Content Disruption in Native Advertising

May 10, 2016

Maya DraisinMaya Draisin is a quiet storm of media revolution. Her prescience has helped bring digital content to the forefront, and yet little is known about her. As co-founder of the Webby Awards, launched in 1996, she ushered in the digital age through a celebration of cutting-edge content. She has been named one of MIN’s “21 Most Intriguing People in Media” and on Katie Couric’s “Women Who Should Be Famous.” Today, she continues to push the boundaries in content disruption as associate publisher and head of marketing at WIRED magazine. Ahead of NYWICI’s May 19, 2016, event Content Disruption at the 2016 New York Show, we sat down with Maya, one of the panelists at the event, to discuss the future of content disruption, the value of good storytelling and doing the impossible.

What do you think the next big disruption in content will be?
In advertising, you’re trying to get a consumer to think a particular way about your brand. In the past, there have been clever ways to get an idea to stick in the consumer’s head. Now, one needs to approach content like you’re trying to tell a good story. You need to look for the interesting qualities in a brand and focus on that. You have to approach it more like a journalist would, by finding an interesting angle and making that your story, as opposed to just creating a product feature.

What are the main components to content disruption in native advertising?
The key is to have great content and a voice that ‘sounds’ like what the reader is used to reading from a particular publisher. Content is more successful when it’s consistent, because it feels organic to the environment that it’s in. But it has to be clear to the reader that it is paid for, without creating a negative perception of the content. Most of the changes are going to come in the sophistication of storytelling and the marketers’ willingness to think more about the reader than their brand.

How do you know when you have a good story?
People light up. If you mention an idea and that person lights up or asks more questions, those are good signs — and then there’s the act of actually telling it well.

What do you consider to be your most successful disruptive strategy?
I’m really very proud of the Nokia program we did last year with Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). [Maya’s team created a Reddit AMA on artificial intelligence with physicist Stephen Hawking]. We were asked to engineer a global conversation about where technology was taking us, but we had a short amount of time. By tapping into the zeitgeist and leveraging key people like Stephen Hawking, we managed to work with both his team and Reddit to come up with a never-done-before platform. The Reddit community was invited to post their questions for Stephen online. Later, Stephen responded to the questions that had the most votes and his answers were posted to the website. The Reddit community and the press were so excited to take part in this. Everyone was impressed that Stephen was able to participate in a session like this, when in the past he did not have the ability to. Remember that line from Alice in Wonderland: “I like to do six impossible things before breakfast”? Anything is possible — the more impossible it seems, the more excited I am.

How do you tackle the impossible?
Just ask. When we were doing the Webby Awards, people asked us how we made all of this happen. The answer is: We asked. We went to PriceWaterHouse Coopers and said: “You audit the Oscars, can you audit the Webby Awards?” We went to David Bowie and said: “You know about music, could you use that knowledge to help with the Webby Awards?” You have to be brave enough to ask. That, along with a lot of experience and knowing how to make things happen, makes it easier so it feels less impossible.

Who (or what) is your main creative influence?
I grew up in a scientific community in Los Alamos, NM, so I’ve always been interested in where technology is taking us. I happened to graduate around the first internet boom, and I think of myself as being in the right place at the right time. The sense that one could use technology to create new things in entrepreneurship was really interesting to me. And the founders at WIRED were always highly influential to me and my development.

Did you have any alternative influences?
I’m a highly curious person so, really, anything is a creative influence. It could be a billboard in Times Square or posts I see on Facebook and Twitter. I was on a consumer-focused panel at Conde Nast and they had the tagline, “Attention is earned.” I thought it was so smart and it really struck me. Now, more than ever, you really have to think about how your content is going to stand out. How is it going to make consumers want to stick with it? Around here, we always say that branded content is only branded if it sucks. Good storytelling is good storytelling — every one of us has a story that’s interesting, and so does every brand. 

Posted by: 
Angela Morris

SEO & Marketing

March 14, 2016

SEOHave you ever wondered about the correlation between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing? For many, SEO is a misunderstood marketing strategy and often overlooked. In an effort to address the many ways in which SEO could improve your site’s ranking, a recent NYWICI Twitter Chat hosted SEO expert Mandy Fredenhagen (@MFredenhagen). Mandy has been in the SEO industry for the last 6 years and is currently VP Global Digital Marketing at Citi, managing global SEO across 24 countries.

To begin, “there are 5 key areas that make up SEO,” says Mandy.

  1. Keyword research strategy
  2. Content strategy
  3. On-page optimization
  4. Technical SEO 
  5. Link building or development

“A keyword research strategy should consist of making a list of important topics that are relevant to your business,“says Mandy. “Then utilize the Google keyword planner to find out what keywords users are searching for. Once you have a list of keywords to target with your content efforts, monitor and measure your efforts.”

When it comes to SEO optimization, content is key. “Content should be optimized for SEO and brands should produce new content. Search engines LOVE fresh content. Find out what searchers are searching for through the Google keyword planner and give it to them! Produce evergreen content.”

Steps to boost SEO

  1. Conduct a SEO audit to find technical issues hindering search engines from efficiently crawling & indexing your website.
  2. Improve on-page optimization across your site. This will include page titles, meta-descriptions, heading tags and body content.
  3. Conduct a content audit and identify content gaps or missed opportunities.
  4. Build backlinks naturally through content creation.

SEO Strategies for 2016

  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Check to see if your website is mobile friendly through Google's mobile friendly tool test
  • At some point, move your website to HTTPS (secure transfer protocol)
  • Social content will gain more presence in search results. The larger your social authority and footprint, the more it will impact your SEO.

With any marketing strategy, don’t expect immediate results. According to Mandy, it is paramount that “leaders realize that SEO efforts won’t produce results tomorrow. SEO is a long-term, ongoing investment that requires effort and patience.”

Read the full transcript of this Twitter Chat.

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Becoming Your Own Brand

February 3, 2016

On Feb. 2, 2016, NYWICI hosted "Marketing Yourself at Every Age" — on standing out, staying relevant and navigating bias.

Panelists included (left to right): Jamie McLaughlin, founder and president of Capstone Hill Search (@CapstoneHill); Celia Currin, executive career coach (@celiacurrin); Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Resume Strategists, Inc. (ResumeStratgsts); moderator Robyn Hatcher, author and communication skills expert and founder of SpeakEtc (@SpeakETC) and Soniya Monga, global agency partner lead at LinkedIn (@soniyamonga).

Here are key takeaways of a very lively discussion:

What goes into a personal brand?

I don't like the term 'personal brand' — I think it's cheesy. It's really about reputation. How do you want your clients, colleagues and others to see you? How do you figure out a way to be yourself? You need to have a point of view and something to say. (Soniya)

One of the key things in building a brand is to be consistent. Building familiarity and repetition across channels — from your message to your headshot — will help people remember you. (Alyssa) 

You want to have one thing that makes you the go-to person, even if it’s knowing the best golf courses. The passion you let out can show up on the personal side. (Celia)

People mistake standing out for being controversial; you don’t need to do that. (Jamie)


How important is passion in marketing yourself?

When you can match your passion with your skills, it’s magic. I would also hire someone more passionate and excited about the job than someone with a great resume but no passion. You can be successful without being passionate, but at some point that's going to catch up with you. (Alyssa)

All interviews are about three questions: Can you do the job? Will you love the job? Can I stand working with you? The third question may be the most important: People want to work with others they enjoy being around. (Celia)

Find something in the job you are passionate about — whether it’s the outcomes or the flexibility, which leads to a better work life balance for example. (Jamie)


What are things you want to pay attention to or avoid doing?

You have to be aware of who you’re marketing to. (Jamie)

Don’t just limit yourself to behind the screen. Get out there face-to-face, go to alumni events, meet with people. When you’re thinking about your online brand, be careful that the brand you’re putting out there doesn’t make you sound like you have more experience than you actually have. (Alyssa) 

A mentor once said to me, “Say yes to everything.” Go to every networking event, set up coffee with people. There’s a difference with people who do their research, know the background of the person they’re meeting with and follow up with a personal note. People often forget about this, so it stands out more if you take the time to follow up. It's easier to build your brand that way. (Soniya)

Do your research. Google yourself periodically and see what comes up. Keep things private and don’t share anything you wouldn’t tell your grandmother over dinner. (Jamie)


How do you craft your message?

Short and brief messages grab the reader’s attention. Have one thing that you are the go-to person for. This opens up opportunity to reach more people. It can be a professional specialty or personal specialty. Let some of your personality out! And use the summary space in LinkedIn to talk about your brand. (Celia)

Be yourself and have a specific point of view to craft your brand around. People are drawn to stories. Craft a story of who you want to be perceived as and have a sense of where you want to go. (Soniya)

In your written communications, proofread everything. Don’t be sloppy. (Alyssa)


Does appearance play a role in your personal brand?

When you think about appearance, there are so many aspects to it — your hair, clothes and accessories. Think about your environment, who you’re meeting with and be consistent with your brand. (Alyssa)

You need to come across as a trusted advisor with expertise. If you're not sure about the dress code, ask. (Jamie)

Get a couple of interview outfits that you feel and look great in. (Celia)

— With reporting by Kathleen Brady, Jessica Kleiman and Angela Morris.
Photos: Jan Goldstoff 


You may also be interested in reading transcripts of past NYWICI Twitter Chats on the same topic: Positioning & Personal Branding with cohost Selena Soo (@SelenaSoo) and Personal Branding with cohost Joanne Jombrakos (@joannetombrakos). 


Trends in Social Media Marketing

July 6, 2015

social media marketing

Trends in social media continue to evolve and new platforms are popping up everywhere. With more than two billion people using the Internet and this number growing by the day, it is difficult to fathom how to keep so many people engaged. Social networking users alone spend an average of 3.2 hours per day online. Vast technological developments require that marketers develop a strategic approach to social marketing to take full advantage of the opportunity to connect with their audience.

In our recent Twitter chat Rules of Social Marketing, we were fortunate to have Sheryl Victor Levy as cohost. For the past five years, Sheryl has been leading digital strategy and solutions for PHIL & Co., a full-service marketing communications agency in Manhattan. Sheryl also is the founder of Savvy Strategy, a digital coaching and marketing consultancy, working with individuals and clients in the entertainment, licensing and non-profit space.

Sheryl shared the following useful tips for social marketers:

What are the benefits of social media marketing?

  • Real-time brand extension, crowdsourcing brand perception, building loyalty and deepening customer relationships.

What is the best social strategy approach?

  • Know that there's no one size fits all.
  • Develop a strategy based on business goals, consumer/audiences, communication goals and resources.
  • Research competitors and brands that are doing it right.
  • Survey your community: What do they want? What will they respond to? How do they want info delivered?

What are the top three habits of successful social media marketers?

  • Listen, strategize and optimize

What are some tips to create an affective social media marketing campaign?

  • Definitely know your audience. Do a lot of listening. Develop a persona and know their wants and needs.
  • Be genuine and transparent. Consumers can see through brands! Match your tone to your product.
  • Craft content that is searchable, shareable and relevant. Use hashtags so your audience can find you

How can you determine which social platform is right for your business?

  • Platforms must match your audience and objectives. Facebook for example, is the broadest, yet doesn't work for Millennials.  
  • Twitter is great for leveraging trending topics. Instagram is better for visual representation and reaching Millennials.
  • Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, YouTube all have a value and should be used strategically.

What does the future of social marketing look like?

  • Multicultural, niche, commerce, personalized, mobile and offering a seamless brand experience

Social marketing is affective, and with billions of Internet users, it is advantageous to meet consumers where they are engaging. “We live in a “multicultural world,” states Sheryl, and she suggests, “Marketers broaden their reach. Video, images and graphics lead the way in digital trends. People are becoming more visual. The proof is Facebook acquiring Instagram.”

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Inter-Generational Marketing

February 17, 2015

GenerationsDid you know that Generation Z is tech savvy, while Generation Y is super confident, diverse, liberal and more hands-on than Generation X? When targeting different generations, marketers need to understand their audience and adjust their marketing tactics, since each generation has unique expectations and lifestyles, which in turn will influence their purchasing behaviors.

During a recent Twitter chat, NYWICI-member Erica Martell, a marketing and communications consultant, shared vital information about the effectiveness of customized inter-generational marketing. “Shifting demographics impact every business,” says Erica. “Communications’ professionals know how to connect, using buzz words.”

Researchers have defined the various “generations” as

  • Mature/Pre-depression, sometimes also referred to as “The Silent Generation” (born between 1927 – 1945)
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 – 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 – 1980)
  • Generation Y/Millennium (born between 1981-2000)
  • Generation Z (born after 2001)

According to Erica, the “practice of segmenting the population is based on various demographic and psychographic factors.” Understanding their unique characteristics, experiences and needs can help marketers target their message. This is important because “one size marketing does not fit all.”

An interesting fact shared by Erica is that by 2030, Millennials will outnumber Boomers by more than 22 million. And although the year 2030 may not seem so far away, it is important for marketers to know that “seniors are currently the largest demographic, with 70% discretionary income and mega buying power.” In addition, “seniors value honest, optimistic language and premium service, making it all about them.” When developing targeted marketing campaigns, a thorough knowledge of these generational trends should be the driving force behind every effective customized marketing strategy.

Additional tidbits shared by Erica during the hour-long Twitter chat included:

  • Marketers creatively target all generations via Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
  • Social Media will continue to evolve in 2015 as will generational participation
  • Marketers are using Infographics to get key points across visually and instantly to convey their message

“It is not unusual for several generations to live under one roof with different values and experiences, especially since the 2009 recession,” says Erica. “Therefore, it is important to cater to culture and generational values and experiences.”

Lastly, consumers want to be assured that they can trust a brand. Erica reminds us that marketers must initiate genuine relationships, demonstrate value and respond to each community’s terms.

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Babies, Boomers, Multiculturals

February 10, 2015

What it takes to create marketing campaigns that motivate Millennials, Gen X and Multicultural generations was the subject of a lively NYWICI panel of marketing all-stars. Their conclusions? Smartphones are stealing eyeballs, but print isn't dead.

Here's more from Robyn Hatcher, Lucinda Martinez, Lesley Jane Seymour and Ann Shoket, who gathered at HBO headquarters on Feb. 5, 2015.

Defining Millennials

Ann, who was editor in chief of Seventeen Magazine from 2007 to 2014, defines Millennials as anyone from 15 to 35. Millennials have been described as lazy and entitled, but this negative reputation could not be more wrong. The financial crisis has in fact given rise to a new “Powergirl,” who is strong, independent and above all spends wisely. “If you give a Millennial girl $100, she is not going to go and spend it all on one thing. She is going to think about every single way she can spend that money.”

Millennials not only desire to be financially secure, they also have a strong focus on forging their own paths and choosing careers based on their passions. They often work more than one job at a time. One of the most impactful statistics about Millennials is that 46 percent are multicultural, according to Lucinda, who as senior vice president of multicultural marketing at HBO described her job as marketing to “people of hue.”

Understanding Boomers

As editor-in-chief of More Magazine, Lesley is an expert on what many marketers call Boomers, although she rejected the term and urged the audience to “lose the labels.” More began as a magazine for women over 40, but has since broadened its audience, as “older women” were embraced by all women’s magazines. Now, More targets women who “have the guy and know what to do with him.” These women don’t want to talk about men. They are highly educated and accomplished, and want to discuss fashion and world issues. Lesley also noted that Boomers have a very high “bullshit meter” and want something that is authentic. “Never speak down to your audience,” she said. Boomers are still not getting credit for their influence or spending power; many marketing companies are missing out by undervaluing this audience.  

Choosing the Right Marketing Tactics

Baby Boomers2Not every platform or technology is right for every marketing objective, especially when it comes to targeting different and diverse groups. The smartphone is every marketer’s biggest competition for a person’s attention, said Ann. She cited YouTube as the platform for Millennials, while Lesley added that her audience still deeply valued print. 

Millennials also respond strongly to Twitter, but with so many different sources to follow, companies have to think strategically. Align your advertising placements and social media posts with moments when you expect bursts in digital conversation, Lucinda suggested. If an episode of Game of Thrones with a big twist is about to air, social media will buzz the next morning; publishers will need to have advertisements planned out. 

But at the end of the day, Millennials, Multiculturals and Boomers still value time spent “unplugged.” Amidst the ever-growing number of platforms and devices competing for our attention, print media offer the opportunity to tune out and disconnect. A quiet hour alone with a magazine is important to all audiences, and each panelist agreed that this was something marketing professionals should never forget.

Photo Credit: Jan Goldstoff

Related Reading:

Adweek: “How to Advertise to the Millennial Who Hates Advertising

Posted by: 
Allie Carmichael

Personal Branding: Essential to Your Success

September 29, 2014

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? You may not think twice about your professional image, but the way people perceive you is essential to your personal success. Moreover, hiring decisions are often made by the hiring manager’s perception of you.

Our personal brand is a part of who we are. According to Selena Soo, publicity and business strategist and founder of S2Groupe, “everyone has a brand — the question is, does your brand reflect how you want to be seen?” Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what their personal brand says about them or how to effectively develop it to leverage professional success. But if you want to be known for something, “let the world know! Blog about it and talk to people about it,” advises Selena. And make sure your brand is “authentic, distinctive, consistent and memorable.”

Your personal brand does not start with social media, however, or your blog. While your presence on social media is important, building your personal brand is an ongoing obligation to define yourself on all platforms. 

In a recent NYWICI Twitter chat Positioning & Personal Branding, Selena shared a few key questions to ask yourself when building your personal brand:

  1. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
  2. In a few words, what describes your personal brand?
  3. What do you want to be known for? Branding includes your “big ideas.” Nike’s is “Just Do It,” “Apple’s is “Think Different,” Samsung Galaxy’s is “The Next Big Thing.” What is your “big idea?
  4. What difference do you want to make?
  5. What makes you unique?

Think about what your personal brand means to you. As you interact with co-workers and others, be aware of your overall presence and what others are thinking of you in that moment. We’re constantly evolving and should consider branding check-ups often. Ask someone you trust and respect to share honest feedback about your personal brand. Don’t hesitate to take a self-assessment of yourself and adjust accordingly.

Further reading:

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

A Digital Marketing Guide for Start-ups and Small Business

October 30, 2013

If you’re a start-up or a small business and think you don’t have an adequate budget for an effective marketing campaign, think again. If you have a computer and Internet access, that’s enough to get you started on the right track.

A strong social media strategy, if applied correctly, can actually help your brand go viral. Below are some practical tips for an effective Internet campaign for your small business:

  1. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, create one now. Businesses can build relationships and connect with clients directly. 
  2. Open a Twitter account and connect with clients and “experts” in your field to build your network.
  3. Launch a Twitter chat party introducing your brand. Schedule weekly twitter chats and brand yourself as an “expert” in your field. This will give you the opportunity to create a form where you can share your knowledge all the while bringing awareness to your brand.
  4. Create a You Tube channel. Identify a spokesperson for your channel, and a producer and editor, then develop your content. Create fresh, consistent content.
  5. Design and implement an e-newsletter. Constant Contact provides you with free and low-cost tools to design a professional looking document in minutes. Use the e-newsletter to build your database, strengthen relationships and promote your brand. Share coupons and updates about products and services provided by your company.
  6. Create a blog. Make it interactive and include video as much as possible. Engaging your customers is critical to building relationships. Use the blog to talk with your clients, share company insight. Maybe you recently launched a new product that faced challenges in its development stages – write about it.  Draw the reader in by sharing a personal story associated with a product or service you offer. People love transparency – be honest and draw people in by your story.
  7. Purchase a domain name. Domain names can be purchased inexpensively. Even if you don’t have the budget to create a website, it’s ok. Link your domain name to your blog until you’re ready to invest in a website. Also, purchase a few email addresses Doing so helps establish credibility to your business or start-up. 

As you build your brand, always remember to apply these simple steps at every stage of your business:

  • Build Relationships
  • Fresh Content
  • Share Your Knowledge
  • Image is Everything
  • Connect with Clients/Customers
  • Be Transparent

When identifying the right social network for your business, consider the following:

  • Research the social networks that will work best for building your brand
  • Understand the needs of your target audience
  • Make connections and talk to people
  • Share your goals and identify supporters
  • Measure results

There are so many free and low-cost tools available to you. Use these tools to your advantage. Don’t wait for that million-dollar check to come in the mail. Just go with what you have and work it!

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies

December 4, 2012

Do you build social media into your brand or business marketing strategy? According to Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing report, “the number one benefit of social media marketing is generating more business exposure followed by increasing traffic.” In a recent NYWICI Twitter chat, we discussed the topic “Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies.” I’d like to share a few highlights from that chat.

Many are under the assumption that having a social media strategy is equivalent to setting up a Facebook and Twitter account and sharing a few random posts with followers. An effective social media marketing campaign requires much more than that. To begin the process of setting up a social media marketing strategy, it is important to understand the heart of social media. Social media is about building relationships, connecting with others and engaging with your audience.

Ask yourself how social media fits into your strategy. Understanding how it can build and strengthen relationships with your target audience is invaluable. As you develop your strategy, take the time to know your audience.

For college students, it’s never too early to create a social media strategy. It will help with your job search and career building. For example, it might be a good idea to connect with recruiters and follow companies on LinkedIn and connect with recruiters and hiring managers on Twitter. Create a plan and strategy about how to best approach social media so that it benefits you with your job search. Customize your social network, tweets and posts in ways that will get you noticed by influencers and hiring managers.

To create an effective social media strategy, it’s important to identify the social networks that are best for you. Here is a great article written by Jeff Bullas, “6 Social Media Networks to Watch in 2012.” You may use it as a resource to help you discover social networks that will fall in line with your strategy.

While there are numerous social networks to choose from, don’t feel obligated to join all of them. Understand the purpose of establishing a social media presence on a specific network and have an end-goal in mind. As tempting as some social media platforms might be, don’t join it if you don’t have adequate time to invest in it.

A few things your social media marketing strategy should include are:

  • Online presence
  • Promotion
  • Engagement
  • Monitoring

An important element of social media marketing is storytelling. Some believe that marketing and storytelling are one and the same – they're not. One can have an online presence but lack a compelling story. Be clear and knowledgeable about what makes your company or your personal brand exciting and articulate that to your audience.

Social media allows you to write about what you know and things you’re passionate about. The same goes for college students or job seekers, know your value and include that in your strategy. What gripping story are you able to share with your audience? What is it about you, your business and your brand that will draw others to you? Take time to answer these questions and create your strategy around that. A social media marketing strategy should always include conversation and innovative ways to connect with others.

Lastly, social media enthusiasts often recommend the 80/20 Rule. This means that 80% should be about helping others such as community, clients and more. The remaining 20% is time spent on self-promotion. The suggestions shared in this blog post are just recommendations. How you develop your social media marketing strategy is up to you. Once you take time to know your clients, customize a strategy that will benefit you and your target audience. Remember to think in terms of conversation. It’s a great idea to comment on blogs, share content and give feedback on the work of others.

To read more about this topic, see our “Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies” Twitter chat archive. You may download a copy of the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report here.

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens


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