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Ban the blog

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It’s 2012. There’s a dizzying new world of possibilities for creating and distributing content. We have the technology - but we also have some bad habits and emotional baggage getting in the ...

It’s 2012. There’s a dizzying new world of possibilities for creating and distributing content. We have the technology - but we also have some bad habits and emotional baggage getting in the way.

iCrossing’s Content Director Charlie Peverett takes you on an entertaining journey through the evolution of online content to give you a fresh and inspiring perspective on what really matters.

Find out why your first action might be to ban the blog.

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  • Today I’m going to make the case for:Scrapping some bad habits in thinking about content onlineUnderstanding the bigger opportunities when we talk about ‘blogging’Looking at pictures of cats in buckets
  • Sensible. So much so 2005.
  • Also true.
  • So Andrew, I know you’ve moved on since saying this. But, you know.
  • Oof! Truth in a tweet from Content Malcontent (and former iCrossing head of content) Tamsin Bishton Hemingray.
  • [albeit a clever, self-distributing bucket]
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/nseika/6376364681/sizes/l/
  • Some of us will always be more interested in the bucket.But unless you’re a bucket fancier. http://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/6860515636/sizes/l/
  • Some of us will always be more interested in the bucket.http://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/6860515636/sizes/l/
  • Some of us will always be more interested in the bucket.http://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/6860515636/sizes/l/
  • It’s what’s in the bucket that we usually care about.
  • I think this is worth a few moments. Because it tells us about how digital is developing, and how easy it is to get caught in old language. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nromagna/5643588854/
  • 1. Blogs have been godsends to frustrated web editors of rubbish CMS systems.
  • 2. Not a good enough reason to actually do it.
  • 3) Especially in SEO, and especially post-Penguin, budgets are moving. But the expectations for how you achieve visibility (or engagement, or conversion) through social media need to change too.
  • If I’m talking to editorial people here I will mention pain first. If I’m talking to non-editorial marketers I’ll probably replace ‘pain’ with ‘money’. Both statements work.
  • When we could see a blog project becoming a free-for-all, a dumping ground for content that’s doesn’t fit anywhere else, this is how we sometimes describe it. Specifically, we used to sing it to each other to the tune of the Moonpig.com TV adverts. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikko_luntiala/5068157476/
  • Because blogs are so flexible, and host most kinds of content easily, it’s tempting to put stuff there *simply because you can* rather than because you should. Hence shitpot.com.
  • Lots of specialist platforms have sprung up – depending on what you have to say and what content you have to share, one or more of these may be a much better alternative to standard blogging.
  • And you’ll have a strong idea of what should – and shouldn’t – be on it.
  • Long-term value on-site content Guest spots on established sites Good old email Twitter / Pinterest / Youtube / etcContent curation
  • Our ability to work closely on something…Can lead to a troublesome loss of perspective
  • Back to the confusion with media buy
  • Financial services, for example, tend to have very little to say beyond their product ad service information that many people want to hear. Time and again the approach in producing ‘social’ content is to invest time and energy a step away from what they actually do as a business.Unless it’s done really well, consumers can smell it a mile off.
  • I want to marry Flickr and everyone on it.

Ban the blog Ban the blog Presentation Transcript

  • Ban the Blog Charlie Peverett
  • Definition of ‘blog’ #1• A contraction of ‘web log’• A diary-style way to publish content easily to the web• Typically displaying the most recent post first• Usually enabling readers to add their comments
  • Definition of ‘blog’ #2• A revolutionary democratisation of the process of publishing content that has the potential to empower people across the globe to tell their stories and express their opinions View slide
  • Definition of ‘blog’ #3• Mainly created by "bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mothers’ basements and ranting”. – Andrew Marr, Oct 2010 View slide
  • Definition of ‘blog’ #4• …our main website is still too shit to add anything to it regularly so well dump stuff here instead and hope someone notices. – @tamsinbishton
  • Claims made for blogging by marketers• Blogging will increase your visibility• Blogging will increase your engagement• Blogging will increase your authority
  • Claims made for blogging by marketers• Blogging will improve your sex life• Blogging will do the washing up for you• [insert your own]
  • The blog is a bucket
  • Buckets are great
  • Some of us will always be more interested in the bucket
  • but for most of us….
  • It’s what’s in the bucket that counts
  • How did we get distracted by buckets?
  • How did we get distracted by buckets?1. Blogs as workarounds
  • How did we get distracted by buckets?2. My boss heard about blogging…
  • How did we get distracted by buckets?3. It’s treated as a media buy
  • In short…• The success of your blog is increasingly tied to what you say - not merely the fact that you’ve chosen to speak
  • In short…• Alternative platforms may suit your objectives better
  • In short…• Thinking hard first saves pain later
  • In short…We’re seeking toavoid the fate ofthousands ofcompany blogs.
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!• Here’s our press release about a store opening in Milton Keynes
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!• Here’s our press release about a store opening in Milton Keynes• Look! Voucher code!
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!• Here’s our press release about a store opening in Milton Keynes• Look! Voucher code!• Pictures of us in the office eating cakes
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!• Here’s our press release about a store opening in Milton Keynes• Look! Voucher code!• Pictures of us in the office eating cakes• Something else, can’t even remember what
  • Blogs with archives that look something like this• Here’s an exclusive interview with one of our designers!• Here’s our press release about a store opening in Milton Keynes• Look! Voucher code!• Pictures of us in the office eating cakes• Something else, can’t even remember what• I posted this to get HR off my back!
  • It’s a place where content goes todie.A mishmash of bloggery-pokerythat at iCrossing we like to call:
  • Shitpot.com
  • ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪Shit-pot-dot-com
  • The solution?
  • • In early stages of planning, ban the word ‘blog’
  • • In early stages of planning, ban the word ‘blog’• Take those questionable claims for ‘blogging’ and replace ‘blogging’ with ‘being interesting and relevant on a frequent basis’
  • • In early stages of planning, ban the word ‘blog’• Take those questionable claims for ‘blogging’ and replace ‘blogging’ with ‘being interesting and relevant on a frequent basis’• See if the conversation goes somewhere different
  • Ban the BlogReason 1:You’ll focus more on the purpose,less on the bucket
  • Ban the BlogReason 2:You’ll consider better options forpublishing and distributing yourcontent
  • Ban the BlogReason 3:If you do settle on the need for ablog it will be a positive decision
  • It’s a case of moving from areactive model to a strategic one
  • We need to producemore content / ‘be social’
  • We need to producemore content / ‘be social’ [knee jerk]
  • We need to producemore content / ‘be social’ [knee jerk]I just signed up for Wordpress!
  • We need to produce We need tomore content / ‘be communicate social’ smarter! [knee jerk] vsI just signed up for Wordpress!
  • We need to produce We need tomore content / ‘be communicate social’ smarter! vs Why? To whom? [knee jerk] Where? How?I just signed up for Wordpress!
  • We need to produce We need tomore content / ‘be communicate social’ smarter! vs Why? To whom? [knee jerk] Where? How? MainI just signed up for Off-site Email site Wordpress! Twitter Apps Blog
  • We need to produce We need tomore content / ‘be communicate social’ smarter! vs Why? To whom? [knee jerk] Where? How? MainI just signed up for Off-site Email site Wordpress! Twitter Apps Blog
  • We need to produce We need tomore content / ‘be communicate social’ smarter! vs Why? To whom? [knee jerk] Where? How? MainI just signed up for Off-site Email site Wordpress! [maybe] Twitter Apps Blog
  • Three great tips for blogging being frequently relevant and interesting online
  • 1) Get some perspectiveGet everyone thinking like a real person wholikes real stuff![interactive workshop activity was here – butyou can try this at home]
  • Exercise: thinking like a real person• Take a group of people• Ask one person to talk about something they love online (doesn’t have to be a blog)• Bring it up on the screen for everyone to see
  • Exercise: thinking like a real person• Ask that person to specify the positive qualities of the site they’ve chosen• Add each quality (e.g. accurate, funny, surprising, inspiring) to a post-it note• Put the post-its on a wall
  • Exercise: thinking like a real person• Repeat with as many participants as you can• When finished, have a look at all the post-its• Consider which qualities have arisen time and again (it’s usually the same ones…)• And finally….
  • Exercise: thinking like a real person• Consider whether the content you’re planning is likely to have any of these qualities…
  • 2) RelevanceBeware marketers who tell you they can beinteresting on your behalf[cue deathstar]
  • Stuff you actually do /what you know about
  • Stuff you actually do /what you know about A step away from your products and services
  • Stuff you actually do /what you know about A step away from your products and services Way out of comfort zone
  • Increased time, effort, investment to establishStuff you actually do / credibilitywhat you know about A step away from your products and services Way out of comfort zone
  • Increased time, effort, investment to establishStuff you actually do / credibilitywhat you know about A step away from your products and services Less relevant to what your Way out of customers want comfort zone from you
  • Increased time, effort, investment to establishStuff you actually do / credibilitywhat you know about A step away from your products and services Less relevant to what your Way out of customers want comfort zone from you Risk of brand erosion
  • Increased time, effort, investment to establishStuff you actually do / credibilitywhat you know about A step away from your products and services Less relevant to what your Way out of customers want comfort zone from you Risk of brand erosion Risk of looking a bit desperate
  • 3) *Do* something interesting• 98% of interesting online content involves something interesting happening offline*• The cost of *doing* something interesting (a project / event / campaign) is rarely factored into the investment in producing content• The further from your core business your focus for content is, the greater the need to commit to *doing* extra stuff to fuel what you have to say* I totally made this up but I believe it to be true
  • Bonus tip: Tags are not contentRemember, tag clouds are the mullets of theinternet (Zeldman, 2005, still bears repeating)
  • So in summary• Purpose before content before platform• Get some perspective• Keep it relevant• Doing something interesting
  • Ban the Blog Thanks Charlie Peverett
  • Image creditsImages reproduced under Creative Commons licence:Roses in a bucket image by Flickr user jenny downing licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenny-pics/3079485197/sizes/l/Colourful stacked buckets image by Flickr user tanakawho licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/28481088@N00/670258156/Buckets on sale in street image by Flickr user nSeika licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/nseika/6376364681/Tennis court image by Flickr user EEPaul licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/6860515636/Cat in a bucket image by Flickr user nromagna licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/nromagna/5643588854/Pissed off cat image by Flickr user Mikko Lumtiala licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikko_luntiala/5068157476/Please note that the ‘blog as perfume’ image is reproduced under copyright from the supplier.