Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Hot tips on blog marketing? We got ’em. Hot buzzed-about online video creation? We got that, too. In fact, our weekly list of five things you might have missed has a little something for everybody. Let’s get started, shall we?

1.) Do it Like a Bluth: So much Arrested Development hype, so little time. One could barely turn on their favorite electronic device without being bombarded with news, opinions and reviews surrounding the return of the cult sitcom on Netflix. Yet this blog post from Kristin Kovner for ClickZ is worth checking out if you missed it. In it, she gives four Bluth-inspired marketing lessons sure to satisfy Arrested Development fans and marketing gurus alike.

2.) Share a Coke: Coca-Cola is pretty much tops when it comes to creating terrific digital content and memorable videos for a global audience. Each of the soda giant’s recent videos perfectly capture the brand’s sense of fun while cleverly playing with the viral marketing platform. This recent little bit of ambient advertising goodness features the first sharable can of Coke and is sure to put a smile on your face.

3.) Blog Title Badassery: Having a hard time getting folks to care about your latest blog posts? Maybe you need to start with creating eye-catching titles to get folks to stop and read. After all, how many times have you personally slowed down and read something just because the title piqued your interest? Lucky for you, Business2Community.com has 6 must-have tips for writing awesome blog titles in this great post you might have missed.

4.) Dance to the Brainwaves: Smirnoff Vodka has a new campaign doing something unexpected: using brainwaves to make music. Working with a brainwave expert and an electronic music producer, Smirnoff helped folks with disabilities who cannot play musical instruments to make music with their mind by controlling musical software. The song created with brainwaves can be purchased online and the proceeds go to Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.

5.) Have You Heard the One About the Hitler Tea Pot: And finally, no recap of the week’s biggest marketing stories would be complete without mentioning the silly kerfuffle that swelled up around a tea kettle folks said looked like Hitler. The kettle in question, which was featured on a billboard for JC Penny, became a social media phenomenon and sold out online in a matter of days.

Is Twitter Too Complicated?

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As Twitter marketing specialists, we’ve heard it a billion times: “I don’t understand Twitter,” “What’s a hashtag?” and our favorite, “What am I supposed to tweet about?” But it’s not just older folks or the technically challenged who find Twitter confusing. We’ve tried to explain how tweeting works to a slew of great minds and legends in their respective professional fields with mixed results. As it turns out, even Twitter’s CEO admits that the social network is hard to use.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, in an interview with Kara Swisher at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday, said he believes Twitter is still too complicated for the masses to understand.

“Simplicity,” Costolo said when asked what he thought was missing from Twitter.

Costolo marveled at how Twitter, thanks to its 140-character confines, has forced users to create a language of their own, but notes the downside is remarkable language is super hard to understand” for newcomers. Costolo cited placing quotes around an “@” as one example of new user error commonly found on Twitter. Costolo says Twitter’s future relies on bridging the gap of pleasing longtime users and making the site easier for newcomers. In his chat with Swisher, he also championed Twitter’s ability to break news and spread important information, but denies the company’s rumored desires to become a media company itself.

“We are the platform for global information distribution,” he said to emphasize Twitter’s goal of staying by the people and for the people.

Perhaps Costolo is right. Maybe Twitter is still too difficult for the casual social media user. But as folks who run Twitter for business campaigns, we happen to think it’s those very things that make Twitter an awesome marketing tool. Once a brand has learned the lingo, Tweeting can be an incredibly powerful way to keep in touch with clients, address customer service issues, promote new products and create new content.

Readers, what’s your take? Is Twitter too complicated, too easy or just right? Tell us about it in the comments!

Should Advertisers Join Feminists in the Fight Against Facebook?

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There’s a storm brewing between feminists and the social networking site Facebook — and advertisers and social media marketing experts have found themselves smack dab in the middle of it. Previously, Facebook has been commended for acting quickly to dismantle hate group pages. Yet feminists say when it comes to violence among women, the site treats the issues as a joke. With several advertisers poised to pull out ad dollars on Facebook in protest, however, none of this is anything to laugh about.

Women, Action & the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and author Soraya Chemaly have led the charge against Facebook.

“It appears that Facebook considers violence against women to be less offensive than non-violent images of women’s bodies, and that the only acceptable representation of women’s nudity are those in which women appear as sex objects or the victims of abuse,” the groups’ open letter to the website reads. “Your common practice of allowing this content by appending a [humor] disclaimer to said content literally treats violence targeting women as a joke.”

According to ThinkProgress.org, “Facebook currently allows pages on its site called ‘Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus,’ ‘Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs,’ ‘This is why Indian girls are raped’ and ‘Punching your girlfriend in the face cuz you’re Chris Brown.’ The social media site also permits pictures of battered women who are bleeding, bruised, tied up, or drugged alongside captions like ‘This bitch didn’t know when to shut up.’ Using the hashtag #FBRape, the campaign has called for companies like Dove, American Express and Sky to pull their advertisements from Facebook until the anti-woman pages are taken down. Facebook, for its part, says, ‘There is no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that is threatening, or incites violence, and we will not tolerate material deemed to be genuinely or directly harmful. We try to react quickly to remove reported language or images that violate our terms and we try to make it very easy for people to report questionable content using links located throughout the site. However, as you may expect in any diverse community of more than a billion people, we occasionally see people post distasteful or disturbing content, or make crude attempts at humor. While it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies. We do require that any such page be clearly marked — so users are aware that the content may be in poor taste. In many instances, we may also require a page administrator to display their real name on the page, or the page will be removed.'”

This complicated issue is bound to get even more so as corporations are forced to pick sides. So, readers, you tell us. What’s the difference between hateful and humorous Facebook content? And as marketers, how do you deal with social media controversy? Sound off below!

Blog Like the Big Brands: BMW

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Stalled out with your company’s blog content management strategy? Has your blog marketing run out of gas? Well, perhaps we can help. Each week, we examine the blogging habits and styles of some the planet’s most powerful and influential brands. This week, we take a gander at how luxury carmaker BMW uses blogging to get car enthusiasts drooling over its latest models.

Blogging for a global brand like BMW could potentially be a scattered, ADD-inducing affair. After all, with thousands of products in different markets, what on Earth do you begin to blog about? Wisely, BMW sticks to delivering the goods: cars and plenty of them. Upon entering the BMWBLOG, visitors get a glimpse at dozens of cars through slide shows, videos and lots of images. For folks fluent in BMW, the company delivers in-depth pieces about test drives, safety features and industry reviews. For novices just learning the ropes in luxury car land, BMW goes back to what works: more pictures of those glamorous cars.

Editors of the BMWBLOG have clearly written the text of each post with the curious and well-researched car buyer in mind, however. The posts do not back away from giving specifics about each car and its features. Chassis, headlamps, kidney grills and lower front ends are the kinds of terms you’ll see dropped casually on the blog, and clearly it works. The BMWBLOG is routinely ranked one of the top automotive blogs on the web.

As a takeaway for businesses of all types and sizes, BMW certainly inspires us to take pride in our companies and to blog about them proudly. BMW assumes that visitors to its blog want to read “car lingo” and wordy technical reviews, and it delivers these things unapologetically. Branded blogs should feel free to brag about the products and services that put them on the map and that they want new customers to know about. Blogging, with its online magazine feel, is a fantastic way to do that on a regular basis.

Stuck? Blog More!

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Title of the Post Goes Here

It’s a common tragedy. You’ve been cooking right along with an amazing and inspired blogging-for-business campaign. Your company’s blog thus far has been filled with inspired ideas, informative posts and really dynamic content. And then just like that, you’re dried up and run out of ideas. Call it blogger’s block or creative brain freeze but whatever you call it, the sudden inability to write blog posts is definitely a downer. The automatic impulse when we’ve run out of creative steam is to just stop and hope we’re struck magically with great ideas. But when it comes to blog writing, quitting is the worst possible thing you can do when you’re stuck.

Greater minds than ours have pondered for ages about the curse of writer’s block and how to move past it. But when it comes to blogging, we’ve certainly had plenty of experience getting stuck and powering through it anyway. Blogs, especially branded ones, should really be published several times a week in order to be effective. And this is fantastic news if you’re wrestling with writer’s block. No, really! Using blogging’s tight deadlines and never-ending schedule of new content as a motivator is a sure-fire way to squish stuckness. Short posts with pictures, reblogged posts from blogging idols and contemporaries and posts with videos instead of text are all terrific blogging solutions to help push through it. By continuing blogging, even when it’s hard, you and your company are working toward something instead of just surrendering. If you can just write through the tough, uncreative, blah times, you are sure to find that your blog will be all the better for it.

Quitting or swearing off blogging every time we run out of ideas or feel uninspired isn’t really a solution, anyway. In order for our blogging campaigns to remain effective and powerful, we have to continue to produce content. Sounds hard, huh? It doesn’t have to be. Besides, we’re here to help. 

 

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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When it comes to memorable content marketing, it seems like every brand has amazing online video creation on the top of their wishlists. The popularity of viral marketing and branded videos is precisely why we’ve dedicated this week’s Five Things You Might Have Missed to a quintet of videos that might amuse, inspire and delight you!

1.) Say it with Dance: Tired of texting? Tongue tied when talking? The folks at Puma fragrances might have a solution. The Puma Dance Dictionary is an inventive form of communication which lets users select words and phrases that are translated into dance moves. After creating messages out of moves, users can then post these unique greetings on social media or in email. Still don’t get it into the groove? Don’t worry. The company has come up with a dance-filled video to explain how the whole thing works.

2.) Post it with a Purpose: Samsung not only cooked up an awesome reminder wall to make sure folks in Brazil wouldn’t forget about the new stores opening across the country, but also a cool video showing how this massive wall was made.

3.) The Dog Ate the Directions: For truly great viral videos, some would argue all you need is a cute animal and a funny concept. This ad for Google Chrome with a dog chewing up directions as the theme from Rawhide plays in the background would definitely support this theory. And so would the 5 million-some views.

4.) The Cat is Working Out: Not to be outdone, Temptations Cat Treats has come up with a truly silly and totally viral aerobics video for cats called Work it Kitty. If you think cats in legwarmers doing Jane Fonda moves is comic gold (and who doesn’t?), then this spot is a home run.

5.) Keeping it Real: Wrapping up our list of video genius you might have missed is the latest installment of Dove’s Real Beauty ads. This massive hit with over 54 million views is poignant, intelligent and memorable as it uses a sketch artist to illustrate how women describe themselves. The ad continues to prove how a positive message can be just as powerful as cute animals.

Yahoo Buys Tumblr, Bloggers Mumble

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It was the shot heard ’round the hipster blogging world on Monday when it was announced that Yahoo! was buying super-stylish blogging platform Tumblr for a cool $1 billion. For marketers bent on über visual blog creation, Tumblr has been tops for years. Unlike any other blogging channel, Tumblr caters to visual arts, design, memes, GIFS and, most importantly, that elusive younger demographic. So how will this deal effect Tumblr devotees and marketers? What changes can blogging-for-business experts expect? And how do Tumblr users feel about this mega branding blogging collision?

For its part, Yahoo! has loudly and proudly already vowed not to mess with Tumblr.

“Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,” Yahoo! said in a statement.

Yahoo! contends that everything users and brands love about Tumblr will stay exactly the same. The purchase, insiders say, had less to do with Yahoo! wanting to improve Tumblr and more to do with good, old-fashioned cash. Reports estimate that Tumblr brings in about $13 million in revenue annually, and for a sagging company like Yahoo!, this was a wise purchase.

“Tumblr in terms of users and traffic is an immediate growth story for us,” Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said in an interview with Reuters earlier this week.

For marketers currently rocking Tumblr for their clients, they too can expect things to stay the same. Or so Yahoo! promises. Tumblr lovers are not so sure. Longtime users/fans of the site certainly have their doubts about the merger and have naturally taken to the Internet to express their concerns. “The beginning of end” and “they’ll ruin our home” are just a few of the Negative Nancy comments left on Tumblr and Twitter regarding the news. While others compared it to the unpopular Facebook/Instagram merger of last year, some have already vowed to leave Tumblr immediately.

Regardless of how you feel, Yahoo!’s purchase of Tumblr is bound to be watched by users, blog marketing professionals and business reporters alike. So readers, you tell us: Tumblr and Yahoo — match made in blogging heaven or hell? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

 

Just Right: What’s the Perfect Length for a Blog Post?

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Some say 400. Others swear up and down that nirvana exists at 750 and under. And still more claim that 500 is the magic number. But, honestly, when it comes to dynamic and interesting blog writing, is there such a thing as the perfect length? As usual, it all depends on who you ask.

According to Ben Austin of SearchEnginePeople, bigger might just be better.

“According to tests carried out by many a blog, rankings improve when the length of the content is increased. Anecdotal evidence seems to support this too, and if you look at the length of most posts on the more successful blogs they tend to be slightly longer and average around 700-800 words,” Austin writes. “It makes sense that Google would reward that bit of extra length too – for one it suggests an article that provides more depth and detail rather than just breezing over the topic, and at the same time it punishes content farms that almost always have a word limit of around 300-500 words (with writers almost always providing the very minimum amount of text). Apart from anything else, more content means more potential to capture the long-tail keyphrase.”

Yet others, like Susan Gunelius, blogging guide for About.com, thinks super-long posts might hurt brands rather than help.

“Most people who read blogs don’t have a lot of time or patience to read thousands of words of content,” she says. “They’re looking for quick access to information or entertainment. Therefore, you should try to write succinctly and use headings to break up long blocks of text. Make sure your blog posts are scannable and consider breaking posts that reach the 1,000 word mark up into a series of posts (which is also a great way to encourage people to come back to your blog again to read more).”

Gunelius believes that under 600 is the magical blogging sweet spot.

Personally, we think the perfect blog post length truly depends on the brand and audience. Some industries (like legal blogs, technical support blogs and medical blogs) do just fine with longer posts, while others excel with shorter, easier-to-read entries. Since we’re in a highly-scannable news industry, we like to stay under 700 words, as do most marketing blogs. Analytics are really helpful in this matter, actually. By watching what blog posts get more hits, become viral or flop miserably, we can gauge which of our blogging practices are working and which ones aren’t — and this includes post length.

But when all is said and done, it isn’t so much about how much we say but how we say it. Well-written, smartly-planned and creative content always wins readers and helps our search engine results, regardless of how big our posts are.