they can’t make the shift. So what is your most persuasive pitch for this one?
David: I think the biggest stumbling block is that many public relations people who I know mistake the superset of public relations with the subset of media relations.
In other words, public relations is really just about reaching your public and there’s tons of different ways to do that. Going through the media is not the only way.
But I think what a lot of public relations people want is for the world to be the way is way 20 years ago, They just want to be able to have lunch with reporters and send out press releases. It’s just a nice comfortable little world and the web is kinda screwing things up.
I think if our job is to reach our publics, it’s essential to understand there’s multiple ways to do so.
For example you hit on the online media room. When they first came out about 15 years ago it was basically an online version of a press kit… and well, guess what? It’s not just going to the media. Everyone can look at that stuff. So are you only interested in 200 journalists, or are you interested in 200,000 potential customers? And I think, without being rude, if you think your job is to only reach 200 journalists, then you shouldn’t have a role in the website. Let other people get on with the work of the media room.
I do think this job of media relations is still a critical job… that will be their specialty. But I hope people start to realize it’s not the only way.
You write about how the media itself has changed. When you consider bloggers, for instance. Yet you’re surprised when at speaking engagements and you ask PR and marketing pros if they write or read blogs, only a small percentage are doing so. You’d think at this stage more people would realize we’ve gotten past the point where it’s just the cranky blogger out there.
David: The other point that’s critical to know is that when a journalist is working on a story guess where they go? They go to Google, They go to your website. And if you have a blog, a journalist is more likely to read that then your press release.
I think it’s important to recognize the way journalists are doing their research is changing because of the web as well.
I can’t tell you, in my own case, how many times I’ve gotten amazing placement in a magazine, newspaper or radio, because somebody went to Google and typed in the phrase viral marketing. My content comes up on the first page. It’s number four or five, and I’ll get the call. Or they’ll type in online media room, and I’ll get the call. That’s not because I sent out a press release. It’s not because I hired an agency to pitch the media. It’s because the journalist went to Google and found me.
You believe people should experiment with marketing. Nowadays you can do that with video, because the costs are so much lower than in the past.
David: That’s part of it. The other part is a failure isn’t visible. If you do a TV commercial and it’s terrible, lots of people will see it. If you post a video on YouTube and its terrible few people will see it. No one will spread it. So it’s not, “Oh they failed, look at that” You know, you just quietly delete it.
You also suggest experimenting on a company website. I think there’s a hurdle there. People think they can’t put something up if they’re not sure if it will work.
David: They’re coming at that statement with the print mentality. It has to be perfect before it goes to print. Because if you print it and there’s a mistake, you have to throw the entire thing away and start over again. But the web is iterative. You can constantly tweak and change it.
- Deni Kasrel
So what do YOU think of Meerman’s thoughts on the new world order of marketing and PR? Have you read his book, too? What’s your take on it? Please share. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
Posted on November 7, 2009. Filed under: Books, Business Strategy, Communications Strategy | Tags: advertising, book review, brand, brand assets, branding, business, business book, buzz, communications, Communications Strategy, consumer marketing, digital marketing, Internet, marketing, mass media, media format, Mitch Joel, monetize new media, new business channel, new market dynamics, new media, online word of mouth, opportunity, podcamp, podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, Social Media, social network, Social Networks, Strategic Communications, traditional media, Twist Image, Twitter, YouTube |
In Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. Mitch Joel recounts the tale of how in the 1500s the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez captained 11 ships carrying more than 500 soldiers to Mexico on a mission to conquer the Aztecs. Many fell ill along the way and others were intimidated while in foreign surroundings. When worried soldiers asked their leader about his plan for returning home Cortez responded by burning the ships. There was no going back.
New channels, new ways
Today, entrepreneurs and business marketers must contend with foreign territory, in the form of new channels, new platforms and new audiences that are upending old ways. Mitch Joel believes you can either cling to the past (a surefire route to eventual failure) or you can burn the ships and learn how survive in the new world.
There is no going back
The challenge is for marketers to connect with consumers in these channels in ways that are honest and meaningful and that enable businesses to monetize their efforts.
Losing control is a good thing
Change occurs so rapidly in the digital era we can’t know where it’s all headed.
While uncertainty unnerves some, Joel adopts a seize-the-day attitude.
He believes a world where anyone can say whatever they want about your brand or business is a good thing. After all, he declares, “You will see and hear the types of insights and comments you never normally have access to.”
Convert consumers into marketers (for your brand)
Brands have many options for building communities and Joel stresses that in the end it’s the quality not the quantity of the relationships that matter. Focus on creating an engaged community rather than simply going for heavy traffic.
Successful communities instigate word-of-mouth that builds exponentially through the power of networks. This scares executives who are afraid of losing control of their brand.
Joel argues that while you can’t control the conversation “You can control whether or not you take part. You can control whether you will encourage your consumers to be so passionate they actually start marketing your company for you.”
Dare to be bold: Open up your brand assets
One of Joel’s suggestions for how to instill passion in consumers is sure to raise eyebrows from old-school brand managers — he advises to openly provide “the tools they need to change your brand.” This includes access to logos, text, audio and video.
The old way is to control all those assets. It’s dangerous to let consumers have at your brand willy-nilly. Joel reckons consumers are going to do whatever they want with your brand anyway, so you might as well be a part of the process. By freely giving your assets you send a message that you stand behind your brand.
Mitch Joel walks the talk
New market dynamics shift communications from mass media to mass content. Joel’s view on how to create effective content that clicks with consumers is spot on.
With those digital avenues, and with this book, Joel is an astute observer of human behavior. He understands how people think and react and knows how you can connect and contribute in order to get people to care about the same things you do.
Joel also runs a marketing agency called Twist Image. He’s an enterprising entrepreneur and a fair portion of his book offers insights into how self-starters can become their own media channel; and not just in the obvious ways, like starting a blog (though he does cover that). He explains how to create a credible personal brand, and how you can make that brand come alive in the real world by leading offline activities, like a PodCamp, a kind of self-organizing “unconference.”
Engage with a spirit of adventure
Six Pixels of Separation helps you recognize how moving from mass media to mass content is like exploring a new world rife with opportunity. It helps you gain the confidence to evolve with a spirit of adventure.
It’s inspiring, and yes, contagious.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of the ideas presented in Six Pixels of Separation? Do you agree with Joel’s burn the ships attitude? Maybe you have your own example of how you created a successful community and/or a personal brand. Please share. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )