Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

NEWS WEBSITE PAYWALLS: Business Model vs. Social Media?

I just ran into the ugly paywall at 2 newspapers when trying to do research for a story.

It used to be, in the day of the typewriter, you could go to the local or college library and pull all the clips, papers, periodicals, microfiche, etc. you needed to research a story – for free.

Now with the Internet and the new paywalls that news and content providers are putting up, you’ll have to pay for it. Seems kinda crazy, huh?

Paywalls will cause a lot of trouble for news aggregators; but, what about writers working on stories and social media users that want to share a story with their followers or friends (from Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc.)?

Doesn’t that cut down on traffic to a news site and therefore fresh eyeballs to advertisers?

Will every “share” have to be paid for if someone clicks on the link?

I get the business model problem for news producers.  Content is expensive to get and produce. They don’t want to give it away for free.

But I don’t get how a paywall fits in with what happens on social networking today where it’s a free-for-all of content sharing.

Sharing “out” from a news site is very understandable. The subscriber pays to be there and shares what he or she finds out with their networks.  It’s sharing “in” to a news site that causes a problem in my mind.  The followers and friends that click the link will then have to pay – typically  a monthly subscription?  Who would do that?

There are over 1,400 news outlets producing content in the U.S.  Twenty percent are expected to have paywalls by the end of this year.  Warren Buffett just bought dozens of papers and he believes in paywalls.

If you do a lot of sharing and exploring today, you probably won’t be doing it in the future.  Too expensive.   Imagine having to whip out your credit card every time you click a link from a friend.

Seems like there will be a clash between news producers and social media users.

More questions than answers…  What do you think?

Filed under: Content Marketing, Future Vision, Internet, Micro Blog (Twitter), Publishing, , , , , ,

Cisco Launches a New Brand Journalism Site

The Network” [newsroom.cisco.com] is Cisco’s new brand journalism site. Does it work?  Are they getting more traffic?

If the number of views are any indication, their “news” site is working.  Examples:

The article titled: “HP and Cisco Deliver Cisco Nexus Fabric Extenders for HP BladeSystem” has received 2,278 views so far. It was published on October 14, two days prior to me posting this item.  Over 2,000 views in 2 days about a subject that I define mere mortals to know what they are talking about from the title.

Another titled: “Incheon Nam-Gu Office Collaborates with Cisco to Realize ‘Smart Nam-Gu’ Vision” has received 847 views, again, the total within 2 days of publishing.

Their most popular article: “A Silicon Valley in the Heart of London?” has over 2,668 views. It was published October 11.

The brand journalism site includes video, links to product and blogs, and all the social media and RSS sites.  Cisco has clearly learned that being a publisher is a solid strategy for marketing and public relations.

Filed under: Brand Journalism, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Public & Media Relations, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Google+ Gets a B Plus from Brown Ltd.

We are starting off our review with the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard because the title is intriguing:  “What Google+ could do for news.”  It peaked our interest because if it can do it for “news” it will do it for “brand journalism” – one of our specialties.

We give Google+ a B+ because it’s a project, not a finished app.  Definitely not a killer app.  Not yet.  Remember MySpace, OS/2 (what you never heard of it? – my point exactly), etc?

Google+ will be a strong player in marketing and PR.  Much better than Google Buzz.  We’ll have to wait and see what develops and how innovative marketing and PR pros develop its use in the integrated marketing mix.  I have some initial Ning like ideas, especially with the Circles feature, but that will be a later post.

Take a look at these reviews, see it for yourself, and let me know what you think:

“TechCrunch had one of the first and best explanations of what Google+ is all about, and Wired’s Steven Levy wrote the most comprehensive account of the thinking at Google behind Plus: It’s the product of a fundamental philosophical shift from the web as information to the web as people.”
Mark Coddington
, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard: What Google+ could do for news
http://bit.ly/oV3j71

“Google, the world’s largest search company, is formally making its pitch to become a major force in social networking. The product it announced Tuesday is called Google+, and observers might wonder whether it’s simply one more social effort by a company that’s had a lousy track record in that field to date.”
Steven Levy
, Wired: Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/06/inside-google-plus-social/all/1

“Google+ is a bold and dramatic attempt at social. There’s a reason why Google calls this a “project” rather than a “product” — they don’t want people to think of this as the final product, but as a constantly-evolving entity that permeates every corner of the Google empire. Overall, Google+ is solid. But I’m not going to call it a Facebook killer or a game-changer.”
Ben Parr, Mashable:
http://mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus-review/

“This is the way Google always wanted social networking to work, and this time the company may have pulled it off.”
Jason Hiner, ZDNet: Is Google+ about to transform the Web?:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/is-google-about-to-transform-the-web/52004

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

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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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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