CNW Goes Big On Twitter

CNW Group has always been committed to getting our clients' news in front of journalists and the media. For years, the only way to really do this was via the news wire. When fax machines became an accepted way to send and receive news and information, CNW Group embraced that technology to reach members of the media. Similarly, when email became a popular form of communication, CNW offered interested parties the ability to subscribe to our clients' news via portfolio email. The same, too with our categorized RSS feeds. The point is that as technology has changed, CNW Group has changed with it in order to make it as easy as possible for both members of the media and the general public to get news and information from our clients.

That's why I'm excited to announce that we've officially launched hundreds of unique Twitter accountsto distribute our clients' news over Twitter. The accounts are based on our existing news categories, and all releases posted on our website and over the wire will also go out on anywhere from one to four of these accounts (depending on how the release is categorized).

By breaking the news into these seperate categories, we're making it easy for interested parties, be they members of the media or the general public, to find and follow the type of news they are interested in. Similarly, by offering news via the traditional wire, by fax, by email, by RSS and now by Twitter we are making it as easy as possible for people to get news from us.

Read the official news release from CNW Group about this, or check out the full list of accounts at


(note: Although I am an employee of CNW Group this post, like all my posts on BlogCampaigning, reflects only my own personal views and opinions and not those of my employer)

Dear HypeMachine (a letter to anyone involved in mass email for marketing or newsletters)

Dear HypeMachine, I've been a huge fan of your site for a while now. You're an amazing resource when it comes to finding new music, and ever since you included my music blog in your listings, traffic to it has quadrupled.

When I first signed up to be a member of your site, you asked for my email address. A lot of sites do this. In fact, most sites do this.

Most sites then send you weekly updates, monthly reminders and invites to events that you don't care about or are nowhere near you (I believe the correct term for this type of stuff is "Bacn"). HypeMachine doesn't. In fact, I think this is one of the first I've gotten from you:


# NEWS: We want your Top 10 Albums Music Blog Zeitgeist 2008 is coming in December, and we need your Top 10 Albums. Open to anybody with a blog, enter the link to your blog post and what CDs you picked to be included:

# NEWS: Profile Customization Now you can add a photo, website, & set your location. How: Click settings in the toolbar

# MUSIC: 5 tracks YOUR friends are obsessed with Play All:

# MUSIC: Hottest 3 artists right now 1. Deerhunter: 2. Kanye West: 3. Cut Copy:

# BLOGS: Latest 3 music blogs added 1. New Rave gone wrong: 2. 88 Days In My Veins: 3. The Laundromatinee:

# BLOGS: Hottest 3 music blogs right now 1. Popdose: 2. Metaphor: 3. music is art:

---- <3 The Hype Machine Team (Anthony, Taylor, Zoya, Scott, & Mati)

We make these newsletters for you. Want to see something else added? Let us know: Unsubscribe:

No heavy graphics or lengthy blocks of text - you guys want the simple route. With just a quick glance, I can get the gist of what your news is.

This is probably way more effective than long paragraphs that most readers will probably just skim anyways. Its also easy to read on mobile devices, and its actually worth reading. Not only is it giving me news about your site, but it is also fun in that it gives me some info on the top music.

Not every site or company has something as interesting as top music lists to share with their readers, but surely they can put something interesting. In that case, they could take the time to publicly thank their top customers or users. Or they could provide brief stats or numbers about their industry - people love lists, too.

But you already know that, HypeMachine. A lot of people can probably learn from you.

Keep up the great work on all fronts.


Parker Mason

PS: if you ever get another wordy, graphically-rich marketing email from someone: send them yours and tell them I said it was awesome.

PPS: iStudio's annual Christmas card is an exception to the simplicity-is-best rule, but that's because they are so damn clever. After being fortunate enough to see it last year, it was actually one of the things I was looking forward to the most this holiday season. Check it out at

Subscription by Email and an Apology

BlogCampaigning by Email

Sometimes in technology-saturated lives that Jens and I live in, we forget that not every one subscribes to RSS feeds, uses an RSS reader or even knows what RSS is.

When we redesigned the blog, I made a conscious effort to remove the ability to subscribe to BlogCampaigning via email.

Unfortunately, this left out some of our readers, including my mom.
In doing so, we learnt the harsh lesson that you should always make sure your content is accessble by the greatest number of people.

Sorry, mommy. You can sign up using the link near the top right. And we're still offering the same red-hot RSS feed that we always did, along with the ability to get updates from Jens and Parker via Twitter.


PR Spam

While checking my RSS feeds today, I couldn't help but notice the interesting contrast between this post by B.L. Ochman detailing the recent "trip to e-mail hell" as a result of a mass mailing sent out by PR Week Magazine and this post by Rich at Copywrite, Ink. about a report from the Direct Marketing Association saying that direct e-mail is one of the marketers most successful tools and results in a high return on investment (approximately $45 for every dollar spent). The high returns probably don't take into account the cost of paying for computer support for nearly everyone on the mailing list as a result of problems faced

The high return on investment probably also doesn't take into account the thought that for every customer that responds positively to the mailing there are probably five more that become annoyed with your brand.  As Rich writes, "while more than 70 percent of marketers said they intend to use e-mail to enhance consumers relationships, one wonders if consumers share their point of view."


Blog Campaiging: 4.1 Measuring effects: Does web-campaigning win votes?

4.1 Measuring effects: Does web-campaigning win votes?

Studies attempting to measure the effects of web based campaigning are limited and the evidence that has emerged is mixed (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 5).

Conducting one of the earliest analyses of the effects of web-campaigning D’Alessio found that websites had a strong effect on votes during the 1996 U.S. congressional election (Gibson & McAllister 2005, pp. 5-6). D’Alessio found that “a website provided a candidate with an additional 9,300 votes, after controlling for party affiliation and incumbency” (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 5). However, sceptical of his own findings D’Alessio (1997, p. 498) argued that: “it seems very unlikely that each candidate’s web site inspired 9,300 (on the average) additional people to vote for that candidate”. He argues that it is more likely that (1) “Use of a web site may be an indication of the candidate's use of any of a wide variety of alternative methods of campaigning. That is, posting a Web site is one element of an entire suite of strategies employed by the candidate, the sum of whose payoffs is subsumed under the main effect for having a Web site in this analysis”, (2) “The Web site might not have induced people to change their votes (or convert) but instead may have inspired a number of people to vote who otherwise would not have”, and (3) “rather than the establishment of a Web site (or associated activities) leading to extra votes, instead candidates may establish Web sites in part as a result of opinion poll position” (D’Alessio 1997, p. 498).

The impact of web-campaigning has also been explained by a general growth in the audience seeking news and information online (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 6). Several reports suggest that the number of people seeking news on the Internet, particularly when it comes to information about political campaigns, has grown significantly in the last few years (Williams et al. 2005, p. 177). A multivariate analysis performed by Farnsworth and Owen found that online news and information had a significant effect on people’s voter decisions in the 2000 U.S. presidential election (in Gibson & McAlister 2005, p. 7). Bimber and David came to the opposite view when they applied a more sophisticated multivariate analysis to the 2000 U.S. presidential election. The authors examined the impact of candidate websites on individuals’ levels of knowledge, positive or negative feelings and voting behaviour and found that “most people were not affected by what they viewed online, particularly in terms of being mobilised to vote” (Gibson & McAllister 2005, pp. 7-8). Analysing the 2001 and 2004 Australian federal election, Gibson and McAllister (2005, p. 16) found support for a hypothesis suggesting that the use of websites has a strong effect on people’s voting decision.

“Our results reveal support for the proposition that a web campaign is an integral part of securing victory in an election” (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 16).

Gibson and McAllister found that:

“Candidates who maintained a web page increased their first preference vote by just over 4 percent, net of individual and party resources, party membership and other aspects of campaigning” (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 13).

The study concluded that the importance of having a website was only superseded by incumbency and party membership. However, Gibson and McAllister (2005, p. 17) argue that as the use of the web and email in campaigns becomes more mainstream one might see this effect become less profound.

It is clear that studies focusing on the effects of the web on the political process are in the same inconclusive state as Bartels (1993) and Berelson (in Diamond & Bates 1984) find the research in the “media effects” area to be. Some studies have found that electioneering via the Internet has “minimal effects” on people’s voting behaviour; other have found it to have “strong effects”. Some are sceptical of their own findings while some see the effects become less profound as the Internet becomes a more mainstream electioneering tool. Perhaps it is D’Alessio’s (1997) alternative explanations that so far give us the most comprehensive idea of the impact the Internet has on the political process. Even so, the inconclusive state of research on the subject clearly demonstrates an urgent need for more research to be carried out in the near future. Today the web plays a crucial part in any political campaign. We therefore need to ask which aspects about blogs can impact voter decisions, and whether previous attempts of identifying the relationship between web-campaigning and voter decisions also can be used to test the impact of blogs on contemporary elections. Furthermore, we need to ask which aspects of blogs, not before considered, can have an impact on political campaigns and help change the outcome of an election.