Archive for May, 2011
The main marketing avenues available to photographers in the past were referrals, ads and publication. Although these methods are still predominant today, photographers can now promote their services and work to a previously untapped mass audience because of social media. Seth Godin predicted the opportunity economy even before social media became the powerful force it is today. Godin believes that small and personal is the new big, that interruption marketing is no longer acceptable to a savvy audience who expects personal and relevant conversations.
These days, you hear of individual photographers achieving celebrity status and recognition of their work via social media interest. However, Godin says it is not enough to gain critical mass, successful viral marketing starts from a good, well-planned idea that benefits the user. Read the article and download Godin’s revolutionary book, Unleashing the Idea Virus.
Follow Seth Godin on Twitter.
Viral marketing is an idea that spreads – and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.
Two kinds of viral marketing: The original classic sort in which the marketing is the product and which a self-amplifying cycle occurs. Hotmail, for example, or YouTube. The more people use them, the more people see them. The more people see them, the more people use them. The product or service must be something that improves once more people use it.
A second kind has evolved over the last few years, and that’s a marketing campaign that spreads but isn’t the product itself. Shepard Fairey‘s poster of Barack Obama was everywhere, because people chose to spread it. It was viral (it spread) and it was marketing (because it made an argument – a visual one – for a candidate.)
Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn’t market you or your business in a tangible, useful way.
Marketers are obsessed with free media, and, as is often the case, we blow it in our rush to get our share. We create content that is hampered or selfish or boring. Or we create something completely viral that doesn’t do any marketing at all.
I wrote the first mainstream book about viral marketing. It’s free (still) years (and millions of downloads) later. Download 2000Ideavirus.pdf
I haven’t updated it or made it pretty, but I think the core ideas stand up pretty well. (I even talk about the Zipf’s Law and the long tail, but didn’t realize it at the time).
Here’s how the book itself is an example of viral marketing:
1. I posted the PDF for free. 3,000 people downloaded it on Day 1.
2. The file is small enough to email to your friends. I encouraged people to do just that.
3. Some people mailed it to 50 or 100 people. It spread.
4. That’s just viral. The marketing part? I released a $40 souvenir hardcover edition. People knew the idea but didn’t like the format or my design skills. So they paid a lot for a book they had already read. It went to #5 on Amazon (#4 in Japan). We sold the rights in dozens of languages. And the paperback rights. And it helped me get speaking gigs.
BUT! 5. That’s not why I did it. If I had done it as a clever way to sell books, it would have failed. It would have failed because I would have somehow tried to track it, or added friction, or tried to profit in some way from the idea. I was way too dumb at the time to have done it right if my goal was to do it ‘right’.
The critical element of viral marketing is this: it’s built in. It was built into Hotmail and built into YouTube. The more people used the camera on their cell phones, the more the idea spread, the more people wanted a camera.
If you want to do viral marketing, you can try to come up with a viral ad, but you’ll probably fail. You’re better off building the viral right into the product, creating a product that spreads because you designed it that way.
Viral marketing only works well when you plan for it, when you build it in, when you organize your offering to be spreadable, interesting and to work better for everyone involved when it spreads. If I don’t benefit from spreading it, why should I spread it? I won’t. If you don’t benefit from your users spreading the idea, it might spread, but it won’t help you much. So both elements have to be present.
The reason for this post is that viral marketing is getting a bad name, largely from clueless marketing agencies and clueless marketers. Here’s what they do: they get a lame product, or a semi-lame product, and they don’t have enough time or money to run a nationwide ad campaign. So, instead, they slap some goofy viral thing on top of it and wait for it to spread. And if it doesn’t spread, they create a faux controversy or engage a PR firm or some bloggers and then it still doesn’t work.
Being viral isn’t the hard part. The hard part is making that viral element actually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss.
Every couple has a unique story of how they met – and Sarah and Ryan’s was a chance encounter outside a concert venue in Washington, D.C. A beer led to a date and then a romantic engagement in Charlotteville, V.A., and the icing on the wedding cake was literally a gorgeous Lake Tahoe Wedding. Ryan’s from the East Coast and Sarah’s from the West Coast, so the cross-country wedding was a challenge to plan. Fortunately, the savvy young couple sought the help of Merrily Rocco and Christen Horner of Merrily Wed – and I am so fortunate to be a part of Sarah and Ryan’s special day. Weddings can be a long day of non-stop preparation and activities; however, I love being able to capture the whole spectrum of colors, emotions, portraits – and the moments with Sarah and Ryan just enjoying each other’s company are my favorites.
A tip from Sarah for brides-to-be: “Remember to take that time with your husband to soak up every detail and share the happiness of it all.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Photographer: Catherine Hall Studios | Coordinator: Merrily Rocco and Christen Horner of Merrily Wed | Florist: Bellissima Floral Creations | Cake Designer & Caterer: D’Lish Catering | Hair: Laura at Salon Bella Vita | Makeup: Bettina Riffo
Congratulations to Tim Marman, the winner of our last contest. It’s time for a new contest and I’m super excited to tell you about our next prize. I am giving away a Kubota Image Tools Viva La Vintage and Pow Wow! Combo Pak ($179), which includes 25 time-warping vintage enhancements and 26 popping fresh enhancements. I’m really excited because Kubota’s time-saving Photoshop™ plug-ins and Lightroom™ presets have not only improved my workflow and the quality of my images, they have also added fun to the process. Without doing a lot of work, you can see a lot of different effects. You can also easily customize the presets. The interface is extremely intuitive and there is practically no learning curve. I used my favorite preset, Time Machine, for the above image.
Post the tweet exactly as it appears below.
Enter to win a @kubotatools Viva La Vintage + Pow Wow! Combo Pak from @catherine_hall. Pls RT. More info at http://www.catherinehall.net/blog/.
You must be 18 years or older to enter.
You must follow Catherine Hall and Kubota Image Tools on Twitter.
The winner will be notified on May 30, 2011, on Twitter, Facebook and http://www.catherinehall.net/blog.
CHS is excited to be working with Kubota Image Tools to give this prize away. Look out for the results and a new contest on May 30, 2011. Thanks for supporting Catherine Hall Studios!
This was a photograph from a commercial shoot for John Deere and the original concept was to illustrate how the brand is not just about equipment, but a way of life. I was interested to capture the lifestyle of people who depend on John Deere for their livelihood and was not satisfied with the provided models. With that goal in mind, my assistant and I drove around to get some inspiration and we found a Mennonite family who was just perfect for the shoot. I chose to illustrate the lifestyle of farmers including generational loyalty to the exclusive brand. This image of the Mennonite family is the perfect representation of how John Deere equipment is an important fixture in users’ lives.
I’m so happy to announce the winner of my first blog contest. Congratulations to Tim Marman, a wedding and portrait photographer from Southern California, for snagging the Datacolor Spydercube 3. Tim, we will be in touch via email. Thanks to everyone who entered this contest. I will be announcing a new contest on my blog on Wednesday, May 18. Don’t miss the opportunity!