Risk is the Name of the Game!

Photo from eir spiders.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the eirspiders digital innovation workshop at the Clarion Hotel in Cork City and I was delighted with the knowledge I took away with me. I for one, was hesitant of taking risks when it came to the digital world, but now? Bring it on!

Head of Google Marketing Solutions for Ireland, Marie Davis, Head of Digital Strategy at Tinderpoint, Paul O’ Byrne and Head of Digital with eir Business, Iris Daly enlightened us with their knowledge for the first half of the session. The second half of the event introduced Co-founder of Pundit Arena, Richard Barrett and Head of Marketing at Red Fm, Stephan Ryan. Marianne Kelly, Marketing Communications Manager at eir Business gave the opening address with CNN anchor and emmy award winning veteran Gina London moderating. All speakers spoke with such expertise and class. All gave valuable tips and insights on how to succeed in the digital industry, but two speakers in particular left a lasting impression with me and these were Paul O’ Byrne of Tinderpoint and Richard Barrett of Pundit Arena.

As I said earlier, I am not as afraid of taking risks as I once was before. That is because of the treasure trove of information I left the eirspiders event with. My key takeaway from these two talks consists of two words, one sentence: Take. Risks.

Paul O’ Byrne focused on content creation and gave tips on how to do it

Photo from Pixabay

successfully. I’ve always known that content is king but it is very possible to get it wrong when bowing down to royalty.

A lot of people are under the impression that all content is great, that everyone will love
everything you do, but that isn’t the case. You must tailor your strategy for each key public you’re targeting and tailor it according to which social media platform or print media platform you’re using. Some people prefer audio and listen to podcasts while some people may prefer to watch and others read.

Paul mentioned a very interesting website called YouGov Lite which gives you an overview of a brand’s typical consumer profile. I tested it with popular boy band One Direction. I chose this band because I have a a fair idea of who their typical fans are and wanted to compare with the websites results and see if they’re similar. Bare in mind, that typical fans of One Direction are teenagers, but what are the chances that teenagers have also signed up to a website like YouGov Lite to be included in the sample size. Either way, go ahead and check out the consumer profile here!

In order to get the maximum response from your original content, it is important to ensure what you created is accessible for most, if not all of the above. For example, most people will scroll through their Facebook timeline while in a quiet area like work, or during a class at college. The last thing they want is for their colleagues to know what they’re up to. Make sure all videos have subtitles to allow for optimum engagement. Subtitles ensure the viewer gets all the information you’re trying to communicate without having to adjust the volume of their device or skip it entirely because they can’t listen to it at that time.

A very important thing I’ve learned about content creation is to take a risk. SME’s (small medium enterprises)  are less inclined to take a risk when, in fact, they have a better chance of recovery if said risk doesn’t pay off.

SME’s are only building their customer base so taking risks should be second nature to them. They can bounce back quickly because the company may not have such an extensive reach just yet, especially on social media. If the risk does happen to pay off, great, you’ve just gained a lot more fans than you would had playing it safe!

Richard Barrett’s talk was not one I expected. I was anticipating more information focused on utilising digital media but it was something a bit different. It was interesting and informative. It delved into the psyche of what motivates people to do things, which in these case was continually producing quality content for Pundit Arena.

Before April, I wouldn’t have had much of an interest in sports but that was when it all changed. I joined my local roller derby team and only recently I joined the PR committee for my team. I was struggling with motivating people to interact with the teams social media but Richard’s talk gave me some useful insight. Although he spoke about how to motivate the other side of the fence i.e. the producers not the consumers, I feel it applies for consumer interaction with a brand also.

Richard Barrett and his team set out to research
what motivated people to write for Pundit Arena and what keeps them there or the opposite, why they leave. He discovered that people fall into at least one of these categories: 1) They want to earn cash 2) They have an ego to satisfy 3) They want free things. Knowing this, Richard tested his findings.

He divided the Pundit Arena writers into three groups

Photo by Pete O Shea

and applied each one of his theories to  a different group, targeting each one with what he found motivates them. People who are interested in cash were targeted with money they could earn while people who have an ego were shown statistics about how well their article was doing.

A hit list was also introduced. This is a leader board which writers can climb by accumulating points for each article they write and for shares of the article. The top of the leader board each month receives a cash prize. To cater for the people motivated by ego, a writer of the week was introduced. It doesn’t matter if you write ten articles or one, you were submitted into the draw to be the featured writer of the week. For the people who want free things, the more they contribute, the more likely they are to be given tickets to attend and report back on a sporting event.

Of course, there was no way the Pundit Arena Co-founder would have known these tests would work, but he took a risk. He first took the risk of spending time and money conducting this research, then rolling out the experiment to test his findings. The worst case scenario that could have happened is that the current process and submissions would remain static and another idea would have been needed.

The monthly hit list could have had a reverse effect and demotivated people to write, they may not have liked seeing their name up on the hit list as anything but number one. People could have produced a couple of not up to par articles in order to reach number one for the cash prize, but they didn’t. Richard found that the people who were motivated by money were indeed motivated by an underlying ego. It was the views and praise they were getting that motivated them when all the while these writers think it’s money. The amount of submissions increased along with the quality of work from the Pundit Arena writers.

Paul O’ Byrne and Richard Barrett both spoke of risk and how we should treat it as an opportunity to grow, not something we should fear. We have this constant fear of failing, but what if we don’t fail? We tend to anticipate negative results over positive ones.

As Richard Barrett quoted,

“Don’t worry about failure, you just need to be right once”

Photo from http://www.sculptingfearlessness.com/blog/category/motivation

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