Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Brand Journalist or Another Title?

Real Estate Brand Journalism via Email

You can call me anything you want as long as I get paid and you don’t call me late for dinner.

I’ve been doing “brand journalism” and content marketing since the 1980’s at IBM. Before that I was a national magazine and newspaper reporter, contributing editor, stringer, feature writer, managing editor, etc… Lots of titles.

It’s all semantics.

The lines between a classical journalist and a content maker are blurred almost beyond recognition.

I’ve had magazines ask me to write puff pieces for advertisers for their news section. I’ve produced videos for companies that ended up as segments on Discovery or a local affiliate, I’ve produced “News Minutes” for radio that focused on an advertiser’s product or service, and on and on.

Media company journalists are content makers. So are brand journalists.

The media company will say they are objective and don’t take a position on a story. The brand journalist clearly takes a position. Do you believe the media company?

I’ve learned since sitting in media company editorial meetings pitching stories: There is little, if any, objectivity.

The fact that an editor or editorial staff would choose to run a story on a celebrity divorce, instead of a story on the Marines that were killed this week in a war zone, automatically demonstrates bias. They are biased based on what their audience wants and their business model vs. what really is important news.

The act of choosing a particular story, one quote over another, who to quote, one fact over another fact, is an act of bias. There’s very little that’s “objective” about it.

And that doesn’t include purposefully spinning a story the way media companies do. They have their “editorial positions” on issues and as a reporter, you better follow them, or out you go.

Each writer and editor brings all their experience and baggage to the party. You can try to fake objectivity, but using judgment about a story is an act of subjectivity.

The news business is a business first. The “code of journalism ethics” is a fairy tale [Oh, there I’ve gone and said it – let the hate email begin]. Nice thing to aspire too but not followed or in most cases not practical. The code is to sell eyeballs and ears, as many as you can, so you can increase ad revenue, not some lofty goal of news nirvana.

Newsletter Postcard

The only reason there is evening news from a local affiliate TV station is to put content around the advertising – not the other way around. Do you really care about the car wrecks, burglaries somewhere else, weather emergencies outside your neighborhood, etc? What is the journalism “code” for that?

It’s great to tell all sides of a story. That’s what hard news and feature journalists are supposed to do. But it’s rare when it happens for a lot of reasons: time, space, budget, knowledge…

Most Americans trust journalists less than lawyers or car and real estate salespeople. Why? Because they know objectivity is a myth. They would rather that the writer/producer just be honest about it… like brand journalists are.

Brand Journalism (or whatever you want to call it) – helpful information that customers and prospects care about, usually told as a story – has driven more press to my employers and clients than thousands of press releases.

In fact, I have publishers from newspapers, magazines, and GMs from TV stations contact me to get in on the action. They figure it’s better to find a way to work together than compete. It’s all about the quality of the content and the analytics. Get more eyeballs than the press, and the press will come running.

How about this for a title: I’m a for-profit content maker. No? Better yet, just call me paid.

Filed under: Brand Journalism, Content Marketing, Print, Real Estate Marketing, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing and PR 2.1

I was recently asked to speak at a trade association conference being held at The Breakers in the Town of Palm Beach.

It was a great group and it gave me the chance to explain:

  • The current state of marketing and public relations
  • How to integrate traditional and new media marketing and public relations
  • How to use content marketing to get more leads, prospects, and sales
  • Using Brand Journalism to reach customers, stakeholders, influencers, and the press
  • The new Marketing Mix 2.1
  • The importance of measurement and analytics
  • Customer Relationship Management and systems

Click below to see the presentation.  Let me know what you think!  Did I miss something?  Anything to add?

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Micro Blog (Twitter), Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

The Little Secret Outside Marketing, PR and Ad Agencies Don’t Want You to Know

I’ve had in-house marketing and PR agencies at IBM, Motorola, and Pulte Homes.

I’ve always found that the cost of an in-house agency is about 1/3 of the cost of using an outside agency. I operate exactly like an outside agency, having a core group of hands-on managers and creatives and using the top freelancers and sub-contractors just like an outside agency does.

Cost is Important – And Other Reasons Too

Speed
In an in-house agency, our time to produce and roll out content and campaigns is much shorter.  We know the customers and their hot-buttons, subject matter, the benefits of our products and services, have the internal and customer contacts, can get teams together faster, get approvals quicker, etc.

We don’t have to constantly get an agency(s) up to speed and arrange formal approval sessions.  Often, we just quickly, and many times informally, meet the division president or principle that needs the content for a quick one-on-one, and approval is done.  No outside agency has that kind of access or speed.

Cost
I built an in-house TV & Multimedia Studio at Motorola (Business & Government Division) and the cost to run that became 10% of what it costs to go outside.  In fact, we spent $5 million to build the studio and equip it and paid it off with savings in less than 2 years.  It would be shorter now because of the lower cost and higher quality of broadcast quality equipment and software.  I’ve replaced a post-production system with less than $1,000 in software on my laptop.

See the Quick Case Study below for an integrated in-house agency example.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
As a CEO or marketing executive, you may like those lunches and perks that the outside agencies provide; but, you’re the one paying for them with your own budget.

Bottom line, in-house agency cost per customer acquisition is much smaller than using outside agencies.  Our cycle time is shorter.  And our brand awareness and equity expands much faster.

I understand that not everyone can afford a full-blown agency or a TV studio for his or her business.  However, hiring 2-3 key hands-on marketing and PR folks, with agency experience – and that also produce content for you in-house – will help you get the benefits for about 1/3 the cost of using a strictly external agency.

Strategy
In-house works especially well when you use an integrated marketing strategy that includes brand journalism, social media, and measurement systems.

Brand journalism is one of the best methods for getting believable content to stakeholders, prospects, and customers.  Producing that content from the inside makes more sense. There are so many moving parts and interactions, it’s hard to get a great story from multiple sources using an external agency.

Measurement
When you concept, create, distribute, and measure in-house, your results are more believable.  I’m not saying every external agency is like this, but they have a financial interest in getting you to buy more media.  They make more money.  I’ve seen campaign measurement results from outside agencies that were spun to recommend a larger media buy.  The goal of an in-house agency is to CUT cost.  The goal of an outside agency is to MAKE MORE MONEY for the outside agency.

Quick Case Study

As an example:  When I took over DiVosta Homes and then eventually Pulte Homes and Del Webb in Florida, we had 80 actively selling communities in the state.  We needed to sell over 4,000 homes a year for over a billion dollars in sales.

The annual marketing and PR budget for Florida, broken up in 7 divisions around the state, was over $20 million.  There were a dozen external agencies involved with the local divisions. I moved all the marketing and PR in-house and had 7 people total: graphic designers, writers (including me), traffic manager, and media buyer (me) to produce and place content.

We did web, email marketing, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, outdoor, pitched stories to the press, events, etc., all in-house with some outside freelancers.  We produced hundreds of ads and stories every week… placed thousands every month.

The first year we cut $9.8 million from the marketing and PR budget, almost half.  We went from $3,000-$7,000 in marketing expense per home sale to less than $1,200 per home sale.  Our cycle time was much shorter to concept, produce, approve, and place.  All done with 7 great in-house people – and sales continued without skipping a beat.

In fact, when I took over they had 70,000 qualified contacts in their prospect system.  After the first year, we had over 300,000.  That’s results.

Think about it… those 7 people replaced a dozen expensive agencies.

In today’s world, it’s all about content marketing.  Getting out your honest and clear message by creating once, and publishing everywhere – and doing it for the lowest cost is the formula for success.

Contact me if you want to learn more:  MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

 

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Need A Freelance Writer, Editor, Blogger for Recession-Proof Results?

Mike Means Business

You need a pro. Someone that can see today, and the future, and act on it before it happens.

I’ve been a writer, managing editor, the first multimedia producer at IBM, and I started the first professional corporate blogging group at IBM in 1988 with 15 full-time writers.  That’s right, it’s not a typo – 1988.

“That kind of future-vision experience will get results for your business.  My recession-proof marketing writing will get more traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales for you – for the lowest cost per customer – in today’s market.”

From there I went on to win a NY Film Festival Award in 1989 for showing the world what the Web would become 6 years before the Web went live in 1995. My 1989 production was featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Discovery Channel, magazine covers, and local TV affiliates all over North America.

Editors at the NY Times looked baffled when I showed it to them in 1990. They still haven’t caught up.

“How did I know?  I’m plugged in. I have 1,478 real contacts in my smart-phone including thought leaders, teammates, future visionists, media pros, and entrepreneurs. Together we see the flow, the trends, and select strategy wisely. I’m an early adopter. I learn new technologies, channels, and techniques before most others and implement at the right time – not too early, never too late.”

Then Motorola stole me away from IBM and I used the Internet to launch a little company called Nextel. I got them Business Week Magazine’s Product of the Decade in the 1990’s.

“Do you need these kinds of results?  Hire a pro. Someone that is plugged into the markets, knows how to research for now and the future, uses cutting-edge information strategy, and can drive traffic to you.”

Since then I’ve been helping organizations take advantage of the Internet. I cut $9.8 million from the Pulte Homes Florida annual advertising budget by moving them out of traditional media to the Web. In that same year, I increased their lead-bank from 70,000 leads to over 300,000 qualified leads for 80 communities. Their sales went to 4,200 homes per year – over a $Billion. In 2009, they had 3,200 home sales. Down, but not out, still using my methods and systems.

During the worst real estate crisis since WWII, I helped a boutique new homebuilder grow from 24 home sales in all of 2007 to 204 home sales [in 6 months] in 2008 – for $84 million in sales. What real estate bubble bust? Not when I use my methods.

“I’ve specialized in tech, science, healthcare, real estate, non-profit, and public policy. Call me right now to get a free quote!”

If you are looking for a REAL pro, that has the strategic vision, background and skill, and hands-on writing experience to increase traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales, see my portfolio:

www.RMichaelBrown.Wordpress.com

“You won’t get the same winning results from part-time bloggers, students, interns, or all the posers working from home out there. Getting $million results is not like writing a letter to home or an email to the boss. It takes strategic thinking, creative talent, and a track record of big wins to give you the confidence in the decisions you make.”

Hire a pro.  Get results.  Call me today: 561-756-1674

Mike

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Future Vision, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , ,

Will an Oil Spill Grass Roots Marketing Campaign Work for Florida?

All clean at Boca Raton beaches!

Collateral damage is part of any disaster or emergency.  Misinformation or the wrong perception is common.  Florida is going through that right now.

Mention vacationing or buying waterfront property or near beach homes in Florida, outside the state, and many react, “The beaches are flooded with oil,” Property values are crashing because of the oil,” and on and on.

It’s just not true.

The facts:

– Some beaches are impacted in NORTHWEST FLORIDA.  Check those locations before making arrangements.

– Florida has over 1,197 statute miles of coastline.  A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF NORTHWEST FLORIDA is impacted by oil.

– Florida has over 663 miles of available beaches.

– The beaches that are impacted in NORTHWEST FLORIDA, primarily Escambia County, are over 700 miles from the Florida Keys.  There’s a lot of clean beach between Escambia County, Florida and the southern tip of Florida.

– The oil is a long way from the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current – possibly hundreds of miles.  IF the oil gets into the look current, then it will take at least 7 days to get to the SOUTHEAST FLORIDA coast (Palm Beach to Miami).  Then it will most likely arrive as tar balls.

– From Jacksonville to the Florida Keys have NOT BEEN TOUCHED by oil or tar from the BP disaster.  Most of the WEST COAST of FLORIDA has NOT BEEN TOUCHED by oil or tar form the BP disaster.

The Florida Tourism Councils and Visit Florida are encouraging residents and visitors to post and send pictures as visual evidence that the beaches are clean, clear, and ready for visitors, second home buyers, or retirement buyers!

Pure beaches here in Jupiter!

It’s a tragedy that the BP Oil gusher (hardly a “spill”) happened and is still going on. We should all support the coastal communities in NW Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to stop the oil and from hitting their beaches and reefs, and clean up the mess.

In the meantime, let your friends, families, and out-of-state associates know there is no collateral damage in most of the state of Florida.  Our economy depends on it.

Filed under: Advertising, Branding, Crisis Communication, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Social Media Marketing, , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

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Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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