Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Info Manager: Your New Job Is Video, Concept Is King, and Here's What You Need

If you're a marketing or communications manager, information video is about to become part of your job responsibility. Here's the why, how, and who.

Why? Most people are read-up and fed up.
Lucy Kellaway writing in the U.K.’s Financial Times says employees faced with information overload are stuffing their ears, closing the blinds, and shutting down. “... the written word has lost almost all its power. No one reads e-mails any more - with the exception of those from the boss. Messages from anyone else are either deleted unread or given a cursory glance and then ignored.”

Kellaway says management, too, is getting rid of information. “... companies have decided to deal with too much information by giving up any attempt to manage it on the grounds that to do so costs too much. Since the recession began, many have closed their libraries and taken the axe to their knowledge management divisions, set up with such pride and optimism barely a decade ago."

But people still want to watch. In fact, they want to watch more.
The buzz that prompted Kellaway’s article emanated from Carol Bartz, president and CEO of Yahoo, who contributes to The Economists’s “The World in 2010.” Bartz says, “That’s why the greatest mandate for leadership in business is the ability to cut through the information clutter and make clear decisions without apology.” How to cut through the clutter? Bartz alludes to video “snacks,” calling video the “cornerstone” of Yahoo’s strategy.

At first glance, I wondered if Bartz was snacking on something more potent than video, but then I remembered that a colleague told me her middle school niece goes first to YouTube, then to Wikipedia, in researching any paper for school. For information ... first to YouTube! Wow.

Today's volume of information demands that users must both see and hear in order to process. For information architects and managers of all ilk, the message becomes an irresistible mandate to evolve written stories and messages to visual stories and messages.

In short, we're moving from a written world to a video world, and nothing can change that. So -- if you're an information or marketing manager today, what is the mindset that will take you to the next step? That would be the ability to think.

To conquer, conceptualize.
Effective video demands that we conceptualize first. Concept in hand, we can execute the steps that go into effective video -- research, locate, listen, see, coagulate, film, process, edit, and -- ultimately -- communicate.

The film documentarian -- that dedicated man or woman who has something to say and follows it to the ends of the earth -- personifies the new communications model for information video. Think of The Discovery Channels amazing "Planet Earth" series; Ken Burns Civil War masterpiece on PBS, Michael Moore's "Capitalism" grappling with complex economic theories. These are massive undertakings of research, interview, selection, and presentation that make The Watergate Papers pale in comparison. All are draped in detail, but heavy on concept.

Bottom line: Concept Is King.
If this level of information delivery is where snack video is going -- and surely it is-- we're also talking about new definitions for career genius and a great many new jobs. Here's the management team you'll need for effective information video. Some of these folks may already be on staff, others not; plus, any one of these folks probably needs myriad assistants:

• Leader (you?): The One who can conceptualize a project, develop a message, build the team, and sign-off along the way.
Executionary (production person?): The One who can take a plan, oversee the team, devise and enforce schedules, crack whips.
• Information Architect (writer?): The One who can string together the narrative, find and coagulate bits of message, and schlog through raw footage for "that's it!"
• Film Maker (could be a designer, but you likely don't have this one yet...): The One who can appreciate the message, tell people where to stand, and get great-looking film into the camera.
• Editor (another newbie ..): The One who "gets the message" and puts it together for maximum effect.

-- scrubbed Marketing Brillo

Friday, November 20, 2009

Twitter: Follow Friday's Mentor of Choice

Marketing Brillo primarily follows marketing, PR, digital, video, social media, and technology experts. A few of these folks are big names like @louisgray and @rogerdooley, but, increasingly, follows of choice include the somewhat Lesser Knowns who recognize, track, vet, and happily share the "right stuff." For that reason, Twitter has become Marketing Brillo's ultimate career mentor.

Today's sampling?

• A free webinar on SEO via @mvolpe, Hubspot.
• Continuing posts from Thursday’s rockinWebinar on PR strategies via #PRWeb.
• “The Art of the Paragraph,” pointers from @copyblogger.
• For a nostalgic Friday Sigh, @steverubel “Ten Common Phrases That Could Soon Be History.”
•#TwitTip How To Squeeze Every Last Drop of SEO Juice from Your Twitter Page.
• @JohnFMoore: Social Conversation Monitoring
• via @DallasAdMan, The Ten Uglies of Project Management (love this one.. Retweet, retweet)
• via @wordpost: "Why Won’t Bloggers Dig Into Detail?" by @davidspinks -
• For pure Machead rumor mongering and rumpkicking, @5great tweets this:
• To sober up, @gleonhard says: Here is a guy you need to pay attention to: @Umairh - Edge Economy and other wisdoms

No way to keep up with all this stuff alone. Thank you Twitter Mentors, one and all.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will Vlogging Replace Blogging? Will Actors Replace Writers? Maybe.

Some people would say Blog = info, and Vlog = entertainment. Loïc Le Meur, CEO of Seesmic, doesn't care to split that hair.

On November first, Le Meur posted “30 Predictions for the Future of Twitter.” In the post, he used both blogging and vlogging formats. Check his post for a great predictive wrap-up that shows how written bulleted points can play nicely with longer, more detailed video (19 minutes worth, actually).

One of BusinessWeek’s “25 Most Influential People on the Web,” Le Meur writes, “I am blogging every day a video on about (almost) everything I do as I start Seesmic. I also constantly post short thoughts to twitter and often my pictures on Flickr.”

Highlights of Le Mur's view of the future of Twitter include:

• Twitter will still be dominant
 in status updates;
 it's the motherboard to which we plug in.
• Twitter might replace Chat for many people.
• Vertical Twitter apps 
will start to appear; Stocktweets is the first one.
• There will be less and less bullshit 
in public events and in general.

Gotta love that last one. As always, don’t miss the comments.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Techno Trauma Can Be Deadly. Got A Cure?

Marketing Brillo doesn’t like to whine, but let’s be realistic. A lot of people in this marketing/PR business – and most other industries – are technologically traumatized.

Every day -- simply in the process of doing our jobs -- we must deal with software, hardware, peripheral, cell phone, netbook, operating system, networking, and – increasingly – Internet glitches. Here’s a short sample from the last 24 hours (Marketing Brillo is not making this up).

• Wary of the phishing scams that invaded Twitter direct messages yesterday, I applied my IQ to changing my password. Whatever I typed in (and Twitter accepted twice) didn’t work this morning. That affected Tweetdeck, of course, which might have been obvious to others, but took me awhile to figure out. Password Perplexia: 30 minutes.

• This morning I tuned in to my first virtual conference: The Social CRM Summit hosted by Lithium. I had pretested my system (15 minutes, last week), but when it came time to listen, my freshly downloaded Real Player wasn’t working and had to be REinstalled. No surprise there: Real Player is one of the worst bits of technology ever thrust upon us, a plague dating back 10 years and still leaving scars. Real Player Rash: 16 minutes.

• Safari wouldn’t play nice with the virtual world, so I switched to Firefox, which also asked to be rebooted from Post Real Player Rash: 5 minutes

• Once I got into my virtual conference, I wanted to upload my photo/avatar. I had lots of little gifs on my computer, but they were all too big. A trip to Photoshop fixed the Image Impetigo: 10 minutes.

• Since it was a holiday, I thought I should invest in my Marketing Brillo Facebook fan page. “Please fan me” invites to friends and family, aka Fan Funk: 38 minutes.

• Lately, my printer has taken to power surging, momentarily taking the Starship Enterprise (Marketing Brillo’s workspace) down with it. Testing Tendinitis: 7 minutes.

• Distractions from the evil Adobe Updater interfered with system performance: Updater Upchuck: 9 minutes

By noon, I was 115 minutes down and out with Techno Trauma. For most of us sick with technology, there’s nobody to call, no immediately apparent solution, no “getting it finally fixed.” Techno Trauma simply mutates, living on to exhaust us another day.

If we are working longer hours, part of our effort is expended dealing with technology that either doesn’t work or needs to be tweaked. Technology isn’t going away, so Marketing Brillo thinks it’s about time that American Commerce recognizes this very real and viral drain on human resources.

Meanwhile, thank you, Social CRM Summit for giving me the best frontline defense against Techno Trauma: Education. My Real Player Rash is fading.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Early Whys and Wherefores of Twitter Lists

I don’t know where I was the week Twitter “lists” hit the net [October 15-ish] because I’m just getting hip to what is going on. To understand the Twitter List Hooplah, John Haydon's explanation here is as good as any, better than most.

Bottom line: Depending on your purpose, the Twitter “list” scenario mimics your file cabinet, your Rolodex, the snooty books you display on the shelf behind your desk, or a team of research assistants.

The File Cabinet Scenario
In perhaps its most popular use (so far), the Twitter list – which you must create yourself by picking, choosing, and categorizing the people you follow – becomes a sort of digital file cabinet, with your various “who’s who" compartmentalized in separate folders. The purpose of the File Cabinet is to help you keep track of people according to the group/tribe/philosophy/psychosis to which you assign them.

The Rolodex Scenario
The ubiquitous Robert Scoble is trying to keep up with 10,000 people. It used to drive him crazy, but now he has stuff streaming in by groups. The system works so well that, within days of Twitter List release, Scoble says Twitter Lists replaced Google Reader for him. Visit @Scobleizer for a peek at the 40 cognoscentious lists Robert has compiled.

The My List Is Bigger Than Your List Scenario
Like The New York Social Diary -- and depending on who's doing the compiling -- various lists (like those Scoble has put together) can segué to a Very Important List of Very Important People. Todd Zeigler at the Bivings Group thinks Twitter lists will become the bellwether of whom to follow. “I think Twitter Lists will end up helping separate the men from the boys when it comes to influence. In addition to seeing a Twitter user's follower count, we can now see the number of other Twitter users who have added them to lists. I would argue that getting added to a list is a bigger deal than simply getting someone to follow you.” Heaven help us all.

The Research Team Scenario
Kabir Bedi at PromotionWorld has a good article on how to set up and use Twitter lists. For my purposes, the feature that describes how to use Twitter for “Online Journalism” beckons. “Many news organizations and publishers are using Twitter lists to create staff directories, recommending their favorite Twitter people and specific information. This enables them to use Lists for curated real-time streams and to follow events.” Yeah, baby.

The downside to all this is the certain emergence of Twitter Envy, leading to Twitternoia, culminating in Twitter Syndrome. Watch TMZ for reports on desperate tactics related to getting Twillisted.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Marketing Sherpa: A Lesson in Content Giveaway

Getting bloggers to repost your stuff is one objective of any content provider bent on going viral. Today, Marketing Sherpa -- which has great members-only subscription content (and well worth it) -- found a clever way to get bloggers involved.

One link in their free e-newsletter hopped to a post titled New Chart: "Do Email Tactics That Take More Work Get A Bigger Payoff? The link included “The Chart of the Week,” [above] which displayed the “Levels of Effectiveness” inherent in various email marketing activities. That was good, but better was the clever note for bloggers posted at the bottom of the chart:

Feel free to post this chart (in its entirety) or link to this page. Sherpa’s Chart of the Week is yours to use in your blog, presentation, or simply for reference.

p.s. The chart shows that the most effective ploy of email marketers is delivering content relevant to segments. But that takes effort. The chart indicates that adding event-triggers to emails takes some front-end work, but also boosts the effectiveness of non-house lists.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo