The New P?

Home Page Strategy.

Brand Parents.

Digital Strategy

Newsday Strategy.

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Over a decade ago, I wrote a creative brief for Newsday, a large metropolitan newspaper covering Long Island and Queens New York, using the insight “We know where you live.”   Newsday liked the notion but didn’t completely get the insight. They reframed it and turned the words into their tagline of many years “Newsday. It’s where you live.” 

“We Know Where You Live” was meant to provide residents of Long Island  — a diverse, but captive audience – with a reason to buy the paper in addition to The New York Times…and in place of The New York Post and The NY Daily News. Many of LI’s hundred thousand plus train commuters buy these other 3 papers every day for world news and sports and “We Know Where You Live” was intended to make them feel a bit out of touch with their local community news and home lives. (Sneaky, but true.)  It was also a means to create greater loyalty among current readers.   

This brand idea, if properly acculturated throughout Newsday, would have made every employee hypersensitive to providing an editorial experience that only a LI-based paper could deliver.  

Fast forward to 2010 and the underperforming Newsday.com.  “We Know Where You Live”, though long gone, is still a powerful rallying cry for building online readership and participation.  The owners, architects and builders of the website, should be brainstorming how to deliver that experience. Instead, I submit, they are probably in brainstorming meetings chasing the latest social media twist, the next community promotion and the October program intended to build time on site. These are tactics, not strategy.  “How” is tactical. “Why” is strategic.  Newsday and Newsday.com need to revisit their brand strategy.  And let those 34 new reporters they’re hiring in on it. Peace!

AOL. Strong Armin’. Finally.

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Cambio is AOL’s first big bullet in the content strategy war with Yahoo. It makes me think AOL just may win this thing. I love Carol Bartz’s decision to go with the content approach for Yahoo, but still think her approach a bit too diffuse. They still possess a start page mentality over there – start page meaning, set your personal home page to Yahoo.

AOL, on the other had, spent enough time with Time Warner to learn a thing about packaging content.  They probably own a camera or two and kept some producers and directors around, so by signing the Jonas Bothers and their music company to a deal with the new AOL online music channel Cambio, cranking up some new content quickly may be very doable.   This is a transformative move. It may be the first real melding of music and new media we’ve seen; think Little Steven’s Garage (dot com) for kids. And, with a big, scalable company surrounding it.

AOL, BTW, should bring Little Steven and his garage over to the fold. No brainer. Why?  Because he’s a great curator, a special personality and he has a loyal following. The radio doesn’t do his project justice. I like this move for AOL — and though Cambio may only be the learning ground for something bigger, it’s a great idea. Tim Armstrong is human, but he’s beginning to hit stride.  Peace! 

How Stuff Works Online.

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Here’s how retail works.  You build, lease or buy a store, fill it with stuff, promote it and people come and buy its wares.  Or they don’t.

Here’s how TV works.  You build, lease or buy a program, fill it with entertaining or informational stuff, promote it and people come. Or they don’t.

Here’s how the web works. You build, lease or buy a site, fill it with stuff, promote it and people come and buy its wares…if you happen to be selling anything.  Sometimes the web is used to help people decide if they want to buy your stuff, because it’s sold elsewhere.  And other times the web is about entertaining visitors encouraging them to come back so ad revenue allows the site owner to buy stuff.  And sometimes still, a website is created to just simply to impart knowledge, altruism and community. 

That’s the thing about the web — visitors don’t always know if they are on a site to be sold, entertained or informed. Sometimes the builders of websites don’t seem to know either.  And when that happens the sites tend to provide a little bit of each.  And a little bit of each often leads to a lot of none. Fruit cocktail. Tricky stuff.  Focus is your friend.