Social Media Marketing for Newspapers and Magazines

Oct 6, 2008 - 12:08 pm 0 by
Filed Under SMX East 2008

Continuing on from how newspapers and magazines can tap into search, this session looks at how social media marketing offers some unique opportunities forthese publishers.

Moderator: Alex Bennert, In House SEO, Wall Street

Speakers: Brent Csutoras, Online Marketing Specialist, Adam Sherk, Search/PR Strategist, Define Search Strategies (The NewYork Times Co.) Chris Winfield, President, 10e20

Chris speaks first. Why would you want to be involved in social media marketing? You can get recognition in a wider audience. You cna create new touch points - so many people can now discover your content. It can enhance your credibility especially with more delivery. You get "first mover" status if you break news soon. You cna get new Public Relations opportunities. Also, you get traffic. Links are really important. He shows some client changes that show increased views. It increased traffic 135% in a 6 month period with close to 3 million visitors from social networks and blogs. It had 12 million ad impressions, and increased natural inbound links by 2,666%.

How do you get there? - Do research - where are your visitors coming from already? Where are they coming from - Facebook, forums, etc? - Where are people talking about your stuff? - Who is linking to you? - What has worked so far? - Where is the most potential for our growth?

Start making decisions. Find out where people are already - talk to your customers and readers and learn the demographics of the social networks that they are using. A lot of social networks have specific audiences and you don't want to force a square peg into a round hole.

Now make internal changes. * Don't alienate your existing audience. You want to make your with pop-ups. You don't want to have all your content like that because it's a turn-off for social media users. * You need to look for evergreen content. * Make it easy for people to share your content. Don't have 80,000 little social bookmarking buttons. People won't use it. * Get key employees and stakeholders on board. * You also need to open up. Blogs have fresh content. Stay on top of the curve. * Have a good RSS strategy. * Microblogs such as Twitter are very useful. Don't just be a "feed." You want to gain new followers and new customers. * Outreach - your links mean a lot to bloggers.

Social news and bookmarking sites are really important for publishers. You've gotten on the homepage and getting traffic is great but it's not the end-all. You have other bloggers that are coming on and looking for content. A lot of people go to social news sites and find content. Some people then share it in other communities. People are IMing it to people and then it gets down to the "mainstream press" and forums. - What does this mean? Eyeballs.

What is good content? - Breaking news: everyone knows about the bail-out plan and the BBC was the first publication to get it out there (which is ironic). - Lists: they've been around forever. An example is the 10 commandments. They worked then and they work now. - How-to's: how to do things. - Surveys/Rankings: think about the US News Best Colleges - Getting something that is extremely comprehensive. What content would someone want to bookmark or come back to at a later time? - Controversial/Opinionated content. - Best of's: Best movies ever made, etc. - Calculators: life expectancy calculator, etc. - Video - Widgets etc.

Final tips: - Promote great content - Contribute to the communities - Make the sites work together - Don't have all your employees vote from the same IP ;)

Adam Sherk is up next. Survey of magazine sites: - between Q1 and Q3 is that traffic from social media ranged betwene 0.6 and 18% of total site traffic. Among social media referrers - Digg, 24% average, high 52%, Stumbleupon 24/60, Facebook 4/7, Reddit 4/13, delicious .5/1, and Myspace 3/5.

He shows the conversation prism by Brian Solis (Google it - it's pretty). You need to interact with people. Discussion of content often happens off your site but it's okay - sure, you want people on your site but you want to get out there and engage in that conversation and those dialogues with them so they can come back to you looking for more information.

It's not enough: social media strategies are great but it's just a start. When you think about it, it's just one way. With social media marketing, you need to directly engage with your audience and build that up so that they can go back to your site. Active participation and real participation can bring them back.

Steps to social media success: - Monitor and observe - learn the landscape - Locate your audience and find opportunities - Formulate a strategy - Engage and participate - Evaluate and adjust

Adam uses Plurk with me, and I feel good about that. He mentions that Plurk, a competitor to Twitter, has a large community of knitters. As for why, we both don't really know, but it's interesting to know that people leverage communities in such ways.

Tactics: - You need a brand ambassador who drives the strategy and sees where the opportunities are. - They officially represent your publication. It's a full-disclosure (corporate level SMM). Give them time and resources to develop strong profiles and relationships. For example, set 50% of their time for 6 months. Get a figure that will let someone specifically put in time towards these activities. In terms of doing this, you can jump into these communities and spam your stuff, but that won't work. This needs to be genuine. Social media experience helpful but personality traits are most important - you need to have a natural networker. - Their efforts must be trsnparent. Do not hide company affiliation. Do not engage in activities that could be interpreted as manipulative. - Remember: your brand ambassador won't be there forever, so plan for the transition.

Appropriate participation - Be a genuine member of communities - Be transparent - Look before you leap - Regularly and actively participate - Build good relationships - Engage in dialogues - Share interesting, useful, relevant content

Avoid: - Hiding your affiliation - Being overly promotional (he has a 90 day moratorium where people can't share their own content until they have shared other content) - One-way communication - Poor quality content - Off-topic content or comments - Fake persons or comments - Violating community rules/terms of service - Spamming "friend" networks - Paying for submissions

The brand ambassador drives it and that's one person but that person may leave too. Plan for that transition. It's not just your brand ambassador; it's your editorial staff too. The brand ambassador is great but you need to get your writers directly engaged as well.

Employee participatin: your employees are likely already active on their own. Capture that energy and let it work in your favor. You need a corporate social media policy - define clear guidelines for sharing content and discussing the publication, and emphasize etiquette to avoid inappropriate exchanges that can damage your reputation.

Encourage and empower your employees to represent you indirectly and (when appropriate) directly.

Don't forget the people who love you! You have fans and fan evangelists. What about taking advantage of current fans and telling them about exclusive features? They are specifically joining the communities because they love them (think Facebook product pages and Friendfeed rooms, among other areas).

Not everyone is going to like you and you have to remember that. - Interactions, feedback, and comments will not always be good. Your comments may get buried. - Turn negative situations into an opportunity to build relationships - Sometimes you just can't win, but your attempts to reach out will be noticed and documented.

How do you measure this stuff? - Social media traffic - Inbound links - Pageviews, time on site - Actions taken on the site You can do this today.

Also, not as important: - Submissions, votes, bookmarks, tweets, etc. - Comments - Cross pollination, secondary coverage

- Qualitative, positive, neutral, or negative - Speed of viral spread/lifetime of memes - Brand visibility vs. competitors

It's gotta be two way communication and it's gotta be real.

Up last is Brent. He talks about the platforms that people should participate in.

Social media is broad. He talks about the sites that you get the most results out of for the time that you spend.

The first site is Reddit, a social news aggregation site. Reddit does not have the "popular" page like Digg. It's algorithmic throughout - the front page is the top 25 articles based on their algorithm and it updates every 1 minute. You can be promoted to a popular page that can guarantee you exposure (like Digg). You need to be consistent throughout your success.

He says that politics is a very powerful category on Reddit. Offbeat is also great - funny, WTF, and offbeat. Business/world news are also rather popular. Reddit has an algorithm on every page. You can get onto the Reddit front page within 2 minutes and then be gone right after that. You need to consistently participate to do well on Reddit - if you hit the front page, you can be gone a second later.

Reddit has an anti-spam/anti-marketers "algorithm" that prevents you from being able to consistently push your own content. If you submit something and it is always followed by your friend, you may be the only one seeing it.

When you are going to submit content, try to be in the top 10. It's pretty broad. Don't force it if it doesn't fit.

The most popular site is Digg, at least for marketers. Digg used to be more tech-centric but we're now seeing more business news and offbeat content. Pictures and videos are also very popular. In general, pics/videos are very popular because they don't require a lot of work\ on behalf of the "reader." Digg has power users and they can help a lot. Domain authority is also important.

The next site is StumbleUpon. You submit things in categories - people sign up and choose categories that they look. They can see one piece of content one time within that category. It's a wave of visitors (as Adam said previously, it's the gift that keeps on giving) that can occur consistently. StumbleUpon is coming out with a new launch for category popular pages.

It's very important on SU to know which categories have the most number of subscriptions. You used to be able to sign up for their paid program and on their backend, they will show you the subscription numbers (but you can see from the tag cloud on what the most popular categories are). They also have a very good spam mechanism - if you submit stuff way too often, it will not let you do it consistently anymore. Review other content regularly and submit other content as well.

Yahoo! Buzz is another social site that came out that has a similar premise. It's category driven that allows you to vote to get to the popular page. There are no power users. The big driving areas are politics, celebrity news, entertainment, and sports. Search trends are part of their algorithm - if you utilize their commonly-searched upon keywords, you're likely to get a boost.

Propeller is another social sites. If you submit news content and get to the top 5, you're featured on AOL's news page. Big categories include politics, tech, science, and love. Politics are important and groups are critical for value. Comments are a part of their algorithm (but they don't care what the content of the comments are).

Other sites: - Meneame is the Spanish digg. - Delicious: howto and resources do very well. - Fark is for humor and offbeat. - Newsvine is kind of fading but it has a strong userbase.

Social media tips - Have a persona - Submit to the right community - Mix it up - Don't dupe - Submit at the right time - Use focused titles and descriptions - No spelling errors, jargon mistakes, or bad information - Watch your stats - Do it right or don't do it - Be social


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