Digital Strategy My articles

Digital Strategy Quick-Take: Quoted in CIO Article on Inexpensive Digital Marketing Tactics

daniel honigman cio magazine

CIO contributor Jennifer Schiff recently wrote an article on inexpensive digital marketing tactics that can be done by small businesses – especially startups – to increase visibility and buzz. I was fortunate enough to be quoted in her piece.

My suggestions:

1) Test keywords for web content through small PPC campaigns.
2) Participate in the occasional industry-related Twitter chat.

You can read the full article over on

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy: LinkedIn – An Evolving Platform for Big Brands

Dug up an oldie (but goodie) from last year. It’s a whitepaper-type doc on LinkedIn that I wrote while at Critical Mass. Enjoy.

LinkedIn: An Evolving Platform for Big Brands from Critical Mass

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy: Facebook’s News Feed updates and what you need to know

Facebook recently announced sweeping changes to its News Feed experience. These updates not only bring a level of consistency to the mobile and desktop Facebook experience, but fix a somewhat cluttered, algorithm-based experience by enabling users to segment their News Feeds.

A more segmented, visually appealing, mobile friendly News Feed experience means brands must think differently about their Facebook content and ad spend.

Read my full post about Facebook’s News Feed updates on the Experience Matters blog.

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy Quick-Take: Quoted in today’s Chicago Tribune on Chevrolet Klout promotion

daniel honigman quoted in chicago tribune on chevrolet klout promotion

Chevrolet recently announced a Klout-based sampling program in which it would provide various prominent social media users the opportunity to test drive its new Volt.

As the first Klout-based car sampling program, many news sources covered the story, including the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick, who quoted me in his article. (Disclaimer: I worked at the Chicago Tribune/Tribune Interactive several years ago.) The story was also featured, in an altered version, as the front page item in today’s RedEye.

My point: social media promotions are evolving, and as new channels evolve, brands are looking to utilize them to reach new segments of their customer base. (One side benefit: newer platforms like Klout are often much less expensive as more mature channels, such as TV, but even older digital communities like Facebook.)

Please click the links above to read the articles!


Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy: Despite Google Search algorithm update, SEO’s golden rule lives on

(NOTE: This article was originally posted on the LoSasso blog)

Late last week, Google announced one fairly major update to its search algorithm: that content with a high number of copyright removal notices would be penalized in its search engine results pages (SERPs).

There’s been a healthy debate about what exactly this means, especially in the entertainment industry.  Tim Worstall of Forbes raises the valid point that takedown notices don’t necessarily mean sites with removal notices are violating copyrights.

For a little while now, the search giant has released its algorithm updates each month. (Check out thisfairly comprehensive list from WebProNews. ) While many changes are designed to stay one or two steps ahead of black hat SEO techniques, just as many of the updates are meant to showcase good content that web searchers actually want.

Entertainment and piracy debate aside, this particular set of updates benefits creators of original content, including many artists and musicians, as well as news organizations and – you guessed it – brands.

digital strategy daniel honigmanIn the paid/earned/owned media landscape, many brands are shifting portions of their budget to branded content. According to eMarketer, 39% of companies expect budgets for digital content creation to rise, and the spends are rising to unprecedented levels. (See chart.) This content, in turn, feeds brands’ digital presence – as well as their customer engagement channels – and provides potential fodder for media coverage. It also extends brands’ experiences outside of just a product. (The Red Bull Flugtag and BMW Films’ “The Hire” are just two examples.)

In short, Google’s algorithm changes mean the same thing for brands they always have: brands that create frequent, high-quality content will draw links from high-quality websites. As a result, they will get rewarded with higher search engine rankings, while brands and websites that post infrequently, stuff their content with keywords and generate links from poor-quality sites will not.

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Digital Strategy: Extend your brand’s web presence through mobile content

By Daniel B. Honigman

(NOTE: This article was originally posted on the LoSasso blog.)

According to a recent eMarketer survey, 55% of respondents said they would use their smartphones to interact with digital and social media during the 2012 Olympics, continuing the trend of second-screen television viewing. To extend its broadcast experience, NBC Sports has launched several mobile Olympics-related experiences, including two applications and a mobile-friendly version of its website.

(NOTE: One interesting thing to note, however, is the lack of a calendar in its apps. The calendar does appear, however, on the NBC Olympics mobile website.)

Applications and mobile websites are two pieces of a larger mobile pie, however. Mobile comprises about 15% of all Google searches, and mobile search, of course, ties into content, which (hopefully) lives on a mobile-friendly website.

This said, there’s a good chance your mobile site will acquire new visitors, and serve as a touchpoint for existing customers as well, through e-mail and social media channels.

•    Have something interesting to say, and say it to a mobile audience. 4.7 billion people tuned into the 2008 Beijing Olympics, drawing the largest ever TV audience. With 26 different sports now featured in the Games, there’s something for everyone, and plenty of coverage – and expert analysis – to go around. This content must be featured in a manner that’s mobile, and be interesting enough to be shared when viewers are mobile. Good headlines and lead paragraphs are critical.

•    Organize and present content to be mobile-friendly. Full websites are generally pared down to present key functions that are essential to mobile users. (For NBC, its TV and digital Olympics event calendars are important, so they were included in its mobile site.) Graphic interface elements should be enlarged or icon-ized for touchscreen navigation. And for applications, don’t forget to integrate share functionality (e.g. e-mail, social sharing) with your content.

•    Don’t rely too many on images or video in your mobile experience. Images and videos are key components in any digital content experience, but for mobile, their use should be sprinkled in with written content, or featured in separate image or video galleries. Limit each piece of written content to one or two images or videos. (Don’t forget: videos will usually open up in a separate mobile video application, such as YouTube.)


Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy Quick-Take: Quoted in Forbes article on Digg

Late last week, Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici reached out for my thoughts on Digg’s $500K sale. Digg, once valued at $164 million, was one of the social web’s early driving forces, but had fallen on some tough times in recent years. One of my quotes ended up being included in Jeff’s final article, which you can read here.

When I was in the news business, part of my role was to determine how to build community around – and drive traffic from – sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg and others. I had the pleasure of meeting some great people along the way, including some Digg “power users” that were also quoted in the story.

All types of businesses – digital or not – can take two lessons from Digg’s demise:

  • Don’t ignore your core customer (or user) base. Maintain an open dialogue with your customers, even if you’re riding high on your success. When you ask for their feedback, have every intention of utilizing it, or at the very least, listening to them.
  • Market to your customers that use the product most. As companies evolve, they try to reach new audiences and customers. This is fine, but don’t do it at the expense of the ones that have supported you in the past.
  • Don’t give your customers a reason to leave. If your company sells one product or service, make sure you’re the best. In the article, I made the point that Facebook can get away with many of its changes because so many people use it for different things: photo sharing, status updates, games and more. Digg did one thing, really, but ended up losing out to its competitors because it didn’t value its core community. Once Digg changed its core product, it just wasn’t as good as its competitors, who were more than happy to claim Digg’s customers.

What else can brands take away from Digg? Please leave your thoughts as comments below!

(NOTE: This post was originally published on the LoSasso blog.)

Daniel B. Honigman

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy Quick-Take: Apple Maps

At the recent WWDC 2012 conference Apple recently announced, among other things, the inclusion of a native maps application in its upcoming iOS 6 release.

According to a recent Comscore study, more than53 percent of iPhone users access their maps, compared with more than 39 percent for Android users.

What does this mean for your business?

Check out the full post over at the LoSasso Blog.

Digital Strategy

My two cents: The NBA Social Media Awards

NBA Social Media AwardsLater tonight, the NBA will host inaugural Social Media Awards, an event that will surely make ripples both online and off.

It’s clear the NBA recognizes the value of the digital chatter surrounding its brand, its players and its games. Many of the award categories – “The EPIC Award” and “The LOL Award” are just two of them – capitalize on social media memes and lingo.

The NBA is right to highlight its fans this way; these awards are a sports industry first. However, there’s a lot more that could be done.

Check out the full post on the LoSasso Blog.

Digital Strategy

Homeless Hotspots: My Two Cents

Homeless HotspotsThe dust has settled from SXSW Interactive, where the biggest story, arguably was that of the Homeless Hotspots.

I’ve thought long and hard about why this just didn’t sit right with me, and I’ve had some public (and private) Twitter and in-person debates about this. From the start, my argument has not been one that compares the Homeless Hotspot participants to infrastructure. Nor do I believe BBH, the agency that created it, was ill-intended in its efforts.

In fact, I applaud the organization – and Saneel Radia – for launching a disruptive program that raised real dollars for Austin’s homeless population, and generated awareness for the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. I do believe, however, that its comparison to the street newspaper model was inaccurate, at best. At worst, it did a disservice to the content and stories contained in the papers themselves. And it just missed the point of street newspapers, perhaps news media in general.

The advertising space is constantly evolving. Recently, there has been a lot of talk of how some advertising agencies are beginning to develop products as a way to educate themselves and clients on emerging technologies and trends, and also as marketing vehicles. If the technology is useful and actually makes people’s lives easier, that’s fantastic, but better, more useful technology is not an answer in itself. Rather, technology is a lens through which a greater variety of stories can be better told.

Two quick examples: the Gutenberg press isn’t important because it was a tool, but that it allowed stories to be created and shared more quickly. The Digital Revolution isn’t revolutionary because of its tools – although the PC and the Internet are surely marvelous – but because its tools allow stories and information to flow almost instantaneously.

In the case of the Homeless Hotspots, the wi-fi provided drove people to a transaction, in most cases. And this should not be overlooked.

When street newspapers are sold, not only are transactions made, but the stories contained therein generate awareness and – more importantly – an action. If one makes a conscious decision to not only support the cause by buying a paper, but takes the time to actually read the stories, they’re ultimately doing more good.

Buy a street newspaper. You might be tempted to give your local vendor money, but not take the paper. This assumes, just as the Homeless Hotspots program did, that the content has little to no value. This assumption is just wrong.  In many cases, the vendors want you to read their papers. By reading them, not only are you committing some time to their cause, but you’re learning about them as well. And once you’re done reading the paper, you’ll likely share it.

Now, I’ve played “Monday Morning Quarterback” on my blog before, but what would I have done differently here? Not much, actually. I’d have worked with the ARCH, and perhaps Good Magazine, to create a Starbucks-like content portal for customers to see upon when they logged in. This way, once the transaction took place, they could dive into – and perhaps share stories of – the Austin homeless experience. That would’ve at least elevated the content, the stories of its participants, to some level of importance.

What do you think? Would you have done anything differently?