Adding To The Noise

A critical view of new media, new technology and new marketing.


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Upcycling Content: Four Ideas To Repurpose Existing Resources For Social Media Updates.


Upcycling isn’t just for crafts or Pinterest. It is simply a concept where old products are given more value. Upcycling in social media it is a way to optimize your time and effort.

Embed from Getty Images

Startup R3DNA recovers leather from salvaged luxury cars to be repurposed into bags, iPad covers and leather jackets.

Here are four ways you can reuse and repurpose for social media content:

1. Underutilized parts of your website. Are there valuable parts of your website that if you are honest with yourself no one really uses? Today people want content brought to them.

I used to work for a bank that had an excellent small business toolkit. It was valuable information from finance and HR to marketing tips. The problem was no one used it because they didn’t know it was there. How often do you surf your bank or other banks websites?

Our idea was to divide the long form website content into short chunks and push it out as small business tips on social media. Upcycling already created content to social can build awareness and drive traffic to the website, but it also helps build relationships in social media.

What valuable information is on your website or hidden in a brochure sitting on a shelf that you could repackage as valuable social media content?

2. Play By Play Of Live Events. Public Relations professionals have used events as a powerful publicity tool since the last century. Today you can multiply that power by bringing the event to many more than can attend in person.

For a regional airport client we planned a live contest where two local radio DJ’s flew to Chicago and back in one day. One took a flight from our local airport and the other took a flight from the farther big city airport. We demonstrated that you could save money, distance and time flying from our client’s airport when most people thought it was too expensive.

The airport received enormous buzz online as we updated Facebook, Twitter and UStream videos of each DJs progress. The event would have been successful with just the live reports on the radio, but Upcycling the live traditional media content to social media upped the awareness.

Do you have a live event coming up where you could up the exposure by reporting it on social media channels?

3. B-Roll Video And Photos. Producing a TV Commercial can take up to month and cost a lot of money. The average 30 second spot cost $350K. During a day long shoot you collect a lot of footage that doesn’t make the 30 second final cut.

Why not leverage extra footage as social content? A director’s cut, alternative version, or “making of” video can really draw fans. We all love to get a look behind the scenes. You could also share still photos online during the shoot via Instagram, Pinterst or another photo site for a sneak peak.

Either way you get more for your investment by upcycling video and photo content being produced for other uses. For more engagement you could even post different versions of the TV ad and have your fans vote on the final cut.

Do you have a TV or video shoot coming up that you can leverage as social media content? What about a still photo shoot?

4. Front Line Employees. Remember the small business tips for the bank example above? Our second idea was to empower branch managers to send out the small business tips via their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts as a way to generate leads for new accounts.

These managers were tasked with signing up new business accounts anyway. Why not give them another tool besides cold calls and post cards?

Unfortunately their response was that they blocked access to social media in the offices for employees. Some upcycling requires an open mind and may require some new guidelines such as an employee social media policy.

Is there a way you can upcycle your employees? Best Buy leverages their blue shirt in-store associates’ knowledge and down time to answer people’s tech questions on Twitter building awareness and goodwill for the brand.

Can you think of other ways to upcycle existing efforts into fresh social media content?


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100 Insights For New Media Marketing


For my 100th post on this blog, I thought I would share all 100 insights in one place. Each listing is a link back to the original post.

Social Media Marketing Tips

100 Insights For New Media Marketing:

1. Is New Media Killing Traditional Media’s Star?

2. Are Bloggers More Sensitive To Spin?

3. Technology Makes Us Dumber, Less Productive And Stressed Out

4. Which Advertising Medium Is best?

5. Can Direct Response Be Creative?

6. Toyota Apology-athon

7. Why Does New Media Matter? Because United Breaks Guitars

8. The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog

9. Walk A Mile In Zappos’ New Media Shoes

10. Tu Voz Rings True For Minority Marketing

11. More Information On Information Overload

12. Does Copy Matter Less On The Web?

13. Can The iPad Save My Newspaper?

14. Are You Ready For A Content Revolution?

15. Somebody’s Watching Me

16. Is There A Creative Process?

17. Is All Buzz Good And Cheap?

18. Brand Extensions Achieve MAXIMum Failure

19. Speak Softly And Carry A Big Marketing Stick

20. Is Facebook’s Privacy Policy Friend or Foe?

21. BP Can’t Get Beyond Petroleum

22. Are Mobile Ads Still Annoying?

23. Are Intellectual Property Rights Wrong?

24. EBSCO, Forbes, Time Open The Digital Divide

25. Yahoo Cheers Associated Content Acquisition–Society Jeers

26. Can Millennials Save Us Through Cause Marketing?

27. Creativity Beats Media In TV ROI

28. GM Recall Recalls Past PR Crises

29. Cause Marketing Or Crisis Response?

30. US Census: Bad Ads But Great Information

31. Where Is The Star Power In The Gulf Clean Up?

32. Cause Marketing’s Future Is Engagement Through Social Media

33. Churchill, TED And New Marketing

34. Blah, Blah, Blog: Why Companies Should Listen

35. Online Research: Temptations and Limitations

36. Does .005% Make A Difference? Ask Toyota

37. Can Marketing Statistics Improve Your NFL Team?

38. Celebrity, Media Outreach And Events Oh My!

39. Cable TV Decline: Media Planning Gets Tougher

40. Failed Test? Try An Ethnographic Study

41. Do We All Need Twitter Editors?

42. The Press Release, Blogger Outreach And SEO

43. New Media Needs A New Name

44. Public Relations Challenges For Non-profits

45. Three Is The Magic Number

46. Corporate Communications, Marketing, IMC, PR and Advertising. What’s the difference?

47. Which Social Media Conversation Are You Joining?

48. Earth Day PSA 2.0

49. Click Here: Digital Call To Actions

50. Measuring Print Response 2.0

51. Visual Continuity in Print And Digital

52. Brand Equity: Tangible Assets Are A Small Part Today’s Brand Value

53. Do You Have Social Media Fatigue?

54. Which Came First The Product Or Value?

55. Ride The Cluetrain To Five Easy Pieces: New Marketing Strategy For A New Digital Market

56. The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in Marketing and Advertising

57. Social Media Is A Big Idea For Small Business

58. Cause Marketing to Boost Startups and Small Business

59. As Smartphone Ownership Crosses 50% And Mobile Ad Spending Jumps 80% Keep 3 Key Measures In Mind

60. Search Gets Social

61. A Dead Guy Is Following Me On Twitter: Signs Social Media Is Taking Over

62. Visual Continuity: Is It Always A Good Strategy?

63. Big Ideas And Big Results Don’t Need Big Budgets

64. Afraid of Digital? History Says Run To It, Not Away

65. Savages Movie Written With Fragment Digital Media In Mind

66. A Social Media Experiment: TDI Club Forum

67. Hallucinations Aren’t Contagious, But Social Media Is Real For Many Business Functions

68. Do You Look For Wrongs Or Rights? Stop Social Media Excuses

69. “Like” Is More Than A Facebook Icon

70. Forrester: Facebook and Twitter Do Almost Nothing for Sales

71. Communications: The Language That Drives Revenue

72. Brand Engagement Through The “Martydom Effect”

73. Super Bowl Ads: A Unique Opportunity for Undivided Attention

74. Fear Means Go: Stretch Yourself For Social Media Success

75. Successful Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes To Discover New Approaches, Opportunities And Business Models

76. What Do We Do With Out-Of-Date Advertising Professors?

77. Gen-Y Honda Student Campaign Gets Results With This Gen-Xer

78. A Text For That? App Hype Shouldn’t Discount Text Marketing

79. Trouble Harnessing Social Media? Relationships Can’t Be Automated

80. Can Retail Make Room For Showrooming?

81. There Are No Top 10 Best Rules for Social Media Marketing

82. Has PR Become An Unsustainable 24/7 Profession: Do We Really Need Social Media Mission Control Centers?

83. Do You Have To Be Active On Social Media? Do You Like Being Invited To A Party And Being Ignored?

84. Filling The Digital Marketing Gap 19 Students At A Time

85. Mom’s Don’t Tweet But They Do Watch The Voice And #VoiceSave Through Their Teens

86. The 12 Ways of Brand Community Value: My Year End Social Media Tips List

87. Research Says Add New Media, But Don’t Drop The Old: Study Of Over 400 Successful Marketing Campaigns

88. What Is Your Social Media BFF? 42% Of Adults Now Use Multiple Social Sites

89. Shakespeare Predicts Super Bowl Commercial Winners: Research Shows Sex And Humor Aren’t The Key, It’s Story

90. USA Today Ad Meter Super Bowl Results: Story Wins With Puppy Love And Others!

91. If You’re Simply Adding To The Noise, Facebook Will Now Turn Off Your Organic Reach

92. Airline Industry Has Highest Response Rate On Twitter And Facebook. What About In Winter Storm Pax?

93. Irony: Sharing Social Media About Spending Less Time On Social Media

94. 5 Ways Social Media Can Fuel Startup Success

95. 24 Hour Rule: What Harry S. Truman Can Teach Us About Social Media

96. Advertising Campaigns Are Dead: Brand Story Is The New Big Idea

97. Star Bellied Sneeches: Social Media Badges Can Save Companies Billions

98. Return On Relationship: Thanks Ted For Living It

99. Behind Amazon’s Pay To Quit Program: Happy Employees + Social Media = Real Value

100. 100 Tips For New Media Marketing


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Return On Relationship: Thanks Ted For Living It


The other day I got a direct message from Jeff Bullas. I was excited. Jeff has a great blog jeffbullas.com that gives a lot of good blogging and social media advice. He’s a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer, has written books and speaks and consults. His blog gets over 4 million page views a year. Jeff’s direct message on Twitter said, “Thanks for following me. I look forward to following your tweets.” With over 225,000 Twitter followers I responded, “I am impressed that with so many followers you do this.” I was looking forward to a conversation, but here it is 10 days later and I have not received a response. Then I noticed that Jeff sent me a direct message before (see below) two years ago with the same exact message. Back then I was also excited to start a conversation, but as you can see he never responded then either.

Blogging, Jeff Bullas, Social Media

Is Jeff really “looking forward to following my tweets” if he won’t respond to two DMs he initiated? Are my expectations off? Other top social media influencers have decided to reduce or stop their engagement, becoming more like traditional publishers. I love Seth Godin and use a lot of his material in my classes. Unleashing the Ideavirus is a classic that is still very relevant today, but Seth doesn’t allow comments on his blog. He explains why here and he makes a lot of good points for him.

Then there is Copyblogger getting rid of comments. They  just wrote a post explaining “Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger.” They say the conversation has moved to wider platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. They say people put too much effort into great comments on their site and should instead put that effort into their own website. They say they have spent way too much time sorting through the spam – only 4% of comments get posted. This change is a pretty big deal.

I was curious to see the reaction to this big announcement, but they removed comments. Instead they encourage me to let them know my thoughts about the change on Twitter. So I clicked on the link and went to Twitter. Just 12 days later that discussion is lost in a sea of unrelated topics, conversations and blog post promotions as you can see below.

CopyBlogger, Removes Comments, Blogs, Blogging

If I scroll down the Twitter stream back to March 24 I do see comments about getting rid of comments, but this seems like a lot of work. At least on the blog all the comments under the post are focused on that topic and do not get lost in everything else. I also appreciate their efforts to weed out the spam, so the comments and conversation is of a higher quality. Moving to Twitter gives up all that control and opens up the floodgates of spam. Besides, I was already on their blog and wanted to talk specifically about that topic. Isn’t copyblogger owned real estate versus rented? Don’t they want to drive people there? Don’t comments help with SEO? This is all the questions I would have liked to ask on their blog, but I suppose I am taking their advice and writing it here on my blog instead.

Less social engagement from social engagement innovators. Is this simply where we are headed? As the innovators of social media engagement get too big, they simply must engage less? There just seems to be something weird about telling others to engage more while you are engaging less. This brings me back to my title. Ted Rubin was just named #13 on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers of 2013 (Just two down from Jeff) and he has over 196,000 followers on Twitter (the most followed CMO on Twitter). In 2013 he published a book with Kathryn Rose Return on Relationship, which is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.

Ted Rubin is a busy guy, but he is living what he is preaching. I have had several conversations with him on different social media platforms, and he has even commented on this blog. Thanks Ted. Still are my expectations off? Ted does wear Superman socks. Ted’s not the only one, there are a lot of social media innovators out there like Michael Stelzner who I know are still very active and engaging with their audiences even as they grow.

If I am wrong, let me know. Can relationships be automated? I also suggest checking out Ted’s book. #ROR

Ted Rubin, Return on Relationship, ROR


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Advertising Campaigns Are Dead: Brand Story Is The New Big Idea


Story, Big Idea, Social Media, Brand, Advertising, Campaign

The days of finite single author stories are gone like the typewriter.

When working as a creative in the advertising business we were obsessed with finding the Big Idea. We wanted that great campaign with the clever tagline that everyone would talk about, hand awards to, and of course make the cash register ring. This catch phrase was even turned into the CNBC talk show The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

The big idea was about running 6 month or annual advertising campaigns with three print ads, a radio spot, some banner ads and a couple billboards, etc. Soon enough the ad agency or brand manager or CEO would grow tired of the campaign and we would step up to bat and try to hit another one out of the park. Big ideas were tidy mini stories told in a series of well crafted and finely controlled media executions. And stories in advertising are powerful as my recent research on Super Bowl ads has proven.

Advertising Campaign

I crafted and honed this tidy three poster advertising campaign until it won two One Show Gold Pencils.

We were creating integrated campaigns with digital and social media, but social wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. As of September 2013, 73% of online adults use social networking sites. Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone.

Because social media is so big today I think the big idea has to be different. In social media there are so many individual executions being created daily, by brands and their consumers, we need a brand story that doesn’t start or end, but evolves and is co-created over time through interaction with customers.

But to do this you need to know what that core story is first and have a solid social media policy in place, because you will have more than one brand story teller versus the traditional advertising copywriter and art director. Now we engage our customers in conversation. John Miller hit upon this in a recent Inc. article.

Social Media, Marketing, Story, Brand

Later I would craft stories on the fly to react to comments or leverage current trends.

What do you think? Is the traditional advertising campaign idea dead? Don’t get me wrong, you still need a big idea and creativity. It’s just not such a tidy process. In a way, your ideas must be even bigger and more flexible to include trends and consumer comments and content.

In terms of social media and story telling, brands need to get out of the campaign mindset and start living out a bigger story on a daily basis.


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If You’re Simply Adding To The Noise, Facebook Will Now Turn Off Your Organic Reach


One of my favorite bands is Switchfoot and their song “Adding to the Noise” is the inspiration for this blog. When I started it four years ago, there were roughly 200,000 million blogs and I couldn’t imagine why the world would need another one. I even wrote a post  “The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog.”  Ultimately this question lead me to the debate between quantity versus quality. A recent Michael Stelzner podcast interview featured Jeff Goins, a successful blogger and author who had several blog failures when he was chasing subscribers (quantity focus) until he started a passion blog (quality focus) that now has over 200,000 subscribers.

Today Technorati indexes over 1.3 billion blogs and the focus on quality content has become more important than ever. For marketers this noise has been creeping up in another social landscape – Facebook. In August of 2013 Facebook revealed that “every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories … most people don’t have time to see them all.” By December 2013 Ad Age reported “Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.”

The bottom line is that Facebook has changed its algorithm, formerly called Edgerank, and content from business Pages has seen a drop-off in organic reach. In response, Facebook is urging paid distribution for brands to get back into their fan’s News Feeds. Since the tweak some brands have reported as much as a 40% decrease in organic reach.

Facebook Drop Organic Reach

Decrease in organic reach from Edgerank Checker.

In the end, business may have to increase their Facebook spending to maintain or expand reach, but there could be another option. Switchfoot sings, “What’s it going to take to slow us down … If we’re adding to the noise turn off this song.” Perhaps we need another content revolution. If you provide content people want to engage with, not turn off, you will break through the noise. Brands could up their content game to emerge organically from the noise in users’ News Feeds.

But this revolution is fueled by more than quality content. It is also about quality time. Mari Smith, author of Facebook Marketing an Hour a Day suggests that marketers should focus more on community management. The more your fans like, comment and share your content, the more likely that content will show up in their news feeds.

It seems there is room for improvement in the engagement game. Social Bakers provides social media monitoring tools and has been measuring brand’s engagement levels on social networks. Their recent reports indicate that only 10% of brands respond to 85% of questions on Facebook.

Socially Devoted Brands on Facebook and Twitter.

Socially Devoted Brands data by Social Bakers.

A brand that steps up its engagement game could not only protect its organic reach, but also find a significant competitive advantage. We all love when someone listens to us. When your fans hear from you, their excitement will spread along with your reach and reputation.

Ted Rubin calls this a real Return on Relationship. Fight quantity (clutter & filters) with quality (content & engagement). With every post, update and comment ask yourself, “Is it adding something meaningful or simply adding to the noise?”


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USA Today Ad Meter Super Bowl Results: Story Wins With Puppy Love And Others!


The 2014 Super Bowl is over and even though there wasn’t much plot development in the game, the winning Super Bowl ads knew the power of a good story. As I posted on Saturday “Shakespeare Predicts Super Bowl Commercial Winners” Budweiser’s Puppy Love won USA Today’s Ad Meter voting.

Our two-year analysis of 108 Super Bowl commercials found that dramatic form impacts favorability in advertising rating polls – consumer ratings went up as ads had more acts in a the five-act dramatic form expressed in Freytag’s Pyramid and used by William Shakespeare.

Did story win out this year? Let’s take a look at the top spots in the 2014 Ad Meter results and one at the bottom to see if they have five act dramatic form:

1. “Puppy Love” – Budweiser: This has five acts of story from the inciting moment of the puppy pound, and rising action of a new animal friendship to the climax of Clydesdales surrounding the car, falling action and moment of release when the puppy finds a home.

2. “Cowboy Love” – Doritos: The mom and younger brother win out over the bratty kid in this complete story in five acts.

3. “Hero’s Welcome” – Budweiser: The beer brand delivers another heart felt complete story. The plot in this story heightens knowing it features a real soldier returning from war.

4. “Time Machine” – Doritos: This snack brand has been telling good stories for years with their “Crash the Superbowl” contest. Here the complete story shows how a kid tricks an adult out of his Doritos.

5. “Phone Call” – Radio Shack: This is a story of Radio Shack getting a makeover. A simple story, but the real drama (climax) comes as 1980s stars come in and slowly dismantle the store leading to the falling action and moment of release with the two store employees left alone.

That is the top five, but does story appear in the Super Bowl poll losers? At the bottom of the list we have a Bud Light commercial “Cool Twist.” This Super Bowl ad is 30 seconds of spinning bottle with a voice over talking about the bottle. I see no plot or story development in any acts. Budweiser uses the power of story to earn two top 5 spots, why are they so flat with this effort?

This disparity has happened before. In the first year of our Super Bowl analysis, Budweiser had a top 5 hit with “Clydesdale’s Friend” or “Fence” that leveraged the power of story. However, in the 2010 Super Bowl, Budweiser also had a bottom five spot with Select 55 “World’s Lightest Beer” that simply featured a spinning bottle with an announcer talking about the beer – no story.

It looks like story is the ingredient needed to make Super Bowl ads super. SpotBowl.com voting is still open, polls close at 3:00 p.m. today. People think it’s all about sex or humor or animals, but what we’ve found is that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not.


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Shakespeare Predicts Super Bowl Commercial Winners: Research Shows Sex And Humor Aren’t The Key, It’s Story


This year marketers are paying a record $4 million for a :30 second Super Bowl ad to reach a record of over 111.3 million viewers. Yet, for that money it’s not enough, advertisers need their ads to go viral. Knowing what makes a Super Bowl ad buzz worthy is important in this high stakes marketing event. There are a lot of predictions and theories out there, but research my colleague and I conducted found that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not.

What does William Shakespeare have to do with Super Bowl Commercials? Our two-year analysis of 108 Super Bowl commercials found a significant relationship between dramatic form and favorability in consumer Super Bowl ad rating polls such as USA Today’s Ad Meter and Spotbowl.com. The research pulls from Aristotle’s Poetics and “Freytag’s Pyramid” five act plot structure popularized by dramatist such as Shakespeare to reveal the power of story.

Super Bowl Ads, Super Bowl Bowl Commercials, Super Bowl XLVIII, USA Today Ad Meter, Spotbowl.com, Freytag's Pyramid, Shakespeare, Dramatic Form, 5-Acts

A 5-Act Story Following Freytag’s Pyramid is The Secret to Super Bowl Ad Success.

According to Freytag, a drama is divided into five parts called acts, and these acts combine to form a dramatic arc: Inciting Moment, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Moment of Release. We found that consumer ratings were significantly higher for commercials that follow a full five-act dramatic form compared to commercials that did not. Additionally, the more acts commercials had (3 versus 2) the higher the ratings.

Based on this analysis and advancement of narrative theory, my prediction for this year’s Super Bowl ad winner will be Budweiser’s Puppy Love. Viewers favor ads with dramatic plot lines. Plot is what Aristotle emphasized in Poetics as early as 335 BC.

The power of story has already drawn 30 million views on YouTube and significant press coverage for “Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — ‘Puppy Love'” two days before the actual game and official airing of the spot.

“What Makes A Super Bowl Ad Super for Word-of-Mouth Buzz?: Five-Act Dramatic Form Impacts Super Bowl Ad Ratings” is being published Fall 2014 in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. The more complete a story marketers tell in their commercials the higher it performs in the ratings polls, the more people like it, want to view it, and share it.

What are your predictions for Sunday’s Super Bowl ad winners?

Keith Quesenberry