Greetings from sunny NYC!
Madison Square Park pulled people out of their apartments to be with other people.
I love how people clustered around Maya Lin’s “Ghost Forest” art installation. It consists of 49 Atlantic white cedar trees that stand out (and up) as a statement about our global environment.
How brave are you?
Are you willing to stand up and do what no one else will do?
Last year, Darnella Frazier had the presence of mind to turn on the camera on her smartphone. Not a difficult or unusual action.
How many times a day or a week do you use your phone’s camera as a tool to track a receipt or other memory aid?
You probably have a photo to prove you got your COVID shot.
But Darnella was special and her video changed the world.
At the time, Darnella didn’t think she was special. But as she stood watching a policeman push George Floyd to the ground, she hit record on her phone and held it steady despite the horror that unfolded in front of her.
(Darnella Frazier, 3rd from right. Minneapolis Police Department via AP.)
With Floyd on his back, the policeman put his knee on Floyd’s neck and began to squeeze the air out of him. The policeman kept his knee there for 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Long enough for the coroner to declare the act a homicide.
Darnella didn’t comment on the horrible events she saw taking place in front of her. She stood there and kept her camera going creating an indelible memory of what she and the others around her witnessed.
Contrary to the words of the policemen involved, this video clearly showed that regardless of what caused them to approach George Floyd in the first place, their actions were excessive.
George Floyd’s words, “I can’t breathe” are audible and became the words that called people to the streets across the US and abroad.
This video changed the world. It was like David’s slingshot against a stronger group of people abusing the power given to them to protect our neighborhoods.
In today’s noisy world, anyone with a smartphone can be an empowered citizen journalist. All you have to do is hit record and you can create the content of your choice and share it on the platform of your choice.
Why does Darnella’s video matter to marketers?
You must understand that other people have access to your audience and can grab their interest and use it for their purposes.
But this case, Darnella’s video was viewed and heard round the world. It contained the truth of a story that would never have reached the light of day otherwise. In its commentary-free portrayal of this horrible incident it echoed.
As people viewed this video, it touched a nerve and motivated them to share it. In turn they shared it and add their comments and stories across a wider number of platforms.
With each viewing, Darnella’s bravery earned her a platform. She reached millions of people who knew that she was showing a truth that had existed for years.
The Pulitzer Prizes were announced over the weekend. They awarded Darnella Frazier an Honorary Prize for her brave reporting. This is a major shift in how the established media views what’s happening more broadly.
As Influencer Marketing has matured, it has formalized this type of trusted role that Darnella played. At its core it’s the same dynamics that have always existed in terms of asking family and friends for information and recommendations. It evolved into Word Of Mouth Marketing and now, with platforms that can rapidly amplify messages, we call it Influencer Marketing.
But you can’t be an influencer just by deciding to be one. Your audience selects its influencers. They choose people with whom they can have a relationship and establish trust.
Darnella broke through the noise.
As a marketer, your message must ring true. Your prospects can smell a lie a mile away so you must offer them the best quality information you can across all platforms. Just checking the boxes and doing the same thing as every other business won’t break through. It means that your results will be at best second to those of the people you’re copying.
This isn’t a news flash. Any good marketer knows that they need to keep changing up their promotions or they’ll erode over time.
So how can you do this?
You must look inside your company to find what’s uniquely yours. You must understand your core audience and meet their needs while remaining true to your values.
Voice Marketing: Can Your Audience Hear You?
Also of note in this year’s Pulitzer Prizes was NPR’s win for audio reporting on their investigative podcast series No Compromise. This show grew out of a larger arc of investigative reporting by NPR. Where dedicated reporters delved in the topic of gun ownership to find out how it became such a political and divisive topic.
To be clear, NPR has few peers when it comes to creating and delivering quality audio content. Their content creators dug into the facts and found previously untold stories to explain how a few extreme voices can get transformed and become a movement with political weight.
Deeper analysis revealed that the original people used social media to amplify their message and gain traction, tactics every good marketer understands.
NPR’s work stood out because their content team wove the facts and the stories together.
By adding the voices and stories of real people they changed how listeners perceived the issue. This is an important lesson for your marketing. Adding voice extends where your audience can consume your information across devices and locations. Also, it brings authenticity.
These voices broke through with a fresh perspective. Since we live in highly divisive times, our attitudes and opinions are swayed by the tribalized sources of information we choose to consume.
Given the overwhelming amounts of information across platforms and devices, we hear the same message repeated by different people or outlets so they seem to confirm what we’ve already heard.
NPR showed the power of voice content to break through and be accepted as a key element of the media. Like NPR, your marketing and content must expand to platforms where your audience spends its time listening as well as viewing.
What does this mean for marketers:
Find the people who resonate with your broader message. They don’t need to be the biggest names in your field. Mark Schaefer echoed this in his recap of his latest book launch, The Cumulative Advantage
. It was the micro-influencers who yielded the best results. It makes sense: They have stronger connections.
Please Join me at these upcoming events:
► VoiceLunch Marketing
June 18th, at noon ET, 9am PT and 6pm CET for Voice Lunch Marketing.
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Editor’s Note: #VoiceLunch handles the notices; you must sign up for them.
► Does your content marketing need improvement?
Then join me at MarketMuse’s “Content Strategy Collective Live” (June 22-June 24).
► Want to improve your agency’s approach to social media? Then sign up for AgoraPulse’s Agency Summit on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Did I mention that it’s free?
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Featured Article: 10 Dad-Tested Content Marketing Secrets To Make You Better
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Featured Article: Voice Marketing Business Case: What You Need To Know That Will Make Your Management Agree
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Want to attract a crowd like Harry Potter?
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