Anne Holland

Acck! The Pain of Being Misrepresented in the Press

June 19th, 2006

Last Thursday morning I got up at 5:30 am and drove through some of the worst traffic gridlock I’ve seen outside of LA to get to Waltham, MA, in time for my 8:30 am keynote speech at the New England Direct Marketing Association’s annual convention.

Despite the crazy traffic, it was a nice change to be supporting my local marketing community. (So often I find myself in places like Seattle or Colorado, which are exciting adventures, but not quite the same thing as “home town.”)

Also, I got to use my joke about how often Sherpa readers under the misapprehension that we are in Manhattan contact me to say. “I’ll be in town next week, want to do lunch?” I guess folks don’t expect Sherpa to be headquartered in a small town in Rhode Island. But, you know great marketing is not remotely limited to Madison Avenue. In fact, the vast majority of our Case Studies are about marketers in regions ranging from Nashville to Vancouver.

Anyway, there I am under the impression that I’m only talking to the local crowd … giving a brand new speech titled Web DM 2.0.

I had no idea a national marketing reporter was in the crowd. So, the next day it was quite a shock to see the email headline from their daily newsletter reading, “Holland: Blogs, RSS Feeds Are Out; Podcasting, Video Streaming Are In.”

At first I thought, “the country of Holland doesn’t like blogs?!” Then the shoe dropped and I realized they were talking about my speech. Oh golly.

You see, in my speech which was slanted toward B-to-B technology marketers who made up the bulk of attendees, I’d discussed the research data showing that unlike other business execs, more than 90% of IT professionals don’t read blogs on a regular basis. And also that 75% of people who do get their news from RSS feeds, view these on portals such as Yahoo News, so they don’t *know*
it’s RSS, and often misconstrue the feeds as being “from” Yahoo rather than the originating brand.

Therefore, if you are trying to market to IT professionals, blogs probably should not be your first or biggest investment. And, if you’re doing RSS feeds, you should find ways to include your brand name in headlines and/or content first paragraphs.

While the story itself fairly accurately represented this
information, the headline was not clear.

To be fair, there’s not much room in a headline for clarity
(that’s what a story is for); and editors have enormous pressures to write headlines that are sensationally clickable these days. I’ve certainly written headlines that might not be perfect myself.

So I understand about the situation. But, it wasn’t fun to worry about possible backlash from the blogging and RSS community who would justifiably feel annoyed if they saw that headline and not the story.

In fact, we hugely support bloggers, et al. So do you guys
apparently because in the past week, MarketingSherpa readers sent in a grand total of 1,028 nominations for our Third Annual Reader’s Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards!

Today, the editorial team are hard at work examining each
nomination to make sure it’s qualified (it’s on a topic related to marketing, etc.) and tomorrow early afternoon we’ll post a voting form for you to use.

I’ll be emailing you one single email alert (with no ad) tomorrow as soon as that voting form is ready online. So, look for it in your inbox.

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