It seems that we are accelerating towards the end of the year – not winding down. And while last week I focused on posts that kept away from trends and predictions, this week it’s been hard to avoid them. Here are some top quality reads to get your brain in gear:
- There is a reason that Seth Godin is one of the web’s most popular and oft-quoted bloggers. This post on the industrialists vs the rest of us really helped me this week. Hopefully it will help you too
- Neil Perkin has pulled together a fantastic presentation on digital content trends for 2013. Worth reading, absorbing and acting on
- Ever wondered why disruptive technology is so disruptive? R “Ray” Wang provides a great framework for understanding the organisational personas found across the enterprise landscape
- We all crave “engagement” … but what does that really mean? Valeria Maltoni explains that there are certain kinds of stories that drive engagement
- I loved this provocative rant from Dan Lyons on startups that can’t raise money. Let’s all shed some tears
By now you will have seen a bunch of prediction articles for 2013 and trend documents looking back over the last year (or at least the last 11 months). I will endeavour to avoid these and focus on must-read articles that will kick start your thinking and not make you wonder off into future space or revisionism. Read on!
- When we are hard at work delivering on our business as usual targets, it can sometimes be hard to view your brand from the outside-in. While many turn to focus groups for this type of activity, sometimes an alternative approach is more fruitful. Drew McLellan suggests that your marketing strategy could do with an outside audit.
- And speaking of delivering on your day job, Scott Monty asks what happens when the pressure of content creation becomes too much. If content marketing is accelerating, then it is going to get a whole lot more serious.
- Craig Davis is pumping out some great posts on his new blog. Here he asks do you know what an idea is?
- Following this theme. Eaon Pritchard challenges us to think about what happens when an idea is strong, the creative is good but the strategy fails?
- And finally, something a little more introspective. Alex Lickerman investigates our sense of autonomy and its link to happiness. A great lunchtime read!
Where do you draw the line? Are you forwards thinking or a procrastinator? Are you a talker or a walker? Do you feel safest putting your ideas and thoughts out into the world or do you huddle them together and prize them like a ring of power?
This week’s five must-read posts tread the line of all kinds of boundaries. I hope they inspire your thinking (and doing) this week.
- Where do we draw the line between personal and professional? Where does it count? The Level343 team think it is time that we considered social media ethics. Have you thought about it?
- And on the subject of getting personal, few do it as well or as bravely as Amber Naslund. Here she shares her TEDx talk on transcending the messiness of mental illness.
- We all believe that we have the best interests of our customers at heart. But Christopher Brown says we need to ask ourselves, are we customer centric or do we have a customer culture.
- Finding it hard to keep up with the behaviours exhibited on social media? You are not alone in wanting to more precisely understand dynamic aggregation and content curation. Luckily Stefano Maggi shares his insight into content curation and the way it builds value.
- As we wind our way towards the end of 2013, it’s easy to look backwards rather than forwards. But Rowan Gibson thinks there’s still plenty of time to get things done. It’s not too late. Get going!
We all want our communications to “cut through” – to reach the people who matter and have an impact (no matter how small) in their lives. But in our push to make this happen, we often contribute to the noise rather than strengthening the signal. This is where strategy and tactics combine. But which comes first? Last week’s articles provide some suggestions. Enjoy!
- There is no doubt that we are overwhelmed by information. And yet, at the same time, we consume it at ever increasing rates. One of the challenges we face as marketers is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Valeria Maltoni explains why listening is hard and how to think critically.
- Are you driving change in your marketplace or just responding to it? Greg Verdino thinks it’s time for marketing leaders to place some bets and start by working from what we know is true.
- We hear a lot about businesses and not-for-profit organisations – but the growing rise of “social enterprises” represents a way between the two. What are they and how are social entrepreneurial organisations different? Jen Stumbles shares a personal view.
- Many small businesses baulk at the idea of investing in a website. Yet many of those same business owners regularly purchase online. What is the disconnect? Craig Wilson shares the results of a recent survey that shows those business who go online are generating almost half of their sales this way.
- A great article from Faris Yakob showcasing the 7 habits of highly effective communication. Read and act on it!
The profusion of digital media – not just in terms of technology but also in terms of content – can be overwhelming. Brands, businesses and bloggers are all working to create a toehold in your imagination – creating content aimed to attract, entice and engage. But sometimes we don’t need something new, we just need a guide to what is already available. Here are five posts from last week that might just do the trick for you.
- “Can we make the logo bigger”. Ever heard that from a client? Ever asked it to a designer? Too often we confuse a brand with a logo. Drew McLellan reminds us that your brand is more than a logo – it’s an experience.
- Recent changes to Facebook will be felt by all brands using pages as part of a social media strategy (here’s hoping your entire strategy isn’t Facebook). It’s not JUST that your reach figures are down – but that you’ll have to rethink your content and engagement approach. This is likely to be costly and challenging says Mandi Bateson.
- A man called Thomas Cook, called out travel company Thomas Cook on their Facebook page, asking for compensation for years of ridicule. He cheekily suggested a weekend in Paris ought to cover it. Rival LowCostHolidays.com stepped in and gazumped Thomas Cook UK right there on their “own” Facebook page. The DailyMail has the full story.
- Olivier Blanchard steps us through the five stages of a crisis and how to manage one through your digital channels
- While not really a “post” – this call out for interns from Graham Brown is a great opportunity for an aspiring digital anthropologist. If you are ready to go deep into the world of youth culture and behaviour, drop Graham a line.
Some of the articles from last week took my breath away. They are artfully written and deliver a slap to the face and a jolt to the brain. Some are by local writers – but as usual I source the best writing from all parts of the world.
I trust that these five posts will help kick start your working week in the best possible way.
- My earliest experience of the internet was before the “world wide web” existed. Or certainly before I knew of things such as “web browsers”. Back then I would dial-in and manually connect to a BBS to check or write email, play games and find answers to questions. It was primitive in many ways, but it was inherently social. This kind of interaction is what Alexis C Madrigal calls Dark Social and he thinks we have the whole history of the web wrong.
- A brilliant post by John Hagel on the paradox of preparing for change. It comes down to focusing on three things. Read the post to learn what they are. You’ll be glad you did.
- Umair Haque can turn the world on its edge – delivering insight with poetry. Last week he served up a challenge. His article wanting meaningful work is not a first world problem. And as I viewed my family tree stretching back to the workhouses of 1850s London, it made me hope there was an occasional break in the cloud cover.
- If you are interested in the concept of online influence, do yourself a favour and check out Danny Brown’s social influence and the shift of the Carnegie Principle. Then you’ll understand why I’m less than ecstatic about my Klout score.
- Francis McCarthy has a great summary of the recent Social Media Club, Sydney event that goes beyond the ordinary level of description. It’s a post so descriptive you can almost smell the perfume in the audience.
It feels a bit like back to the future this week – but with a touch of foresight!
Most of the must-reads that I have pulled out of the thousands of articles skimmed, checked and read last week come from those writers that I was most influenced by in my early blogging days. To this day they produce quality insight and actionable thinking. And if you don’t already subscribe to their feeds, do so – you’ll be glad you did.
- There is a lot of talk about social business – but much of it centres on the topic of technology. But we all know there’s much more to it that this. David Armano explains technology will only solve 1/3 of your social business problem
- Almost anything you read on Quartz, the recently launched “digitally native news outlet” is worth reading. With content defined by “obsessions” rather than “beats” you are bound to find more than you bargained for. This article on the diminishing returns of Facebook’s next billion users shows where the attention of the social media behemoth will need to shift
- I have long been a fan of John Seely Brown and his thinking on the subject of social learning. This animated highlights package from one of his recent talks – cultivating the entrepreneurial learner in the 21st century – is jam-packed with goodness
- Olivier Blanchard dismembers a recent Forrester report that was reported with the catchy headline “Forrester: Facebook and Twitter do almost nothing to drive sales”. The problem with bad science suggests Olivier, is that it can lead to poor strategic decisions. Read, learn and think
- Case studies can be brilliant for your content marketing – yet so many of them are written so poorly. Drew McLellan explains there are seven keys to compelling case studies
Some weeks, reading across the web can feel light on. At other times, it feels like there is an explosion of critical thinking and devastating insight.
Last week, it was the latter – with dozens of great articles challenging perceptions and charting a path into the future. These are the best five:
- Following your passion can lead to a great career – but it takes time. And it takes stamina. Cal Newport suggests there is a way to solve Gen Y’s passion problem.
- There’s a difference between building buzz and building community – and as Augie Ray found out, Alyssa Milano can retweet you and you don’t even get a lousy t-shirt
- A vital element of digital marketing is content. But our understanding of content is also changing – and continuing experimentation will yield new categories in the years ahead. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have been at the forefront of content innovation and have identified “digital transformation as the biggest marketing challenge”. Their vision is to “develop new products that lead audiences into a new digital future”. See the full speech here.
- On the subject of content, Neil Perkin explains what it really means for businesses to not only “think like a publisher, but plan like a publisher”. Great article on the 70, 20, 10 Content Planning Model.
- The juggernaut that is Dreamforce dominated a lot of digital marketing conversation last week. This post by Dion Hinchcliffe summarises the big themes around social business, cloud computing and the future of work.
Each week I seek out articles that indicate a shift in something – cultural thinking, consumer behaviour, strategy, communications, work practices … anything that opens the door to the unexpected.
It’s easy to find information that confirms what we already think or know, but it’s better to not only push the envelope of our own experience – we should seek to read unaddressed letters from the future of others.
- I’m talking to you! The Future Belongs to the Curious – a great, brief introduction to Skillshare and why it’s meeting the changing way that we learn. Not a new article but new to me via Natalie Swainston.
- What are the shifting forces in (digital) culture? Valeria Maltoni shares insights from a Creative Mornings talk by Johnathan Harris.
- When we think strategy, we often think about what we have to work with. We analyse our tools and the spaces that we operate in – like a game of chess. Ben Kunz explains that Strategy Requires that You Make a Choice – but what if there was no chess board?
- Why do brands advertise, what’s the role of creativity and what’s the difference between a great idea and everything else that should be left on the whiteboard? Edward Boches’ lecture on the Fundamentals of Creative Development is a great introduction.
- I saved the brain explosion for last – Danah Boyd has collected a series of articles on the topic of Social Mediated Publicness. Read them and exercise your sexiest organ.
From analysis to how-to, this week’s five must-read posts have a little something for everyone. Read them all and dazzle your colleagues with your insight, knowledge and pure awesomeness.
- Paul Wallbank’s blistering commentary on the Australian retail sector resonates with a lot of the readers over at Smart Company. It’s the real e-myth and it’s not pretty
- Have you ever wanted to connect with that rare breed of internet user – the “influencer”? If so, you will really want to read Sonia Simone’s 10 point plan for connecting with online influencers (without turning into a suck up)
- Mike Hickinbotham asks should Australian social media marketers earn accreditation? What do you think? And who would you trust to deliver it?
- I hadn’t used my Reddit account for years – and then suddenly last week it was hot. US President Obama held a live chat on the platform and suddenly it was the future of publishing. Here’s what you need to know about the “unofficial front page of the internet”.
- In case you missed it, Mandi Bateson has put together a great presentation on Twitter Marketing Essentials. It’s the gift you give to someone you work with.