What We Can Learn from The New York Times Being Behind the Times

May 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

320-Innovation_fullThe Gray Lady has problems – more than just the firing of Jill Abramson or lack of reporting on Jill Abramson’s demise. It seems the Times is behind the times in all things digital.  On May 15, Buzz Feed leaked the 96-page New York Times Innovation Report that candidly describes the digital struggles and weaknesses of the legendary print icon.    The report focuses on digital providers like Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BuzzFeed.  The report describes the institutional inertia that is keeping many businesses from embracing the new face of marketing.  And in some terrible irony of ironies, it was that upstart BuzzFeed that leaked the story.

Key learnings for all marketers today.

1.  Beware of Disrupters.  The news biz is changing like all business today.  Once small outsiders like BuzzFeed and  Huffington Post are now garnering more traffic than the Times.  Sound familiar?  Like Amazon, AirBnB, Uber and other disrupters?  The report gives some of the hallmarks of disruptive innovators – introduced by an outsider, less expensive than existing products, targeting new or underserved markets, initially inferior to existing products and advanced by an enabling technology.  Sound familiar in your business category?  Your competition may not be who it was yesterday. Today the New York Times is facing disparate competition such as LinkedIn’s Pulse Publishing platform,  Flipboard’s visual presentation of news, Vox as a collector of live blogging in passionate verticals, or Yahoo News that has hired Katie Couric and repurposes the best of news.

nytimescompetitors

2.  Stories Find Readers Today.  The Times identified a trend showing that users are moving away from browsing and actually expect the news to come to them through social media, mobile notifications, aggregators and more.

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian’s website says, “The realization that you have to go find your audience — they’re not going to just come and read it — has been transformative.”

 

Death of the Home Page.   Only a third of readers visit the home page of The New York Times. And those who do visit are spending less time on it. Page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages in the year 2013.  Where do people see your content?  We cannot expect our website to be the first view of information.

home-page-v-socialNews from Social Media.  Less than 10% of the New York Times traffic comes from social media compared to Buzzfeed who gets 60% of their traffic from social media.  In fact, I read the story about the New York Times report on LinkedIn and Mashable first.

Marketers cannot expect just one media to work for them.  It takes  multiple ways to get your important news out.  Social media, email marketing, guest posts, podcasts, interviews, speaking engagements, search marketing and even advertising, if well timed and placed.

3.  Content Packaging is as Important as the Story.  Journalists have thought that the story is the thing.  Build it and they will come.  But today, a journalist must craft the right story for the audience, understanding the reader relevance.  I was stunned by a story from Forbes writer Kashmir Hill who took an anecdote buried in a 5,000 word article in the times and repackaged it as “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.”  Her Forbes article has been viewed 2,455,821 times, and was the chief traffic driver for the Times story.  Crafting the right point of view takes a real understanding of your target audience.  And then, you have to position your story appropriately, with engaging content.

4.  Timing is Everything.  The Times is publishing their best content on a schedule meant for print.  They publish the majority of their content in the late evening, in order for it to make the morning paper, while  the majority of their traffic is in the morning hours. The biggest stories are published on Sundays for the venerable Sunday Paper, even though Sunday is the slowest day for traffic online.  A lesson to marketers here is are you publishing at times when you audience will see them?  In today’s world, the news is a 24-hour operation and news consumers expect to have it on a 24-hour schedule.

5.  Every Story Needs A Promotional Strategy.  All content needs a promotion strategy.  The publishing of the story is just the beginning.  What is the social strategy?  Is there a checklist for publishing that includes search headline, tags, images, pre-written Facebook and Twitter posts?

“Even ProPublica, that bastion of old-school journalism values, goes to extraordinary lengths to give stories a boost. An editor meets with search, social and public relations specialists to develop a promotion strategy for every story. And reporters must submit five tweets along with each story they file.”

How can you repurpose the content?  The Times report tells, “On a whim, Andrew Phelps created a Flipboard magazine of our most important obits of the year and it became the best-read collection in the history of the platform.”  The Gawker took a 161 year old story from The Times to help introduce “12 Years as a Slave”.

Consumers Expect Personalization.   The Times is looking at new engines to foster personalization online.  Increasingly, consumers are expecting to have options served up to them based on preferences.  Can readers follow their favorite columnists?

Engagement is everyone’s job.  A key learning is that you need to engage with your audience – respond to comments, answer emails and converse on social media.  Equally important is looking at the list of influencers that can help spread your message and interact with them.  Or events that help create community.

6.  Silos are out, teams are in.  Here is the telling statement:  “Our Twitter account is run by the newsroom. Our Facebook account is run by the business side.”  Departments need to break down walls and work together.  The refiguring of team is important to create more harmonious efforts.  The Times has recognized the power of collaboration focused on reader experience.  What a wonderful concept!

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.  So, as The Times goes, it seems they are embarking upon an important journey.

Marketing to Women: The Pressure to Be Popular Online

May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

mean-girls-8137Peer pressure beyond acne, the cool crowd and first dates?

I recently heard Bridget Brennan of The Female Factor speak at the M2W Conference about the immense impact of popularity on society today.  It’s not the popularity that we dealt with in middle school or high school.

Today, it is the pressure to be interesting online.  How interesting are your posts?  How many people follow you?  How many times have your posts been shared?  We check our stats incessantly.  Heck, some job interviewers even want to know your Klout score.

Why is Online Popularity Important?

Today some 98% of  persons online in the US use social media, so does social media relate to social capital?  Social capital has always been important.  It is considered to be the sum of the networks, connections, influence and interactions people have with other individuals.  There have always been different types of social capital based on your sphere of influence, your wealth, your status in aristocracy, your celebrity and your accomplishments.

In today’s world, online influence can be measured as those with the most Twitter followers – Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama or top Facebook Pages for Shakira, Rihanna and Coke. Bloggers like The Pioneer Woman have created complete media platforms from their original blog, and LinkedIn has introduced us to the Influencers.   Digital influence raters like Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred are investing millions of dollars to understand how our social media activity translates into influence.

It seems that you can increase your social capital online if you follow some important rules.   If you use social media to communicate directly with other individuals—by posting valuable information, commenting on friends’ posts, regular posting, being helpful—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages seem to have more value  than “one-click communication”.  Just reading and occasionally posting does not add to your popularity.

Brands are beginning to learn that scores do not matter as much as engagement and real relationships. Businesses need to develop meaningful social influence strategies and define their desired outcomes. Not all followers are created alike.  Just like in high school, not all popular people were really fun to be around.

Marketing to Women: Six Truths about Social Media Usage

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Six truths about Women and Social Media.  (Infographic below.)

1.  Women have dominated social media for some time. A greater percentage of adult U.S. women use Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter than male counterparts. The one social network that boasts more men is the professional-networking site LinkedIn.

2.  Women use social media more often during the day.  Thirty percent (30%) of women use social media several times daily, compared to 26% of men.

3.  Women are more likely to interact with brand in social media, compared to men.  Women show support, access offers, stay current and comment at greater rates than men.

4.  Women consumer more news in social media than men.  Some 58% of women consumer news compared to 42% men.

5.  Women also use smartphones and tablets more often for social media.

6.  And women post more images to social media, helping to grow visual sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

1393972619-women-dominate-every-social-media-network-except-one-infographic-1

 

 

Marketing to Women: A Twitter Photo is Worth a Thousand Retweets

March 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

resizeFor those of us watching the Oscars this year, we know that this little selfie set a new retweet record.  In just a matter of minutes, the Ellen tweet had 1.9 millions retweets and even crashed Twitter for a moment.  The previous record was 778, 801 for President Obama’s “Four more years.”

But what about that Tweet made it so special?  I mean,  other than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Ellen and that cutie Jennifer Lawrence.  Seems it was because it was a star-studded photo.

Why do some tweets have higher engagement?  Twitter did a study of its own to find out what makes some tweets so popular.  Looking at more than 2 million Tweets sent by thousands of verified users across different fields over the course of a month, Twitter determined that the addition of hashtag, a number or stat, a quote, a video or a photo increased the effectiveness of the tweet.  So it seems that a Twitter Photo is worth a Thousand or maybe a Million Retweets!

Overall, the most effective tweet components across all verified accounts were:

Photos, which averaged a 35 percent boost in retweets.
Videos, which got a 28 percent boost.
Quotes, which received a 19 percent boost in retweets.
A number or stat, which received a 17 percent bump in retweets.
Hashtags, which garnered a 16 percent boost.

The overall effectiveness of different elements vary across various categories.  The chart below shows the effectiveness of photos for news, but in television it might be a quote or a video url.  However, the premise is that tweets need an enhancement to make them shareable.
retweet-percentage-news

Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.

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Marketing to Women: Top Ten 2013 Lipstick Economy Posts

December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

A little retrospective on what you thought was most interesting in The Lipstick Economy this year. These are the top posts on marketing to women from this year.  A confusing year for women – Sheryl Sandberg told us to “lean in”,  Miley showed us how to twerk and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer extended paid leave for parents and banned telecommuting.  

iStock_000012573383XSmallMarketing Travel to Women: Eight New Trends You Need to Know.  According to the Travel Industry Association, there is an estimated 32 million single American women who have traveled at least once in the past year, and some three in ten travel five or more times a year.  The average adventure traveler is not a male but a 47-year-old female and they have different expectations from travel than men.

Marketing to Women: Growth of Women in Marketing.  Almost a third of all Americans are employed in marketing-related positions.  That’s a staggering number if you think about it.  And it is a path for women to grow up the corporate ladder.   A recent study by a recruiting firm found that more top executives have come out of marketing than of any other area.

Marketing to Women: Why Marketers Don’t Understand Women.  For the first time in history, women now outnumber men in the workforce. Women are more educated, accounting for approximately 58% of students in two- and four-year colleges.   We account for 85% of all consumer purchases.   Purchases include homes, healthcare, cars, travel and computers.  And 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal.  But research says 91% of women don’t think marketers understand them.

M_BeyonceSuperBowl_101612Marketing to Women: Women Watching Super Bowl Too!  More women are watching the Super Bowl than the Academy Awards! In 2012, 54 percent of the roughly 111 million viewers who tuned in to watch the Superbowl on Fox were men, compared to 46 percent women.

Marketing to Women: Your Elevator Speech in 15 Seconds.  Sometimes the most important things are not addressed in business.  This handy guide to creating your elevator speech in 15 seconds is vital.  At New Year’s when you are at that party and someone asked you what you do, what will you say?

Marketing to Women: Six Things to Know About #Hashtags.  Hashtags are everywhere.  Some 24% of tweets contain hashtags. And 71% of people on social media use hashtags.  Even Facebook instituted the lowly pound mark that has become a strong marketing tool.  Do you know when to hashtag and not to hashtag?

Marketing to Women: One-third of All Women Are Single “Indies”.  It’s a new day for women and there is even a new term for the group that are over 27, not married, not living with a partner, and without children.  They are called the Indies.  This group has been growing and currently include some 31 million women, about a third of all adult women.  They now surpass the number of married moms!

Marketing to Women: Emotional Connection Important for Healthcare.  A recent study shows that 85% of consumers say it is important or very important to them to do business with a company for which they have strong emotions, per survey results from rbb Public Relations.  And the industry for which it is most important is healthcare.

Marketing to Women: Power to the PANKs.  PANKs, Professional Aunts No Kids.  They are actively involved in the lives of children around them.  In fact, one in five women is a PANK, or approximately 23 million Americans.  PANKs are roughly half of all the women who are not a mother or grandmother.  This group is actually growing as women are choosing to stay single or marry later.  PANKs spend $9 billion on toys and gifts for children annually.

Marketing to Women: Top 10 Culinary Trends for Restaurants.  The top 2013 trends included healthy kid’s food, iced tea, gluten-free, Greek yogurt and more.

Marketing to Teenagers: Facebook Fail

October 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Teenagers introduced us to Facebook and now they are moving on.  Just 23 percent of teens think Facebook is the most important social site, down from 42 percent from a year ago, according a Piper Jaffray report on teens. Facebook is tied with Instagram as the second most popular social media among teens. Instagram is a social network a third of Facebook’s age and with a tenth as many users.  Twitter came out as number one.

2013_10_23_Facebook_TeensFacebook has been on a steady decline.  Even though the numbers on Facebook are still huge, teens say that size, privacy and drama are reasons for the growing lack of popularity.  What’s growing in popularity?  Instagram, Snapchat and more niche social media are growing in importance among teens.

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