Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

As you read the posts below, I’d like you to think about subscribing to these blogs. I know that many people think that “feed readers” are old school now, but they really can be powerful (especially if you use them well).

Try Feedly or something like Flipboard if you have an iPad. Categorise the blogs in a way that works for you.

While there are thousands of blog posts published each day, the great bloggers produce consistently good content. It’s worth coming back to them regularly!

  1. If you work in a non-profit organisation – in fact – if you are interested in understanding how social media can help you build relationships with ANY audience, you should really subscribe to John Haydon’s excellent blog. Here John shares a video of Gary Vaynerchuck reminding us all to say “thank you”.
  2. The changes to Klout last week had many people up in arms. But as Kate Carruthers explains, we’ve always judged people’s status and influence – how they dress, speak and what they drive – and with systems like Klout, we’re still just at the beginning.
  3. For years we have focused on bringing creativity into the business environment. And yet, we also create processes and environments which stifle the impact of this creativity. I think we could do with looking at business in a new way – and Tac Anderson thinks we may just need to bring more anthropology students into the business world.
  4. We all know that work and life can be overwhelming – especially when everything around you keeps changing. This great post from Amber Naslund explains how to work with rolling goals so that you feel comfortable changing your goals as you, your conditions, your life and work necessitates.
  5. We have all lived through a death by powerpoint, right? Kevin Dugan suggests that you reorder your slide decks to bring the payoff forward. After all, you don’t want to deliver that last “gotcha” slide to an empty room!

How Well Do You Listen and Engage With Your Customers?

Increasingly, businesses are turning to social media as part of their marketing mix. There is a smattering of Facebook, a Twitter account – and maybe even a YouTube channel. Some will have a social media monitoring solution in place, others a bunch of Google Alerts bombarding their inbox with messages and updates. But there is often a gulf between the listening and doing – between the monitoring and engaging.

And perhaps, more alarmingly, there are precious few businesses who have done the work to put social media into a framework or business context. That’s why I advocate continuous digital strategy. It’s why I think a social business maturity model is important – so that you can actively work to transform your business relationships, systems and processes in such a way as they deliver sustaining value over time.

Unfortunately, many of us only take on transformative challenges when we are forced to – often because our competitors beat us to the punch.

Wouldn’t it be nice to lead and set the agenda instead?

The Dell Social Listening questionnaire gives you valuable information from seven relatively simple questions. Based on Forrester industry data, it allows you to model your own business (or your competitors’ business) and have it visualised as an infographic. Here is one I did for a medium sized tech company. Makes for interesting reading … but it can also be a useful way of laying out your strategic challenges – especially if you are also working in a medium sized tech company.


How do you compare? Where are the gaps? And what are you going to do to close them?

You see, it is important to listen to and engage with your customers. But that’s not the end result. It’s the start. Get to it!

Paws Up for Dogtober

Assistance Dogs Australia is a charity that trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people with physical disabilities. These dogs take two years to train at a cost of over $25,000 each but are given free of charge to people in need.

To raise funds to help cover some of these costs, Assistance Dogs are asking people to register to hold an event with your family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. There are some great ideas for events (organising a Dog’s breakfast or baking and selling pup cakes to Dogs-bowling).

But you’d better get cracking! Put your paw up to help.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

There’s a bit of something for everyone this week – something for the activists, some for the bloggers, some for the business to business marketers and even a snack for the hard working strategists and creatives in the agencies.

  1. In the face of the #occupywallstreet momentum, Shay O’Reilly takes a shot at Malcolm Gladwell and wonders whether Gladwell isn’t, after all, a “crusty luddite”.
  2. Over the weekend, NSW Police cleared Sydney’s Martin Place of #occupysydney protesters. This echoed the more violent closure of #occupymelbourne days earlier. What is it about peaceful protest that so incenses the government? Tim Longhurst shares some thoughts.
  3. Laurel Papworth’s post (actually more like an essay) on the new Paywall for News Limited’s The Australian website is well worth a read. It provides a good background to the challenges, the approach that was taken pre-launch and some analysis of what will and what probably won’t.
  4. Jake Hird has compiled 25 B2B social media case studies – including American Express’ Open Forum and Dell’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Good to share with your colleagues!
  5. What can we learn from creatives, strategists and music? Jye Smith shares a few links and some insight.

Want SEO? Create Useful Content First

There was a time when we used to create websites to solve a problem. Now, often, our websites are the problems that need to be solved. They no longer tell the story we want to tell. They don’t engage the people that they should. They aren’t relevant to the communities we claim to serve.

To solve this new problem, we often turn to search engine optimisation (SEO). What we are looking for is a quick fix. The problem, of course, is that you can’t quick fix bad content.

My recommendation is always to focus on useful content. Make sure that what you are creating helps the people who need it. Make sure that it reaches them in a format that is easy for them to consume. And design it so that it can be shared with others who have the same challenges.

Sounds simple, right?

But, don’t take my word for it. Check out what the folks at Brafton have to say in this funky content marketing for SEO infographic. Then stop looking for silver bullets and get to work on some quality content. Your customers will love you for it.


When 0.5% Is Not a Statistical Glitch

When you are dealing with statistics one expects a margin of error. You could be estimating a project and suggest +/- 10 percent. You could be waving your finger in the air and provide a rough order of magnitude “guesstimate” of +/- 200 percent.

So the thought of taking as little of 0.5% out of an equation should not be a problem, right?

But what happens if that 0.5% happen to control 38.5% of the world’s total wealth?

05-of-the-worlds-population-owns-385-of-its-wealth-this-is-insane (1)

The Business Insider shares 13 Staggering Facts About the Global Super Rich – and it leads out with this image of the global wealth pyramid based on data from Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2011.

Given these figures, there’s little surprise that civil protests like #OccupyWallStreet in New York are gaining momentum (including the local #occupysydney efforts). It makes for interesting times.

Joey Quits with Style

I don’t know about you, but I find resigning from a job a bit of a challenge. I tend to put a lot of energy and commitment into my work and into my relationships with colleagues – so leaving can be a little traumatic.

But sometimes – just sometimes – leaving can be immensely cathartic. 

Take this approach from Joey and his friends from the What Cheer? Brigade. He claims that three years of poor treatment by management at the Renaissance Providence Hotel led him to this point … and seems to savour every moment (and who wouldn’t with over 1 million views).

We often say that “our employees are our best assets” – but how many business cultures and how many managers bring that to life? And as we continue to see the Social Way manifest in more lives and in more places, our business practices as executives, managers – and yes, even employees – will face deeper scrutiny.

It’s time to get your house in order.

What’s New with News Limited in Australia? Digital Subscriptions. That’s What

An interesting cast of folks assembled at News Limited's Sydney office to be briefed on the upcoming digital subscription offer being rolled out for The Australian. Those present included Katie Chatfield, Tim Burrowes, Tiphereth Gloria, Craig Wilson, Karalee Evans, Bronwen Clune, Laurel Papworth, Gary Hayes, Ross Dawson, Melanie James and a few folks I didn't have the chance to meet. Here's a selection of the main points tweeted at the briefing.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

With the global zeitgeist in full swing, I often find threads of connections between the posts that catch my attention. Maybe that is my own desire to pattern match. Or maybe it is the emerging global consciousness. Which ever way, each of these five posts have a thread of connection – even though the authors may not know or read each others’ blogs. Maybe now that will change!

Which of the following five must-read posts inspires you most?

  1. One of the challenges for any business – especially a startup – is to raise awareness. The tried and true approach here is the traditional “press release”. Alan Jones has written a great article on How to Write and Deliver a Startup Press Release. And there are lessons there for all of us. Not jus the startups.
  2. Let’s face it, our markets (and our customers) change all the time. And in business, one of the largest challenges is balancing the long term with the short – keeping an eye on trends, an eye on your customers and a vital, third eye on your business. What should executives focus on? Neil Perkin shares some insight in Playing the Long Game.
  3. We often talk about business having an impact beyond the business. Indeed, research indicates that most people prefer (and Gen Y demand) that their employers contribute to the “greater good”. Kate Carruthers takes time out from her busy Rugby World Cup watching schedule and shares some insight into the challenges that Corporate Social Responsibility and the Triple Bottom Line represent.
  4. But then businesses do face serious challenges – attracting talent, growing business, remaining relevant to their customers and markets. Danny Brown suggests that one way to do so is to Think Bigger Than You.
  5. This type of thinking is a double edged sword. Employees want their companies to think outside of the box, but companies – in return – expect a similar commitment. Stan Johnson was surprised at how many young creatives were unaware of TED and suggested they consume some ideas worth spreading. Amen.

A Cup of Chaos #73: Tara Hunt’s 10 Things I’ve Done Wrong

We often think that we have to live through a lesson to learn from it. But the smart ones. The cleverest ones. Those most wanting to survive and thrive, learn from the lessons of others.

So if you are the sort of person who ever wanted change the world in which you live – and live to tell the tale as well, spend some time leafing through Tara Hunt’s great presentation.