It is true that throughout your professional and private life, you read, watch, live, eat, wear and communicate brands.
Your choices define who you are, or want to be. You bought into a brand as you purchased the smartphone in your pocket, watch on your wrist and digital news subscription.
No matter how good our journalism or how well-funded our latest project may be, without a continually-developing brand behind us, we will not receive the attention our work deserves, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck explained in London yesterday (26 September).
"Facebook Inc., which includes WhatsApp and Instagram, is on its way to become a trillion-dollar company," he said.
"That's just three apps on your phone, and they're worth a trillion dollars – you have to understand how unbelievably important attention is."
It may seem obvious that whether you are looking to get eyeballs on your stories, sell tickets to your next conference or raise money to fund a project, you need attention.
The question is, does your news organisation pump out enough content to stand out from the crowd? Are you connecting with audiences on all the essentials: IGTV, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, podcasts, Flash News Briefings and Snapchat?
"Attention lives on your smartphone. Unless you are producing content which is meaningful to an audience on their smartphone across all the social platforms in video, audio and written forms, you are fundamentally irrelevant," Vaynerchuck said.
"It is about thinking what is next – I recognise that everything I did an hour ago is meaningless if I am not able to execute going forward.
"The quickest way for you to get what you want with your audience is to produce pictures, videos, pictures and written words, across all the social platforms, in every format. Period."
He explained that the trick is being easily accessible to your audience wherever they are – and do not make them come to you.
Additionally, if you work within a small news organisation, you can save crucial time and funds by repurposing your content across the multiple platforms options.
Vaynerchuck has a top 100 global podcast, yet never sits down to do a podcast – he simply extracts the audio of videos. He cuts his speeches into short Q&A segments for Facebook, and makes GIFs and quote cards to tease on Instagram.
"You must respect the context of the platform – I see so many people post on Instagram like it is LinkedIn. Do not treat them the same, they have rules" he said.
"100 per cent of what I do is predicated on the audience – how are you communicating to the world? This is biggest shift of attention that the human race has had."
While many news organisations are experimenting with different formats on a multitude of platforms, Vaynerchuck emphasised many businesses are not striking while the iron is hot.
He explained that now is the 'golden era' of Facebook and Instagram, where advertising on Facebook is cheaper than it will ever be again – the second the domino falls and Evian, Coca Cola, Nike, and Puma wakes up and take their million dollar budgets and puts it into the system, our models break.
"I regret that I didn't spend enough on Google Ad Words when it was working – I was still doing television, newspapers and direct mail, because I didn't understand the context of the moment that I was living in," he said.
"Amazon was the number one spender on Google Ad Words, and used that underpriced attention to be who they are today.
"I want you to spend on Facebook and Instagram because there is a possibility that never in our lives again we will be able to get in front of that many people for this cost – for many people who don't take action, this is going to be the era of regret."
Of course, he explained that not every execution works.
"The return of investment of a basketball for me is zero dollars, but it is a billion for LeBron James. Just because you didn't execute Facebook or Instagram properly doesn't mean it doesn't work, it means you suck.
"There is no guarantee in augmented reality or voice that we will have this opportunity to communicate with people about what we want to at such a price.
"The way we interact with technology is the most basic you will ever see in your life – ten years from now, every one of these phones, video games and websites are going to seem like Beeper and MySpace."
Interested in getting the most out of Facebook? We are talking about how to work with Facebook algorithms at out upcoming Newsrewired conference on 7 November.
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