Pubcon kicked off this morning with a keynote by Leo Laporte, who hosts a show called The Tech Guy. He joked about how people don’t like marketers, yet we all market ourselves. The real trick is to market without others realizing it’s marketing. He quoted Edward Bernays, a founder of public relations. Bernays thought that you could convince people psychologially (advertising). So marketers aren’t popular because they’re seen as tricksters, but the reality is that we must market ourselves.
Leo came from a broadcast background and worked at Tech TV. Tech TV was focused on the niche of geeks and technology, but it was too niche at the time. So they expanded he programming and diluted the programming,eventually going under. He tried to make the case for staying focused on tech, but his boss said to him:
“Brand is the refuge of the ignorant.” Maybe we need a new way of reaching people that doesn’t treat them like morons. Instead, at Twit, the advertisers had to treat the audience as equals and peers. They created a viable business by reaching a very niche audience. Instead of building a passive audience they are building a group that engages with them. They applied he same concept George Lucas uses — similar content with many points of entry. You can read a book, view a movie, etc. to enter the Star Wars Story. The same is true with Twit. Give them ways to engage with multiple ways. The audience ends up doing he work for you because they share and put the content in other forms too. They keep a very targeted focus with a very targeted audience which fosters participation.