Social, visual and blogging innovations

I can come forward with my notes on the conference for digital innovations South by Southwest which took place in march of this year in Austin, Texas. I went there with 13! of my Sanoma colleagues, which was really good beacause it was fun, but we learned so damn much 🙂 and talked so much about it. You can find almost 100 pages of what we learned on the sanoma website in this pdf beneath. Blogging innovations is one of them. It took so long, because somebody (aka the boss @buitelaar) wanted to make a good readable story of the 13 different ones:


First, some cool quotes:
When conservative CEO’s don’t see the ROI on social tell them of the COI (Cost Of Ignorance)
Overheard during the ‘social mosh pit’: all attendees of this session took
part in solving social media problems from other attendees.

Be someone’s accentric aunt
Life lesson from design blogger SwissMiss, founder of a design blog with 1.3 million visitors each month. Follow your dreams and make them come true because of your online influence. Swissmiss is responsible for her design blog, Tattly (tattoo company), the TeuxDeux app, the Creative Mondays concept AND the working space Studiomates.

You can make a MakerBot with a MakerBot
CEO Bre Pettis from 3D printer the MakerBot said this when revealing the digitizer, an affordable 3d scanner. More on this elsewhere in the above Sanoma document.

You can always dunk in the dark
This tweet was sent by OREO cookies during the power outage and is an example of great real time marketing. Every marketer now wants a Superbowl OREO moment. Read about it here on Wired.

The railroad tracks have been built now the question is, what’s worth sharing on them? Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti about
the social platforms and that it’s about how we use them, it’s not
about the platforms itself anymore.

1. Blogging innovations: room for long form content and taking online to offline
Wordpress CEO Matt Mullenweg said that the average post on a WordPress blog is 280 words long, and that’s remained “relatively constant” over the past few years. “Certain ideas need to be expressed and they just need more than 140 characters,” he said, and he believes in longform content, maybe even with relevant ads. “At the point where advertising becomes as good as the content that surrounds it, I will applaud it.” Another trend in blogging is that people start blogging and building an audience, and if they succeed in gaining a large audience, the world is open to their work and they can take their online business to offline. Examples of this trend are bloggers that have book deals: young fashionblogger Tavi Gevinson, food bloggers EATPGH, but also in the Netherlands and Monique van Loon from Or going from blogger/Instagrammer that takes pics to a fulltime job as photographer for big brands and expose in art galleries like Jamie Beck, also cocreator of the app CinemaGraph. Or design or curate collections. Everybody agreed on this: being real and authentic online is more than ever important, with the amount of content exponentially growing. The future of blogging is that only the good ones with a story and/or with talent will survive. As content is a form of marketing nowadays: bloggers can be anything, from a journalist to a doctor and from a designer to a gardener.
Haters also got mentioned a lots of times (by Swissmiss, Blogher, Jane Pratt), because when you you show yourself personally and show your opinion there will always be haters. Their advice: ignore them.

2. Visual Social Platforms: Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram
Both Tumblr and Instagram have over a 100 million accounts. So that’s definitely where it happens. What happens? Everything visual. The digital world is now ready for loads of visual content (stills, video and many more applications) and the fun part is: everybody can do this and has to do this in order to survive as a brand. Next to creating visual content, there are more and more platforms to market (Contently, Etsy), distribute (Behance, Flickr), and find funding (Kickstarter) for creatives and their creative content. We have more than enough platforms right now, so it’s the case of how we use them right. It is so much easier now to be remarkable, you cannot settle for less. People love it: companies that have lots of great visuals, infographics, DIYs, vines, behind the scenes and
videos are liked more on the social platforms and create more engagement. You have to test what works for your audience, because there are no rules for that. For example pics of eggs and donuts, especially close ups, work good for magazine BonAppetit. And for the fashion category of Buzzfeed pics have to be funny and different, with them the runway pics don’t work. The success of Tumblr is the superease to use, even on mobile. WordPress has a lot more to offer, but is there for a bit more complicated. Next to the blog, whether it is WordPress or Tumblr, choose your favorite social platforms to get your content spread.

3. Making money from blogging and online influence
BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog: 55 million unique visitors per month. Blogher did research as to how much influence bloggers have and on their platform with over 3.000 blogs, 89% of the visitors said to have bought a product after reading about it on a blog. Five years ago that percentage was 64%. Advertisers are starting to find their way to bloggers more often and one thing is clear: bloggers have to be
authentic and can’t blog about a product they don’t support. The social blogging platform Tumblr has over a 100 million blogs now, and is launching mobile ads soon, because of their outrageous use of the mobile app. They made social blogging on you mobile so super easy this is a logical step. Tumblr will have “featured posts” for companies that join in on its program, no irritating pop ups.
Another great example of monetizing is Buzzfeed. The trending topic here was Native Advertising and according to iMediaConnection, native advertising is defined as, “advertising unit designed to integrate seamlessly with a user’s consumption experience.” You can read more about the native ad model Buzzfeed built here.
What is native advertising exactly? A quick, simple definition: It’s an ad whose form and delivery is identical to the content environment in which it is served.

4. What I took from these sessions for publisher Sanoma
All Sanoma employees (especialy editors and marketers) have to be online influencers. In a personal way. We need to vine, instagram, pin, tweet, blog, curate and create posts, photos and videos like madmen. We can do this, because as the print company we were as Sanoma, we have always made visual oriented content. Sanoma, the company, has to give people room to do this, without a hard set of rules, because we have to stimulate, not discourage. Only with happy, talented people in an transparent organization you can survive in this connection economy where the marketing business is changing rapidly, if not disappearing. See also this great blogpost from Seth Godin about zero unemployment.

If our combined influence is big enough online, we WILL sell our products. But the big question remains if this product can ‘just’ be curated and created content? Can we live of
content in the future? Maybe not the way most publishers are organized right now, but with businessmodels like buzzfeed and payed contentmodels like the NYtimes , there is a glimpse what does work in the future. Apart from creating content, we have to re-invent ourselves over and over again with apps, businessmodels and new products.

My other SXSW publications:
Blogpost Frankwatching > Context is the next big thing for social (dutch)
Blogpost Frankwatching > In five steps to a business succes through your blog (dutch) Blogpost > The future of fashion & beautyblogging
Video FastmovingTargets > My video interview about innovation &influencers (dutch) Presentation > A Slideshare about Influencers I created for the Social Media Club Amsterdam
Video >A 6 seconds VINE from our airBnB house
Pics& links > A Pinterest Board about SXSW
Facebookpage Frankwatching > Pics we made during sxsw