Estimated reading time: 21 minute(s)
There are 1,000,000,000,000 + (one trillion plus) unique URL’s in Google’s search index.
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?
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.
- Adobe: http://delicious.com/adobe
- PR Newswire http://delicious.com/michaelpranikoff
- Kodak: http://delicious.com/kodak.delicious
- Me: http://delicious.com/stevekayser
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.
- Entrepreneurialism: http://entrepreneurialism.group.stumbleupon.com/
Additional reading: “How to Use StumbleUpon for Your Business,” by Tamar Weinberg.
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.
- Siemens: http://www.youtube.com/siemens
- Blendtec: http://www.youtube.com/blendtec
- Google: http://www.youtube.com/google
- Cincom: Http://www.youtube.com/Cincomvideo (the company I work for)
- Cincom Smalltalk - an application development programming language. The product manager uses it for “how-to” videos. http://www.youtube.com/user/jarober
- Emc: http://www.youtube.com/user/PointBB
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.youtube.com/user/mayoclinic
- Jet Blue: http://www.youtube.com/user/JetBlueCorpComm
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.
- Dell: @Dell – http://www.dell.com/twitter
- AllTop: Guy Kawasaki, CEO: @GuyKawasaki – Http://www//twitter.com/guykawasaki
- Cincom: Louis Columbus, Analyst: @LouisColumbus Http://www.twitter.com/louiscolumbus
- IBM: Events and news – http://twitter.com/ibmevents
- Dave Stein, CEO ES Research: @davestei – http://twitter.com/davestei
- Zappos Employees: Aggregated feed of 438 Zappos employees who tweet: http://twitter.zappos.com/employee_tweets
- Wall Street Journal Health Blog: Scott Hensley – http://twitter.com/WSJHealthBlog
- David Henderson: Author of “The Media Savvy Leader”: @davidhenderson - http://www.twitter.com/davidhenderson
- David Meerman Scott: Author of the World Wide Rave: @dmscott – Http://twitter.com/dmscott
- New York Times: @Nytimes – http://twitter.com/nytimes
- Wall Street Journal: @WSJ – http://twitter.com/WSJ
- Steve Kayser: @stevekayser – http://twitter.com/stevekayser
- USA Today: @ondeadline – http://twitter.com/ondeadline
Then There’s This Guy … A REAL SCENE-STEALER
- Barack Obama: CEO & Prez, United States: @barackobama – http://twitter.com/barackobama
For additional information on Twitter for business, check out:
- “How Companies Use Twitter” - BusinessWeek
- “The Twitter Takeaway … How NOT to Twitter,” by former CBS Emmy-Award winning journalist and author David Henderson.
Companies and institutions are using photo-sharing sites like Flickr to inform, educate and build customer communities.
- Nikon Digital learning Center: http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikondigitallearningcenter/
- Jeep: http://flickr.com/groups/jeep/
- GM: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmblogs/
- Cincom – 40 Years of Photos in the Software Industry : http://www.flickr.com/photos/cincompr/sets/72157607472374292/
- Smithsonian: http://flickr.com/photos/smithsonian
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 code that 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.
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.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT AGGREGATION
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.”
Additional reading: “100+ Smart Ways to Use Linkedin.”
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.
The End of PR and Marketing
It’s not PR.
It’s not marketing.
It’s not the end of PR and marketing.
It’s the evolution of business communications.
It’s a revolution in business communications.
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.
“Brink: A Social Media Gude From the Edge,” by Todd Defren, SHIFT Communications.
“Lose Control of Your Marketing,” E-Book by David Meerman Scott.
“Media Savvy in the Internet Era,” E-Book by David Henderson.
“Getting a Foothold in Social Media,” E-Book by Amber Naslund.
“Marketing in 2009,” E-Book by Valeria Maltoni.
“Who Do I Follow on Twitter … and Why?”by Steve Kayser.
Bungie Jump photo courtesy of Pmarzai1985Google+