Everything you wanted to know about advertising *but were afraid to ask

Huh? A “YouTube Video?” What’sThat?

People use the term “YouTube Video” to describe a viral video, in the same way people use term “Google Ad” to describe search engine marketing or pay per click. It must mean YouTube gets the brand message out. We’ve done several virals, some are professionally shot (tv ads that we’ve re-edited to got viral) and some were not. Some look really slick and some look horribly amateur, depending on the audience, the message, etc. It’s a brave new world and I wish you luck.

Have you used business.com and if so how effective is it?

The short answer is very effective. We used it in the Fall to drive traffic to the alternativepublicstrategies.com conference in DC. Our Internet Marketing Manager can give you more detail: Jeff Maslan, jeffm@madisonmain.com.

Need opinion on web based press release distribution / newswire agencies.

The reach, cost and effectiveness are all on your side, but I caution that the ultimate effectiveness (if your goal is to get story placement) depends heavily on many factors. These sites like newswire are merely a tool, and just like a tool, they can be misused in the hands of an amateur. If your release is not compelling, new, well-written, titled appropriately, the right length and targeted to the right audience, it will not get picked-up. There are thousands of companies blasting away at the media each day—what makes the release you’ve written different? Food for thought.

Have you ever read a nonprofit annual report? What did you think?

I’ve read them. I’ve analyzed them. I’ve re-designed and produced them. There were two best scenarios for my NP clients. With one, we reduced the 21-pager to a four-fold glossy with the “meat” inside: mission, numbers, board members and highlights of accomplishments. There was much less to design, print and mail—AND they were read! Another client posted the full version online and sent an abridged version in newsletter form (only six pages). The short version had 14,000 hits. The long version, 600 hits.”

Have graphic design “auction/bid for work” sites hurt the industry?

They’ve hurt the industry. No doubt about it. More importantly, the businesses have hurt themselves by using them. The crappy designers bid in at $10 an hour and the biz gets crappy work. The sad part is it brings down the already devalued true designers.

Advertising ROI and when to pull the plug

The best measurements on ROI (Return On Investment) can be measured by your people and resources, with the help of an agency. Seek professional help. The lower ROI is probably a direct result of doing it yourself; weak creative, misdirected call to action, old list, etc., etc. Get a good agency, let them handle it and hold them accountable.

Whats the best way to get mentioned in Big media?

There is some very valuable info here, but my short answer would be to invest in a small PR shop that has had some good results in your sector. My experience has been that DIY PR only yields marginal results: local, industry-focused and PR that is “one pop” and doesn’t really stick or get fed to a wider audience. Owning a business is a full time job, so you should get someone else to do the PR, especially if you want to a) get to the next level and b) work on your business, rather than “in” your business.

Are internet marketers risk averse?

Marketers are not risk-averse and in my opinion this isn’t a good plan on your part to keep pursuing them with a sponsorship. I believe your question has more to do with a trade proposition for internet marketers rather than “sponsoring” topics. We get calls every week from start-ups wanting to “partner” with us. They ask us to work for them in exchange for “sponsorship,” somehow believing that a firm would want to trade service, rather than be paid. Why don’t companies ask their lawyers—or accountant, or and other professional service—to “trade?” or an accountant or other professional service? When companies value the service and want to pay for it….they get great results. The results you get from a guy that is willing to “trade” or “work now, pay me later” won’t be worth much, trust me.

– David Saunders