Friday, September 28, 2007

Law Firm Train Wreck Coming

All innovation must first pass through a period of massive misuse as people learn how to leverage the new tools to achieve their ends. This is often costly and embarrassing for early adopters. It is sometimes possible to leap frog this step if you are careful to observe how others, particularly those in other industries, are using new tools and techniques. This is certainly true with New Media marketing.

According to this story in the New York Times online, law firms are using online video as a recruiting tool. Hip to the power of YouTube to attract young people who might be suited to be summer associates, a number of legal firms have hired creative agencies to create multimedia in the hope that it will go viral on the Web.

The legal industry is late to the game. PR firms in New York and Philadelphia (among other places) made headlines last year when they created fictitious characters to star in their clients' online media. One high profile case involved the creation of a wandering RV family that traveled from Wal-Mart parking lot to parking lot across the country. A great idea from a top agency, but instead of sending out some kid with a digital camera to troll the lots for interesting folks, they decided to lie.

Lying, of course, is a time-honored technique in advertising, but New Media marketing is closer to PR, wherein we shine a very bright light on your company in the hope that your important audiences will see how good you are. Lying is not good. It has already come back to haunt a number of companies in other industries. I suspect it will soon haunt the legal industry too. The twist here is that those guys really like to file lawsuits. Duck and cover.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is the VNR in Danger

There's a lot of buzz around the Web right now about the Federal Communication Commission fining a television station for running a company's Video News Release (VNR) without letting its viewers know that it was paid by the company featured. It's being called the "FCC's Fake News Fine" around the blogosphere and it's got a lot of people worried that the lucrative business of creating short segments for television news producers is about to disappear.

I'm watching this closely, not because I compete in that space, but because I believe a lot more companies will be competing there soon. I'm not the only one. Production costs are dropping, the opportunities for placement are increasing and competitive forces will become more powerful.

I don't think this is going to take away a useful tool, but it will raise the stakes for those companies that hope to leverage it. Some will just lawyer up (and effectively sprinkle poison over their creatives) but others will learn to tell good stories instead of making up fake news. Producers are always looking for stories that will keep their viewers tuned in until the final credits roll.

What the FCC has done, IMO, is raise the standards a bit. That's almost never a bad thing.

New Ways to Share Information

New Media isn't just podcasts and Internet video, it's about using the power of the Internet to do a better job of getting critical information across to important audiences.

Here's an example. This timeline for real estate technology is interactive. You can grab it and move forward and backward in time. When you find something you're interested in, you can click on the thumb tack and more information is provided, with links to source material elsewhere on the Web.

This is a great example of communicators using the Web to bring information from disparate sources into a new form that is far more useful. Nice work. Thanks to blogger Joel Burslem at the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Right Way to Post a Podcast

Most blogging platforms now make it easy to insert audio or video into a blog post. This is good, but just plunking a big MP3 file down in the middle of your blog is not a very good thing to do to your readers.

Letting your listeners know what's on the file is always a good idea. Because I produce business podcasts, I like to let my listeners know exactly what questions I ask and how far into the file it happens. That allows busy listeners to get right to the answers they want to hear.

Here's a good example from an unexpected source. I haven't played D&D for a while, but it's good to see the guys are keeping up with the times, at least as far as it relates to good form when adding a podcast to your blog.

Blogging is Good for Your Business

More information pointing to the positive effect a few blog posts per week can have on your business. This time from, an online sister publication to InformationWeek.