Tag Archives: content marketing

Blogging Is Dead! Not.

BlogRecently, The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth released statistics showing a big decline in blogging by Inc. 500 companies. In 2010, fifty percent of the Inc. 500 maintained a corporate blog. By 2011, that number dropped to 37%. The study argues that this decline is due to growth in other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Great! You wanted to junk your blog anyway. It’s hard to come up with original content, you don’t see clear returns and now you don’t have to do it anymore. Not so fast.

The Inc. 500 is a specific set of privately owned companies, with at least 2 million dollars in revenue last year, and at least $1,000,000 in revenue in 2008. The companies range from 2 employees to thousands, and from industries as diverse and food and beverage to advertising to government services to clothing boutiques.

The only similarity between the companies included in the Inc. 500 is their willingness to apply for inclusion on the list. We can’t assume they all have the same online marketing needs.

You should you keep blogging. Why?

  • Search Engine Optimization: Blogs are useful for SEO for two reasons. First, blogs give you an opportunity to create fresh content, which Google loves. Second, your blog allows you to publish keyword rich content of interest to your customers. Stick those keywords in your post titles, post URLs, and better yet, in your article link text. (Bonus points if these links point readers back to your own website.) Strategic use of blog posts can make your primary website more easily found through search.
  • Establishing Expertise: Why should potential customers choose you? Price? Product? Service? How about because you are the perfect fit for their needs! You are the best at what you do! How do you demonstrate this? Online reviews help. So do social conversations. Blog posts give you one more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of your field and your care for the needs and challenges of customers.
  • Social Feeding: You know all those other social platforms you want to post to? What are you posting there? You need content, right? Why not create it yourself! Original content always demonstrates authenticity in social circles. Add blog posts to the mix. It demonstrates that little extra bit of effort that many companies aren’t willing to undertake.

Yes, blogging is hard. But like your broccoli, it’s good for you and your business. Keep it up!

What do you think? Has your company started a blog? What were your experiences like? Let us know!

Re-thinking the Campus Tour Video

A tip of the beret to the French firm, Noir sur Blanc Production, who created this piece for EM Strasbourg Business School. Notice the product placement for the SteelCase chairs. Apparently the school partnered with SteelCase who picked up most of the tab for the production. Something to think about for our next Higher Ed production.

Hornstein Program (Brandeis University) Content Marketing Project

Overview

The Hornstein Program from Triad Advertising on Vimeo.

Excited to share a content marketing project we just wrapped up with the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. Hornstein is a graduate program for young men and women interested in working in Jewish Communal Service. For those not familiar, that means working as advocates for Jewish causes, as leaders of Jewish philanthropies, as directors of Jewish camping, or in any number of other professional fields that aim to advance the cause of Jews and Judaism around the world. It’s a unique program, one of the best in the world, but the folks at Hornstein wanted a better way to share their value with prospective students.

After some initial meetings and discussions of past marketing efforts, we decided to focus on upgrading the Hornstein web presence with some re-organization and the development of several videos designed to effectively share Hornstein’s value with prospective students (who are often referred to the program by other Hornstein alumni).

4 months, nearly 30 interviews, 2 weeks in editing, 2 rounds of revisions, 2 more weeks of editing, and a big happy approval later, and here we go:

Why Hornstein?

Why Hornstein? from Triad Advertising on Vimeo.

Hornstein Students

Hornstein Students from Triad Advertising on Vimeo.

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities from Triad Advertising on Vimeo.

Effective video, and more importantly, interesting content has never been more important in marketing. The line between earned and purchased media is blurring more and more every day. How is this change affecting your marketing strategy? What content would you want to better sell your product or service? Leave a comment or catch us on Twitter @Triad_Ideas #ThinkSuccess.

Wall Street Journal’s Thoughts on Pay Walls


Interesting conversation with Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal and Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian (UK paper) about whether to “pay wall” or not to “pay wall” on “On the Media” this weekend. Good follow up to our discussion on the NY Times’ pay wall plans last week. I think Murray gets it right. News and media companies need to understand that they can charge for content, but only content that they alone can deliver and that has unique appeal to their audience (for WSJ it’s business news, tools, insight). How can you better deliver unique information, service, or products to your key audiences and monetize them appropriately? Keep the conversation going in the comments section or on Twitter, #ThinkSuccess.

“Pay Wall”: How the NYTimes is getting it wrong with paid online subscriptions


Newspapers are dying. At least that’s what everyone says. And there’s ample evidence to believe them – 12 daily metros gone, 8 more have dumped their print editions. Monday, the Wall Street Journal’s Russell Adams reported the NY Times, the world’s largest and most respected newspaper, plans to combat its significant financial losses withan online paid subscription model. This “Pay Wall” will charge heavy users (to be defined) $10-$20 per month depending on whether they access NYTimes content from the web only or also from a mobile device. The plan will make the Times money, a lot of it actually. But long term, this model will erode readership, limit growth, and squander a terrific opportunity for the Times to lead the next generation of news companies.

The Problem:
Traditional newspaper circulation is evaporating (according to its own data, the Times shed nearly 9% of its weekday readership last year). The revenue from paid subscriptions and print advertising is also drying up. Meanwhile a little over 30 million unique users visit NYTimes.com every month according to Comscore, Inc., making the Times the largest online newspaper in the world with online revenues accounting for $100 million a year (nearly 30% of total revenue). But online revenue isn’t growing fast enough to compensate for the lost traditional print money.

Assuming 10% of the 30 million monthly users (that’s 3 million for those of you doing the math in your heads) start paying $20 for a subscription, that represents (I’ll give you a second to calculate) $60 million per month in new revenue. That’s the kind of new revenue that makes top level executives giddy. But what happens if many “light users” migrate to other news organizations like CNN, NBC, or the Washington Post that equal the Times in quality and timeliness, at no charge? Same can be said for mobile users (I have both the CNN and NYTimes apps for iPad and the breaking news push notifications come literally at the same time. Plus CNN has more content and more video). Online readership won’t evaporate, but it won’t grow as quickly as it would in a free model either.

What if you could do both? Grow your overall audience AND better monetize the 10-15% of heavy users (your “Tribe,” as Seth Godin would say). What if you could do both PLUS grow interactions and feedback valuable to your advertisers while literally improving the quality of your organization’s news operation? You’d want that, right?

The Solution: (humble, I know)
Keep NYTimes.com free.
Focus on the great reporting you do. Be open with all of the “news of the day.” Have a clear business goal of increasing readership and monetizing that traffic with online advertising. This should continue to grow for the next 20-50 years (as older print generations die and younger online generations get introduced to the NYTimes – get ready for the day when newspapers are online only, it’s coming).

Charge $4.99/month for basic NYTimes iPad, Kindle, iPhone app
Push the main stories into the app, the way it’s designed now. There’s very limited advertising, and mobile device users are used to paying for content in low cost denominations like this (thank you iTunes).

Develop Premium Subscriptions
ESPN.com really does this well with their “Insider” subscription. Take a page from that book. Offer exclusive content like food guides, movie reviews, extra video, exclusive interviews, specific columnists, whatever you think is premium non-“news of the day” content. NYTimes.com has some great video blogs about travel. Those should be in the premium subscription – $10 to $20 per month.

Then go to the next level
Do more than just set aside some premium content. Make these subscribers part of your organization. Invite them to give their opinions and insight on your news coverage as an oversight board. Give them access to chats with editors, reporters, etc. This tribe is filled with news addicts. They’ll want the chance to talk with Thomas Friedman. When you have a big interview coming up, give them first shot at what questions to ask. Make them a part of the news room. Even ask them what stories they want covered. How cool would it be for the NYTimes tribe to have their own correspondent who they could decide where to send next. Maybe they want more in-depth reporting on the democratic revolution in Tunisia, send the correspondent with reports ONLY for subscribers.

Thinking about how to better empower, interact, and build a relationship with your biggest fans will open up all kinds of great opportunities. Let them lead you.

Include advertisers
Offer discounts on the monthly subscription in exchange for subscribers answering marketing questions about themselves, about brands they like, about new product trials, etc. Offer advertisers the chance to float special offers to this group and get their feedback. Offer advertisers highly premium, low inventory ad units to subscribers (only 1 ad per page if that, don’t anger your tribe).

What could this mean for you?
How do you empower your best customers, clients, students, guests? How do you monetize them better while building a more meaningful relationship? Do you set up barriers between yourself and your tribe like a “Pay Wall”? Maybe you require your consumer to fill out an info form in exchange for a mailed packet, a webinar, etc. Maybe you require a customer’s email address to have access to specific information. How could you provide more value and interaction to your best customers in a way that deepens your relationship, grows your revenue, and teaches you more about how you should act as a company?

Seriously, I’m asking. Feel free to comment below, on Twitter (@Triad_Ideas or @RilesOnAir), or by email pr@triadadvertising.com. Interested to hear your take!