Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

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Viral communication on a viral issue

In blogs,Facebook,mobile marketing,Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 by gingercatmom

H1N1 flu information is almost as widespread as the virus itself. Since this influenza strain appeared earlier in 2009, both state and federal government agencies have used a combination of traditional and emerging media to spread the word on the spread of the flu!

Taking a look at the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/, here’s a summary of how emerging media is working to help health professionals and the public at large. I think it’s a great example of how to communicate a message quickly, consistently and efficiently to all audiences.

Readers can sign up for an RSS feed on disease updates, request daily email updates, follow the site on Twitter, download podcasts. There’s a flu.gov widget that can be downloaded, a CDC WebMD FluBlog, a text message option, and even an e-card that can be sent saying “Good Health is in your Hands”. Buttons and badges are available for websites and social networking applications—in both English and Spanish.

The CDC also has a presence on three social network sites: Facebook, MySpace and DailyStrength. The CDC Facebook page, launched in May 2009 attracted 14,000 fans by July 31 and that count has now more than doubled to almost 31,000.

To assist media, a library of H1N1 Flu Audio and Video Resources includes webcasts, audio and video podcasts, public service announcements are available and health professionals can use prerecorded educational audio messages for on-hold messaging.

These are tremendous resources for all of us who want to stay well and help others find the most current information on this disease. There is a level of confusion among the public—we in healthcare call them the “worried well”–and CDC has answers available via the most commonly used emerging media channels.

So…in the spirit of the CDC’s H1N1 website, I encourage you to spread the word—not the virus. Wash your hands, stay informed, and stay home if you’re sick! Stay well MindChow readers!

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Articles

Unofficial Blogs–soapbox or serious source?

In blogs,newspapers,social issues and new media,Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by gingercatmom

bloggers...serious stuff or somebodys soapbox?

blogs...serious stuff or somebody's soapbox?

Last week, my emerging media class spent some time discussing unofficial company blogs. It’s pretty easy to find a blog on any subject so I just googled “unofficial ________ blog” and had a variety of choices in front of me. Walmartwatch.com is an example –it’s clearly all about WalMart (and all that is “wrong” with WalMart) yet there’s no link to the actual corporate site. There are no logos, no corporate perspective and no e-commerce conducted here. It’s very easy to understand the blogger’s agenda. They want to encourage readers, employees and community activists to demand change in WalMart’s business practices. It’s pretty obvious that this is not content generated by the company itself, but something that WalMart must take seriously.

As a skeptic, I have to ask “who reads blogs” and “why”? What prompts an individual to spend time writing, posting and following responses to their blogs? Why should I care what the blogger thinks about a specific company, product or cause?

The Pew Internet and American Life Project continues to provide helpful data on all aspects of Internet usage–including blog readership. A few facts from a 2008 study:
• 33% of internet users (the equivalent of 24% of all adults) say they read blogs, with 11% of internet users doing so on a typical day.
• Male and female internet users are equally likely to say that they do read other people’s blogs (35% for men, 32% for women).
• 12% of internet users (representing 9% of all adults) say they ever create or work on their own online journal or blog.
Given the fact that this data is more than a year old, I think we can assume that those figures are now even higher. A significant portion of the population reads blogs regularly. How the readers use that information is unclear. Marketers hope their blog content will spur the readers to believe, purchase or trust. But I think a lot of independent blog authors simply want to be heard–their small voices shouting from a virtual soapbox!

Judging whether a blog is serious, credible content–or not–is up to the reader. But credible or not, there seem to be blog readers willing to read.Therefore companies need to pay attention to those unofficial blogs.

Articles

Hospitals and social networking

In blogs,Facebook,Twitter,Uncategorized on September 27, 2009 by gingercatmom

In a previous post, I noted that 54% of Fortune 100 companies are using some form of social networking as part of their marketing communication efforts. What is the role of social networking for hospitals today–and how is the best way to launch an effort for a healthcare organization? Is it Twitter, Facebook, blogging…or all three?

Healthcare marketing experts are writing about this subject extensively. Their advice is similar. First, do your homework. Understand what takes place online. This involves listening respectfully to others and contributing to online conversations when appropriate. Second, focus on content that will be meaningful to customers. Unless people are truly interested in the conversation they will just tune out and “walk” away…which is tremendously easy to do when that conversation is online. Third, recognize that there will be some loss of control. To have a truly transparent, authentic presence in the virtual world, we need to let people speak their minds. Finally, we need to measure and in this respect, online media may offer some of the tracking advantages over traditional media.

Ed Bennett, director of web strategy a the University of Maryland Medical System offers a helpful list of U.S. Hospitals who are incorporating social networking. His most recent data on 367 hospitals of varying sizes shows dramatic growth in the use of Twitter over the past year. Bennett’s data shows less than 50 Hospitals on Twitter in September 2008, with 267 now using Twitter. You Tube usage has also grown, but not quite as dramatically.

There seems no need to reinvent the wheel when successful online communities exist. If we know our customers are interested in what we have to say, and will follow our cues to find the information we need, we have a golden opportunity to meet them where they are right now–online. We can use our creative abilities to educate, build relationships and ultimately create healthier communities. And that’s why many of us got into healthcare marketing in the first place!

Articles

What would the 60’s “Mad Men” think of today’s media?

In ad campaigns,blogs,Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by gingercatmom

When new media meant TV--Mad Mens Sterling Cooper Agency was ready to make the leap.

When new media meant TV--Mad Men's Sterling Cooper Agency was ready to make the leap.

“Mad Men” is the hit AMC series that chronicles the work, the drama and culture of the early 1960’s fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper. Season 3 kicked off in August and for those of us who work in marketing today, Mad Men gives us much to consider.

Last season, the creative and sales staff at Sterling Cooper was adjusting to their client’s demands for TV advertising –in fact they were just launching a TV division within their firm. The classic 30 second TV spot truly was new media back then. However, I was struck with the TV commercials that viewers see as the show airs in 2009. Every spot is integrated into the show itself, with the Mad Men graphics introducing the advertisers with a fact or trivia question related to the advertiser–typically companies such as BMW, Heineken, Clorox, Eight o Clock Coffee, etc. AMC calls this “Mad-vertising”. Viewers are left wondering…is this part of the show or part of the commercial?

The line between entertainment, information and advertising is more blurry than ever before–or is it? The classic TV or radio “soap opera” was named for the soap companies that sponsored the programs. Today we read a blog about new cars–and later find out that the author is paid by a car manufacturer. A “mom” blogs about money saving deals at retailers…and we learn that she’s on Target’s payroll. That video clip on You Tube that shows us how to use the newest hand-held device to manage our exercise program begins to look more and more like a Nike commercial. The blending of sponsor and program, advertising and true news has always been there–it’s just the media that has changed.

It is a brave new world for the Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper as they dive into the new media of their day. New opportunities to create, new opportunities to sell and new opportunities to communicate. An it’s an exciting new media world for us too.