Black Hole: A region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape.
If you are using social tools to communicate with your audience without the benefit of a strategy, you are the proud owner of your very own black hole. Everything you produce – blog post, tweet, podcast, Facebook update, YouTube video – every last scrap of content is being hurled into a void so dark and vast it will only be consumed by those who happen to trip over it. I’ve seen it before. A lot. It’s usually the result of misguided notion that any content is better than no content. Unfortunately, that same idea ignores the fact that no content is preferable to bad content.
Even today, the same marketing professionals who diligently plan every aspect of every campaign, taking care to make sure every detail is accounted for, don’t think twice about what is being posted to the company blog. Whether it’s a website, brochure, commercial or blog post, what you produce represents the company that provides your paycheck and treating any content as second class is doing that company a disservice.
If you’re serious about making social media part of your communications activities, make it part of your strategy development, treat the content as you do other deliverables and give social media equal standing when discussing your activities. If you do you’ll find your content living in the bright light of the Internet being consumed by people who sought it out and have a genuine interest in what your company has to say.
Ever shot yourself in the foot? I’m not talking about using a firearm to do the deed, I’m talking about using your mouth. If you’ve ever stood in front of an executive and spent precious time explaining why they needed be involved in social media you have.
Let’s face it, there are still too many in the marketing field who belive social media will replace movable type as the most significant invention of all time and that we who use its power to benefit our businesses are turning digital water into digital wine. To those who fit this description I have simple message: Get over yourself.
What we’re doing with these blogs and podcasts and videos and social media press releases is taking advantage of a lot of work that was done by those who created the miracle that is the Internet. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. But when you stand up in front of Mr. and Ms. CwhateverO and begin to pontificate on the beauty of Web 2.0 and the wonders that flow from it, you deserve to be met with glassy stares because they didn’t invite you in to talk about blogging and podcasting and Twitter and the next shiny object. No, they invited you to tell them how you are going to differentiate their company from its competitors. They want strategy not tactics. And social media is not, repeat not a strategy.
All the elements that make up social media are simply ways of distributing your message – whatever that happens to be. Granted they are very powerful means of distribution, but let’s not lose site of what they are at the core. When we do is when we are in danger of taking to the top of the mount and preaching the glories of social media.
Keep it simple, talk strategy. Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them.
Wednesday morning was a great morning at the St. Paul Pool & Yacht club.
A small group convened to hear Provident Partners’ Albert Maruggi and me speak on the ways of integrating social media tactics to one’s traditional marcomm efforts. Keeping the group small allowed us to drill down into the attendees specific issues and objectives and they walked away, not with a laundry list of what tools are available, but with concrete ideas of how to develop a social media strategy that will help them achieve those objectives.
Our goal was to give people a different type of seminar. We wanted them to forget about the shiny new objects – all the tools and toys that are used and developed everyday – and ask themselves a few questions:
- What are our marcomm objectives.
- How can we leverage social media to help us me.et those objectives.
- How do we determine which tool is appropriate for the given job.
Content, credible content, being king, we also asked them to look inside their company and consider resources – the human kind – they could tap to play the role of subject matter expert and how they could best be leveraged; audio, video and/or text.
We packed a lot of information into a two hour semianr, and in the end everyone left with a solid foundation on which to begin building the strategies they came in search of. I’m going to enjoy watching as the companies represented build out their plans and begin executing on them.
It was a very satisfying and gratifying to help fellow professionals who are in the same position I was just a few short years ago.
August 14, 2009 Posted by Mark Palony | Journalism, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media | Albert Maruggi, B2B, Blogging, Lead Generation, Marketing Edge Podcast, Podcasting, Provident Partners, Setting Objectives, Strategy, Twitter | Leave a Comment
We’ve all seen ‘em, we’ve all read ‘em, and some of us have written ‘em:
- “Top 10 reasons social media will bring peace to the Middle East”
- “Top 5 Twitter will make you thinner and save you from chronic Halitosis”
Yes, these are a bit farfetched, but you get the idea.
Frequently the offspring of writer’s block or a fast approaching deadline, The List, as I refer it, is a quick way to get something in front of your readers. For too many, however, it’s become the default way of creating content. While this isn’t a problem that will lead to the demise of blogging, it is certain to cause problems for those who rely too heavily on The List.
The occasional top 10 post is to be expected, but I’ve been finding more and more popping up in my Google reader. The more often they come, the more suspect I am. When a blogger begins to fall back on The List at least once a week, I conclude they are only trying to drive traffic by packing their posts with highly searched keywords (do ’ya think my headline might get some notice?) and/or are just plain lazy. As a result, their RSS feed is quickly thrown into a black hole.
When I read a blog, I’m doing it because I believe the author has something of value to share with me, something I may not have previously considered or perhaps have considered in a different context. I want a post to make me think about different sides to the same issue. I want him/her to be provocative, engaging and, on occasion, irritating.
If you’re not generating an emotional response from your readers, regardless of what emotion it is, you are not doing your job.
My bottom line, I’d rather skip posting for day – like yesterday – than give my readers a list of the top 10 reasons I think Microsoft is in its death throes.
It would be provocative, but how much value would it have?
My journey into the world of Digital Communications started in 2004 with the idea that I could use video testimonials to drive leads for the enterprise software company I was working for. It worked and, along with my good friends Albert Maruggi and Mike Keliher, I expanded into blogging, podcasting and Twitter. With each step we experienced more and more success. In early 2010 I moved from the client side to the agency side doing the same kind of work for a number of vertical industries.
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