The Positives to Content Walls

As discussed earlier content walls have a way of popping up at the most inconvenient times.  Like when you are almost finished reading an intriguing article and a content wall comes up asking for your email address and date of birth.  Or worse yet when you are at the most thrilling part of a movie and a content wall  pops up saying pay this amount to continue watching.   You sigh a breath of annoyance and surrender, filling in the information. Content walls come in other forms as well, for example tweet or like our Facebook page to continue or take this survey.

Content walls might be bothersome to users, but looking at them from a positive approach they do retrieve valuable information for content creators.

Why a Content Wall?

There are risks in using content walls as discussed in one of our early blogs, but there are also positives to employing one.

First is monetization.     In the example above, the timing of when a content wall pops up is pertinent in convincing people to pay to keep consuming the content.    It is more difficult for people to deny entering their credit card info when they are three quarters into a film and anxious to see the end .  This also brings up the fact that the content being offered has to be meaty and valuable in order to increase the likelihood of people complying with the content wall’s request.

Second, they help to accurately target consumers.  By asking them to take a survey the company becomes aware of their user’s likes and dislikes.  Knowing this information allows the company to more effectively market to their users.  In other words, decreasing the chance of being deleted and increasing the likelihood of grabbing their attention with content.  Asking consumers for their email address helps the company to build a relationship and be able to contact them.

Third is building a community.  Asking to tweet something specific or “like” the company’s facebook page results in building a community , awareness, as well as attaining contact information.  The company gets publicity when someone tweets about them. The company gains exposure when someone views and “likes” their Facebook page.  Lastly, it easy to see who is talking about you.  When someone tweets about you or likes your page it is easy to see their name, follow or even contact them in the future.

The use of a content gate may defer some users, but the benefit of the information received may outweigh the loss of some.   These three reasons may alter your feelings about using a content wall for content.

Are there any other benefits to using a content wall that we missed??? Feel free to leave a comment. 

Viral happens Every Day

Everyday something or someone goes viral on the web. It’s the one thing you can count on happening each day. Most everyone can name at least 4 of the top viral videos from the past year no problem.  The content that goes viral that day is often the topic of the office lunch room, or the low down at school, or even maybe the highlight of your day. These interactions contribute to the content going viral.

The type of content that goes viral ranges from hilarious song covers to heartfelt articles  ……

Here are a few from this past week:

1. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen is all the rage on the radio these days.  It’s that tune that you’re probably secretly obsessed with, but would never tell a soul.  The song’s simple, but catchy tune and lyrics have attracted tons of people.  So much so they have been inspired to make various covers of it.

 Description: Published on June 13th : 869,035 shares in last 7 days 3,737,337 views…impressive

This video has 2 things going for it.  A popular song and hot models.  Content Creators every day have the chance to create something for the world to see without spending lots of money. Take a second to realize how much creative power people have.  This video was simple to make. Models with their shirt on running around random locations lip syncing a popular song.

2. The article titled “Adele brings kid back from Coma” is a touching story that you have probably ran across or read in your Facebook news feed.

Description: Published June 19th

This type of content  has viral capacity not just because it is involves a major celebrity, but because it reaches and registers with people’s emotions.  There is such a large amount of negative news being reported that when a heartfelt story with a positive ending comes out it grabs the attention of people needing some inspiration.

3. Father’s Day presents the perfect video prompt.  The possibilities are endless. Jimmy Kimmel ran an episode where he collected clips and recaps of kids spraying their Dad’s with hoses. He then added it to his YouTube Channel.  Not the most loving gesture, but in 1 day has proved to be a viral one.

YouTube Challenge-Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I sprayed My Dad with a Hose

Description: Published June 20th 64,213 views ….very good start

Paying attention to holidays, times, and days when creating and publishing are important details to consider. If it had been possible to post this video actually on Father’s Day it might have even gone more viral than it has.

4. The Jersey Shore crew is not at all shy especially when it comes to being half naked on a beach.  These pictures of the silly bunch  are being picked up by the majority of media outlets and people are noticing.

Take a Peek!

Description: Published June 21st (Today), gaining more comments, tweet, and likes as you read this

The Pros and Cons of Content Walls

Have you ever clicked on an intriguing article only to be greeted with a pop up asking for your email address, forcing you to like a page or worse yet asking for your purchasing information?  It is accurate to say this has happened to you at least once.  Depending on your level of annoyance you may fill in the information or decide to abort the mission and hit your “back” button.   Statistics show that most people decide not to proceed.

Companies “gate” their white papers, case studies, etc. because it allows them to better target consumers.   By having people fill out this information they will be able to reach their consumers via email or become familiar with their interests.  It seems like a no brainer.  Companies ask why wouldn’t I do this, it helps curate my consumers?

Before you “Gate” Your Content

David Meerman Scott enlightens the fact that content without a “gate” is likely to be seen by 20 times more people than if it has a “gate”.  A “gate” or “wall”  heavily limits your audience.  It is true without the gate you don’t know your customers as well, but in reality a very small amount of them would fill out the requested information in the first place. What is better 20 potential consumers or 1? Not to mention, this adds up over time.

These  statistics are supported by the fact that is unlikely for “gated” content to go viral.   Other than the breach of privacy the user feels the, reason why it doesn’t go viral is because it is complicated to share with others.  Bloggers who do the majority of sharing, are very unlikely to go through this “gated” process.  This takes out a large chunk out of the viral equation.  It seems everything points back to the capability to share. 

It comes down to weighing the pros and cons.  Do you want to possess a small number of your consumer’s information or do you want it to be shareable and read by more people? The purpose in the first place of the case study that your company carefully compiled was probably to gain as much exposure as possible.  The information you have to present is probably more effective than the small amount of information you would get in return from the consumer.

Lack of Consumer Information

This is not to say never to ask for consumer’s information.  It is to say that you can get to know your consumers by interacting with them through social media interactions.  By looking at what is trending, what they are talking about, or even imposing questions. These serve as less invasive strategies to get to know your users.

Viral Content is Catching

Do any of these keywords ring a bell?  Unless you are living in a hole the answer is yes.  Over 4 days the top Google keywords include, sporting events, tech, a crime story, the music industry, and the entertainment industry.  The majority of the keywords are positive stories; of course this fluctuates daily depending on what is happening in the world.

There is a significant chance that you contributed to these topics going viral.   Take the controversial June 10th, Pacquiao vs Bradley boxing fight.   There has been 100’s of YouTube videos created and uploaded.  The trending videos range from clips of the fight, to angry fans debating the results, to the small amount of delighted fans, to interviews of the boxers. These videos have thousands of views and comments galore The people who watched the fight have taken on the role of content creators and publisher, in turn making the topic go viral.

Then there is the top keyword, LA Kings.  Lately, the King’s winning the Stanley Cup has been the media’s favorite story.  When searched on Google the team’s latest scores come up, along with online newspaper results.  Here journalists are being the content creators and publishers and publishing related stories in online newspapers like the Los Angeles times and Boston Herald.  This topic had viral capabilities because it applies to a large audience.  Think about it. You don’t have to be a die heart hockey fan to care about following the Kings.   If you are an Angelino you mostly likely want to be informed about your city’s victories at least for bragging purposes.  Reading the different Sports articles gets people excited and talking.  It seems like suddenly everyone now is a King’s fan.  On Facebook many have expressed their congratulatory remarks to the team. All of this different commenting and content creating cultivates a rich community.  A community that grows stronger and bigger as time goes on as long as people stay engaged. 

Going Viral

In evaluating these top trends it is smart to ask why and how? For instance, why is Apple a top trend? It released its new Mac Book Pro.  Ok, well why do people care? Because they might be loyal to the brand, in the market for a new laptop, competitors, etc. In answering why it answers the question how the topic went viral. It takes more than hope for a piece of content to go viral. It starts with a note worthy story.   In this context story is not meant in a “Little Red Riding Hood” type of way, but in a marketing context.  A company creates content that tells a story about their brand.  As discussed in the previous blogs. Maybe it’s a video or article presenting new found information.   If this is done the story will provoke people’s thoughts and opinions.  This will promote them to share, comment, and create.

Nike’s Collaboration with Lance Armstrong Lives On

“Wear Yellow Live Strong”, a trendy Fashion Statement

Undoubtedly, you or someone you knew proudly wore the yellow Livestrong wristband and actively participated in the 2004 “Wear Yellow Live Strong” educational program The money raised went to the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research, the Tour de France cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong’s foundation.  The tangible wristband was developed by Nike and their advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy.  The agency did such a proficient job at marketing the wristband that everyone understood the cause.  It was interactive in the sense that it promoted storytelling.  Often times when you saw someone with the bracelet you wondered their reason for buying it.  You might have even felt inclined to ask them why they were supporting cancer research. This then developed into a conversation about a personal story. I am wearing it for my Grandpa….myself. In turn, the supporters of the cause did the marketing not just for the Foundation, but also for the Tour de France and Nike.  Seeing that it has helped raise 25.1 million dollars by selling 80 million wristbands, Nike found itself being portrayed in a charitable light   Celebrities made it a trendy fashion statement and the media helped with heightening the exposure allowing the “Wear Yellow Live Strong” campaign to go viral.

Perfect Match

The idea of brands telling stories is revisited.  The collaboration between the two writers if you will, made for a strong beginning and even stronger ending.  Nike being a sportswear and equipment company paired with the victorious cancer surviving athlete, Lance Armstrong.  Add a charitable cause and even better.  The collaboration came about because Nike was originally playing with the idea about making “baller bands”, bands that street basket ball players snap to get adrenaline pumping about a game. Right before this idea was launched the Livestrong project, business director Scott MacEachern entered the scene and the “Wear Yellow Live Strong” wristband campaign began.

Nike Livestrong Chalkbot Campaign

The partnership continued in 2009 when Nike invented the Chalkbot.  A machine that sprayed yellow chalk on the roads on route of the Tour de France with purposeful messages compiled from WearYellow.comTwitter, and SMS. Nike used the French roads as their canvas to promote cancer awareness.  The road was full of messages like “ I miss you.., “Cancer Survivor..”. The reason the campaign worked so well was the social media components. The campaign spread quickly obtaining 4,000 followers on Twitter in the short period of a month.  Amazingly, they received 36,000 messages and sprayed thousands of them over the 13 stages of the Tour de France that Lance, himself cycled over.  Wieden + Kennedy made sure to make this a real time experience. They sent the author of the message a picture of the  message printed on the Tour de France with GPS coordinates.  The other component was the moving  “Livestrong Integrated Campaign” video.   This was such a poignant and innovative campaign that it was awarded the Gold Prix in the Cyber Lions category at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2010.

It Doesn’t Get More Classic Than The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca- Cola Company proudly celebrated its 126th birthday in May. This company has a vibrant past and even more fascinating future.

This is a company who spends $2.9 billion a year on advertising, this is more than Apple and Microsoft combined. To put things into perspective, in terms of worldwide the average person consumes a coke product every 4 days.  If you haven’t heard, Coca-Cola’s $35.1 billion in revenue makes it the 84th largest economy in the world.  No wonder most every where on Earth people recognize or partake in this brand’s experience.

Emotional impact

Muhtar KentChairman and Chief Executive Office of The Coca-Cola Company describes the brand, “….we like to think Coca-Cola is more than just a drink. It’s a great connector. A common thread and a reminder that our shared dreams and aspirations far eclipse our differences. Even in the most unlikely of places”. As Henry Jenkins points out in his book, “Convergence Culture” , there’s no question that Coca-Cola is more than a soft drink bottler.  It is an entertainment company that sponsors and in turn drastically influences everything from sporting events to reality shows.  This focused emotional impact helps the brand surpass the “clutter” and be almost unforgettable.

Kevin Roberts CEO of Worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi believes marketing should be about “lovemarks”, instead of traditional “brands”.  This is due to the fact that they beckon for the emotions of “love” and “respect”.  Emotions are smarter to target because they have an unlimited supply, compared to only targeting attention which is very limited.

The company does this to the fullest extent. Probably one of the most memorable tactics was in 1971.  When the TV commercial “Buy the World a Coke” aired.  At the time it was called the “Hilltop” ad and it was part of the “It’s the real Thing” campaign.   Now it is considered one of the most beloved and recognized commercials of all time.  Bill Backer the creative director in charge of Coke’s  account at McCann-Erickson was mostly responsible for the commercial’s success.  The song was later recorded by The New Seekers, renamed as “I” d Like To Teach the World to Sing, In Perfect Harmony” and released as a single. People were so moved by this commercial that new renditions of it are still being made today.  This is a prime example of how this brand’s timeless story telling is still going strong.


I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing……………..

The Coca-Cola Company and American Idol’s love affair

Talking about emotional impact, Coca-Cola could not have picked a more dramatic and emotional reality show than American Idol to sponsor. The intensity of the competition and love for the various singers produce the most emotionally driven fans yet. Coca-Cola saw this and made their entry.    This brand has mastered brand extension, making sure the consumer is brought into contact with the brand frequently.   Not making their presence secretive is the real secret to their high awareness.  Now contestants go to the “Red Room” for interviews before their performances.  Coca-Cola rewards contestants with tickets sporting events.  You probably found yourself thirsty when seeing Simon Cowell gulp out of his big red Coca-Cola cup. Of course their logo is in the background of most photo opportunities. In almost cut the Coca-Cola brand can be spotted.   In addition to the actual TV show, Coca-Cola’s logo is visual all over the official American Idol site, especially the “Behind the Scenes” tab. This is just some of Coca-Cola’s brilliant marketing tactics that have been brainstormed by an innovative team willing to change with the times.

Storytelling never gets old

Product RED Case Study

Remember those Vanity Fair spreads that featured celebrities sporting red shirts that read such phrases as Censo(red), Inspi(red), or Cente(red).  Or how about those sleek, red iPod nanos with (RED) etched on them? Maybe you’ve even indulged in a (STARBUCKS)RED exclusive beverage. These products are part of the Product Red campaign launched in 2006 by U2 rock icon and activist, Bono and Bobby Shriver from the major non-profits, ONE and DATA.  Partners include Iconic global brands like  NikeAmerican Express (UK), Apple Inc.Starbucks, ConversePenguin Classics (UK & International), GapEmporio ArmaniHallmark (US) and Dell.  The campaign RED has become a compelling story with many chapters and many to come.

Why consumers choose RED products?

It’s an easy answer. RED products cost the same as regular products so there’s no extra costs for the consumer.  The brand simply offers a varied design and charity incentive.  Up to 50% of profits made on the product’s sales are donated by the manufacturer to Global Funds.  Global Funds an international financing organization uses the money to help people affected with HIV in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia.  Global Funds also focuses on preventive efforts including decreasing the number of babies born with AIDS transmitted from their mothers.

Why has this marketing campaign been so successful.

Today it has raised $ 190 million in efforts to stop the spread of AIDS and has helped 14 million people. It got its start on . Today it has gone through some serious expanding over social networking sites.  It has 1 million plus Twitter followers at @joinred and millions of Facebook likes.   

The newest campaign called (Red) Rush to Zero. #redrush.  A 10 day campaign from June 1st -10th with focusing on getting 1.4 million HIV positive women and pregnant women on medication that costs 40 cents a day.   

What makes good brand story telling:

1. Superbly Communicated Goal-RED has a very clear and call to action goal that makes all aware of what they can do to help.  On the official website  it states their motive is to make it an AIDS-free generation by the year 2015.  It gives a limited time amount to accomplish the objective.  An easy number for people to calculate from today there is 2 years left, we better hurry.

2. The Perfect Pair– Tamsin Smith, Head of Product Red calls it ‘punk rock capitalism’.  This is playing off the fact that Bono the ultimate rocker is leading these efforts.  Punk rock is all about rebelling and change and so is RED.  RED is all about changing and lowering the stats of the millions of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Not to mention Bono had his foot in the door when it came to participating brands.

3. Win-Win– The other reason why the (Red) campaign was and is so successful in going viral is its powerful partners.  These partners were acquired because of the win-win structured opportunity they saw in selling RED products.   Not only does the brand feel good about donating to a good cause, but it also gains lots of publicity by participating.  Designing a new product just for RED gets consumers’ attention.  They start asking who made that product, it looks a like a Gap shirt…..  In turn, people want to buy it for a good cause, but also become a loyal to the brand because see it is charitable.  In addition, to people wearing or using these products it is like they are a walking billboard for RED.  It is a type of ethical consumerism. 

4. Covered all bases– This campaign has made sure to have all the components needed to reach the most consumers possible. Recently it has come out with a new documentary titled, The Lazarus Effect  that shows the donated money in action. It follows people who have started the medication and how their lives have positively transformed.    It can be viewed on HBO, YouTube, and a free iPad app has been released.  It’s own hashtag #lazaruseffect has also been created to ensure it will go viral. RED took over Twitter on World AIDS Day, celebrated Dec. 1 by essentially turning the site red.  Twitter changed its homepage to red.  The hashtags #red or #WorldAIDSDay turned links, hashtags and usernames red.  Tastemakers like Kim Kardashian and Bono were not shy about spreading the word.

5.  Appeals to a wide Audience– The RED campaign has managed to obtain a large audience by offering RED products in fashion, accessories, and tech.  Whether you need an iPad case or a glamorous watch you can be apart in putting an end to babies born with AIDS by 2015.

3 Content Marketing Lessons from Justin Bieber

His 44 million Facebook page likes prove that Justin Bieber has infected his fans with the Bieber Fever and there is no cure in sight.  This young man was discovered on YouTube where he posted his content (home music videos).  Now he’s on Forbes’s list of 100 most powerful celebrities.

Video Components

Justin Bieber knew how to best get his content out there and noticed.  It was YouTube videos.  His current manager Scooter Braun discovered him on the site and the rest is history.  Video’s are great components for companies.  A video that describes how a company works or their mission statement is sometimes easier or more entertaining for users compared to written paragraphs.  Virurl did this when explaining how the site works in a video titled “Earn Money”, among other videos.

It’s all about finding the right Niche 

In 1996 Disney evaluated the radio landscape and realized that there were zero radio stations catering content to younger kids (tweens to be exact).  This is what inspired them to create “Radio Disney” and capitalize on the ignored niche.  This is where Justin Bieber came in.  He positioned himself look and lyric wise to best fit the “Radio Disney” station profile. His music found its perfect niche and since then has thrived.  Looking for an untapped niche is a smart tactic to allow for creativity and to cut down on competition.  As Mary Meeker points out everything slowly, but surely is moving to mobile.  Investing the time in creating content for mobile devices users could be a less slightly less competitive niche to focus on.

Setting the Mood

Justin Bieber knows how to set the mood not just by his catchy songs, but also by his writing style.  He makes sure to always be positive when making a statement.  He’s currently touring the world and probably completely exhausted, but maintains  optimistism.  For example, “Great time in Germany. Can’t wait to see you all again on the #believetour next year”.   This tweet received many responses, including the German supermodel Heidi Klum.  Even when you are having a rough day projecting positive updates is always more compelling than complaining. This doesn’t mean being dishonest, it just means putting a twist on things. 

Lady Gaga’s 3 Lessons in Content Marketing

Everyone is aware of what Lady Gaga is up to or where she is located because she is constantly updating this information on all social platforms.  She believes in social networking so avidly that she has created her own called Little Monsters .  The site is a hybrid between Reddit and Pinterest and revolves around the Lady Gaga brand.  Seeing that she has already mastered YouTube with one music video receiving 141 million views, twitter with 23 million followers, and Facebook with 51 million likes it was time to move on .

1. Have the confidence to innovate

Lady Gaga has taken her content sharing to the next level and has invented Little Monsters.  Creating her own social networking site allows her the leverage to push her content without the competition found on the regular sites.  This is a brilliant move because it is the perfect environment for a vibrant community to flourish.  This community is full of fans connecting with other fans, sharing their own Gaga related work, and being exposed to her new work.  She has set this up so her “little monsters” do her marketing.  It maybe  a bit time consuming for you to reinvent the wheel like she has, but innovation on a smaller scale is definitely called for.   Existing social networks are also very conducive to growing a community, which Gaga has demonstrated. People to people sharing is a good idea to keep in mind when trying to do so.  It is proven that people have high trust levels towards their friends promoting the sharing the of content leading to it going viral. 

2. Supporting Charities

According to her social network sites Lady Gaga is keen on giving to non-profits.  In 2010 she boycotted her Facebook and Twitter pages until $1 million was raised for Alicia Key’s Keep a Child Alive charity.  In another one of her innovative and philanthropic endeavors, she has established Born This Way Foundation. This foundation supports the elimination of bullying, which she has been very vocal about dealing with in growing up.  People like to see someone successful give back it, it is a test of character.  Giving back is never a bad thing especially if it is timed and somehow relates to your content.  For instance, if you are marketing pet supplies why not start a fundraising campaign for ASPCA during pet awareness month.

3. Embrace Fans/Users   

Lady Gaga is so affectionate with her fans that she has dubbed them, her little monsters.  She values quality over quantity, even though it’s clear she has attained both.  She concentrates on building a trusted relationship and rewards them by offering them exclusive offers like behind the scenes content and such.  Your users need to know they matter and by giving them a little attention doesn’t hurt.  Maybe an “couple dollars off” or “for first 10 people to tweet..” campaigns and people will start talking about how great your company is.

Gene Simmons offers 3 Content Marketing Lessons

Gene Simmons, the man with the painted black and white face and the abnormally long tongue, has become a professional at content marketing.  By treating his band KISS more like a business than a band, he has come to understand what strategies work best in order to obtain a dedicated fan base. With his leadership, the legendary band KISS has sold 100 million records worldwide.  His latest undertaking is a reality show about his life titled “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”, which has been picked up for an eighth season.

1.  Pleasure to meet you 

Simmons stresses that knowing who your target audience is tremendously important.  Being unaware and distant with them is like talking to a wall.  Finding out who they are and what they are all about allows you to present them with relevant information grabbing their attention.  Before writing a tweet he takes the time to surf the web and see what’s being talked about. He searches for hot topics and issues being discussed.   This  helps him decide what to write about.  He might offer his input on these hot topics or offer resolutions to the problems.   Simmons is constantly responding to tweets hourly. A glimpse at his twitter will tell you that the recent   “hot topic” is his family.  Even though that might not be the easiest conversation he still responds to his devote fans.  On his Facebook page, he poses questions like “What was your favorite moment from this week’s episode?”  He is not afraid to get personal with his fans. Do you know the demographic of your user base?  If you do embrace whoever they are; age, gender, hobby, or occupation.  It may take some research or some question asking to get to know them better.

2. Catering to the Inner circle, but not ignoring the Outer

When Simmons is on stage singing “Rock ‘n Roll all Nite” he knows that the audience members in the front row own all of his records.  Those are the people he produces a lot of his content for. Although, he does keep a balance by creating content that pushes the boundaries to reach the outer circle of less dedicated fans and potential ones.  This allows for possible conversion.  When you have identified your target audience then figure out who is missing from the equation and see if there is a way your company could appeal to them.

3. “Nothing appeals to Everbody

Gene Simmon and the rest of the band of KISS understand that not everyone is going to enjoy  distinct costumes, painted faces, lyrics, and singing. Instead of wasting time on trying to change this they focus on maintaining their fan base by listening to them and playing to their requests.  Critics are inevitable, they are what make life challenging or least interesting.   Don’t take it personally when someone finds no interest at all in what you have to offer and posts it.   The next person will and won’t be shy about communicating it to the cyber world!