Drive-Thru Marketing: Bite-sized Content for an Impatient World

I have no patience anymore.

I know that at some point in my life I did. I could wait in lines, sit through three-hour college classes and even read a book for hours, all without feeling as though I’d missed out on something. But not anymore.

Today my patience (or maybe it’s just my attention span) has deteriorated to a sliver of what it was. In a normal day at the office, I scan hundreds of tweets and status updates, read (or at least skim) a dozen or so blog posts and view countless Facebook photos, YouTube videos (the short ones), Touts and Vines. I can't stand in line without checking my email, Facebook or Instagram. 

I’m not reading books or even long- form articles. I’m busy (at least I think I am), and I don’t have time to read your lengthy e-Book or watch your 60-minute webinar. In reality I probably do have the time, but the advent of social media has changed not only the type of content I consume and where I consume it, but also the speed in which I feel I must consume that content. And by "I," I mean most everyone. 

So what does that mean for content marketing?


Disney All-In on Content Marketing With “Oh My Disney”

This post originally appeared in our March ’13 issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

Though it was founded in 2006 (which makes it older than Twitter), BuzzFeed stormed onto the social media scene in 2012, more than doubling its 2011 traffic (per Alexa).  

The format is perfect for the way audiences consume and share media today. The content is easy to consume, relevant, entertaining and frequent, as the site posts dozens of times a day. Brands like HBO and Velveeta have even joined in, co-creating content with BuzzFeed. It’s a publishing model that requires lots of staffers and community contributors to keep the content fire hose pumping.  

So it was quite a surprise to see that Disney has launched its own BuzzFeed-like site. Entitled “Oh My Disney” (OMD), the site features articles with Disney imagery, GIFs and other short-form Disney-related editorial built specifically to be easily consumed, enjoyed and quickly shared. Posts like “15 More Reminders That You’re Great Today” and “You Know You're a 90's Kid When” are organized into five categories: Awww; Oh, Snap!; Retro; Silly; and Whoa. 

The page is updated quite consistently, anywhere from two to eight times a day (even if the content isn’t necessarily timely). So how is Disney doing it?


5 Lessons of Effective Editing for Viral Success

An interesting insight into what makes social content effective has emerged, or at least made itself more visible, in the past year or so. Content is king, but editing may be the queen who’s actually running the castle.

Our traditionally analog means of consuming media—television, newspaper, radio, outdoor—are quickly being replaced by digital means. We supplement TV watching with our iPads, get our news in near real time from Twitter, and share life’s moments in an instant on Facebook. Other technologies have allowed fast and easy creation and curating of content, like Pinterest, Vine, Storify, and even something as simple as an Instagram hashtag.


BuzzFeed’s Native Advertising is OMG WIN!

OMG. This may have been my hardest assignment yet. 

BuzzFeed is killing it on the interwebs lately (WIN), and not just because it creates some of the most shareable content around. It’s “killing it softly,” so to speak, monetizing its wildly successful site by partnering with brands to create branded content that people actually consume, enjoy and share with their audiences.

But why was this a difficult assignment? To write about BuzzFeed means one has to peruse BuzzFeed. And when one peruses BuzzFeed, time is sucked into a vortex while one reads journalistic masterpieces like “40 Reasons Honey Boo Boo Became a National Treasure in 2012” and “12 Days of Grumpy Cat Christmas.” Minutes quickly become hours, and deadlines come and go. But Grumpy Cat doesn’t care.


Why Most Native Advertising Will Fail

Are you familiar with the term "native advertising"? You may have read about it on popular blogs like Techcrunch, Adweek and Advertising Age, but can you put your finger on exactly what it means? 

Whatever it is, native advertising doesn't work simply because someone put the word "native" before it and because it doesn't fit the standard definition of advertising—the 30 second spots, the billboards, the banner ads. 


10 Marketing Lessons You Can’t Learn From Walmart

This post originally appeared in our November '12 issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Maila complete rip-off of Sleepless in Seattle, even using the same lead actors (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan). Ryan’s character runs a small independent bookshop in Manhattan, while Hanks’s character is opening a large retail bookstore with low prices (if only he’d known how technology would change the way we read) just down the block.

In the late 1990s, when the movie was made, this was a common story line. What were small businesses going to do when Borders, Walmart, Kmart and Target moved into town? How could they compete with rock-bottom prices and one-stop shopping?


Social Media Week London 2012: The Full Story

It’s time to get your Twit on and fire up your Facebook! Social Media Week London is back and it promises to be bigger and more collaborative than ever.

For those of you who don’t know, Social Media Week returns to London for it’s fourth consecutive year from 24th – 28th September 2012. Hosted by Chinwag, this year’s theme is Empowering Change Through Collaboration. Digital dons and social-savvy client-siders will reflect on the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, political, economic and social change.


5 Tweetable Lessons Learned from Content Marketing World

This past week I had a front-row seat at the largest content-marketing conference in the world, aptly named Content Marketing World. Hosted by our friends at the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing World was two full days of rubbing elbows with those in marketing (more than 1,000) who understand the value of using a coordinated array of media to engage consumers, deliver value and tell a brand’s story.

With speakers like Mark Schaefer (of Post-Advertising Summit fame), Jason Falls, Jay Baer, C.C. Chapman, Mitch Joel, Ann Handley and Jack Hanna (yes, that Jack Hanna), the conference armed me with a plethora of content-marketing tips to tweet to my followers.

Here are 5 nuggets of content-marketing knowledge and inspiration, short enough for you to tweet, that were imparted at Content Marketing World. 


4 Lame Excuses for Not Creating Content

Content marketing is all the rage, and brands of all shapes and sizes are focusing more time, effort and budget dollars on creating entertaining, useful and relevant content that audiences will want to share. Some brands, however, still stand at the water’s edge, not so sure an always-on commitment to social media and content creation is right for them. 

Even the most successful marketing efforts have their detractors and doubters, who hold tight to the traditional methods: interruption and overexposure of their brands. They cling to the past and continue to invest in telemarketing, direct mail and pricey television spots and billboards. Even the London Olympics, which were praised as the most tech-savvy and social-media-supported games ever, were heavily supplemented (or, rather, dominated) by traditional advertising.

While those methods have their place, it’s about time we set the record straight and started to challenge those who insist that content marketing isn’t yet an established brand communication strategy.

Here are some of the reasons brands are abstaining from content and why they’re on the wrong side of history.


What Panda, Penguin and Social Media Really Mean for Brands

With additional reporting from Cyrus Karimi, Director of Audience Generation at Story Worldwide

An article recently published on Fast Company has caused a bit of a stir in the content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) communities. Written by Veronica Fielding, CEO of Digital Brand Expressions, it explains how the recent Panda and Penguin Google algorithm updates mean that social engagement rather than search engine trickery yields top results.

While her heart is in the right place (encouraging active, useful social engagement by brands), neither the algorithm updates nor Fielding’s interpretation of them reveals a direct correlation between social activity and SEO relevance. Though extremely important for an effective content marketing strategy, simply interacting with your fans on Facebook, sharing relevant tweets, and uploading useful videos won’t (in and of itself) boost your brand website’s SEO ranking.

Let’s take a look at what Panda, Penguin and social media really mean for brands.