Archive for the ‘Social Media’ category

New EBook Offering from Amazon – Singles

January 28, 2011

One of my favorite blogging teams, Hubspot, reviewed this announcement from Amazon.  The bottom line: you can now publish mini books on Amazon (20 to 40 page digital documents often published as White Papers by various business experts).

I am repeating the short blog here as I think it is really helpful to any marketer (or just someone who wants to share their thoughts in a more formal way).

Ebooks Hit the Big Time With Amazon Singles and TEDBooks

Posted by Kipp Bodnar, Wed, Jan 26, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

“For a long time, there have been two types of ebooks. The first is the electronic version of traditional, novel length written works, spanning hundreds of pages. The second type are the 20-40 page digital documents offered by marketers and industry experts that are typically free to download or can be download in exchange for registration information. Today, these two worlds of ebooks are colliding and becoming one. 

Today Amazon, a company that has been pioneering the ebook market with its Kindle device and store, announced a new format of ebook that would now be sold in its store. Amazon is calling this new ebook format Kindle Singles, which are books typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words (fewer than 50 pages). According to Amazon, “each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single idea — well researched, well argued, and well illustrated — to be expressed at its natural length.”

Along with the announcement of Amazon Singles came news about a new type of content from TED. Famous for conferences that feature short presentations from some of the brightest minds on the planet, TED has announced it will begin selling TEDBooks as Kindle Singles for $2.99 each. According to TED curator Chris Anderson, “The success of TEDTalks has demonstrated that millions of people around the world are hungry to absorb new ideas. But not everyone has the time to go out and read an entire book on an interesting subject. TEDBooks fill that gap. Their shorter format allows someone to see an idea fleshed out in a satisfying way — without having to set aside a week of reading time.”

Ebooks Are Now Prime Time

Prior to this announcement, businesses, marketers, and authors have been able to submit their own ebooks to the Kindle store. However, Amazon’s Kindle Singles create a category and a market for a length and type of content that has long been relegated to the dregs of written content. Ebooks, as most of us marketers know them, have lived in a strange in-between world, too long to be read quickly like a blog post, but too short to command the thought and attention of readers looking for more in-depth content.  

Today’s announcement is a sign that digital publishing is slowly changing the publishing world. The flexibility of digital formats and distribution means that it is possible to share and monetize ideas regardless of their length.

Marketing Takeaway

As a marketer, it is important to understand the role of ebooks in your inbound marketing strategy. If part of your strategy is to gain credibility and thought leadership on a topic, then consider publishing your ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle Singles store for added distribution and reach. The bigger takeaway here is that the category of 5,000 to 30,000-word books has been given a boost in credibility. As consumers begin to read these mid-length books, their expectations will be that they can consume this type of content from organizations with which they are planning to do business, regardless of whether they are B2B or B2C.”


Content Curator

January 27, 2011

Not everyone has all the time in the world to write a blog, nor should everyone do so.  But some businesses are highly regulated and writing content can be legally challenging for them.  Chris Iafolla wrote a guest blog on Todd Defren’s PR Squared Blog that I think is worth reprinting here. 

The bottom line: If you can’t write content, find and review other valuable content and share it with your customers.  Become a content curator.

Here is what Chris said:

social media content

(c) 2010 PRSquared

“‘Content is king.’  ‘It’s all about the content.’  ‘All good social media efforts start and stop with good content.’  No matter what tired, overused cliché you use, the prevailing thought is that without creating killer content, your social media efforts are doomed.

It’s a valid line of thought; content is the currency of social media.  At the same time, content is one of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of an engagement.  The burden of producing consistently good content is enough to halt social media efforts before they ever get off the ground.

For a pharmaceutical company, the content burden is even more pronounced.  Not only do pharmaceutical companies face the same demands on content frequency, but they also have the added pressure of dealing with strict FDA regulations.  This not only limits what healthcare companies are able to say via social media, but also how compelling the content winds up being by the time it’s stripped down to comply with existing regulations.  It’s not an impossible task, but it adds a layer of complexity not faced in all industries.

In highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals or financial services, is there a role for a “content curator” as opposed to a content creator?  Is it possible to add value, build relationships and stay engaged if your company is not responsible for churning out content?

Absolutely.  If your social media engagement is stuck on the content creation planning—change your plan.  Your company can still add value as a content curator.  In the pharmaceutical industry, patients crave reliable information that helps them manage their health and feel a sense of community.  Healthcare companies can achieve both objectives without ever penning a single blog.

When it comes to health, pharmaceutical companies have added authority.  The patient population would welcome their help in identifying content that a credible expert deems reliable.

Did a recent article on managing diabetes appear that offers useful insight?  Retweet it.  Come across a video on YouTube on how families with a cancer-stricken loved one can best provide support?  Share the link.  Read a blog post that offers fresh advice on how to safely lose weight?  Comment on it, and share it.  The patient population will recognize your efforts to sift through the noise and identify factual content, backed by your authority as a respected pharma brand.

Being part of a community does not just mean churning out content.  Healthcare companies can engage with patients and identify useful content put out by other reliable sources.  Is it a perfect social media engagement?  No.  But in a space that is beholden to regulations, like Pharma, it’s a step on the path to a full social media engagement strategy.  So what are you waiting for?  Go move some content!”


January 23, 2011

Trust and TransparencyI have written before about the topic of transparency – what is the appropriate definition and execution of transparency.   I focused on the issue of trust.  The real point is to gain and keep the trust of your customers.

I regularly read Penelope Trunk, The Brazen Careerist’s blog.  She can be very controversial – I get that.  So if you are a Penelope hater, I apologize if what she says in the blog I am referring to offends you.  My intention is not to offend, but to explore the topic further.

She wrote an interesting blog on trust and transparency: “The Coming Decade will be about Trust“.  I found a few of her ideas appealing and wanted to share them with you.

She stated: transparency is about doing good.  While I don’t think every company will adopt this viewpoint, I found it a refreshing perspective.  Being transparent just to help yourself, is just helping yourself.  The point, she says, is to use transparency to help others.  And in a world of corporate responsibility, I think the concept is that when you do the right thing and tell people about it, you will be rewarded in the end.

She also asserted: transparency has a goal of kindness.  Transparency is not a carte blanche to disregard peoples’ feelings in the name of truth. In fact, that is not transparency, that again is just serving yourself.  She gives a counter example of a college situation that appeared to be an effort in fairness and transparency, but was really a veiled attempt at witch hunting.   You can see the details in the  blog – it is a pretty sad story.

So before your company adopts the “trend” of transparency, I think you need to have some guidelines and do some hard soul searching – both on a personal and corporate level.  And these 2 ideas are not bad ones to use as you start your exploration.

MeetUp Perks

January 17, 2011

I just read about a new marketing tool that MeetUp is offering.  I am squeezed for time so I can’t go into too much detail at the moment.  And Hubspot already did a nice job of it in their blog.  So please take a look at their details.

The highlights:  The feature connects groups with local sponsor businesses.  Through the sponsorships, you can offer discounts to targeted groups.  Getting it set up is easy (according to the blog – I haven’t tested it yet).  Set up a sponsor profile.  Come up with an offer or deal.  Limit the deal to groups that might be responsive to your offer (Mom’s, wine tasters, spa lovers, etc).  It costs $5 per group you sponsor for 1 month.

I would encourage you to learn more about this great target marketing opportunity.  If you test it, please let us know how it did for you.

Holiday Greetings

December 20, 2010

As we all happily leave the challenging year of 2010 behind, I wanted to take a moment to send out holiday greetings.  Everyone else is doing one of those “Year in Review,” “My predictions for next year,” “All I want for Xmas is…”  But I am not interested in putting one of those together.  I also try to avoid those clichés we seem to hear so much at this time of year.  But this year, a cliché seems very much in order.   

So if you will pardon my holiday cliché, I believe that the angel in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” made a great point when he said “No man is a failure who has friends.”

I am grateful for all the people in my life who help me to “avoid failure” on a regular basis.  Thank you for your support, kindness, and generosity.  Please take a moment to thank those who support you or better yet, lend a hand to someone who needs you. 

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

 And just to make your year end with a giggle, here is a corny holiday video that makes me laugh every time I see it.

Why isn’t it a Wonderful Life?

December 13, 2010

George BaileyEvery year at Christmas, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and am reminded of the value of doing good for others and having friends.  I love how when George is in trouble, his friends all gather to help him.  They never question his need – they just trust that George is a good man and he needs their help.   There is a happy ending in the movie.  The hero is rewarded with trust, goodwill and friendship.  And the bad guy doesn’t win.

And every year, I am disappointed to find that real life doesn’t mirror what happens in the movies.  In real life, in 2010, George Bailey would have been roasted at the spit by the media.  They would have sold thousands of papers (and banner ads on websites) splashing headlines that he was stealing from the bank.  They would have said Uncle Billy was in on the scam too.  The media would have camped out in front of his house, broadcasting an ever increasing stream of rumors and allegations.  

Someone would have said George was planning to leave for Jamaica with the harlot Violet and take the money with him. They would torment his wife and children each time they left the house.  Whether George lived in Chicago or the small town of Morris.  They would have hunted him down to find the most tantalizing story angle in an effort to  to get more readers or viewers and more ad dollars.  And every blogger with an interest in banking would have repeated all the false stories they read, spreading the “news” throughout the web.

To make matters worse, George’s friends would turn their backs – believing the lies that were written despite having known George all his life.  They would grab their 10 seconds of fame to say something bad about George in the news – whether they really knew him or not.  They wouldn’t give him a second chance or the benefit of the doubt. And the bad guys would have won, destroying George and his good name.  No singing of Auld Lang Syne in his parlor.  Just the needless destruction of a man who gave of himself unselfishly all his life.

I find myself wishing that real life was so much more like the movies.  Where heroes are rewarded for their efforts and friends stand up for them, even when it is hard to do.  Where the media actually presents both sides of a story instead of just the “sexy” side of an alleged fallen heroes.  Where the bad guys are punished and the good guys win.    I hope some day my wishes come true.

Augmented Reality

October 28, 2010
Tokyo N Building

Tokyo N Building

I attended a University of Chicago Consulting Round Table event last night and heard Tim Frick from Mightybytes speak on Social Media Optimization.  As part of his speech, he showed an example of what is new in mobile technology.  I thought this example was really cool and wanted to share it with you.

This is the Tokyo N Building.  The street-facing side of Tokyo’s N Building is covered in QR codes that can be read by a smart phone or mobile device that can read QR codes.  This includes shop information, tweets of the people in the building (located by GPS tagging), coupons, and reservations that can be seen through a dedicated iPhone app that’s available only by request.

The building’s developers explained their vision this way: “N Building is a commercial structure located near Tachikawa station amidst a shopping district. Being a commercial building signs or billboards are typically attached to its facade which we feel undermines the structures’ identity. As a solution we thought to use a QR Code as the facade itself. By reading the QR Code with your mobile device you will be taken to a site which includes up to date shop information. In this manner we envision a cityscape unhindered by ubiquitous signage and also an improvement to the quality and accuracy of the information itself…Our goal is to provide an incentive to visit the space and a virtual connection to space without necessarily being present.”

I love both the visual appeal of the concept as well as the marketing opportunities.  This is geo location marketing and permission marketing at its best.  The consumer can find the information they want and receive any special deals available.

The only thing I wish these applications / systems had (and it may already be coded in there and it is just not included in any of the news releases) is a way to know who the consumer is and make sure that the marketer knows if this is a potential new customer or one that has already shopped with you.  My biggest concern with the group buying sites that offer huge discounts (Groupon, BuyWithMe, Tippr)  is that the retailer takes the risk of giving a huge discount to an already loyal buyer.  Thus giving away margin they didn’t need to.  I would want these building specific applications to be able to recognize the consumer so the discounts and promotions could be appropriately targeted.

See something new and cool in the mobile world?  Please share it with us.  Thanks!