New York Times Unwittingly Covers Internet Marketing

Two recent New York Times stories with lessons for internet marketers. The first story profiles a photographer, Todd Selby, who made a name (and a career) for himself online instead of going the traditional route of paying his dues in print magazines. The second story addresses the rising influence of social site Tumblr.

Photographer Todd Selby’s friend talks about when he advised Selby to start building his brand online:

“What I thought would be great for Todd was to create something people would want to share.”

On the Internet, he told his friend, you don’t have to be as selective as at a magazine. Share 20 images instead of one. Break the rules.

Within two months, the site had become so popular that Mr. Selby made it the center of his professional life.

“This is something photographers haven’t caught up to yet,” he said. “When I started in 2001, it was very clear. You start working for magazines, work your way up to the best magazines, the art buyers and art directors see those great magazines and hire you to shoot an ad campaign. Now it’s a totally different game. People who are making decisions about ad campaigns aren’t looking at magazines for inspiration. They’re looking at the Internet.”

Several lessons here that can be applied to internet marketing in general. Let’s break the quote down.

“What I thought would be great for Todd was to create something people would want to share.”

We in the industry refer to that as link bait. That’s all link bait really is, just something you create that people want to share.

On the Internet, he told his friend, you don’t have to be as selective as at a magazine. Share 20 images instead of one. Break the rules.

This is what slays me about people who try to recreate print online. You’re unbound by the constraints of the printed page, take advantage! Selby did, and it worked.

Within two months, the site had become so popular that Mr. Selby made it the center of his professional life.

“This is something photographers haven’t caught up to yet,” he said. When I started in 2001, it was very clear. You start working for magazines, work your way up to the best magazines, the art buyers and art directors see those great magazines and hire you to shoot an ad campaign. Now it’s a totally different game. People who are making decisions about ad campaigns aren’t looking at magazines for inspiration. They’re looking at the Internet.”

If I could boil down my message to marketers it would be that quote: “People who are making decisions about ad campaigns aren’t looking at magazines (or tv, or radio) for inspiration. They’re looking at the Internet.” As people increasingly decide what brand of diapers (for instance) to buy based on what they find online, smart marketers like our boy Todd here are figuring out that that’s where they need to be.

I mean, it was in the New York Times, so, you know, pay attention.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.