• 18Dec

    I just received the end-of-the-year wrap up from my friends at High-Tech Connect, including some predictions on what’s going to drive marketing budgets in 2013. The insights, taken from their own observations and the results of a survey by StrongMail as reported in MarketingProfs, indicates that social media and online search are going to continue to drive marketing programs in the year ahead. And when it’s all about feeding the Web, those who can deliver the content are going to benefit.

    According the the StrongMail "2013 Marketing Trends Survey", social media is commanding the lion’s share of marketing dollars (46.2 percent). Spending is going to Facebook, viral marketing, Twitter, and the means to manage those campaigns.

    Here’s how MarketingProfs explains how the social media channels stack up:image

    Marketers rank Facebook as the most valued social media channel (receiving a score of 1.92 on a scale of 1 to 8 with 1 being most important). Twitter is No. 2 (2.76), followed by YouTube (3.48), LinkedIn (4.30), Google+ (4.68), Pinterest (5.06), Instagram (6.53), and Yelp (7.27).

    What do all of these social media channels have in common?

    They are all hungry for content.

    Here are some of the coming trends in marketing according to the survey findings (with editorial interpretation from High Tech Connect and myself):

    • Executive as brand is being driven by social media. The concept of “executive as brand” is not new, just ask the folks at Virgin or Apple, and as executives continue to gain visibility, social media will increasingly become their megaphone to speak to their target customers. Those executives who learn now to establish a rapport with their market base, without pretention or a sales pitch and with humility and authenticity, will come out ahead. The wise ones will look for help from strong communicators and writers who can help them package and polish their personal brand.
    • Content is still king! Social media is hungry, and needs to be fed regularly to entice followers to continue to follow. And search engines and online visitors need fresh information to keep then interested. Marketers will be seeking out new content sources, including written material, audio, and video, to keep social media sated.
    • Mobile is moving up. More folks are accessing information while on the go, using smartphones and tablets to access data and social media wherever they are. Mobile marketing is following the trend, and while more companies embrace BYOD and enable the new mobile workforce, professionals are turning to their handhelds to deliver up-to-the-minute, business-critical information.
    • The tried and true is tired. Interestingly, the tried and true programs, like public relations and direct mail, are taking a back seat. Public relations is down to 13.9 percent of the budget, and direct mail 15.5 percent.

    So as marketing programs continue to find new channels to reach consumers and potential customers directly, through conversation and social media content. So to feed these tactical programs, professionals will need more writing and content development services capable of keeping up with social media marketing demand. That’s where we come in; helping our clients tell their story and talk to their customers with customized content that is compelling and that promotes conversation.

    Happy holidays and here’s to a prosperous 2013 for all of us.

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  • 09Sep

    What’s wrong with getting paid? It never ceases to amaze me how many corporations and individuals expect you to work for free, especially if you are in a creative business. Every day I see posts on CraigsList requesting writers to work for fun and recognition. You can’t pay the rent with recognition.

    Which is why I want to bring two YouTube video posts to your attention. Kudos to Tina Dupuy, a freelance writer who used a YouTube video to shame the Tampa Tribune into paying her for running her article. Freelance work is hard, really hard. And those who tell you “write for me and I will make you famous” are smoking something strange and blowing smoke in all the wrong places. Intellectual property has value, and in the Internet age, we have to be even more diligent about protecting our own IP. Ms. Dupuy successfully defended her freelance writer’s honor through public humiliation of the newspaper that stole her work. It’s unfortunate that she had to do so in the first place.

    And in the same vein, I want to share the best writer rant on record. Harlan Ellison, creator of “A Boy and His Dog,” screenwriter on “I. Robot,” and science fiction writer extraordinaire, definitely writes for a living. He understands the value of the written word, especially to the professional writer. No one should ever be asked to work for free.

    So I want to close with a reminiscence of my Uncle Ed. He was the first freelance writer I had ever known. Long before the days of the Internet, Ed was cataloguing the latest jokes and submitting them to Playboy, or writing story p itches to the New Yorker and the Saturday Evening Post. He made a very comfortable living and supported a family of four with creativity, tenacity, and a sense of the value of his work. The Internet has leveled the playing field so anyone can call themselves a writer, sort of. Anyone can blog (including me) but being a blogger doesn’t make you a writer.

    So here’s a small online tribute to professional writers. Freelancing is tough. And to paraphrase Kris Kristofferson and Janet Joplin, “freelance is another word for nothing left to lose…” But for those of us brave enough to continue to write for a living in the Internet age, we deserve to get paid for our work.

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