Changing the Conversation: Brands as Newsrooms
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Changing the Conversation: Brands as Newsrooms

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Connected consumers are now in charge of what, when and where they consume their individually preferred content. Consumers also have higher expectations for responsiveness, participation, and ...

Connected consumers are now in charge of what, when and where they consume their individually preferred content. Consumers also have higher expectations for responsiveness, participation, and relevance. They expect brands to react to breaking news and engage in conversations about trending topics at the speed of social. According to Edison Research 42% of consumers want brands to respond to their questions within an hour. For more and more in the marketing industry, the answer, at least in part, is content marketing. Creating a cohesive brand strategy that tells the story of the brand, relays useful information and entertains consumers.

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  • At the Huffington Post, we learned early on that to be relevant at the speed of culture we needed a massive scale in our newsroom. And “technology” that integrates search & social into how we publish. By doing those two things we’ve been able to become the #1 Most Social Publisher on the Web.Only 8 years old… The Huffington Post is a pulitzer-prize winning, global brand. Routed in INNOVATION and TECHNOLOGY, reaching 78M readers worldwide. Today, I want to share with you Lessons we’ve learned as “newsrooms” for you to apply in your brand strategy. Lesson #1…
  • As marketers BEHAVE MORE LIKE PUBLISHERS, youfind yourself wondering how to leverage a CULTURAL MOMENT to make your brands hyper-relevant.“Content at the Speed of Culture”we ADMIRE HOW BRANDS LIKE OREO cleverly took advantage of the power outage at the Super Bowl in their social channels. But we also CRINGE when brands awkwardly mix marketing and disasters, natural and otherwise. REAL-TIME CAN BE A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.Kenneth Cole (Cairo / uproar over our spring collection), MSN (Robin Gibb), Kmart (Newtown / #Fab15Toys), Epicurious (Boston)Advice for brands… Being “of the moment” MIGHT BE THE SEXY part of digital publishing, but it’s also the MOST DIFFICULT AND DISTRACTING. The real Opportunity is to think beyond real-time … Online is no longer “flight based” it’s a 24/7 opportunity to provide meaningful context and information. it’s time to commit to REAL TIME ALWAYS ON… THE REASON?
  • The reason is because Consumers have HIGHER EXPECTATIONS for RESPONSIVENESS, PARTICIPATION and RELEVANCE THAN EVER BEFORE. (CLICK) But the problem lies in our collective inability to keep up with the flood of incoming content…Publishers, like HuffPost Partner Studio are working with brands to help execute social content strategiesAt HuffPost - We’re helping brands like Johnson & Johnson, Gen Mills, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Chipotle and others… by leveraging our newsroom to publish in real-time always on! And they are seeing tremendous value.
  • One example
  • One example
  • 80% of our traffic comes in directly to our B pages (or article pages) NOT our front pages. What’s mostly driving that? SOCIAL. What drives SOCIAL for HuffPost? TECHNOLOGY 3M people every single day come into HuffPost from a newsfeed link from Facebook & Twitter alone. Anyone can create great content. There is an Art (INSPIRATION) that tells us what to publish… but there is a science (TECHNOLOGY) makes the story bigger (after it’s published)… and our editorial team goes through over 20+ hours of training Science is to optimize search, social but NOT to define the story
  • Brands are responding Through NATIVE advertising… BRANDED CONTENT IS EVERYWHERE WE LOOK, In fact, there’s 60 times more content from brands in our newsfeeds than just two years ago. The challenge with this approach is that two-fold: (CLICK) Most brands are programming EASY, high CONVERSION content but that doesn’t build the brand story or BRAND EQUITY. In fact, from a business perspective, it’s non-sustainable model. (CLICK)And two… CONSUMER REACTION - 30% of consumers have privacy concerns, 40% like/follow for discounts “freebies” and 50% think that brands clutter their newsfeeds.We’re finding the real value of social is through the recommendations of our friends and that’s where you as a brand want to be. Quality content is what they are sharing which is why content is the most valuable piece of the social web puzzle. The most effective approach is to complement your PUSH strategy with shareable content that resonates with your consumer.
  • Digital Marketing is NOT ABOUT REACH OR FREQUENCY anymore. It’s actions!!! Just like it’s not about the LIKE anymore. But the SHARE!You need to carefully curate and edit your content, because you want people to share. THEY’LL DO IT BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THAT YOUR CONTENT REPRESENTS THEM (RESONATE)— their tastes, opinions, knowledge, sense of humor. But it also HELPS THEM UNDERSTAND WHY YOU’RE “RIGHT” FOR EACH OTHER - Make it worth distributing for the right reasons for your brand, not just the bandwagon.POSITIVE CONTENT IS 2X AS LIKELY TO BE SHARED. SOCIAL IMPACT – 71% of consumers will promote a brand/product that gives back. (EDELMAN).
  • A lot of research is being done by marketers to understand the NEXT GENERATION CONSUMER. What we have found is that they are a “participation generation”. We’ve always been a “vocal” society but times have truly changed with the advent of digital/mobile/social technology. We’ve seen tremendous success with HuffPost LIVE when we empower the consumer. Over 10,000 guests from 90+ countries have joined the conversation on HuffPost LIVE.
  • Technology Matters.With a 15% decline in brand site visitation over the past 3 years. Especially among the millennial audience you need to think about syndication not destination. You need to integrate social via tools that allow you to “schedule” tweets, utilize real-time dashboards to monitor what stories are trending. Do you have a CMS platform that allows you to link with google analytics and apply top trending search terms in real-time? In order for digital to work for you you have to understand It’s a “LINK-BASED ECONOMY” with Distribution as the goal.

Changing the Conversation: Brands as Newsrooms Changing the Conversation: Brands as Newsrooms Presentation Transcript

  • Brands as Newsrooms 5 Lessons from The Huffington Post Lauri Baker Head of Branded Content, The Huffington Post 1
  • The Huffington Post CREDIBILITY #1 Most Social Publisher on the Web • 500+ editors and reporters • 55k bloggers • 1,600 stories per day • 78M Global Unique Visitors • 87M Monthly Social Actions • 3M Daily Referrals from Social David Wood “Beyond the Battlefield” 2012 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting 2
  • 1. REAL-TIME PACE REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS “content at the speed of culture” 3
  • REAL-TIME IMPERATIVE REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE 1B FACEBOOK POSTS PER DAY 200M EMAILS PER DAY EDELMAN CREATIVE NEWSROOMS SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS 42% 400M OF CONSUMERS WANT BRANDS TO RESPOND TO THEIR QUESTIONS WITHIN AN HOUR* TEXTS PER DAY TWEETS PER DAY 5.6M 4
  • ALWAYS-ON MARKETING STRATEGIES REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS IT’S TIME FOR A NEW CONVERSATION ABOUT FOOD “…this isn't about Chipotle vs. McDonald's. Instead, it's an indication that people are more aware than ever of the impact that food has on people, animals and the environment…. sharing Chipotle's vision and making people curious goes only so far. The next step is feeding that curiosity with information” Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle CMO (Native Ad Brand Blog) 7.8K 4.1K PAGE VIEWS SOCIAL ACTIONS 72% PAGE VIEWS FROM SOCIAL & SEARCH 52% INTERACTION RATE 5
  • ALWAYS-ON MARKETING STRATEGIES REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS IN THE FIRST 4 WEEKS…. 3.5M 1.3M PAGE VIEWS SOCIAL ACTIONS 1M+ UNIQUE VISITORS 88M TWITTER MENTIONS 6
  • 2. ART + SCIENCE REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS “social accounts are the new front door” 7
  • CONTENT MARKETING 2.0 = NATIVE ADS REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS 60X 90% MORE BRANDED CONTENT IN OUR NEWSFEEDS VS. TWO YEARS AGO* OF PEOPLE TRUST RECOMMENDATION S VIA THEIR SOCIAL NETWORK EDELMAN CREATIVE NEWSROOMS 8
  • 3. SOCIAL CONTENT ART + SCIENCE REAL-TIME PACE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS “traffic is not an accident. It’s a decision” 2X POSITIVE CONTENT / GOOD NEWS IS TWICE AS LIKELY TO BE SHARED 9
  • CONTENT (NATIVE AD) BEST PRACTICES REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION 1 STAND OUT 2 Set yourself apart by having an unusual perspective or reversing the conventional understanding of an issue. Use surprising stats and interesting facts to bolster your argument. 5 Build reader trust by providing good content that gets them in the mindset to think positively about your brand. There’s no need to force-fit product mentions into a piece. It should always feel organic. INFORM Break down complicated issues for readers and provide solutions they haven’t thought of before — make sure tips are original and unique, not common sense. 3 DON’T OVERSELL BE TIMELY 4 Evergreen content is good, but real-time content in sync with the news cycle is better. TECHNOLOGY MATTERS HUMANIZE Human interest stories that tie a face and a name to a cause are more likely to capture a reader’s attention and motivate them to take action. 10
  • 4. PARTICIPATION GENERATION REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS “be a part of the conversation” 300M HUFFPOST COMMENTS IN 8 YEARS 11
  • 5. TECHNOLOGY MATTERS REAL-TIME PACE ART + SCIENCE SOCIAL CONTENT PARTICIPATION GENERATION TECHNOLOGY MATTERS INTEGRATED SOCIAL “it’s a link-based economy” REAL-TIME CONTENT 12
  • THANK YOU! Lauri Baker Head of Branded Content, The Huffington Post lbaker@huffingtonpost.com @LJayNYC 13