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TODD SMITH — Media outlets receive boost since election

Rants by President Donald Trump and his administration on what they call the “dishonest media” appear to have had an unexpected – and welcome – side effect for some media companies, which have seen record numbers of new subscribers and donations.

One of the most widely reported examples of this “Trump bump” is The New York Times, which added 235 new digital subscribers in the final three months of 2016. That was its best quarterly performance since it launched its online paywall in 2011.

But The Times is just one of the more high-profile media outlets that have seen a boost in sign-ups since the election. The Washington Post has also seen a wave of subscriptions, with a record number of new sign-ups in January, and is the 300,000 digital-subscriber mark for the first time. Some magazines have also seen a dramatic jump in subscriptions.

Mother Jones saw the number of donors to the non-profit magazine climb by more than 150 percent in January compared with the same month the previous year, according to a report by Poynter, and saw a more than 300 percent increase in new digital sign-ups hasn’t seen a dramatic rise in subscribers since the election, according to a spokesman.

The Atlantic has also reportedly broken records when it comes to subscriptions, with a bump of 200 percent in January compared with the previous year. The New Yorker is another beneficiary, according to 306 media. The magazine sold 250,000 new subscriptions between election day and the end of January, more than double the number from the same period a year earlier, and January’s sign-ups tripled. The online magazine Slate has seen a jump in sign-ups for its membership plan as well.

Non-profit investigative outlet ProPublica has also seen a significant bump in donations since the election. In January, it got more than $100,000 in recurring pledges, and by early February it had already raised over $600,000 – more than it raised in all of the previous year. Flush with cash, it has been on a writer-hiring spree for expanded coverage.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether this wave of enthusiasm for subscription-based journalism will continue to grow, or whether it is just a short-term boost by Trump’s election.

Will it be enough to change the fortunes of media giants such as The New York Times and ProPublica, or will the effect lapse too soon to make a lasting difference?

10 Great Influencer Marketing Campaigns

You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about the elusive, purportedly mystical powers of influencer marketing.

But is this buzzword-laden tactic actually worth your time and energy?

According to a recent study comprosed of marketers from a variety of industries, 94 percent said influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy.

That’s great news for marketers – right?

Not so fast. Even though a majority of marketers believe influencer marketing is a viable tactic, it’s still incredibly challenging to report accurately on influencer campaign ROI. In fact, 78 percent of marketers say that determining the success of influencer marketing campaigns will be a top challenge in 2017.

So even though the tangible benefits of influencer marketing – follower engagement, driving traffic, and creating more authentic content – seem clear cut, there’s still a lot of progress to be made in making this form of campaign measurable for agencies and marketers.

Celebrity product endorsements are less about engagement and more about attaching a person’s name recognition to a particular brand.

For brands, celebrity-driven campaigns are much more about grabbing the attention of a wide audience than tapping into a very specific niche.

HubSpot recently highlighted 10 successful influencer driven campaigns. Here is the Top 10 from the Spin Cycle perspective:

1. Old Navy

The affordable clothing chain tapped social media influencer Meghan Rienks to appear in a series of promotional posts on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In the videos, Rienks shows fans how to style outfits for different occasions (e.g., a holiday party, and big date night) using pieces from Old Navy.

Rienks, known for her comedy sketches and lifestyle content, has a formidable following on social media, with over 1.3 million Instagram followers and 2 million subscribers on her YouTube channel.

2. Naked Juice

This bottled smoothie brand is edging its way into the beauty, fashion, and health scene on Instagram with help from key influencers in the space. Lifestyle bloggers like Kate La Vie share sponsored posts featuring snapshots of their daily outfits and beauty essentials — including a strategically placed Naked Juice in the mix.

3. Glossier

This Manhattan-based beauty startup (which was recently named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017) owes much of its seemingly overnight cult status to its ever-expanding network of super fans and micro-influencers.

Instead of paying a few big names to promote their minimal skincare and cosmetics, the brand relies on “regular women” to spread the word.

4. Sperry

Toward the end of 2016, the boat shoe brand began working with over 100 micro-influencers on Instagram to create engaging content for their followers. Sperry identified fans of the brand on Instagram who were already sharing high-quality photos of their products, and started inviting these users to develop visual content for their official Instagram account.

5. GAP

GAP’s successful Styld.by campaign featured a number of influential social media personalities showing how they incorporate GAP clothing into their personal wardrobes. Users viewing the influencers’ posts on social media were given options to “Shop this Look” conveniently in the caption of photos.

Thanks to the involvement of multiple influencers from different niches, GAP’s campaign had enormous reach.

6. Tales of Whisky

Diageo, the parent company of Scottish whisky brands Lagavulin and Oban, was awarded a Shorty Award for Best Influencer Marketing Campaign for this yule log video starring Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman.

The 44-minute minute video shows Offerman sitting by a crackling fireplace, staring broodingly into the camera, and occasionally savoring a sip of his drink. Thanks to the simple seasonal premise and Offerman’s unique brand, the video was a viral hit.

7. Stride Gum

If anyone has figured out how to gain a loyal following on Snapchat, it’s hip-hop artist and producer DJ Khaled. Once a minor figure in the music world, Khaled has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success on the ephemeral photo-sharing app, with each of his snaps garnering over 3 million views on average.

Working with W+K London, Stride Gum launched a Snapchat takeover campaign with Khaled last year to promote their “Mad Intense Gum.” The brand called the takeover “an unpredictable, fun day for all his followers.”

8. Estée Lauder

When the 71-year-old cosmetics company wanted to target and connect with a more youthful audience for its latest spin-off brand, The Estée Edit, they turned to the second-youngest member of the Kardashian clan, Kendall Jenner.

Jenner, who commands an impressive 75.1 million followers on Instagram, collaborated with the beauty brand to develop an “edited” collection of 82 essential makeup and skin-care products. She promoted the brand on her personal Instagram, and appears in posts on the official Estée Edit Instagram account sharing makeup tips using her favorite products from the line.

9. Hallmark

To promote its holiday 2016 collection of keepsake ornaments, Hallmark partnered with a number of family-friendly Instagram influencers to share personal, tender moments from their families’ holiday season.

Using the hashtag #KeepsakeIt, the influencers offered their followers candid glimpses into their family holiday traditions, along with a link for users to purchase one of their own keepsake ornaments.

10. Loeffler Randall

High-end accessory and footwear brand Loeffler Randall has become a favorite among artists, bloggers, and fashion insiders, thanks in big part to the company’s commitment to involving social media influencers in their marketing campaigns.

The brand’s “LR Ambassadors” include a diverse group of writers, painters, florists and other creative businesswomen “leading dynamic lives.” In the brand’s own words, their LR Ambassadors are “cool girls doing cool things.”

In addition to profiling their LR Ambassadors on the company blog, Loeffler Randall shares pictures of their ambassadors wearing LR shoes and accessories on Instagram, using the hashtag #LRambassador.

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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