How DO You Do It?

Stay on top of your industry, that is. If you’re a business professional in any category and you’re not using Google Reader or some lesser tool to monitor newsfeeds, I’m very concerned about your future. Whoa. What did you say, Todd? I said, I’m very concerned about your future!

You see, unless you’re working on a production line somewhere making widgets for an hourly wage [not that there’s anything wrong with that — I’ve done it myself] your growth and advancement in business and in life [see this if you don’t believe me] depends on your ongoing professional development and that depends in large part upon your ability to aggregate, manage, and leverage relevant information

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How much would I have to pay you…

Google Reader Logo
Image by Casual Chin via Flickr

…to STOP using Google Reader? $25,000 wouldn’t cut it for internet maven Louis Gray…

“Information is power – and the ability to take in more information more quickly than anybody else, all in one place, is an incredible power. The Web has been built to enable all of us to share and distribute information quickly, through new posts and links.

Tools like RSS (Real Simple Syndication) let us pass information from one site to another, letting you get updates in a single location – be it to your favorite blog posts, your favorite news and sport sites, or simply updates from friends’ videos on YouTube and updates on Flickr. RSS Readers capture updates from all these RSS feeds in one application or on one Web site. In my opinion, the very best RSS reader is Google Reader. It has become such a mainstay of my online activity that I’ve determined its value to me is easily in the tens of thousands of dollars per year.” Source: Why I Wouldn’t Accept $25k To Stop Using Google Reader

If I were you, I’d go to the source on this one and read the rest of this great post! And btw, if you missed my free online Google Reader class last week, contact me and I’ll send you a link to the recorded session…

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On being fascinating

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

Are you fascinating? I sure am and Google Reader is the reason why — well, one of them anyway!

“The primary goal of your social media activities—whether for your personal brand or your organization’s brand—is to establish yourself as a fascinating subject-matter expert. The only exception to this is if you are a household name celebrity like Lance Armstrong, Oprah or Barack Obama. If you are this level of celebrity, then tweeting or updating, “I’m at Starbucks on the way to fly VirginAmerica to Vegas” is cool.

For the rest of us, the challenge is to achieve a consistent level of fascinating information about your area of expertise. The answer is simple. First, it helps if you actually know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, it may be better to let people wonder if you’re clueless rather than participating in social media and removing all doubt. But let’s say you’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Then it’s all about finding good stories, videos and blog posts about your subject and providing links to these sources. For example, if you own a restaurant, then you could post a link to The Second Annual New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt, Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault, and Check It Out: Get Your Groceries At The Library. Do this for a few months, and people will recognize you as a food expert. And guess what? They’ll come eat at your restaurant.

Then the next question is how you can find these stories, videos, and blog posts. I have four methods for you to use:” Source: How to Be Fascinating : The World :: American Express OPEN Forum

Guy goes on to offer these 4 tools:

  • StumbleUpon
  • SmartBrief
  • Interns
  • His own service, Alltop

As much as I love you Guy, I have to take issue here. Ummm, how could you NOT mention Google Reader? Yes, StumbleUpon and SmartBrief are two great sources but I can manage hundreds effectively in Google Reader. In fact, because of Reader I don’t need interns! True, Alltop is one of the places I tell every client to go but Google Reader is the killer app for news aggregation. I broke it down here a long time ago…

So to Guy, or whatever intern reads this, please add Google Reader to your list — nothing makes you fascinating faster than Reader!

Now you can get the Gist in Gmail

If you follow this blog at all, you know I’m crazy about a product called Gist [hit the search box if you don’t believe me!]. Gist is easily one of the top 7 tools in my social media toolbox [btw, it’s also in the running as a product of the year in the upcoming first annual ‘e1evation awards’.] Why? Simply put, Gist allows me to easily keep track of all the thought leaders in my inbox by giving me a simple dashboard that aggregates everything they say in one place. Using Gist is a simple way to ‘sit next to the smartest kid in the class’ as I say in my seminars — it brings together all the things they say each day in one place…

Take John Jantsch for example. I could spend all day following John on his blog, on Twitter and in Facebook, but Gist puts it all together for me in one place [click the image for a better view]. Sure, I could probably accomplish this in Google Reader using rss feeds, but Gist adds some really nice touches that make it worthwhile to add this tool to my repertoire. In addition to tracking their blog, their rss feed, their tweets and Facebook posts, it also brings together my calendar, any notes about the person, our correspondence, any attachments, shared contacts — even a Google search with images and text — all in one place. Furthermore, you can send a message to the person and ask them to update their profile for you. If you use the appropriate plugins for Outlook, Google Apps or now Gmail, you’ll also get a quick summary of the people attached to each email along with every message. Finally, if you use an iOS or Android phone, you can get Gist there a well. These are just a couple of reasons for using Gist that pop into my head at 6:16 AM — go to Gist and take the tour for yourself and you’ll see why it has quickly become one of the most important tools in my arsenal in the war against information overload…

If it’s true that social media is about building relationships, you need a tool like Gist to track and manage the thought leaders who are important to you and your business.

Social Media Billboards Scale Times Square Skyline

If you’re interested in billboards + social media, you’ll want to follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article…

Five Key Ingredients for a Successful Corporate Blog

Posterous Logo
Image via Wikipedia

So what are the keys to a successful corporate blog? Here are five tips:

1. Content that provides insight, perspective and information. At its core, a corporate blog has to give its readers information they can use to increase their knowledge, learn new things or receive insight.

2. It has need to be well written. A blog with spelling and grammatical mistakes reflects badly on the person writing it and their employer. As well, a blog posts need to have good flow and provide an engaging narrative that makes it easy to read.

This is particularly important given many people scan content online as opposed to reading it. This is why a good headline so important to capture someone’s attention.

3. Posts have to happen on a regular basis. It could be one, two or five posts/week. Whatever the editorial plan, it needs to be consistent to establish expectations within the company and among the blog’s readers.

The worse thing a company can do is post four or five times a week for a few weeks, and then once a week or not at all afterward. When the audience doesn’t know what to expect, they start to drift away.

4. It can’t operate as a standalone entity. There are two angles to this advice. One, a blog needs to be supported and nurtured within a company. It needs to be actively promoted within communications, marketing and sales collateral, business cards, letterhead and email signatures.

It should also be promoted on social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A blog needs to be seen as an integral part of a company’s brand and identity as opposed to be left alone to its own devices.

Second, a corporate blog needs to be integrated into the blogosphere and the blogging community. The people writing a blog need to be reading and commenting on other blogs. You can’t write a blog in isolation otherwise there are no connections with the “outside” world.

5. It needs to look good and have a user-friendly design. As much as a company will spend time and money to create a good Web site, its blog also need to be functional and attractive. In many senses, it is a public marketing vehicle that reflects a company’s brand, culture and approach to business.

A good blog should follow best practices by including things such as an RSS feed (both through an RSS reader and via e-mail), information about the writers, the ability to leave comments, links to social media services, and links to other corporate resources.

This quote is a little longer than the content I normally curate, but it’s such good stuff, I grabbed almost the whole post for you…

How Many Impressions Does it Really Take?

I came across a mention of this today and thought it appropriate to share.  This is dated advice. Dated from 1885 to be more specific!

Thomas Smith, a London Businessman, wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885. The sayings he used are still being used today and form the foundation for the Theory of Frequency in advertising and marketing.

  1. The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  2. The second time, they don’t notice it.
  3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
  5. The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
  6. The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
  8. The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
  9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
  10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
  12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  13. The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
  14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
  17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
  18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
  19. The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
  20. The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

What do you think? How much of this do you think is still applicable?

I was just corresponding with Dana VanDen Heuvel and thanks to Gist and the Gist gadget for Google Apps, I noticed that Dana had just posted some really good content, so I swiped it [with proper attribution of course] and I’m sharing it with you here now. It looks like King Solomon was right — there is nothing new under the sun…