TBT Vinyl: Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant

26 Nov


Arlo Guthrie
Alice’s Restaurant
Warner Bros

Thanksgiving tradition: give Alice’s Restaurant a listen once each year.

The title track itself was 18 1/2 minutes long. Note, the missing Nixon White House tapes were also 18 1/2 minutes long. Coincidence? Or was some listening to Alice in the Oval Office? Hmmm…

Happy Thanksgiving! Oh My God, They’re Turkeys!

23 Nov

Les WKRP 2


Theatre of the Mind

In 1978, television give a big Hat Tip to radio’s “theatre of the mind.” On WKRP in Cincinnati, you “saw” the whole horrific turkey drop, but you never actually saw a single turkey! 

Arthur Carlson WKRP

Art Carlson: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”


The art and science of radio allows for intriguing storytelling due to the need to describe in detail the events and subjects.


I recently listened to a fascinating interview with President Ronald Reagan from the mid-1980s discussing his early stint broadcasting University of Iowa football games on WHO-AM Des Moines. When asked if he would have moved into TV sports broadcasting if he hadn’t gotten into film and eventually politics, he surprisingly said no. He felt that his strength was verbally telling the story and painting a picture of the action. Radio needed that, but Television didn’t.

Podcast Storytelling

In 2015, all marketers talk about storytelling, but most have bypassed content marketing in audio form. Podcasting may be the simplest and most cost effective way to reach a targeted (and potentially large) group of customers. You share industry news, discuss relevant topics to your customers, and tell your brand’s story. And you don’t need studios in Cincinnati, Des Moines, or anywhere else to get the word out.

Mass versus Niche

One of the issues with terrestrial radio that lead to today’s listenership challenges was the race to appeal to too broad of an audience. The strategy of least offensive programming where stations and groups played content that neither turned off nor inspired listeners created a universal blandness up and down the dial.  

With podcasts, no niche is too small and no subject is too inside. Podcasters aren’t aiming for mass audiences; they’re connecting with smaller, specific audiences.  

For more on content marketing and social media, please join me on the Social Geek Radio podcast, produced by Manalto Social Media Management and Deb Evans Consulting. The show airs Wednesday evenings, and is free via download here or on iTunes




TBT Vinyl: David Bowie and Bing Crosby, Peace on Earth

19 Nov

bowie bing 2

David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy
1977, released 1982
RCA Records


Surreal television. Weird team-up in entertainment. Perfect musical moment.


In 1977 glam rocker David Bowie appeared as a guest on Bing’s long-running annual Christmas TV special, and they sang a duet after an awkward scripted setup. The song was a medley of “Peace On Earth” with the standard “Little Drummer Boy”.

Bing died a month after this was recorded, and a month prior to the airing of the TV special.  The song was finally released as a single in 1982. Also that year, MTV added the clip to its rotation as a stand-alone video.

After decades of forgettable holiday TV specials and variety shows with uninspired duets with artists from different genres, this performance stands out. At first you may think it’s due to the shock factor of the pairing: it’s the tiny point on the Venn Diagram where The Golden Age of Hollywood overlaps with Modern Rock. But shock value alone doesn’t hold it up this long. Two great voices do. 












Curated Content Is Like a Holiday Rerun

18 Nov


Just a few months ago, I was much more of an advocate for aggregating and curating content on social media channels. I saw the need for sharing content created by others as an important part of your digital marketing strategy.

However, it now may be time for many brands to tell their story more, and share others’ stories less.

Curated content is a rerun

When I speak with marketers about social channels and how content works with audiences, I frequently draw comparisons and analogies to television programming. Curated content is a rerun. As the holidays approach, TV networks will start relying more on reruns. What are they saying? That they’ve given up on having much of an audience at this time.

By running too much non-original content on your social channels, you’re saying the same thing.

Reruns aren’t all bad

Look at the huge ratings for constant reruns of The Big Bang Theory on TBS, and Seinfeld running in syndication for nearly 20 years. And every year networks trot out Rudolph, Frosty, Heat Miser, and the rest of the 40-year-old animated shows.

But it’s a rerun. It’s not original. When you share a lot of aggregated stories, your audience has probably seen it or something similar already. Worst of all, you may get a bit of credit for sharing the nugget, but your brand is not the star. You’re telling someone else’s story.

As mentioned earlier, I used to be much more of a proponent of posting content created by others, especially popular content. My aim was to promote the idea of just getting something on those empty pages – and with any luck, something popular. But now no one is paying attention to your Facebook page anyway; they’re focused on their Facebook feed. And hopefully you get a little portion of that feed where you’ll have the opportunity to get their attention.

Be the TV Programmer

So think of your page as your own TV network, and use curated content only to fill those holes when you don’t have a new blog post or original video or podcast to share. And when you do share others’ stuff, it may make sense to get share the work of business partners, channel partners, friends in the industry, and other marketers you know. Perhaps they will reciprocate on days when their programming is running dry too!


TBT: Bob and Doug McKenzie, The Great White North

12 Nov


Bob & Doug McKenzie
The Great White North
Anthem / Mercury Records


Here’s another great comedy LP, as well as the first Christmas – themed record for this year in this series of TBT Vinyl spotlights. 

Bob & Doug McKenzie (aka SCTV’s Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) released The Great White North in ’81. The LP featured mostly comedy bits but most memorable were a couple of songs: “Take Off” featuring Geddy Lee of Rush, and the Brothers’ version of “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  Give it a listen when you can, hoser. 


“…And a beer in a tree.”





Facebook Custom Audience Targeting with Your Emails

11 Nov


It’s been said over and over that Content Is King. Sure. But if the content is never read, viewed, or heard by anyone, then it’s not very royal.

If content drops but no one sees it, does it make any impact?

You must spend some dollars on advertising to promote your content or no one will ever see it.  But what’s the best way to throw some money at this problem? Advertise to only to targeted demographics or geography? No.

Take one step back – do you have email addresses of your current or recent clients? Let’s start there. Facebook’s Custom Audience Targeting allows you to serve up that ad to a specific group of people for whom you already have an email address.

Facebook won’t let you pick and choose specific people by name to whom an ad will be served but we can serve up ads to people whose email addresses match! In Facebook’s view, if you’ve already got an email address, then there’s a reason to speak to these people in specific voices.


Here’s for whom it works:

Business to Consumer – Create targets ads for:

  • Your current customers
  • Specific customers part of your loyalty program
  • Potential customers who have signed up for specials or info

Business to Business – Create targeted ads for:

  • Prospects and candidates


Here’s how it works:

FB1 cat

1. Go to Manage Ads on Facebook and click Create Audience button (far left)


FB2 cat

2. Choose Customer List


3. Click Upload File and select your spreadsheet with your email database


One issue to watch is the percentage of your email database that matches with Facebook users. One large franchise system with whom I spoke at FranTech 2015 has seen a match of between 60 – 70%. And an even larger global brand client of mine saw only about 50% match. Why the discrepancy? Consumers are signing up for your offerings with a different email address than what they used to sign up for Facebook.

But still, specifically targeting half or more of the people in your email database is a fantastic and economical way to reach your customers.



TBT: Steve Martin, A Wild and Crazy Guy

5 Nov


Steve Martin
A Wild and Crazy Guy
Warner Bros

I always heard about the great stand up comedy records from the 60’s by George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and others. For me, stand up comedy started in the late 70’s on SNL and its name is Steve Martin. Or King Tut.


Best Fishes – that still cracks me up. And of course there is Steve’s cat…



Got a condo made of stone-a…

Is Facebook Replacing the Internet?

3 Nov


Facebook. It’s where your customers are.

Just a couple of years ago, many digital marketers frequently forecasted the end of Facebook:

It surely won’t dominate for long. There must be some Facebook killer out there. Be platform agnostic – don’t build your business only on Facebook.

But now, unless your customers are a small niche group, they are on Facebook and spending more time on Facebook than ever!

Sure, there’s also still great value in Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and … well, I guess just Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Snapchat, Pinterest, and the rest all have their place, and are great for some brands and audiences, but not all.

Play the numbers. Your customers are on Facebook and spending less time on the non-Facebook portion of the Internet. And that portion may be replaced or eaten by Facebook. Here are some parts of your digital world that may soon be replaced by Facebook and a next step for each to help you prepare.

1. Facebook Replacing Your Company Website

Some consumers already won’t leave the “Friendly Confines” of Facebook. In the months and years ahead, fewer of them will be likely to leave and go to some corporate website.

If your digital marketing strategy only focuses on driving people from Facebook to your website, consider skipping this step and engaging that audience while they have given you some attention.

What activity can customers do on your website that grows your business? Ordering product / eCommerce? Making appointments? Downloading videos? Do that same thing on your Facebook page.

Next Step: Look at your website and replicate the business-driving activity.

2. Facebook Video Replacing of YouTube As a Social Video Channel

Facebook is taking a big bite out of YouTube’s video ad business. At the same time, we should look at the current state of using these platforms to share organic video content.

YouTube is amazing, but it’s a repository, not a social channel. Sure, continue to upload all of your videos there for consumers to find through YouTube / Google searches, but don’t drive your Facebook fans there. Where would you prefer customers spend a few extra minutes? On your Facebook page where they can engage and communicate with you or on your YouTube channel, which lends itself more to snark from trolls than genuine customer engagement?

Next Step: Start posting your original video content direct to Facebook, not links from YouTube.

3. Facebook Ads Replacing Online Ads

The Ad Blocking trend is a HUGE opportunity for your brand on Facebook.

Ad blocking tools block nearly all types of mobile ads. But what’s not stopped? Facebook boosted posts (as well as Twitter promoted Tweets and other social ads).

Steve Rubel of Edelman recently wrote that this situation will make earned media more valuable and I absolutely agree. The way to best draw new customers to your brand is with interesting and relevant content. And the best way to attract consumers to that content in the first place is by paid ads on social channels.

Next Step: Jump into Facebook ads, particularly boosted posts now.

What other parts of the Internet do you think may soon be eaten by Facebook?

Please share in the comments section below. We’ll continue this discussion on this week’s episode of Social Geek Radio with my guest digital strategist and author, Chris Adams!

TBT Vinyl: The Kinks, Shape of Things to Come

29 Oct

Kinks Shape IMG_1230

The Kinks
Shape of Things to Come (10″ Import)

This rare 10″ was issued in the UK in 1983 during The Kinks comeback and featured the band’s biggest hits from 1964-1970. Love this record! 



TBT Vinyl: Foo Fighters, Exhausted

22 Oct

Foo Fighters Exhuasted IMG_1324

Foo Fighters
Exhausted (12″ Single)
Capitol Records

The “No. 1” on the cover says it all – “Exhausted” was the very first release by Foo Fighters. This was a radio promotion-only 12 inch single released a few weeks before the first Foo Fighters album. 

It’s really a Dave Growl solo record, as he played every instrument and hadn’t yet actually hired band members! 




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