Business people who have figured out Twitter’s power know that it’s an amazing tool for intelligence gathering, trend spotting, networking and business development. Its usefulness is easily under-realized and if you think Twitter is mainly for chatting, think again.
Let’s say you need to find an expert on solar energy for an article you’re working on. You can search people’s bios on Twitter using Google. You would construct a search string to look for bios that contain solar energy. Within a few seconds you’d have a list of people from all over the world that have something to do with solar energy. Then, it’s just a matter of following the ones that look promising and reaching out to them via Twitter. Within an hour you could be on the phone with an expert getting the info you need.
In addition, by searching for solar energy trends on Twitter you will find all kinds of discussions, news stories, articles and published research, which would be valuable to your article. You could use Google and search for relevant web sites, but Twitter provides you with real-time conversations—not just indexed content. That’s powerful.
Twitter & Journalism
This kind of power and time relevancy makes Twitter a must-use tool for journalists and publications. It’s like having your very own police scanner except you can tune-in to any topic you’re interested in.
Remember when a reporter had to move heaven and earth to ‘get the scoop’ on a story? Or how hard they had to work to find and cultivate sources? All these things can be done so easily using Twitter that it’s a no-brainer. Savvy journalists use it to follow important people, trendsetters and insiders, find experts, watch trending topics and get the jump on their competition.
I was poking around over the weekend to find local journalists using Twitter because I wanted to start cultivating relationships with the local press, something every small business owner needs to do. What I found amazed me.
I started at the RBJ. There’s nothing on their web site about Twitter. I had to really dig around the net to find their main account which is a feed of stories. Okay, but I want to connect with reporters, not receive a feed of headlines.
I searched Twitter to find ‘rochester business journal’ or ‘rbj’ in users’ bios and found one relevant hit: editor and vice president Paul Ericson. Wow! A guy at the top, this is a good sign, I thought. When I clicked through to his Twitter page I found that he had only one tweet and it was from January of this year. He had two followers and followed two users, one being his employer. That’s it. One staffer with a four-month old tweet. Not savvy.
The Democrat & Chronicle has fully embraced Twitter. They’ve even got a page on their web site that lists everyone on their staff with a Twitter account. It’s quite impressive. After following some of their reporters and staff, it’s clear that they use it actively. I’m amazed at how well they engage the community. That has to pay dividends for a business that makes its living reporting local news.
I’m no print media expert. But, I’ve been involved in business development, networking and research for decades. It seems obvious that if your job involves connecting with people, finding information and developing content, like a newspaper must do every day, you need to be using tools like Twitter. If you’re not you can expect to be left behind. It’s that simple.
It's time for the Marketing Tip of the Week, a feature dedicated to helping marketers get that extra edge.
This week's tip: Think like an executive editor.
Executive editors are publishing's heavy-hitters. They have a lot of responsibility, but one of their main roles has to do with content. It's the executive editor who decides what's worthy of publishing and what's not.
This week's tip is based on their selection criteria; namely, editors only publish content that their audience is interested in. The really good ones are maniacal about this. They know their audience and will move heaven and earth to publish great content. Conversely, they don't worry about whose feelings get hurt when they have to kill weak stories or misguided pieces.
It sounds pretty obvious. But, think for a minute about your publishing platforms: your web site, sales literature and other marketing collateral. Ask yourself, are they full of content that your readers want to read? Be honest.
When a prospect lands on your web site they should feel like they've found a gold mine, like they've just found a rich resource that will help them do the things that matter to them. That's what an executive editor aims to do. She wants you to engage her publication and feel like you just found your soul mate. She wants you to think of her publication as the best resource and she wants you to keep coming back, day after day, year after year.
When creating your next communication piece, be it a pamphlet, video or case study, create it with the executive editor's mindset. Create something that gives your audience what they want and something that will keep them coming back for more.
Note: Post illustration created by Bob Wright Creative illustrator, Ken Townsend
Honestly, kudos to the Ad Council team. Jon will be a fascinating speaker and the opportunity to hear how Dunkin' refreshed its brand and performed a spectacular turn-around will be awesome! Nice job, Ad Council.
This morning I discovered, to my utter joy, that my company is listed number one in a Google Search result. That's right, kids. We've obtained the Holy Grail of search engine optimization, online marketing and social marketing. We're number one, baby!
So, now, whenever anyone searches for a certain string of words, the Bob Wright Creative blog will come up number one out of 265,000 search results! Think about that. Out of a possible quarter of a million options, our company will be number one. Can you imagine all the revenues that will pour in from that free advertising? People all over the world will find Bob Wright Creative and will want to do business with us!
Maybe it's time to start hiring more staff.
What's the search string, you ask? Well ... okay, I'll tell you. A while back I posted this. It seems that due to this post and my clever use of SEO, tags, key words, punchy writing and crafty (the haters say unethical) use of someone else's content, we now own the following terms:
"Helvetica on dollar"
Read it and weep, competitors! Bob Wright Creative now dominates the helvetica on dollar market. So, if you have a client that needs "helvetica on dollar" you can forget it, because everybody in the world now knows that our company is the worldwide expert. You might as well pack up shop and find a new profession.
Competitors, we'll be accepting the terms of your surrender on Monday.
Really, it's no surprise to us. Financial Institutions is a great company to work with. The many years working together—designing annual reports or redesigning their corporate identity—have been filled with great collaboration and respect. Congratulations!
We've been integrating Drupal into our web development offering lately. It's really impressive!
If you don't already know, Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS). It's amazingly friendly to development, which makes it perfect for creating custom-designed web sites with a non-proprietary CMS. Developers all over the world support it and it's the CMS of choice for sites like the London government, Mensa, Kofi Annan's foundation, Intel, the Grammys and the White House, too!
As designers and developers we love it because it's flexible enough that we can make it do almost anything. Clients love it because they don't have to buy it, pay licensing fees or get locked into one vendor for life while getting a powerful and capable CMS. Everybody wins.
The more we use it the more we love it and we're really loving what it can do for our clients.
An employee told me about an article he saw in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle about a local competitor that's embraced social media. So, I went to check it out.
I tried to find the article on the D&C's website first, but no dice. The link was broken. I could find the headline through a simple Google search, but every time I hit the D&C site I got an error message.
Okay, that's not my competitor's fault. So, I figured I'd head over to their website to see what they've been doing with social media. I was really interested because I'm working hard to learn how to leverage social media for my company and my clients. I thought I might learn a thing to two.
Wow, what a surprise!
The site is the same one they've had since the early 2000's—same design, same content and all the copy is actually gif files. No text, which means it's not Google freindly. Even more surprisingly, there's no blog, no rss feed, no place for visitors to leave public comments. All I could find was a tiny Facebook icon at the bottom each page. Where's the social media?
I jumped over to their FB fan page. It had a couple contests to increase the number of Facebook fans and there were a couple of picture albums. That's it. Again, where's the social media?
Look, we aren't social media experts here at BWC. We're learning, just like everyone else. We are expert problem solvers, we know communication design like nobody's business and we know marketing. Social media is new, growing and it's exciting. We're using it, just like millions of people do every day. But, we're not selling ourselves as experts. Not yet.
Maybe my competitor's website is suffering from the same problem that the cobbler's children suffer from—papa's so busy making shoes for everyone else that the kids go barefoot. I'd like to believe that's the case. But, often there's too much sizzle in our industry and not enough substance.
We're good at image and look. We know how to get attention, to promote and to get noticed. That's what our clients pay us to do! But, I think we as an industry suffer at times because of it. It's too easy to promote yourself as something you're not and when that happens it's the clients that suffer.
Here's a tip, and it applies to every sort of marketing expert you'll meet, including social media types: Ask them how they will measurably achieve your goals, like driving revenues, increasing memberships or growing donations.
Creating buzz, adding followers, encouraging conversations and all the rest are useless unless you can tie them to your goals. If a person can show you how they will deliver on your goals, you've got a bona fide expert. Hire them.