Organizations of all kinds need to understand that in the world where media is easily distributed and shared, the only differentiation you can now make is in how creatively you relay your messages. You might be thinking, “OK Bozo, why don’t you tell me something else I already know.” Instead of doing that I will share a tip that should help you find the talent that will actually aggregate eyeballs for your very specific cause.
I’ve noticed that the only key ingredient to finding someone that will actually get you more views and shares on your website is a basic web 2.0 litmus test. This test is really just a simple question: Do these creative individuals have their own side projects that are updated often? These could be blogs, personal promotional videos, photo streams, twitter feeds, etc… I guess what that really boils down to is passion. Really creative people are not as concerned with protecting their old content as they are with having the tools available to keep creating and sharing. This is the social world we live in now, and the people who are actually in the “trenches,” know what works and what doesn’t work on social media sites. They post and experiment enough to find out.
If you can see a huge body of work that isn’t commissioned you’ve probably found the person to hire. Anyone who is willing to spend large amount of free time creating professional quality work is going to be passionate about the job you higher them to do. This is the true sign of a digital craftsman. The kind of person who is thinking about how to string together words, images, motion, timing, etc… in their spare time will definitely come through with something amazing if they know their name is attached to your commissioned work. Think about it. This is their chance to get paid to have even more people interact with something they love. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
I regularly monitor the web traffic for the skatepark website to see where we should be spending our limited resources when promoting this cause. Every time we have a custom piece of content created by one of these creative individuals there are giant spikes in the number of unique visits to the site.
Increase in Conversions
After posting our lasted promotional video we had a huge spike in online donations and volunteer sign ups on our website.
Increase in Social Activity
Using Facebook’s new insights it is really easy for us to tell what kind of content has been successful for us on the site. And it is pretty obvious when you see the number of shares and comments go through the roof.
These are examples of media that created the spikes in interaction charted above.
- Downingtown Skatepark Organization PSA (Video)
Created by Mr. Robot Mouse (Joshua Coyne)
- Night of the Living Shred (Photos)
Created by Kelly Miller Photography (Kevin Miller)
- It’s Zombie Time! (Blog Post)
Created by 100 Days of Dresses (Abigail Lalonde)
What to Avoid
More than anything else I’m encouraging everyone to avoid the commoditization of everything on the web. There are a couple people out there who accidentally create something that catches on through these social sites, but for the most part it is the really good content that actually gets passed around. What I think baffles everyone in the old media world is that this democratized form of media is truly more democratic. Coming from a world of distribution networks that had layer upon layer of gatekeeping, it was easy for these media companies to assume their media was being consumed because it was the best. When a youtube video takes off and they all think that new user generated content aggregation is the way they should now compete. They seem to be missing the point. Simply stepping up their game and producing the kind of content I will share with all of my friends is how to compete. Don’t make a crappy version of facebook, just make sure the people who are working for you are actually creative and not simply punching the clock. If we are moving in any direction it is away from being commoditized and into our own personal brands that have real value. Just look at the recent success of Klout.com.