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Brands

Are brands the new publishers?

2 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Traditionally, brands have interrupted consumers to talk about their product. Whether we’re reading a magazine, watching TV,  or browsing online, the advert that inevitably appears is an unsolicited marketing message from a brand that we may or may not care about.

Consumer research often highlights that most of these marketing messages are indeed irrelevant to our interests and needs. Coupled with the increasing control a consumer has over the marketing they receive (opting-out of telemarketing and direct-mail; unsubscribing from email; skipping TV ads) this has become a cause for concern for brands.

The Red Bulletin from Red Bull

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Is Google+ the party that people are showing up to fashionably late?

26 Jul, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

At the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference last week, Dan Patmore (Search Marketing Manager for Argos) shared his views on what trends and products digital marketers should be focusing on in the next 12 months. He pointed to insight, technological developments and the importance of the customer. He also (somewhat reluctantly) mentioned Google.

Dan described the launch of Google+  as “the party that nobody came to”.  In other words, there was a huge amount of hype, everybody got very excited, perhaps created an account, and then, nothing. He continued the analogy and surprised some people in the room (including myself) by saying that Google+ in 2013 may well be “the party that people are showing up for fashionably late.”

In January 2013, the Global Web Index revealed that Google+ had overtaken Twitter to become the second largest social network. Google+ now enjoys an impressive 359m monthly active users and brand interaction has apparently grown by 45.5% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.

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Shortlist and Stylist: Web lessons from print “insurgents”

19 Jul, 13 | by BMJ Group

In August last year London listings magazine Time Out became the latest high quality title to drop its cover price (£3.25), say farewell to the news-stand, and become a commuter freebie. 

timeoutIt looks, feels, and reads like its paid-for predecessor. There are film, theatre, dance, music, comedy, shopping, food, cabaret and club previews, and full-page ads for products including Hertz, Tesco Mobile, BA, and Fullers Brewery confirm that advertisers have stuck with the title, which now has an average weekly circulation of 205,530, a fivefold increase on the 54,875 copies it was selling each week in 2011. 

Time Out is not routinely discarded by commuters, a trend it shares with glossy rivals Stylist (distributed on Wednesdays to affluent 20 to 40-year-old women with high end fashion, travel, beauty, people and careers content), and Shortlist (distributed on Thursdays to professional males)

But unlike Time Out, both Stylist and Shortlist launched as “freemium” titles and have never had a cover price.shortlistcover

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Flipboard: a help or hindrance to publishers?

17 May, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In the past month, almost 1 million new magazines have appeared on Apple’s iPad. Rather than heralding a long-awaited comeback from traditional publishers, nearly all of these collections of articles, photos and social-media updates are the handiwork of ‘armchair editors’, using a new tool from the social magazine app, Flipboard.

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How can publishers take advantage of Pinterest?

19 Apr, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

This week, Nature Publishing Group announced they had reached 35,000 followers on Pinterest. Given that they had just 127 followers at the end of 2012, this is phenomenal growth. How did they achieve it, I hear you ask? When asked the secret to their success on Twitter, @NatureBlogs replied: “best tip is to continuously update the boards with new images. We make daily (if we can) updates”.  So, given the effort and resource needed to maintain this level of engagement, what can publishers expect in return? Do follower numbers translate into traffic to journal websites?

NPG on Pinterest

Over a year ago, I wrote an introductory blog covering the basic mechanics of Pinterest and the impressive growth it had experienced:  it is still the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million mark. Now with more than 48 million users, Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks on the web. So, how can publishers get a slice of the action?

Add keywords

Pinterest is a popular site but it’s not nearly as saturated as Google search results. While it’s true that most people prefer to browse Pinterest than search it, there are a significant number who want to discover something that hasn’t already been repinned many times, and search is where they do it.

With every image you post, you should include a clear description that people will enjoy reading. The key seems to be mentioning a keyword that reveals few results in Pinterest but is likely to be searched for often. This can help get the exposure necessary to be repinned and therefore reach more people.

Similarly, you can also take advantage of Pinterest’s popularity to get your Pinterest page into Google. Link to your pinboard from your website, during online promotions and from established social media channels to improve the chances of it showing up in Google search results.

Repin others

In a similar vein to Twitter’s retweets, build awareness of your Pinterest account by repinning others. Use both the search function and categories to find other pins relevant to your boards. When you repin another’s pinned picture, they will receive an email notification. Hopefully, they will follow the links to your account and see where you pinned their picture, giving you an opportunity to have them look through your boards. The obvious need here is to have boards that interest your new visitor to the point that they consider following your links to the site you are promoting.

Comment on pins

When you hold your cursor over a pinned picture you see the “comment” tab, the “repin” tab, and the “like” tab. When you make a comment is stays with the picture, so whatever you say has the potential to catch people’s attention and drive traffic. You might even consider some kind of “call to action” (if it’s appropriate). Again, Pinterest will notify the person who pinned the picture that a comment has been made and give them a link to respond to your comment.

Check your stats

Pinterest introduced a web-based analytics tool in March, allowing site owners to track users’ engagement with their sites on the social network.

The free tool allows site owners to track the number of pinners and pins collecting material from their sites, and the number of repinners and repins those initial pins received. Site owners can also track total impressions and reach on the network, as well as referral traffic, both in clicks and unique visitors, sent back to their sites. This is key in understanding your audience’s likes/dislikes, which will feed into the future selection of content to add.

Publishers with successful Pinterest profiles

Reaching digital natives with native advertising

12 Apr, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In last week’s blog I looked at the innovative ways that publisher’s are monetising their products in the face of a shifting digital landscape. One of the most ground-breaking moves has come from Forbes Media, who opened up their content creation platform, not only to external authors but also to marketers and brands.

This idea of interweaving promotional content with both editorial and user-generated content (UGC) is central to a much larger concept gaining traction in the online advertising community; native advertising.

But what is it? One of the biggest advocates of native advertising is Dan Greenberg, CEO of Sharethrough (the agency that runs Forbes Media’s ‘Sponsored Stories’). When asked for a definition, Greenberg offers the following:

It refers to digital ad formats that integrate more seamlessly (yet transparently) into website aesthetics, user experiences and/or editorial in ways that offer more value to both advertisers and readers. Put simply, native ads follow the format, style and voice of whatever platform they appear on.

For a more in depth discussion of Forbes’ collaboration with Sharethrough, take a look at the video below:

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“He who refuses to learn deserves extinction” – Guardian Changing Media Summit 2013

5 Apr, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

There were a number of key themes at this year’s Guardian Changing Media Summit — an annual conference which brings together a mixture of CEO and director level executives responsible for commercial, creative and digital strategies.

Most significantly, it was clear that publishers are beginning to see more opportunities than threats from digital technologies and much time was spent discussing the innovative monetisation of digital products.

Death of Journalism

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Facebook News Feed: bigger images, greater control and platform consistency

15 Mar, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

As you may already be aware, Facebook is rolling out the first major update to its News Feed since the feature launched nearly seven years ago. As with every other change the site has made, the new design has been met with mixed reactions and hasn’t gone unnoticed by the media.

Facebook’s revamped News Feed gives the homepage a starkly mobile look, reducing clutter and lending more space to prominent photographs. It takes significant cues from the Facebook mobile apps for phones and tablets, adding a new side navigation bar and more white space.

Newsfeed

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Facebook’s Graph Search: sentiment now included

18 Jan, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Not only is Facebook the online destination where users spend the most time, it also represents a massive global repository of marketing data. Companies have spent the past few years trying to understand how to leverage Facebook Pages, Likes, and other aspects of the social network in order to connect with customers and gain tactical advantage over competitors. Facebook’s Graph Search, announced this week, seems to offer brands a new tool for mining the market research data stored on its servers.

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RebelMouse vs. Storify – what’s the difference?

30 Nov, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

I’ve already blogged about RebelMouse, the self-proclaimed “social front page”, that pulls in user content from social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Until it was created,  social data had no central hub and tended to get drowned out and lost as soon as it was published. RebelMouse filled a gap in the market by providing one central location to capture a user’s online output. However, RebelMouse is no longer the only product in this space. Storify launched its redesign last week and many have commented on its similarities.

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