The New Media Opportunity

Online Media the field is open!

Your Media Can Compete

With the maturity of digital media, meaning that after 20 years the consumption habits of people globally have shifted towards digital media, getting your message out has become more and more possible.

Prior to the digital revolution taking off from about 1996, mass-media businesses were the only valid ways in which you could get your ‘message’ out. Literally you had to pay a lot of money to reach the people with newspapers, magazines, radio & television – a significant investment in having articles, photographs, audio produced, journalists and ‘PR’ people were paid attractive salaries, campaigns ran into the millions of dollars.

These days, if you know what you are doing, you can produce your own digital media – Blogging, Video, Podcasting. These are digital forms that can be optimized to reach online communities, and it does not need to cost you a lot of money; the investment levels are actually a lot less to gain an equivalent result.

This is why ‘quality’ is so important, if you can now genuinely reach specific people you can have the same effect as a venerable publication identity like ‘The New Yorker’, the field is now very open to the entrepreneurial spirit, the authority of these old names is based on their position gained prior to the digital revolution.

Merit based consumption is very much a reality, which means you can gain influence, produce the leverage that used to cost millions for thousands, you can create new ways of forming a connection with specific audiences.

A business is able to reach people well beyond the scope of previous media methods. Perhaps the message of this has not really sunk in for many in the business community. You only have to look at what the old names in ‘Media’ are now doing, hiring skilled teams to get their articles out there, this is where search engine optimization, social media approaches are being implemented in the ‘real world’; when business names like:

Chigago Sun Times

Herald Sun 

The San Francisco Examiner

Are all re-designing their approach, seeking to build their old high profile position by publishing online – well this indicates something very interesting to us all: The territory is now re-set, all bets are off, these are new times, nothing is able to be taken for granted any longer! These media entities are not assured of being accepted, new players can ‘disrupt’ the market with their own quality productions.

Just as with media companies now seeking to re-build their readership, to regain the numbers, business also has to present themselves online, there is a huge opportunity to reach people that you might be underestimating as an Australian business owner. Time to look a bit closer at this!

 

 

 

Content Is King

What does this concept actually translate into being for real businesses?

What Does ‘Content’ Mean For You?

How To Make Sense Of ‘Content Production’ For Specific Businesses

‘Content is King’, how many times have you seen this maxim being bandied about on blogs, forums for business, social media posts, discussions in local biz groups all across the western world? If I had $1 for each time, it would make a tidy sum.

OK, this assertion is extremely easy to state, and like so much of the shared wisdom concerning online publication, it does not really help you to actually do anything. I very often have a moan about the generic nature of information being offered business builders, the internet is stocked full of seemingly authoritative blogs, self-styled experts and opinion sharers – it is all too easy to adopt an air of authority and proclaim the generalities concerning digital publication. But this does not help anyone!

So this ‘Content is King’ idea, what does it actually translate into being for a person publishing a business website, working with social media and seeking to promote their organization, cause, business, charity online? And does this concept have true merit?

Where does this saying originate? This often repeated saying comes from an essay written by Bill Gates (no less) way back in 1996; this is pretty amazing to me, credit to the man for being insightful and for predicting the shape of things to come.

Back in 1996 the internet was truly in its infancy, at least as far as the public access to it goes. Bill Gates accurately prognosticated that ‘Content’ would follow a similar path to that of our other media channels – Radio & T.V as obvious examples. However,  it is the two-way dynamic of internet media which clearly differentiates it from all preceding forms. This crucial difference is highly significant. It is also where Bill probably did not imagine enough!

Right, good, we know that ‘content’ refers to the publication of information, interesting graphics, videos, text, audio, animations, downloadable documents and other media types. That we can reproduce similar formats from preceding media, like the format of a radio show (podcasts), a television interview (Video), Articles (blog posts), Cartoon presentations, Audio. The global network allows us to distribute our content very cheaply, we do not require affiliates and distribution partners to the same extent, as was the case with broadcast media. The costs are significantly less.

This is the way to approach being online for many business types, organizations, charities, personalities, creative artists, political parties and indeed the entire pantheon of social production!

After 20 years the approach to using internet resources has matured beyond all recognition to those early days, when Bill Gates foresaw that ‘content’ would be the currency of the emerging digital culture. 

What form would this take for say a Medical Center in the suburbs of Melbourne for example? Or a Building company in Sydney’s outer suburbs? A Fruit grower in the south west of Western Australia, a Psychologist in down town Adelaide?

Very clearly the type of venture is going to determine your approach. One size certainly does not fit all occasions! But this is what has been offered to you very often by digital services – a kind of template driven general approach. For even those services which purport to serve very specific business areas we have had this generic approach!

Flexibility very obviously is needed, responding to the unique qualities of your particular area. This is where we shine. Web Star Services is able to help a wide range of business areas because we have expertise in multiple aspects of digital production.

Content is one of those deceptively simple terms which actually correspond to a bewildering range of different skills and production standards. Very clearly for each case the type of content produced is going to also vary: a Medical center might decide to publish a series of videos describing how to manage a case of the ‘Flu’, or the benefits of Vitamin D3 on their Facebook page, a Building business might publish a DIY series on their blog on how to paint a room and optimize the articles to show up online to their area which include videos; the type of content can be purposed to reach and serve their communities, but also to promote their services and improve digital ranking.

Taking the production values and standards from other media areas we can produce a wide range of digital content and put it to good use. This is clearly an emerging trend and how we can build engagement, while also generating our digital presence, optimizing our sites and creating syndication, or wide distribution.

It is through broad digital syndication that today’s businesses are maximizing their investment with online publication; the approaches of using digital content have matured significantly, your website becomes your digital headquarters, and each business essentially is also a media company, providing valuable materials that potential and existing clientele consume; but also this same content becomes the PR mechanism, the means by which your business is discovered via the machine-level indexing of content. 

 

 

 

 

Traffic And Your Business

We take care of our customers helping them to be more visible

Ten Years Has Made A Massive Difference

You might be aware that the internet has become pretty central to everybody’s life. In fact you might be pretty on top of developments, apps, cool sites, website building, social media, mobile phone usage; but the basic reality is that the fundamental change in how ‘ordinary people’ now seek out their needs & wants has resulted in you, as a business owner needing to look at ways to be visible and get your share of customers.

Not many people use the ‘Yellow Pages’ or even the good old ‘White Pages’ anymore – sure there maybe pockets of places where there are concentrations of people who are not ‘online’, but these are shrinking; in 2017 most people look at their Smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC!

For many people who run a local business there is a constant need to review what is working, and it can be stressful. Not having the right numbers each month can mean going out of business, families experiencing difficulty.

So we are not speaking of ‘technology’ here – the basic reality is that Plumbers, Electricians, Builders, Doctors, Dentists, Auto-Mechanics, Bakers… the whole range of local business owners for towns and cities all over the world need to get their business noticed; the landscape has changed completely over the past 10 years.

For many of these businesses, a website and a Facebook page has been invested in, and some of them have become aware that you need to manage these items – you can’t simply publish them and hope for the best! But for 10’s of thousands of them there is not a lot of awareness of just how to make these efforts work effectively.

We are talking about ‘Traffic’, the rate of visitation, the basic numbers of customers, clients, patients who discover your website, your Facebook page, but not simply raw numbers, it does not matter about the rate of visitation it is the quality and intent of that visitation that truly matters.

There are many who know about ‘paid’ solutions for this – Adwords, Banner Ads, possibly ‘social media advertising’ – but this can be expensive, surely gaining ‘organic’ traffic is an attractive idea! Showing up in relevant contexts online is extremely valuable, because you are going to gain more business without needing to shell out for weekly traffic; how is this ideally done?

Like any aspect of publishing online, it is a question of putting the right elements in place, in the right order to maximize your website’s position, your articles, your videos & other digital publications.

Ethics plays a large part in this, because there are people out there who offer you seemingly attractive services to gain organic traffic, there are so-called ‘Black Hat’ methods; these are fraught with danger, your site can be de-indexed, removed from Google altogether if you do not play by the rules.

There are a lot of people who do not respond to the paid listings, those results from Adwords do not always generate the results. But being on page 1 of specific results definitely gives you an advantage. Occupying this page 1 represents actual money – it can mean your plumbing, local construction, window cleaning, Dental clinic, gardening business (or whatever) failing over a period of years by not appearing in Google results on the first page of results. It is that simple.

OK, we know that this is real. We all get those emails offering us Google page 1 – it has become a cliche!

We need to be very careful about which services we go with, it really is critical we don’t get caught with ‘Black Hat’ operators, or scam artists. Far better to hire a local operator who offers ethical, effective services. Your business depends on this.

SEO is now all about the total package, the publication standards of your site – there have been critical changes which render most of the SEO wisdom prior to 2013 null & void!

Traffic, social signals, content, syndication of content and links naturally acquired, these are the true elements which determine ranking. So once you have experienced being completely ripped off by bogus SEO services you might be ready to hire a genuine digital services agency. When you are ready to accept that optimization is the sum total of web publication approaches we can move forward.

 

If you are looking for help in making your local business more visible, in gaining the advantage of ‘page 1’ Google – give me a shout, we can set up a consult and get you out there in front of your market, for real. Let’s talk.

 

 

The Digital Consumer

The Digital Consumer Is Very Much An Emerging Demographic

The Current Situation And Digital Trends 

The Digital Consumer – this term requires investigation. We need to look very closely at what is taking place in our world today, it pays dividends to be aware of what people are doing, how they behave, what specific groups are responding to out there in the real world.

Everywhere there are ‘experts’ it seems, today we are presented with commentators and people who adopt a tone of authority and they tell us how to do things. Noticed that?

They are all over the internet, these apparent sources of wisdom seem to be everywhere these days and there is a pattern – this is what I call the ‘Generic Message’, people regurgitate the content they pick up from ‘influencers’ and ‘thought leaders’  and then run with it, present their version of it to the people they in turn seek to influence.

The result of this can be seen on business blogs, LinkedIn posts, email newsletters & business group presentations all over the place. This generic message becomes the accepted wisdom, and business owners all over the world go away and try to implement social media, website and content production strategies, but the results are very mixed. 

There is no ‘way’, or approach or blueprint for using social media that guarantees results. There are multiple approaches, flexibility is the keyword.

This is the big confusion about using internet resources to promote your business, and why so many obtain mediocre results from their Facebook pages, Tweets, Adwords, or whatever platform they select to ‘Advertise’.

Small business training programs are among the worst examples of this generic approach to using social media. People who are not familiar with the digital world seek out these reassuringly official providers of information – they are given a very general introduction to using the tools, told about ‘engagement’ and directed to post interesting content. Great.

The Digital Consumer, let’s take a look at this concept and try to discover what it means for us if we are running some kind of business.

The tendency has been to consider anything with ‘digital’ in front of it as being for the young.

This may have been a valid way of looking at it up to 10 years ago; the world has been moving very quickly over the past decade. Now we see all age groups are participating very strongly with the digital world – the mobile device revolution and the wide availability of Wi-Fi and increased bandwidth access has seen the vast majority of western people using social media, purchasing goods and services from their internet connections – we are all now highly connected.

To build a useful picture of this ‘Digital Consumer’ we need to call on information from different sources. Obviously we are going to get variations, and differences between the many groups of people that make up our global digital population. Can we present a meaningful profile that most of these groups share? I think we can:

The Digital Consumer Shared Traits

  • All digital consumers are active researchers – they seek out and discover lots of information about the products and services they wish to purchase. They tend to share much of what they find & to then discuss it with others in arriving at a decision. 
  • People who purchase online do not mind waiting a little longer for delivery @ the right price and from the provider who best matches their own thinking.
  • The Mobile Phone Has Become The Television* – in other words mobile devices are now what people focus on, like when the T.V overtook the Radio in the 20th Century.
  • Digital Consumers use multiple sources of information, they have access to considerable information.

As a business owner you should be respecting the Digital Consumer, seeking to align your presentations with them. ‘Consumer Empowerment’ is not just a buzz-word, it represents commercial reality. Digital consumers do not respond well to overt ‘sales’ messages, they become interested in your business through discovery and consumption of content.

What Is Content Marketing?

This is where the concept of ‘Content Marketing’ comes in, your content could take the form of articles, videos, downloaded PDF’s, maps, software, audio. The idea of businesses all now being media companies is a valid one, with staff members including journalists and editor-in-chiefs becoming very common – we need to get that high value content out to our customers and ‘engage’ them (it has to be said).

The Digital Consumer is now a strong reality, it will become increasingly the type of consumer that your business will need to cater for.

Obviously business type is going to determine the nature of your approach, the format and quality of your content; one thing is certain, more and more businesses will be seeking talented content production teams as the demands for digital content grow, and the need to reach and attract today’s connected people massively grows.

Using Reviews Effectively

reviews for business
Taking Control Of The Review Process

In the current climate of local business you may have noticed that social media is taking a larger part in how people discuss their experiences, who they recommend (people do love to appear ‘in the know’) to others and how some people also seem to enjoy bashing local businesses with whom they might have cause to dislike, or feel aggrieved for some reason, well they certainly have more opportunity!

Facebook have those ‘Buy, Rent & Sell’ groups for nearly every city/town/community, 3rd party sites like ‘Yelp’, any number of other social media outlets which we are all frequenting more and more these days. Gaining even a small number of negative reviews can be extremely damaging for a local business, and this is often used as a reason why many business owners are reluctant to venture into using social media.

One way of taking control of this situation is to provide the means for people to leave you comments on your own business website, and indeed on your business pages for social media. This way you have the direct means to respond, but also you can keep the potential for negative comments in-house where you can deal with them directly.

One of the big advantages of using content management systems for your website  is that you can have direct access to the publishing process, platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, CMS enable us to upload articles, and manage a comments page – it is worthwhile looking at your options and taking a more consistent management approach with your online presence. Building an internal feedback process is certainly one way of mitigating the potential negative fall-out from social media which can often be unfair.