The Marketing Intern

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Video Marketing for Social Media

Posted by The Marketing Intern on October 13, 2009

I wrote the other day about how one goes about using New Marketing techniques without abandoning the metrics and analytics that characterize Old School Marketing. And I thought the article was pretty darn good, but the feedback I got said otherwise.

“Okay,” the Voice of Consensus said. “But how do I do it? I can’t tweet a video. I can’t create a landing page in Facebook. How do I heed your obviously prescient and wholly inarguable advice, O Great and Powerful Matt?”

(Okay, I made that last part up.)

It’s true. You can’t tweet a video. But a Flimp isn’t a video. It’s a rich media landing page. That means it has its very own unique URL. And because your Flimp account is set up to monitor all activity that happens at that Web address, you get in-depth analytics for each and every user that clicks your Tweet. (Something about that phrase sounds dirty….)

“BUT WAIT!” you say, forgetting to use your indoor voice. “Flimp can’t track user interaction by Twitter account, can they?”

No, we can’t; Twitter doesn’t let us do that. But even if we could, you wouldn’t want us to. The thing about social media is that people like to share information that is interesting. Notice I said interesting, not important, or relevant, or useful. And there’s a reason for that.

For the most part, sharing via social media takes place on a one-to-many scale: we tweet to all our followers, or write on our walls, or post to our LinkedIn groups. Rarely do we share information one-to-one. And despite our best efforts, rarely are we able to maintain the integrity of a target audience once a message spreads beyond our network.

In other words, if you’re in IT, and you make an awesome IT video which you then share with your social network, what are the odds that, if the video spreads between networks, that all of the video’s viewers are going to be IT people, or even interested in IT? The broader the spread, the less likely it is that you’re hitting your target audience. And if we were to track all of that traffic that probably isn’t all that interested in what you’re selling with your video, you’d probably get pretty frustrated trying to sort through it all.

So to combat that, Flimp enables marketers to put trackable forms next to their videos. That way if a social media user is really interested in the video and wants to learn (or see, or do) more, they can follow a form-based call to action which effectively identifies them by email address. The Flimp platform is then able to take all of the analytic data for that user and associate it with the email address they provide. This gives you, the marketer, the same in-depth analytics as you would get sending out a video by email, all without having to wade through a mess of Twitter usernames.

See, we’ve got you covered. Who loves ya, baby?

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New PR and Trust Agents. Oh, and a cartoon!

Posted by The Marketing Intern on September 23, 2009

Been reading Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agent. It made me think about PR in pictures. I’m not sure if this is an unintended side effect of Brogan’s literature, but Chris, if you’re out there, I think your book might make people think about PR in pictures. I’ve got the FDA’s phone number if you need it.

My therapist suggested I share the  pictures with people to purge them from my mind. Enjoy.

This is You.

This is you.

Your Network

This is your network.

Extended Network

This is your extended network.

The Media

And this is the media. Still with me? Good.

Old PR

This is how old PR works. You (1) send press releases to the media, who (2) publish it and make it available to their readership. The problem with this is twofold. First, what about the people in your immediate network? There’s no guarantee that they’ll ever read that story about you. (In fact, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever see that story about you.) Not so good for trust-building. So how do you fix this situation?

Well, you could send your press releases directly to  your network and let them share it with others. Problem is, traditional press releases are no good for social sharing. They’re long, often boring, and usually pitch-y. People don’t want to read them, much less share them. So this doesn’t work. That’s where New PR comes in.

New PR 1

This is the first part of New PR. You create a miniature news release, more reminiscent of a blog post than a true press release. Short, punchy, loaded with pictures and/or video. Then you post it somewhere (I use PressKit’n to post this kind of thing) and share it through email, blog and social media with your network. If the news is interesting enough, and if it is punchy enough, and if all the elements that make good content are in place (elements which rarely have anything in common with traditional press releases), then it will be shared. Thus:

New PR 2

Part 2, your network shares your content with your extended network. If you’re keeping track of where your links are going, this means that you  have the opportunity to expand your immediate network by making connections with these “new” people. (Who may or may not be new at all. In fact, most of them have been around for at least 25 years. Some even longer!)

So is this considered PR if the Press never gets involved? Maybe not. But New PR has you covered.

New PR 3

See, referrals over time create buzz. Coming from a journalism background, I can honestly tell you that journalists have stopped paying much attention to press releases. They pay attention to the blogs, keep their ears to the ground in social media-land, and — gasp! — make phone calls. But journalists have always been a skeptical bunch, and they tend to trust buzz more than they trust you. Fortunately, that’s not true of your relationship with the people in your network, nor is it true of their relationships with their respective networks. That’s a good thing. That’s your buzz machine. A thousand personal recommendations gets more people talking than an article that reaches 10,000 people.

You know, looking back over that last graphic, it looks a little cult-y. Maybe this problem is a little more serious than anticipated.

Don’t buy Trust Agents, though, until further notice. I’ll give you a doctor’s note when I’m feeling better.

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Interns Beware: The Facebocalypse Is Upon Ye

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 19, 2009

Jennifer Van Grove (@jbruin for you tweeps), in addition to being outrageously good-looking, has provided us with yet another word of warning. It appears as though as many as 45% of employers now screen the social media profiles of new hires. This info comes courtesy of Harris Interactive, at the request of CareerBuilder.com, so you know it’s legit.

Apparently 35% of the HR people polled said they had found info that influenced their decision to not hire a certain individual. This means one of two things:

1) 65% of college students are really good at hiding the stupid things they do, or

2) 65% of college students aren’t partying nearly hard enough.

Word from the wise: Untag your photos before you  send out your resume. Because unless you’re applying for a job in kegstandery, beergoggling, or opportunistic body art, your chances of getting a job will be probably be cut by around 50%.

Don’t get me wrong — if  you spend your college career trying to make all the girls at the bar look like the lovely Ms. Van Grove, I’m not telling you it would necessarily be time poorly spent. But you wouldn’t get shazzy in front of your boss, so don’t go all Kid Rock where your would-be future employers can see you.

Seems like common sense — but then again, 35% of HR professionals will confirm the ancient adage that common sense is anything but common.

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4 Really Good Free PR Sites

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 5, 2009

I know, this sounds spammy. It’s not, I promise. Would I do that to you?

I recently downloaded the HubSpot video (published last year, I think) on how to do PR the right way. The video hinges quite a bit on David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing and PR, an excellent read which you should go out and buy right now if you haven’t already done so.

Anyway, Hubspot’s Mike Volpe (@mvolpe on Twitter, another great follow) says in the video that when it comes to news release distribution sites, you pretty much get what you pay for. He’s right, in a sense, but there are lots of free news release sites out there. Some of them have to be pretty decent, right? I went out looking. What follows is a list of the best free news release distribution sites, ranked in order of personal preference.

1) Presskit’n (presskitn.com) – Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a free press release site that allowed you to use pictures, embed video, incorporate anchor text links, and gave users instant access to all of your previous news releases? Well, you’ve got it. Now, admittedly this is cheating a bit — PressKit’n isn’t a distribution site, per se, as it doesn’t do the whole distribution thing. No, this is more of a social media news release template — it’s engaging, you can link to it, and it does pretty much whatever you could want it to do. The downside: In the free version, you can only publish two releases per month. No problem for small businesses, but if you want to use the ‘kitt’n as your primary news release vehicle, you’ll need a $39.95/mo upgrade which gives you 7 releases. Best practice: Use presskit’n to augment your big news releases, and use the other “unlimited” sites for day-to-day releases.

2) Press Release Point (pressreleasepoint.com) – No cool video capabilities with this one, but just about everything else you could want from a free PR service is here. News releases can incorporate anchor text, are indexed by the major search engines, are distributed to sites like Google News and Yahoo! Business, incorporate social bookmarking via Digg, Delicious and Technorati, and are socially shareable via Facebook (but not Twitter, oddly). This is a blog-format press release site, which means you can incorporate pictures via built-in CSS interface. A pretty cool site; I’m not sold on the distribution capabilities (apparently they are done by hand — gulp), but the ability to use anchor text links for free is almost unheard of. A great resource.

3) Online PR News (onlineprnews.com) – The free version of this site offers quite a bit. First, the news release is indexed by major search engines like Google and Yahoo (no mention of Bing, though). Second, every press release includes social bookmarking and sharing links (oddly, no Twitter or Facebook links, but you do have Digg, SlashDot, De.licio.us, StumbleUpon, etc.). Third — and this is pretty cool — every release incorporates a screen shot of your website. The free version allows for live URL links, but that’s it. You can’t incorporate links with anchor text in the free version, which is troubling, but a $6 upgrade allows for three. This upgrade also allows you to embed video, images, pull quotes, lets you make use of some cool SEO techniques, and displays your releases on ad-free pages. Definitely more than you pay for, and certainly worth checking out.

4) PR Avenue (pravenue.com) – No frills here; just good old-fashioned distribution. Free releases are indexed by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, and distributed via Twitter, Wikio, and OneRiot. Anchor text links are allowed in the “Contact Us” section at the end of the press release, which is good but not ideal. We hope this functionality will improve when the program is released from beta. We’re also hoping the website allows users to take advantage of their premium services, which they list but don’t yet allow users to buy. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and the #4 spot, but I’ll recommend holding off on using it too seriously until it hits Alpha.

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The Social Media Savior

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 4, 2009

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! PLEASE REMAIN CALM! PLEASE! EVERYONE REMAIN SEATED! WE WILL BEGIN… WE WILL BEGIN EVACUATIONS SHORTLY! PLEASE REMAIN CALM!

Everyone seems to be jumping on the Twitter bandwagon like it’s the end-all solution to a company’s marketing woes. They’re clinging to this technology, convincing themselves that if they could just figure out how to gain more followers they could crowdsource an escape from the current economic depression.

Good luck with that.

Fact of the matter is that social media is, as it always has been, only a part of the marketing pie. And a relatively small slice, at that. Not all that many people Tweet. A considerable amount more are on Facebook, but few of them are looking to connect with businesses. LinkedIn is good for B2B, but awful for B2C. Digg, Reddit, Technorati, and Delicious are all great for browsing popular sites, but not great for interacting with other people. You need other things to fill in the gaps left by social media.

What are these other things? A well-designed website which allows customers to find out about your company and contact you with any questions; frequent marketing initiatives that gauge customer engagement; events geared toward creating a community of customers — these are the things that will bail the brine from your waterlogged business.

So before you spend any more time reading one more ebook on getting thousands of followers on Twitter in  less than an hour, turn your attention inward. How is your site performing on keyword searches? Is it easy to use? Are your customers saying good things about you?

How much emphasis do you think should be placed on social media initiatives? Am I being too harsh here?

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Worst White Paper Title EVER.

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 3, 2009

Infiltration of Information Collaboration Implementation in the Inflation Nation-Station Dalmation

Infiltration of Information Collaboration Implementation in the Inflation Nation-Station Dalmation

I figured I’d share this little tidbit with you. From a sponsor link at a very popular social media website. I have absolutely no idea what “Enterprise Collaboration Implementation” is supposed to mean — maybe if David Meerman Scott (author of the Gobbledeygook Manifesto) were to read this blog, he’d be able to tell us.

Wow. Just… wow.

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The Top 5 Things B2C Marketers Should Never Ever Do

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 3, 2009

Sometimes Ill get going down a hill, throw it in neutral, and jump in the kayak. You should hear em scream and run for cover.

Sometimes I'll get going down a hill, throw it in neutral, and jump in the kayak. You should hear 'em scream and run for cover.

As so frequently happens on the weekends, I was inspired by beer. Often times this inspiration manifests itself by insisting that it is possible to jump from the roof of a two-family split-level, dressed as a bumble bee, into a 12″ pool of water and survive — and then setting out to prove it — but this weekend’s manifestation was, to the delight of my insurance company, more business-oriented.

(As it happens, the beer that inspired this revelation was American Darling by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Inc. If you haven’t checked out this brewery [which isn’t really a brewery] yet, you need to — Jack D’Or is the best beer I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s saying something.)

(Oh, and for the record, I’m not saying Pretty Things does a bad job of marketing — this just happened to be the thought this  particular beer inspired. As I’m sure the brewers at Pretty Things will confirm, inspiration works in mysterious ways.)

Here are the top five things that marketers should never do. NEVER:

1) Be Reckless with Diction. I cannot for the life of me understand why marketers and so-called PR “professionals” insist on using words like “cutting edge” and “industry-standard.” What, exactly, is a mission-critical, industry-standard, cutting-edge, innovative piece of technology on the forefront of the next generation of  the digital revolution? (I wrote that sentence with one hand. The other one was clamped over my mouth, preventing me from tossing up lunch.) If you want to make your company sound interesting, stop using phrases that have been  used a thousand times before. I would rather read corny made up phrases like “Apple-oution” or “Ciscosity” than read the words “leaders in the X industry” ever again.

2) Forget How the Customer Uses Your Product. See, if I say here that lots of marketers forget the needs of the customer, or forget the quality of life that your product could potentially provide for the customer, that would seem obvious. No, instead I’ll point out the simple fact that marketers all too often forget about the user interface. Sure, your product is powerful. Sure, it represents a shift in the way that people will do business with each other. Sure, it may even change the face of the Internet and the world as we know it. But if it sounds important, it’s probably complicated. Don’t forget to remind your customer that it’s not.

3) Worry About Price When You’re Selling Ideas. If you’re a tee-shirt manufacturer, you’re probably pissed at Ed Hardy for their ability to sell tee-shirts for hundreds of dollars when you’re charging maybe $20 a pop. But if this is the case, Ed Hardy is really good at doing something that you’re not good at (yet): selling ideas. Ed Hardy has brought the neo-punk tattoo culture to urban, mainstream America. Hardy doesn’t sell tee-shirts; it sells admission into this culture. How much would you pay for that? A considerable amount more than you’d pay for a tee-shirt.

4) Insult My Intelligence. If you’re trying to sell mobile multimedia subscriptions by hooking me into some stupid Facebook game and tricking me into agreeing to a $20-per-month plan from which I will derive absolutely no value, I’m probably going to sniff it out. Now, whether or not I (and when I say “I,” I mean the average consumer) will sign a contract for said plan in order to play the aforementioned game is irrelevant. The point is that if you want something from me (like $20 a month), ask me for it, and then tell me what I’m getting in return. And don’t do it in the fine print.

5) Try to Create a Community of Customers. These communities will form on their own. What you can do is provide a space for this to happen. Ask for it to happen — try UGC video contests, tweetups, and other social, customer-first initiatives. Daimler-Chrysler’s Jeep brand has “National Take Your Top Off Day,” a day dedicated to taking down the soft-top on your Wrangler. These events draw thousands of people to events across the country. There’s no incentive, really, other than the sense of camaraderie. I don’t believe it was even started by D-C, in fact; I think it was entirely customer oriented. But the brand allows for that kind of social interaction, and Jeep allows it to happen.

For the record, yes, I take my top off frequently. I know you were wondering.

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CNN Publishes Yesterday’s Tech News – Yawn.

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 1, 2009

New Report says Smoking Could Be Dangerous

"New Report says Smoking could be Dangerous"

Another beer-inspired revelation, this one comes courtesy of CNN. Last Friday, two of my train-wreck favorite Twitterers (@ijustine and @guykawasaki) and two people I hadn’t followed prior to the show (@jbruin and @… well, some other guy) were talking about tech stuff. Two of the big topics included the Google Voice/AT&T debachle and the Microhoo! deal. Everyone spoke very intelligently about the topics, even Justine and Guy (though, like our President, Guy has the annoying habit of recklessly using the word “stupid” and its variants).

But I couldn’t help thinking that I was actually getting bored by these stories. After all, I read TechCrunch and Mashable — I had followed this coverage extensively for two or three days prior to this broadcast. I could reasonably predict what everyone was going to say about it: Justine would talk about how awesome the technology is, and how she uses awesome technology all the time; Guy would say something about how he knows something that other people don’t; a Mashable rep (and @jbruin is a very good one) would say that we need to get to the bottom of this, because the world needs Google Voice; the TechCrunch rep (and whoever he was is a very bad one) would say something about Apple impeding the march of technology to make the bottom line more attractive.

Perfectly predictable. And so saturated was the Web with this info that CNN came off as yesterday’s news — which is exactly what it was.

What’s concerning to me is that CNN has been in the news business for years. Blogs have been around (in force, anyway) since about 2005, with the dawn of sites like The Huffington Post. Why is it that the bloggers get it, and 24-7 news stations still don’t? Baffling to me. Simply baffling.

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Checking Out Early Episode 4 – What I Learned from Guy Kawasaki

Posted by The Marketing Intern on July 31, 2009

Episode 4 — What I Learned from Guy Kawasaki. Otherwise entitled: How Being a Pompous Jerk is Actually a Good Thing, if you Play your Cards Right.

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Guy Kawasaki: The Untouchable Jerk

Posted by The Marketing Intern on July 29, 2009

You SO wish you were me right now.

"You SO wish you were me right now.

As a novice blogger, sometimes you find yourself wishing you could find a way to engage with those supreme chancellors who lord about in the upper echelons of  your segment, and sometimes you really wish you knew why they’re there to begin with.

It was the latter sentiment which struck me mid-twittersation with Guy Kawasaki.

It began innocently enough. I had clicked on one of Guy’s gazillion Twitter links and noticed for the first time how truly, absurdly bright the Alltop.com frame is. I decided to throw a Tweet up about it.

CheckOutEarly Anyone else find the Alltop frame to be supremely annoying?

Mind you, I have all of 46 followers. I harbored no illusion that Guy would read my humble tweet — or, if he did, that he would much care — or, if he did, that he would take it as anything more than the constructive criticism (albeit tongue-in-cheek) that it was meant to be.

I was sadly mistaken. A short while later, I got this:

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Click on the X or pay to read my tweets. Do you find TV advertising annoying too?

Firstly, I’m not sure that there is a mechanism in place that charges Twitter users to view tweets. Secondly, I doubt very much that Guy is starved for cash. And thirdly, well… this:

CheckOutEarly @guysreplies Actually, yes. I find all forms of interruption-based advertising annoying. What does that have to do with anything?

CheckOutEarly@guysreplies I was really commenting on the garish color and sheer size of the frame. Frames are fine, when done tastefully.

To which Guy timely responded:

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly So you think 24, Discovery Channel, ABC, CBS, NBC nothing should have ads? You want everything free and ad free?

And so it goes:

CheckOutEarly @guysreplies I never said they shouldn’t have them. I said they were annoying. I’m not the only one who thinks so either. Ever hear of TIVO?

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Tivo? Is that an island in the Pacific? Try clicking on the X on the frame. That’s our Tivo.

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Our frames get 1-4% click through. that’s 10-40x the rate of most ads

At which point, over on his other, more famous Twitter account, Guy wrote the following:

GuyKawasaki Someone who describes himself as “High-ballin’ marketing super-genius” says the Alltop frames are “garrish.” I LOVE Twitter…

And, like the impudent jerk that I am, I replied:

CheckOutEarly @guykawasaki Yes, I did. Only I spelled “garish” correctly.

Back to the less famous (though still very much famous) account:

CheckOutEarly @guysreplies I don’t understand why you’re getting so worked up. I’m not being malicious. The frames just seem a bit over the top to me.

CheckOutEarly @guysreplies I don’t doubt that your frames get great click-through. That’s not the point. I was commenting on the design.

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Great clickthrough is the whole point. Maybe the garish/garrishness causes that.

I tried to say something witty here, but a Twitter hiccup prevented it.

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Click on the X until we change it…

CheckOutEarly @guysreplies I won’t hold my breath. But thanks for the banter.

GuysReplies @CheckOutEarly Indeed, it was fun. Have a good evening.

That was the end of our conversation. Meanwhile, Guy had some wonderful things to say about your beloved Marketing Intern behind his back.

i_am_brennan @GuyKawasaki in the High-Ballers’ defence… the Alltop frames don’t display properly in Chrome

GuysReplies @i_am_brennan Somehow, he’s probably using IE 5 if I had to guess. 🙂

I use Firefox, for the record.

sandywright @GuyKawasaki key phrase here is “describes himself” Your Alltop ROCKS!

GuysReplies @sandywright why thanks!

I don’t know exactly what that means… but the use of all-caps for the word “rocks” is particularly endearing, no?

@GuyKawasaki sooo.. you’re saying “High-ballin’ marketing super-genius” doesn’t strike you as a reputable hook? 😉

@fidoandwino I don’t know what “high ballin'” means. Is it a sex position? Drink? Basketball term? Not familiar with the term.

It means I’m really tall.

Anyway, for a guy who has built an enormous personal brand, it seems kind of petty to me to pick on a guy with 46 followers on Twitter who calls himself The Marketing Intern. I don’t care who you are, don’t be disrespectful. Guy must get thousands of DMs and mentions per day. Why he chooses to mock those who are critical of him is beyond me. And why he does it where everyone can see his mocking is far beyond me. That’s just bad PR, man.

That said, if there’s anyone in the world who can get away with it, it’s Guy.

Someday when I grow up, I wanna be just like him.

Update 1: Since the end of this convo, Alltop has apparently changed the size of their frame. Reports were circulating around that Opera, Chrome and Firefox all distorted the frames. Good on you, Guy, for berating a user who pointed this out (albeit inadvertently).

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