Creating – and leaving – an impression in today’s fast-paced media marketplace

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By Linda Forrest

The latest missive from Gawker Media’s Nick Denton has brought all kinds of potential blog post topics to the front of my mind, which I’ll attempt to cover in one post. In his long piece about the hows and whys of the changes coming to the company’s online properties in 2011, he touches on the following topics: scoops still matter, the role of modern media as an aggregator, the importance of being well-rounded, the rise of video, constraints and benefits of editorial calendars, and real estate lessons that online properties are adopting from their older brother, television.

It’s a fascinating read and speaks not only to Gawker’s response to the ever-shifting realities of media production and consumption, but also to some larger issues that should be compelling to B2B marketers as they search for ways to create and leave an impression in today’s fast-paced media marketplace.

Scoops matter

This is true in the publishing world, in terms of being the first to broadcast a breaking story, and also for marketers looking to edge out the competition in being first to market with a new product. One of our clients, Touch Bionics, was first to market a fully articulating bionic hand with its i-LIMB Hand in 2007, conscious of the fact that its competition was also planning a launch and that being number two was not a viable option. So successful was the i-LIMB Hand media launch that Touch Bionics’ competitor cancelled its plans.

The role of modern media as an aggregator

There was a brilliantly funny Tweet a few months ago (from whom I sadly cannot recall or I would reference them here) that said Huffington Post planned on starting a print edition that would consist of clippings from other newspapers taped together. While cheeky, this does raise a point about the media outlet as content aggregator, a model that many publishers are increasingly adopting based on the mercurial success of Huffington Post, deemed to have the 38th highest traffic volume of all US-based sites. Marketers can tap into this shift by building out effective social media programs and also by offering well-rounded content to the media.

The importance of being well-rounded

In a world where social media is wildly popular, the news cycle is infinitely shorter than it was even a year ago. That’s where the media’s role as an aggregator comes into play most effectively; rather than spending time crafting their own take on every story they want to cover, savvy outlets have an editorial mix that contains both brief, perhaps rebroadcast, news from disparate sources alongside more in-depth, exclusive content generated by the outlet itself.

If marketers want to tap into the myriad media opportunities that exist with target outlets, they need to provide the media with the proper materials in order to cover them. This means not only effective background materials, but also photos, videos, links to your owned online media properties, your social media coordinates, and a steady stream of content – bylined articles, customer case studies, surveys, and other outbound news that ranges in size and scope – so that the media can cover you when and where appropriate.

The rise of video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture in today’s multimedia media climate is surely worth much more.

Here are some great examples of how our clients Xsilva and Touch Bionics are using video assets to their great advantage:

LightSpeed Mobile – Meet Your Customer

ProDigits: the world’s first bionic finger

Constraints and benefits of editorial calendars

Forward planning was essential and easy to stick to with print-only properties in years gone by. With online media, it’s less important and more difficult to stick to a planned coverage agenda. One of the primary advantages that modern media has over its predecessors is its ability to react immediately, to publish news instantly without having to wait for ink to dry on paper. This immediacy has made the news cycle almost non-existent, but intelligent outlets recognize the need to develop a brand for themselves defined by the scope and depth of their coverage, the topics that they cover, the journalistic integrity of the editorial team, and other choices that outlets make.

Advertisers can rely on these plans to ensure that their paid space is complemented by editorial that’s covering the same topic areas. Media relations consultants can pitch editors on coverage that fits within the target outlet’s editorial plans. Because you have many arrows in your marketing quiver, the effective practitioner can provide the right materials in the right format at the right time, regardless of if it’s paid or earned.

Real estate lessons

There is almost infinite real estate online, which subsequently lowers the value of the space. As Denton said on the matter, “There is no future in low-end web advertising, at least not for a media company with any aspirations.”

Marketers need to carve out effective real estate on the marketing channels of their choosing. This may mean owned channels, product placement, sponsorship programs, or other marketing vehicles that are new to your marketing mix. Are these activities impacting your bottom line? There’s only one way to tell: measure them.

Now more than ever, it’s integral that marketing programs are reaching the right eyeballs. With endless analytics mechanisms for online media, marketers can effectively measure and evaluate the elements of their programs. Benchmark before you begin, and evaluate regularly to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing investment.

Photo from: Politicalkitten’s blog

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