Category Archives: Marketing

Best New York tech meetups of 2013

By Dennis Clemente

Let me introduce the best New York tech meetups of 2013, my extremely biased assessement of the best New York City had to offer from its startups, investors and tech meetup groups last year. I do hope you can give me some leeway in terms of my choices. After all, I was in more than a hundred tech startup meetups, fairs and other similar events.

It’s also what I could call the 2013 Reimagine Tech Awards or how I spent my night life attending one meetup after another. All in all, I wrote, mentioned and talked to more than 650 startups and investors (angel and otherwise) from these meetups–the ones who make it possible for many of these startups to get funding, of course.

I also logged in some hours talking to lawyers—those who offered their services and those who threw in the towel to join startups. It’s interesting to point out how so many of these so-called secure jobs are not just secure anymore.

So many professions are being disrupted. Jobs are scarce, as operations are being automated. And those who can’t get into entry-level jobs find themselves—what else?—transformed as entrepreneurs, which can be a good thing, if your startup makes it.

Different people from different parts of the world were in the meetups—either to pitch and present, lurk or watch closely. How are these startups doing now? We’ll just have to wait and see how they emerge a year or so from now.

Here are some of the best I’ve seen last year in New York’s tech meetups, not counting those pricey trade fairs I can’t afford to go to, although I managed to make it New York Tech Day and NYC Big Apps with Mayor Bloomberg in attendance.

BEST MEETUP GROUP. Hatchery’s Are You Serious meetup. You want honest-to-goodness feedback on your startup, business model and presentation style? You’ll get it here. Guest panel of investors from venture-backed firms are regulars and are familiar with the five-year long structure of the meetup. Host Yao Hui Huang runs a tight ship.

BEST MEETUP TALK: Steve Blank at Startup Grind. The native New Yorker who made his name as a Silicon Valley giant was entertaining and engaging to listen to. Runner-up: Joe Meyer, former CEO of Hopstop now with Apple, gave us valuable startup advice in a talk that lasted more than two hours—the longest by any one speaker last year.

BEST VC TALK: Fred Wilson. You can divide VCs into two categories. Those who don’t crack open a smile but are very helpful and those who smile but are not really helpful. Wilson managed to be both accommodating and helpful, but he certainly had more bite to his talk, giving a no-holds-barred opinion on NY and its tech startups. The other VCs were just too guarded, most likely because they get wooed all the time but hats off to Shai Goldman of 500 Startups, Adam Quinton of Lucas Point Ventures and Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures for their amazing fireside chats.

BEST ANGEL INVESTOR TALK: John Ason. Last year, there were so many of them who taught us so many things about how to get funding, but Ason was very candid and generous with his time. He didn’t have the stage for himself, but as part of a panel, he stood out. He’s also very approachable.

BEST MEETUP MODERATORS: Helman and Horn. It’s a tie between Michael Helman of Startup Nation and Jeremy Horn of The Product Group. Helman, host of Startup Nation and co-founder of WILLiFEST and Crowdzu, is a great interviewer with just the right pace and structure to his gentle grilling. Horn, on the other hand, is able to make nearly all 400 of his attendees speak up.

BEST MEETUP TALK SHOW: Startup Grind. Hats off to StartupGrind’s Brian Park for having the most important people in the tech world open up about what it takes to succeed as a startup—or in the world in general. Guests have included Steve Blank, Gary Vaynerchuck and Chet Kanojia.

Best venue. Skirball Theater, NY Tech Meetup's home.
Best venue. Skirball Theater, NY Tech Meetup’s home.

BEST VENUE. NYU Skirball Theater, home of NY Tech Meetup. With its cavernous 700-seating capacity, it’s even bigger than most Broadway stages with balconies and boxes, and huge after-presentation mixer on another floor. Runner-up: Queens Tech Meetup is on the top floor overlooking Manhattan’s skyline.

BEST AUDIENCE. Startup Grind’s. It won me over for having the most engaged audience. Others have the most number of attendees for their venue but with Startup Grind, no matter where it holds its next meetup, the audience just keeps on coming.

BEST TIP OR QUOTABLE QUOTE. It’s a tie between John Ason and Shai Goldman. When pitching to Ason, you need to do the following, in order: “Entertain. Engage. Inform.” Goldman had this to say, “All startup teams need 3Hs—hustler, hipster, hacker.” Runner-up: Mike Bloomberg, on not joining 2013 NYC Big Apps contest: “I didn’t join because it would be unfair to everyone here.”

BEST STARTUP. It’s hard to determine this from more than 600 startups I wrote or talked about last year. Besides, what would the criteria be for that? Instead, I have the BEST STARTUP PITCH OR PRESENTATION: The Lux Animals team and Dennis Crowley of Foursquare. The Lux team came in full force at the Microsoft Building to talk in detail about the many facets of its gaming business and advertising work. On the other hand, Dennis Crowley of Foursquare proved to be an engaging storyteller about his beginnings and his success now.

One final award goes to the MOST GRATEFUL STARTUP, because they took the time to say thank you for my write-up even with just a Tweet. It’s a tie between Lux Animals and Warby Parker. They thanked and tweeted me profusely for the blog write-ups. Thanks, guys.

NY Video presents Interlude, Drama Fever, Entertainment Hound and apivids

New Girl video
New Girl video

By Dennis Clemente

Last October 22, NY Video meetup host Steve Rosenbaum welcomed back Interlude.fm, a presenter years ago, with good news to share. It recently got a second funding, this time from Intel Capital.

Interlude.fm is a crowd-pleaser of an idea. Its authoring platform, Treehouse, allows video creators to map, build and publish Interlude videos on Web, mobile and social platforms.

Think how you can just easily switch the colors of the car commercial you are watching. Or pick the musical instrument you want to hear among the band playing different instruments.

You can certainly go wild with the customization but Alon Benari, VP Creative & Innovation, likes the idea of threes –the frequency which takes us to have a song stuck on our head, anyway.

Israeli musician Yoni Bloch is the founder which makes this a great avenue for musicians who like making unique videos, but it’s clearly more than that. Licensing the technology to media companies, video production companies and ad agencies has been a cinch. Its roster of prestigious clients includes Fox’s New Girl and Subaru, among others. It’s free for personal use.

The NY Video’s other guests at the meetup included Drama Fever, Entertainment Hound, and apivids.

Romanos Fessas, VP Product and Sung Ho Choi, product manager, talked about the new advertising display opportunities for its online video site, Drama Fever, showing how they can put ads front and center. “We are able to do sponsorships and fit videos around advertising,” Fessas said who claims to have 50,000 subscribers on the site so far.

Drama Fever is an online video site for international video content. It streams movies, documentaries and TV shows on demand with subtitles. It reportedly has 60 content partners across 12 countries.It is available on a variety of devices, including iPad, iPhone, Android and Roku.

First launched beta in 2009, it has raised money from MK Capital, AMC Networks, Bertelsmann and the founders of YouTube, Machinima, Google, StubHub and others.

Clearly new in the scene, next presenter Entertainment Hound is a social discovery platform for films. It recommends videos from all films and then shows you where you can legally stream, download, rent, and own them from your favorite places, such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Wal-Mart and Target.

Elliott Koss, the sole founder and also the developer, said, “We clearly need help in improving the site.” Koss worked in film distribution for six years, encoding digital content when he came up with the idea of having a social discovery tool for movies.

“The discovery process works like Pinterest,” Koss said. “When clicking on a title, the site shows the services you can watch a movie.”

Plans to have books and TV shows are reportedly afoot.

General manager Philippe Collin presented apivids, a cloud-based ad tech platform that advertisers and media agencies use to create, distribute, deliver, optimize, manage, track and report on the most complex and video campaigns.

From his presentation, apivids looks ready for primetime, coming on the heels of its promotion in Europe. It is reportedly available on any screen (desktop, mobile, tablet, IPTV), in any format (in-banner, in-stream, in-read [IAB or non-IAB]), any publisher (premium, ad networks, ad exchanges, SVA platforms) and any campaign (branding, direct response and anything in-between).

“We’ve never seen one publisher refuse our ads,” he claimed.

Previously held at Columbia University, Rosenbaum said the NY Video Meetup is now going to hold its monthly meetups at the Made in NY Media Center in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Warby Parker’s prescription for success

dave gilboa
Dave Gilboa

By Dennis Clemente

Never judge a man by his prescription glasses, especially one wearing Warby Parker.

Dave Gilboa, CEO of Warby Parker, is one adrenaline junkie who likes to be transformed by his adventures. He woke up one morning in a flamingo costume to run the marathon (if records mean anything, he was the fastest in that category), climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, backpacked in Thailand where he lost his $700-worth prescription glasses but still continued his Southeast Asia trip without it, nearly blind.

Last October 8, Gilboa appeared before us looking all scholarly with Warby Parker eyeglasses, unassuming and shy in contrast to his adventurous ways; which is really why you should never judge a man by his prescription glasses.

Gilboa was at the Startup Grind meetup at AOL Offices to talk about his other transformation—the designer eyewear everyone is talking about because of its two-pronged offer: revolutionary prices and social consciousness. For every eyepiece sold, a pair goes to someone in need.

The idea itself is revolutionary to think of how it is competing head-on with the giant eyewear company, Luxottica, which has the monopoly on eyewear (the popular brands you can think of plus the stores) with a $26b market cap.

Still, it is precisely because of its David-and-Goliath approach to the business that has endeared it to the press which has made the eyewear startup a huge success (the GQ piece in time for its launch proved to be the game changer), online at first and now with brick-and-mortar stores. From four people, Gilboa now runs the company with Neil Blumenthal as co-CEO. The founders have raised $55 million from venture capitalists SV Angel, Lere Ventures, Menlo Ventures and First Round Capital.

Starting a company with friends can be tricky. But it didn’t matter Gilboa and his Wharton MBA schoolmates. “We trusted each other. We knew we could spend 24 hours together. None of us were even technical.”

But how did they pull it off and compete against Luxottica? The first hire was a 20-year veteran with the right connections; next was getting independent manufacturers to come onboard. They admitted to being initially paranoid about getting investors, because they wanted to maintain control of the business as long as possible before getting capital.

“We bootstrapped. All four of us pitched in and started with $120,000,” he said. “We operated the business for 14 months before we got our first round of funding. In our first round, we got 100,000 customers.”

Asked how you can get your startup funded, he said, “You have to have enough traction. Show them user revenue and profitability.”

Gilbao credits the fashion editorial PR firm they hired for giving them the media push, especially the feature on GQ. “We did it mainly to get credibility,” Today, he said the company wouldn’t be where it us now if they didn’t hire the PR firm. “PR has had a massive impact on our business.”

It was not smooth-sailing at all. Gilboa recalled not having their site up yet when they got a call from GQ saying the mag was going to hit the newsstands early. They managed to make the site work but not with all the bells and whistles they wanted.

He said their biggest mistake was not planning for extreme scenarios. Once the site was up, he had his phone setup to receive orders. They didn’t realize the site was going to get so much traffic. “We were blown away by the traffic.”

It didn’t occur to them that they didn’t have a ‘sold-out’ functionality. “We got somebody from odesk to add a ‘wait-list’ button in 10 minutes.”

To make amends to their customers, they gave everyone discounts. “We just wanted to make sure they would go back to our site.”

What he learned in that experience is that “you’re allowed to screw up, as long as you make each one of them happy.”

That first year, Gilboa said the company hit its sales target in three weeks. “I remember staying all night packing boxes and having strangers in my apartment looking at the eyeglasses.”

Proof of their customer service? WP tweets back a day after the article came out.
Proof of its outstanding customer service? WP tweets back a day after the article came out.

Customer satisfaction is a big part of Warby Parker’s success. Holding employees accountable for how they treat customers can be a challenge, but they make it possible by using Net Promoter, a loyalty metric and a discipline for using customer feedback.

Today, the company has 350 people in its Soho store with showrooms in other stores all around the country. It just signed up an 80,000 sq ft lease for another store.

For Gilbao, Warby Parker is more than an eyewear, it’s a fashion brand.

The meetup was hosted by Startup Grind’s Bryan Park.

Social media is a perfect storm but offers usable insights with the right tools

By Dennis Clemente

When you think of a perfect storm, environmental calamity comes to mind. But there’s an entirely different perfect storm in our midst. It’s big. It’s unstructured. It’s social media.

How do we turn this perfect storm to usable insights, asked Robert Floyd, guest host of Social Data’s Best and Brightest meetup who also happen to be the regional vice president of DataSift.

Think about it. There are now 1.8 billion people on social networks, 400 million tweets a day and 3.2 billion Facebook likes a day. How do we even begin to make sense of it?

Last July 25, DataSift, Porter Novelli, location host, and Tableau talked about how they are analyzing social data and augmenting it with insights for big business at the new World Trade Center building.

For James O’Malley of Porter & Novelli, the data starts with research but that’s too broad. Narrowing it down, O’Malley said the questions people ask is where every data curation begins, as it built on alzheimers.gov accordingly.

Floyd’s inputs, especially from social networks translate to “the world’s biggest focus group” and from there companies create a process that helps them work out a system. Multi-tracking is key. You could do it any number of ways but Floyd said they do it by gender, language, sentiment, language and topics which sound easy except their technology helps them get results faster—in half a second, for instance.

Social data is getting more complicated yet Tableau’s Michael Kravec makes it look so easy to use with its sophisticated drag-and-drop software for those who can afford it ($500 a pop for one user a month? Tableau is a respected analytics software giant dealing in business intelligence–and one that draws envy and admiration in equal measure.

But why does Porter Novelli, a global PR firm, care so much about social data, too? It’s because of the potential of social data to help scale businesses immeasurably. But where does one begin?

The metrics side of a PR initiative seems relatively easy. “You dial a phone number and you reach millions of people if your pitched story to the New York Times gets published,” O’ Malley said.

But for far more complex PR efforts, Porter Novelli has been known to use a PR robust tracking tool called PN Sonar which follows a four-step process called collect, process, analyze and report. In terms of collecting, you do that from a custom suite of data, load more than 250 items daily combining social, traditional and internal data, and store it long term for trends and modeling.

“We analyze real social data to build algorithms and ontology customized for each client’s digest,” said O’Malley, adding that all the data can even be seen in one single place.

Porter Novelli makes use of research, measurement and optimization. You study audience behavior, find out what your competitors are doing. The measurement addresses what’s happening in the gaps, showcasing the results and providing the basis for future learning. For better optimization, you need to provide content, in term measuring it by performance, as it tweaks messages to what works, and making changes to channels and platform as you go along.

How do these companies determine which data works for its media contacts? It’s good to know for instance that CBS’ 60 Minutes has the largest BMW fan base or that it can spot some inconsistencies which car ads works for, say, an American Idol audience. You would think Ford lords it over any other car commercial in the show because it’s embedded in the show’s storyline, but Hyundai turned out to have three times more audience, based on the social data gathered.

Cristo gives the ‘last word’ on social SEO (for now); reaction to Coke study

EXCLUSIVE
By Dennis Clemente

Dan Cristo, director of SEO Innovation at Catalyst Online, a leading search marketing agency, doesn’t seem to have any problem holding people’s attention against the backdrop of a noisy bar on a Friday night. Cristo was presenting “Mastering the Art of Social SEO” at the Joshua Tree on East Avenue early this month. Find out more here at http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/pubs/social-seo-strategies/

“I thought for sure I was going to lose my voice,” he said in jest, but the attendees clearly knew why he did his SEO presentation at the bar. In such a setting, people are more comfortable to “expand and deepen one’s network.”

dancristo

Fortunately, Cristo speaks with emphatic clarity and enthusiastic openness. He genuinely likes to share his ideas. He breaks down traditional search against social search this way: The former is “authority,” the latter is “intimacy.”

He elaborated: “Social SEO is much like traditional SEO in the sense that search engines are looking for relevant, trustworthy answers to people’s questions. The difference is how trust is measured. In a world without online social connections, trust is measured on ‘topic authority’, which links are used as a proxy.

“So where online social interactions abound, a second ‘trust measure’ is introduced, intimacy. The deeper your online connection, the most trust exists between two people. That new intimacy-based trust now affects search rankings,” he added.

He gives an example: “If a good friend recommends a restaurant on Yelp, and I’m looking for a good restaurant, a search engine should rank that Yelp recommendation higher in my search results.

“This translates into an SEO strategy that looks at how brands can optimize not just web pages, but relationships to improve their search rankings.”

Apparently, Cristo leads by example. His name appears on every page of Google results–his main website, twitter profile, linkedin account, Google +, interviews, and articles, among others. “Use social SEO to dominate the Google results page. You can do this by optimizing you social profile, sharing multimedia content and creating long-tail content.”

Cristo is also persistent in saying “don’t neglect Google+.”

Whether you like it or not, Cristo said you need Google+ to establish a strong social presence. “If you want to use any of Google’s products, you will also be using Google+. Why? Search is at the core of all Google products.”

That search algorithm is being personalized for you. It comes from actions you perform on each of Google’s products–Chrome, YouTube, Maps Android, Music, Docs, News, Calendar, etc. His insights appear to be plain common sense but he is clearly making people more aware of it.

In response to the recent report about online buzz not working for Coca Cola sales, he acknowledges the brand for mastering traditional marketing, but not as much in terms of its social media approach.

Cristo is fully committed to his thinking: “Take a look at Coke’s Facebook and Twitter pages; 99% of the time they are talking about themselves. They do that, because that’s how TV works, but that’s not how friendships work. How long would you hang out with a friend who talked only about themselves? Look at the engagement their posts get on Facebook: Out of 62 million fans, only 4,000 to 5,000 on average ‘like’ a post, with maybe a hundred or 200 comments.”

“Compare Coke to Red Bull which has 37 million fans. Red Bull posts get 35,000 and 45,000 likes with 3,000 or 4,000 comments. The difference here is Red Bull is talking about extreme sports, athletes and amazing feats of accomplishment, not their own product.”

He concluded: “It’s not a question of whether social media drives sales. It’s a question of whether Coke is participating in social media in a way that drives product sales. The data may say ‘no’. However, run the same test with Red Bull, and the data will say, ‘yes.’”

Catalyst manages 100 brands in the consumer package goods, automobile, B2B, retail, entertainment, software, technology, travel, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Its clients include P&G, Microsoft, Novartis, Whirlpool, and Pfizer. Headquartered in Nevada, it has offices in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Montréal.

Geer of Badoo fame gives tips on how to get first million users

By Dennis Clemente

How do you get your first million users in your online business? Michael Geer, who helped grow and internationalize badoo.com to 70 million users (it now has 175 million users) said you need three things—virality, revenue and user utility.

Geer was at the Grow/Hack meetup last March 12 at the NYU Stern School of Business talking about the methods, strategies and lessons he learned from his career, both local and overseas. Geer has worked with Y&R and Badoo (badoo.com) in Moscow, also with Badoo in London, leaving the company in July 2010.

michael geer

For Geer, there are 3 levels of virality—inherent (eg. Dropbox’s offer of free space online), draw something (eg. referrals) and sharing (as you can with most Web sites). For best viral results, he thinks you need two buckets—the paid buckets (ads) and your viral techniques (organic).

As yardstick, Geer recommends using Google Analytics and MixPanel. Recoding your progress is key—there’s the past stage, current stage (with limited interference from non-development team and the future stage—having plan a/b tested and measured against past-stage results.

But how do you get users to join your system? Geer refers to what he calls the Pavlovian viral loop, in the following order: motivation–what a user wants to do; trigger—what prompts them to do it; action—importing contacts and inviting them; and reward—giving feedback and reward for action taken.

What would motivate people to go to your site? It’s not surprising what he says are the four essentials–sex, power, money and status/recognition.

He said the top triggers are a) access to information about yourself; b) connection/access to other users; c) getting more attention about yourself or self-generated content; and 4) the ability to get a special deal/give special deal to friends.

“A trigger can be as simple as about having a pop-up button image, which compels people to ‘push me,’” he said to explain his fourth point about triggers.

Geer said give rewards “as early as possible.” But do rewards always work? For example, does it wear off its welcome in the case of, say, an invite system? He said it always works. “You feel a sense of exclusivity when you get an invite to an app,”

He demystified conjectures, saying a good product retains, not attracts, users. He said public relations can work to attract millions of users, just keep in mind “it is not a scalable acquisition tool.”

Geer is also a Techstars mentor, a board advisor to several startups, a user acquisition teacher at SkillShare, and maintains a social good for-profit meetup. Recently, Geer started a couple of personal projects where he is the founder: CauseCart and YourDecision. Both are expected to be launched this year.

Content is far from ready in adapting to today’s multiple devices

By Dennis Clemente

“We don’t need more content, we need content to do more,” says Sara Wachter-Boettcher in the launch of her book, “Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Friendly Content” at Ogilvy One Worldwide at 48th St and 11th Avenue.

Her statement comes in the wake of how the web is evolving, but content, like responsive web design, is playing catch up with fast-changing technologies.

Locked into inflexible pages and documents, most content is far from ready for today’s world of apps and APIs and multimedia devices in various shapes and sizes. Many questions arise, “Should we do a website, app or a mobile site?”

sara

Says Wachter-Boettcher: “We can’t create more content for all of these devices and channels. We’d go nuts trying to manage and maintain all of it. Instead, we need content that does more for us–content that’s structured and defined so it can travel and shift while keeping its meaning and message intact.”

It looks like things will only get worse before they get better. Why? She cites how different devices try to show us websites but they turn out to be inaccessible, broken, missing, or even useless. On top of that, organizations face many challenges they need to address internally. These include:

1. Mass-production mentality. Content-producing people are not tied to a business strategy and the company’s goals and visions. There has to be a content strategy that bridges the gap between the vision and execution.
2. Compartmentalized teams or silos. Departmental walls are often up, even hostile to others when they should be working together and thinking of customers first. Department teams need to come together.
3. Obsession with control: Stakeholders don’t get digital and user control terrifies them, especially if the organization isn’t built for change. Rather than adapt, it’s stuck. An organization needs to be adept at change.

Once organizations can reconcile the fact that structure isn’t arbitrary, Wachter-Boettcher says they need to break things down. They need to do a content audit and find patterns and have these patterns establish content types toward building a structure. Structure helps content move.

She says think of content like water, flowing everywhere it needs to go, but having infrastructure. “Start with the content, break it down into chunks, look at the interconnection, not just the hierarchy,” she says.

Giving her audience some glimmer of hope after some harsh reality check, Wachter-Boettcher offers some must-dos:
Make mobile an entry point, not the end point.
• Don’t sell solutions. Invest more deeply.
• Incorporate people in your work from the start.
• Do less, facilitate more.
• Iterate. Implement incremental changes.

For good content strategy, she defers to NPR and its COPE strategy. (http://blog.programmableweb.com/2009/10/13/cope-create-once-publish-everywhere/)

Visit Wachter-Boettcher’s website at http://sarawb.com/

Siman of 360i gives skinny on content marketing

By Dennis Clemente

The Content Marketing Bootcamp at the 360i office on February 19 was packed with marketers listening intently to Rosie Siman, a social strategist with a huge following. She works at 360i (http://www.360i.com/), a digital agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media, mobile marketing and web design and development.

The bootcamp was clearly designed to spread the word of mouth about how industry people and brands should be doing more content marketing campaigns. Only 38% of brands have a strategy in place for content marketing, according to data from econsultancy.

Having helped brands like Dentyne navigate the world of social and emerging media, Siman presented examples for people to better understand content marketing. One effective example she showed was American Express’ Open Forum.

The Open Forum has been one of the most-talked about content marketing idea, because it humanizes the American Express brand. The forum provides a wealth of resources for business owners—videos, articles, blogs, podcasts and expert advice.

Rosie Siman

Siman also explained the difference between content marketing and a TV commercial. “I’d argue that all commercials are content, just not necessarily good content. Although the reverse isn’t necessarily true: good content doesn’t have to resemble what we traditionally think of as commercials.”

The attendees agreed that the Red Bulls Stratos Jump was content but many also considered it a commercial. (It run on TV.)

But what is content, exactly?

Siman says it is defined as assets and experiences that, in aggregate, form pieces of your brand story. It can range from apps to ebooks, infographics to transmedia experiences, tweets to filtered photos. And content marketing is really just the organization, creation and distribution of these assets in order to better connect with consumers or potential consumers.

With the popularity of self-publishing, consumers have become both competitors and collaborators for brands. Some are outperforming brands with content uploaded from their smartphones, while others are partnering with brands to gain more influence.

She adds, “Let’s not forget the rise of curation, another popular buzzword from 2012 whose relevance will likely continue over the next few years.”

In the early days of publishing, the focus was on content creation but with so much content out there, filtering and surfacing content has become its own trend. Average monthly unique visits on curation sites like BuzzFeed, Tumblr, Pinterest are steadily increasing, so content definitely isn’t something that will go away anytime soon.

What can marketers and brands do? The three key pillars of content marketing include content development, syndication and distribution and optimization.

Siman gives the skinny on what brands and marketers should do:

Listen. Articulate where your consumers or fans hang out online and what kinds of content they like in addition to what they think about your brand. Even paying attention to product reviews or competitors pages can help you better understand the landscape.
Plan. Put a plan on paper. Determine who should be involved at each stage of the planning, production and approval process. Figure out key content themes or buckets. Develop your social tone of voice and make sure the team is properly trained.
Be nimble. You have to make them first! The best way to plan for real-time content marketing is to have a system in place so you know the strengths and weaknesses of the system and where you might be able to speed things up in special circumstances.
Measure and showcase success. There are so many data points available, but rarely are they all needed to tell a story. Start with what you want to know and then figure out which data points will help you paint the clearest picture.

At 360i, Siman also curates The Tuesday Ten (http://tuesdayten.com), her weekly newsletter featuring 10 must-see links. She can also be found on Twitter (twittercom/rosiesiman).

How to make money from your own videos

By Dennis Clemente

From video consumption, the four startups at the NY Video Meetup in Columbia University last January 24 were excited to declare how anyone can profit from video production using different platforms, even without YouTube in the picture. The companies are Montaj , Vidwala , NowThisNews and NYVS.

Montaj co-founder Demir Gjokai called his new app, “Instagram for Video.” Using an iPhone, Gjokai showed how to use the app to make short clips, edit it with the special Montaj storyboard and provide the score from one’s own iTunes playlist. How easy is it to use the app? He proceeds to show a graphical interface on how to shoot videos and shake the phone to edit or change a song. Once satisfied, you can share on YouTube and other social networks.

Emphasizing his preference for storytellers as opposed to clip-makers is one way he foresees his company working on a business model that helps him connect with brands. Being a fairly new product, Montaj works only on the iPhone for now.

Talking about storytelling , NowThisNews is looking at redefining journalism for the mobile generation with video news coverage that could pit them against Vice Media and even BuzzFeed, the company where it gets its share of funds from Lehrer Ventures.

Drake Martinet, co-founder of NowThisNews, says that journalists can grab a video camera and report the news and have his young demographic view the news in his platform. Asked how he will monetize the site, he says the company is considering producing branded content.

Martinet finally put rumors of NowThisNews’ connection with Huffington Post to rest.

vidwala

For its part, Vidwala’s video distribution platform is aimed at independent video producers looking to make a profit for themselves. It aims to empower indie video producers to be in control of monetizing its distribution, especially with its new iPad app.

“By utilizing Apple’s micro payment system, Vidwala’s iPad app allows fans to buy shows, which translates directly into earnings for video producers,” says co-founder Kabir Mohammed

Not only that, producers will reportedly be able to promote their films and web series, reach new audiences with easy video uploads and set their own prices or even offer free episodes as part of a marketing strategy. Fans, on the other hand, will enjoy the security and ease of in-app purchase to buy their favorite shows and even have the option to download episodes to watch them offline.

But for the easily intimidated, how can people even begin to learn how to make high-quality videos let alone edit them like a real pro? How do you become video literate?

Alex Collmer of NYVS believes that his company can help users learn about producing high-quality films. NYVS is an online film school that allows anyone in the world to learn how to make videos, discuss them with peers, get useful instruction from the NYVS staff and share experiences with people from all over the world for a small fee.

Collmer doesn’t believe everyone needs to go to a top-notch film school in order to be able to make a video to sell a car or house or meet someone online.

The lively Steve Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of magnify.net, hosted the meetup.

How to Wix and Yodle together to SEO success

By Dennis Clemente

Wix Lounge, through its Digital Creatives Meetup group, held another well-attended class on Search Engine Optimization(SEO) billed “How to be found on Google” at its Chelsea office. It’s certainly an effective way to sample its website builder, Wix.

If it wants to expand its reach in no time, a block away to its New York office is Yodle, an online advertising company for small businesses that is looking at $135 million in revenue for 2012. A collaboration of some sort may be in fine order.

On the topic both love talking about: SEO, as discussed by Ariele Krantzow, Training & Support Manager of wix.com last January 8.

Freelancers and small business owners in the hour-long class learned about the importance of using the most relevant keywords for their websites. Krantzow emphasized the importance of “having 10 keywords” defining your site, “listing all the services/products you are offering and more important, “not to forget (mentioning) your location.”

Krantzow also tackled content to a great degree, making sure the attendees understood the difference between relevant and fresh content—all crucial to being found by Google, as its title event addressed.

When attendees asked the use of photos or images, Krantzow showed its much-talked about Wix website builder to explain how one must at least have “three keywords to describe” them.

It was refreshing to see how Krantzow used Wix layouts not to promote it but merely to make her case about SEO. She pointed out how you can test keywords on Wix at promote.wix.com.seo (make sure you’re logged in to see this), which should convince anyone a good product can speak for itself.

Wix’s “design suggestions” tool is one of many website builders, of course, so it remains to be seen how it will evolve in a very competitive field. But it may just leapfrog over competitors like squarespace.com and drupalgardens.com if it also remains “absolutely free,” simple to create—and if it can really answer the needs of small business owners–in SEO, for one.

Or they can yodle to Yodle for help.