Posts Tagged ‘information’


Part 1: Licensing – Monetizing Content in a 30-Second World

Monday, January 24th, 2011

My name is Dan Schaible. In past lives, I accrued 27 years working in newspapers for large media companies including Newhouse, Murdoch, Thompson, and Hearst. I worked in advertising, production, labor, and IT.  I currently handle the relationships with content providers for the pre-eminent American brand in full-service media monitoring, planning, and measurement – BurrellesLuce. This position, with the experience of those past lives, allows me a broad view of the media industry and the challenges it faces.Copyright sign

The challenges are formidable and immediate. More importantly, however, I see tremendous opportunity.

Let me start by saying that content is not free. But let me also quickly emphasize that content must not be perceived as expensive either. It has to compete with free or at least the perception that content is free.

Information is, ultimately, created by people with mortgages to pay – even corporate titans have a roof expense; some are just larger than others.

People, individually and as part of an enterprise, want more and more of this information, and they want it in real-time. The information-consumer is not really concerned with the technology. They just want what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Most users of content are not going to go beyond their usual routines to get info. They are not really concerned with platforms or formats. They are all about convenience; their convenience. In general, they are impatient, conditioned as they are by the 30-second sound bite, the 140-character tweet, and of most importance, the compilation of “hextracts” (headline/extract) and associated links as search or news results, which, by the way, will continue to defy monetization. Oh, and they want this all for free.

I am convinced that, even in the digital world, there is still and there will continue to be a place for full publication and page formats. This falls mostly within the areas of individual use and first use. These formats have an advertising and/or subscription component to provide some support for the creators’ mortgage payment, as long as the payments have been modified.

The 30-second formats are now clearly the largest format in use for the delivery of content to the user. The users receiving information in this “bite” format represent both individual and enterprise, initial use and reuse and generally do not provide support from advertising – except when the consumer occasionally follows the link to the article. These 30-second formats are all about the article format standing alone. Focus on monetizing the article will provide the big win/win for the consumer and the provider. Did I mention this is my view we are talking about here?

So, pretty simple right? Just come up with a way to charge for the use of the article when somebody reads the whole article instead of the hextract. Do this regardless of whether that somebody is the first reader of the article or the recipient of it being passed along in an email. Make the charge a passive transaction and at a price the consumer considers fair (I can hear Clay Shirky from here on that statement).The technology to do just this is actually, for the most part, already in existence.

Then why hasn’t it been done?

In my next post, I will provide my own take on this.

Robot vs. Human

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

manvsmachineWhen was the last time that you called up a company for information and were patched directly through to a fellow human? I can’t remember when.

In the past 30 days I’ve been on the phone with a cable company, a cell phone company, a bank, a law firm, two kinds of insurance companies, plus a pet store. The only time I was actually patched in directly to a live person was the later – the pet store – although they weren’t particularly helpful and I should really be adopting from a shelter anyway.

In any case, I submit that few things are more annoying than punching through a handful of phone prompts, listening to hold music, then stumbling through more prompts before realizing what you need isn’t one of the touch tone options and that you’ll have to wait for a human anyway.

Facepalm.

Please allow me to introduce you to Gethuman.com. This is a directory of companies, phone numbers and reviews, compiled by for and of the people, which offers not only a guide on how to bypass phone prompts, but details the best way to get the most out of any listed companies customer service department.

From their site, “The GetHuman™ movement has been created from the voices of millions of consumers who want to be treated with dignity when they contact a company for customer support.”

The GetHuman site was created by Paul English (also the co-founder of Kayak.com, a site that lets you search flights, hotels and cheap travel deals all in one place) in the mid 2000’s and has grown through the hard work and diligence of their team as well as the support and input from readers like you.

Using the recommendations on the site, I rarely get stuck punching through phone prompts anymore. I’ve also gathered a healthy respect for those companies that patch you straight through to a human representative. I hope that as time passes, consumer feedback and experience leads to a friendly sea-change in the service industry.

Robot vs. Human?

Human > Robot.

PR News Media Relations 2010, Colin Moffett, Weber Shandwick, interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. I’m here with Colin.

Colin, will you please introduce yourself?

COLIN MOFFETT: Sure. I’m Colin Moffett. I work for Weber Shandwick, and I’m a senior vice president on the digital communications team.

BURKE: Colin, thanks so much. And what is your advice for people as far as that shift in mentality of now becoming the newsmakers? What are the tips and takeaways that you have?

MOFFETT: Yeah. I think it’s, you know, more than anything else, it’s a–it’s a shift in thinking. It’s a shift away from being, you know, more of a press shop, where you’re–where you’re trying to place information and get other people to tell your story, and really becoming a story you’re telling yourself and thinking like a newsroom and thinking like a channel and creating content, being–having an editorial process, thinking through the editorial calendar, you know, getting content out there in different ways, different types of content, getting it out over different channels and really getting it in front of the people you need to get it in front of, as well as using the media and–to carry that story. But really using the sort of entire media landscape to make sure that your story gets where it needs to get.

BURKE: It’s definitely a paradigm shift that we’re all in communications trying to get our head around.

MOFFETT: Mm-hmm.

BURKE: Where can people find you online and in social media, Colin?

MOFFETT: Sure. They can find me at Twitter @cmoffett, C-M-O-F-F-E-T-T, and I can talk to people there.

BURKE: Great. Thanks so much.

MOFFETT: All right.

Is Your Press Release Guilty of Information Overload?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Working Hard resizeBranding and advertising messages can be both offensive and defensive – which may be why they seem to be everywhere these days.  Added to the barrage of news and posts coming in to your RSS feed, newsletters you’ve subscribed to, social news streams, your email inbox, not to mention your personal communications and – you’ve got information overload.  

According to a video based on the book Socialnomics™ by Erik Qualman, we no longer search for the news but the news finds us or, at least, it tries to reach us. I’ve heard there’s an average of 5,000 attempts to get our attention every day.  That was back in 2006 – the figures are probably even higher by now. But even so, 5,000 messages? Per day? Yikes!  No wonder we feel overwhelmed sometimes.

That’s the “average” person. Imagine how a journalist must feel. Journalists must be masters of information management. According to a Journalistics post, they are receiving hundreds of pitches a day. (Makes my head swim just thinking about it!) As The Media evolves, newsrooms are also switching to more hyperlocal formats and journalists are finding that they are wearing other hats, besides that of journalist, including business person and manager.

Seth Godin recently wrote on his blog that, “Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.”

To stop issuing press releases isn’t really an option, so how do you keep yours from being lost in the thicket of information and simply adding to the fatigue of digital overload? 

  • Craft the perfect headline. It should clearly epitomize what your press release is about while including keywords (for SEO). Try to get it down to 10-12 words or less.
  • Lead with the hook. The lead (first sentence or “hook”) should be clear and concise.  The news in your news release has to be obvious.
  • Skip the fluff.  State actual facts – products, services, events, people, projects. Avoid jargon or specialized technical terms.
  • Set word limits. In a recent PRSA Tactics article, Ann Wylie writes, “The recommended length for the average press release has dropped from 400 words in print to 250 words online, according to Internet marketing strategist B.L. Ochman.”  The press release should not tell the whole story but simply an idea of what their readers need to know.
  • Timing is everything. The content should be relevant and fresh – not too far past and not too far in the future.
  • Target distribution. I’m not going to detail in this post, but if you want to revisit why this is so important, you can read about it here and here.

As Wylie states (in the above-referenced article), “The right length for each piece depends on the topic, audience, medium, budget and other factors.” The key is not “smothering your readers with information.”

How are you tailoring your media outreach to fit the ever-changing needs of journalists and bloggers? If you’ve given your press release a makeover, to keep up with the times, how successful have your efforts been? Please share your thoughts with the me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

K.I.S.S. Unplugged

Friday, November 12th, 2010

by Rich Gallitelli*

Although it would be interesting to hear songs from the album “Destroyer” acoustically, I am talking about the acronym, not the band:  K.I.S.S., “Keep It Simple Stupid” or “Keep It Short and Simple.” My BurrellesLuce colleague, Cathy Del Colle recommends this principal to our team and clients each day. However, K.I.S.S. hasn’t quite effectively crept into all parts of our everyday lives…

Flickr Image Source: ryantron

Flickr Image Source: ryantron

I attended a luncheon, this past September, hosted by the Publicity Club of New York. The panel consisted of five senior TV producers/reporters who cover business news, all providing insight for PR professionals on effectively pitching their ideas.  All five panelists essentially preached the same mantra “You have to get your pitch across within the first three sentences of your email; otherwise, the email is deleted.”  Yes, three sentences. For a novice like me, that was an eye opener.

Afterwards, I began to realize that the essence of that statement has pretty much defined how we now interact as a society. Real time news – or more precisely, “today’s news yesterday” – TV shows with 45 second scenes, initialisms and acronyms, and our inner most thoughts in 140 characters or less are just a few of many examples. We also have a host of devices and websites such as Twitter, Facebook, video games, Droids, iPods, and iPad all designed to help keep connecting simple. When was the last time you went to a conference or even a coffee shop without seeing people typing away on their BlackBerries? Even the world of sports, once the cradle for colorful nicknames, has also fallen victim to our need for “simplicity.” The Yankee Clipper, Earl the Pearl, Larry Legend, and Magic, have given way to the mundane A-Rod¸ D-Wade, and T.O.  And we won’t even begin to discuss what our teachers have to deal with, while grading papers in the advent of the texting era.

Has our appetite for instant access and gratification been borne out of a lack of creativity or are we so plugged into technology that we simply do not have the time to use our creativity? In other words, has our need to “Keep it Simple” gone to the extreme and become counter-intuitive? (If you need any more evidence, I have two words: Speed Dating!) So where is the balance?

A group of researchers from the University of Stanford performed a study that found “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

After putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers realized the heavy multitaskers are paying a big mental price.

“’They’re suckers for irrelevancy, said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings are published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ‘Everything distracts them.’” 

In each test, the light multitaskers out performed the heavy multitaskers. “’When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,’ said Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. ‘That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.’”

In short, the human brain is not designed to multitask and hold all that information. When interviewed for this BurrellesLuce newsletter, Carol Schiro Greenwald of Greenwald Consulting, who was not involved in the study, explained: “We can’t multitask because the brain isn’t set up that way. It is set up to think in logical order, from general to specific. If you stop doing something in the middle — Think about when you start doing it again. You have to go back to the beginning.”

So while I am not advocating we become inefficient while on the job, I am advocating a re-evaluation of “Simple.” Perhaps it is a matter of unplugging from the world and our “need for now” while at home. In essence, apply the K.I.S.S. method at times when we are not on vacation, even if it is only for just an evening or a weekend. This Saturday, do not tweet that you are brushing your teeth, even if your dentist is following you on Twitter. Take a drive or a walk. Visit your parents, or a relative you haven’t seen in awhile. They will thank you for it and so will your eyes and brain. (Just don’t use the word decompress, it sounds so decompressing.) After all, life goes by in a blink and it’s much sadder if you haven’t noticed a tree until you are 65.

We may need information now and have the technology to get it; but, let’s face it, sometimes what we think will simplify things only makes it more complicated. But don’t worry. Monday morning, it’ll all come flooding back to you – the LOLing, the the multitasking, real-time news, etc – the moment you walk out the front door, or more precisely when you begin your morning commute. 

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*Bio: Richard Gallitelli brought a wealth of sales and customer-service experience when he came to BurrellesLuce in 2007. His outstanding performance as a sales associate and personalized shopper for Neiman Marcus (he also has worked for Nordstrom) earned him a nomination by Boston magazine as “Best of Boston” sales associate for high-end retail fashion stores. Rich’s talents also won him praise and a profile in the book, “What Customers Like About You: Adding Emotional Value for Service Excellence and Competitive Advantage,” written by best-selling business author Dr. David Freemantle. Rich majored in English Literature at William Paterson University, and is a published poet and short-story writer. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce