Sure, it may be a word that you haven’t thought about since half hearing it uttered by a droning professor during a random communications class back in college. But, as communications professionals, “pathos” or the art of emotional appeal, is something we all embrace as a core function of our job. Whether drafting a press release, brainstorming around a campaign brand or developing a video script, we are constantly working to build a strong emotional connection with our target audience.
Emotional Appeal = Audience Action.
I could repeat that line five times but I’ll spare you the eye strain. When it comes down to it, building a connection with your target audience takes work. A lot of work. Your messaging and storyline needs to be authentic, aligned with the core values of your brand and most of all – you need to strike the magical chord that resonates across your audience base.
You see this strategy implemented by nonprofits across the board. On the corporate front, I frequently reference Google’s “search stories” campaign. The original “Parisian Love” ad generated a lot of buzz when it was shown during this year’s Super Bowl. In my mind, the ad is stellar. In a sense, Google represents a creative whiteboard, serving as a portal to churn up a wealth of information around whatever topic a user can imagine. In this case, the creators of the spot did an incredible job of building out a storyline around the notion of love – a theme they knew would connect with everyone.
Beyond this initial spot, Google’s real genius is expounded upon through the way they further developed their Search Stories channel. They’ve even incorporated a search stories video creator tool that allows any user to build out their own Google search story within a matter of minutes.
Lock people in, provide them with the tools that will allow them to easily participate in your storytelling and make it easy to share the content. Search is our entry to content discovery and Google does a great job of bringing to life all of the moving parts behind their simple interface. Kudos Google.
I had a bit of fun with their video creator tool last night and love the creative door this opens to groups and brands hosting contests or other fun storytelling projects.
and a bit of cheese to top it off…
Let’s not forget that Facebook also utilizes a similar tool to acquire user-generated content that helps them demonstrate the value of their platform. In addition, Mashable announced today that Twitter has jumped on the bandwagon with their own version of user story sharing with Twitter Tales.
In essence, it boils down to igniting your brand supporters and advocates to make the shift from being joiners, spectators and critics to actual content creators. Especially from a communications perspective, we want to know how our users are being creative about engaging with our product or brand and how those ideas will influence others to engage with us.
Let’s call like it is. The current media landscape is a constrained space.
Fact - there are fewer reporters and traditional media outlets to pitch.
Fact – media outlets are still inundated daily with an excessive amount of press releases from PR pros on topics across the board.
Fact – the Web now affords us all more channels and opportunities than ever before to disseminate news to target audiences.
If your company, organization or clients are not currently taking advantage of an online newsroom, now is the time to step back and think about how to put one in place. Small businesses and companies will argue that they simply don’t release news frequently enough to warrant having an online newsroom. To that end, I would encourage everyone to think about using online tools and channels to Be The Media.
As you’ll see in the PowerPoint below, Lee Odden differentiates between “pull” and “push” tactics that can be used to distribute news. These pull tactics are largely based on proactively centralizing key content within an online newsroom to help create a searchable resource for journalists to discover your news.
As opposed to just thinking about an online newsroom in terms of static news releases and a couple executive bios, you should envision the page as a central resource for housing key content. Why not use your newsroom to house weekly videos with an expert at your company speaking about a specific niche topic? Using consistent keyword titles and tags and filing all of these videos into one playlist, you’ll be creating a solid content package that will track well on the search engine front, where a journalist is most likely to conduct their initial research around a topic. All analytics around the videos, including search referral terms, can of course be tracked through YouTube Insight.
If you’re uncertain as to where to start and how to structure an online newsroom, I’d encourage you to check out the posts below:
How to Create an Online Newsroom - I like the reminder here about integrating social media into your page.
Quick Tips for Building Online Newsrooms - Nice bullet points to keep in mind, particularly about tracking and measuring to see what type of content draws attention.
How to Build A Better Online Newsroom – Jeremy Porter does a great job with this post, showing comparisons between existing newsrooms used by Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
In addition, I’d HIGHLY encourage you to check out this presentation below. It’s one of the most resourceful PowerPoints I’ve come across on Slideshare in some time. Lee Odden does a great job of breaking down the importance of using an online newsroom to drive search.
Feel free to add your own tips below!
$21 billion. Billion.
That’s the amount of revenue that Google Ads generated last year. If you’re like me and 60% of all Internet surfers, you rely on Google everyday as your search engine of choice. Google has become such a reliable knowledge portal that it’s hard to recall what served as “home base” on the Web prior to their existence.
As critical as the Web is to my job, I’ve never thoroughly understood Google’s advertising structure beyond my basic involvement and research of pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Organic search and search engine optimization are of course crucial to understanding the Web, but the advertising aspect has always seemed a bit foreign to me.
I’ve never been one to give much thought to clicking on the sponsored links listed at the top and on the right sidebar of Google’s search results. Maybe it’s been my instinctual fear of viruses or phishing scams, but I’ve always viewed organic results as the “safe” play when determining where to navigate next on my search path.
Steven Levy’s Secret of Googlenomics article in the latest issue of Wired magazine opened my eyes up to a whole new understanding of how Google’s sponsored ads end up where they do. Aside from bidding on select keywords that connect ads to specific dates, time and geographic locations, Google also assesses the quality of an ad, examining how well the ad matches a search query, the load time and quality of content on an ad’s landing page, the ad’s past clickthrough rate and other key criteria. An ad’s rank on a search result page is then determined through a formula that multiplies the bid by the assigned quality score (1-10).
Aside from gaining some additional technical knowledge about PPC, Steven’s article speaks to the larger economic trend and overall impact of how Google’s auction-based marketplace creates a new “auction” each time a new search is processed.
It’s mindblowing to think about the wealth of data Google and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter (obviously on smaller scales and with Twitter having yet to capitalize on this data in a monetary fashion) are capturing on any given day. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve likely seen tailored “social ads” for products or activity on facebook that reflects your friends’ activity. The friend endorsement is a huge step forward and I’ll admit that it makes me far more likely to check out a particular link on Facebook.
Where does search and social network advertising go from here?
I’d love to hear any SEO/PPC or other online ad experts’ thoughts and insight on where they see search and social network advertising going next.