Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome to the Modern Office

“Part of the problem is that modern workplaces make it so difficult to do any actual work. Employees spend an average of four hours per week in meetings, according to the Center for Economics and Business Research. Email provides a constant distraction: the average worker spends 28% of her time managing her inbox, according to a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute survey.”

Brad Stone

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Here Are 2 Ways to Cold Call a Reporter Via Email

1. Pitch an Idea

“Your latest article about Gen Y got a lot of buzz. Sharing the results of this study could be a great follow-up for your readers.”

2. Pitch Value

“I saw your tweet about Gen Y employees and thought you might like to learn the surprising results of a new study about these folk.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Should Scoops Come in a Single Serving, or in Multiple Flavors?

Faced with a scoop, big publications like the Times and Post tend to cram everything into one long article. Business Insider follows the same playbook, except when it doesn’t.

An example of the latter approach appeared last week, when reporter Alyson Shontell wrote up the story of Noah Kagan, an early Facebook employee who was fired and thus missed out on $185 million in stock options. Alyson extracted four different angles from Noah’s new book:

Page Views

Would combining these short takes into a longer single narrative have drawn more traffic? What do you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn Can All Auto-Preview Links. Why Can’t Twitter?

Drop a link to a New York Times story in Twitter.com, and you’ll see a URL. Drop the story in Facebook.com, GooglePlus.com, or LinkedIn.com, and you’ll not only see a URL; you’ll also see the name of the publication right under it, followed by the headline, a brief summary, and a related image.

As Mat Honan puts it, “Instead of an unparsable string of characters that may or may not lead to Goatse, you get a working summary of what you’re about to see.”

Roll the screen shots:





Monday, August 4, 2014

When It Comes to Going Viral, Quality Trumps Timeliness

Upworthy and Viral Nova, two of the web’s hottest, most viral sites, don’t care about timeliness—that is, whether they’re the first to break a story. They focus instead on the quality of their content. This is a lesson the New York Times would do well to learn.

Indeed, there are 15 million articles in the Times’s archives. The Gray Lady needs to do a better job of resurfacing this archival content.

For example, earlier this year, Gawker repackaged a 161-year-old Times article on Solomon Northup timed to the release of 12 Years a Slave. The Gawker post generated 200,000 page views.

Such arts and culture stories—about movies, museums, books, and theater—remain relevant long after they’re published. As the Times’s own innovation report puts it, “We can be both a daily newsletter and a library—offering news every day, as well as providing context, relevance and timeless works of journalism.”

Another example: On a whim, Times staffer Andrew Phelps made a Flipboard magazine of the paper’s best obits from 2013. It became the best-read collection ever on Flipboard. Why isn’t the Times doing stuff like this on its own platforms?

Lessons: Resurface old content (with a caveat). And tag everything.

Addendum: Felix Salmon: “Too many news organizations make their publication decisions based on what other news organizations have already published … when journalists start caring about scoops and exclusives, that’s a clear sign that they’re publishing mainly for the benefit of other journalists, rather than for their readers.”

Addendum (8/12/2014): Matt Buchanan: “There's already a certain apathy toward the origin of things—that's how we wound up with Distractify pulling in 21 million uniques in its second month, Ashton Kutcher funding the ‘fastest-growing site in the history of the Internet,’ and ViralNova.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

When Is a RT Just a RT?

Updated (8/10/2014)

Last year, the Washington Post asked and answered the following question:

“Do you have ‘RT ≠ endorsement’ in your Twitter bio? Maybe it’s time to take that out.”

Patrick LaForge, who coined the phrase, explains:

“A blanket phrase in my profile is not going to indemnify me. If I think a retweet is likely to confuse people about my viewpoint, or if there is some doubt about the accuracy of the original tweet, I add attribution, skepticism or other context. Or I skip it.”

Here are a few alternatives:

RTs == endorsements BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT RTS ARE.
Usual caveats about my own opinions apply.
Thoughts are my own, but, duh.
Julia Holmes Bailey
I RT what catches my eye. My views are my own.
Henri Makembe
Usual disclaimers apply.
Hayley Tsukayama
RTs != endorsements and, frankly, are sometimes accidental.
Brad Stone
Retweets are usually mistaken clicks.
Gene Weingarten
My tweets represent ONLY the views of the Post. Personally, I disavow them.

Concludes Gawker: “If your company makes you add this disclaimer, tell the higher-ups they are stupid for doing so. If you add this disclaimer yourself just because you want to, you are bad at the Internet.”

Related: The Best Spoilers on Twitter

Everybody Needs a Cash Cow

Cash Cow
Percentage of Revenue

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pop Quiz: Which Facebook Post Did the Best?

A. Close-up of Justice Ginsberg, pretty P.O.ed, asking everyone to Join the Dissent ad

B. Pretty sweet nostalgic I Love Lucy ad

C. The full Supreme Court, being called out for ruling against women ad

Answer here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How LinkedIn’s CEO Perfected His LinkedIn Profile

Lessons from Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s Networker-in-Chief [Fortune]

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al’s Other Talent: He’s a Brilliant Marketer

Two things helped to ensure that Weird Al’s latest album went viral:

1. Instead of releasing the entire album at once, he released his eight best singles one day at a time, thereby sustaining interest over more than a week.

2. He released each single as an exclusive to a targeted, high-profile outlet:

Lame Claim to Fame
Sports Song
Word Crimes
Mission Statement
First World Problems


Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Transform Your Mission Statement From Selfish Into Selfless

I am an energetic marketing professional who enjoys social media management and developing branding strategies.
I am an energetic marketing professional who wants to help your company build its brand and grow business.

Delete These 9 Things From Your Resume [PR Daily]

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Primer on Google Grants

A cheat sheet from Gott Advertising:

Google Grants is a product offering that looks and smells just like Google AdWords, yet it has special rules, which change on a fairly regular basis.

1. Most Grants are based on a $333 a day spending limit, with no rollover dollars. We prefer that you use it rather than lose it.

2. The bidding limit per keyword has been raised to $2. Surprisingly, it's not always in your best interest to bid the most you can.

3. Paid accounts on AdWords have priority over Grants accounts. We find strategies to work around those competitive limits.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Primer on Twitter Ads

A cheat sheet from Colin Delany:

Your options:

  1. Target people by their metropolitan area.

  2. Target particular people. For example, political reporters and bloggers in your state to keep your messaging at the top of their feeds every time they go to Twitter.

  3. Target people by who they follow. For example, the followers of the aforesaid politicos, under the assumption that they’re the politically minded folks you need to persuade or recruit.

  4. Target people who resemble the people who follow a particular user.

  5. Target people by what they tweet about.

  6. Target people who engage around a particular TV show. For example, the Sunday morning political talk shows.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Use Fun, Conversational Language for Common, Boring Functions on Your Website

Every website contains what’s known as an “error 404” page: it’s what you see when you try to visit a page that doesn’t exist. (Usually the result of a typo or a truncated URL.)

Smart websites use these pages not as a necessary evil, but as an opportunity to brand themselves and deepen their engagement with readers. For example, whatever your politics, you must admit this page is superb.

Even more pregnant with possibility than your error page is your About page. Smart companies use these pages to convey their corporate culture.

And even better than that lies your dreaded donation page. How do you make the appeal for money sexy? Well, at least two companies have figured it out, pairing their writers with their developers so that their solicitations sound less like an ask and more like a badge of honor.

The screen shots:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How Warren Buffet Wants His Finances to Be Managed When He Dies

The world’s most famous investor reveals his explicit instructions for the money he’s bequeathing in a trust for his wife:

“Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s.) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors—whether pension funds, institutions or individuals—who employ high-fee managers.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Real Genius Behind BuzzFeed: Data

Beyond the listicles and longreads and animated GIFs, BuzzFeed succeeds because of its data analysis. Here’s one particularly obvious yet often-overlooked example.

People who come to a BuzzFeed article from Pinterest almost never reshare that item on Twitter. Accordingly, for the Pinterest-driven, BuzzFeeds hides the tweet button. Equally important: the social media button in the first position is for Pinterest. Makes sense when you think about it, right?

As BuzzFeed founder, Jonah Peretti, explains, “It’s not enough to get the visit/click/view. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for that one visitor to share with as many others as possible.”

Related: How Upworthy Really Makes Things Go Viral

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The New Way to Measure Web Traffic

Myles Tanzer:

This week the Financial Times announced it would begin exclusively selling display ads off of a new metric: time spent. Medium recently reported it has started paying certain writers based on total time readers spend on articles. Upworthy made waves back in February ditching page views altogether to focus on what they call “attention minutes.” And back in May the traffic analytics company Chartbeat launched its “Attention Web” campaign, in an attempt to move beyond the click.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Biz Stone Does His Best Jonah Peretti

Q: As something that was supposed to change the world, do you find it slightly depressing that Twitter’s most-followed users are Katy Perry and Justin Bieber?

A: Well, no, because, in order for something to succeed, it needs to be fun and goofy—you need to develop a muscle memory for using it. If you build something that’s only serious, people just won’t think to use it.

Biz Stone on the Early Days of Twitter: "You Can Be Nice and Successful at the Same Time"

Related: How Reading Le Monde in a Cafe Next to a Dog Explains Today’s Media