Please read the following articles and respond in the comments below!

PR Tips from the Pros: a Chat with W Magazine’s Courtney Dolan

So when should you raise the cover price of your magazine?

5 Content Strategies for the Web to Drive Business Goals

Print-out: My Gripe With Social Media by Daniel Ambrose


Also, please do some research on Baltimore Magazine and Lori Birney, our guest speaker for next class! Prepare questions — I expect everyone to ask at least one question, and also expect the questions to flow freely without awkward silences. Let’s show Lori that you’re all super smart and engaged in her presentation!

Reading for 10/29

9 thoughts on “Reading for 10/29

  • October 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    So I was mentioning this to Andrea the other day but at my new job they’ve literally “gifted” me social media (because I’m the youngest person in the department and so I must know what I’m doing) and I found these articles extremely helpful! My overall takeaways were the importance of offering something your consumer finds valuable, even if it doesn’t immediately benefit you monetarily. The importance is more on creating that connection and defining the brand. And I might even argue you shouldn’t immediately view social media as a money-making tool because that might limit your marketing and promotion ideas. Look at it more as a tool that will benefit you monetarily in the long term. What will bring consumers to your social media pages or your store? It’s probably not a lot of hype-y marketing mumbo jumbo, but something like a discount or useful information, or something that’s just attractive and creative. I actively follow quite a few companies on social media but one really stands out in my mind: Forever 21. They regularly post discounts, posts on their new items etc. that are useful but I love their “lookbooks” and other curated items.
    On another note, I wanted to discuss “My Gripe with Social Media” because although I’m very supportive of social media as a marketing tool I think he had a couple good points. One being that everyone goes a little crazy over the medium and I think it’s important to note that for most companies a combination of traditional media and social media bring in the most buzz AND money. Another point I strongly support is that email marketing should never be overlooked! It’s trackable, reaches consumers, efficient, and profitable!

  • October 26, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Similar to what Pierce discussed in her comment, I’ve also had the experience of being thrust into a work situation and asked to take over a company’s social media outlets. I think seasoned employees often delegate this task to younger employees because they think 1) that social media isn’t as important as “traditional” PR and 2) that simply knowing how to technically operate social media sites means someone is qualified to operate the company’s outlets. I think being proficient at social media is so much more than having the technical acumen to Tweet, Retweet, comment, etc. etc. etc… Being successful at social media requires an editorial sensibility and the ability to engage with potential customers in meaningful, productive, and memorable ways. I really enjoyed the article “PR Tips from the Pros” because it succinctly outlined these ideas while illustrating social media as something to integrate with and complement traditional PR. Social media is increasingly the first encounter people have with a brand and putting out the wrong message can cause immeasurable damage. On the other hand, companies with strong social media presences that aren’t “overly preachy” but instead operate by “giving…followers something they want and something they can engage with” can reap huge rewards. Daniel Ambrose seems to echo this sentiment when he talks about using social media to connect with customers, not just for the sake of using social media because you think you should.

    I found “5 Content Strategies for the Web to Drive Business Goals” to be extremely preachy about using SEO agencies and I wasn’t surprised to read that the author works for an SEO agency. The article about cover prices was helpful (albeit a little dull) in thinking about pricing for Drifter and various strategies we can use for our magazine launch. I never realized how much data-crunching and analysis goes into making a decision about a pricing increase or decrease of just one dollar!

  • October 27, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I would agree with what Pierce wrote regarding the takeaway from the reading. Creating content that is valuable to the consumer, that is not overly preachy, and not necessarily company or brand oriented, rather of customer/subscriber interest, all while defining the brand is key for a new company. As Pierces said, this is not an immediate monetary gain in that readers are going to instantly become purchasers or loyal subscribers of the brand, rather this is a great way to build readership and create buzz about the brand, while taking the time to carefully approach media to help better expose what your brand is (positioning yourself). In terms of advertising money, it is important to keep track of the number of new visitors to the company’s website, but also to track the number of people following the brand on Twitter, the number of likes on Facebook, followers on Pinterest, etc. As Daniel Ambrose mentioned, the importance of social media is to help drive foot-traffic and unique viewers to your company website. And as PR Tips and Effective Content Strategies pointed out, sometimes the best way to drive foot-traffic is with freebies and/or discounts.

    While it is important that we do track the number of unique visitors to the site and the number of people that follow and like the brand, as Ambrose details in “My Gripe with Social Media,” is that we can create any number of content that helps increase page view or that we think has value to our customer, but what is more important for the company and the brand itself are the people who chose not only to subscribe but those who want to engage you, the company, back (i.e. sign up for your newsletter).

    I thought the cover price reading was extremely relevant to our group project and to last class’s discussion regarding the e-pricing bell curve. This study with Cosmo raising its price twice in the year by one dollar highlighted the importance of finding that sweet spot for pricing where customers will find it reasonable to purchase at the newsstand price but your sales will also remain steady. I thought it was interesting, though not surprising, to see sales decrease at a cover price of $4.99. It would seem that $3.99 best suits what their audience is willing at the newsstand. Though, these are general interest women’s magazine so it may differ for a niche market.

  • October 29, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Social Media has become such an integral component of companies now that it is important to realize that the value of it is to create a community for the audience and to give them another platform to enjoy the brand. Daniel Ambrose’s “My Gripe With Social Media”, makes an interesting point when mentioning “distributing headlines via Twitter or Facebook” and the fact that content can be shared to friends. It is something that is constantly appearing on social media sites. Especially when Facebook lets you see when multiple friends have liked a certain company/brand, many of the news stories will appear in my feed. Ambrose also reminds readers that social media sites can fade in popularity (MySpace) and email is the best direct connection. Although I agree with it being a good connection, I find that after time, I can get overwhelmed by the amount of emails sent by certain brands, so I end up just sending it to spam. I thought the the “PR Tips” article was interesting. It reminded me of Loft, the retail store I work for. I follow the Instagram account and occasionally they will bring in fashion bloggers to say how they would style the clothes. It brings in audiences who follow the bloggers and also shows women how to wear the clothes (for those who don’t know how to style themselves). “5 Content Strategies” gave really great ideas for how to offer your audience more and get them interested and involved with your brand. My favorite was the “Crowdsourced Contests”. I think that is something that would be great to apply to School’s Out.

  • October 29, 2014 at 12:12 am

    I found the “PR tips from the pros” article to be one of the most informative and entertaining. The article itself is a great testament to the skills gained by using social media in communication, it is 1) brief and cuts down on unnecessary wording/ rambling, 2) yet, still packed with a lot of relevant information, 3) doesn’t knock down traditional PR methods but instead, combines it with modern ones to give a more complete approach.

    One thing that really stuck out for me was when she touched upon social shopping, mentioning that their sites are largely led by the online community. This is great because if you have a reliable product, your customers will spread the word about it on your site and who better to trust than someone who is not on the inside of the company? This ties in with her mention of not creating press for yourself by posting success articles but instead, posting discounts or things that will make your customers talk about your success. One thing that makes a large difference for me as a customer when I am online shopping is wether or not the website has a chat service. Chat is the fastest and most hassle free way (for the tech savvy at least) to get their questions answered. The very bright companies usually insert a chat button a few pages before the checkout cart so that you can get your questions answered after you’ve already done most of the looking. Offering fast and reliable customer service is essential for a successful brand.

  • October 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    One of the more valuable points in Honeysett’s interview with Courtney Dolan is the use of social media more effectively. Dolan mentions that she only tweets exclusive W content and giveaways that the W audience directly benefit from. Social media has become commonplace, almost the new standard for promotions and branding; responsible use is important. I appreciate that the idea of responsible social networking goes beyond just retweeting or posting links from the website. There is an added dimension on engagement and participation when the audience/subscribers respond. One thing that I didn’t find in these articles/posts was the mention of social networks as a function of quality assurance. I wish they made mention of the customer services uses, how that that establishes relationships and deepens brand equity.

    I share Ellen’s thoughts on the article on cover price. I’m interested to see/create a comparison chart between magazines with similar demographics to our group’s magazine compared to county data. I do wonder, however, if Magerko has considered other factors that relate to county data that could affect the results.

    Social shopping, as it relates to creating ancillary products, could it make it easier to integrate into our promotion plan and business model. The concept of social shopping can be combined with product curation to establish a brand as a trustworthy and reliable store/shopping site. Companies can offer/present products that interest (or may interest) their audiences, which could lead to customer retention.

    • October 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Gretchen — Great point on social media as a customer service tool. I am curious what other factors you are thinking Magerko should have taken into account on the pricing article?

  • November 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Reading this reminded me of one of my past internships. At this particular publishing house, publicity was in change of the Twitter account. I spent a lot of my time hunting down links for us to tweet, and pretty much every single tweet we posted was a link to an article or interview that one of our authors did. Most of our tweets didn’t get any responses, favorites, or retweets. Most of our followers were either worked for the house or were our authors. Needless to say, this was not a very successful use of twitter. And the failure was cyclical — because it was treated like a side effort, twitter and our other social medial outlets didn’t get much return, so going forward not much time was spent thinking of how to use social media. It was assumed that no matter what, traditional publicity was better equipped to bring in customers. Twitter was just there to basically echo out what the rest of publicity did. There was one instance in which one of my fellow interns came up with a bunch of cute puns for us to post for #literarycats. When she showed it to the publicist who ran the twitter, she said that it didn’t fit with our twitter’s “voice”, which I thought was pretty funny. The twitter didn’t have a voice. It wasn’t used to build relationships with the readers. It was really frustrating to have to spend so much of my time looking for things to post when I knew that not only did the readers not care, but the company itself didn’t care. Anyway, that’s my little rant on ineffective use of social media. It just digs a hole for itself.

  • November 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Waaay late but since I forgot to comment last week, I’m doing it now. I have a love/hate relationship with social media and Marketing/PR. SNS may seem like a godsend to the the PR industry, since it can reach a large number of people in a short amount time for almost no money (well…sort of) but i don’t think companies have quite learned to manage that properly yet. Sure, some companies are doing great with popular hashtags and millions of likes on Facebook, but there also have been a lot of incidents of interns spouting out stupid or insulting things on Twitter, and screencaps save all. Companies are just learning not to take SNS lightly, because with the greater reach also means great consequence if used improperly.

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