Archives for category: Online Marketing

My blog  just turned 40.

Like most that experience age 40, my blog is questioning itself in a weird mesh of reflection and bewilderment.

“How has there already been 40 posts?”

“Ugh, those paragraphs aren’t as tight as they used to be.” 

“Have I, after 40 posts, been successful?”

The interesting thing is that I feel a forty-year old would come to terms with the above comments much like I am coming to terms with this blog. A lot has happened over the time period of those 40 posts. The writing may not be as ambitious or written with the same intellectual vigor, but it has developed a tone; it now has structure. And yes it has been successful. It may not have won any awards, but it has carried a message, and has been received well by people.

So… am I supposed to buy a Corvette now or something?

Well, my blog is 40, not me, so I think the Corvette will have to wait. But in the meantime I do have some ideas for what I am going to do:

       1.     I am going to write to an audience, an audience that will listen.

When I started this blog it was intended to demonstrate that I was familiar to blogging, and meant to be a device to help me develop my writing skills. But I got tired of writing to some mythical job recruiter, and I decided to focus on writing to people who can identify with me. I will continue to offer this blog as a tool to recent graduates, employment seekers, and emerging communications professionals.

       2.     I am going to tell a story.

As I look back on some of my past writing, I realize that my best posts reveal something to the reader, and give them something that they can feel. A persuasive argument has no emotion, but an inspiring story can be quite persuasive and can hit people in the gut, where it really counts.

       3.     I am going to continue to strive for excellence.

While I feel I have made great strides in my writing, I want more. I want to engage a readership. I want to see a conversation take place via comments sparked by a thought-provoking post. I want people to tweet about my posts; to ignite conversations of their own. I want my pursuit of betterment to make other people better.

I do realize that those are some pretty lofty goals. But how else do you achieve greatness other than by setting the bar high?

I am fortunate though, to know what I need to do to achieve those goals: Listen. I will listen to criticism, I will listen to advice, and I will listen to my audience to make my online presence, worth something to others.

There is one more thing that I will try do start doing more frequently; leave with a call-to-action. So I say this to you: write. Write with everything you got. Put your head down on a piece of paper; punch out your thoughts on a keyboard. And if you are already doing that, great. Show me what you got. Share your writing with me, as I share with you. So that by the time you and I turn 40, our achievements will allow us to afford that Corvette.

I have heard many businesses describe their online communications as an opportunity to have “authentic communication” with their clients. While I understand that they are discussing unmediated and live communication, I still question using the term “authentic.”

The reason this bugs me is because authenticity is a word that seems misconstrued in the world of marketing. I do not really like breaking terms down to their dictionary definition, but Websters explains authenticity in one way that I believe correlates with this post:

Authenticity: 5 : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

I believe this is the term most marketers would like to attach to their branding efforts and communication. However the one nugget of business that throws this off is the fact that businesses are there to make money. This means that for them to be true to their own personality, they have to be explicit in communicating that they want to make a dime.

I understand that this argument isn’t full proof, and that many business desire the relationship more than the profit. However I believe that it is very challenging for companies like McDonald’s to ever position themselves as an authentic food service because of their sub-par health concerns.

I hope that companies do search for authenticity but believe that the bottom line will ultimately hamper this pursuit for many businesses.

It seems that a lot of people perceive marketers and advertisers as money-grubbing evil-doers. They see them as an exploitation upon the capitalist system.

So my question is: Why aren’t more marketers and advertisers using this perception to their advantage?

Why the hell aren’t more marketers and advertisers using their perceived bad reputation to their advantage?

I pose this question because I believe that this marketing tactic could make Diaspora, a new Social Networking Platform, explode into something that could revolutionize the internet.

Diaspora is still under development so I figure I would give them a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t be afraid to piss Facebook fans off
  2. I cannot remember the last time an ad upset me because of its explicit content. For that matter, I cannot remember a time when my Grandmother was appalled by an ad. Isn’t that a problem? How are we stirring things up? Here is an opportunity for Diaspora.

  3. Revolt
  4. Facebook is everything new media marketers love. So that means that Diaspora has the opportunity to brand themselves as everything marketers would hate.

I know a lot of people would not appreciate this but I think that is the key advantage that could make a new social platform successful. And not only successful, but the best.

Facebook took from MySpace and MySpace took from AOL so Diaspora has a great opportunity

Even if Diaspora falls flat on their face, I still like theie idea. Because they have the chance to frame themselves as David where Facebook is already a well know Goliath. One must remember that Facebook took from MySpace and even MySpace took from AOL. So perhaps it is Diaspora’s turn to take.

I want to leave with a related question, who is going to take from Apple? Who is going to make Google the Goliath?

I just read a defense of Facebook by Mashable’s Co-editor Ben Parr. He makes a valid argument about social media privacy:

Privacy is dead, and social media is holding the smoking gun

But this is not why people are really in uproar about Facebook’s Open Graph; people are upset because the implied uses of this new version of Facebook.

It’s not the what about what Facebook is doing, its why.

Every day popular culture is being infiltrated by marketing and advertising. Consumerism is entrenched into our culture these days. Just look at the ads for Iron Man 2. The opening of Facebook to other sites promotes a materialistic takeover of American ideology. A threat that consumers perceive they have no control over.

People fear the open graph will take over Facebook by overproducing “suggestions” for consumer crap that we don’t need. And thus creating a user experience that lacks control on behalf of the user; perceived control at least.

New media is about two-way communication made possible; not one-way marketing made uncontrollable

People do not fear the wrong person is going to see that they drink Keystone Light at a college party, it is the fear that Keystone Light will see them drinking and then shove 800 ads for beer onto their facebook page.

This fear may be irrational but new media marketing is real and products are already being placed on every Facebook page. In reality, the fears have already come to life; Facebook is no longer “a place for friends.” Instead it has becomes “a place for marketers” and that is the stigma that could be Facebook’s undoing.

Happo (Help a PR Pro Out Day) is a fun idea for me. I have seven more days till I am done with school and looking forward to the future. I have some job prospects in Washington D.C. and plan on moving there later this summer.

However prospects do not necessarily mean employment so I believe it is wise for me to participate in the #happo frenzy. In that light, here are some quick notes about me and where I see myself going:

  •  I am graduating from the University of Texas with a major in communication studies and a concentration in corporate communication.
  •  My strengths are in online communications; I have experience with website management , e-mail marketing, member/client management tools, communication plan development, and fostering social media conversations.
  • I have spent the last year interning for communication and pr departments of nonprofit organizations in Austin, Texas.
  • I am indeed in student debt but look to be debt free by the age of 28; thus my five-year plan heavily focuses on employment and gaining experience (however I reserve the right to re-assess my situation in two years to possibly consider grad-school).
  • I am active on Twitter and LinkedIn, I have my own blog and I know Google Analytics, and yes; I use it.
  • I am definitely willing to travel, do admin work, work long hours, and whatever else is brought upon me (No, I do not expect the corner office like some Millennials do).
  • Job seeking is fun to me; I find the experience valuable to me as I grow. If you don’t have a job opening I still would love to have an interview with you; even just a chat could be very enlightening.
  • In an entry-level job I look for two key things:
  1. The ability to question (tasks, methods, protocols, ideas, styles, rationale, etc.)
  2. The opportunity to work collaboratively (I want to work in the same room as you and others so that I can build and learn from your brains and be able to piggyback off of your great ideas).
  • My dream job:
    I walk into the office where I have a meeting discussing the company’s social media, websites, blog. I am in charge of monitoring the conversation in the company’s online presence. I utilize metrics and tracking to monitor that conversation, I communicate with key stakeholders and keep up with the trends going on with other professionals in the field. I network to broaden my horizon and knowledge, and have the flexibility to try some of the things my colleagues are discovering.

Thanks for listening and thanks for #happo. Cheers to all you employers and good luck to all you graduates.

Check out my resume if you get the chance!

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