Talking to a friend about writing and blogging I mentioned that I had started writing on my personal website again. “Why bother, no one will ever see it”. Ignoring the encouraging sentiment, when this website was started back in 2008 , blogging was very much in favour, companies like TypePad were riding high and generally it was seen as an essential online activity. Over time, blogging, at least on small personal sites seems to have become less popular.
Most commercial websites feature a blog of some sort even if it isn’t called a blog anymore. Of course, much of what was referred to as blogging is swallowed up under the heading of content marketing or content creation and it’s interesting to compare the two terms on Google Trends.
So, why do I still bother writing entries on this website? The answer is that writing is a skill and even though I write as part of my work, it’s one of those skills that seems to improve and come easier with practice. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if no one reads the content, the act of writing is an end in itself.
Something that has just grown and grown in popularity over the past few years has been the use of low-cost stock photography in both online marketing and lots of offline work as well. These so-called ‘microstock‘ sites have grown and multiplied and one of the best known ones is Istockphoto.com (although seemingly more expensive to use of late).
Whilst using images like these can be a quick and cost-effective route to developing good marketing materials, there is a side effect that any marketer or web designer should bear in mind. I think of it as the ‘haven’t I seen you somewhere before’ effect. The most popular photographers and the models they use seem to appear just about anywhere, take the image shown for example (screen grab of comp image from Istockphoto). I’ve recently seen this model used as the image on a web control panel, a web service site and advertising an opticians in Bradford!
However, the ubiquity of these images can cause unexpected problems. Competitors can use the same model as you (accidentally or deliberately), people might think they’ve already seen your ad (when in fact they’ve seen a similar image) and so on. Plus, it’s just plain annoying to see the same model or image in common use. Take a look at the classified ads in the back of most magazines and odds on, you’ll find the same or very similar stock images being used.
Microstock is cheap, convenient and used correctly, a powerful device. But, don’t fall foul of overexposure!
There is another brilliant example of new media following old rules and catching out the unwary, read all about it here http://shankman.com/be-careful-what-you-post/
In essence a senior executive at a media company used Twitter (the darling of social media applications) to post a message that slated his client’s home town. The best part is that he did this before delivering a training session to some of the client’s staff on – wait for it – social media. Apparently it didn’t occur to this person that his trainees might use social media as well. Needless to say, it has cost the executive in question a lot of face and potentially a big client.
In an earlier post I gave another example of this type of thing http://martindonohoe.co.uk/?p=29 I suppose the moral is that media may change, but the practice remains the same, be careful what you say and to whom. I think that lots of people fall into a trap of thinking that comments made on social or any electronic media won’t surface, but they have a habit of being caught out. People, particularly in business, need to be considered and cautious when passing comment.
So, given the medium was Twitter, does this mean the appropriate word must be twottered?