Digital Marketing

Pins, Tweets, and the Law

Cole Haan

While a slew of social media channels have existed for years, many brands still consistently struggle with the balance of effective engagement and traditional push strategies. One popular option for many are sponsored contests and promotions as they allow some level of “control” on platforms that really remain a wild west environment for brands as consumers can easily create a discussion in a very public manner. However, the control offered by promotions that felt like a safer bet for brands changed recently with the first public warning (in the form of a Closing Letter) of a brand by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to Cole Haan regarding a Pinterest promotion requiring users to pin images of its products to enter a contest.

The issue for the brand in this case, and for all brands across any social network or site online, is disclosure and transparency of the connection between an activity and the incentivized nature of that action. Would a Pinterest user potentially create a board of fashionable shoes they liked? Absolutely. If the reason for…

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Digital Marketing

7 Tips for the Perfect Byline

pen-paperAs online media and traditional journalism roles continue to evolve, the byline has emerged as one of the most effective ways to share a company’s message – particularly in the B2B technology sphere. Technology writers are inundated with pitches every day, and their newsrooms are often understaffed. Rather than spending extra time pitching, following up, arranging interviews and writing media briefs – only to end up at the bottom of their never-ending pile of story ideas – take the bull by the horns! Pitch and write a byline.

Here are seven tips to ensure your byline makes the top of the homepage.

  • Pick the right outlet – Where are your client’s potential customers trolling for new ideas? That’s where you should be writing. Look at your client’s customer personas and step into their shoes. Research where they are they going on the web, and what they are reading. Develop a list of potential outlets.
  • Ask for their guidelines – Most online pubs have a set of guidelines to which your byline must adhere: length, content, headshot, bio etc. Sticking to these guidelines carefully is the first step to success.
  • Choose a noteworthy topic…
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    Digital Marketing

    3 Content Killers to Avoid

    At some point it happens to everyone. You’re developing content and more content and it hits you – is anyone even listening? Constantly developing new content can sometimes feel as if you’re running in circles. Don’t let your content collapse from exhaustion! Instead plan and develop content that stands out and keeps your audience interested by avoiding these three content killing approaches:

    Strategerization. Strategies don’t have to happen in sequence. If you go through objectives, messages, audiences, strategies and tactics in that order, you will have sucked up all the fun. 

    We’re told: don’t come up with a Twitter strategy, develop an overall content strategy!  But sometimes it’s okay to start with channels – they’re a necessary vantage point because they show you what’s workable. They can be your inspiration.  Look outside your brand and your message. See what consumers are seeing. You may land on a question like: wait, are they even on Twitter? That’s great. Now you’re asking the questions you need answered, and you can sort those out from generic profiling or catch-all research.

    You don’t know what you need to learn about your audience until you start working with a…

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    5 Tips to Ensure Digital Marketing Success in 2014

    ClickZ-Live-Logo-NewIn early April I had a great experience at the ClickZ Live Digital Marketing Conference in New York. During the three-day event I was bombarded with glorious amounts of information, stats, “aha” moments, head scratchers and confirmation that what I’ve been reading hasn’t been a bunch of malarkey. It’s impossible to synthesize all the information I ingested into one blog post, but I hope this synopsis provides some high-level insight into and provokes thought about how brands and marketers currently utilize the digital environment.

    The State of Digital Marketing

    zettabyteThere is no magic marketing bullet: I’ve spoken about integrated marketing in past posts, but this conference really confirmed that success in the online world will rely on a multitude of tactics, strategies, devices and channels to ensure that marketers reach their target audience. In a landscape where 2.7 zettabytes of digital data exists, campaigns that solely focus on paid, earned or owned media will easily get lost in the noise created by this continual and exponential growth of digital data.

    Ensuring Digital Success in 2014

    To cut through those zettabytes of digital noise, great content needs…

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    Digital Marketing

    Cereal Killin’ It: How General Mills Used its Corporate Blog to Go for the Jugular against Cornell Research

    Trix memeDid you know that cereal companies are trying to subliminally brainwash kids into becoming lifetime cereal loyalists? That’s what a recent study from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab concluded based on findings that kids’ cereal characters tend to look downward toward children in an attempt to make eye contact.

    The study unleashed a flurry of mainstream media and blogger attention. A quick Google search pulls up a bevy of scintillating headlines from the likes of Forbes, NBC, ABC, CBS, USA Today, Huffington Post and many others. While some will certainly find the study thought-provoking, the interesting story, in my opinion, is how one major food processor chose to respond.

    Cornell released its study on April 2, and media coverage hit a fever pitch the next day. Less than 24 hours later, General Mills’ VP of Global Communications, Tom Forsythe, took to the company’s blog to defend Trix Rabbits’ honor, and to poke a few giant holes in Cornell’s approach. Whether you agree with Mr. Forsythe’s position or not, the way he responded is a great example of how brands should be using social channels to be…

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    Digital Marketing

    A Must-Have Guide to Creating a PR Plan that Doesn’t Suck

    I’ve been reading the Spin Sucks blog for over four years. Yes, four years, the same amount of time it took me to earn a college degree! A four year commitment may sound like hard work, but it doesn’t feel that way.

    anigif_enhanced-7462-1391636269-16It was 2010; I had recently left my first big girl job after college to embark on my next career adventure. I was hired for a brand new position as the social media manager for an association. My purpose was to build the organization’s social media presence and strategy from the ground up, alone. Working in a marketing and communications department of three, I was starving for the opportunity to learn from others in my industry so I could become a better communications professional.

    Then, I stumbled upon Spin Sucks.

    Reading Spin Sucks every morning was a dose of PR inspiration and just the practical knowledge I needed to continue to take my work and career to the next level. Spin Sucks connected me with a community of other readers, PR professionals and marketing enthusiasts that kept me on my toes and encouraged me to become a better PR professional.…

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    Digital Marketing

    New Research: Do Industrial Pros Use Social Media?

    Social Media Research for industrialIHS GlobalSpec recently released research findings from its annual survey of technical professionals in the industrial sector. Overall, the findings don’t reveal anything too earth shattering – social use continues to increase, but overall time spent on social for work purposes remains relatively low. However, there were a few key points worth paying attention to if you’re a marketer in this space.

    The study surveyed 1,177 industrial professionals, the majority of whom are engineers or other technical professionals (77%), the remainder work in technical/support services (5%), and R&D (4%). The report looks at how these professionals are applying social media to their daily work, and examines challenges in using social.

    A few key findings:

    • 56% spend less than one hour per week on social media for work-related purposes.
    • 74% maintain a LinkedIn account – it represents the most popular network among this audience. The majority (79%) belong to at least one group.
    • 48% use video-sharing sites like YouTube for work-related purposes. Demos and how-to videos are the most popular…
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    Digital Marketing

    How Many Facebook Pages Does One Company Need?

    Three companies who have it all figured out

    Facebook-Like10A single company can have a million services, but they only have one brand. Maybe that means one Facebook page, too. But what happens when consumers want to connect with only some of your services?

    Take a medical group, for example, which consists of different practices in different locations. The medical group provides healthcare services from pediatrics to women’s health to physical therapy. These disparate target audiences are thirsty for content just for them. As a brand, you must choose between a consistent master brand presence and a meaningful and targeted connection with customers. How do you win a war against yourself? If the medical group’s women’s health practice wants to start their own Facebook Page, you have to decide if this dilutes the brand’s social media presence or enhances it. Some are inclined to say this splinters the brand, but the proof is in the engagement.

    Here are tips from 3 health focused brands that have it figured out:

    1.       Aetna
    I had the opportunity to meet Lauren Vargas, Head of Social Media and Community at Aetna, a few weeks ago at xPotomac. Lauren…

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    Digital Marketing

    Drink better wine

    there are so many great stock photos about bad wine but, ugh, this photo is just amazing. Courtesy

    Last week I attended my very first meeting of a book club set up by a friend. We’re all in our 20s and pretty universally broke, so when my friend suggested everyone bring $5 to cover the cost of wine and cheese, I jumped at the opportunity to get the wines. There’s nothing worse than facing a table of bad cheap wine after a long day at work (except maybe the hangover the next day).

    When it comes to cheap wine (here defined as under $10), my general rule is to always avoid the familiar grapes. There is NOTHING worse than cheap Pinot Noir. I, for example, spent $55 (including tax!) on a Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Barbera, Zweigelt and Minervois. Sometimes knowing about wine is associated with snobbishness – the more you know the better you are at spotting the gems among the cheap stuff. Knowing what wines can be both affordable and drinkable takes some serious wine skillz.

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    Digital Marketing

    3 TED Talks that Should Shape your Social Strategy

    I’m addicted to TED Talks. When I first started watching them I was actually looking for examples of effective public speakers. But then the ideas drew me in, not to mention the brilliant people making complex topics like microbiology and metaphysics accessible. TED is all about spreading ideas to better understand the world and talks run the gamut from science to business to global issues. While there are a few talks that address social media directly (here’s one on reputation management, one on online crowds, and one on how social media can make history), I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites that don’t actually mention it, but rather contain ideas we can incorporate to make our strategies more effective.

    Talk 1: The Technology of Storytelling by Joe Sabia

    What I learned: If you take a look at brands succeeding in social media, it becomes abundantly clear that we as content marketers can no longer expect to simply push our messages out to the masses and hope they stick. We must pull. And we must do so with useful, engaging content. Joe Sabia’s talk about…

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