There are 1,000,000,000,000 + (one trillion plus) unique URL’s in Google’s search index.
Do you have one? If so, you’re lucky.
Each day there are approximately 2,000,000,000 (two billion) Google searches by people trying to find information, ideas and insights to help solve their problems.
Do you or your business have good answers to offer for some of these problems? Answers that can help create new sales, customers and a hopeful future in these challenging economic times?
If so, you’re lucky.
But how can you or your business stand out in a world with one trillion unique URLs and two billion daily Google searches? How can you or your business be discovered and break through in an exploding online world that includes 14 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute? With over one billion views per day? And all of these other weird and wacky Web 2.0 ways to communicate?
How Can You Break Through?
Think Like a Publisher
Fight daily on the battleground of content. Publish great ideas, information and insights via New Media applications. Publish content that is helpful, educational, unique, specific, credible and –
written in a storytelling way. Content that affects the way the reader (prospect, customer, employee, etc.) does their job―for the better.
The End of PR and Marketing
The latest-greatest buzz calls this concept “Content Marketing.”
“Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. In contrast to traditional marketing methods that aim to increase sales or awareness through interruption techniques, content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.” Wikipedia
It’s not really “content marketing.” It’s not PR. It’s not marketing. It’s survival―for you and your business. That, by necessity, means a successful collaborative communication effort between Customer Service, Sales, PR and Marketing to create and support new business. That’s what it’s all about; creating, supporting and growing new sales.
The good news is that there has never been a better time with more creative, cost-effective ways using New Media applications to do that. You don’t need a $100 million marketing and advertising budget. Real companies are doing it successfully – right now.
It requires successful collaborative communication efforts between disparate business groups. It requires breaking down the secretive silos in businesses that so often strangle breakout success. That smother fresh ideas and disdain approaches by “outsiders” of the business group – even though they’re in the same company. That seeds and sows a reclusive, restrictive, “us against them” mentality.
Collaborative means playing well with others. Successful collaboration means doing it so well that the customer is served, problems are solved and the business makes money. Siloed domain expertise egos need to back off, back up, back out or just get out of the way. Who isn’t tired of hearing “They (insert the favorite hate group of the day – Marketing, PR, Sales, Service, Product Managers, etc.) Just Don’t Get It!”
Times are tough. Hate to go all “Three Musketeers” on you but …
“Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno”
“One for all, all for one“
– should be every company’s motto right now.
Below are some of the New Media Web 2.0 (for lack of a better term) capabilities and applications available to support the sales and service I’m talking about. Examples of how real companies are using New Media to help grow their businesses are included. Try them out. Plant your flag in some or all of these new territories if they fit your business needs. But to succeed, know this: They need active, authentic, honest participation to help grow and create new business.
For an Experimental SlideRocket Tour of New Media
For a quick visual introduction to some of these New Media tools, view the SlideRocket presentation below, or come back to it later. It’s best viewed in full-screen mode with audio on.
Also, I have personally used or experimented with all of the New Media apps below―some with great results, others not so good. So, if you have any questions, just e-mail me and I’ll get back with you. I’m not an expert, but I am a prolific experimenter, which means I’ve made way more mistakes than the experts who are focused on one little niche. I’m a multitasking mistake-maker.
Companies use bookmarking sites like Delicious.com and StumbleUpon.com to create interesting and helpful resource and information libraries for customers―and to attract new prospects.
StumbleUpon is also a social bookmarking site. It allows you to vote, rank and recommend interesting websites. You’ll find some spectacular hidden treasures there if you care to take a peak. Though not the darling of the media like Twitter, StumbleUpon’s popularity is undeniable. They have over 7 million members.
The idea behind a YouTube (or other video-sharing site) channel is to create a video learning lab for products and solutions. Short video clips to help educate, entertain and inform customers and prospects.
Quick tip―one thing I learned. Save the video under names of which people are likely to search for. I named my first 25 videos something like DSC145735. Then I wondered why no one was viewing them―well, no one except the people that searched for DSC145735.
“Twitter is a free social messaging utility that allows users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.” – Wikipedia.
Twitter is a low-/no-cost way to engage customers and prospects with short, headline-like chunks of content. Twitter, to be most effective, needs a lot of participation, especially from product managers, customer service, sales, PR, marketing and others―real, authentic, helpful and non-salesy or promotional fluff.
Twitter is my favorite. It’s amazing to watch ideas and information explode and ripple through the Twitterverse. For a recent example read, “Tesla on Twitter – Twitter on Tesla.” Take heed though, it’s a challenge to write something meaningful, clear, concise and compelling in 140 characters or less. That’s 15-20 words. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
Are there companies using Twitter for business? Yes. Are there sales being generated via Twitter and sites like it? Yes. Dell attributed $1,000,000 in sales last year to its Twitter sites.
Though sort of old hat, blogs are simply the best and most powerful sources of dynamic content to help customers and … your business. Blogs are a way to showcase your thought leadership. To share your information, insights, ideas. See if they resonate. Test the waters. For business examples check out GE and IBM’ers blogs. They have thousands of them. That’s right, I said thousands.
If you want to do some in-depth research, check out Guy Kawasaki’s “All the Top Blogging News.” It’s a one-stop shop of information and resources on blogging.
WARNING! Blogs Can Be Big Trouble
Blogs can be troublesome though. Big trouble. Especially if some employee or blogger goes wacky-wild-west off-the-deep-end on an upside-down triple-gainer-rant of a blog post. Below is my favorite example of an out-of-control blogger. He ought to be fired because …
He simply has too much fun. No one should be able to do cartoon-torials, yuck it up, muck it up, enjoy blogging and keep a job. I mean all seriousness aside … what’s the deal?
Widgets are embeddable pieces of codethat can be installed and displayed on a website. They’re reusable. It’s a great way to let others promote your website or content, and they will, if … you provide them useful widgets.
Try it out yourself. Create a widget. I use Widgetbox, but Wowzio is excellent too. Watch out though – they’re addicting.
What’s a blidget? A Blog widget. Pretty simple. It captures a blog in colorful, adjustable frames and displays multiple blog post headlines.
The blog post titles are live. Each blog headline is an opportunity to attract people to your blog. Each time a headline is clicked it takes the reader right to your blog. Test it for yourself. I’m a big fan of blidgets. The one above has received 20,510 views in three weeks. (That was a shameless self-promotion. I have to out myself on that one.)
Yes, you guessed it. You can even make a widget out of a Twitter feed.
FriendFeed is a social media content aggregator. What’s that mean? Basically all content, images, video, and audio files published by contributors on any of the 49 social media sites it accesses is aggregated into a live feed. Like a Wall Street Stock Ticker–without the associated pain. It is an exceptional place to discover new content from multiple sources and formats. Robert Scoble is big on FriendFeed Vs. Twitter for many reasons. I’d agree with him.
How Companies Can Use Friendfeed – by Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang. As an aside – Jeremiah, in my opinion is absolutely one of the best, if not THE best, social and New Media analyst around. Class act. If you want to keep up with everything that’s going on in the social computing interactive marketing world, check out his blog or Twitter account – http://twitter.com/jowyang
Facebook and other similar social networking sites such as MySpace are powerful opportunities for businesses – if, once again, approached with a helpful attitude. Why? It’s where a lot of the world online population is now. Facebook has more than 150,000,000 (million) active users and is growing at the rate of approximately 450,000 new users per day.
Those kinds of statistics tend to blow the mind. But there are reasons people are flocking there. I like it because it’s pure opt-in. No one can stalk or spam you. A lot of people have found me on Facebook that I hadn’t heard of for years. Of the two, Facebook and MySpace, I’ll give you the best explanation of demographics that I heard from a soon-to-be 16-year-old girl and her brothers in college: “MySpace is for music, Facebook is for friends and business.” That’s concise, clear and short enough to use as a Tweet.
Linkedin is an online network consisting of more than 30 million professionals globally representing 150 industries (from their website.) It’s a way to find and be found―for jobs, old friends and groups. It’s also a way to investigate a company or potential job. I use it, but am not a “power user.”
Plaxo is also a similar online network of people. They have more than 40 million hosted address books.
ADDITIONAL WEB 2.0 SALES SUPPORT TOOLS:
Featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine, January 2009, Animoto is a video creation platform. I wrote a story with “The Boys of Animoto” in October of 2007 – and have been using their product every since. If you are doing a presentation of any kind that needs spruced up, or might benefit by the use of a “movie-like trailer” to help banish the boring – you need to ANIMOTORIZE.
SlideRocket is a Web 2.0 application, built on Adobe Flex that allows you to create, manage, measure and share secure, online presentations. You can import PowerPoint presentations from offline to online. And, you can export presentations from online to offline. Key? You can create, edit and access your presentations from anywhere in the world. No need to email or carry round a flash drive. SlideRocket has some visually stunning effects.
Check them out in full-screen mode. Simply click the screen to advance slides.
Use the new media applications and capabilities to share great ideas, helpful information and insights to connect with and help your customers. Jump in. Test them. Experiment. Find which new media capabilities might be right for you and your business.
They work … but only if you think anew, act anew, and disregard the stultifying and stiflingly destructive “Us Against Them” siloed business mentality.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.”
“For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon
A Memory Bouquet 2008
At the end of each year, major media outlets run feature stories listing notables and celebrities that have passed away during the year; stories that recount highlights of the person’s life.
Through the Dark Recesses
Sometimes memories connect through space and time linked to your own remembrances of the person. Memories of what you were doing at a certain time in your life, at a certain place.
Special memories randomly emerge from the dark recesses of time. You feel heaviness, a sense of loss, not only for the “notable person” or “celebrity” that you probably never met, but also for yourself. For the loss of time.
Well, here’s my feature story.
It’s a little bit longer than the major media outlets would publish. Names of people like Troy, Coleman, Ben, Joshua, John, Christopher, Thomas, Stephen, Solomon, Miguel, Christian, Aaron, Armondo, Adam, Stacy, Daniel, Randy, Tavarus, David, Michael, Janelle, Jordan, Jorge, Michael, Brian, Jorge, Andre, Mark, Joshua.
The Loved and Lost
… and on … and on … and horribly on.
Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, cousins, nephews, nieces, all.
Not by Accident
They passed on not by accident, not by bodily deterioration brought on by the mean ravages of time, but because they had a special job.
A job that ended a too-brief sojourn on this blue-green magical wonder called earth.
A job they chose.
So Costly a Sacrifice
They were American soldiers.
A step ahead.
A step behind.
A look left, instead of right.
Right, instead of left.
Up instead of down.
Down instead of up.
A blink of the eye at the wrong time.
And … it was over.
What is Life?
“It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
– Crowfoot, Native American Blackfoot warrior and orator
The fleeting flash of a firefly in the night … gone.
Their Undiminishable Light …
… echoes eternally throughout the music of the spheres like heavenly bagpipes playing Amazing Grace … across the unfathomable unknowable on their way toThe Last Post.
Who Were These Fireflies in the Night?
Who were these shadows that ran across the grass riding a Sonata of Moonlighton an Ode to Joy – to living, giving and life?
Who Were These Fireflies in the Night?
Who were these shadows that ran across the grass into the arms of an …
The best presentations are always great stories. Stories that invoke clashing images that open your mind. But, the “State of the Business Presentation” today is pretty lame. Boring. Bullet-pointed PowerPoint ad nauseum. How to get adventurous when giving presentations? How to help banish the “boring” from business presentations? To use images and imagery to bolster your story?
Animoto is a web application that allows you to automatically generate professionally produced videos using pictures, music and text. Think movie trailer.
The creative ways to use Animoto are limited only by your mind. Below are examples of some different ways you can use Animoto to communicate with your customers, prospects, friends, or anyone else. Animoto videos can be downloaded, embedded in websites, blogs, emailed, burned to DVD’s, and on and on and on.
First – An Inconvenient Genius
This is an intro video to the story “An Inconvenient Genius,” a collage of photos from the life of Nikola Tesla.
Animoto videos upload easily to other video-sharing sites. But what does it look like? Clear or crappy? You decide. Below is the same file uploaded to Veoh.com. I prefer Veoh over YouTube because of the clarity, quality and size of the display.
Animoto ports over professionally with clarity and no degradation of image quality.
“About the Author”
This is an Animoto video from a story I did with Steven Pressfield, the bestselling author of “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, “Tides of War”, “The War of Art”, and many others. Most “about” sections are pretty lame and boring. Whether they’re “about the author” or “about the company.” This one is different. But then again … Steven Pressfield is different. He had plenty of images for me to use.
“Life … Pass It On.”
This was for a charity to help register people for organ donations. It’s particularly poignant. The young man featured in the video, Brandon, was a child of a woman I work with, Vickie Jackson. It was hard to do. Hard to look at now even.
One interesting note on this video. Brandon’s grandmother wanted to see this video but didn’t have a computer. You can create DVD file formats on Animoto. Did that and burned a DVD of this video for his grandmother. The quality and clarity was impeccably professional.
Artists – Photographers?
This is an Animotorized version of the Hal Sherman Blue Jacket collection. Hal’s a friend of mine and was game to experiment with Animoto ( that means he has guts to try new things). Interesting backstory about Hal. He was a banker, but his passion was always painting. So he quit banking. Started painting. Now his artwork can be seen in museums around the United States – including the Smithsonian. This is Animoto video of his artwork, includes paintings of Blue Jacket, Simon Kenton, Daniel Boone, Cornstalk, Moluntha, Simon Girty, William Henry Harrison, Half King, William Crawford, Captain John Perry and others. I screen-capped the images from museums on-line and a few he sent me.
Networking, Collaborative Groups, Associations
Belong to a group, association, or just have a bunch of friends you’d like to memorialize on video? Easy to do with Animoto. Skip Press, a prolific author and well-known screenwriting coach, has an online writing forum with a lot of passionate and dedicated members. We took mixed their photos with Animoto and threw in a few cartoons. It’s a good way to let people know who you are, what you do, and if you have a sense of humor. Cheesy cartoons are courtesy of … hold your breath – me.
Speaking of Cartoons
This is an Animoto video of cartoons taken from my “Shoot the Donkey” column.
How About Sales Presentations?
What better way then to start a sales presentation – or presentation of any kind for that matter – with some bling and punch? A rocking video clip? The Animoto clip below is a satirical look at the current state of the “Sales Presentation”… from the victim’s view. The victim is that unfortunate person that has to watch the standard PowerPoint Gluteus Maximux Vomitus Eruptus because it’s their job. And yes, I know there are spelling mistakes in some of the slides and cartoons. I wanted it to be realistic.
This last one is a collage of clashing images and concepts used for an article titled, “End with a Question … Questions with an End.”
So, there you go – Animoto.
The creative possibilities are limited … only by your mind.