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Content

The Math Behind Viral Content Doesn’t Add Up

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Everybody wants to create that piece of “super-sticky”, high-quality content, right? We get it; as bloggers we want to write posts that get attention from unexpected sources, even if that attention sometimes amounts to “what is this fu<&ing bullsh!t?

Reuters econ reporter and general gadfly Felix Salmon has done the math on the viral model, and he warns content creators not to put all their eggs in one basket. There’s a lot of fancy algebra in his post, so we’ll summarize it.

First, remember that Upworthy and BuzzFeed wouldn’t exist without Facebook, because that’s where they get their exposure.

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World’s Most Disturbing ‘Stay in School’ PSA Goes Viral


Well, then. That was…something.

Today everyone’s been posting on this OMG WTF PSA created for nonprofit Learn for Life by Australian agency Henry & Aaron, or a couple of guys who turned their talent for weird videos into a career as sponsored content creators. They posted it yesterday and it already has more than a million views.

We’re not quite sure how effective it could be given its ridiculous premise and reliance on blood-and-guts shock value, but virality usually requires a bit of oddity.

In fact, to our eyes it looks like an ad for Henry and Aaron’s own services. In that case, good show.

[H/T Steve Hall at AdRants]

Anchorman 2 Content Marketing: Too Much of a Not-So-Good Thing

shutterstock_171546986If you knew someone who knew someone who lived near a working wi-fi connection in late 2013, then you probably heard about Anchorman 2.

Chances are you saw clips from at least one of Will Ferrell‘s many, many “content marketing” projects: the Dodge commercials, the local TV appearance, the journalism school event, the underwear commercial, the in-character interviews, etc.

There’s no question that the campaign was one of the largest in history and that it will serve as a model for future big-name movie promotions.

Here’s the problem, though: it didn’t really work.

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Chipotle Goes All In on ‘Factory Farming’ Message with Hulu Mini-Series

Chipotle appears to have taken content marketing to its logical conclusion by producing an online mini-series that never once mentions its own product.

From what we can tell, Farmed and Dangerous—created with NY “branded entertainment” firm Piro—stars Laura Palmer’s dad as a guy who does damage control for the kind of unethical corporate farming interest that earns the strong disapproval of the Chipotle organization. The plot, as seen in the trailer above, revolves around said industrial giant creating a petroleum-based feed for cattle, and it includes at least four half-hour episodes that could be extended into a second “season” if the experiment works.

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British People Very Annoyed by Your ‘Content Marketing’

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Brand advocacy is great, right? Sure it is—unless you happen to be an advocate’s best friend.

Peter Ormerod of The Guardian seems a bit confused, though: what he calls “friendvertising” is really just successful content marketing, or brand-produced videos shared by those in his social (media) circle.

Ormerod takes particular umbrage at the WestJet Christmas campaign and Dove‘s “Real Beauty”, claiming that the offending companies are using feel-good, socially positive messaging to hide their true intentions: sales. These were, of course, two of 2013′s most successful campaigns—so we can’t imagine what he’d say about lesser entries in the content marketing field.

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Do Guest Blogs No Longer Make SEO Sense?

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“Head of the webspam team at Google Matt Cutts thinks so, as he makes clear in his own blog post. Because of his position, this proclamation carries extra weight:

“…if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”

Google has discouraged everyone from relying on guest posts to boost search rankings for a while, but they’ve never released such a bold statement.

Might be time to rethink that aspect of content strategy for your blog, because it looks like the spammers have almost ruined an otherwise good practice.

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Native Advertising Is Nothing New (and Here’s Proof)

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You had us at “Dom Perignon”

We already knew this, but yesterday The Awl posted a nice history of “native ads”, aka “advertorials.”

Yes, it’s long—but you should read it anyway. While you’re here, though, you should click through for some images of vintage native ads.

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How Does Content Marketing Relate to PR, Again?

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Tired of this question already? Get used to it—sponsored content and brand journalism and content marketing are here to stay (not that they’re really anything new).

Thanks to The Guardian‘s latest conversation (sponsored by Outbrain) on the relationship between PR and whatever you want to call that other thing, we have some helpful quotes!

From Justin Pearse, head of marketing at Bite:

“Using great content to tell brand stories has always been with us…The problem [with new content distribution channels] though is it’s these technologies that have also led to a flood of content pollution online, as brands create content for algorithms, not people.”

From Jeff Pyat, head of global PR at Outbrain:

“PR firms need to have a strong understanding of all the distribution channels available to them…If PR owns the content, the industry will be well positioned for the future.”

From Jo Sheldon, executive director at Edelman:

“It has to be signposted so that consumers know who’s funding it and can make their own judgements. If it’s great content, relevant and in the right place they’ll enjoy it—paid or earned.”

Does that clear things up?

MINI USA: the Car Brand Keeps it Cheeky in Real-Time

“It’s tricky to react quickly. So brands should be prepared to be spontaneous”, said Lee Nadler, marketing communications manager at MINI USA. He offered that advice, along with creative content and marketing tips, at ANA’s recent Real-Time Marketing Conference in New York.

The petite (aka “itty biggy”) British car brand has maximized its U.S. presence. When MINI first launched here 12 years ago, they threw a party, jointly hosted with The New Yorker magazine, at a showroom venue in Manhattan’s up-and-coming Chelsea neighborhood. “MINI works of art” featured several MINI cars where artists had painted the roofs with “you-nique” themes.

Fast forwarding to 2013, how does MINI’s lean marketing and comms staff and agency (Beam Interactive) stay ever-so-clever on real-time’s race track? For starters, check out this video about the car’s soon-to-be-redesigned MINI Hard Top model creative contest. The MINI Final Test Test Drives clip shows the brand’s marketing and design employees’ tongue-in-cheek reactions to the crowd-sourcing concept. (video courtesy of MINI USA)

Nadler provided a road map highlighting how the MINI brand stays fresh in real-time.

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DiGiorno Pizza Delivers Awesome with Live Tweets of ‘The Sound of Music’

sound-of-music-live-tweeting-digiornoSo, last night, I’m re-living my early childhood when my mother thought forcing me to sit through Julie Andrews twerking … eh, twirling (sorry) … in the Alps would soften my soul somehow. Meh? ICYMI: NBC aired a live presentation of “The Sound of Music” featuring Carrie Underwood.

While I’m sitting there with my baby girl, Twitter is blowing up my phone. Being the social media troll I am, I had to peek and then, like a reality TV person on the hippie lettuce with the munchies, I began craving pizza. I brave the ice storm North Texas is experiencing and buy a garlic-crusted pepperoni. Well played, DiGiorno.

More about their genius live tweeting after the jump…

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