Parting with CEOs: Not Just for Failing Companies Anymore

11 Mar

Business 101: when the going gets tough, fire the CEO. Usually companies that have lost a chunk of market share or have plummeting stocks need a martyr to keep their shareholders’ faith. But Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy bucked the norm yesterday and stepped down when their stock price was soaring and profits looked good. Kennedy said:

“As part of our Board discussions of the road that lies ahead, I reached the conclusion and advised the Board that the time is right to begin a process to identify my successor.”

According to the news release, Pandora made more than $427.1 million in 2012 ($255.9 million from mobile) and holds 70% market share of Internet radio. Pandora’s stock is also up by 20 percent according to Digital Trends. Music streaming is a growing industry, with both YouTube and Apple announcing their intentions to enter the market. The future of Pandora is bright, so why is Kennedy leaving the company?

He could be taking a page from millennials where it’s no longer the norm to stay with a company for several decades. In the modern era, 91 percent of workers expect to stay with a company less than three years. (Forbes defined millennials as those born between 1977 – 1997 and calculated that they will have more than 15 jobs in their lifetime.)

quit3.8dodgeDeclining loyalty in the workplace has become a two way street. Companies outsource to save money and avoid investing in long-term employee benefits like pensions while employees view job positions as stepping stones until something better comes along. While it’s easy to believe that millenials keep advancing until they get a corner office, there’s really no reason for them to settle down once they’re there. Joe Kennedy has proven that.

It makes sense that CEO turnover is high in the tech world. Companies that have only been around for 15 years – like Pandora – consider themselves veterans in the industry. With the Internet industry constantly evolving and growing, businesses have to keep adapting and even reinventing themselves to stay ahead of the competition. Sometimes having a new captain at the helm can bring in new ideas to keep a company on top.

Unlike products like washing machines, tech products can fall out of vogue within months. Daily Deal sites peaked in popularity two years ago and have since been dropping like flies. In 2011 alone 170 daily deal websites shut down because business don’t see them as lucrative marketing tactics and consumers think the novelty has worn off. Groupon sacked CEO Andrew Mason last week in an attempt to become popular again.

Tech giants are ushering in a new era in company loyalty. No longer is job hopping limited to lower level employees and no longer do CEOs leave only when the going gets tough. Joe Kennedy leaving could be great for Pandora’s future, not because he was bad for the company, but because a new brain with new ideas can be great for it.

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Fresh Pressed: 3/7/2013

11 Mar

Articles receive top marks for return on investment. In an environment in which consumers’ attention is increasingly fragmented, the idea of using content to capture interest and engagement is catching on among marketers. Compelling content can help marketers tell a story, but it can also be cumbersome—and expensive—to create. So which content […]

It’s time for another installment in our series of free content marketing ebooks. Last time, we talked about content marketing strategy. Specifically, a 7-step framework that mapped out who you want to reach and what business objectives you want to meet. That strategy is centered around authority. In this sense, authority means becoming the […]

The social media world changes daily to adapt to how users communicate with one another – and businesses – online. If feedback tells Pinterest that members want a more intuitive and quicker experience, the network will surely listen. A recent blog post by software engineer Vy Phan reports that the digital pinboard site will begin […]

Every single tome on the subject of copywriting will tell you that your ad copy requires a singular call to action – the idea that in order to make your copy more successful, you should tell the consumer exactly how and when you want them to interact with your offer. We all blindly attribute a […]

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Fresh Pressed: 3/6/2013

11 Mar

Hashtags have been around for a while. At first it was just a neat way to call out a particular sentiment or be associated with a trending story on Twitter; they’ve now made it into our vernacular and expanded to other platforms including Instagram and Google+. With this evolution, brands are now leveraging the […]

Facebook is weird but humans are weirder. Time and time again we see all sorts of in-depth studies show the fine lines and little tweaks that can see spikes in engagement rates. From adding specific words, to posting specific forms of posts – these are the little quirks that help you fine tune for your […]

The whole kit and commoogle! Communities are an incredible feature from Google Plus. Since their launch, there are around 50,000 listed communities on Google+, some with tens of thousands of members, others with much fewer. No matter whether you are into photography, business, education, fashion, or just about anything…there could well be communities already […]

There are now 1 billion Endorsements on LinkedIn, an impressive figure for a feature released just six months ago. As the infographic below shows, some 50 million Endorsements are batted around the business-friendly social network each week and “strategic planning” is the most popular subject for an Endorsement. Introduced in September, Endorsements represented a […]

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Snyde Comments: Humanity in Content and Business, Simply Effective

11 Mar

I am, and have been called many things, but first and foremost I am a human.
This is the single fact that unites me with the 7 billion other passengers on this crazy planet.
Because I am a human, I am involved in the same conditional elements that unite our collective experience. This is the definition of humanity:

The quality or condition of being human; human nature

Interestingly enough, from this same route we get another definition:

The quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.

As much as I could, and sometimes would like to argue that by definition humanity is corrupt, the reality is that for every yin there is a yang, and there is a great deal of good in this world. However, it is easy to argue that their isn’t enough. There could never be “enough” goodwill.

Let’s start by looking at the condition of being a human.
Everyone’s story is unique, but also contains threads that anyone can identify with. We are all born, we all live, we all die. We all must find ways to eat, breathe and find shelter. We all feel pain, and joy.

Conditional humanity is what makes story telling so compelling. The places where you can grab a glimpse of yourself in someone else’s story, and identify with the rest of their feelings and circumstances through those genuine threads.

My own story is something I have documented through several posts and interviews. I enjoy showing a good chunk of my scars and flaws, because I think they may be able to help other people from making some of the misguided mistakes I have. Those stories also have let people connect with me in ways I never thought possible. Sure not everyone has been through my exact experiences, but there is a core humanity, a base condition, that anyone can identify with.

Content that shows the condition of being human is extremely sticky.Business experiences lack a certain humanity that is important to understand as well. So often decision making is guided by two basic concepts:Fear: Looking at the future of decisions and seeing the downsideRegret: Looking at the past decisions made or not made and being unhappy with the way things turned out.Everyone has felt these concepts in their professional career, and understanding how they are triggered and how to maneuver around and through them gives you a distinct advantage in almost every business related situation.

Those of us that work online have to be among the most cynical people on the planet. Everyone is out to get us or pull the wool over our eyes, and we refuse to be tricked.

Marketers for a long time, myself included, took the route of being less than honest in order to achieve wins for our clients. The overall thinking was that transparency would lead to an unfavorable rejection rate in the world of earned meedia.

The reality we have learned at CopyPress is that transparency, respect and a strong sense of humanity can go a long way for enriching the lives of everyone involved in the content life cycle. The basis for this is again related to the conditional; putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. Content creators want to make a decent living for their craft, while advertisers need to get results for a budget. Both parties can win if they understand where the other is coming from. Marketers need to get content placed and publishers need content to drive visitors, where the relationship gets rocky is at its start when the marketer doesn’t take the time to understand the publisher’s needs.Interactions based around basic common courtesy have lead to interactions like this that have completely floored me:emailFunnily enough, people just want to be treated like people. It is when we lose sight of this, and treat people without a simple sense of humanity, that we lose some of what we could have achieved in regards to content. Creators paid and treated poorly will not create passionately, and publishers that feel abused will not respond.And hopefully by approaching your content marketing in such a way people will treat you with humanity in situations that will confound you, such as this response we got:Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 1.31.20 PMAnd again the same goes for business. Treating customers, employees, and vendors with a basic level of kindness is essential to success in my humble opinion. The prototypical CEO that steps on necks, while lighting cigars with flaming $100 bills is not going to make it through this new open world, where emails and company documents leak daily.To be successful, I believe we need to look at our foundation, our humanity. We must get back to that which is most basic, caring about each other in a community sense. More is to be gained then lost from such an approach.

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YouTube Is Adding A Music Service Despite The Fact That It Already Is One

10 Mar

YouTube is planning to launch a music streaming service later this year, news of which has surprised absolutely no one. It’s meant to compete with Spotify and Pandora, with users streaming whatever song they want while YouTube profits from ad revenue, aka what it already does. YouTube isn’t entering the music streaming fight, it’s already there… and it’s winning.

According to Nielsen, 64% of teens listen to music through YouTube and actually buying music is falling into history books with CDs, cassettes and records. YouTube has such a diverse library and easy shareability which makes it stand above other music streaming services without calling itself a music streaming service.

tswiftgoat23.4YouTube just needs to upgrade what it currently does and polish the rough edges. It needs to find ways for users to curate their playlists and improve its recommended videos and search results. Bob Marley fans listening to I Shot the Sheriff probably don’t want to watch a local news story about a sheriff actually getting shot. If YouTube can create a haven where search results are exclusively high-quality music videos and influencers make cool playlists, it will run away with the streaming market share.

Except for cat videos. Cat videos are always relevant YouTube search results.

Some have questioned if YouTube’s streaming service is Google double dipping into the music market. It already has Google Play which has song matching to introduce users to albums and artists. Why would it change YouTube to make it compete with another of its existing products? The answer again lies in market share. Google Play isn’t looking to tap into the streaming market and pull from Pandora, it wants to compete with iTunes. Google Play competing with music streaming apps is like a typewriter company competing with iPads and other tablets. Yes both can be used to create content, but one is on a technologically higher level. YouTube is already a goliath in the music market, launching the platform is simply waking the giant up.

Expect YouTube’s streaming to mimic Pandora and Spotify’s. Revenue will be made through advertising and through premium accounts that skip ads. This service not only appeals to advertisers but also to the music industry, which receives per-song royalties on listening sites.

pandora3.4via

If YouTube can launch a successful streaming service with its massive library and social aspects, it could lead to the site becoming a one-stop supermarket for media. Amazon has music and video streaming services, YouTube has music and videos. Maybe it could take the lessons learned from its music launch and start competing with video streaming sites like Hulu. The sky is the limit.

Naturally that is all just speculation. Some are don’t believe the rumors that YouTube will be a Spotify competitor, much less hair-brained ideas about video streaming and free unlimited content on one site. Either way, viewers are going to see more than Harlem Shake parodies on YouTube later this year, they’re going to see easier streaming capabilities.

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Your Blog Posts Can Be Used In Multiple Ways

10 Mar

Blogging is work, there is no doubt about that. Sometimes it is hard to sell why “blogging” is important to businesses, but the truth is blogging is a great investment because the articles can be used in multiple ways. If you plan well and put some strategy into blogging the investment of time and money is truly worth it.

inboxfach3.6When you have a strong blog you don’t have to recreate the wheel with email campaigns because your blog articles can be used in email marketing. All businesses should have their emails broken up into groups or lists, for example:

Current ClientsPast ClientsSEO ClientsPPC ClientsWeb Design ClientsInfographic ClientsBlog ReadersBusiness Acquaintances

Basically, you create email address category lists so when you send out newsletters you can make sure the content will be of interest to those that receive it. When you put your address into categories (or lists) you can plan ahead with blog posts and make sure that the information will be useful not just for your readers, but also for people on your email lists.

Let’s say you sell infographic design services and you blog about infographics and their design four times a month. You most likely will be blogging about things that appeal to and also educate your current and potential clients.

So if you email your “Infographic Client” list once a month you could briefly touch on perhaps a discount or news about infographics and then you can choose one informative article to be the main content of your email. You could also include links to your other infographic articles for the month within that email. Essentially, the blog posts serve multiple purposes:

Appealing to current readers and bringing in new onesAdding to your SEO and online marketing strategy.Educating and enticing your email list to invest in your services – with informative articles you create trust, which is a necessary part of making a sale.

ebookfach3.6Ebooks can be a great marketing tool. They allow businesses to share great information, create trust, work on reputation/branding and pull in audiences a business might not have had access to before.

Businesses can also use their blog posts to create eBooks. A future Ebook should be a part of the planning and strategy process of blogging. In the earlier example I mentioned blogging about infographics four times a month. Let’s look at how those articles could be used.

With planning, in a year’s time you would have 48 possible infographic articles to choose from for your Ebook. If you blogged about content marketing 48 times a year, SEO 24 times a year,  PPC 24 times a year and web design tips 48 times a year you now have 5 subject/chapter areas for your Ebook and a lot of articles to choose from. You might choose 12 articles per category and have at least a 60 page Ebook with your branding all over it. Each page could list your URL, contact information and social accounts.

You could offer this Ebook for free on your blog, on social platforms and in email marketing. This free Ebook could reach a large number of people that would have never known who you were before. If you blogged to educate and target potential clients (part of your blogging strategy?) your Ebook could also sell each of the main services or categories you wrote about.

Now you have another way your blog posts can be used, Ebooks.

planningfach3.6In my current industry, many writers blog to appeal to others that work in our industry. Basically, in our blogs we prove that we “know” what we are doing. This isn’t a bad thing if we want to create trust with our industry (and if we want a lot of website traffic), but all businesses should have a goal of blogging to sell the services they offer.

What do potential customers need to know, see and hear to invest your services? Blog posts should address these issues. Blog posts that do are great for selling through the blog, email marketing and Ebooks.

It is important to look at blogging, articles and content marketing as a long-term investment, because that is truly what they are. Your content can be used in multiple ways and it should be. Careful planning should give you multiple options.

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Apple’s Big Apology

6 Mar

Apple Maps on the latest Apple OS received a lot of attention, perhaps too much. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, offered a public apology for a poor customer experience with Apple’s most recent map application.

Of course, despite this flop by Apple, early sales continue at a fever pitch for the iPhone 5 both in the United States and abroad.

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