The grab bag post makes its 2018 debut.
For new readers, this is where I take three shards of content that by themselves can’t carry a story and bundle them together in one post.
Can a HK Daily Become an International Read?
When Jack Ma and Alibaba plucked down $266M at the end of 2015 for the South China Morning Post, the vision for the media property expanded the playing field from Hong Kong to rest of the world. Specifically, Ma saw an opportunity for the SCMP to serve as an international source for all things China.
He reasoned that the world’s interest in China was surely going to increase over time. Yet, the only ongoing information on China available to Westerners came from publications based in the West that inevitably looked at China through a Western lens. As he shared in an interview a few months after the acquisition:
“Sometimes, people look at things purely from a Western or an Eastern perspective — that is one-sided. What the Post can do is to understand the big ‘why’ behind a story and its cultural context.”
Whether you agree or disagree that the SCMP is delivering on the proposition more than two years since the acquisition, the marketing behind the paper’s global aspirations has kicked into gear with one campaign spoke devoted to sponsored content.
No surprise, the sponsored content focuses on China. What is somewhat ironic is a narrative evangelizing the wonders of globalization and free trade coming from president of China. That should be worth a few extra clicks.
Levity in Communications
I consider “levity” the killer app in business communications. There’s no better way to snag an audience’s attention in an environment with more clutter than Aunt Bea’s living room.
And if there was ever going to be the right time to try out this levity thing, it would be on April 1; hence, this tweet from Elon Musk on April Fool’s Day (h/t to Jared Haube who highlighted the tweet to me).
Yet, the tweet triggered quite a ruckus among journalists, Wall Streeters and my fellow communication sisters/brothers. The Washington Post ran the story, “Elon Musk’s April Fools’ Tweets Were ‘Not a Joking Matter’ Experts Say.”
My three cents —
Can we all stop taking ourselves so seriously for one day each year? If Mr. Musk wants to try to channel Jimmy Fallon on April 1, I’m OK with it.
I just wish he turned on his spellchecker.
Fortune’s Unwarranted PR Attack on Woz
Naturally, Fortune devoted a fair amount of real estate to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress.
But the decision to take a dull pitchfork to Steve Wozniak surprised me:
And never one to miss an opportunity for free publicity, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he’s leaving the service, too. Facebook’s profits come from users sharing their personal information, “but the users get none of the profits back,” the Woz tells USA Today in a surprisingly socialist take.
I can handle the socialist barb (and USA Today makes Fortune’s reading list), but Adam Lashinsky, executive editor at Fortune, crossed the line in calling out Wozniak for liking free publicity.
And does the data even support the Fortune attack on Mr. Wozniak’s affinity for being in the press?
Our crack research team drilled into the Factiva database and came back with 1,179 mentions of Steve Wozniak in stories in 2017. For context, Fortune’s poster child for capitalism, Warren Buffett, appeared in 20,059, but no one is accusing Warren of pigging out at the media trough.
Even more revealing, check out the trending data.
Last year found the fewest stories mentioning Steve Wozniak in the last five years.
In fact, contrary to Lashinsky’s acerbic words, the data suggests he actually does miss opportunities for free publicity (said the PR guy with tongue lodged firmly in cheek).