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Why you suck as online publicist, and what to change.

You can’t force people to appreciate your product or services. You also can’t force them to like your marketing spiel. And if you try to play “the community” you’ll #fail, especially in so-called Social Media circles.

Some might remember my getting a tiny little bit ranty the other day, some probably wondered what the hells that was all about. Well. In this article, I’ll leave the swearing out as much as possible and try to make a point. Point being: Marketing sucks. At least when it’s done ham-fisted and accompanied by unbelievable arrogance.

Good products don’t need pestering.

Let me broaden the statement a bit: Good products virtually sell on their own, and great content will draw people towards your offerings better than any amount of banner ads, employing a “social media officer”, or sheer all-out lying.

Interesting stuff spreads like wildfire on the wobble. Funny crap, incredible concepts, ideas turning into memes, &c don’t have the least problem finding their respective audiences. And yes, you can use this for marketing purposes. Check out how e.g. Google pushes Chrome with crazy video clips that make you go WTF??? Such clips aren’t just funny, they transport a message. A message even rabid anti-marketers might spread without feeling used. Hey, after all I got a chuckle out of it, so I don’t mind sending it to my friends. Even if, in the end, it’s advertising. The laugh is worth it.

But for some weird reason, too many established companies don’t get it. Or rather, won’t get how different a beast the Internet has become compared to older media outlets. They still think in “views” and “ad impressions” and “followers” and “fans” et al. With devastating results.

How the Wobble is different.

You know, there’s an “inter” in “Internet”. And there’s a “web” in “WWW”. Like, people interconnecting, building a web both of communication and trust. Oh yes, trust. I’ll get to that later.

For some ages-old businesses, the Web still looks like another goggle-box con direct pestering addressing potential customers. What these companies fail to see are three things:

  • Humans are flooded with information.
  • People trust other people’s estimates more than advertising agencies.
  • The Net is fast. Like, really fast.

Well, that wasn’t quite fair: Said corporations are well aware of those points but somehow don’t manage to see the relevance. So let me phrase it in non-corporate language:

Don’t spam.

It’s sad I have to point this out. Humans have to digest dozens if not hundreds of information chunks a day. Filling my mailbox with “wanna follow XY?” or my profiles with WIN WIN WIN! won’t make me happy. No, I’ll hit the spam button or just plain block you.

Don’t piss off people, there’s a good marketing chap.

Trust is important.

You can’t expect people to “follow” a fake account and accept information posted through such profiles. You also can’t force people to send prepared information to their well-honed contacts lists. Why should I risk annoying my friends with content and advertisements they already know of? Or, even worse, will consider lovely spam?

Interesting individuals – multipliers you call them, no? – are very much, well, interested in maintaining both their status and credibility. For some, it’s their very livelihood to be taken seriously. Most, if not all, web citizens though simply hate to be used. Most humans hate it, too, so there you are:

Don’t piss off people, there’s a nice marketing boy.

No old news.

If it is on the wobble, it is on the wobble. World-wide, immediately. You want to connect to consumers that are already interested in a topic? Then don’t bore them with old news – that is, news that’s older than, say, 12 hours. If they’re relevant “multipliers”, they already know. And see your great, grand content offering either as lame or, again, spam.

I am well aware that your own mummified business has had national and regional subsidiaries for ages. Accompanied by the most complicated legal codes the human mind – apart from German tax attorneys’ – can devise. But don’t believe your target audience are fools. At best, they’ll bitch about your spamming them with information they’ve already dismissed ages ago. At worst, they’ll be very, very offended. Do they think I haven’t heard about this already? Are they trying to push me into compliance? Do they think I’m that easily conned into re-publishing crap?

Well, you know – don’t piss off people, will you? Thanks, guv.

The arrogance that is antique business models.

It’s not rocket science, dudes and dudettes. Common courtesy paired with common sense. But that’s too … common for you, isn’t it?

Because, after all, you’ve been around for a couple of decades/centuries and know how stuff works™. People should be damn grateful to be allowed to buy your product. No, even watch your ads on TV and – naturally – on the Internets! Damn grateful, so why the hell don’t they spread the word about Product X the way my old-world marketing project plan predicts? It worked in the past! It has worked for dozens of years! It – just – works – that – way!

Well, you guessed it: It doesn’t. So either get wise or get off the Web. Wise sounds fine? Here’s how.

What to do as a good Internet publicist.

Make it easy for people to spread stuff or join causes. You want users on Facebook to participate in a contest? Well, then don’t ask for stuff the media shoot well-worded NOES against. Like filming yourself naked and putting it online or something. After inviting 16+ of your own friends or jump through burning wheels of fire. Or something.

If you build great content, they will come. Not large enough an audience to release interesting stuff on the wobble? Well, hen/egg, anybody? Why should I follow you on Twitter if you just rehash old crap nobody cares about? So I get spammed with messages telling me things I’ve known of for half a year already? Get real.

Don’t piss off people. Seriously. Just don’t.

Further reading.

Naturally, I’m far from the first to point this out. May I direct your attention to Lindsay Robertson’s Do’s and Don’ts of Online Publicity? Or, related, Merlin’s ramblings about sensible use of his content? Yes? Well, enjoy the read. It’s well worth it and might save your marketeer’s ass in times to come.

Damn, I still ended up cussing. Apologies.