Marketing + Content = New Audience

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Most of you know I work for a mid-sized newspaper company, and like most newspapers, we’ve been undergoing quite a bit of change lately, forcing me to think about how the marketing department for the “online division” provides value to the organization.

Media, it’s consumption, and as a result marketing to people has become fragmented. Therefore capturing and fulfilling the expectation (need) of a new audience is different. Yet somehow the “Newspaper Online” operational structure and product structure reflects that of “Newspaper”.

Why is this a square peg in a round hole scenario? Well, it’s scalability (thinking large) vs. agility (thinking small). It brings back the theme of applying “New Marketing” to “Legacy Product”; which results only in a “Big Mess”. It no longer works to be everything to everyone anymore.

To attract a new segment we need to think small. Where are these people, what are they doing? With the resources, effort and focus on citizen media, as well as the concern in gaining market share, this is more important than ever.

Also, success is not only defined by the “big number” (pageviews). Measurement of success for new audience includes engagement (pages consumed and time spent) and loyalty (who is coming back).

Attracting new audiences is not all about the technology or platform involved, it’s about outreach and building teams that can do the following:

– Conversational writing, listening: The content becomes the marketing, and vice versa, it’s a two-way conversation.
– Group interactions, events, mingling, networking
– Guerilla marketing


New audience development is about the cycle of the user experience online and offline, with the common goal of creating value for the audience: getting them there and keeping them there.

More on Yelp

I’m going to post on behalf of a colleague of mine, Carl Natale, who sent this email out to some of the marketing community here in Portland:

I’m trying to spark some conversation via blogging here. Anybody and everybody can take a stab at this. But there is a user review site called yelp.com. It seems pretty big in the major markets but not so much in Maine. But they do have some Portland reviews. We aim to do the same with our dining section (http://entertainment.mainetoday.com/dining).

In San Francisco, a cafe got tired of negative reviews and tried to lash back in strange way:
http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/no-yelpers-says-one-local-cafe/

There are a few things here. One, this kind of word-of-keyboard is big. Customers are reviewing and reading user reviews. It’s so big that this cafe blames its woes on it. I have a stake in this but to me it’s a sign that this is here to stay.

Two, there has to be a better strategy to deal with this. Yes, businesses can improve customer service and quality instead of trying to stop customers from “yelping.” But should these user review sites become part of the marketing strategy. Can you do that without having employees pose as customers and post reviews? How do you respond?

I applauded one restaurant’s approach to a newspaper review earlier this year. Does this make sense for a business?
http://www.mainetoday.com/comments/015096.html
http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=129538&ac=Audience

Back to the user review part of this. How should these sites figure into your marketing strategy?

This e-mail is the blogging equivalent of a jump ball. Anyone can go for it. So forward it around too. I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say.

Comments are welcome.

Audience Development "Playbook"

In case you missed it – from today’s post on the Facebook group that will be going away:

I’m working with Sean Polay, Audience Development Director at Ottoway Newspapers, on an Audience Development Playbook. And book it will be. We narrowed it down to 3 levels (similar to iTunes mixes): Basics, Next Steps, and Deep Cuts. We spent an hour on the phone this afternoon figuring out the pieces under each. For example, metatags and email newsletters would be Basics; feeds to aggregators, widgets, social bookmarking would be considered Next Steps; and developing and fostering relationships with local bloggers would part of Deep Cuts. Of course Apple wouldn’t be too happy with us using these terms, but we’re using them for now to keep us organized.