Advice from the photographer who took the above picture of soapsuds going down a drain, via Boing Boing:
My friend said something around the lines of “Liam, you take too many photos.” So I ran around the room taking photos of everything and showing him all of them, then this happened and we got spooked…. If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate.”
Not a bad mantra for marketers, entrepreneurs, athletes, or any other field where practice and experimentation improve performance.
The story of how Boing Boing launched, built a profitable business, and still run it on their own terms. From Rob Walker’s profile in FastCompany:
“Boing Boing’s version of that tale is a little different. Frauenfelder and his partners didn’t rake in investment capital, recruit a big staff and a hotshot CEO, or otherwise attempt to leverage themselves into a ‘real’ media company. They didn’t even rent an office. They continued to treat their site as a side project, even as it became a business with revenue comfortably in the seven figures. Basically, they declined to professionalize. You could say they refused to grow up.”
Chinaka Hodge, a Bay Area poet and playwright, is using blogs and Twitter not only to stay in touch with fans of her work — she’s using social media to shape characters and scenes before they debut on stage. When the fans help create the characters, there’s a high likelihood those fans will be more engaged in the final product.
It’s an approach smart brands are using, too. Brands like Asus (see WePC project) are enlisting customers to shape product design. Others, like Old Spice, are sending “commercial characters” like Old Spice Man into social media to have real conversations with potential customers in ways that create viral hoopla, sure, but — more importantly — make a brand pitchman more human. As we begin to view Old Spice Man as a real guy, one who’s friends with someone we know (see his video get-well card to Kevin Rose), we’re a whole lot more likely to tune into his funny commercials. Next thing you know, we will all want to smell like him.
More on social media theater at Boing Boing, in a guest post by Youth Radio producer (and my wife!) Lissa Soep.
In a round table hosted by Canada’s Boards Magazine, Pescovitz shared his vision of advertising 2.0:
“It’s a really interesting time because previously there’s been this wall, necessarily so, between the editorial side and media, but with the rise of underground media to become mass media in the form of blogs and other kinds of systems, there’s an opportunity for marketers to join in the conversation between authors and readers in an open and transparent way. To be honest, I have a great time talking to ad agencies and marketers and companies about ways to connect with our audience and our community.”
Conversational approaches to marketing are effective for marketers — and work better for readers — in part because they aren’t regular old banner ads. But, lest these programs confuse audiences (and, perhaps, piss them off), it’s important for participating sites to explain how the programs work.
Here’s Jean Aw at NOTCOT announcing her latest post at Comcast’s Fancast site.
Comcast is running banner ads on those same sites, with clips from the authors’ show reviews.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that ads, for example, on Dooce featuring an excerpt of more Dooce content would drive click-through rates that can be counted in whole numbers. But what can I say — I’m an old-fashioned guy who continues to be impressed by CTRs above 1% on banners that are SFW.
UPDATE 12/10: Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing explains to her readers how the sponsorship works:
“A disclaimer, in the interest of transparent über-sharing: I was paid to write these posts, and the site is an online video hub run by Comcast.
“I wasn’t told what to write about or not write about, and my work wasn’t edited or modified in any way, so I picked freaky stuff I genuinely liked, and in a few cases, had some sort of personal connection with.”
Today Boing Boing unveils a new site in the Boing Boing family, Offworld. Brandon and team promise to:
“focus on the overlooked, the underappreciated, the rise of the independents and, in general, the games that are bringing genuine excitement and innovation (in both gameplay and design) to the industry.”
(Credits: Tim Takeuchi and Thom Campbell at Intel; Adam Fisk and Rod Rakic at OMD; Ori Zohar at McCann Erickson; Joel Johnson, David Pescovitz and Brandon Boyer at Boing Boing; and Matt Jessell, Mugs Buckley and Jason Ratner at FM.)
“I sent the Sad Guys on Trading Floors link to my IFTF colleague, friend, and blogger extraordinaire David Pescovitz. David posted our blog to his, BoingBoing, which is one of the most widely read blogs on the web. From there, it took off like a highly contagious virus. Some of the blogs mentioned Chris and I by name, but once we started to get into the bigger publications’ blogs like New York Times: Economix and Wall Street Journal: The Wallet, the bloggers talked about the site and its content but never about us. But the blog was linked on social sites like MetaFilter (who railed on the lameness of our comments, sorry MeFi!); on magazine blogs like Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish on TheAtlantic.com; Twittered by what seem to be a lot of people (and they’re still Twittering us); and mentioned on CNBC.”
Guy Kawasaki, John Battelle and Mark Frauenfelder have published content (plus bonus videos and other features) from their upcoming books and are distributing them to readers of their blogs as Adobe Acrobat 9 PDF Portfolios. Adobe did not shape or influence the content itself, but it is paying to run ads on all three authors’ sites.
The free “sneak previews,” not surprisingly, are moving like hotcakes — 1600 downloads in a week — and with each download Adobe takes a new prospective customer on a tour of Acrobat 9.
Ads on each site (like this one, running on Guy’s site) not only promote the PDF preview, they also let fans re-post the ad unit on their own sites:
And since circulating these previews benefits the authors too — they are the book-equivalent of movie trailers — Adobe’s campaign is getting extra mileage beyond the paid sponsorship. Here’s a post by Battelle on Searchblog:
(Credits: Steve Weeks and the Adobe Acrobat 9 marketing team; Yiming Roberts, Erica Milanese and Jenny Yumiba at Goodby Silverstein; and Liam Boylan, Nicole Cook, Stephanie Loleng and Lester Lee at FM.)