WordPress Updates to 5.0 with Blocks and Gutenburg

For marketing professionals and designers using WordPress as the content management system for their website, December 2018 is a new experience. WordPress 5.0 features new ways to add photos and content to pages and posts.

I believe that they are trying to compete with some of the drag and drop platforms like SquareSpace or Wix, but it probably goes further than that.

For those who are learning about changes to the new editing software, take a look at the free WordPress Tutorials with videos and posts about using WordPress 5.0. 

If you are intimidated, don’t be. It’s actually much more intuitive than the old WordPress and you’ll be able to make it work for you in no time.

Where Should I Distribute My Press Release?

I often get asked, “Where should I distribute my press release?” PR Newswire is the best bet, but it is pricey. Some emedia release services take money but it feels like they never deliver results. (My personal opinion.)

I use a variety of ways to repurpose a press release and here are just a few of them:

  1. Post on the company website (you want people to visit the website!)
  2. Send out to your curated email list of specific business publications or submit a post on their website.
  3. Write a summary and add a link to feature in their email newsletter to prospects & clients
  4. Print it out and send it with a handwritten quick note on the top to 5 prospective clients/customers that will notice and perhaps be interested in taking the next step. You’d be surprised that NOBODY does this anymore. Five stamps cost only $2.50 or so and is the best investment in obtaining a new customer you’ll find.
  5. Post a link to your website page on all your business social media with a good photo sized to match the media. (Don’t bore your friends on Facebook, make sure you send it out from your business page account. Don’t forget your LinkedIn business account and even your LinkedIn business profile if it makes sense.)

Have you developed your curated email list of business publications yet? Why not? Which business magazines cover your industry? Many are looking for content just like yours and have a public relations page, media page or press release page.

Remember to add ThomasNet to your curated list if your business is business-to-business and especially industrial and manufacturing. They have a very powerful PR press release program. I submitted one release years ago and still get traffic from it. Check out their submission page here: https://news.thomasnet.com/submit-pr

One more instruction… okay two:

  1. Make sure your press release is strong and well written.
  2. Don’t use it as a press release when it is really an ad. It makes a difference!

Where do you think about distributing a press release when faced with that question?

Using Color to Position Your Brand

Branding and Marketing professionals know that it’s important to understand color when selecting the right package, logo or to position for your brand.

You’ll want to know the feelings and meanings of colors when you are marketing your product, developing a logo to represent your brand or creating your website. There are so many color choices and they all communicate emotions. It’s important to know those feelings when choosing something that is a representation of your brand.

Looking at the competitors’ choices is one place to begin, but when selecting colors for your brand, whether it is for a website with call to action buttons or golf shirts for your trade show or the accent colors on your product, you must know the connotation and denotation of the colors.

Even when selecting the color pallet for your business office, you’ll want to consider the emotional connection of the color that your potential customers might feel, particularly in the areas where decisions will be made.

Some people scoff at hearing about the principles of decorating and color, but it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having your customers in the space and/or if you have employees working there that you want to keep happy and motivated.

Often small business owners feel that holding a market research study is way too expensive. Just asking your spouse or other family members if “they like it” isn’t enough. In this case, learning more about colors and their meanings before you start directing and choosing only makes sense.

I recently read a short article about color where I learned a few more meanings of colors that I hadn’t known before.

This article outlines the color meanings and symbolism of colors. It talks about the positives and negatives of each of the main colors. Even though I’ve been reading/writing about color meanings since 1981, I learned a few things from this article and it inspired this post.

When I think about being strategic about decorating, I can’t help but think about Feng Shui, the Chinese system of harmonizing with the environment, which includes not only color but object placement.

Podcasts Gain Momentum as a Media Tool to Connect with Potential Customers

Marketing with Podcasts

Background: Many of my long time readers know that I’ve always had my eye on Podcasting.  My first Podcamp was in 2008 in Columbus, just a few years after I started this blog. I remember listening to Dave Jackson, from the School of Podcasting, who provided a podcasting 101 session that made it sound oh-so-simple. I was delighted that he was located outside of Akron in NE Ohio just like me.

Although I think I’ve only had about 10 audio files included in Branding & Marketing, I continued to learn more about podcasting. At the beginning of 2018, I started a separate community with a co-host (Jill McCauslin) that includes a website and podcast. It’s been an experience in putting together an editorial calendar, finding guests, recording, editing, developing the art, distributing the podcast and then promoting it. We’ve got 23 episodes recorded so far.

Chris with podcast co-host Jill McCauslin at the Pair Networks / Libsyn headquarters in Pittsburgh in early November.

Types of Podcasts: There are a full range of categories of podcasting. People listen to them in the car, when they are exercising or while doing something else. In the US, where iPhones are so popular, most listeners download their podcasts on their phones from the Apple Podcasts directory (formerly known as  iTunes.) Recent reports show Apple Podcasts has a directory of 550,000 different podcasts with over 18 million episodes.  In general, the number of podcasts has grown exponentially and the listen base has grown accordingly. Still, there are many people who don’t listen to podcasts yet because they aren’t sure how to listen or subscribe. Many other people listen on Spotify or a wide range of other apps, such as Stitcher, Player FM, Tune In, Castbox and so on.

Yesterday a recent announcement from Pandora (who will be partnering with Libsyn among others) about additional distribution will ensure that podcast listening will continue to grow in 2019.  Pandora’s  71 million active users will definitely add serious numbers to the distribution of podcasts.  The majority of the US has not been listening to podcasts because, “they just don’t know where to start.” With Pandora getting into podcast distribution, that’s about to change.

Marketing professionals on the leading edge are already into it as podcasts gain momentum. It’s not a new thing. Podcasting has been around since 2005 or even earlier. In fact, it was a thing about the time “everyone” started blogging. But as the world has gotten faster with shorter and shorter messaging, podcasting provides a wonderful way to provide long content, full explanations and a deep dive into content.

Libsyn staff outlines the Libsyn WordPress integration session (from left) Krystal OConnor, Rob Welch, Dave Jackson and Elsie Escobar.

At a recent meeting of podcasters that was held in Pittsburgh at Pair Networks (part of Liberated Syndication’s company), I was able to meet a variety of content developers, customer support people, and other podcasters. It’s so interesting to hear about the different types of shows and content being developed. I liked learning about new developments like the Pandora announcement too.

Hosting Server room set up at Pair Networks - Libsyn in Pittsburgh.

Just like with websites, the podcasting world has its own lingo and requirements that you’ll need to become familiar with in order to promote your company, products, services and establish yourself as a thought leader by using this medium. Marketing with podcasts isn’t rocket science but there is plenty you’ll need to learn.

If you’re considering launching a podcast, one of the first rules is don’t host audio files for your podcast on your website. They are huge files and website hosting is just not the right place. You want a podcast hosting company that will provide hosting, distribution and statistics among other things. I recommend using Libsyn (the largest podcast hosting) but there are others too like Blubrry and PodBean. (Skip Anchor and SoundCloud.) You definitely want to host with a server that is set up to handle your audio files when you are marketing with podcasts.

There’s too much for me to include about starting your podcast, so let me just refer you to the best place to become familiar with it, which is Dave’s School of Podcasting.

If you decide you want to add podcasting to your 2019 marketing plan and want to talk about it, I’ll be glad to discuss it from a marketing standpoint… However Dave (who is a 2018 inductee in the Podcasters’ Hall of Fame) eats, sleeps and lives podcasting.

Meanwhile, if you’re not listening to podcasts yet, it’s time to find out more about this. It’s a way to build a powerful audience. Those who have “building awareness” as a goal for 2019 will not want to ignore this media opportunity.

Perhaps your company spokesperson will put “become a podcast guest expert” in their to do list for 2019. Or add “develop a set of 10 questions a podcasting host will ask us to learn more about ____” to their actionable items. Maybe you have had marketing with podcasts on your list for a while.

Here is one of my favorite podcasts: Finding Mastery. He regularly interviews exceptional CEO’s who are searching for mastery of their craft. Besides this one, I regularly listen to about 20 to 25 different podcasts.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, let me know which ones. If you have a podcast, let me know. Or if you are interested in learning more about using podcasts as a way to connect with your customers, let me know. You can leave a message in the comments field below or send me an email.

Facebook Video Ads Not Measuring Up?

Serious questions are piling up about the value of Facebook video ads and the actual viewing time.

How long do people watch them? Do they click on them at all? Has Facebook been miscalculating the time people watch? Would it be better to use something like YouTube?

One lawsuit against Facebook that alleges they have been calculating the views or length of viewing time incorrectly. By using a different number to divide by, Facebook may have overstated the actual time the video was watched by followers of a page. The viewership in question may be as high as 190 to 900 times overstated.

WOW! I find it hard to believe that a company full of high tech, brainy folks in Mountain View California could get their math wrong on a “simple” thing like length of viewing time and number of views. But I’m sure how you define the terms makes a difference too.

For a long deep dive into your content, podcasting has it all over Facebook. But I guess that is no surprise. People are using Facebook for social media, just to find out what their friends are doing or thinking. (Or at least what their friends are saying that they are doing/thinking, but that’s a different subject!) A recent interview in Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting explains how YouTube - and certainly your own Podcast - is much much more effective than Facebook for getting a message listened to. Although someone’s page may have hundreds even thousands of views, the views are so quick, that people are not absorbing the content.

The podcast is comparing viewership of Facebook Live recordings that were boosted as paid advertising and I’m not sure what type of videos the lawsuit was about.

I just boosted two different videos for a client which seemed to have great results. Lots of people showed up at their event and that was the goal. But because of the podcast I listened to on Monday and the article I read this morning, I’m less comfortable claiming the stats we got from Facebook when I’m showing the client their results for their money. (I’m happy their event was good, otherwise it’d be a more difficult conversation.)

The Bigger Problem
The real problem is that there isn’t an independent group reporting the numbers. In the past advertising viewership (readership/engagement) was measured by old stand by’s like Neilson ratings for TV viewing or BPA for magazines, Technorati (RIP) — now Alexa for websites. Of course there are lots of other audit measures… but who, other than Facebook, sees how long people view things on Facebook?

The numbers that the podcasters are looking at are consumption figures from Apple Connect (formerly iTunes). It’s only a part of the audience because it doesn’t include people who listen on a host of other platforms (Stitcher, Castbox, Spotify, Google Play, - especially Android phones.

This all is a moving target as developers create tools and more developers change platforms… and of course the view public changes their collective mind.

Remember MySpace, Friendster, etc? Perhaps Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat will be replaced just as quickly.

But from a marketer’s standpoint, keeping up with all the social media platforms, one thing is clear. If you own your hosting, domain, content and are not relying on the platforms that you pay to tell you that you have viewers, you have a better chance of trusting the numbers.

Meanwhile, pay per click, anyone?