Tag Archives | online marketing

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Blog More Often

It’s New Year’s, and you’ve resolved to blog more often. Here are some tips to make it happen.

  • Resolve to keep it short (300 words or less).
  • Use bullets. They make it easy for people to read your posts anyway.
  • Develop an editorial calendar. Brainstorming ahead of time makes the writing easier.
  • Write all your posts for the week on Sunday afternoon, and then set them up in your blogging software. Then it’s a simple matter of hitting the publish button.
  • Do you always seem to get an idea for a great post whenever you don’t have the laptop nearby? Use your phone to record your thought, either by leaving yourself a voicemail or using a recording app.

How do you handle writer’s block? Here are some good fallbacks:

  • Review a book.
  • Provide how-to tips (like this one).
  • Use a video recorder and interview a customer or employee.
  • Or take that same video recorder, and offer three tips or observations on your area of expertise from fun and unique locations (three tips on social media from inside a taxi).
  • Riff off a recent news item.
  • Write a case study.
  • Create a top 10 list (like Letterman; it can be serious or funny).

Let me know if blogging is one of your New Year’s resolutions and how you plan to meet the challenge.

Diane Thieke is working on her 2012 editorial calendar. Tell her what you’d like to read about in this space. You can find her on Twitter at @thiekeds.

Digital Media Marketing and Privacy Protection in the Age of Big Data

There it was again: the expression of fear that we’re in danger of losing our online privacy. I hear gasps popping like bubbles around the room, which is filled with students learning the secrets of digital media marketing. Actually, I think to myself, we lost our online privacy a very long time ago.

Yesterday, Nick Bilton of the New York Times came to the same realization (he must not have kids or have attended the New Jersey State Police’s talk about children and internet security). His Bits Column, Disruptions: Privacy Fades in Facebook Era, demonstrates how easy – and fast – it is to uncover someone’s identity online.

I’m a bit of an early adopter, and loss of online privacy has me less freaked out than some of my peers. It doesn’t mean that I like it. It’s just that I realized long ago that the train had left the station in the middle of the night, when we were all sleeping.

I saw the future of privacy a little more than 15 years ago, when a public records vendor came to pitch its product to our business development team. The rep plugged my name into the database. Just my name, nothing else.

Up popped all of the places I’d previously lived, the names of all my current neighbors, their telephone numbers, and what they paid for their homes. But  the connections it made unnerved me: it linked me not just to all the members in my family, but also to a relative’s ex-husband and all of his family. And they’d divorced 10 years earlier.

Those details were unwittingly served up by all of us when we applied for mortgages and purchased homes. They’re a matter of public record, under law.

Today, our details become public for a variety of reasons. The new culture of sharing is one. More sophisticated technology is another. Every time you scan a bar code at the grocery store, visit a web site, read an article, or listen to a song, it’s possible for it to become part of your personal profile. The era of big data is here.

In some ways, I think this is great. Obviously it’s wonderful for marketers, who have a better chance of finding precisely the right audience for their product. But big data used responsibly can be great for consumers too. Personally, I want a filter. Show me ads that are relevant to my interests: the latest Apple toys and deals at Target, not Budweiser beer or hunting rifles.

As a digital media marketer, however, I need to walk that ever-thinning line between effective marketing and privacy breach. I want enough data to target my buyers with high-value content, but I also don’t want to violate their trust.

There are organizations, like EPIC (which is behind the FTC’s settlement with Facebook), that fight for safeguards. But marketers and technologists also must take a lead in developing policies and technologies that protect privacy. After all, we all suffer and benefit from these vast stores of “personal” intelligence.

Diane Thieke is now posting furiously on Facebook about her three kittens, in the hopes that Purina will send her some good bargains on ProPlan. Follow her at @thiekeds.