Article after article scrolls by on the screen. Then, in a flash of brilliant copywriting, a headline catches your eye. You’re hooked. You must read on.
If you are a storyteller or a person who just likes a good story, you are well aware of the power that a well-written headline has. It is the power to entice, to persuade. It is a call to action. It is a reason to believe. Once you start down the path the headline opens up for you, either you’ll truly enjoy the story or feel like you’ve been robbed – of your time and your sensibility.
That’s what headline hype is all about. It is an inflation of the facts of the story to get your attention. Stories “grab headlines” because the details are such that the media editor can manipulate them into something that interests a wide audience. Headline hype has been the way the media has worked for so long that doing anything different simply does not work.
Now, with the advent of a fractured information feed, headlines become even more important. There is an abundance of media to choose from and the only way to delineate between those things that interest you and those things that you could not care any less about is the headline.
Is this putting too much pressure on the headline writer? I don’t think so, because good writers and good editors make their hay in the headline – we buy the story because of the headline.
So, the next time you scroll through your news feed, think about why you chose the story you’re reading and how you feel about the story. It may just be a bunch of hype.
Written by Todd Pipitone
May 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm
Tagged with news, PR, marketing, communication, relationships, media, journalism, newspapers, blogging, blogs, communication theory, Twitter, Facebook, pop culture, Social Media, Public Relations, Advertising, business, Copywriting, Headlines, news feed, information feed, headline writer, storyteller, hype
Have you ever been sitting in traffic when a song comes on the radio that somehow just clicks with the events that are happening in your life right at that very moment? Or, you’re in a rush to get some where and you are stopped dead by an unexpected traffic delay?
Have you ever wondered if either of these scenarios that routinely happen to people are, in fact signs or communications that there we, as individuals, need to be doing something differently? Or take a different perspective on life or something that has happened to us?
This is a stream of questions that came to me, surprisingly, while sitting in traffic. Signs? Or just random thoughts to distract from the tedious nature of the daily commute. You be the judge.
There are so many people out there right at this very moment making a living by selling a service to an organization or a nonprofit to create content that will go viral for them. They claim to be “experts” in knowing what will be hot, trendy, and will catch on with the masses. But what they are selling is akin to snake oil. If these sales people, marketers, PR guys and gals, and advertisers where truthful with themselves, they would know that the secret to getting something to “go viral” is that there is no secret.
To paraphrase Godin: Don’t set out with the intention to create viral content. Instead create content that makes a real impact – an impact that must be shared.
Godin is talking about creating content that connects with a person’s passion and experiences. Designing and drafting content with these two things in mind is fundamental to the success of any communication. It is imperative to know the audience you are trying to connect with, but other than that, the framework for content creation should be as free as possible. Otherwise, you will fall into the trap of creating content that is expected to catch on, but instead sinks to the bottom of the interest pile like a lead balloon.
Always be mindful of your audience, and as Godin rightly points out, the rest will take care of itself.
Written by Todd Pipitone
May 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Tagged with Advertising, Audience, blogs, business, communication, content creation, Facebook, Instagram, marketing, media, politics, pop culture, PR, Public Relations, relationships, Seth Godin, Social Media, strategy, Twitter, Viral
After a recent presentation I gave as part of the Ad Council of Rochester’s Nonprofit Workshops series on the topic of Marketing with Technology, the CEO of the Ad Council provided the group with his take aways from the presentation. I was enlightened to know that the presentation my colleague and I created had made such an impact. (My colleague was not able to be at the presentation due to a medical issue)
The presentation revolved around the social media activities of the organization that I work for. The information the CEO gleaned from the presentation summed up the main points well. They make up a how-to checklist for preparing and launching a social media campaign. Here’s what the CEO came away with:
- Strategy drove the investment in social media, not peer pressure, and the decision was made to focus on the segment with the broadest appeal
- The website serves as the mothership for content – social media interactions drive people to the website
- One effective social media tactic has been localizing relevant national news
- Partner relationships are a good way to leverage other org’s social networks
- The Million Pound Challenge is a best-in-class example of a social media success: crystal clear, simple idea, integrated with traditional media, engagement focused
- Look at social media tools on a program by program basis, not just at the org level.
- Recommendation: have multiple content creators but only one administrator
- Good reminder: Low production values can be OK for online video
Overall, he said that it is good to remember that social media needs to be integrated with rest of the marketing effort. I couldn’t agree more.
Written by Todd Pipitone
May 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm
Tagged with 2013, Ad Council, Advertising, business, communication, content creators, Facebook, Instagram, marketing, marketing with technology, media, Nonprofit, partner relationships, Pinterest, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategies, strategy, Twitter, Vine, Web, websites
In his post about brands and the abundant choices Americans have, Thomson Dawson raises an interesting point about how freedom and individuality correlate to brand existence. He argues that Americans today might have more choice than is really good for us. At a minimum, he says, we have “more choice than what is truly useful to us.” At the crux of his post is the question – How useful is abundant free choice?
When it comes to brands creating connections with consumers, abundant free choice is not inherently useful. Brands want to exist in a vacuum. They want to be the only choice. Unfortunately for them, that is not the case. It is true that there are a multitude of choices, quite possibly too many. The result is chaos.
As individuals, we have to be able to sort through the barrage of messages that are constantly thrown our way and use our one, powerful tool – free choice – to make the selections that shape how we will interact with the world. The selections are based on our values, beliefs, and experiences.
Here’s the kicker, though. Brands want to be the only choice, yet they are in the same situation as individuals. Each brand has the freedom to choose what it wants to be. It may be one person’s opinion or a board of directors, marketing department, or other group of influencers. Regardless of who makes the decision, a decision is made that sets in motion the development of the brand. So, brands also have a powerful tool in free choice. It is the power to become a vibrant part of the lives of so many just by being what it is.
On the individual or brand level, free choice is what makes us what we are. And what we will become.
Written by Todd Pipitone
May 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm
“Channel agnostic” is an expression that I thought was very descriptive and interesting when I read it the other day. In the context of PR/Marketing/Advertising, being channel agnostic means that you will do all of it across all platforms. It means that advertising (paid media) will be on the same level within an agency as Public Relations (earned media), social media, and owned media.
The basic reasoning behind going channel agnostic is that by doing so an agency is able to provide clients the option of getting everything in one place. This is good for the client. But, is it good for the agency? Some would say no.
When I read about the for-profit big whigs in the PR industry thinking about making this move, I also thought “Well, what took them so long?” This is day-to-day for anyone who in a communications professional in a non-profit setting. It is true that as a non-profit communications pro you are often asked to wear every hat imaginable in the communication landscape, from web developer to social media guru to media hound. It’s part of the job, and together with the good work non-profits do, could actually be considered the best part of the job. Where else can you make a difference in the lives of so many people and learn so much while doing it? So, needles to say, I’m glad to see that the two worlds are coming a little closer into alignment.
What does this mean for the future of PR?
At the end of the day, the following opinion from Richard Edelman, written in his post offering a dissenting opinion on the move rings true about the future of PR. It’s also how I think the message creation and communication business in general will be successful now and for far into the future.
PR is more than a set of tactics or tools. It’s a mindset; the ideas that come from PR people are different than those that come from advertising people. Both are engaged in storytelling, but the PR idea stimulates discussion and has the potential to play out over years. A PR idea has to start with relevancy and newsworthiness.
We are going to take full advantage of the inherent advantages of PR, which are credibility, speed, two-way interaction and continuous story creation. In the end, the consumer may not care about the source of the content, but quality counts.
Written by Todd Pipitone
May 2, 2013 at 8:30 am
Tagged with Advertising, blogging, business, communication, communication landscape, communication theory, Edelman, Facebook, FleishmanHillard, journalism, marketing, media, media guru, message creation, non-profit, Nonprofit, PR, pr industry, Public Relations, Social Media, technology, Twitter
A story in six words. So much conveyed. So much left unspoken. So much power. All in six words.
In today’s world of texts, tweets, Facebook status updates, Instagram posts, blogs, etc. it seems that the person who can say the most with the least in a way that makes an impact on the most people will be heard more often. As an editor, I know that it is difficult to cut articles down for fear that the essence will be lost. Then, I think of Hemingway. Then, I attack the article looking for ways to shave off fluff.
Writing short isn’t easy, but it is smart. There is so much that can be conveyed when the right words are used. It isn’t easy. Yet, if you work at it, you can say more with less.