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Mark, as you wrote in your piece, how comments benefit bloggers is just a theory. It isn't a known set of events and actions the way, say, billboard advertising is - we know the best locations and types of billboards in every metro area, the ROI, etc., and it's been honed to a science. We do know this: that ESPN and Huffingtonpost, with arguably the most consistent, loyal, and large followings on the web axed their own management of comments and brought Facebook in to do it. That seems to me to be a pretty strong indicator that if comments are gold, it's an extremely elusive thing to try to exploit.
Interesting piece. But the title is unfortunate. I realized what Alan Rosenblatt meant once I read the piece. But going in, after reading the title, I thought, "here we go again, another web cheerleader story about how amazing social media is disrupting everything, that even Twitter is now superior to live television." But that's not what it's about, thankfully. Twitter is being used as a specific tool. TV is too hot a medium for a vice raid.
"How can modern brands build credibility and manage PR in the midst of so much unreliable user-generated ‘news’ content? Collaborate with credible writers and publishers, and release original and legitimate stories on trusted outlets."
Interesting that the one thing social media, by its nature, does not address is the one thing that makes information valuable: credibility.
The advice cited in the artcle is to essentially revert back to what traditional media has done all along. Before brands poured budget into web campaigns, what did they do? They paid someone else to make trusted content, i.e., they left it to NBC, Time Magazine, KCBS, etc., to act as an advocate for the audience nd paid to have their messages put in front of those audiences.
Brands are discovering that creating content that advocates for themselves isn't the social media picnic it's made out to be. That traditional strategy ain't so bad.
"User-generated content will be the hot content commodity."
I think "user-generated content" could describe two things. One is content made by users but before it sees the light of day, passes through the hands of professionals who craft it for consumption. It's a lot of work to manage, but it can be effective. This, I could see happening in greater amounts.
But raw user-generated content--the way we thought of it in 2007 as a method to generate inexpensive and authentic text, audio and video--is too unreliable and uncontrollable. ESPN and HuffPo, the 17th and 18th ranked (by Alexa) sites on the Internet recently scrapped their huge communities in favor of Facebook commenting. That speaks volumes about the value of ad-hoc user-gen assets.
The practice I'd like to see obliterated is the use of marketing messages as content.
At the beginning of the marketing meeting in which the messages will be thought up, the marketer's only goal is that the potential customer will have a positive feeling about the product or brand. After the meeting, the team has in its possession marketing messages 1, 2 and 3 that argue for why the product/brand is good. So what happens next? The goal of every piece of media becomes a quest to communicate marketing messages 1, 2 and 3 instead of understanding what kind of content potential customers would like.