Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Getting It" – 12-Year-Old Outshines the Pros on Driving Blog Traffic

You are missing a treat if you don’t visit Problogger, where 12-year-old David Wilkinson wrote an articulate guest column on driving traffic to your blog. I agreed with one of the 80+ people who commented on the post, Gary Ruplinger, who said: "This makes me feel really old when I’m getting advice from someone who’s half my age … Written a heck of a lot better than most adults who claim to have passed college English courses (and better than some writers I’ve hired who’ve claimed to have a masters degree in English)."

Wilkinson reviews the basics ("start by building quality content for somebody to see"), then emphasizes the "three Cs: community, communication and consideration [to your audience]" as well as the importance of search optimization.

It may be a "well, duh" that the teenage, pre-teen and 20-something generations are far more immersed in social media and that public relations directors need to pay attention to them … and structure campaigns to respond to the different media consumption habits of multiple audiences. The lesson: listen or be an obsolete counselor.

To that point, the ad agency community has been under fire for not "getting" the age of digital communications fast enough. To its credit, Ogilvy & Mather is really trying, having aligned with the blog search engine Technorati to try to help clients find their way. The initiative, as reported by Brian Steinberg in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), is aimed at reaching those who spend time creating content rather than watching or reading content produced by someone else. I doubt that this is going to solve the inherent conflict between advertising and blogging, but perhaps some people's horizons will be expanded. Maybe they should listen to the 12-year-old instead.

Steinberg interviewed Peter Hirshberg of Technorati who aptly calls on marketing organizations of all types to "have somebody on board whose job is to listen, to converse with and ensure the company is engaging with its customers, whether they are on blogs, MySpace, YouTube, whatever…. The new 24-year-old person you will hire, you will be amazed by the knowledge they bring to the table." He observes "the most interesting action in the blogosphere is really the hundreds of topic areas where communities coalesce and people are having conversations," and "the blog isn’t going away, because it really does give the audiences a voice."

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Monday, February 05, 2007

How Do You Multitask? Let Me Count the Ways

Not that long ago I wrote about how media and technology had turned the 24-hour day into the 43-hour day. Jumping on the bandwagon, eMarketer just declared in a new report that our virtual day is actually like 36 hours when all media consumption is considered.

The new wrinkle of the eMarketer report is its specificity about the nature of our multitasking ways.

For example, two-thirds of the total U.S. adult population -- 100 million -- watched TV while they were online last year. Ninety million listened to the radio while online. More than 50 million read magazines while online (hmm… that doesn’t make sense unless you go online to read the magazine… unless we’ve sprouted an extra eye somewhere).

Further, people are not dropping one form of media in favor of another, according to senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson , the author of the report. "Full engagement is no longer a realistic expectation," she said. (What did she say…?) And everybody is multitasking -- although kids are multitasking more. The dichotomy between generations on media consumption is growing, said Jeff Cole, of the Center for the Digital Future, which has perhaps the longest longitudinal study on the matter.

So what’s a marketer to do? It bears stating the obvious:

Understand how your audience is consuming information. Take the time to get the facts, with online research and by seeking out information through live conversations.

It has always been true that the more channels you utilize to get in front of your target audiences, the more successful you will be. It’s even truer today.

If you are seeking to reach across the generations, it is critical to tailor your campaigns.

Measure. The online component has made it increasingly easier to understand what’s working … and what’s not, so you can fine-tune your campaigns on the fly.

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