The week in content marketing with strategist Lieu Pham
This week we mourn the late David Bowie and discover that his visionary mind extended far beyond music. YouTube hosts the US presidential candidate debate for the first time, WhatsApp gets a seat in the boardroom and Twitter embarks on a comeback with a suite of changes.
Elsewhere, Amazon moves into the freight market while we take lessons from the rise and demise of social app Peach. And soon, we could be taking Uber-helicopters and getting our own personal robot. The future is here.
David Bowie was undoubtedly ahead of his time musically, but few people would know his creative ideas expanded into the digital world. Bowie set up his own internet service provider, BowieNet, in the late 1990s, a sure sign that he understood the power of the internet well before it became ubiquitous. RIP, Thin White Duke.
Imagine rocking up at your next social engagement via helicopter. Partnering with Airbus, Uber will trial helicopter Ubers at this month’s Sundance Film Festival to evaluate whether this is a viable service offering.
Twitter’s future isn’t looking too bright so it’s trying to turn things around with a bunch of new features – some confirmed, some merely rumoured. Among the more interesting proposals are conversational ads (ad products), polls, celebrity-only Q&As and an increase in the character limit from 140 to a whopping 10,000.
Amazon is setting itself up to play in the $350 billion ocean freight market after the retail giant’s Chinese arm registered in the US to commence freight forwarding operations. The move comes as an attempt to control more of what happens after users purchase from the site, and to take back the profits stolen by expensive shipping partners and external agents.
Less than a week ago, a super-cool social app by the name of Peach made its digital debut. Peach’s big feature is ‘magic words’, which enables you to simply type in phrases that generate visuals, like emojis and gifs, to replace text. Within a couple of hours of the launch the app caused a social stir, taking out the top spot on the Apple app charts. Come Sunday night, however, the app plummeted, failing to even feature in the charts. Navneet Alang from New Republic delves into the current social climate to assess the impact of ‘affect’ and the possible reasons behind Peach’s short-lived life.
The internet is awash with short, basic four-liners that providers like to call ‘news stories’, and many people have deemed the concept of complex storytelling to be officially extinct. With shrinking attention spans, the decreasing ability to read in-depth and patience wearing thin, it’s easy to point the finger at technology. Editor of newyorker.com Nicholas Thompson begs to differ. Have a read of his interesting take on how our phones and laptops are actually creating a healthy environment for complex storytelling to flourish.
Messaging app WhatsApp has moved from a subscription-based model to a new monetisation strategy that will see it try to sell its wares to businesses instead of individual users. Available now, the tools being test enable anyone to communicate directly with organisations such as banks and airlines. This rivals Facebook Messenger’s recent feature that allows shoppers to sign up for shipping updates.
With the aim of replacing SMS and MMS, Jongla is disrupting the messaging app market. Finnish creators of the app say that its success lies in targeting low-end smartphone users with Jongla’s cross-platform application that can handle high quality photos, text and videos and offers free unlimited messaging. The user base in Asia and South America more than doubled in 2015.
The Serial podcast, from the creators of This American Life, has brought credibility to what was perceived as an outmoded channel – the podcast. With more than 300,000 podcasts available on iTunes, it’s loud and clear that podcasts are in vogue. Despite the large (and growing) audience for this format, advertisers have yet to figure out how to capitalise on the shows beyond a simple 30-second sponsored shout out. A few brave players are taking the proverbial leap, including CBS Local Digital Media.
In the movie Her, Joaquin Phoenix’s character, a heartbroken writer, falls in love with a husky-voiced intelligent computer operating system called Samantha. While the concept is disconcerting, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think if we consider the advances in technology. Writer Matt Rosoff paints a future of robots, much like Her, where everything works in unison. He says we should forget about concepts like IoT and ‘smart’ devices; this is a groundbreaking movement in which we’ll have invisible helpers to make our lives easier.
As the saying goes, ‘content is the new salesperson’, and this IBM-inspired blog article from the CMI showcases why we shouldn’t ignore advocacy in our approach. As we marketers know, we don’t need to just speak to prospective customers, we need to speak to potential advocates (readers who are influencers).
Instagram isn’t a channel we’d normally associate with B2B brands but this round-up proves there is a place for B2B Instagramming. Check out the Adobe, Office Depot, MailChimp, Squarespace and Deluxe Small Business Revolution accounts to see why it’s important to create made-for-social that suits the platform (rather than a one-size fits all).
On Sunday night, YouTube co-hosted the fourth debate among US Democratic presidential candidates, with four of the video channel’s creators asking Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton pre-recorded questions. The goal of the exercise was to get YouTube’s community of viewers more involved in the debate before, during and after the live stream.
Preparing to launch your content marketing program? Check out this comprehensive checklist that covers quality and technical aspects of the content marketing process, from ideas to pre-launch to post-launch.
Founder & Editor: Lieu Pham
Associate Editor: Julia Mulcahy
Design: Lilli Hagan
Sub-Editor: Suzannah Pearce