I had a lot of good rants and brain dumps this week. There was the GM debacle and death of its $10 million Facebook ad campaign and the debate about blog spam and what to do about it. I also shared some of the tools I use behind the scenes to keep everything running, but there are a bunch I haven’t shared with you…yet…
We Trust Shared Content More Than Mainstream Media
Social Media Marketing.com.au published a post Monday that looked at a recent survey from Neilsen on consumer trust and content. According to this study, more than 70% of online consumers trust consumer reviews and word of mouth over trusted media and other sources. Combined with the struggle brands have to maintain consumer engagement, and this is becoming a huge issue.
The way I see it, this is placing even more emphasis on a company’s ability to produce link bait, reviews, and consumer-based content. Ads will have to get more interactive and move away from the stuffy, traditional marketing that says, “Here’s our product. Here’s how you benefit.”
The other problem? Check out the next article I enjoyed this week…
3 Reasons Why I Hate Newspaper Paywalls
If the trust consumers have in official media is declining, and newspapers are moving toward a paywall-based business model, I think it’s pretty clear that disaster is imminent. Don’t you think? Mathew Ingram makes some very valid arguments against paywalls, as well. This leaves me with one question: Has the Globe and Mail thought this through?
There are tons of other ways they could monetise their business. And what about increasing engagement? The more time people spend interacting with their site, the more time their friends will spend on the site, and the more opportunity the newspaper will have to make money. My fingers are crossed that the media will soon sort this out. Otherwise, there will be a horrific number of people out of work.
Don’t get me wrong. Paywalls can be a great thing. I’ve seen a number of projects people have done with the WordPress membership plugin Your Members, and some of them really are brilliant. But it has to be done right. If you’re going to use this method, you need to offer something that isn’t already widely available. And secondly, give your users a taste and make them WANT to see what’s behind the curtain.
**UPDATED** Poynter published findings of another crap study on paywalls. The study, performed by DigiCareers, included statistics like:
- 87% of respondents would sooner use free news sites over paid. — Well DUH! Given a choice between getting the same information for free or paying for it, which one would you choose?
- 82% said they’d go elsewhere if their favourite sites introduced a paywall. — Considering how well most people deal with change, is it any wonder?
- 52% of respondents would immediately leave the site if they encountered a paywall. — There’s no definition of paywall. With no context, this is based merely on perception.
My comment as follows:
My opinion here is similar to Ryan Sholin’s. I think a lot of people have a pre-conceived notion of a paywall. And considering how badly they’ve been done by a number of the big newspapers (and smaller ones), it’s no surprise that people are biased against them.
Of the many newspapers who have turned to a paywall-based structure, some have done exceedingly well while others have failed miserably. I think a lot this stems from misunderstanding paywallconversions. Many see them as being based purely on the content, and this just isn’t true. Sure, creating unique, quality content is important, but this only takes care of the interest portion of the sales process. A lot has to happen first. Trust, for example.Think about it: You click a link expecting to see a really great piece of content and are suddenly told, “Oh sorry. We lied. You have to pay us first.” Because you likely aren’t familiar with the site, you have no idea if their definition of “quality” and “valuable” matches yours.Then, there’s value. If the only option is a weekly, monthly, or annual subscription, you don’t know whether there will be more content that’s actually worth paying for. This is marketing 101. If I’ve never visited a site before, and the only option is to pay for a month’s worth of content, am I going to bother? Not likely. I’ll get the information some other way. But, the more I keep returning to a site, the more likely I am to give in and give up the cash.Another big error is targeting the wrong audience, expecting the wrong audience to pay, or failing to consider user intent. If I want to read an article purely for entertainment purposes, I’m not going to be as motivated to buy as I would be if I was using for research, for example.The failing of the newspaper industry has nothing to do with paywalls, in my opinion. It’s the fact that they’re putting a band aid on an unsustainable and poorly planned business model.
Effective Copywriting and Infomercials
I’ll admit that I had to chuckle when I came across Heather and Laura’s post on how you can improve your copywriting by watching infomercials. I frequently do the same thing. Well, I don’t watch a lot of crappy late night TV. (My TV doesn’t even work.) But I do spend a lot of time watching ads and spotting good advertising.
Not only do I enjoy a creative ad, but I also love seeing the various techniques in action. I’ve gotten some great material from ads other people have done. I’ve even considered taking pictures of the great ads I see and explaining why I like them. Thankfully, my busy schedule doesn’t allow me to get started on yet another project and I am able to put aside these more entertaining pet projects in favour of more profitable ventures. Anyway, I digress. Have a read (or watch Heather’s video) and make notes. This post is another example of how super sharp this lady is.
Did you come across any really good copywriting-based info this week?
May 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Lighter Side | No comment