New York Times and LinkedIn tie-up

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I read in today’s Financial Times how the New York Times has struck a deal with LinkedIn. This is just a further example of the New York Times becoming more social (see our previous post here), and for the FT this is a sign of a significant change in the traditional media industry:

The deal, between the New York Times and LinkedIn, the largest online social network for professionals, is one of most far-reaching attempts yet by a traditional media company to tap into the booming popularity of online networks to super-charge its own services.

The deal means that personal profile data entered into LinkedIn will be used to make the content and advertising an individual sees on the New York Times site targeted to their industry, country, interests of profession.

This is a really interesting example for two reasons:

  1. It shows how traditional media and publishing firms are having to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by social media and social networks. They need to change the way that they offer their content and be prepared for people wanting to interact with it in different ways. The barriers between the social and the editorial are blurring.
  2. It highlights a significant benefit of social networks - the depth and richness of data that is gathered and kept by these sites. That the New York Times has struck a deal to use LinkedIn profile data to target advertising shows just how detailed this data is. With people adding and contributing to their social networks on an increasingly regular basis, the quality of this data will only heighten.

I expect us to see similar arrangements and innovations that build on these two reasons in the future. Social networks will seek to monetise the depth and quality of data they have gathered and traditional media and publishing firms are looking for new ways to target their readers. It would seem that a pairing of the two is a good solution and maybe the New York Times and LinkedIn will show us how good it could be.

  • New York Times to offer targeted stories to LinkedIn users
  • LinkedIn And New York Times Partnership
  • New York Times, LinkedIn Enter Content Partnership
  • Targeted ‘Times’ articles coming to LinkedIn
  • Study reveals the mainstream media should link out more
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Should CEOs blog?

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Today’s Financial Times has an interesting article on the value of C-Suite bloggers - asking what the value is of them blogging. Why should CEOs and their peers start a blog and can you really measure ROI. The article is based on an issue that many people who work in social media and social networks are discussing: how to measure the benefits realised from the costs of engaging people in this way.

However, there is the problem of that seductive term, social media. One common characteristic of social media, networking and blogging activities is that they appear to cost money with apparently no concrete return. In fact, some people might argue that social media usually turns out to be synonymous with expensive and time consuming and no clear benefit for the company.

I’m not sure I quite agree with the implication at the end of this article. For one thing, blogging doesn’t need to be expensive. Obviously the cost in time for a more senior blogger is greater than that for a more junior one, but a good and engaging blog could just have regular and very short posts. David Milliband, the UK Foreign Secretary, manages to achieve this very well in his posts on his Foreign and Commonwealth blog. I suspect the real expense comes when the executive herself doesn’t blog, but a PR agency is engaged to do this for them.

Whilst many PR agencies are great, and there can be a real value to them running a brand blog, I think that running a CEO blog in this way isn’t appropriate. At FreshNetworks, we find that the most successful activities in social media are ones based on honesty and transparency. And open and transparent approaches need not be expensive.

This still leaves the question of value. The FT article discusses how blogging can be a great way of communicating with customers. And we know from our experience that real and transparent communication like this can be really engaging. Putting a financial figure on this benefit is not easy to do. But their are times when the value of blogging is truly apparent.

While this question is difficult to answer, a blog that focuses on a precisely identified target group allows you to get opportunity costs under control. In times of crisis, for instance, the blogging CEO can try to set facts straight online if need be.

The benefit to British Airways of having an established and well-read blog from Willie Walsh during the Terminal 5 crisis at Heathrow earlier this year would have been huge.

Building a blog is building a resource. The effort you put it makes it there when you need it. A blog should be part of any businesses communications tool-kit. It’s an easy way to get content out, to make your voice and opinion be heard and to provide a space where you can start to engage with people, in normal times and times of crisis.

Should CEOs be blogging? Yes, undoubtedly. Maybe not full-time if they can’t, maybe sharing the blog with others in the business. But the evidence is that running a successful blog returns value in terms of engagement. And the higher the level of the blogger the more interest it is likely to attract.

  • Insights and sharing at the FT
  • PR 203: How to Pitch a Blogger (or at least How to Pitch Jeff Pulver in 2008)
  • The cost of social media
  • The Business Implications of Social Media
  • Why Are You Investigating Social Media
  • “Interesting, but of no commercial value”
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