Friday Wrap #43: The state of news, digital marketing’s future, illustration storytelling, and more

Posted on March 22, 2013 9:55 am by | Content | Instagram | Visual Communication | Pinterest | Brands | Facebook | Marketing | Research | Social Media | Social networks

Friday Wrap, movie-styleAmidst the din of the big stories of the week, it’s easy to miss some of the smaller reports that still could have big value for you and your communication efforts. Friday Wrap to the rescue! Here every Friday I share some of the other posts and articles you may have missed. I select the final items for the Wrap from, where I collect the candidates for the Wrap as well as for my blog and podcast. You’re welcome to check it out for even more crunchy news and commentary.

The state of news has implications for PR

The decline of traditional journalism continues, according to the Pew Research Center’s “The State of the News Media 2013” report, and the PR industry should take note, since there are both good and bad outcomes for PR in the news business’s decline. The public’s hunger for news is growing, not shrinking, and as mainstream media is able to deliver less of it, the public is looking elsewhere. That creates opportunities for PR to produce good content that satisfies that desire for news. Some companies are responding with innovative solutions, like “business leaders in Detroit (who) created an organization to serve as a ‘tour guide to journalists’ with the goal of injecting more favorable portrayals of the city into media coverage,” according to PR Daily‘s Gil Ridawsky. On the other hand, questionable practices are emerging, like agenda-driven propaganda campaigns “showing up in news outlets under journalists’ bylines, and some PR pitches are offering rewards for coverage.”

The future of the digital marketing industry may involve less agencies

The 2013 edition of the SoDA report—from a “leading voice” in the world of digital agencies and production companies—found that the future of digital marketing may be increasingly internal. “An impressive 40% of agency respondents have established in-house innovation labs/incubators,” according to a Daily Dog report. Insourcing appears to be a trend. In response, agencies are beefing up their client education and training efforts and are embedding their staff at client offices. Those companies that are using agencies are looking for higher levels of specialization in the firms they select. eConsultancy conducted the study for SoDA.

Klout launches business portal

Few social media endeavors polarize observers like Klout, the service that purports to report on just how influential anybody with a social media footprint is. While many (your humble reporter included) doubt that Klout’s scores represent anything like true influence, there’s no denying that companies are using those scores for everything from upgrading influential hotel guests to making hiring decisions. Whatever Klout is, its leaders aren’t stupid. Recognizing the growing interest in “big data,” the company has launched Klout for Business, “an analytics platform designed to offer companies more information about how and where influencers are engaging with their brands across social media channels,” according to Rachel King on ZD Net. Klout’s VP of Business Development, Matthew Thomson, wrote on the company’s blog, “Businesses will be able to look at an easy-to-read dashboard that tells you, at-a-glance, whether you are engaging your influencers on the networks where they are most actively exerting their influence and on which Klout Score ranges you could stand to amp up your efforts. Most importantly, Klout can tell you which topics your audience influences others on, helping you maximize your content efforts to drive consideration for your brand.” You can register to get an account when they become available here. No word on pricing.

Visual communication gets a boost from news organizations

We’ve seen the rapid rise of social visual communication with the popularity of tools like Vine, Pinterest and Instagram (not to mention the visual-heavy emphasis on Tumblr). The Poynter Institute reports that some news organizations, including California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting, are experimenting with use of illustrations as a dominant means of conveying a story. Take a look at In Jennifer’s Room from last fall as an example. Without photos, audio interviews or compelling visuals, the CIR turned to “illustrated storytelling” to create content that earned a fair amount of buzz. Content marketers take note.

March Madness isn’t the productivity drain many think it is

Every year you hear the same refrain, often amplified by press releases claiming to have statistics on just how many billions of dollars of productivity will be lost to employees using online tools to watch the NCAA basketball playoffs. Thank God for the staffing service Office Team, whose study into March Madness productivity losses shows that it’s more hype than anything else. Writing for Forbes, Darren Heitner says, “Only one-in-five employees are distracted at work by the inherent excitement that forms from watching major sports competitions. Further, 11% of the executives polled said they find March Madness activities to be a welcome diversion, and a whopping 57% of them admitted that while they do not encourage March Madness activities in the workplace, they find said activities to be ‘OK’ in moderation.” Even Challenger, Gray & Christmas—one of those firms that annually reports the lost productivity numbers—this year adds that “many will simply get a little more work done before or after the tournament to make up for any slowdown when games are on during office hours. In the end, March Madness will have little if any impact on employers.”

Wikipedia accuses BP of altering its entry

The next time you’re tempted to correct or improve a Wikipedia article about your organization or brand, revisit this story from C|Net that covers Wikipedia editors’ accusations that BP has rewritten 44% of the company’s page, with an emphasis on polishing its environmental record. In an effort to avoid violating the collaborative online encyclopedia’s conflict-of-interest rules, BP has “apparently inserted a BP representative into the editing community who provides Wikipedia editors with text, according to C|Net’s Violet Blue. “The text is then copied ‘as is’ onto the page by Wikipedia editors, while readers are none the wiser that the sections pretending to be unbiased information are, in fact, vetted by higher-ups at BP before hitting the page.” While BP insists it’s not breaking any rules, Wikipedians argue that the updates are “unpublished primary source material, and letting it set the tone entirely by slotting it into the article without quotation marks and without attributing it to BP. These drafts give us BP’s views of itself, or BP’s summary of the secondary sources BP has chosen to highlight. We wouldn’t use these texts word for word (in fact, we hopefully wouldn’t use them at all) if they were on BP’s website.”

Save your company’s social media from hacking

In the UK, a social media manager was among those laid off by music retailer HMV. She turned to the company’s verified Twitter account to share news of the layoff. At Burger King, the account was hacked from the outside by a jokester who changed its name to McDonalds and sent 53 tweets to the fast-food chain’s followers. Many other companies have seen their social media channels disrupted by hackers, but there are steps you can take to keep it from happening to you, according to HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, writing for the Harvard Business Review. Among them: get serious about passwords, centralize social media channels, control who can post messages, and offer employees basic social media training. (I fully endorse the last one in particular, since one of the services I provide is helping companies develop in-house social media training programs for employees.)

70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends

Advertising doesn’t build much trust, but friends do. Only 10% of consumers trust advertising, while 70% trust brand recommendations from their friends, according to a new Forrester report. Nearly half trust consumer reviews posted online, while those tweets you’re sending out under your brand’s identity? Only 9% trust them. Hence a recommendation from a friend that appears in the form of a paid Facebook sponsored story is more likely to produce a positive result than your own post to your Facebook page. Branded content isn’t included in the kinds of messages that earn low trust, though, since it’s not designed to sell. According to Forrester, branded content provides “added consumer value such as entertainment or education. It is designed to build brand consideration or affinity, not sell a product or service. It is not a paid ad, sponsorship or product placement.” Mashable has the story.

Marketers eagerly await Facebook hashtags

While Facebook has said nothing officially, internal sources have revealed the social network is at work on adding hashtag capability that will make it easier to search the site for themes and topics people are discussing, just like on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other networks where the hashtag has become SOP. According to Mary Lisbeth D’Amico, writing for ClickZ, marketers can’t wait. “‘Bring em on,’ enthuses Natalie Burgwin, senior manager, public relations at 1-800-Got-Junk? which bills itself as the world’s largest junk removal company, about the hashtags. ‘Visibility is the name of the game on social media and hashtags are going to increase that,’” she notes. The article cites several other marketers who are anxious for hashtags for a variety of reasons.

Amazon releases “Send to Kindle” button

There are a number of ways you can save a web page to read later. I’ve been using Pocket (formerly Read It Later) for quite some time. It allows me to save a story, synch it to my phone, then read it when I’m offline (on a plane, most likely). Ask most people, though, and they’ve never head of it. But they’ve heard of Amazon. They’ve heard of the Kindle. And when they see a button on a blog post or story that says, “Save to Kindle,” they’ll know exactly what it can do. The Washington Post and Time Magazine are among the first to adopt the button, whch is aimed at publishers. According to Amazon, “Just send once and read everywhere on any of your Kindle devices or free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad and Android phones or tablets. No more hunting around for that website or blog that caught your eye — just open your Kindle and all the content you sent is right there.” I’ll be adding it to my site soon, using the instructions here. A WordPress plugin is also available. Read more about the Kindle button on Paid Content.

Good news travels faster than bad on social networks

I had to read twice to make sure I had this right, but a study from University of Pennsylvania researchers reports that people are faster to share good news than bad on social networks. Considering all the death notices (I’m guilty of sharing obituaries of people whose loss saddens me), disasters, scandals and the like that seem to sweep across Twitter and Facebook, it’s heartening to know that “When you share a story with your friends and peers, you care a lot more how they react. You don’t want them to think of you as a Debbie Downer,” according to social psychologist Jonah Berger. In a John Tierney story in the New York Times, Berger and the research team report that word-of-mouth tends to be more positive. The article goes into some detail into the study’s methodology and the science that underlies why people are more inclined to share good news than bad.



  • 1.Great Article. However I wonder what type of service in digital marketing will emmerge in 2013 and 2014...

    Thats my question really :)

    Pedro Pereira | May 2013 | Portugal

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