I’ve seen the future the last couple of days.
On Friday I was very lucky to be invited to the Grand Opening of the Geek House. The new facility owned by the tech legends Cali Lewis and John P. at geekbeat.tv. Watching their live kick-off show from the new studio I was filled with the spirit of Tribes, the Seth Godin book we’ve talked a lot about. Cali and John were surrounded by friends, family, and, via the live chatroom, fans from all over the world. These two are living, dynamic, real-time proof that identifying a Tribe, and genuinely being a part of it, is why it is increasingly difficult to be a general, market wide broadcaster.
A few months ago I was doing some research on a market. I learned that there is a robust craft beer community in this particular city, and advised that this was one of several examples of Tribes that local TV could engage.
Yesterday, I read a worthwhile piece from the Neiman Journalism Lab. There is a link to a WCPO page in Cincinnati that proves why Scripps “gets it”. The page is: www.wcpo.com/beer. Yup. Beer.
Our good friend Seth Godin says, “Turns out people are interested in what they are interested in,” and technology is allowing them to “broadcast” on their own. One caution when approaching a Tribe. You can’t fake it. I don’t drink beer. If I had approached that Tribe, I’d be wearing a keg as a hat.
Back in the day business professors would ask students, “What does Kodak sell?” “Duh, film!” would be the first answer. “Cameras!” would be the next.
The actual answer was “memories”, and the concepts of “emotions” or “feelings” were implied as well. (Polaroid didn’t sell film either, by the way, they sold immediacy.)
“Kodak Moments” still seem to apply. Take a look at this image from Facebook marketing material.
The post on the left is said to have not done as well with Facebook reach. The suggested reasoning is that it looks like an ad, which we are increasingly being trained to ignore.
The image on the right is obviously a warm and fuzzy “memory” of a mother and daughter sharing a moment, oh, and look! They each have an OREO.
Facebook says the image on the right had much more engagement.
How much content does Facebook produce? How about Twitter? The answer, of course, is none.
YouTube. YouTube makes a ton of content, right? Nope, user generated.
There are two guaranteed winners these days. Platforms and aggregators. Platforms enable, aggregators filter.
Go here. Count the retweets.
You could spend the entire day generating your own content and not come close to the volume or quality of that produced by your audience. Yes, some of it might not be great, but they want to share it, and you are a platform and an aggregator.
The “habit loop” is the foundation principle behind The Power of Habit.
I just finished a really interesting book called The Power of Habit. It doesn’t mention broadcasting or weather anywhere but, as we’ve discussed before, if you insert the word weather here and there, some powerful ideas jump out. You might remember we have talked about this before, it is pretty powerful stuff.
I’ve been lucky to visit with broadcast executives lately. Some of them “get it”, some don’t. I was showing one news leader Google Hangouts recently. Within 30 seconds into the Hangout she said under her breath, “Whoa…they don’t need us any more.” Chilling but true. We talked at length with Sarah Hill about this in a Weather Insiders program last year. Her Tribe is military families and she is deeply embedded.
Chapter 5 in The Power of Habit holds a very important lesson for survival. Find the groups doing good work. What they need you for is to lift their profile. The community will reward you.
Sitting down? Long time sufferers of this blog will likely be surprised to hear me come out in defense of Facebook.
There has been a fair amount of shock and complaining lately about declining Facebook reach, and outrage that the social network would dare to charge us for access to our followers…that audience that we gave our blood, sweat and tears to build. In the weather space we forcefully cry, “We are providing LIFE SAVING INFORMATION! How dare you charge us!” At one point I even saw a petition demanding that Facebook pass our content through unfiltered.
Here is the reality. In an “open” (using the term loosely) platform everyone gets to participate. Facebook can’t do you a favor. The minute they do, they have to do one for everyone else…on the planet…and that doesn’t scale.
We built this beast. Time to tear it down.
Oh, and lastly, take a step back and look. Facebook, and us, we are in the same business. Building a large audience and charging for access to it.
(Note: Since Nate Johnson and Spencer Adkins post better content on this blog than me, going forward each author will have his picture at the bottom of each post so Nate and Spencer can get proper attention and credit for their great work.)