Stop Whining about Facebook and Google Changes…Follow Their Lead Instead

Stop Whining about Facebook and Google Changes

Several weeks ago two internet superpowers – Facebook and Google – made changes to their user experience that made users happy and marketers cringe. The changes were indirectly directed at “marketing” tactics common to their services and part of both companies’ quest to bring more value to their users.

Marketers like myself wax poetic about delivering great products and customer experiences to build a strong brand. But heaven forbid Google or Facebook do the same thing and affect our marketing toolbox. It’s easy to get frustrated, but by taking a look at why these changes were made, we’ll understand and change-proof our marketing efforts. First let’s take a closer look at the changes.

Facebook’s Like-Gate

Facebook effectively killed the “Like-gate” – a practice where the brand forces a visitor to “Like” their brand page before they can access its content. It was a way to drive up Like numbers for a page and open up distribution for future content. From Facebook’s perspective (and mine after some thought), it created an unnecessary barrier for the Facebook user, negatively affecting their experience.

The reason marketers loved the like-gate is that those slightly cooked-up “like” numbers made it easy to look good on paper. Furthermore, often these like-gates were contests for prizes for liking the page, which begs the question, were the users “liking” the brand or the contest? Facebook wants a more honest approach from brands in order to deliver a more organic experience to its users.

Gmail Unsubscribe

Google stirred the pot by adding an “Unsubscribe” button to the top of emails in Gmail. Having an unsubscribe link in the email is a best practice and any good marketer has one in any promotional email, newsletters, etc. Those good marketers also bury those links in the fine print at the very bottom of the email. Gmail now moves that link right to the top.

While this change was met with seemingly less angst, the concern is obvious – subscriber numbers could go down. In realty though, if users click this unsubscribe button, they were already lost. Those emails were going unread and probably getting really annoying. Google just helped make that loss more official. While subscriber numbers may go down, open and click rate would theoretically increase with a more engaged list.

Watch and Learn

Google and Facebook are keeping marketers honest – honest in their numbers and interpretations of those numbers. Both companies want to deliver the best experience and content to their users. While these platforms will continue to evolve, that underlying principle will always be constant. By keeping that in mind, these and future changes can be counteracted and even rendered moot.

Google and Facebook are focused on making a product that users continually engage with. As technology changes, so do consumers’ needs and expectations. Staying on top of industry trends, addressing future needs and throwing in a little original innovation keeps users using the their platforms. That list applies to any product or service wanting to stay connected with their users, customers, fans, etc.

Google and Facebook are content delivery platforms designed to provide users with the best possible content. What is the best possible content? That depends on the audience, but it should be some combination of original, informative, entertaining and valuable. A consistent stream of quality content will drive anyone to click, like or subscribe more so than adding marketing-based walls and mildly questionable tactics.

In a convenient twist, all of these changes are made to boost Google’s and Facebook’s user and engagement numbers. They gather vast amounts of data that help them serve those marketers looking promote their brands. By gathering more honest data they are able to provide better value to marketers and watch the price of Google and Facebook stock go up.

The formula is simple. Focus on delivering an experience and content that users love and the number will go up. That is how you beat the change. Focus on what Google and Facebook are focusing on and the next time they make headlines for changes in their platforms, you won’t even blink.


photo credit: Jeremy Hiebert via flickr cc


Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ is a Magnificent Example of Recycling Content

Disney's ‘Maleficent’ is a Magnificent Example of Recycling Content

Photo: Disney

Some stories may be timeless, but telling them the same way over and over again gets old. Disney’s latest box office hit, Maleficent, is a retelling of the classic story, and equally classic Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. The twist is that this story is told from the point of view of Maleficent, the title character and villain of the original Sleeping Beauty movie.

Most of us have heard the story and seen the movie. Disney (probably) has squeezed every last drop of profitability out of that story through home video/DVD sales, merchandising, etc. Disney took a film and property it has owned for decades, repurposed it and created a brand new property to generate revenue from.

Not only is the new movie doing well (Maleficent earned $170 million worldwide on its opening weekend), but it has opened up new lines of merchandise and future home movie sales. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if the original Sleeping Beauty property received a revenue boost too. It is a magnificent example of recycling content.

Your Sleeping Beauties

Eventually, marketing content reaches maxes out its value or is just forgotten. Those old blog posts, presentations and other content had a good run, but now they are just sitting around on your website or in your archives. What do you have sleeping that could be woken up and retooled to drive addition inbound traffic?

Like Sleeping Beauty, your old content can be recycled and repurposed to squeeze extra value from it.  This seemingly fresh content is ready to deliver more inbound traffic from new followers who may not have seen it yet or current ones who forgot about it. Don’t worry about repetitiveness. Marketing content has a short shelf life and you are (hopefully) continuing to add to new eyeballs your following.

Recycling content generally takes less time to publish, so it can help cover busy seasons when content creators may have other priorities. This should not replace original content’s place on an editorial calendar, just fill in a gap or supplement your current content marketing efforts. Just use caution as people will soon pick up on laziness and go elsewhere for original thought.

Wake ‘Em Up

Here are few ways that I have woken up sleeping content:

  • Combine a series of blog posts on a particular subject into a white paper
  • Convert a white paper into a webinar
  • Turn an old presentation into a blog post
  • Redistribute individual parts of larger campaigns as stand-alone pieces
  • Republish old blog posts with updated statistics and analysis
  • Publish case studies as blog posts

And finally, here are a few content recycling tips from the pros at the Content Marketing Institute

Content Recycling: A to Z

5 Great Starting Points for a Content Recycling Program

To get the full affect of Disney’s recycling of Sleeping Beauty into Maleficent, here are the trailers for both movies.