Will The Sky Fall In On Your Online Videos?

I wrote about a problem of poor audio quality a few weeks ago.  Whether it’s a webinar, a hangout or a corporate video too many videos suffer from poor audio – and it’s killing the value they have as a way to increase inbound leads.  It’s never made sense that companies make huge time and effort and, often financial, investments in online videos [both live and recorded] and then fail to make sure the audio quality matches that of the pictures.

I was listening to a few YouTube videos online this week and a couple illustrate the problem perfectly.  The performers, in my opinion, are equally talented – but the difference in the audio quality is night and day.

First, an example of a produced cover of the latest Bond theme, ‘SkyFall’.  The audio and video have been recorded separately and mixed in post production.

Then there’s this version produced in, what looks like, a lounge or bedroom.  I don’t know whether the tracks were recorded on separate channels and then edited together [pretty easy to do], but it’s clear that both were recorded at the same time.

Then there’s a version of the same song that’s recorded ‘as live’ with a bit of production.  You can’t see a mic in this version and, even if you weren’t watching the video, you would know that the main track was recorded on a mic some distance away from the singer.

And, finally, there’s this version that – I suspect – was recorded using the built-in microphone of the PC or Mac the video is being recorded on.  Either that, or it’s on a stereo microphone – perhaps the onboard mic of a camcorder.  You can hear some white noise at the start of the recording and the richness of the audio is not the same as the first two you heard.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ib55PR6wIQ

If the albums released by your favourite bands sounded like the last example, would you buy it?

Oh, and then there’s 95% of podcasts, webinars, hangouts and corporate videos.  If they were as good – or even close – to the final of these examples then they’d likely be far more effective than they are.  So, next time you are putting together a webinar, webcast, hangout or online video remember which version[s] of the covers you most enjoyed listening to – and make sure your audio rocks.  Your listeners will thank you for it.

Public Relations Is NOT Media Relations

It’s an increasingly common mistake. There appears to be only one ‘public’ that matters – the media.  You mention Public Relations and the assumption is that it ONLY involves press releases, interviews and – hopefully – coverage.  It’s a similar problem when you hear people talk about marketing – the assumption is that it’s all about promotion.  The other 3Ps in the marketing mix are all but forgotten.

It’s always been a problem – hard to believe the an industry where we sell communications services, we are largely unable to communicate effectively what we do – but it’s become worse with the growth of the real-time internet.  Rapid response has, for many, become more important than actually ensuring that we’re saying the right thing on behalf of clients.  Integrating public relations in to a wider promotion strategy, that is part of a well thought out marketing plan that includes product, price and place, messaging, a well researched, considered value proposition and evidence/proof points.

Even less time appears to be spent identifying target markets, working out which delivery mechanisms to use, tweaking messaging to make it specifically – rather than generally – relevant, and figuring out how to measure the success of the campaign.  Is it any wonder that our industry has such a bad reputation when the majority of those working in it don’t understand what it means?  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this infographic from PR Newswire Association LLC that asks the question of PR professionals ‘PR is…?’.  Only one answer in it is correct.

What is PR to your business?

What Is Public Relations? A Definition.

This infographic from PR Newswire Association is doing the social media rounds this morning.  The company asked PR professionals the question, ‘PR is…’ and these are some of the responses they received.   If you’re a marketeer buying public relations services it makes for worrying reading.

Do you know what the right answer is?

What is Public Relations

Copyright 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.

KLOUT is not a measure of online influence!

Much has been written about the nature of online influence and I didn’t want to add more to the debate, but when you hear somebody that, supposedly, has real influence talking rubbish – ironically about real influence – well, I felt compelled.  I don’t know how you measure influence, but I certainly don’t use a smoke and mirrors algorithm that measures… well, we’re not actually sure what it measures.  I certainly measure influence in the amount of interactions I have with them or the number of books that they’ve sold.Influence is a complex, and subconscious, thing to measure and it’s personal to me.

So, when I heard Scott Stratten of Un-Marketing ‘fame’ saying, in an interview with small business website CanadaOne  “…you can go to a site like Klout.com and run somebody’s twitter name and it will show you how much real influence they have.”, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.

Klout – a tool for measuring REAL influence?  Really?!  How do you measure real influence from social media activity alone? How does that work?

Scott, an ‘expert’ in “viral, social and authentic” marketing explains that, “January 1st, 2009 I said that I was going to live on Twitter for 30 days. Literally live on Twitter. I tweeted 7,000 times. I literally lived there and I went from 1,200 followers to 10,000. The key is not the number but they key is that there was engagement in conversation and 75% of those 7,000 tweets were replies. It was talking with people, not at them.”

Right Scott, but what were you saying to them?  Were you actually giving them good advice? Demonstrating that you knew what you were talking about? Because, if you were telling them that Klout is the place to go to see who has real influence then… well, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  You might be able to persuade people to take action – I guess that’s influence – but what’s the point of influence if you’re giving them bad advice? You’d lack credibility then wouldn’t you? You can’t have real influence without credibility, can you Scott?  How authentic is a metric measured on the number of  engagements, without actually measuring the value or credibility of what you say?

If you’re really suggesting that a tool that, effectively, measures the number of times you respond to others across a small number of platforms – rather than measuring the validity of what they say – can tell you who has real influence then you’re lacking real credibility.  You can check out Scott’s interview with Canada One here:

http://www.canadaone.com/ezine/may2011/unmarketing_social_media_interview.html

Admittedly, the video was shot a year ago – but was published in November 2012 on the CanadaOne website.  It’s only because I googled “Scott Stratten + Influence” that I found  out when it was recorded [May 2011].  Now Scott may have changed his view of Klout since he recorded it, but I couldn’t find anything from an hour searching specifically for it on Google.  If I’m misrepresenting your views on Klout Scott, please tell me and I’ll update this post.

I wrote about false experts a few months ago and this is the best example I’ve seen in a long while… [I don’t think anybody can consider themselves to be an expert in social media in what is still a very young discipline]

* Final sentence added Thursday 15th Nov. 2012 for clarity.

My TechCrunch Tour

3 cities, five days, a few beers, and hundreds of technology entrepreneurs!

If TechCrunch Toronto was amazing, TechCrunch Detroit [#TCDetroit] was proof that Motor City is on its way back – and it’s being led by technology entrepreneurs rather than the automotive companies.  There’s definitely something very exciting happening in the city and it was great to be a part of it.

[youtube 2Lc9BCFHG1c nolink]

Next up, Chicago for #TCChicago

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It’s The Message, Stupid

When did you last review your PR and marketing messages?  Did you test them with your target audience to make sure that they struck a chord with them before you started posting them to every possible channel? If the answers to these two questions are ‘I can’t remember’ and ‘no’, then perhaps it’s time you did both.

Over the last few weeks Americans have been bombarded with TV, print and radio adverts, speeches, telephone calls, emails, tweets, Facebook posts… [you get the idea] from the two main candidates in the US Presidential election.  Each communication, the candidates hoped, would strike a chord with voters and persuade them to give their vote to them, rather than to their competitor.  Last night we found out which message had most impact amongst its target audience.  More voters, it seems, related to President Obama’s ‘Forward’ message than to Mitt Romney’s promises of ‘Real Change’.

Why?  The answer is the strength of the message and ownership of it by Obama supporters, rather than by the campaign team.  Let me explain.  I was prompted by a Facebook post by Fast Company magazine this morning to read an excellent article on Brand Obama, written in 2006, by Ellen McGirt.  The article  looks at how the then Senator was revolutionizing the way politicians build support.  He was the first to embrace social media in 2008 and also the first to let supporters take ownership of the message as they shared it with friends, followers and undecided voters across the United States.

While the article is about a politician there are lessons that every marketer can learn from the piece.  It talks about the fundamental elements of building a loyal fan base and how, by communicating a message they can buy in to, you can make them feel part of a political movement or brand to the point that they become loyal to it and help you recruit new brand ambassadors/customers.

This innovative way of building brand advocates only works, however, if the message is the right one.  It doesn’t matter how many media [traditional and social] channels you use,  if the message doesn’t resonate with your target audience you’ll be doomed to failure.  Obama understands this and the article talks about how uses social media to test a message and then allows his audience to modify and evolve the message as they spread it.  Whether it’s his ‘Yes We Can’ mantra from 2008 or the more recent ‘Forward’ from the 2012 election Obama makes his message easy to understand, straightforward to buy in to and leaves the context to his supporters to define.

It’s a tactic that very few companies use. “Giving up control online, in the right way, unleashes its own power”, explains Ellen in a her article.  It also scares established brands.  Why would they give control of their message – often developed over years and at a cost of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars – to their customers?  That will change and the strategies used by Barack Obama are things that successful communicators, whether they are politicians, household name brands or startups, must embrace.

If you’ve not revisited your marketing messages recently, or you didn’t test them with your target audience to make sure that they are the right ones it’s time to do it – NOW.  Call me on +1 647.773.2677 to find out how to start the process.