2014: the year writers become sellers

2014: the year writers become sellers

This is our second prediction for 2014. Keep up to date with the next ones here.

The past few years have seen retailers storm into the world of content, grab it by the baubles and stuff it like a turkey. That's why Tesco Magazine is now the most read publication in the UK. Bigger than The Daily Mail. Bigger than The Sun. Bigger than The Daily Prophet. Amazing.

And it's not just print media. Retailers have started dominating the world of online content, too - be that bespoke recipes from Heston and Delia on the Waitrose website or the uniquely useful product videos at Appliances Online. So... where do old-fashioned content players fit into this? How do the newspapers and the magazines and even the blogs compete?

They compete by dishing out a dose of the same medicine, that's how. If retailers are going to do content, content producers need to reciprocate by doing retail. And they're uniquely positioned to do it, too - with amazing audiences, established positions of authority and unique sway with brands and suppliers. But a commercial play won't work if content producers just try to bolt some crumby old affiliate store onto their websites. They


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Are you actually doing social commerce? Five simple tests.

Five ways to tell your social commerce campaign isn't actually social commerce 

Hey, look! It's a Friday! That must mean yet another company unveiling its great new social commerce campaign which ISN'T ACTUALLY SOCIAL COMMERCE.

NB: this also happens on other weekdays plus, occasionally, if the agency who've been commissioned to come up with this stuff are charging enough, Saturdays and Sundays.

It seems that social commerce is the buzziest of buzzing buzz trends right now, but very few people are doing it right. So, here's our top five ways to tell that your social commerce campaign isn't actually social commerce.

1. There's no actual in-situ commerce

Linking to your bog-standard e-commerce site from a YouTube video isn't social commerce. It's social marketing. Stop trying to pretend it's anything new.

2. User reviews, if-you-like-this-then-you'll-like-this widgets, Facebook commenting on product pages, Pinterest boards, etc...

These are all social things in and around the world of commerce. And that's wonderful. But it's not social commerce. It's still just social.

3. You're selling stuff just like usual but... wait for it... you've set up a store in Facebook!

That's F-Commerce and everyone realised ages ago that it's a stinker. Step away...

4. Every purchase is a solo activity

That's like calling a ready-meal-for-one a dinner


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'Customer' reviews are often fake. Social advocacy NEVER is.

Online reviews mean nothing. Social advocacy is everything.

Never move house. Just don't do it. You pay a fortune to own the same old stuff in a different place. And then, to cap it off, your better half decides that you need a new washing machine when everyone knows it's perfectly adequate just to take your smalls down to a riverbank and whack them with a stick.

Yeah, I'm feeling the pinch.

Anyway... buying a washing machine. With a million online shops and a trillion online 'customer' reviews, you'd have thought picking a brand, model and retailer would be a doddle. Well, guess what? It ain't. And that's mainly because you just can't trust what you read in online reviews anymore - why else would one retailer have 59 negative reviews on ciao.co.uk with barely any positives, but almost exactly the opposite on Google seller reviews?

The problem is: online reviews are so scammed by businesses hyping themselves and slating their rivals that it's next to impossible to figure out what's a genuine, balanced perspective from a real consumer and what's 'seed content' or 'tactical interference'.

Everyone really is a critic... including the shops themselves.

Luckily, the one thing you just can't fix is social advocacy


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