Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BlogHer Gives Lots of Ideas for Marketing

The BlogHer 2009 Conference is Held in Chicago

I was at the BlogHer conference in Chicago this past weekend, what a ride. I went hoping to gain a greater understanding of the "financial model," of the blog/social networking movement and to ask some questions about the value of content on the web.

First off I would say the blogosphere is bursting with all kinds of opportunities for marketers, from harnessing a captive audience to utilizing specific communities to execute on word of mouth marketing. Think viral marketing on steroids. Advice, recommendations and reactions travel fast in cyberspace.

I was most impressed by a discussion with Lauren Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal's Women Lifestyle Networks. When I asked about the ethics of the “free” content movement, she said, "Think of it as a new value equation." She went on to say that posting free content on the web is like free advertising for the content creator. While the blog site or web site gets free use of content the writer or photographer gets free exposure. Hmmmm. Sounds like a typical editorial model to me but without the editorial rate.

There were also some great tips from bloggers on how to blog effectively. Many pointers were given. The following were the key highlights. Remember these only apply if you are actively producing a blog.

• Post one blog link (you need to make it new every time you update) on Facebook. If you don’t know how to do this look at the Share This website.
• Post one blog link on another site like Stumble or Digg, you can do this with the Share This tool too.
• Post one link on Twitter to your blog, you can do this with the Share This tool too.
• Clearly define who makes up your social media “community.” Are they art directors, public relations people, fine art curators?
• Respond to 5 members of "your community" on Twitter and 5 members on Facebook. So for example get chummy with art directors, clients and art buyers by contacting them within a “like community.”
• Your Twitter feed is not all about selling your wares directly. Your tweet should be about 80% conversational 20% self-promotional. Authenticity is the thing. Engage with your community with those topics that are universally interesting to your group. Try to avoid looking like you are using your community—instead engage your community.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Business seems to be picking up?

Today I am saying it....for the record business seems to be picking up. Can this be true? Well according Bloomsberg there may be an end in sight. Let's hope so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Money for Nothin' and your Photos for Free?

Last night I attended the Media Bistro "networking" event up on Seattle's Capitol Hill. People were wearing their game faces. After a little digging, however, I learned that many were unemployed writers looking for paying gigs. Too bad writing gigs don't pay anymore. One woman I spoke with said she is going to start a petition online, asking writers to commit that they will not work for anything less than $50 an assignment. I admire her principled moxie.

I too am standing my ground on "give away" photography. I simply won't have it. It scares me, freaks me out when a company like Disney calls and asks if one of my most seasoned photographers would be willing to shoot 100 images of five different families interacting on various locations, all for $5,000 (a fee that includes all production and model fees). While the client contact said the images would likely be used on the internet only, she wanted the photographer to sign an unlimited use, unlimited time contract "just in case." Yeah, and I would like to buy a Mercedes for the price of an old broken down bug. "Are you !@#$%^&* high?"

I have an idea, a win-win thing. How 'bout Disney giving me use of 100 Mickey images for $5,000. I'll probably just use them online but I'd love to have unlimited use, unlimited time, just in case.

I didn't say what I was thinking, instead I politely declined the offer and told her that we don't do that kind of work.

The criminal here is the photographer who takes the job. Iyiyi.

And so we (my photographers and I) have walked away, not just from one ridiculous request but from several. It begs the question...when it comes to photography online what is the value anyway?

I recently listened to a podcast with Wired's editor Chris Anderson. He was discussing with Terry Gross his new book Free: the Future of a Radical Price. Anderson argues that sometimes in order to make money you need to give something away for free. Hmmm, 100 images? I don't think so.