Thursday, May 17

Adding Content Value: Social Media


It seems almost too fitting that the same day I was discussing digital media on The Recruiting Animal Show, Alexandra Berzon, writing for Red Herring, reported Technorati, the blog search engine that tops Google, is sending more and more users to photos, videos, and music instead of blogs.

Some people like Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence think that Technorati risks diluting its value proposition. I think it is part of the natural evolution of social media, adding content value beyond a well-written post.

Does that mean everyone should abandon their blogs and skew toward digital media? No. It simply means that communication is becoming more integrated and better equipped to deliver content in different forms and on different formats.

With that change comes the increased potential to turn the content value of a blog into tangible income generation (or income marketing as I like to call it). Sure, doing so does not come without risks. It seems relatively easy for social media to become a distraction for executives and support staff. But to me, that seems more like a time management challenge than a problem with social media.

Revenue Potential

As social media evolves, it seems almost certain that blogs, podcasts, and video will develop new ways to generate income beyond Google AdSense (not that there is anything wrong with it) and ad banners. Specific, but not necessarily exclusive, to digital media — pay-per-click advertising on original programming; pay-per-download or direct purchase of compilation sets; on-demand show merchandising sold over the Internet; and the potential for platform distribution syndication — all seem like obvious solutions.

Considering Risks

Of course, that is not to say that digital media is the best use of social media for everyone. As Harry Joiner, Marketing Headhunter, pointed out on the radio show, there are potential barriers for bloggers hoping to shift to digital media: technological constraints, content development, and time famine among them (eg. when will I have time to sell my product or perform my service?).

They are very valid points. As I said, it's certainly not for everyone. If you (or your consultants) are more comfortable with blogs, podcasts, or video, then by all means, add that in the mix for consideration. No content is often better than bad content.

Communication Strategy

There are solutions if you think strategically. After all, smart business communication always means that your tactics are dictated by strategy and not the other way around. Social media, let's never forget, is a communication tactic (not a strategy).

Two great examples come to mind. Check out Carl Chapman's post, "Why I Do I Blog?", and you'll see what I mean. ($170,000 in business seems to suggest that he is getting the right visitors.)

Now imagine what that draw might be with worthwhile video content to augment it. Certainly, the best shows with the most potential will require some planning and care. But employing video to add value to blog content doesn't have to be rocket science. David Maister recently demonstrated that with a well thought out video presentation on his Passion, People and Principles. (To me, the topic even provides a loose link to this subject. Time investment in non-billable hours can increase sales.)

In both cases, their businesses or professional expertise drive the content. It more than makes sense, it's strategic. Maister does it especially well given his mix of products and services.

Finding Solutions

For individual recruiters or other independent professionals, teamwork may provide some solutions as social media moves forward. For instance, The Recruiting Animal Show seems to drive the point home. As a host, Animal brings an infectious, often funny, always compelling format to the forefront. (As a side note, he recently earned national exposure in Canada as a recruiting expert because of, in part, his blogs.)

Sure, he has a show and it's his show (and his alone). Yet, other recruiters also benefit from the show through their participation and the show benefits because of their willingness to lend expertise.

David Manaster, CEO of ERE Media, Inc. and Jason Davis, who recently launched RecruitingBlogs, a social network for recruiters, often ask great questions and provide experienced answers on the show (they certainly did yesterday).

There was some question about ROI, but I think it's unfair to simply count callers. Given the show can be listened to any time after its first run, traditional ratings just don't seem to be the right measurement. Not to mention, when it comes to social media, the number of visitors pales in comparison to capturing the right visitors.

Conclusion

As Albert Einstein said: imagination is more important than knowledge. This certainly seems to apply to social media. After all, imagination in marketing has been the deciding ingredient for hundreds of companies throughout history, much more than any winning formula followed by others.

Come up with an idea (or let us help you discover one), temper it with strategic communication, and then fine tune what will make the right mix of content and business communication. For big companies, it might even be easier than for small companies. But then again, nothing makes a small company look big than its own show.


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