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Gini Dietrich

Four Reasons You’re Not a Media Company

By: Gini Dietrich | June 20, 2011 | 
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At last week’s Vocus User’s Conference, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Adam Singer’s session.

He spoke about the importance of becoming a media company and about building equity in a community.

Last week, we talked here a bit about the importance of building your own community via your own website or blog.

Adam repeats that importance by saying, “Most companies are playing around in platforms someone else owns. Most companies are not building a hub for traction.”

Following are the four reasons you’re not a media company (yet) and Adam’s recommendations for solving these issues.

You have a lack of cadence

People ask me all the time how many times they should blog. In fact, Marcus Sheridan wrote a fun post last week about  the best blogging schedule (hint, it’s not the same for everyone).

Three years ago I would have answered that question differently. Now I’ll tell you that consistency is key. If you decide you want to blog once a week or once a month, that’s fine. Just do it on the same day at the same time so people know when to expect to be able to read or view your brilliance.

My favorite thing Adam said during the presentation (which was to a room full of communication professionals) was,

If you can’t come up with a blog post idea every day, you’re in the wrong field. Put on your media hat and go tell the story.

To him, this means you should be blogging daily. To me, however, people are creatures of habits. Just let them know when and how often to expect your content.

You’re focusing only on Facebook and Twitter

We’ve also talked quite a bit here and at Jayme Soulati’s blog about how important it is that communication professionals learn some marketing skills. While I usually focus on the numbers, the math, Adam says you also have to think beyond Facebook and Twitter.

The Web is bigger than the two social networks. You must learn how to use search and social.

You shouldn’t be marketing on the web if you don’t have conversion goals. Get access to your analytics, have your techy guys show you how to add goals, and track those goals. Don’t know what those goals should be? Call me. I’ll help you.

Your design is outdated

Come on, people! With WordPress and a few plugins, your design can be updated and pretty. Sure, it may cost you a couple hundred bucks when it’s all said and done, but that money is well spent when you’re competing on the web with other companies who’ve taken the time and invested in their content efforts upfront.

Too often companies invest in their design after they hit a certain pinnacle. Are you sure you want 10,000 readers before you invest in design? My guess is no…because you won’t get to 10,000 readers with crappy design. Don’t know what to focus on? Ingrid Abboud asked her readers a couple of weeks ago what they look for when they visit a blog. Read the comments there. You’ll get plenty of ideas.

And guess what? Once you buy your domain and upgrade to WordPress.org (from .com), most of the plugins are free.

Do it. Do it now.

No one understands your content

Are you using corporate Bingo, as Lisa Gerber calls it? That means you’re using acronyms and vernacular only your colleagues can decipher.

We work with a Fortune 10 company that uses acronyms in their every day speak. It took us two years to a) figure out what the heck they were saying and b) get them to stop.

Adam says the secret to producing content is to publish a blog on your own. As communication professionals, this is extremely important.

When I wanted to figure out what worked and what didn’t, I launched My BFF’s Beauty Bag as a test blog. You’ll see I’ve published nothing there for two years, but this launched me into writing for Spin Sucks every day. I understood how to build a community on the blog using Twitter and Facebook as promotion tools. I understood what content people wanted to read about. And I learned who I needed to follow in order to gain inspiration and ideas.

I know. I know. We’re all busy. You don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.

If you really want to understand how to produce great content, it’s non-negotiable.

Ask yourself these questions

As you learn how to develop content for your company or for your clients, Adam suggests you ask yourself the following questions:

  • So what? How is this useful/different/fresh?
  • Does it have character and uniqueness?
  • Is it relevant to my target audience?
  • Does my headline stand out?
  • Will the content make people look funny or smart by sharing it?

He says,

You have to care about your content. Be creative, be networked, and be passionate.

So what can you do, today, to either get started or freshen your content?

P.S. You can visit The Future Buzz for more information, charts, graphs, and case studies on solving these four issues. The blog post is here.

 

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

107 comments
kamkansas
kamkansas

I love, love Lisa Gerber's corporate Bingo! Each industry seems to have its own jargon, and many people in that industry are convinced that everyone on Earth knows what those acronyms and their jargonese means. It is really tough to convince them that describing their work in plain English will be better for everyone.

This post solidly confirms the reasons why I'm working to develop my own website and blog. You DO need your own hub to truly build a community and gain traction. Adam Singer was one of the first people I followed on Twitter, and I think his advice is right on. Thanks so much for sharing this post, Spin Sucks!

T60Productions
T60Productions

Jeepers... you just gave me a lot to think about. :-)

--Tony Gnau

alexwood15
alexwood15

Terrific post here Gini. We're shooting for 'consistency is key'. Have an additional question, apart from TW and FB, what do you think is the most powerful social tool to help grow subscribers?

NancyD68
NancyD68

@ginidietrich I ask myself questions all the time. "What is the meaning of life?" "Who am I?" And "Who is that nut in the tracksuit?"

MandyBurrell
MandyBurrell

"Are you using corporate Bingo in your web content?" Nice post, @ginidietrich!

Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience

So, let me understand this: whenever-I-get-around-to-it is not a posting schedule people can relate to? Okay, that explains a lot.

This post is a nice smack upside the head. The regularity thing has been my bete noire so far in this game. Marcus' post on scheduling gave me some inspiration, as you could see success being achieved via many different schedules, but I still need to find a schedule that works.

Btw, I love that you used the word "cadence" in discussing posting frequency!

NancyD68
NancyD68

Corporate Bingo! I love that! I have to start blogging for the company (since I am a "staff writer" but they like snazzy stuff with lots of acronyms. Me? I would rather tell small businesses how to keep people (clients and workers - but especially workers) happy.The only other business writing I seem to be good at is taking an example (like Rep. Weiner) and breaking down what happened.

The questions for the content are really great. I ask myself similar questions with my own blog.I ask is this useful/touching/inspiring before it gets posted. If it makes me shed tears, it is likely someone else will shed some too.

I am getting to a point with my blog (nearing post number 50!) where I have to do something. I am going to move it and get it hosted and try to make it pretty. God help me!

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

I'm in the real estate niche. The challenge most (if not all) realtors face is that of how to stand out in a crowded market-place. And yet, I think too many real estate agents undermine the importance of having a good quality site design.

If your design is outdated and doesn't look professional and fresh, you can forget about making any headway past the competition. Same goes for your content. Frankly, the success of any real estate (or other business) blog is dependent on your ability to develop fresh new content, consistently.

</rant>

bdorman264
bdorman264

I hear ya and I don't even have anything silly to say. All I know is if you set your goals low enough, it really is hard to be disappointed.

If I would have even had an inkling of how this was going to go, there are probably a few things I would have done differently. I didn't jump into this thinking I'm going to grow my blog to X. I just wanted to be able to comment and reply and thought it was part of the 'game'.

Of course, now the pressure is on because I'm really at a crossroad. Do I just keep the blog personal and continue to crank out fluff or do I step back and map out a plan; not necessarily a business plan but what I want to look like in 90 days? It would certainly be very easy to do nothing.

I think one of my steps in the plan is who do I want to align with and start being more pro-active to make it happen.

I really was supposed to be invisible; I didn't make up the name trying to be cute...........I'm not that smart..................just sayin'.............

Yes, I believe it was about mid-April when you told me to 'Do It Now'.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@alexwood15 For us, it's Triberr (which I guess is a Twitter tool), then Google, then StumbleUpon, then LinkedIn, then the other bookmarking tools (Reddit, Delicious, Digg).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Adam | Customer Experience When I started out, I did Tuesdays and Thursdays by 9 a.m. Then I added Wednesdays. Then I added Fridays. Then I added Mondays. They I started publishing by 7 a.m. Then I added a second Friday post. Then I added guest bloggers. Then I added a Sunday tips post. So it's not like you have to maintain the same schedule all the time. Get yourself in a habit and add from there.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@NancyD68 It's really too bad they've hired you, but won't take your counsel. I know I should be all uplifting and help you find a way to work within the confines, but with what I know, it's going to be really hard for you to be successful if you have to write content full of acronyms and industry baloney. As Adam says, "Good content is industry agnostic." Which means the same great content could work for your company blog and mine.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@bdorman264 I think if any of us realized how it was going to go, we would have done things differently. I spent two days with really smart bloggers and was kicking myself for things they're doing that I'm not. It's all in how we handle change and how flexible we are in making those changes.

You know what I think you should do...

alexwood15
alexwood15

@ginidietrich Thanks Gini! Triberr is something I'll have to familiarise myself with. btw the blog we're building is coming along nicely and the plans for an end-July launch are looking good! Y.A.Y!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Ricardo Bueno AND (if I may join your rant) the idea that you have to do what everyone else does insane. The best way to win is to be faster and better than your competition...and that means online, too.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@ginidietrich @bdorman264 I love how Bill says he has nothing funny to say right before saying something really funny. He should give Dane Cook lessons because that guy needs the help!

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

@ginidietrichI don't have an owl. Oh well, I guess I will just have to use the old email thing. Seems so last decade though.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich I used to be a competitive swimmer. The fish and I get along famously.Not as well as Aquaman does, but good enough to keep the sharks away. Must be my big teeth.@ExtremelyAvg

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

@ginidietrichThat is an interesting question. I will make a list of people who might be able to help. Once I have it, I will send up a S.O.S (possibly in smoke signals...though I could use carrier pigeon, if you prefer.)

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich What if your Twitter and Blogging goals are to become the leading PR agency in Chicago, except you live in a different state. Can you still help. ;) @ExtremelyAvg

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@ExtremelyAvg I can help you! The idea is you network with, and RT the work of, bloggers who match your Twitter and blogging goals. Are there bloggers you can point to that will/can help your fiction writing goals? Give me some names and I'll help you get started.

NancyD68
NancyD68

@ginidietrich and I love you too! I tried to save you some pizza, but Dennis ate it. Men!

bdorman264
bdorman264

@HowieG @ginidietrich Hey, don't link me up w/ Dane Cook. I was trying to be serious.................it is quite the chore for me.......

bdorman264
bdorman264

@HowieG @TheJackB @ginidietrich There is some truth to that when I win the lottery; not only will I have all these relatives crawling out of the wood work, but I'm sure my 'community' will want a piece of the action now too, huh?

Ok,ok, I have a blog and I write; but you know what real bloggers look like. The only thing I'm in demand for is another donation to the United Way. Please sign your name right here, sir.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@bdorman264 @TheJackB @ginidietrich Bill I have been to your blog a few times how much more luck do you need. I got scared off because my inbox was filled with 'new comment on BillDorman's Blog' but with some luck I will timidly peek in again. For a guy who doesn't call himself a blogger you get more love than Chris Brogan and Gini combined.

I myself prefer anonymity so I can win the lottery.

Trackbacks

  1. […] for your content (when it’s linked to from others’ blogs) takes time, consistency, cadence, voice, relevance, and […]

  2. […] Four Reasons You’re Not a Media Company – Everyone can blog, the real question is should they? This topic comes up a lot now with companies entering the space. Many do it because it is cool and often fumble or leave it dead or full of jargon. So how do you avoid that? Well the answer is to follow these four tips. […]

  3. […] Singer said it best during a speech he gave this past spring: If you aren’t using the tools yourself, you won’t understand […]