Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sharing with the Information Ecosphere

I started thinking about social sharing and bookmarking when I was writing a post about small business and the local content site that’s actively supporting their Internet Marketing efforts. As you can see, Cape Cod Today makes it easy to share content, exactly what any content publisher should be doing. When you share something, they encourage you to share it again! You can sign up for their Twitter feed, which puts all headlines in your Tweet stream (they hope you’ll retweet it). It all comes under the heading of getting the content out, perhaps reaching readers who wouldn’t otherwise have seen the article or were not even familiar with the website. This article from the NYT last week discusses issues and has a funny graphic; be sure to expand it.

This advice is all well and good for a business site. Could/should bloggers and other types of websites do the same? That’s the easy one—of course they should! More difficult is to decide how to do it in order to have the most success in reaching your target market.

This set of icons from puts the issue in perspective. Note that this includes all the ways of sharing content, not just social bookmarking services. How on earth do you select from all of these? Probably the first thing you notice is that many of the bookmarking ser vices you’ve never heard of; every time I look at this chart I see an unfamiliar one! Next you might notice that some of them are clearly specialized—TellMyPolititician, for example. Some of them you might not think appropriate for a general-audience publication—PimpThisBlog strikes me as something I wouldn’t use even if it works for some audiences. Frankly, though that still doesn’t eliminate many of the bookmarking services.

You could start with the biggies; that’s what most people seem to do; they are also the most readily available. Here’s a list of the top 20 bookmarking sites if you want to start down that path. The graphic includes all major ways of sharing, not just the bookmarking sites, so their ranking—not surprisingly—has Facebook at the top. Here’s an article that gives some advice on what to look for.

Some of the sites are well known for catering to a particular target audience. Reddit is beloved of young tech folks; little known to the rest of us. An American Library Association division actually has a list of the best bookmarking sites for teachers.

What’s the best way? Choose several bookmarking services that seem reasonable and install them on your site. It’s easy, as long as you have access to the HTML. Then study the analytics; see what sites are sending you the most traffic. You may be able to get keyword data; that’s even better.

All bookmarking services have some reports available. You may find it necessary to use a metrics program (Google Analytics remains free and easy to use) to really understand the sources of traffic to your site. Then you can refine your choices and your visitors can help you share your content with the world?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kicked-Up Marketing with Apps

Ad Age hosted an Apps for Brands conference last week that produced some interesting advice and case histories. There’s no doubt that apps for Apple’s iPhone represents market leadership with, according to last week’s email, 75,000 apps and 2 billion downloads as of today (the CNET article says 85,000 apps; I took Apple’s word for it). To marketers a more interesting issue is what other firms are doing in the space since few of us have a brand that can attract developers like the iPhone.

First, a couple of layperson’s definitions. An app (application) is software designed for end users. A widget is a graphical interface that allows users to interface (easily) with the application. In practice, the two are often indistinguishable from one another, since marketers are delivering a lot of apps, especially the mobile ones, as widgets. Examples from the conference include:

The Kraft iFood Assistant

Bank of America Mobile Banking

Benjamin Moore’s Catch-a-Color

Ad Age advises that apps must be real time and easy to use and to pay for if not free. They point out that people will pay for value if the apps are useful enough. They also point out that people are even more annoyed by intrusive advertising in the mobile environment than on the desktop as Major League Baseball found out. On mobile, click-through isn't the only metric that matters. Are people recommending your app? Or trashing it on Twitter? "We measure click-throughs, but we don't measure pissed off," said Mr. Bowman, referring to when MLB put an intrusive ad into its At Bat app.

They also point out that apps need to be part of an integrated marketing message, although people are most likely to learn about apps by WOM. Their recipe for success is utility, frequency and viral. Good advice.

Each of the apps above has a demo page; they are all worth looking at. The Benjamin Moore color app clearly wins the prize for most creative, but the other two offer genuinely useful services, and that’s really what it’s all about. The three firms above are all trying to sell a product or a service. Only Kraft charges; 99 cents. The MLB At Bat app (see it on their home page) is $4.99 at the Apple App Store; they are offering a value-added service. Make sense?

But is this another strategy that’s only for corporations with big advertising budgets? Not necessarily—more about that in a few days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

BMW Roars Down the Road (Desk?) Again

I found my original link to the new BMW “Expressions of Joy” campaign in a Tweet by Kevin Swanepoel—thanks, Kevin! My reaction was that BMW has done it again in terms of pushing the envelope on advertising (build your own) and, more recently, customer engagement (the graffiti wall).

The campaign, launched in the UK in the spring, is for the new Z4 model. If you look around you’ll find a lot of the typical—photo galleries (some so complex they froze my screen so I’m not providing links) and TV ads posted on YouTube.

But it’s the augmented (not virtual) reality application that intrigued me. It’s a technological update of earlier ad campaigns. Basically, once you download the software (called a paintbrush app), it lets you drive the new Z4 on your desk. If you wish you can create your own “expression of joy” and upload it to the contest on Facebook—reminiscent of the graffiti promo. There are several posts on the wall of the Facebook page and at least one on the photo page.

There are lots of comments about how much fun this is—and that’s a lot of the point!—scattered around the web. The one I liked most added something about how this was a geeky toy to be used by companies with a lot of money.

That is no doubt true. It seems to be a proprietary application; is it based on the Microsoft Paintbrush Tool? I can’t tell.

What I do know is that BMW continues to reach out to a young, well-heeled target market and to understand how to engage them. The challenge for other marketers is to use innovative, cost-effective ways of reaching and engaging their target audiences. Some of that is technology and tools; much more is creative marketing thinking!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Direct Response and Brand Marketing in the New Media

I picked up the link to David Carter’s blog post from Twitter yesterday. Truth to tell, I followed it because it mentioned NEMOA, the New England Mail Order Association which numbers among its members some of the best catalogers on the planet, also a lot of old friends. I was interested to see what was going on, and David’s slideshow focuses on what he learned from them; you’ll find it interesting.

I had a major “wish I’d said that” moment when I saw this graphic. David is a hard-headed social media marketer, and his “not a replacement strategy” warning is a good one. But what really struck me is that this says it all. Social media is a creature of the web, although it simply enables some physical world phenomena like Word of Mouth. Direct response, the province of the people at NEMOA, has been around for quite awhile. So has branding. What’s fascinating is that direct marketing and brand marketing take place, in similar ways, on and off the web. This is what marketers do—it really does say it all!

This morning’s article by Augustine Fou in ClickZ takes it a step further. Dr. Fou is proposing a new definition of digital that blurs the nice neat lines in David’s graphic. It’s a broad definition; "the collection of habits and expectations of modern users." Here is a summary of his major points:

Branding Is Dead
However, consumer habits have also evolved. Many people actively search for things online. And the moment they type in a search term or phrase, we know exactly what they're looking for at that exact moment in time.

While it’s true that traditional brand marketing in mass media has decreasing relevance on an almost day-by-day basis, brand development is still hugely relevant. It’s just done differently

Targeting Is Dying
As consumer habits change to "pulling" for information when they want or need it, marketers' tactics must also change. Tactics that fall under the umbrella of "push" marketing become less relevant because fewer modern users will tolerate being beaten over the head with ad messages.

Dr. Fou’s point is that people almost always start with search when they’re looking for information on the web, and that’s absolutely true. However, think about the post about McKinsey content last week; they are using Web 2.0 techniques for distributing content. Is that push? I’d say it is, but it’s either permission-based or very polite or both. No beating over the head here!

Social Media Isn't Media
. . .trying to use social networks and social actions as media won't work. Conversations can't be bought. And if they are bought, the community will find out and retaliate.

He concludes that marketers who get it “will gravitate toward techniques that cultivate genuine and open dialogue with customers, where brands humbly listen and learn, and then respond with new features and innovations.”

I totally agree. But I’d add that marketers still need to understand, and properly use, the three disciplines of marketing in David’s bubble chart. Direct response, often PPC these days, can be used to bring people to your site—which had better give them the information they are looking for and allow them to efficiently conclude a transaction (direct response) if they desire. Brand marketing still has great relevance—think all the “who do you trust” discussions. People you know and other consumers come first on the trust list. Brands (I’d include the adjective “trusted”) follow closely. Creating a trusted brand should be the overriding goal of brand marketing these days.

Where the lines really blur is between brand marketing, still a necessity, and social media marketing—more and more the way savvy marketers are doing brand marketing—as Dr. Fou said.

The disciplines are still there; the way marketers execute has undergone a huge shift.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Social Media Marketing Best Practices

I found the link to the Beeline Labs best practices white paper on a post by Lois Kelly on iMedia Connection. It’s a good post, with strategic advice that closely parallels the findings reported in the white paper. I’d encourage you to download the entire white paper from the site.

I was most impressed with two sections; Biggest Surprises and Most Common Mistakes. Those are especially important, and I’d like to recap them briefly.

Biggest Surprises:

Customers want to advocate. People love to talk about experiences they’ve enjoyed; make it easy for them to talk about your product, your website, whatever.
• The value of early warning and speedy response. The sooner, the better. Otherwise, the damage may have already been done.
Better planning. Get customer insight and incorporate it into planning and decision making.
“No bad experiences.” Here’s what the report says, “Almost all companies said they were surprised at how few, if any, negative experiences had occurred from engaging in social media. While legal and management are often concerned about “what if someone says negative things about the company,” this has rarely been an issue.” Hear, hear!

Most Common Mistakes:

• Ill-defined purpose. That’s a tactful way of saying that companies start social media programs with no clear objectives.
• Disconnected silo. Social media isn’t a scary animal that needs to be isolated. It needs to be integrated with all other communications programs.
• Denial. Refusal to believe what is being heard in social media. Management wants “hard data.” By that time it may be too late. . .
• Just another “channel.” Their point is that social media should not be seen as just a new way to push out content, it should be seen as a way to reach out--to create and sustain relationships.
• Not using the right talent. This is a serious marketing (and pr) activity and should be treated as one.
• Listening but not acting. Need I say more???
• Over-engineering a process or workflow. Use automation to make the processes more efficient, but don’t let it separate the human beings from the social content.

Now that you’ve read this, don’t you want to read their Advice for Suceeding (pages 16 and 17)? Some of you might also find their advice for working with your legal department (p. 9) helpful.

It’s good news that there are enough companies with enough experience to contribute to the establishment of best practices. Now more of us should be practicing them!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Women, Brand Marketing, and Social Media

Two recent headlines summarize the dilemma for marketers:
SocNet Branding Fails to Sway Women
• Are Women Really Ignoring Social Network Marketing? (eMarketer, September 17, 2009)
Both articles are based on data from a Q Interactive study recently presented at AdTech Chicago. (See the full presentation here; it has a lot of data and includes two successful brand studies.)

First, let’s admit that the research is all over the place and that headlines often fail to capture nuances. We know that women are on social networks like Facebook in large numbers. However the study as reported in eMarketer makes it clear that some brand marketing activities do have impact. In this economy, not surprisingly, coupons and discounts have the most impact—not exactly what brand marketers want to hear. Online ads have much less impact; purchasing advice from blogs, online communities and website have even less. A study by the Marketing to Moms Coalition and reported in Marketing Charts asks the question more broadly and finds 49% of online moms doing product/price research and 45% shopping for their children.

So moms are online; they are researching and making purchases. Why do they report so little influence from online brand development efforts like marketer blogging and use of social networks. Maybe it’s just the word “marketer.” We also know that WOM is still the most trusted source of information. In the study I talked about earlier this month “Consumer opinions posted online” came in a distant, but still strong, second. Surprise, surprise! Consumers have never been highly trusting of advertising. I don’t think it matters a bit whether that advertising is online or in traditional media.

The difference, obviously, is that consumers now have the ability to make their experiences and opinions available online. That puts them in strong competition with marketers who are trying to make their voices heard online. And since “people like me” are trusted to give good advice, their voices have impact. That says a lot about how brand marketers should be approaching social network marketing. In the Kraft and Fisher-Price brand studies in the Q Interactive presentation, you’ll see lots of coupons, which the data says women are looking for, and contests, which are engaging. But you’ll also see growing attempts to dialog with women and to listen to what they are saying.

But there may well be another issue that arises from the nature of the social platforms themselves. A study from BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners reminds us that women use different social platforms for different purposes. Social networks are primarily used for social purposes. Blogs score much higher for both getting information and sharing opinions. (See the full presentation here.)

Social media can work for brand development and marketing. It doesn’t come quickly or easily, as I’ve said many times. It’s important to start by recognizing that not all platforms are created equal, as far as marketers are concerned. The corollary to that statement is that it takes different types of marketing effort to be successful on different platforms. Starting from this rather simple premise should help brand marketers develop social media strategies that do have impact.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deconstructing Facebook

The announcement this week that Facebook had turned cash-flow positive (not profitable) generated a lot of buzz that I don’t need to contribute to. However, it did remind me that I’ve been confused about the term “fan pages” ever since the new corporate pages were announced in March. No one, at that time, was using the term fan pages. It probably came into general use because brands want consumers to “fan them”— or maybe it was just to confuse me!

In any event, fan pages were introduced to give businesses an alternative to the existing groups pages. This chart from Search Engine Journal gives a good comparison. The conclusion that groups pages are better for discussions and fan pages better for long-term relationship building is important. If you are thinking about building a fan page, or you want to assess your existing one, here’s a good post from Carnet Williams at iMediaConnection.

eMarketer (September 17, 2009) had some good charts on current Facebook growth. Last month it was highest among young males, but followed pretty closely by middle-aged men and middle-aged and older women. The demographics of Facebook remain young, but older groups have been gaining steadily in recent months. If a Facebook page is an important part of your marketing strategy, you might want to follow Inside Facebook, which keeps up with these developments.

That reminds me—I need to find a young friend on Facebook and congratulate her on her recent engagement. Such is life in the world of the connected—of all ages! Are you making it easy for your customers (actual and potential) to stay connected with your brand?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

McKinsey 'Gets It' in New Media

That’s true in a number of interesting ways. One of my students highlighted the article from their global survey that tracks business adoption of Web 2.0 techniques. If this were about the data, I could pretty much leave it at the title of the first table, “Greater Knowledge and Better Marketing.” For me, that sums it up! From that data, eMarketer (September 16, 2009) has a nice chart that point out that different Web 2.0 technologies work better for different purposes/audiences. That’s important too.

But what I’ve enjoyed watching over the past several months is McKinsey’s own efforts to make its content interactive and push that content out on several Web 2.0 platforms.

• Look at the article itself. It has an interactive chart that is a nice way to portray their three years of tracking data. There’s also an audio discussing the results (see the right bar). Now step back and look at the page. It has a variety of ways of drawing you into the article and a variety of ways of reader sharing. At this moment it has 53 recommendations—pretty good! It has a big Facebook logo.

• They (technically, “they” is the McKinsey Quarterly journal, not the consulting firm) have almost 40,000 fans on Facebook. This is from my page today. They keep it up; people respond—51 people like it and there are 12 comments. Also good!

• I don’t follow them on Twitter, but they are active. It seems to be a combination of feeds as they publish new articles and manual Tweets that point to certain articles or information. They have over 15,000 followers.

• I just added their marketing content sidebar to this blog; look on the right sidebar. It caused the one failure I found; the automatic post to Blogger didn’t work, although the usual copy embed code did. I needed to work on the sidebar anyway (hate to do that), so it didn’t make much difference. I think I first noticed the widget in February when they asked Facebook fans to give them feedback on it. All very good!

It’s not just being on the social networks; it’s using them consistently and for the appropriate purposes.

It’s about making your stuff work.

Most of all, it’s about having a consistent strategy across platforms—from your website through all the social networks you choose to use.

McKinsey gets all of this!

P.S. I couldn't resist adding this; it came in about an hour after I made the post. Another good catch by McKinsey!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Consumers Trust (Some) Online Content

We know that traditional media is declining and that consumer attention and marketer budgets are aggressively moving online. One of the comments to a post last week reminded me of the importance of the question, “What content can we trust online?” That motivated me to pull out the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey data from this summer and take a look at it. This twice-yearly study surveys 25,000 consumers across the globe.According to the article in AdWeek, “When it comes to trust, personal recommendations and consumer opinions posted online are most valued by consumers worldwide.” Word of mouth from people you know is the most trusted. Consumer reviews posted online are second, although there’s quite a gap. It’s interesting that brand websites are equally trusted. It’s also interesting that traditional media ads rate considerably higher than do online ads.

Additional data from the study, presented in the Marketing Analytics blog, gives another perspective. The study found trust in advertising increasing across the board. According to this report, “consumers today are more trusting of every marketing channel tracked compared to two years ago, save newspaper advertising, trust in which declined a marginal 3%.

The study disclosed some good news for online in particularly banner ads. The percentage of global consumers trusting banner ads grew 27% between 2007 and 2009 and the percentage trusting ads in search engine results grew 21% from 2007 to 2009.” According to eMarketer (August 3, 2009) there are differences between various areas of the world. North America sits pretty much on the average. Even at that, the overall level of trust in online advertising could still be higher.

Why is trust growing? Better behavior on the part of marketers? More need felt by consumers? The respondents feel that advertising helps them make more informed decisions. Some even find it entertaining! I wonder how much the state of the economy has to do with it. Seventy-one percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Advertising contributes to growth of the economy.”

That shouldn’t let marketers off the hook; it seems abundantly clear that consumers are looking for information—from their friends, from online reviews, and from advertising. Doesn’t that give a strong message as to what we marketers should be doing?

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11, Service and Social Media

On September 11 a lot of people want to do something. Using social media to support that very human emotion makes sense.
This morning I got an email from Service Nation, a non-profit that encourages citizen service opportunities. Among the service initiatives they are promoting on 9/11 is a Cities of Service Program. The idea is for individual citizens to submit service ideas/opportunity to the major of their city. The email linked to a simple form for that purpose.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg appears to have led the way with a program to encourage New Yorkers, especially young people, to volunteer for service. It has an active website, many non-profit organizations as partners, and initial commitments from citizens from all walks of life to serve.

There’s a catchy and engaging part of the program called “Share Your Blank.” The point is that everyone has something worthwhile to share. The program not only allows them to serve, it allows them to talk about their service in order to inspire others—social media in action.

One important point is that initiatives like this don’t happen in isolation. I heard about it from Service Nation. NYC had a lot of partners when they launched the program. It seems vibrant and active, so they probably have more now.

It’s not only a lesson in encouraging service; it’s a lesson in making social media social. Both are appropriate on 9/11.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Global View of Collaboration Tools

This chart of collaborative tools was sent to me by a colleague in the Netherlands—thanks, Ailsa! It’s informative itself and it leads to an interesting collaborative platform. Note that you can attach notes to the title bar, which is useful.

I copied 3 categories that were of most interest to me—platforms that allow you to create a private network, work group sites, and presentation sites. The map is huge; for the rest of it you’ll have to look at it for yourself. I’ll bet you agree that you had no idea there were all these platforms for collaboration of various types—Ailsa and I certainly didn’t!

Take a look at the MindMeister platform and some of the domains that are being mapped with it. Does it remind you of something you’ve done in a more ad hoc fashion on an easel or a whiteboard? The platforms listed here make something we’ve been doing all along easier, and being able to update it publicly, but in a controlled fashion, is real collaboration.

If you’re interested in collaboration, either as a small business person or as a project or team leader, you should take a look at another site. The App Gap blog, which I found courtesy of a Tweet by Ivana Taylor at Strategy Stew, talks a lot about collaboration and covers other topics of people who manage teams or small businesses. One correction though. Looking carefully, it’s not a blog from Intuit; it is from Beeline Labs and sponsored by Intuit QuickBase. Take a look at the blog. Is it a good promotional move for Intuit? I think so. I’d suggest that they connect it somewhere on their site; a new section for sponsored blogs would make sense. The Intuit site already has a lot of good resources for small businesses. Why keep this one secret?

Happy collaboration!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Encouraging Local Businesses to Go Social

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of local media and find their business proposition compelling in a world where traditional print (see yesterday’s post) seems on an irreversible downward path. I’ve written about Cape Cod Today before. I post a local blog there and have become somewhat familiar with the operation. It is part of their local orientation that they have a blog design and marketing service as one division of the business. I follow them (as well as Wicked Local Cape Cod) on Twitter; it’s an interesting way to keep up with local news for someone who long ago stopped reading the print version of newspapers. They have a Facebook page which appears to be manually maintained with 135 followers as of today. Their Twitter account has 750 followers and uses TwitterFeed to automatically post items from their home page. The ratio makes sense to me.

Going through my summer info, I was interested that, having learned about Facebook and Twitter themselves, they had introduced a new service for their clients; setting up a Facebook page and/or Twitter account. I took a quick look at some of the businesses using the service.

The Facebook page of the skydiving service is vibrant—makes sense. This is an experiential service and Facebook is a good place to give a sense of the experiences. I don’t find a Twitter page for them. 140 characters doesn’t give a good opportunity to create a sense of experience but it could link back to the Facebook page or to their website. Their website offers basic information but not much fodder for the social sites; it’s connected to their Facebook page and that works. The website doesn't have a prominent Facebook logo, and given the richness of the content there it should be useful to people considering a purchase. A key question is--how much content can three people be expected to keep up? That will help reduce the number of options!

The Mediterranean-style taverna is active on Twitter—a good place to promote today’s menu items and special events. I don’t find a Facebook page for them (why is it so hard to be sure?*?), but they have a blog on their website.

The yoga instruction center is using Twitter primarily for branding. Not an ideal use perhaps, but this couple has had a blog on CCT for awhile and they use it in the same way. It’s an integrated communications program that’s likely to pay off for them over time.

Three businesses—three different approaches to social media platforms. There are two primary take-aways. First, any business must use the best platforms for their objectives, which must themselves be closely mapped to the business concept and objectives. Second, the social media platforms can be a real hog of employee/owner time. It’s important to select the right one and to use it consistently.

I checked another Facebook/Twitter combo for a local business which CCT describes as “recently set up.” No activity—no posts, no Tweets, no new fans or followers. That’s the danger. Everyone I know is surprised by how much time and effort it takes, whether “it” is a blog or a Facebook page or another social media endeavor. The exception can be Twitter, where it’s possible to feed directly from your blog or Facebook page, making posts do double duty. That’s fine. Whether it’s enough is a question.

Social media is a commitment that local and other small organizations should consider carefully. Many of them cannot afford much/any media advertising, so it seems a sensible option. However, there are possible downsides. Does an unmaintained page damage the brand of a small local business as it would a national brand? Probably not as much, but it can’t help. Will you buy from a retailer with a messy store? Unlikely. Does the same principle hold true for keeping your Facebook page up to date? Time will tell. My guess is yes!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sign of the Times--Nascar and the Web

A lot of social media developments passed by while I took August off. A few of them were worth saving and revisiting. One was the announcement in July that Nascar had picked 20 websites and blogs to credential for press coverage.

According to Ad Age (subscription required), “The attrition of both space and writers at newspapers around the country has meant a growing number of empty seats at Nascar media centers and press boxes, and less mainstream media coverage for the sport.” Add to that a weak economy and high ticket prices, and Nascar racing, along with other sports, has suffered. As far as I can tell, Nascar still has the highest “attendance” figures for any sport in the US, so it’s an important bellweather. Their website makes it clear that this Turner Interactive site understands the power of the web, engagement, and interactivity.
In this media environment Nascar executives were smart to rethink their historical distrust of non-traditional media. The Sports PR blog has a nice commentary on their process and motivations. The 20 sites selected are listed in Nascar’s press release.

Most are websites; a few are blogs. I look at a few of each, randomly selected. My eyes glazed over pretty quickly because I’m not a professional sports fan, especially Nascar. But it’s clear to even a non-fan like me that these are serious sites or blogs, with multiple contributors and in-depth coverage. They are definitely not just a guy with a blog and an attitude.

The Ad Age Article points out that both the NBA and MLB have credentialed writers for both major websites and sports blogs. NBC just purchased Local teams appear to credential web writers based on their own criteria. Ad Age says, “The Baseball Writers Association of America, which has lamented its dwindling ranks because of newspaper layoffs and cutbacks on space, voted in December 2007 to open its membership to web-based baseball writers.” That’s definitely a sign of the times!

The decline of print media, especially newspapers, continues unchecked, although multiple sources, including Pew, find use of online news sites continuing to grow. As far as I’m concerned, there’s still reason to view unedited news with care. Some news sites have editorial scrutiny; most do not. Does that mean their information is invalid? Does it imply that they cannot—and will not—increase in professionalism as they continue to gain prominence?

My personal answer is “No” to both. Online, including video, clearly seems to be the future of news. That’s a revenue issue for content marketers and an advertising and promotional one for the rest of us.

Ignore at your peril!