Wow, what a year it’s been. I felt the need to jot some thoughts before the end of the world tomorrow (thanks Mayan civilization – I’ll forgive the whole End of the World thing, since ya’ll also invented the tequila I’ll be drinking to soften the blows of the comets and lessen the sting from all the zombie bites).
The year has been eventful, to say the least. Presidential election, Hurricane Sandy, the tragic shooting rampages in Colorado and Connecticut, the inspiring Olympics, Baumgartner’s space jump, Gangnam Style, etc., plus the tentative but genuine climb of the U.S. economy from the abyss of the recession.
Here at SHIFT it’s also been a wild ride. We hired amazing new executives. We developed and have been rolling out an innovative new strategy for converging media. We became an Employee-Owned agency, with the summertime launch of our ESOP. We were named Digital/Social Agency of the Year. And in addition to a slew of other cool wins, in 2012 we added household name brands like H&R Block and McDonald’s to the client roster. Heck, we even changed our logo.
That’s a pretty big year.
This is the part where I’d normally say something like, “And we’ve got big plans for 2013!” but, true as that may be, at this time of year I prefer to hang back a little. Just reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of the previous twelve months and allow the fatigue to marinate in my bones. We are all driving ahead but can take a long look in the rearview mirror to appreciate where we’ve been, eh? Appreciate the people we’ve met, who’ve helped us along the road. Make amends with the family members we sometimes overlooked; remember that a home is more than a pit-stop between airports.
So: thank you. Thank you to my family (love you)! Thank you to my colleagues at SHIFT. Thank you to our clients. Thank you to the readers and supporters of this blog. Just: thank you. I am a lucky, lucky fella. I know it and appreciate it.
Honestly I have precious few clues about what 2013 holds in store. But I am glad we’re on this trip together.
Assuming we beat the Mayan curse, gang, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Is the social media press release still relevant? In some ways, the answer might surprise you: the Social Media Press Release isn’t relevant as a standalone press release, because these days social media and earned media are one and the same. Gone are the days where you needed separate communications for someone who was in the mainstream media and someone who was a blogger. Today, if you don’t treat new media creators with the same level of access as traditional media outlets, you’re in for a bucket of relative obscurity, especially if your product isn’t especially share worthy.
So what does the modern press release look like? Click here to read the whole article on SHIFT’s blog!
There are some words that initially sound good when you write them. We all know them, and we all use them. They’re words that make you sound bigger, faster, smarter, or more appealing to your customers, prospects, and audience. Unfortunately, everyone else has exactly the same idea in mind and as a result, we end up with tired words, words that are overused, and no place is this more common than in the press release.
In partnership with Marketwire, SHIFT Communications sampled 5,000 press releases from 2012 to find out what we went overboard on.
Want the full size version? Head on over to SHIFT Communications and download the PDF!
Want some better words for 2013? Engage SHIFT today.
There are nearly limitless ways to measure the impact of earned media, but here’s one you probably weren’t thinking of: marketing automation. One of the tricky parts of standard web analytics is that you don’t get access to personally identifying information. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool for measuring what’s happening in aggregate with your marketing programs, but because it doesn’t capture any contact information, you can’t see what impact your earned media has had on any given individual.
Marketing automation systems like Eloqua (a SHIFT client), Marketo, Pardot, and many others have the ability to track where people are coming from, and more importantly, see their activity history over long periods of time. This is absolutely vital for measuring earned media impact deep in the funnel, where you care about whether a potential customer is being influenced by your earned media. A piece of earned media might be just the thing that tips a prospect into returning your sales call.
Peter Shankman wrote a post today re: the ubiquity and ridiculousness of “Predictions” posts. It’s good, funny and smart so you should go read it.
One phrase Pete used grabbed me. “Super-Short Attention Span Theater.” Pete prayed, “May 2013 be the year that our industry truly understands that the consumer attention span drops by an order of magnitude each year.” That’s pretty self-evident, ain’t it? As far back as 2002 researchers were noting that human/web cyborgs (that’s us, by the way) had attention spans of approximately 9–seconds… equivalent to a goldfish.
As marketers how do we deal with this?
Answer #1 is likely Twitter. 140–characters. Boom. Done. Want more eyeballs to see those tweets? Promote them. It’s okay. Consumers are warming up to it. It’s how things work on the Web.
Answer #2, you also already know: 2012 was clearly the Year of the Infographic. While we’ve been abused by marketers who insisted on ramming far too much “info” into their “graphics,” the concept of at-a-glance content is clearly a winner.
So what else will feature in the Super-Short Attention Span Theater?
Photography. Everyone loves a funny meme … but only a brave and funny few will genuinely explore those. Meanwhile, marketers should also investigate other, more sober but still cool ideas for how to incorporate photography into engagement strategies.
Newsjacking. Via my friend David Meerman Scott (p.s. dude, we’re overdue for a lunch), who describes it in his eponymous book as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” You’ve gotta be judicious and ever-careful to not be exploitative but this is quick-hit stuff and can ensure that elements of your story surf a bigger wave.
Much shorter videos. Forget virality, think snackability. If you’ve nabbed a consumer’s attention for the 5–seconds it takes for them to view a synopsis of your video, e.g., in a clever Facebook post, they’ll likely click to watch a video that’s sub 45–seconds. One minute vids? Probably too long, unless you’ve got something special on tap.
Facebook posts that never, ever require a fan to “click to read more.”
Curated content. You don’t need to create everything, you know. I’ve argued that up to 70% of the brand’s outbound marketing can consist of curated content. Few take me up on this suggestion; it has a subversive “Not Invented Here” flavor to most clients. But if your company gains recognition for its ability to identify and promote “other cool stuff” in the industry (and especially if you’re doing this in a brief, neat way), how is that not a win? It’ll mean folks pay closer attention to the 30% of your stuff that does matter.
“Togglegoodies.” I just made that up. You like? — More and more often you’ll see content that adjusts on-demand, e.g., infographics with built-in interactivity, as you might see in a children’s museum display. They’ll have toggles and switches; they’ll change as you scroll; they’ll feature embedded video. Here’s a great example from the BBC, which allows readers to “take a dive 11,000 meters down” into an ocean trench.
Surely I’m missing something. What else?