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Civilian Helicopters: the most under served AeroSpace sector for online news and information? September 12, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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Civil Helicopter Aviation is booming. A recent study by Visiongain has determined that the value of the global civil helicopter market in 2014 will reach B$7.4 up from B$2 just six years ago. FlightGlobal Ascend predicts that the total in-service fleet will grow to over 28,000 helicopters by 2024. Yet, when it comes to online news and information for this sector, there is a big void on the internet.

CIVIL HELICOPTER COMMUNITY ABANDONED BY TRADITIONAL MEDIA?

Out of the three major Aerospace media publishers, AINOnline is the only one that offers a specific rotorcraft channel on its website. AviationWeek and FlightGlobal report helicopter news in their civil aviation section, mixed with all the other news. FlightGlobal used to have a dedicated website section and even a Twitter feed (@FG_Helicopters), but they abandoned it in 2013 even though they had over 3000 followers.
The main helicopter magazines have attempted to transition online but with mixed results. The statistics for the top sources of online news for this segment both in terms of unique visitors to their websites, as well as number of followers on Twitter, are very low. The best positioned in terms of followers is Rotor And Wing magazine with over 10,000 followers. HeliHubIt is interesting to note the success of HeliHub.com, a pure online news site from the UK, run by Jeremy Parkin out of his home with the collaboration of a network of #AvGeeks from around the world. The site has quickly signed up over 5000 followers and boasts the best daily average of unique visitor of all the online sources. But if you compare the top three helicopter news sites on Twitter, you realize that they overlap significantly, accounting for less than 15,000 unique followers.

HeliReportTopNews[Click to Enlarge]

TOO FEW HELICOPTER PROFESSIONAL ONLINE?

Critics in media organizations might say that there is not much of an audience for helicopter news online. First of all, I proved that there was a need for helicopter online news with the stunt I pulled during HeliExpo 2010. Second, the online audience can be found when you look at the website traffic and twitter followers of the major Helicopter manufacturers. The top three companies account for a total of 55,000 unique followers on Twitter. As the comparison below shows, over 21000 of Airbus Helicopters’s followers do not get either Rotor and Wing nor Vertical Magazine’s twitter feeds.

HeliReportReaders[Click to Enlarge]

The people of the industry are online, but they are going straight to the manufacturers to get information and news.

NO LEADERSHIP FROM HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL (HAI)?

I think that leadership is gravely lacking when it comes to improve the civil helicopter industry using the web. Unfortunately, the main industry association (HAI), organizer of the largest helicopter event in the world (HeliExpo is attended by 20,000 visitors), continues to lack motivation, direction, and expertise in this area. Their own online presence is amateurish compared to other aerospace association (e.g. @NBAA) resulting in dismal online statistics (they have three different twitter handles reaching just 3000 unique followers combined).

HAI owes it to the industry to get its house in order and become a modern association. Beyond leading by example, HAI should also do three things immediately:

  1. Create an industry hashtag, as THERE IS NONE RIGH NOW!!!! (Here is why this is important). Once it is created, promote the hashtag with news organization and companies to create a real “channel” online.
  2. Create an Online Industry sub-committee to create and promote best online practices, gather requirements, and propose solutions.
  3. Inventory and promote the various source of news and information online and offer easy access to it for members of the industry (e.g. link page, twitter list, etc…)

I would love to hear your opinion on this subject, as well as suggestions for other actions that could be taken. Feel free to leave your comments below or contact me directly.



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Over 15,000 followers in 10 months – AirLiveNet fills up the Commercial Aviation Breaking News gap September 4, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, Social Media, Twitter.
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Hot vs Cold NewsI have been saying for several years that the way our industry shares news online is antiquated compared to the mainstream media and the specialized news of other industries. After decades of printing “cold news” on a weekly and monthly basis, the main AeroSpace and Defense media organizations have yet to fully adapt to the online world of “hot news”. Although organizations such as AviationWeek have made great strides in trying to report industry news as it happens, it is mostly left to the personal initiative of their journalists to write up and post breaking news online. Unfortunately, such task is not their top priority and often if an incident does not happen during normal business hours it does not get reported until much later or not at all.

Yet, most general media from CNN, to BBC News, to local News will cover any airline or airports incidents or breaking news immediately. Unfortunately, the stories often end up in the hands of unqualified journalist with disastrous consequences when it comes to accuracy or relevancy. Without the counter balance of the specialized media reporting accurate/corrected information immediately, it opens up a gap in breaking news coverage, particularly in the domain commercial aviation.

AirLiveNet, the online source for commercial aviation breaking news

@AirLiveNet started to pick up a following during the #MH370 events, and maintained its presence through the succession of major commercial aviation news of the last few months (#MH17, #AH5017, #Bardarbunga). The focus, timeliness and accuracy of AirLiveNet tweets is definitely its competitive advantage. They only report on commercial aviation “hot news” especially incidents; no distractions, no fillers, no cold news. They are usually the first to report a flight emergency, route diversion, airport incident, or squawking anomaly. They usually back it up with accurate flight radar data, correct airplane pictures, and often photos and videos from the scene. How successful have they been in the 10 months since their launch? They now have over 15,600 followers. That is over 3000 more followers than @AINonline!

@AirLiveNet

So who is behind this success and what are their plans?

I tracked down and interviewed the site owner to find out more. “Seb” is a self declared #AvGeek who resides in Paris, France. He launched the site at the end of last year to “fill the gap” in commercial aviation news. Seb said: “I thought that with tools like flightradar24 and other sophisticated internet search engines, individuals with even limited knowledge of the commercial aviation business could probably do a decent job in providing breaking news information online. I felt that we could do it more accurately than the general media, and more quickly than the specialized aviation media.” He excitedly retells the story of the coverage of the Air Algeria #AH5017 crash in August. They were the first ones to report the actual flight number and last known flight path of the airplane. They continued the coverage minute-by-minute, and when a french television station had the first video of the crash site, relayed from a Mali Army briefing, they were the first ones to put it out on twitter.

Seb started AirLiveNet as a “hobby” with a simple twitter feed and a blog page to store the referenced information he posted. He set up the right reporting in flightradar24 and other flight tracking sites, and built several “search robots” to alert him of any incident in real time. When asked about the breadth of coverage available on AirLiveNet, he explains: “I was quickly joined by other volunteers who offered to help curate the alerts and feed the site, providing us with a round-the-clock coverage of the industry.” AirLiveNet is now a network of about 5 volunteers spread out geographically. In addition, a number of local news organizations are sending them information directly. “A real indication of the service we provide is when last weekend, for example, a local Norwegian news outfit sent us the video of an emergency landing in Oslo right after it happened”, said Seb.

AirLiveNet follows in the footsteps of @NYCAviation, another “grass root” aviation news site that started as a plane spotting publication focused on New York City in 2003. It now has over 38,000 followers. Although less focused on commercial aviation than AirLiveNet, NYCAviation (motto: “serving airborne amazingness from around the world”) frequently breaks aviation news stories ahead of any other outlets. The site is now an advertising-based commercial site that provides consulting and expert TV appearances to major news organizations. NYCAviation also sees its editorial content regularly referenced in, or syndicated out to traditional media outlets.

When asked about the future of AirLiveNet, Seb explains: “I would like to grow my network of volunteers to augment the geographic coverage we provide, particularly in North America. I do not have plans to turn AirLiveNet into a full commercial venture for the moment. The general banner ads currently on the site basically cover the small hosting and application license costs, but with 15,000 followers in such a short time, I am starting to wonder if we have unintentionally created a real business.”

AirLiveNet and NYCAviation are definitely teaching a lesson in “hot news” reporting for our industry. If the major aviation news organizations will not staff round-the-clock breaking news networks, they will need to syndicate this kind of content or face increasing competition for audience and recognition. Online breaking news coverage is an entirely new world and you cannot just “evolve” into it. As AirLiveNet is proving, you probably need to be born from it.



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After success of first edition, AviationWeek launches new TweetUp at MRO Europe August 26, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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It is now undeniable that Twitter has finally gained ground in the Aerospace industry. Recent statistics show that all the major players, news organizations and government agencies have taken to the medium to increase communication velocity and strengthen collaboration. Ideas sharing on such an open forum, with the proper use of hashtags of course, can lead to connections, conversations, and collaborations with companies and indeed people you have never met or didn’t even know existed. But to many seasoned professionals, this feels a bit “disembodied” compared to the traditional way of doing business. That is where a TweetUp can help.

#MROTweetUpA tweetup is an organized, in-person gathering of people on Twitter. The word tweetup is an amalgamation of the words “tweet” and “meetup”. TweetUps have become an integral part of today’s social business climate. The usual reason for a tweetup is to gather people with the same interests to share ideas and make friends in person and strengthen personal networks.

In aerospace, TweetUps were pioneered most successfully by NASA who started them as early as 2009. These events provided guests with VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers with the goal of leveraging participants’ social networks to further the outreach requirements of NASA. They have held over 80 events, resulting in in a massive growth in @NASA followers, standing currently well over 7.3 Million!

The MRO sector of Aerospace was a pioneer in the use of Twitter, with #AVMRO one of the first specific topic established in the industry. AviationWeek has promoted the use of Twitter for a long time at its MRO events (See report from April 2009 – “Use of Twitter takes off at MRO Americas”) and it is a natural evolution for them to organize TweetUps around these gatherings.

The first event was held at the MRO Americas in April and was attended by 50 people. Honeywell presented “Four Tips To Boost Social Media Presence At A Trade Show” which was very well received. Based on this success, AviationWeek’s @MROTweetUp has created a new event for the MRO Europe show coming up in October in Spain (#MROE). Jean-Vincent Reymondon, Airbus Group’s social media manager (@AirbusGroup), will be the featured speaker at the event.

So if you are going to the show, or will be watching from afar, if you are an expert in social business, or a novice at Twitter, you ought to participate to this event, as it will definitely give you an insight as how MRO business will be conducted by the new generation or professionals.



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My Favorite Tweets from National Aviation Day 2014 August 20, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Social Media, Twitter.
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August 19th is National Aviation Day in the USA. Thank you “Captain Obvious” for telling us the significance of this day:

The National Aviation Day (August 19) is a United States national observation that celebrates the development of aviation. #AvDay ✈️

— Brooke Renea Eason (@TNkindaGirl) August 19, 2014

Wow, how insightful! In fact, it was established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in 1935 on the occasion of Orville Wright’s birthday (He was 64 years old at the time and still alive). FDR was in fact the first sitting president that had an airplane as the Washington Post mentioned in their #AvDay post.

President Eisenhower had a pretty sick plane. The time pre-Air Force One: http://t.co/fGdhM5eeol

Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 19, 2014

As the day unfolded on Twitter, I felt very proud of being part of this industry. Thousands of people took to the medium to celebrate their love of aviation by posting inspiring quotes, memories and pictures. Here are some of my favorites.

@NYCAviation was one of the most active accounts all day and posted the best quote:

avday quote

And the love for Aviation from #AvGeeks kept coming all day long with some great original quotes.

#AvDay aviation to me means freedom, great views, & indulgence in the most technical of pursuits. I'm a gearhead & it's right up my alley.

Slav Inger (@slavinger) August 19, 2014

My love for #aviation started as a little kid gazing up at the sky every time an airplane flew over, happy! #avday

Adam Salyer (@AdamSalyer) August 19, 2014

Aviation is proof that given the knowledge and passion, we can build beautiful machines capable of defying gravity and our orbit #AvDay

Cooper Harrison (@Cooper_Harrison) August 19, 2014

You can go anywhere in the world in hours while hurtling thru the sky at 500 mph. Think about that and tell me aviation isn’t awesome. #AvDay

Jordan Boddie (@Runway1R) August 19, 2014

Aviation is an incredible career with incredible people, doing incredible things in incredible places. #avday

John Walton (@thatjohn) August 19, 2014

Many organizations joined the celebration. Most of the US Aviation Museums posted, joined by many aviation companies, and several branches of government.

For #NationalAviationDay, we give you #uscg flying dinosaur Senior Chief Peter MacDougall http://t.co/nubijBaDGr

USCG (Official) (@USCG) August 19, 2014

Flying is a dream we're proud to have played a part in making a reality. Happy #AviationDay! #avgeek http://t.co/05vZLQSTng

Bombardier Aerospace (@Bombardier_Aero) August 19, 2014

“If birds can glide for long periods of time, then…why can’t I?” – Orville Wright #NationalAviationDay

Sentient Jet (@SentientJet) August 19, 2014

We're so excited and we just can't hide it. Happy National Aviation Day to all our US followers!

Lufthansa (@lufthansa) August 19, 2014

Tour our virtual museum for aviation milestones from the past 100 years: http://t.co/xxcQ13hcEG #nationalaviationday

Honeywell Aerospace (@Honeywell_Aero) August 19, 2014

Happy #nationalaviationday! 100+ years of setting the #aviation bar wouldn't be possible w/o our dedicated employees.

Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) August 19, 2014

My only disappointment was that the industry press did not really take advantage of this day for self-reflection or promotion. @ATWonline, @AINonline and @FlightGlobal did not even mention the day. A couple of the staff members from @AviationWeek did, but this post from their Social Media Director in response to Jon Ostrower of Wall Street Journal seems to reflect the general mood:

24-7-365 RT @jonostrower: RT @AvWeekRupa: What happens on National Aviation Day? // We write, think about aviation. Today is Groundhog Day.

Rupa Haria ✈ (@AvWeekRupa) August 19, 2014

Or perhaps, there is something more sinister at work, as mentioned in this Royal Aeronautical Society post:

"First rule of National Aviation Day – we don't talk about National Aviation Day."

Tim Robinson (@RAeSTimR) August 19, 2014

In any case, I hope your National Aviation Day was a great one. Did you see other posts or pictures that I should have mentioned in here? Please feel free to post links in the comments below.


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LABACE #FAIL: Three Reasons Aviation Exhibition Organizers Can No Longer Ignore Twitter August 14, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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This week’s Latin America Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition has provided another poignant illustration of the de-facto use of Twitter in the aviation industry. As South America is one of the fastest growing markets for business aviation, all the major industry players and news outfits took to Twitter to share their news from and about the show: @AugustaWestland, @AVFuel, @Beechcraft, @Bombardier_Aero, @Cessna, @DallasAirmotive, @DassaultFalcon, @DuncanAviation, @GulfstreamAero, @Honeywell_Aero, @NBAA, @One_Bell (Bell Helicopters), @RockwellCollins, and @Turbomeca, as well as, @AINonline, @ASDNewsCom, @AviationToday, @FlightCorporate, and @FlightGlobal. In total, several hundred accounts tweeted about LABACE.

labaceBut what the organizers failed to do was to organize, feed and manage this Twitter channel. As a result, messages were posted in three different streams (#LABACE, #LABACE14, and #LABACE2014) or without any hashtags, making it impossible to isolate a channel for the show on Twitter. In addition, there was no direct voice from the organizers (even though they had a Twitter account back in 2011). Finally they failed to create buzz about this very important business aviation event before, during or after the show. It should not have been complicated for the organizers to figure out what to do, as their middle east (@MEBA) and european conterparts (@EBACE) are doing a great job with their respective shows.

THREE REASONS ORGANIZERS CAN NO LONGER IGNORE TWITTER:

  1. Exhibitors, visitors and the press are tweeting about your show: As Farnborough has shown, aviation companies are now using Twitter as a main stream communication tool. It is no longer possible to think that Twitter will not be used at your show. This is why it it important to do two things: 1) establish a Twitter account for the show, and 2) create a hashtag for the event. The hashtag will allow you to establish a “channel” on Twitter which will be easy for everyone to use and follow. When choosing a hashtag, make sure it is not too long and is not already used for something else. Also, it is not necessary to incorporate the year into the hashtag as Twitter archives can easily be filtered by date. With the Twitter account, start interacting with the exhibitors early and promote the hashtag with them, the press and on the event website. Also, don’t forget to submit it to this hashtag event list page.
  2. Not everyone can be physically at the show: Your target audience is much larger than the relatively few that will be able to travel to the event. Remote users will leverage the power of Twitter to follow the show and in turn help their case for traveling to the next one, or at least help with its promotion in the industry. Twitter is like an infinite mailing list and you never know who might be interested in your event. But with Twitter, there is a better chance they will find out about you.
  3. You must manage your own buzz: Professionals following you or our hashtag on Twitter should feel that they are missing out by not being at the show. This is how you create buzz. Start by posting information early (e.g. registration volumes, major exhibitor participation, press coverage). During the show, post pictures, video recaps and other “behind the scenes” information that would not be found elsewhere. After the show, thank the visitors and exhibitors, recap how great the show was, and prepare for the next event.

This work does not need to be intensive or costly, but is no longer optional. If show organizers cannot do it themselves, they can certainly hire a contractor on a temporary basis to help them with their online/twitter presence. (Full disclosure: This is a service I provide). I look forward to seeing more use of Twitter and innovative online marketings around the virtual side of the physical aviation events.

Have you seen good examples of aviation show organizers user Twitter or failing to do so? Please start a discussion below with your comments.



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No HASHTAGs in your #Aerospace tweets? Three Reasons to Reconsider August 13, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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As the statistics for the recent Farnborough air show demonstrated, the aerospace industry is finally warming up to direct online communication using Twitter. But as companies activate their accounts, many don’t seem to bother learning how to use this tool effectively. In particular, I am shocked at how many professionals misuse or simply don’t use hashtags in their tweets.

HashtagWhat is a “hashtag” anyway? Well beyond its technical definition, or this great guide for beginners, hashtags are a way for your tweets to reach people that do not necessarily follow you. This is particularly important for small companies or any aerospace company just starting on Twitter. At the beginning, no one knows your company is one of the over 230 millions accounts on Twitter. The chances that people you want to talk to follow you are very slim. Hashtag are a way to “tag” your tweets with a particular topic so that people interested in these topics will see your posts.

THREE REASONS TO USE HASHTAGS IN AEROSPACE

  1. TRADE SHOWS: Most of the aerospace events will select a hashtag to facilitate online communication. For example, Farnborough used #FIA14, and the upcoming MRO Europe show will use #MROE. You can find a list of all the major aerospace event hashtags on this dedicated page. If you want to participate in the conversation and reach people that are interested in the show, you MUST include these hashtags in your posts. I was surprised to see major news and corporate organizations posting at a recent show WITHOUT the hashtag. I don’t know why they even bothered as what they posted was missed by the majority of people interested in the show.
  2. AREA OF EXPERTISE OR INTEREST: It is important to try to have at least one hashtag in every tweet you post. But the tags have to be relevant and meaningful. For example, the tag #AVMRO has been used consistently to identify posts related to aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul. You can find a list of the most common aerospace topical hashtags on this dedicated page. What if you have a topic for which there is no hashtag? Well, feel free to make one up. Search Twitter to make sure it is not already in use, and then start posting it consistently. You can add it to this list, and it will start to spread slowly. You can also use some “flavor” hashtags to punctuate your tweets. For example, #AVgeek or #FAIL are popular tags to put at the end of a tweet to indicate, respectively, a post that aviation lovers will dig or something that should not have happened. Finally, the tag #FF (for Follow Friday) appears every Friday to suggest accounts worth following. It is used with a list of accounts and usually a reason or topic for the recommendation.
  3. NEWS TOPICS: as opposed to the hashtags above that are more “permanent”, sometimes there will be news items or topics that are generating online conversations relevant for a few days or weeks. A recent example was the destruction of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft over Ukraine. Discussion around this subject, which reached way outside of the aerospace industry, was tagged with #MH17 after the aircraft call sign on that flight. If you have something to contribute to this conversation, you MUST use the hashtag to be heard.

In conclusion, please always use at least one hashtag when you post on Twitter. The only exception would be if you post something directly addressed at your followers, a specific user or a group of users. It is OK to replace words by hashtags to save characters, but it is NOT OK to overuse hashtags for no good reason.

Do you have questions or comments about the use of hashtags in aerospace or in general? Please feel free to start a discussion below.



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How to effectively add Blogs and Twitter to your existing Website August 7, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter.
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Several marketing executives from small to medium aerospace companies have recently asked me how to combine multiple internet communication channels most effectively. Most companies have an official “classic” and established website but find it difficult to integrate blogs and micro-blogs (Twitter) effectively with it. Most of them have simply added two “appendages” to their homepage: a blog section and a link to their Twitter account. Without coordination and planning, this inevitably creates a three-headed communication monster.

But it does not have to be. The way I see it, the three channels represent an information pyramid with Twitter at the top, blogs in the middle and websites at the bottom. Here is how each element fits in this model:

  • Website: This is your reference library. This is the “big bucket” of information about your business. It contains practical information (contact, eServices login, support, events) which will be the most accessed. It also contains reference information (solutions description, customer testimonials, press releases, documentation, white papers) that can be voluminous. Even though it will hopefully have a basic navigation and search feature, the website will still be too massive and intertwined to be useable directly by your curious/novice prospects.

    Take for example the Crane Aerospace website: they make a (very cool) tire pressure monitoring system called SmartStem. This system is both used in commercial and business aviation, is a landing gear system and a sensing system, and has a unique brand. A search for “Tire Pressure” on the site returns 50 hits. In these days of information overload, chances that someone will dial-up their homepage and start sifting to the many reference pages, navigation menus, and search results is very slim. Prospects will need a reason to get there and have a pre-existing functional interest. For example in this case, extended tire life and safety. That is why well tagged/keyworded reference pages will get visitors from the main search engines: Google “Tire pressure Business Aviation” and SmartStem pops up as top choice, but search for “Tire Life Extension Aviation” and the results get fuzzier.

    This means that today, it is more likely someone will type a query and then jump into the middle of your website rather than come through the home page. But competing for attention based on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more an art than a science. A good website should be organized like a good library (or Wikipedia). Start from any point and navigate through related information, subjects and keywords (even to external sources like a good article about your product). It should answer questions like: what are the advantages of the product, what are other people saying about it, and at what trade show can I see it?

    However, some prospects will still come to your home page to see “what is going on” with your company. They are not coming to “watch a commercial”, but rather find some thought leadership, strategic direction and news about your company. And these days, the best way to convey this information is through blogs.
  • Blogs: These brief “discussions” are no more than one or two pages (a dozen paragraphs MAXIMUM) and provide highlight of ideas or news events that are easy and fast to consume. To be successful, blogs should be educational and thought provoking rather than commercial. They should focus on quality rather than quantity (1 to 2 posts per month is more than enough). They should definitely contain links to reference information on your website, so if someone is interested they can “dig deeper” to, for example, a white paper or a customer testimonial. Blog entries should discuss all relevant subjects of interest in hope of positioning the company in the role of a trusted source of information and expertise. This means the blog should also discuss news that may not translate directly into a product sale, but rather in reader education. There should be plenty of external references and links to other sites to encourage “exploration”.

    To increase exposure, blog titles and short summary should be posted on the website homepage. They should be appropriately tagged and keyworded as well as made available as an RSS feed so they can be integrated into other sites from news organizations and industry associations. Links to blog entries should also be posted on other forums such as LinkedIn discussion groups, FaceBook pages, or in comments to articles in news websites such as AviationWeek. Surprisingly, blogs can have a fairly long shelf live, especially when they are linked back from future entries. Keeping old blog posts up to date is a good practice. Most importantly, they should be created to solicit feedback and “engagement” with prospects. Comments and poll answers from potential prospects are excellent audience barometers. But how do you make sure your blogs are noticed? That is where Twitter comes in.
  • Twitter: Think of this as the “Headlines News” channel to your company and blog. Unlike blogs and websites, Twitter entries will only have a very brief life. People that follow you or a particular subject (like #aerospace), will rarely read an entry that is more than 36 to 48 hours old. This should be used as an “alert” system for your community that there is something they should pay attention to. It could be a new relevant blog post (from you or someone else), a new document on your website, or some related breaking news. Because of this, quality is much more important than quantity. Unless you are at an important event where many things are happening (e.g. Farnborough AirShow), companies do not need to post every day. I would say that a minimum of once or twice a week is a good measure. As with the blogs, don’t just post news about your company and never post blatant advertising (FAIL example:”With @PAirmotive you get a world leader in the manufacturing of fuel controls for general #aviation.”) Posting other relevant information such as partner or customer news is as important. Re-Tweeting other posts can also be an effective way to stay “interesting”. The bottom line is to stay in the forefront of your prospect’s mind with little gems of interest without become boring, irrelevant or, worst, annoying!

I often get push back from Marketing Executives that think adding Blog and Twitter communication to their strategy is “too much additional work”. Instead, I encourage them to think about transitioning or reassigning resources from “traditional” marketing (brochures, mailers, printed ads) to these “internet” marketing ideas. They should slowly transform from “Marketing Managers” to “Online Prospect Community Managers”. The ideas in this blog post can be implemented by dedicating as little as two/three work days a month to writing and publishing. And if they don’t feel up to it themselves, they can always outsource this activity as a service. (Full disclosure: that is one of the services I offer).

So, what has worked well for you in combining these three elements? What has not worked? Please leave your comments and suggestions here for further discussion.



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At Farnborough, Airbus, Boeing and 5 Other Large AeroSpace Companies Broadcasted Directly Online July 23, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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In a sign that information dissemination is changing rapidly in the Aerospace and Defense industry, Airbus, BAESYSTEMS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Thales, and Saab set up there own web pages on the occasion of the Farnborough International Airshow. It is not the first time for this kind of communication strategy: Airbus, Boeing, and Raytheon did it in 2010. What is unique about it is that using Twitter in combination with the webpages, they have been able to draw online traffic to their site in volumes never seen before.

First, let’s look at what information was available on these “micro-sites”:

Company News/Features Videos Photos Other
Airbus 21 21 159 N/A
BAE SYSTEMS 13 1 32 Twitter Feed, Media Contact, Show Schedule, Stand Tour, Products on Display
Boeing 15 9 17 Presentations, Briefing Schedule, Biographies, Media Contacts
Lockheed Martin 8 0 16 Media Contacts, Briefing Schedule, Featured Programs
Raytheon 8 2 11 Infographics
Saab 4 15 71 Media Contacts, Twitter Feed, Presentations
Thales N/A N/A N/A Posted Articles, photos and videos directly on Twitter and published on flashboard (ThalesLive)

Out of the companies that created these micro-sites, Airbus went all out on videos and photos. As a result, they trended on the Twitter stats for most of the show. It was great that, along with Raytheon, they continued to cover the public part of the show to try to leverage enthusiasm for the industry from younger fans. I also liked BAESYSTEMS stand tour, Saab posting its presentations, and Raytheon’s infographics.

As I explained before, it is now possible to narrow the Twitter feeds to just the interest you might have (e.g. #FIA14) and get just the news you want. In the past businesses counted on the industry press to “relay” and aggregate their press releases to their readers. Now, Twitter can be the aggregate and companies are broadcasting directly. After all, they have the best information about themselves. And the industry is responding. In the table below you can see the growth in followers for the major A&D companies. In comparison, @AviationWeek has “only” 83,298 followers (@AINOnline 12,274 – @FlightGlobal 53,864).

Twitter Account Followers at 2009 Paris Air Show Followers at 2010 Farnborough Followers at 2014 Farnborough Tweets on #FIA14
Airplane Manufacturers
@Airbus N/A N/A 215,094 66
@AirbusGroupLive N/A N/A 18,976 107
@Boeing N/A N/A 173,757 26
@BoeingAirplanes 0 7,256 174,026 37
@Bombardier_aero 53 1,419 60,228 93
@EmbraerSA 3 1673 11,577 12
@Saab Not On Not On 5,549 79
Engine Manufacturers
@GEAviation Not On N/A 71,103 12
@PrattandWhitney 351 1,485 45,616 45
@RollsRoyce Not On Not On 20,083 13
@Snecma Not On Not On 4,530 2
Defense Companies
@BAESystemsplc 0 1,146 18,873 55
@LockheedMartin 268 4,339 110,637 24
@NorthropGrumman 680 3,139 57,942 0
@Raytheon 625 2,909 58,532 74
@ThalesGroup 76 728 20,437 50

This shift to Twitter, embraced long ago by other industry and finally gaining traction in Aerospace, will force industry news to change their coverage of shows like Farnborough and focus on delivering added value and not just be a “relay” for the news. It will be important for them to provide opinion pieces, mash-ups, and contrasts (e.g. Infographic on Airbus vs Boeing orders from FlightGlobal). For other Aerospace companies not yet using micro-sites, blogs and twitter to directly manage their corporate communication, it is time to seriously think about it.

What do you think of this communication strategy? Should these companies do something more or different? Are there other companies doing things worth mentioning here? Please comment below.



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Farnborough International Airshow 2014: Online Coverage Review July 22, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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Although 100,000 trade visitors attend the Farnborough International Airshow every 4 years, a majority of the Aerospace and Defense industry is forced to stay tuned to the show from afar. This review is intended to analyze the information available from the respective websites of the main industry news outlets. Specifically, I will discuss:

SHOW COVERAGE BY THE NUMBERS
Let’s start by looking at the amount of news shared online and how it was shared. You can read my other posts for Farnborough iPhone App Reviews, Twitter Statics, Aerospace companies use of Twitter, and Daily News Reviews. This post will focus instead on the overall coverage.

AIN AviationWeek FlightGlobal
Dailies Produced 4 4 4
(+3 online)
Articles 237 167 146
Blog Entries N/A 16 4
Photos 50 6 63
Videos 7 14 21
Tweets 180 46 73
Twitter Followers 12K 83K 53K
Twitter Klout 61 66 63

AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS (AIN) COVERAGE
AIN made a strong case for the most complete airshow information online. For starters, their website was simple but functional. It had all the important functions: searching, sharing, tagging, headlining, and commenting. They published the majority of their daily articles online in addition to a complete “print online” version of the daily magazines. That was almost 100 more free articles than Flight Global and almost 200 more than Aviation Week. They had categorized photo albums as well as a number of strong videos with good content, editing and journalistic integrity (i.e. not sponsored).

WEBain_sm
Despite the best content, the execution of the coverage disappointed. The online app regressed compared to previous version, headline dumping (aka robo-tweet) continued to be the main activity on Twitter, and blogs remained nonexistent. In addition, a lack of attention to details made part of the website annoying: the overlay ad that didn’t close properly; some misfiled content such as the Farnborough videos not available in the multimedia section; the forgotten tab selection when using the back button; the lack of seamless navigation such as the inability to come back to the Farnborough coverage after navigating to some parts of the site. It left you with a “meh” feeling. It was like receiving a really badly gift wrapped present: if you manage to get past the ugly paper and the difficult knots, you will really enjoy the content. AIN should go back to its old app and hire a digital media manager for the website so it can leverage and organize the great content generated by its journalists and video editors.

AVIATION WEEK COVERAGE
Except for the disappointing “print online” version of its daily news, AviationWeek was firing on all cylinders at this show. The iphone app was good, the website was good, and the content was good and varied (including 14 videos). Several members of the AvWeek staff stepped up in front of the camera and produced good results. For example, I liked the exclusive video of the A350 demo flight from inside the cockpit. They also posted several blogs and a few photos (ATW had an additional 43 unlinked photos on its own site). Their Twitter presence was “human driven” with the Farnborough AvWeek team augmenting the official stream content counted above with 87 additional posts (almost half of them from social media director @avweekrupa, but why was ATW not posting in #FIA14?). This organized twitter strategy is why they have the most followers and the highest klout. And that is why they were the only specialized news organization making the top twitter influencers list for the show.

WEBaw_sm
My only (small) issue with Aviation Week continued to be with the available content. They made a good effort to force the integration of ATW and SpeedNews articles in the website, but though a inconvenient virtual “aggregated content”. About 100 articles from the Show News did not make it to the website. The content remained focused on the big companies (aka advertisers?). I wish I could see more integrated and free content including the use of infographics as well as more photos from ShowNews.

However, I have to name Aviation Week as Best Coverage for Farnborough 2014. They also definitely deserve the “Best Social Media” nod they received at the Aerospace Media Awards.

FLIGHT GLOBAL COVERAGE
In my coverage of the 2010 Edition of the show, Flight Global was definitely the leader. Four years later, I felt really disappointed by their performance.

WEBfg_sm
They seemed to have lost the drive and vision they possessed before and are rapidly falling behind the other organizations when it comes to online coverage. More specifically:

  • iFlight – this online newsletter had very little content and was mostly a gimmick. It was in conflict with the “print online” version of the daily news and its content was not re-purposed (e.g. why were the cutaways not also in the designated section of the site?)
  • Articles – Like Aviation week, Flight Global only posted a fraction of its articles in the free section. It was too bad because one of the thing FG did well was Infographics which the others didn’t do. They seemed confined to the iFlight and daily news. What made it a lot worse was that you could not comment or share the articles once you opened them.
  • Blogs – This was the old strength of FG but they were now nonexistent (only 4 produced). They were not even linked from the Farnborough page.
  • Photos and Videos – The photo section was never updated when pictures were added, so you only saw new pictures by swiping through the previewer. FG posted the most videos but they were mislabeled and not posted in chronological order. In addition, they were sponsored by Airbus so for example, none of the daily briefs mentioned ANY orders for Boeing aircraft.
  • Twitter – Most of the FG posts from the main publishing engine and from the staff were sent outside #FIA14 thus not visible for most of the show watchers. The rest of the posts seemed to be out of personal habit rather than driven from a strategic plan.

I think FG needs more leadership and discipline when it comes to online coverage. They must rethink their content like iFlight but should use more of their great infographics. They could also use better website technology and must think about their mobile presence (they no longer have an app for example).

CONCLUSIONS AND WISHES
Although Aviation Week has come a long way in 4 years and AINOnline continues with really good content, all three organizations must progress in reinventing themselves in the age of online coverage. As I explained in this post regarding the information available on twitter, the old way of reporting the news is no longer competitive. Large corporations produce their own news site for the show and traditional media produce specialized coverage of their own (WSJ produced a dedicated Farnborough section with 60 articles and 120 tweets to up to 4.7 Million accounts!). The industry audience is getting younger and is not gathering information in the same manner as before. Therefore, the industry news organizations must focus less on news reporting and more on “added-value” (e.g. mash-ups, analysis and opinions) and how to deliver it online to their (new) readers. If they do a good job at that, the sponsors will follow. If not, they will be replaced by new leaner providers.

What did you like/not like about the Farnborough online coverage. What should be done differently?



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My Favorite Non-Flying Photos of Farnborough 2014 July 18, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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If you search for photos of Farnborough 2014 online, you will find tons of fantastic aircraft pictures. While these are best left to be judged by professionals like at the AviationWeek Annual Photo Contest, I wanted to showcase pictures of things that don’t fly. Although there were a lot of them, I excluded any selfies from my selection (this is a new category in AvWeek’s contest BTW). So here is my selection, you can click on the pictures to see a larger version.

MOST RETWEETED PICTURE
This photo from the show organizers (@FIAFarnborough) was retweeted almost 500 times.
MostRT

BEST AUTOMOBILES
The ATR static display featured the best automobiles at the show: the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” (photo by @RAFNewsReporter) and an aircraft shaped electric golf cart (photo by @Raytheon).
Delorean ATR cart

And of course, every little boys’ dream: a flight stealth buggy! (Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)
Flying Buggy

BEST PHOTO SCENE
This picture from Carl Court at Agence France-Press (@AFP) captures the passion for aircraft photography.
AFPphotog

BEST BAD-ASS
This photograph by Leon Neal/AFP (Tweeted by @BloombergNews) captured an incredible next generation military helmet. Who would mess with this pilot?
BloombergHelmet

BEST HUMOR
Sometimes a photographer has to been at the right place at the right time!
Mobility

Did you see other non-flying pictures from Farnborough that should make this list? Email them to me at ludozone@yahoo.com and don’t forget to attribute the source/credit the photographer.



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