Posts filed under Education

Stop Blogging: Best Practices and Witchcraft for Compelling Articles (Part 1)

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First — if you're creating a growing business, stop calling your ongoing collection of articles a "BLOG" unless you want to create a small, personal approach. Think of the term “blog” as an analogy to "country kitchen" vs. “articles" being an analogy to "branded business." For this reason, I can't recall the last time I advised a client to use  “blog.”

When you create inbound marketing for a client, you are crafting perception for the buyer to feel and experience. Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi – "these aren't the droids you're looking for," then you do the hoodoo voodoo and go, "those are the droids you're looking for over there! And they're two for one on Black Friday!"

It's like witchcraft, without all the demons and angels fighting.

What makes for a great online article?

A sexy-ass, non-phishing title:

  • Create a sense of what the article will contain

  • Cater to the given demographic, location, or desires of the audience

  • Create a sense of importance

  • Give a sense of relevance, or timelessness

  • Establish the problem the article will solve

  • Start by creating a cool story

Keys within that title:

  • Keep it short and sweet

  • Don't make false statements or "phishing" claims

  • Create a sense of activity with action-oriented verbs

  • DON'T USE ALL CAPS!

The New Bias In Media Placement

These days your advertising works harder and harder at messaging an even mildly willing consumer. There are so many factors at work with the American consumer:

  • They don't believe anything you pitch
  • They don't want to be sold
  • Their loyalty lasts as long as the battery life
  • They desire credibility over longevity
  • They judge you by the company you keep

The last of these points is critical. "Media Bias" in journalism is defined as: "... the bias or perceived bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term "media bias" implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed."

The reason that this is important? Well, channels, networks and even advertisers within those syndicates are now perceived (if even mildly) to align themselves with their positions.

Think "FOX NEWS" ... for many the first thing that comes to mind is FOX News, the GOP and by extension their conservative political positions. And yet the FOX owns FS1 which draws popularity from extreme sports and shock-jock personalities.

Think "The Weather Channel" ... for many they think a channel that you click over to, to see if you're about to be killed by a tornado or find out if will rain on your trip to Cancun. That said it's also a consortium made up of The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal and produces an array of original content and positioning types.

Think "Lifetime" ... for many husbands you think "oh no, another movie about a crappy fiancé that meets the perfect match who moves in on the same street!" But did you also know that this channel now owns the rights to the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)? Therefore, if you're a marketing professional the same channel you may have thought of as a square peg in a round hole might be the perfect match given the alignment.

This is all part of your media mix and for those of you who manage this placement you realize matching the correct show(s) and timing to best match the interests of your consumer demographic and buying propensities. What you MIGHT NOT be taking into consideration is the perceived bias, media and or otherwise, that might hang around the neck of that channel. More and more people are simply cutting cable altogether. That mentality makes those that DO still have it even more discerning about the content that they watch. Therefore, if you're trying to sync up with that perfect fit for your consumer, ask yourself "would they skip this channel altogether based on the collective PERCIEVED bias of content?"

Many reading this will fight me that buying during Wheel of Fortune will close in on a boomer demo or ESPN on males from blah-to-blah age. I'm not saying that's horseshit. I'm saying that with an on-demand world, there's no reason to settle. Therefore, if you feel that your product or service might not be in lockstep with the PERCEPTION of a channel, perceptions such as:

  • Political positioning
  • Content ratings
  • Predominance of content/show style
  • Female vs. Male domination of content
  • Language propensity (Spanish, English and or European)
  • Race, Religion or Theology

Take all of these into consideration before making a hefty investment into a media segment. 

RECOMMENDATION:

Buy online within the network and channel. Seed your brand, product or messaging and see if you begin to move the needle. This way your media spend is exponentially fractionalized and provides a solid test bed for a television purchase. The last point, if you're using a media buyer/placement firm, insist that they take you through the schedule and connect the dots to your end consumer. If they can't, you need to cut the cord or make them go back to the drawing board.

Journalism Marketing (Part 2.): Church and State

I've crafted a career on persuasive messaging to tap into want, desire, fear, love, or any other points of note that hold importance to you. However, there have been very few instances that I've done it for companies that have puritanically lied, and in all cases, I don't think I knew it with any certainty.

I think the time is now; we need to separate journalism/content creation from marketing/native advertising. We need to construct the following:

  • Fact-check content through online browsers, tools, email and all mobile devices as part of the operating systems (a user can choose to manually turn off this feature).
  • All content must meet certain criteria for marketing articles, as well, articles that might not be considered as marketing.
  • All monitoring algorithms must be progressively optimized by both the content creator as well as the readership's ability to flag content for review from both the creator and an independent party must be progressively optimized by both the content creator as well as the readership's ability to flag content for review from both the creator and an independent party.
  • Content creators, bloggers, videographers, photographers and others must all meet various criteria in an effort to seek compensation from viewership or advertorial partners.
  • Ongoing tools, metrics, and transparencies of ALL content (streaming, hosted, archived or otherwise) that is deemed "public" will be required to index it in a fashion to inform users as to the nature of the content.
  • Lastly, the onus needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the social channels themselves. As we're ONLY NOW seeing with Facebook in a step towards minimizing this trend with the ability to "flag" content as false or misleading. Is it enough, probably not yet, but that remains to be seen.

A tall order? Yes. But so was the idea of the Internet 20 years ago.

Using DLSR Mics With iPhone Video

So there's seem VERY little data out there that tells you the "mystery of the cables." So I thought now is as good at time to let the cat out of the bag. For a while know I've been sent all kinds of cables and mics that I was told by the supplier would work for shooting mobile journalism (MoJo) style content. Well it would seem that very few shops [really] get it. Then I had a great educational overview with the folks at BeastGrip.com!

The cable included in the microphone package for DSLR cameras is a Tip Ring Sleeve (TRS) input. Mobile phones uses a (TRRS) input. TRRS stands for “Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve,” which reflects the fact that, unlike a standard stereo connector, this actually has three conductors and a ground.

So now at this point, I'm interested in getting some good audio to my iPhone — so let's shop, shall we? To put a bow on it, it looks like this:

Microphone » TRRS cable (in this case the RODE SC7) out of that mic » into the the highly recommended RODE SC6 breakout box » iphone – This configuration will give you the coveted ability to listen to your audio with headphones while shooting your video. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the need to do this.

If you're into MoJo or Film making on a budget get a Beastgrip and build a monster.