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October 2017
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Reports of blogging’s death somewhat exaggerated

Blogging is dead. Maybe. According to some commentators.

But not really.

Back in 2007, Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion argued that Shiny Object Syndrome and the attention crash mean that people were focusing on social networking tools rather than traditional blogs.

Charles Arthur of the Grauniad has pitched in with a piece based on the decline in inbound links to the site’s technology section from blogs. After dramatically – and incorrectly – declaring that “blogging is dying”, he qualifies his statement by saying he’s talking about the “long tail of blogging” – meaning that while big, “serious” blogs are still going strong, the mass of small blogs by ordinary people is shrinking.

Where is everybody? Anecdotally and experimentally, they’ve all gone to Facebook, and especially Twitter. At least with Twitter, one can search for comments via backtweets.com – though it’s still quite rare for people to make a comment on a piece in a tweet; more usually it’s a “retweet”, echoing the headline.

Of course, it all comes down to what you actually mean by “blogging”. Does it mean producing a website using a blogging CMS or would a more appropriate definition be posting content online in a user-friendly way?

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Content marketing watch – a new more absorbing Pampers website

Content Marketing Watch is our weekly opinion piece on the latest news from the digital sector. The Pampers website is a great application of the principle of content marketing – by providing content that is of real value, Pampers has created an engaging web presence for its customers. There is no hard sell of the pamper range on the site. Product placements are subtly targeted within highly relevant and useful information depending on the options (e.g. baby, toddler) selected. Called the Pampers village (from the concept that it takes a village to make a child) the website provides articles, videos and newsletter to provide valuable information to help parents such as
  • nutrition and health advice for mothers
  • feeding and development for new babies
  • bedtime and potty training for toddlers
There are web 2.0 elements such as forums, blogs and commenting to create the sense of the village with people sharing experience, rating articles and staying connected. In addition there are a range of practical tools available such as
  • a pregnancy widget that can be downloaded onto your PC
  • a baby name finder
  • an Out and About Guide for those child friendly restaurants and cafes
What we like about this site is that is built around a simple concept of building a long term relationship with the customer through content. Pampers know that the lifetime of one of their customers is from the time when they become pregnant to when their child is potty trained. The site cleverly provides content that is relevant as each stage of their child’s development allowing Pampers to build their relationship over time You can read another analysis of the website on David Meerman Scott blog.
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Is online market research worth the bother?

Before the online age, advertisers placed great store on customer demographics, opinions and attitudes, behavior, geography, media consumption and the like. Advertising agencies created advertising campaigns to target particular audience groups for their clients – often with considerable success.

Now we have online marketing, content marketing, digital marketing and mobile marketing. But it would seem that advertisers know less about their online audience than they do of their offline audience.

It is not uncommon for example for media buying agencies to place online ads in Print Media newspaper websites based on the offline audience readership metrics – the assumption being that the online and offline audience must be similar.

Well, what do you know; it looks like it pays to research your online audience.

It turns out The Telegraph and Guardian Unlimited websites do indeed attract the same readers online and offline, however The Sun, The Times and the Daily Mail attract a much broader online audience. Heather Hopkins of Hitwise brought this to our attention in 2007 – yes, I know, it’s old news, but I rediscovered it yesterday whilst I was doing some research for one of our clients. We often talk about the value of providing access to your archive of “old news”, its one of the principles of content marketing, if it’s online someone will find it and find it useful.

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Google uses comic to explain its new browser

The maybe-maybe-not-evil empire Google has unveiled its latest tool in its endless quest for world domination: a web browser. Quite why it feels the need to compete with Internet Explorer (boo) and Firefox (yay) is the subject of some conjecture. It claims that the new browser, called Chrome, will be lighter, quicker and more able to deal with the modern web. But a particularly insightful comment on Slashdot sees other motives:
AKAImBatman: I imagine the first question on everyone’s mind will be, “Why do we need a new web browser?” To which I imagine the truthful answer is: “We don’t. At least not for technical reasons.” I believe what Google is looking to accomplish is to trade on their brand name in an attempt to further dislodge Internet Explorer. … It will be Netscape vs. Internet Explorer all over again. Except that instead of two giants fighting it out, it will be Microsoft against everyone else. And when everyone else happens to be giants in their own right, Microsoft’s prospects will start looking rather grim.
Regardless of the whys and wherefores and whiters of Chrome, we are impressed by the way Google has explained its features. It did not choose a dull technical manual, a soulless corporate goobledigook press release or a dry FAQ. It uses a comic. Usability, people. It’s why they’re the best at what they do. And it’s what we can bring to your online communications.
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Scottish Marketing Association on the digital future

Mark GormanStewart writes: To Denholm Associates in Leith, courtesy of the Scottish Marketing Association, there to scoff and quaff free food and wine. After a while its chairman Mark Gorman was good enough to point out that I was there to take part in a discussion on the future of digital marketing and not to break gluttony records. (I would like to take this opportunity to thank the security staff for being so restrained in removing me from the crisp bowl.) The panel, Mike Coulter, Eliza Dashwood, Scott Howard and me, were led by John Campbell up a spiral staircase to the lurking audience as the theme from Rocky blared out from loudspeakers. (Might have been the music from Question Time but I’m not sure, having been mixing my own brand “Leith rosé” from the drinks cabinet.) The standard of debate was very high and I think the audience of 30 marketing types were interested, judging by the fact that the stayed put instead of stampeding for the exit. Needless to say, I emphasised the centrality of online content to the future of marketing. Aside from a lively debate about whether what was happening online now was the biggest upheaval we’d ever see, the panel agreed on some key points:
  • Digital agencies need to give better service to clients, learning from their “offline” antecedents.
  • The agencies of the future need to be nimble so they can, in Mike’s memorable phrase, “dance on the waterbed” that is the changing landscape.
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