Marketing is hard

movie-screenApparently it’s hard work to sell interesting movies that challenge the audience as well as documentaries that aren’t about penguins.

[Update: Links fixed. Sorry about that and thanks to the folks who pointed out the problem.]

The second article, the one about documentaries, at least engages in a little bit of original thinking. It liberally quotes Peter Broderick and his advice to not get focused on securing theatrical distribution but instead to use the variety of online tools and services to target the release of a movie to an interested audience. That’s what a number of docs did this year and the usage of that as a model will only be increasing in 2009 and beyond.

The major studios, meanwhile, are trying to balance their desire to release award-potential movies serious films with their need to release audience-friendly feel-good flicks. Many of the more serious variety received green lights back when the money was flowing more freely and the studios are now faced with the hard task of selling them to a public that is looking for escapism.

PR Best Practices Hand-Wringing Edition 754

fork-in-the-roadMike Arrington gave the PR and Tech News wings of the online world a rawhide to chew on yesterday when he wrote this:

We’ve never broken an embargo at TechCrunch. Not once. Today that ends. From now our new policy is to break every embargo. We’ll happily agree to whatever you ask of us, and then we’ll just do whatever we feel like right after that. We may break an embargo by one minute or three days. We’ll choose at random.

Some firms will stop talking to us (yeah! less email), but we’ll find other ways to get the news. Others, who haven’t read this post because they don’t read TechCrunch, will be unpleasantly surprised. Maybe if we cause enough pain then PR firms will start to take action against those publications who break the rules.

There will be exceptions. We will honor embargoes from trusted companies and PR firms who give us the news exclusively, so we know there won’t be any mistakes. There are also a handful – maybe three – people who we trust enough to continue to work with them on general embargoes (if you are a PR person and wondering if you’re on that list, you’re not). But for the vast majority of news we get in our inboxes, we’re just going to fire it off to our readers ad hoc whenever we please.

Here’s why Arrington’s new position will slowly but surely lead to the demise of TechCrunch:

  1. No one wants to see themselves on TechCrunch: Even the best-intentioned public relations practitioner will now engage in a moment’s pause before including TechCrunch in their plans. They want to see their clients, not themselves, covered on the site. Arrington has already outed one person who, yes, seems to be a bit annoying in her approach. Having lived through a couple of instances of either seeing myself and my approach covered by a blog I had pitched something to or seeing a colleague get eviserated I can tell you it’s not a pleasant experience, even if your a person who is doing it well in general.
  2. There are options: Despite what clients like to believe, TechCrunch is not the only game in town. Personally I always enjoy the write-ups on Mashable and ReadWriteWeb (the latter of which has, along with Marketing Pilgrim, made it clear they will continue to respect embargoes) a bit more because they give some honest feedback and persepective.
  3. Every good social media specialist is about to give a lunch-and-learn on best practices: Any in-house (whether at an agency or in a company’s comms department) social media department head worth his salt is about to schedule a company wide training session on what to/not to do when it comes to “pitching bloggers.” If they’re smart they’ll include the fact that it’s about relationships just like in the traditional media world. If you have news that needs to be embargoed you hit the people you know and trust, people who aren’t going to burn you because of the mutually beneficial relationship you have. Embargoes are not good for scattershot tactics. Targeting works best.
  4. Becoming your own media outlet means never having to worry about embargoes: Tired of playing the embargo game altogether? Start your own blog, your own YouTube channel, etc. Start talking about your company yourself (or advise and help your clients to do so) and build readership there. Create a social media strategy that puts the power in your own hands. The break exciting news yourself. For all the talk about media landscapes changing, this is an oft-overlooked facet of that change. Become your own media outlet. It has tremendous value in the short and long term.

Screenvision expands advertiser line-up

Screen advertising network Screenvision has signed a number of new clients that are looking to reach the increasingly elusive and fickle holiday shoppers, reports MediaPost.

Sony, Zales and Dish Network have all joined the network with new campaigns to advertise everything from PlayStation to diamonds. It’s just the latest in a string of good news in the on-screen advertising world, with both Screenvision and National CineMedia reporting strong recent quarters.

Awkward social networking

I’m kind of addicted to the imjustsayin show. I should admit that up front.

Their conversation today about awkward interactions in the work place involving becoming “friends” with colleagues on social networks is perhaps more errudite and insightful than most of what’s been produced by professional social media marketers and industry thought-leaders.