Is the future designed by printers?

3D printing in Germany is close to the breakthrough

©fdecomite/flickr.com

©fdecomite/flickr.com

Digital technologies like 3D printing are about to achieve the breakthrough in Germany. This is the result of a representative survey among companies on behalf of the digital association Bitkom. So far, only 5 percent of the German companies use 3D printing. However, 20 percent plan or discuss using it in future. In the production industry, the percentage is even higher – 16 percent already use 3D printing technologies and additional 40 percent plan its usage.

What is 3D printing?

Under the term 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) we understand a variety of technologies that use additive processes. In such a process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. The processes work according to multiple different principles and are only suitable for special materials. What they all have in common is that they build three-dimensional objects while applying thin layers and solidifying them.

What are the advantages of these processes?

Supporters of 3D printing expect cost savings compared to mass production in terms of raw materials, staff, transport and energy. Furthermore, traditional technologies are not able to produce the 3D honeycomb structures, because these are light and solid forms with hollows. Many forms like this could not be produced with drilling or injection molding. In addition, 3D printing can be used very well for producing goods with a certain level of customization.

Who is 3D printing for?

3D printing provides a multitude of possibilities. Nowadays, its usage in the manufacturing industry is as common as personal 3D printing. According to this, the variety of 3D printers is extremely large: the price range reaches from millions of euros for expensive models to a couple of hundred euros for cheaper alternatives.

Is this technology revolutionary?

Actually, it isn’t, because 3D printing has been in use for decades. The techniques have already started to influence our daily life. Hearing aids and dentures are produced by 3D printers as well as gas turbines from Siemens or MTU aircraft engines. A prototype from BMW has about 3,000 printed parts. However, these techniques are seen as an extension and not as a substitution technology for mass production.

Why didn’t we hear about 3D printing much earlier?

The media has started to care about this topic relatively late. The public awareness has only been created in the last years. Several high-circulation newspapers and popular magazines as well as the internet report about 3D printing now. Expired patents are the reason why license fees cease and cheaper alternatives are brought to the market who can be used by individuals as well. Due to this, attention-grabbing news and experiments like „Gun produced by 3D printer“, „3D printer for preparation of meals“ or „High-Heels produced by a 3D printer“ emerge. If you want to know how experiments like this look like on YouTube, click here.

Over time, the extensive 3D printing possibilities in the field of medicine have drawn to attention. Since years, regenerative medicine specialists have tried to reproduce living tissues. They want to use 3D printers with various types of cells in the cartridges. Growth factors and supporting substances are supposed to secure the form of the print. Testing on animals was successful but a long-awaited opportunity of applying it to human medicine is still not possible. Intensive efforts of researches to print whole organs provide hope for 11,000 people in Germany. In the US, there are 119,000 candidates for transplants on the national waiting list.

Other researches have already come closer to their visions while working on customized 3D printed prosthetics. The goal is to provide as many affected people with cheap leg and arm prosthetics as possible. The German cyclist Denise Schindler competed with her 3D printed leg prosthetics in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September 2016. Due to the participation in a competitive sport, the prosthetics needed to be extremely resilient and light at the same time. Denise won a silver and bronze medal which shows what is possible with 3D printing technology. Especially stories like that bring the topic even more to public awareness.

3D printing is advancing fast, that is clear. However, experts say that the much-discussed potential technical revolution is uncertain. One of the main difficulties is that the engineers have to cope with the new specifications of the 3D printing technologies. There is a huge wealth of experience about traditional technologies that does not exist for the new technology. Especially in industries that give warranties of ten or twenty years, these experiences are a huge advantage. Even though 3D printing can have huge benefits, this advantage should not be underestimated. Generally, it applies that the more complex a product is, the more difficult and riskier it is to 3D print it. That is why the idea of completely 3D printed cars or planes is still a faraway future vision.

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How can companies use the potential of online videos properly?

©ClemOnojeghuo/unsplash.com

©ClemOnojeghuo/unsplash.com

Social Media is full of videos. Whether we are on the bus on our way to work or on our couch at home, we all like to be entertained by an interesting or funny video for a moment. If we like certain videos in particular, we share them with our friends. Because of this, a video of a kitten fighting with a butterfly on a flower meadow can gain millions of clicks.

According to a survey conducted by the communications consulting agency fischerAppelt AG and the market research institute appinio GmbH, 97 % of respondents between the age of 16 and 50 years watch online videos every day. However, only 20 % stated that they watch videos published by companies regularly.

This raises the question where this difference comes from and why companies can’t realize the enormous potential of online videos.

We generally know that most videos are watched for quick entertainment. The survey confirms this thesis: for 75 % of the respondents the entertainment factor is the most important reason to watch a video. Of course, most of us don’t want to watch the commercials on TV either, so why would we actively choose to watch commercials online? Instead we want to watch something that makes us laugh or think or even something that shows us something new, something we haven’t seen before.

It is not the commercials themselves that scare us off. The famous Super Bowl commercials airing during the halftime of the sporting event proof this. Afterwards, the companies earn millions of clicks on social media because they are known for their creativity. Many similar examples show how large the success potential of branded videos is. It is important to tell a story with the videos in order to surprise, fascinate or entertain the viewers. Therefore, the structure of the video should be designed in a way that keeps the viewers watching until the end of the video, including a beginning, a middle section and an ending that is worth waiting for. The product or brand should not be the center of the video, the message you want to convey to the customers should be the focus. In terms of duration there is no right or wrong. If the story of the video works well, it can even capture the viewer for several minutes. The length should be chosen in a way that the story can be told properly, without prolonging the video unnecessarily or handling it too quickly.

Viewers want to identify themselves with the videos, they want to be reminded of good memories or feel compassion with the story of the video. It is important to know the target audience of the videos in order to create them in a way that the viewers will identify with them. Another popular format are informative videos or tutorials. We all like the feeling of learning something new and that we are spending our time in a useful way.

Furthermore, the videos should be very well thought out. This means they have to be aligned with the marketing mix of the company and match the target group perfectly. This preparation should also be reflected in the high quality of the video. It happens quiet often that low quality videos go viral, but they usually are spontaneous recordings. These appear unprofessional and are usually not suitable for marketing purposes. However, the viewers should not be able to see that the video is thoroughly prepared and scripted, so that the video still seems authentic.

Online videos bear unbelievable potential and can build the basis for an emotional tie between the company or brand and potential customers. Whether the videos actually end up going viral might be up to some luck, but an interesting and well planned video can get the message across to customers in a very authentic way.

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Internet of Things – What happens with our data?

©Crew/unsplash.com

©Crew/unsplash.com

Whether it’s a smart refrigerator, car, or an entire smart home, the Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer just a topic of science fiction stories. Different devices are connected with each other, and make our lives more convenient. While they are at it they collect and save incredible amounts of data. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become part of our everyday lives, sometimes without us noticing.

Technology is developing faster than we can keep up. One day you are excited about your new connected dishwasher which starts automatically, in order to conserve energy, once your laundry is finished. The next day there is a new model that can also open its door on its own.

The huge amounts of data which are collected by our “things” every day are economically interesting for different companies. To most of us this is nothing new, however, we are often surprised when we look at specific examples.

In order to deliver a report about my energy usage at the end of every trip, my car collects data about my driving performance. My location is tracked as well, so I always know where I am, when I look at the display in the center of my dashboard. This data reveals a lot about me, it shows if I drive safely and stick to all the traffic rules, but also, where I shop and how often I stop at a fast food restaurant instead of cooking a healthy meal. My insurance company is highly interested in this information. By evaluating how risky or safely I drive and how healthy I eat, they can determine the price for my insurance or even if they should even take me as a customer at all.

We don’t just give our data out for free. As an exchange for our privacy we get applications and gadgets which make our lives more convenient. But what is the price? Selling our privacy? We hand over our data to companies that can make money off our style of driving, or use our occasional visit at McDonalds as a reason not to ensure us.

One can get the impression that all the concerns about data security are limitations to technical advancement. But many of the possible usages of the data are important to society. In the healthcare sector, the data can help with better insights into certain diseases. Some wearables can measure the blood sugar of a person with diabetes. And even the trackers in my car could come in handy, if my car gets stolen. Because of all these reasons, it is important to find a balance between safe usage of the data and technological advancement. The question is: How?

The difficulties already start when determining to whom the data belongs. Does the data of my car belong to me or the manufacturer? And if it was leased, does the data belong to the bank? Generally there is the right to informational self-determination. However, in the world of IoT it will become difficult to act upon this right the way we used to.

There are three steps to the process of data usage: 1. A device creates the data by measuring something. 2. A centralized system evaluates the data. 3. The data is saved for future use.

Everything we reveal about ourselves on the internet will stay there. Companies can use the data for their purposes, but also unauthorized usage cannot always be prevented.

Being connected to the internet also brings the danger of being hacked. What seems harmless in the case of a smart fridge (who cares about my milk consumption?) can be extremely dangerous in the case of a smart car. It will be up to IT security experts to find solutions for problems like this.

In the long run, it will not be sufficient to solve these problems after they arise. It will become necessary to implement concepts for data security and develop methods for the conservation of privacy. Extensive software tests will be needed to provide safety for users. On top of that, continuous updates will be required to maintain safety while new developments arise. At the end, there has to be a balance between protection of privacy and data usage.

The age of IoT will raise more questions, weather it is about the legal situation, or the impact on our daily lives. But if we address these problems correctly, we will be able to use smart devices with all the advantages they bring to our lives.

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PR and SEO – A perfect match

©Paloma Gomez/flickr.com

©Paloma Gomez/flickr.com

Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization have more in common than just increasing awareness for a product, an organization or a website. In fact, they both follow the same objective and complement each other perfectly. When investing in a new website, there is no way around spending money and time in SEO nowadays. But why is this the case, and what do both areas have in common?

Content is most important

Journalists expect the same things from our press releases as visitors of a website: meaningful and valuable information for the respective target audience. Therefore, it is not a surprise that content is of upmost importance when it comes to Google rankings. So how do we find out, what kind of content is most interesting for the website users? One of many ways to get an idea is brainstorming, where you think about all the terms that could be searched for, in order to find our products. Another way is to use googles’ autocomplete, where we type in a buzzword to see what has been searched in context with this word.

Relevant and unique content can bring the right visitors to a website. It also enables bloggers and other website operators to use information from the site or link to it. These links can again increase the ranking. But not every link is equally beneficial!

Link Building

SEO, alongside good content, improves a website’s ranking. Well targeted linking can do its part as well. Here, it is important, to set links leading to subpages on your own website. However, it is advisable not to go crazy with it, but using selectively targeted links that lead to further information on the website. Even links to other websites can increase the ranking of your own site; here it is very important so choose the right site. The more trustworthy and popular the site is, the more a link can increase credibility and ranking of your own page. A small blog for example will have less impact than a well-known website.

For us as a PR agency, this means we should incorporate positive reports about our clients in our own content. 😉 Here we would like to thank Marcel Mindemann for the positive comment about our blog!

In order to increase visitor numbers on the websites of our clients, it is always great, when a journalist links to the organization in their online reporting or even mentions the web address in a print issue. Blogger relations and communication about the products and the organization on social media are always a good idea.

You will see how broad the topic can be. When you engage in the topic more, you will also deal with topics like meta tagging, AdWords and many more, but for this article, we will focus on content and link setting. The rest will follow 🙂

Merken

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Work With What You Got: 5 Tips for Repurposing Existing Content

©Duong Tran Quoc/unsplash.com

©Duong Tran Quoc/unsplash.com

What does the idiom “one’s man trash is another man’s treasure” have to do with content marketing?

A lot, as it turns out.

While creating timely, reactive content is valuable in its own right, incorporating repurposed content into your overall strategy is an often overlooked, but valuable, strategy.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, more than half of B2B marketers are concerned with finding better ways to repurpose content, while simultaneously reporting lack of time to create content as a top concern.

With a little dusting off, your strongest pieces of content can continue to have impactful results on your audience, and content that may not have reached your performance expectations can exceed them if published on a different site, in a different format or even at a different time.

Before you begin the repurposing process, check out these quick tips on the basics.

1. Dig through your archives. For the purposes of repurposing, content falls into three categories. The first and most intuitive of the two is your evergreen content. As the name suggests, evergreen content is timeless, sustainable and continually relevant to your readers. Think stories like: “what your financial adviser isn’t telling you,” “top concerns for early retirees” or “tips for getting through an uncomfortable financial conversation.”

On the other end of the spectrum, look for timely, event-hooked content you can speak to further. Perhaps you’ve learned more as an expert on a topic or something has changed in the news since your original post was published. Find content that warrants a conversation and continue it.

Finally, look for your underperformed, lackluster or out-of-date content and brainstorm ways to refresh it. Using these as a starting point saves you both time and resources. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

2. Give your content an SEO makeover. Comb through your selected post, adding targeted keywords and inbound links wherever they fit naturally. It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. And if you choose to republish your work on other sites, you are positioning yourself to receive quality link backs to you site while controlling the anchor text.

New to SEO? Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO includes a super detailed guide to keyword research that explains how to conduct an audit of the most strategic keywords for your audience.

3. Change up your audience. Identify websites that accept contributed posts where your content is relevant and tailor it to this new audience. Publishing content on the same topic in multiple places is a way to gain authority in your space, raising your profile as an expert in your field and an active participant in the larger industry conversation – in addition to the obvious traffic benefits of having more content in more places.

Once you’ve identified a target, set a realistic goal of how many posts you would like to see publish in a certain timeframe and attempt to establish a regular cadence of posts by creating an editorial calendar to guide the narrative of your content. Once you’ve had success with your initial posts, consider reaching out to the editor to explore regular guest author opportunities.

4. Play with presentation. Depending on the subject matter, there are a plethora of ways to repurpose your content, including infographics, videos, slideshows, webinars, email series and podcasts, among others. Evaluate the copy and make a targeted, informed decision on the best mode of presentation for what you’re working with. Consider what formats have performed better than others. Is your audience visual, or are they readers? Can your content be condensed into a skimmable overview, or would it be most impactful in a long-form summary?

5. Strategically repost. While some content marketers consider reposting the same content to the same audience taboo, it can actually be a very effective way to further extend the life of your work.

One quick tip: content shared on Thursdays has the highest number of readers clicking on the link days later, according to Social Media Today. Due to the ephemeral nature of digital content, reposting to reach people in different time zones or at different times of the day can increase engagement without necessarily over-saturating your audience.

The value of incorporating repurposed content into your marketing plan is twofold – it drives traffic and saves time and resources, all without sacrificing value. Naturally, a steady flow of content raises your profile by increasing engagement with your audience and traffic to your site.

You’ve spent time and resources on creating your original content assets. Don’t let them expire.

How does repurposed content fit into your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear your insight and what you’ve experienced.

 

This entry was written by our WorldCom partner Bliss Integrated Communication. The original article can be found here: http://www.blissintegrated.com/2016/01/25/work-with-what-you-got-5-tips-for-repurposing-existing-content/

Posted in Allgemein, Allgemeine PR Infos, Worldcom PR Group | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment