By Josh Cline
The end of the year is a time when many companies review their performances, analyze their numbers, and strategize for the future. Since we often write about the latest trends in marketing, public relations, and communications, we wanted to see which of our articles have been the most popular over the past year – and discuss how they may hint at possible strategies in the future as well.
So, without further ado, here were our most-popular marketing blog-posts of 2011 (in descending order based on the number of external page-views):
- Toyota: Example of a Crisis Communications Fail – Avi Hein, a member of our Advisory Council, discusses how the Toyota recall was a major communications disaster because they forgot that one essential point of crisis PR – transparency. As the Internet and social media grow even more invasive, there will be fewer and fewer secrets in general. There are no skeletons in the digital closet. What unknown negatives about your company may still be aired? At some point, they surely will. And you need a plan to respond.
- Marketing Lessons from “Home Improvement”– Hein also notes how the television show “Home Improvement,” late in its run, revealed how a company pursuing a “hard sell” too strongly ended up with fewer sales. In the era of inbound marketing, it is increasingly important to use softer, subtler messages that add direct value to the demographic that is receiving them. Advertising is becoming much more pervasive (since everything like Gmail is free and ad-supported), and people are becoming more cynical as a result. Beating people over their heads with your pitches will only turn them off.
- You Have Less Than Two Years to Get Mobile Marketing – Our Senior Vice President, Daniel Goldstein, details how the future of marketing lies in mobile – and that it will occur sooner than you probably think. Imagine a time when most people surf the Internet and interact with marketing messages on their iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries – and not on their computers. Both your website and your advertising will need to adapt to the change in mediums.
- How to Attract Angel Investors with PR and Your Blog– I wrote that while corporate blogs are a great way to create and improve one’s reputation as a “thought leader” in a given industry, the collections of writings are also a good way to secure start-up investments. Small businesses, for example, can post and promote their latest product news and financial disclosures to make it easier for potential investors to learn what they need to know.
- Creating Brand Ambassadors Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”– Our Manager of Digital Marketing and Communications, Samuel J. Scott, connects one of his favorite television shows to the elements of good branding. In addition, he discusses how one company is incurring bad branding by revamping the cult television show from the late 1990s more than a decade after it premiered.
- Non-Profit Marketing Tips for Tight Budgets– Director of Business Development Lisa Fraimow, who has also overseen our non-profit clients, explains why not-for-profit organizations should not cut their marketing budgets in these tough economic times. Stopping outreach creates a downward spiral that often results in even-worse financial situations. As a result, she suggests some cost-effective methods of marketing.
- 7 Social Media Marketing Lessons from “Mad Men”– Hein relates the lessons that the television drama set in the early 1960s can still teach marketers today. Whether it is understanding how the medium itself affects the message or knowing when and how to embrace new technologies (television then, social media now), the principles of good communications – and business in general – never go out of style.
- Google +1, Social Media, and the Future of SEO– Most people involved in search-engine marketing know the importance of on-page optimization and backlinks, but Goldstein explains in this post how social media now affects SEO. As more and more black-hat marketers use spam and other unscrupulous methods to get links, search engines are placing more emphasis on the number of social-media links specifically. In the next year, expect to see SEO and social media become even more integrated.
- Fact-Checking Journalism: The Future of PR?– Vice President of Global Communications David Andrew Goldman suggests a way that public relations will transform journalism as more and more media outlets – particularly newspapers – cut their budgets and staff. Public-relations professionals may be able to help reporters with fact-checking and serving as sources of objective information rather than merely support a particular point of view. Through this method, reporters may come to respect the spokespeople even more.
- When the Water Company Gets it, You Know Social Has Gone Mainstream– Hein demonstrates how even the most unlikely of companies can find value in marketing through social-media networks – even if you are the Washington, D.C., Water and Sewer Department. In 2012, we project that more and more companies will find their way into social media – but most, unfortunately, will not know how to do so effectively and in a way that contributes to their general marketing and business goals.
We wanted to thank the people who have taken the time to read our thoughts on marketing, public relations, and communications over the past year.
Now, for 2012, we would love to hear what topics you would like us to address in the New Year. Feel free to comment below or send us an e-mail at info (at) theclinegroup.net. Happy Holidays from all of us at The Cline Group!