Tag Archives: Advertising

A Client On American Idol?

A client on American Idol? After spending my career in mostly business to business public relations, marketing communications and more recently content marketing for the chemical manufacturing industry, I now have a client who is a very talented singer and songwriter. But that is not the point of the story. The point is to introduce an  extremely bright, talented young person who at the age of 16 was organizing national publicity for a new song. Not a cover of a song by someone else but an original tune. A new song she had not just performed but had helped write. Her name is Mary Desmond. You can read more about her in the release below. The surprise (and frankly source of pride) for me was how I came to know her and what I learned from her.

Mary Desmond with her “golden ticket” to Hollywood Week as part of the farewell season of American Idol.
Mary Desmond with her “golden ticket” to Hollywood Week as part of the farewell season of American Idol.

Last summer I had just started getting serious about consulting on a full-time basis and it was slow going. Anyone who transitions from employee to entrepreneur will tell you that this is not an easy change. To get the ball rolling, I had done several things to introduce the business including press announcements and even some advertising on Google. One afternoon my phone rang. A nice young lady on the other end asked if did press releases? Yes, I do! She described a new song she had co-written with another songwriter and that they were looking for publicity. The release was for their song ‘Lily’ which has a touching story behind it, but we’ll save that for another time.

I wrote the release, put together a media list and went to work. The news was reasonably well received by the entertainment media, and her You Tube hits on the song jumped from a few hundred to over 10,000 in just a couple of days. Noteworthy results  for an original song by accomplished artists, though neither was a household name.

A few days later I spoke to Mary again about her schedule and the possibilities for her to make time for some interviews. She replied, “I have school during that time.” School, of course. I wondered aloud where she went to school, thinking it was probably UCLA, USC or Cal Berkely. “I go to Mission Viejo High in Orange County,” Mary said.

During this time, Mary had paid her bill on time and was easy to work with and understood the value of publicity. That she was a wise beyond her years as a 16-year-old was what was interesting. I do not know what anyone else was doing when they were 16, but organizing public relations campaigns for my career was not on my list. So what can the rest of us learn from this story? The value of focus and determination.

Mary has a single vision and goals for her career. She works hard on achieving those goals every day. While she experiences occasional rejection, she shakes it off and keeps going. Of course, she is talented and has a great family and those things count. But what counts more, in my opinion at least, is just the sheer grit, sticktoitiveness and optimism a girl in southern California has for her future. That is remarkable.

Since then we have had the chance to work on several things together, including work to help benefit the California March of Dimes. Along the way her father asked me to help promote the non-profit “High Hopes Head Injury Program” where he and Mary’s mother both work. They too achieve great results and inspire me as well.

Regardless of how things turn out for Mary on American Idol, my opinion is that young Miss Desmond will be extremely successful. I appreciate the example she sets and hope others will as well. And yes,  a guy who spent most of his adult life doing public relations work for a really big chemical company, now has a client on American Idol. Isn’t that cool!

How To Compete With Pizza Hut, Papa Johns and the Other Big Chains

Occasionally I like to share a “recipe” for how to promote a certain type of business. Since I really love pizza and like to help locally owned businesses I decided to write about a way to compete with nationally owned pizza chains.

The challenge for a small business owner competing with the big, national chains is that they (the chains) have a tremendous advantage in terms of resources. And by resources I mean money. It will be difficult to do more advertising or compete with Papa John’s in terms of name recognition because they advertise all the time and have been for some time. Papa John’s can negotiate advertising deals with the nationally owned TV, radio and newspaper outlets that will result in more frequent ads in front of prospective customers. Along with that of course are sponsorships and other affiliations for the company they have because of money. It will be just about impossible to compete with Pizza Hut or Dominoes on price because they can purchase ingredients in larger quantities, negotiate contracts on a national level and beat the best price any independent can offer. So what do you do?

Pizza is more about spending time with family and friends and not delivery time or ingredients.
Pizza is more about spending time with family and friends and not delivery time or ingredients.

For the independent pizza restaurant owner to compete he/she will have to find another way to be competitive. My recommendation is that you try to connect with customers and prospective customers emotionally. Why? Because people do not typically make decisions about what to buy or eat based on rational decision-making. Instead, they make emotional decisions, and thank goodness for that! Were it not for the power of emotion in purchasing pizza or anything else, the world would be a giant, vanilla/beige/one size fits all place to exist. The power to connect emotionally is the secret weapon of the successful small business owner. Guilt counts as an emotion. Ego does too. No one would choose to buy a Lexus automobile based on any kind of rational decision-making. And rationalizing is not the same thing, but I digress.

So here is the copy for the pizza restaurant:

‘Pizza is not about fast delivery or ingredients. It’s not trends in food, desserts or soda. Pizza is about quality time spent with family and friends. Whether at home on a Friday night, after the game, or because the dinner that was planned burned, pizza from (YOUR NAME HERE) will make any time better for everyone.” You could use this in an e-mail promotion, newspaper ad, or traditional piece of direct mail. So go now and sell pizza!

 

Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

The Differences Between Public Relations and Advertising

The tradeoffs for advertising and public relations are many and tilt toward p.r. But if you can afford to advertise, then do so.
The tradeoffs for advertising and public relations are many and tilt toward p.r. But if you can afford to advertise, then do so.

For business owners who are just starting out, knowing the difference between advertising and public relations is important. Advertising is paid for, public relations is earned.

When you are able to convince a reporter to write a story about your company, cause or candidacy it is positive public relations. It is written or broadcast as a news story or feature. Those who see it will know that it is not a paid advertisement. Stories that appear in the media as editorial or news items like this are granted more credibility and are better remembered than ads because they were written and validated by a 3rd party who has no financial stake in the company or cause covered.

Depending on who you ask, articles that are presented as news are 5 – 100 times more valuable than an ad with the same information. In fact, a recent study from by Nielsen commissioned by inPowered on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process concluded that PR is almost “90% more effective than advertising”. According to the study, “on average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content…” but I think that’s low.  Your ad is unlikely to attract positive attention like invitations to speak at conferences. With advertising, you tell people how great you are.  With publicity, others tell how great you are.  The later is more effective and persuasive.

Advertising Is Beneficial

An advertisement is purchased and people who see, read, or hear them know that advertiser paid for the time/space allowed. Paid media is a great way to promote a business and though my background is in public relations, I often use and recommend advertising. But realize that everyone who experiences your ad will acknowledge that you paid for it, compared to the public relations placement that was earned. With advertising you can pay for the right to tell your story the way you want it told. And you can tell it as often as you want to or can afford. It’s not for nothing that you sing the Armor Hot Dog song, or started doing a Mathew Mcconaughey impersonation of him while driving a Lincoln (mine is spot-on, but I have the advantage of being from Texas, ‘time is a flat circle…”).

Advertising also allows control, where public relations cedes control to the reporter or editor who publishes/broadcasts the story. When I was working for a large chemical manufacturing company whose name rhymes with “cow”, those interviewed by the trade press would ask or in some cases demand that their words be reported exactly as they were uttered. I recommended they buy an ad if they wanted that level of control. For the demanders I found someone else to do the interview when the next opportunity came to us. And for those who have trouble relinquishing control, pursue advertising. When you rely on a reporter to tell your story you are at their mercy. But the trade off of control for other benefits is such that it is a really good bargain. Here is why.

Endorsements

Next to word of mouth endorsements by your friends and neighbors, articles and news stories have a lot more sway than an ad. The fact that a public relations person wrote most of the article, sent the photo, told the interviewee what to say and what not to say are facts below the radar. The public is not aware of any of those details. All they see is an editorial about how good the product, service, candidate or cause is. They never see anything or have knowledge about how the story got there, unless they are reading this. Another difference is the cost.

Expensive vs. Not Expensive

Public relations is far less expensive than advertising. When you see the reports of how expensive a minute of advertising is on the Super Bowl, that is only part of the story. The costs to employ writers, editors, actors, stunt people, costumes, make up, lights, sound, video cameras, editing, etc. are all contributors to the to the costs of advertising. Public relations will employ a client representative who more often than not does all the writing him/herself. Sometimes there is a photographer or videographer and that’s pretty much it. In the case of value for the dollar, public relations deliver far more than the cost.

 

Comparison of ads vs. p.r.

 

Ads                                                                  P.R.

Paid for                                                           Earned

Control of content and frequency                  No control or guarantee of coverage

Less credible                                                   Very credible

Expensive                                                        Not free, but not that costly

Good for exposure                                          Good for memorability

Shameless sales appeal                                   Conveys importance

 

Here is my final word on this for now; if you can afford to advertise you should. But if you are advertising do not neglect the public relations possibilities for your enterprise as they are many. Do both. If you can only afford one or the other choose public relations. It will deliver far greater value and better outcomes for you.

Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts

Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.
Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts. Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.

Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts. At some point whether blogging, podcasting, or posting videos on You Tube you will want to get paid. Sure there are people who will do these things simply for the love of it and we love them for being so generous. But most folks can ill-afford to make a commitment like this. The rest of us need to get paid.

Will you start your blog or podcast and have people lined up to sponsor you? No. If you work diligently for 6 months to a year, posting new, original material 5 days a week do you have a chance? Yes. Or maybe.

Advertisers want the same thing you do, page views or downloads from people who are involved with you. You could have guessed that, but what else? What about conversations about you on your social media pages? Could a sponsor benefit from being a topic of a post on your Face Book page? Assuming that the comments were positive, sure. But in any event, you have to bring the numbers.

Whether Twitter followers or downloads, advertisers want entrée to your audience. If your audience numbers in the dozens it is unlikely to attract a sponsor. So spend your time building an audience. The best way to do that is to be consistent with original content that is new or at least a new twist on something.

Traffic And How Much Is Enough?

So how do you know that you have “enough” of an audience to merit ads? Go to one of several ranking systems. The best ones are Google Page Rank (http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/a/pagerankexplain.htm) and Alexa (http://www.alexa.com).

Of course, raw numbers do not always tell the whole story. If you work in a niche that is very specialized you are not going to have millions of followers. My page on called www.collectorsshow.net attracts a lot of views from people who collect napkins. That is because I did a show earlier this year about that topic and they come to the site to listen to and read about napkin collecting. This fits that “small niche” category. While the number of these people ranks in the hundreds, most of them visited my site. Which brings me to the stat or measure that matters the most and that is engagement.

Engagement is the Best stat for a Blog or Podcast Sponsor

The most important stat to a potential podcast or blog sponsor is your influence. How engaged is your audience? Do they take action on your recommendations? This matters more to an advertiser than impression numbers, because they’ll not renew an advertising contract, even to a big audience, if the audience isn’t taking action (converting). The more likely your audience is to take action, the more valuable they are to a sponsor.

I was listening to Michael Berry on KTRH-AM in Houston. He mentioned that he liked a hat from a feed store called A & P Feed and talked about it on the air. Later in the broadcast, and probably not coincidentally, he received an e-mail from the owner who thanked him for the mention and told him about a big order he received as a result. If the people you attract are more followers than casual listeners, you can attract advertisers.

A good way to measure this for a podcast is by recommending relevant free or premium resources (maybe even an affiliate) with a trackable link, like from Pretty Link Pro or Better Links Pro. An affiliate will allow you to track both how many people visited through your link and—more importantly—how many people purchased.

Recruiting Advertisers

So assuming you have the numbers to attract advertisers, here are some suggestions to actually attract them.

  1. Figure out ways to get potential advertisers involved. Of course there are banner ads and payment for click-throughs. But what about polls? A sponsored poll or quiz will engage the sponsor and the people who participate. The results of the poll create a posting opportunity and even a news release possibility. You can offer all of these as a package to a potential advertiser as a value added benefit of working with you.
  2. Give something away. A giveaway of a sponsors’ product will also involve the audience and give you the chance to talk/write about the product in your blog or podcast. Once you determine the winner, interview him/her about the product and how cool it was to win. Beyond the obvious, you also just provided your potential sponsor with a testimonial. If you gave something away from them once a week you deliver 52 testimonials. For merchants of any type, there are few things better than unscripted praise from an end-user.
  3. Guest posts and interviews. Inviting the potential sponsor to be on the program or blog is a good idea because it will show them how professional you are and what is possible through further, albeit paid, involvement.
  4. Adsense and Amazon Affiliate programs. These two companies specialize in blog advertising and are 2 of the leaders. But there are others and you will want to research the ones that are the best fit for you.
  5. Podcast networks such as Mevio, Podtrac, and Wizzard Media welcome any podcaster that has an audience, because that means they can sell advertising against it. The networks collect shows, categorize them, and sell advertising on a CPM (cost per thousand) or CPA (cost per action) basis. Adam Curry, former MTV VJ, podcasting pioneer, and President of Mevio (interview), is looking for podcast producers that know their audience and can motivate them. Using either their show programming or social media, podcast producers promote show-specific coupon codes for their sponsors. Every time one is used, the podcaster gets paid. Of their network of 15,000 podcasters, Curry said he has three podcasters that will make between $500,000 to $1,000,000 this year.

Let me say, that this is not easy. It is anything but easy. As I have written before, you need to approach this like a job, you show up every day and post. You have to commit. I spend 2-3 hours a day researching and writing each one of the se posts. So on top of a 40-hour work week and everything else that is involved, add another 2 days to the week. Without a commitment, you have no chance. Even with a solid commitment, it will be incredibly challenging. I wish you well in your pursuit.

Five Style Ideas for Writers from David Ogilvy

Introduction: Five Style Ideas for Writers from David Ogilvy!

We spend a lot of time on the blog talking about writing. Bloggers typically like to write, I certainly do. Writing is the core of what bloggers, public relations and advertising people do. It’s unlikely that anyone would debate that or try and tell you that your ideas and business philosophy are wrong. Some may disagree but would also quickly acknowledge that everyone has a right to an opinion and we value freedom of expression. And at the end of the day, the marketplace will decide who has the best ideas. Not so, at least in my experience, are the choices about style. I can’t say that the style I use is for everyone. I can say that this style works for me and that I learned it under very stressful circumstances.

When I was first asked to write advertising for a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company I was petrified. Scared beyond reason. Why? Because I knew absolutely nothing about it and because I feared failing at anything more than my own death. What to do?

Inside our local bookstore was a volume entitled, “Ogilvy On Advertising” by David Ogilvy. I had either by accident or the hand of God found the definitive work on advertising by the man most credit with the invention of modern advertising. It turned out that this “David Ogilvy” was the Ogilvy of the world famous “Ogilvy and Mather” advertising agency. His failures in life and business were many. The thing he had learned from them was among other things, the value of research.

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy is a classic that helped me greatly and might for you as well.
Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy is a classic that helped me greatly and might help you too.

Advertising worked for his and other agency clients. Ogilvy wanted a competitive advantage over those other agencies by writing and designing ads that worked better than those of his competition. So he studied and tested and consulted with the best minds available. Here in brief is what he designed for print advertising.

Style Guide for Print and Web Based Materials

  1. Font: Use the Times Roman font, in 12-point size. This is the same font that is used by newspapers and high circulation magazines. Known as a “serif” font, the differences in thickness in these letters are easier for the eye to literally “grasp” and hold. The use of sans-serif (smooth) fonts allow the eye to “bounce off”. This is less an aesthetic choice than a mechanical one. This font is easier for the eye to read because of the way human eyes are designed.
  1. Line length: Keep sentences to an alphabet and one half in length. Like the font, this is the amount of space the human brain can reasonably process and keep track of, where longer lines are confusing. Our brains do not have the “band-width” for longer lines.
  1. Black type on a white surface: art directors will not like this. You see a lot of reverse (white on black) and other color combinations that are deemed “creative”. Advertising, brochures and other printed materials are not media for creative expression, particularly in business to business sales. Ogilvy and others have found that the reverse type is much harder to read than the black on white. If it is harder to read, it is less likely to be read.
  1. Headlines and photos: The Ogilvy formula was to have a full page ad with a color photo, headline beneath and copy started below, using a “drop cap”. This follows the progression of how the western educated eye will move. The “drop cap” will signal the brain that this is the place to start and direct the eye across and down the page.
  1. Long copy or short? Ogilvy was an advocate of long copy because he said it conveyed the idea that there must be something important to say. This was counter-intuitive 50 years ago and more so now in the age of twitter. I still think long copy is the best way to work because it allows writers the opportunity to share important details, again important for the B to B marketer. So use short sentences on twitter or your web site to attract attention and link them to the longer articles you want to share. The reader self-selects what he/she wants and proceeds accordingly.

Conclusion

There are as many opinions about how to write and how to layout and design a page as there are people who care to share an opinion. I cannot say that this is the absolute and only way to do this. What I can say is that this worked

Long Articles or Short Tweets Five Ways To Compliment Each Other

Longer content signals something interesting to read, but use a short tweet to promote it!
Longer content signals something interesting to read, but use a short tweet to promote it!

Long Articles or Short Tweets Five Ways Short and Long Copy Can Compliment Each Other. A debate that raged in places where I worked continues and evolves. Short articles and short videos are the popular choice for the short attention span generation. I prefer long narratives. The longer narrative is the preference for those (like me) who believe David Ogilvy’s instruction: long copy sells. As an old school public relations and ad man, I prefer the long article. I always and still believe that a lengthier narrative signals that you have expertise and something interesting to say.

Others maintain, and not without justification, that people are in a hurry and want answers to questions fast. Like the people who bemoan that there is nothing faster than a microwave oven, they are the ones we want to reach and sell to. I instinctively rejected these ideas (in the past) and believed that the guy banging on his microwave was not really a prospect. How many times did I hear, “no one is going to read this.” How many times was I ultimately right? Often enough. But in being mostly right, I missed an opportunity and I regret that I lacked the brainpower then to see a mutually beneficial solution that made the best use of both the long narrative and the short burst of communication.

So here is how to take a long and thoughtful article and shape it for both those who think and write in 140 characters and those who do not mind more reading.

  1. Produce your long narrative. You know you want to, so go ahead and write it. A long position paper, white paper or technical draft can be merchandized and used in lots of ways.
  2. Post your long narrative to your website. Best practice is to make this so that people who are interested can download the paper directly to their desktop. Ask only that in exchange for the free information, you receive a name and e-mail address. A great way to expand your e-mailing list and identify a prospect.
  3. Start tweeting. In my opinion, a short tweet that is tied to a longer bit of knowledge that resides on your website is a great way to draw eyeballs to your site. Asking them to give an e-mail and name in exchange, allows them to self identify and qualify as more interested in your product or service than most. Prospects self separate from suspects. You can arrange to follow up with these folks later.
  4. Make the longer piece several shorter one. Start dividing your long form into pieces and re-purpose them as “stand-alone” titles. Post them as such to the web site, and tweet about them. Use the same name/email registration tactic for identifying those who download the piece.
  5. Post and tweet until the contents of the original long article are completely re-purposed and promoted via twitter. If you took your original long article and then divided it into 5 parts, you essentially created 5 separate pieces of actionable and promotable content. You gave yourself 5 chances to be noticed instead of 1. And you gave your SEO a boost with meaningful content by a factor of 5.

I wish had thought of this sooner.

 

 

 

 

General Electric and Agent Smith: Terrible Ad For So Many Reasons

I saw the new General Electric advertisement on Saturday Night Live two nights ago and could not get the words out of my mouth fast enough to describe what was wrong with this ad. Sure, only our dog “Lucky” was there to hear me, but she is an excellent listener.

In case you have not seen the ad, GE is advertising their software for medical machines. Actor Hugo Weaving recreates his Agent Smith character from The Matrix movie series in the full greenish tinted non-reality of The Matrix.

Here are just a few of the problems with this ad:

– The last Matrix installment was years ago and no one saw it except die-hard fans like me. None of the final two movies were as compelling as the original, which was one of the better science fiction movies ever.

– Selling medical machines and their software is a business to business sell. You do not advertise products like these on a program where ads are crafted for consumers. The demographics for SNL skew younger so you can’t say it’s for shareholders or Wall Street.

– Agent Smith is the bad guy in the movies. A world class bad guy who represents the ultimate evil (Satan) opposing Neo (actor Keanu Reeves) who is the savior of mankind.Would you want Darth Vader taking an X-Ray of you? Not bloody likely.

– Agent Smith hates humans and everything about them. In one line he tells Morpheus (actor Lawrence Fishburne) that humans are like a virus that infect the earth. Later he speculates about his disgust with mankind “maybe it’s the smell.” Bed side manner?

– No one watching Saturday Night Live gives a hobos’ crap about medical machines. Wrong media, wrong audience, wrong messages.

– At the end of the ad there are two huge mistakes. Agent Smith answers an old fashioned telephone. Only the good guys in the movies did this as a way to navigate in and out of the Matrix. Agent Smith would not have done this.

– Another huge goof, Smith offers a kid a red or a blue sucker. Morpheus offers Neo a choice of a red pill or a blue pill to see the reality of the Matrix. Smith would not have done this.

What went wrong?

In his book, “Ogilvy On Advertising” author and advertising legend David Ogilvy wrote about a condition he named “art directoritis”. Roughly stated, it’s when art directors forget that their job is to help sell products with messages about how they will deliver value and benefits to the customer. Instead, you get “art” that has little to do with anything useful to customers or potential customers. The art directors at the agency that produced this travesty have too much money and not enough accountability to their client. And what about shareholders? They really got screwed. This ad should have been print and run in business trade magazines. But since those are not “sexy” and will not win Cleo’s you got this expensive train wreck.

From Adweek, Agent Smith makes what are probably pretty good medical machines seem really creep.
From Adweek, Agent Smith makes what are probably pretty good medical machines seem really creepy.