Advertising-Promotion-Marketing

Overthrow the Prince of Facebook

7 June 2019

PG will note that TPV is not and has not been a political blog. PG would like to keep it that way.

PG understands that everything is supposed to be political, etc., but he believes such sentiments are, of themselves, political, and he manages to do a lot of things and have many satisfactory online and offline interactions with others that are simply not political.

While the growth of the internet and the many different ways of accessing it have produced many benefits for humanity, those benefits have been accompanied by some detriments. In PG’s unpresuming opinion, one of the largest is the internet’s ability to enhance and magnify the concerted actions of crazy people.

While at one time it might have been difficult for a single crazy person to connect with others who are crazy in the same way because of the rarity of that person’s particular variety of craziness, now, the internet allows almost anyone to join an online community of people who are exactly like her/him/etc. Cross-dressing differently-abled Lithuanian-American pediatricians can gather online and magnify their voices to fight the injustice that is part of their lives.

Online, everyone can be part of a hyphenated interest group.

PG’s bloviated opining was intended as a brief introduction to a column in today’s Wall Street Journal written by columnist Peggy Noonan, but it grew. [Trigger Warning: Ms. Noonan is a Republican, but not as Republican as a lot of people on the internet believe she should be.]

I’ll start with a personal experience and then try to expand into Republicans and big tech.

In the spring of 2016, Facebook came under pressure, stemming from leaks by its workers, over charges of systemic political bias. I was not especially interested: a Silicon Valley company that employs thousands of young people to make decisions that are often ideological will tilt left, and conservatives must factor that in, as they’re used to doing.

My concerns about Facebook had to do with its apparently monopolistic nature, slippery ethics and algorithmic threats to serious journalism.

Soon after, I received an email from Mark Zuckerberg’s office inviting me and other “conservative activists” to attend a meeting with him to discuss the bias charges in an off-the-record conversation. I responded that I was not an activist but a columnist, for the Journal, and would be happy to attend in that capacity and on the record. That didn’t go over too well with Mr. Zuckerberg’s office! I was swiftly told that wouldn’t do.

What I most remember is that they didn’t mention where his office is. There was an air of being summoned by the prince. You know where the prince lives. In the castle. Who doesn’t know exactly where Facebook is?

In February 2018 Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein of Wired wrote a deeply reported piece that mentioned the 2016 meeting. It was called so that the company could “make a show of apologizing for its sins.” A Facebook employee who helped plan it said part of its goal—they are clever at Facebook and knew their mark!—was to get the conservatives fighting with each other. “They made sure to have libertarians who wouldn’t want to regulate the platform and partisans who would.” Another goal was to leave attendees “bored to death” by a technical presentation after Mr. Zuckerberg spoke.

. . . .

I forgot about it until last summer, when Mr. Zuckerberg’s office wrote again. His problems were mounting. I was invited now, with an unspecified group of others, to “an off the record discussion over dinner at his home in Palo Alto.” They used that greasy greaseball language Silicon Valley uses: Mr. Zuckerberg is “focused on protecting” users and thinking about “the future and how best to serve the Facebook community.”

I ignored the invitation. They pressed. Their last note reached me at an irritated moment, so I wrote back a rocket, reminding him of the previous meeting and how it had been revealed to be a mischievous and highly political enacting of faux remorse. I suggested that though it was an honor to be asked to cross a continent for the privilege of giving him my time, thought and advice, I would not. I added that I was sorry to say he strikes me in his public, and now semiprivate, presentations as an imperious twerp.

For a second I actually hesitated: The imperious twerp runs the algorithms, controls the traffic, has all the dark powers! But I am an American, and one with her Irish up, so I hit send.

And I’m still here, at least at the moment, so I guess that’s OK.

. . . .

I once wrote the signal fact of Mr. Zuckerberg’s career is that he is supremely gifted in one area—monetizing technical ingenuity by marrying it to a canny sense of human weakness.

None of this is news. We just can’t manage to do anything about it.

. . . .

The New York Times this week had a breakthrough report . . . on how the tech giants are fighting back. They are “amassing an army of lobbyists.” Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple spent a combined $55 million in lobbying last year, about double what they spent in 2016. They “have intensified their efforts to lure lobbyists with strong connections to the White House, the regulatory agencies, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress.” Facebook hired Mrs. Pelosi’s former chief of staff. The speaker herself has received major campaign money from employees and political-action committees of all the tech giants.

. . . .

But the mood in America is anti-big-tech. Everyone knows they’re too powerful, too arrogant, loom too large in public life.

And something else: This whole new world of new technology was born in the 1970s and ’80s. We still think it’s new and we’re figuring it out, but we’re almost half a century into it and we can see what works and what doesn’t, what’s had good effects and hasn’t. It is time to move.

. . . .

Here’s what [Washington politicians] should be thinking: Break them up. Break them in two, in three; regulate them. Declare them to be what they’ve so successfully become: once a pleasure, now a utility.

It all depends on Congress, which has been too stupid to move in the past and is too stupid to move competently now. That’s what’s slowed those of us who want reform, knowing how badly they’d do it.

Yet now I find myself thinking: I don’t care. Do it incompetently, but do something.

. . . .

The Times quoted Republican Sen. Josh Hawley as saying “the dominance of big tech” is a “big problem.” They “may be more socially powerful than the trusts of the Roosevelt era, and yet they still operate like a black box.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

PG knows some indie authors have had good results from their social media book promotions and he applauds their skill, creativity and generosity for sharing their best online practices with other authors. In such cases, PG’s impression is that the authors are using the social media platforms rather than the other way around. Readers benefit by receiving information they would like to receive about books written by some of their favorite authors.

PG is probably some sort of social media snob, but he rarely uses social media to receive any information. (Because Crazy People) However, he’s a compulsive early adopter, so in days past, when he heard about a new social media platform, he signed up and checked it out. After 3-4 visits, he usually was bored by the content and quit checking in. (As a result, he has some four and five character social media user IDs that might be valuable if he could sell them.)

These days, PG uses social media strictly as an outbound communication device to provide information he thinks might be beneficial to people who like to receive information via this channel. To this end, he has a plug-in for TPV that automatically produces a row of colorful little icons below each post that should make it easy for any visitor to repost/forward any of the TPV posts to their own social media accounts and is happy to have anyone use them to do so. To avoid charges of false altruism, PG is also happy if some of these reposts result in more visitors to TPV.

Of all the major social media platforms, PG formerly signed on to Facebook the most frequently (1-2 times per month) to keep up with a handful of old friends/relatives who would occasionally post news and photos there. However, for the reasons Ms. Noonan describes – Facebook’s breaching of privacy and ethical boundaries – PG closed his account several months ago.

How Does Color Affect Your Potential Customers?

5 June 2019

From ReadWrite:

Color design can be an effective marketing tool if used correctly. Acting directly on the subconscious of the site visitor, the color in web design can form a positive attitude to the product, trust, and positive emotions that cause a person to make a purchase and believe your brand.

When a person first enters the site, he intuitively perceives the picture as a whole. Within the next 1-2 seconds, the client decides to stay and explore the resource or to close the tab and go back to the search results. If the color design of the online business is chosen and implemented correctly, the user will more likely remain on the page.

. . . .

The principles of color combinations originate from Newton’s color ring. Of the three primary colors, intermediary ones are produced by mixing, which is located in the adjacent ring segments. To choose colors, use one of the following seven schemes:

Monochromatic – for design creation, one primary color is chosen, and additional colors are formed from its hues (saturation and brightness are adjusted).
Complementary – in this case, the color selection for the web site begins with the choice of two contrasting tones, which are complemented by several more derived shades.
Split – this scheme is similar to the complementary one, but one of the contrasting colors is replaced by two similar ones from the adjacent segments.
Analog – according to this scheme, 3 colors are chosen from the neighboring segments: one is used as the main one, and the other two play the role of additional accents.
Triad – the designer takes three colors that are equally distant from each other, and on the basis of them forms a color palette.
Rectangle – here, four colors are used, and each pair is chosen according to the principle of contrast.
Quadrate – the scheme resembles the previous one, but all colors are equally distant from each other.

. . . .

In developing the color scheme of the site you should not be guided solely by your own preferences. After all, the site is created, first of all, for the user. How to choose the right color for a site is a question of understanding the psychological aspect of the influence of colors and using this knowledge in accordance to your goals. There are three methods for choosing the color of the site which we will discuss in detail below.

. . . .

Colors for website design should correspond to its theme or product/services to which it is dedicated. For example, purple is the traditionally chosen shade for perfume sites, a site about auto lease deals is difficult to imagine without the use of dark blue or gray colors in the design.

. . . .

The site, designed with a large variety of colors, is hard and even repulsive: getting to it, the user wants to quickly close this tab. If there are few colors, the site may look monotonous, and the user’s attention will be dispersed. The optimal working palette for the designer is 3-4 colors:

Main. The basic color in the design, which highlights the main content on the pages.

Additional. Color to highlight background information, which is advantageously combined with the main color, complementing it.

Background. Calm shade on which the main and additional colors are not lost.

Accentuating. Contrast primary color that attracts the visitor’s attention to key elements of the site.

. . . .

Color perception is not constant. How a person responds to the same color depends on many factors. But still, before choosing a color for a site, you need to examine the typical associations for each color that are specific for most people.

Link to the rest at ReadWrite

PG says authors should be color conscious in all of an author’s marketing activities.

These will include:

  • Website
  • Book Covers
    • Individual Books
    • Series
  • Email Newsletters/Announcements
  • Online and Meatspace Advertising
  • Online Product Listings – Amazon, Nook, etc.

Here are some tools that might help with your color choices:

  • Colorpick Eyedropper – Have you ever been online and found an image, website, etc., etc., that includes colors you absolutely love? Here’s an app that lets you determine exactly what colors are being used and provides the necessary color codes to let you reproduce those colors in your own marketing. https://go.shr.lc/2QNwQEp

On the left below is the color of the font PG uses for The Passive Voice title at the top of the blog and also the background of the post section. Its hex color code is #f9eacc. If you put that color code into your browser, you’ll see the same color. On the right is the brown color PG uses for the headlines of each blog post – #723419

 


 

  • Palette Creator is another Chrome app that will pull all the colors out of a photo and save them. https://go.shr.lc/2WKFYPn

Here’s an example of Palette Creator in action:

Here’s a photo:

Here’s the 16-color palette that Palette Creator pulled from the photo:

You can use some or all of the palette colors to create a Macaw-like image.


 

  • If you’re worried about correctly identifying what colors go with other colors, there are several online color palette creators. Here’s Coolorshttps://go.shr.lc/2QPD4U2

PG will pull the dark blue color – #23508D – from the Macaw palette above and use it as the base color of a complete palette. Here’s what Coolors came up with. The original dark blue is the color strip with the lock symbol on it:

Don’t like this one? Hit the spacebar while Cooler is running and see a different palette based on the dark blue.


 

Below is the opening screen – PG has dropped the same dark blue color code into the website – 23508D as a base color for Paletton. You can barely see it at the tip of the white arrow.

Below, you can see the upward arrow pointing to the Monochromatic palette. On the right side of the screen you see a variety of colors that are complementary to the original dark blue color we’ve been working with.

The white arrow below is now pointing toward the Triad setting. You can see the results on the right side of the screen. You can also see three little gray dots on the color wheel over the original blue plus an old gold and a light umber color added to make up the Triad.

Adobe also has a palette design page at https://color.adobe.com/create. It’s easy to use, somewhat like Coolors. If you have a subscription to Creative Cloud, Adobe’s pallet design can be easily imported into other paid Adobe products for use there.

 

Top ‘Live-Streamers’ Get $50,000 an Hour to Play New Videogames Online

20 May 2019

Not exactly to do with books, but a look into another kind of publishing.

From The Wall Street Journal:

The world’s biggest videogame publishers are paying popular gamers tens of thousands of dollars to play their latest releases live over the internet, hoping to break through to buyers in a crowded industry where dominant games like “Fortnite” cast a large shadow.

Electronic Arts Inc., Activision Blizzard Inc.,  UbisoftEntertainment SA and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are among the publishers making hefty payouts for the real-time broadcasts, or live streams. The amounts vary depending on the popularity of the “streamer,” and could go as high as $50,000 an hour for top celebrity gamers, according to talent and marketing agents.

Take-Two plans to pay streamers to play “Borderlands 3” when the comedic shooter game launches Sept. 13. Ubisoft, an early adopter of the live-streaming strategy, plans to use it again for the Oct. 4 release of its special-ops shooter game “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”

“Having celebrity streamers play games is an important part of the business,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive, said in an interview. “It is relatively new, but it has to be organic. The streamers have to believe in it.”

. . . .

“If you don’t have live-streaming as part of your marketing spend, you’re doing it wrong,” Mr. Benyamine said.

People last year spent 8.9 billion hours watching videogame content on Amazon.com Inc.’svideo-streaming site Twitch, up from 6.3 billion hours in 2017, according to industry tracker Newzoo BV.

Big-budget videogame launches have become major affairs in the $130 billion industry, akin to the opening weekend of a star-studded Hollywood movie. First-week sales are closely watched, and game companies are looking for ways to stand out—especially as players sink ever more of their time and money into a handful of constantly updated games that don’t really ever end.

. . . .

The exploding popularity of live-streaming and professional gamers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gives game companies another marketing lever to pull. Live streams show the pros playing and commenting on games while reacting to text messages posted by viewers in real time. The paid streams are typically labeled as sponsored.

. . . .

Videogame player Karlissa Juri downloaded “Apex Legends” after seeing a streamer play it on Microsoft Corp.’s Mixer, a platform similar to Twitch. She said it doesn’t bother her that some live-streamers are paid to play games, as long as the broadcasts are clearly labeled, something that wasn’t always the case in the past.

“It really sold me watching him,” said the 34-year-old New Yorker, who has since been playing the game daily and spent about $20 for virtual currency for spending on virtual costumes.

Electronic Arts said earlier this month that sales of virtual goods in the game helped the company beat its quarterly profit forecast.

. . . .

Unlike the past, when big publishers reserved the right to edit paid game footage before it aired, a live-streaming audience injects uncertainty and gives publishers less control, Mr. Duchscher said.

Technical glitches could make a poor first impression or a live-streamer could speak off-color—both have happened. There is no guarantee a streamer will be converted into a regular player. And audience interest in watching a game stream can tail off. Last month, people spent 24.7 million hours watching other people play “Apex Legends” on Twitch, down from 122.1 million in February, according to Newzoo.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

Use Expert Sources to Generate Local Book Publicity

20 May 2019

From The Book Designer:

When Champion Products sponsored the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Player of the Year Awards for the NCAA’s five college divisions in the U.S., I was responsible for publicizing the award nominees in their hometown media.

To get the most publicity possible for the authentic athletic wear brand and the athletes, I used what marketers would now call a “hyper-local” approach.

Another publicist probably would have created one press release naming all 25 nominees and sent that announcement to a mass media list. But I knew that with publicity (as with many other things), personalization was the key to success.

I knew I had to make it instantly clear to every hometown media outlet that the press release I sent contained local news for a local audience. To do that, I created a fill-in-the-blanks press release template that I merged with a database containing relevant specifics about each athlete. All I had to do was press a few keys to produce each nominee’s hometown press release.

Because of this customized approach, each nominee (and the subsequent five winners) received the hometown newspaper and TV news attention they deserved.

. . . .

You can use this tactic to generate local market publicity for anyone you quoted or referenced in your nonfiction book, too.

Whether it’s an expert source or a short profile in a sidebar, you can create a press release showcasing that individual’s contribution and send it to their local media outlets.

To get you started, here’s a sample fill-in-the-blanks press release I created for you. Because it’s so generic, you’ll want to make sure your resulting press release for each source reads well and makes sense, but that won’t be hard.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Deconstructing ‘I Wrote a Thing’

18 May 2019

From Publishers Weekly:

For every essay and article I write, my process is the same. There is contemplation and research, writing and rewriting. Each piece is fact-checked for accuracy and read out loud for rhythm, sent to a first reader or two for critique, and rewritten and polished again before I finally hit “send.”

And when it is done, I paste the link into a tweet and wrestle with the impulse that never goes away—the instinct to announce my work to the world with the words, I wrote a thing.

Spend any amount of time on social media and you will see a lot of I wrote a thing. Men use it, but, according to my entirely nonscientific observations, women use it more, announcing our work in our native tongue, the universal female language of self-deprecation. I wrote a thing employs the funny, ironic, humblebrag shorthand that is common across social media, but it also evokes a familiar posture: that of a woman trying to make herself as small as possible—a woman standing with her head down and her chin tucked against her chest, hands clasped behind her back, and toe twirling in the dirt, saying, “Oh, this little heap of words here? It was nothing. No big deal. Just, you know, a thing! So maybe read it? Or don’t! Whatever!”

Maybe it’s a generational problem, and the kids today don’t struggle with reflexive self-effacement. I suspect that it’s gendered, and I wrote a thing is born of women being told, overtly and implicitly, that our stories do not matter—not the stories we write, which are still not reviewed as frequently or taken as seriously as men’s books, and not the stories we tell, which are still too often met with skepticism and shrugs.

. . . .

It feels strange to announce, plainly, Here is an essay, or, This is my novel, when we’ve been told all our lives not to brag and not to boast—until the six weeks prior to a book’s release, when our publicists beg us to do nothing but brag and boast. It feels unnatural, and if you could peek into any woman writer’s inbox, you’d probably see agonized queries from her peers: “I just got a starred review from PW. Should I tweet it?” or, “I just got a rave in the Times. Is it going to look weird if I put it on my Instagram more than once? How much is too much? Are you sure this is okay?”

Self-promotion feels weird, and risky.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG doesn’t believe that he has ever told any author, “overtly” or “implicitly” that the author’s story doesn’t matter.

Outside of the world of traditional publishing, PG doesn’t believe that he has ever heard or observed anyone else conveying that message to an author.

Various pursuits and occupation require different personal characteristics and aptitudes. Some people who have great natural talent in a field of endeavor don’t have the personal characteristics necessary to rise to the top of that field.

If someone is afraid of flying, regardless of whatever talents they possess, they are not a good candidate to become a pilot.

If someone can’t stand being involved in a contentious situation, they are not a good candidate to practice most types of law.

Ditto for fainting whenever being exposed to blood and the practice of medicine, fear of dogs and animal training, fear of fire and firefighting.

Of course, there are degrees of fear or other personal characteristics and many people are able to overcome their fears or reticence or anxiety and succeed in a field that once seemed impossible to enter.

Perhaps writing about fear or otherwise sharing it is a part of overcoming that fear. PG hopes the author of the OP falls into that category.

Nine-Year-Old Author Shares Her Story and Seeks to Publish

16 May 2019

Apparently a press release. PG has added paragraph breaks. The italics are part of the original.

From LifePulseHealth:

Mantua resident and Centre City elementary school student MaKayla Rose had a problem one night at bedtime. She couldn’t find a book that she wanted to read. She couldn’t find a story that represented her family and her point of view.

MaKayla is a problem solver, however, and knew that the best way to fix the problem was to write a story of her own! This was the beginning of “Why Bedtime Sucks: The Opposite of a Bedtime Story”, and a journey for her whole family.

Once MaKayla had written her story and hand drawn her illustrations, she shared it with her peers and teachers. Other students were inspired by her initiative and began writing stories of their own.

This is when her mother, Shalina, knew that Why Bedtime Sucks was a story that could reach and inspire so many other young people to relate and create for themselves, and she began the process of making MaKayla’s tale into a book.

One of the first steps was to connect with the right illustrator. All the illustrations in Why Bedtime Sucks are hand created in collaboration with artist Isabel Rivera of Cancun, Mexico.

To retain the creative independence and MaKayla’s true voice in the story, the Hubbs have decided to self-publish launching the project as a campaign on Kickstarter. Why Bedtime Sucks is an opportunity to provide diversity into illustrated children’s books that would benefit all children.

Link to the rest at LifePulseHealth

Book Trailers?

29 April 2019

While he was combing through non-work emails accumulated over the weekend, PG saw one about book trailers and how great they are.

He tried to remember when he had last viewed a book trailer and came up empty. He tried to remember the contents of any book trailer he had ever viewed and had a similar result.

PG is a visual kind of guy and remembers all sorts of other videos he’s seen over the last several months.

So, a question arose in his mind (it was a waking-up sort of mind, but should not be dismissed because of that fact alone) – Does anybody watch book trailers? Do they actually sell books? Has any reliable person or organization documented a measurable positive impact a book trailer had on the sales of a book?

Since book trailers are often used as part of a book launch, has anyone been able to ascertain what a book trailer added to the launch in the midst of all the other promotional noise?

PG did a very cursory search to locate book trailers that might have been noticed in a positive manner and found The Six Best Book Trailers of 2018.

Here’s the Number One Best Book Trailer of 2018:
.

.

Having no experiential basis for judging how this book trailer stacks up against other book trailers, PG is not in a position to say whether it belongs on any sort of Best Book Trailer list or not. It may well be better than all other book trailers released in 2018.

However, in the continuing contest to capture online eyeballs, for PG, this wasn’t captivating video. It was not nearly as interesting to watch as Mr. Enjoy, Gianluca Vacchi, social media influencer and DJ, in his orange Santa suit, which PG posted yesterday. (It occurred to PG that Mr. Enjoy might want to pitch his services to Random House.)

PG suggests that book trailers don’t just compete with other book trailers for online video attention.

Book trailers compete with Mr. Enjoy and Selena Gomez (149 millon followers) Kylie Jenner (133 million followers) and Christiano Ronaldo (133 million followers) on Instagram plus PewDiePie , video makeup maven Jeffree Star and a 7-year-old boy named Ryan who Forbes says made $22 million last year on YouTube (Warning: the YouTube channels start playing video w/audio right away).

But PG could be wrong.

Are book trailers worth the hassle and expense for authors?

Is Noah Hypnotik the cream of the 2018 crop of book trailers? (When PG pulled up the Noah Hypnotic book trailer, YouTube showed it had been posted in July, 2018, and had collected 249 views. Ryan’s featured toy video was posted three weeks ago and has 3,366,659 views.)

The Key to Capitalizing on Online Video Trends

22 April 2019

From Forbes:

Software is eating the world and video is taking over the internet. According to Cisco, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic in 2019. Any savvy marketer or business executive should be incorporating video into their business strategy. Companies in a wide range of industries are using premium video as a means of winning a market, and they’re driving consumer engagement and revenues in the process.

To see the seismic shifts in video, look no further than the cable and television industry: Streaming video is the new TV. More and more people are cutting the cable cord and watching instead through online platforms. Direct-to-consumer models have taken over and made it easier than ever for viewers to get the content they want anywhere and on any device.

Video is also dominating when it comes to brand engagement and marketing content. One report found that 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product.

Link to the rest at Forbes

PG would be interested in hearing about successful video marketing by indie authors. Feel free to comment/provide links, etc., in the comments.

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