You may have noticed that this site has been regularly updated over the last week - I do believe I haven't missed a day of blogging and even created two blog posts on some days. Like others I suppose I have been Twittering a little too much and neglecting my blogging duties! It is easy to see how this can come about. Tweets are 140 characters in length and take virtually no time to think about or knock out. Blogging, however, requires more thought on the type of article you're going to write, the reason you're writing and the tone you wish to set.
I was just watching the wonderful Mary Portas on the BBC's Mary, Queen of Charity Shops. If you haven't been watching it the series revolves around Mary's attempts to transform charity shops into must-stop-shops on the high street.Throughout the series she has attempted to change the mindset of employees, many of whom are set in their ways and do things because "that's the way we always do things"; change the way the shops look (new refits) and change the way they operate.
We need to make this successful not because of our opinions but because we need to raise money for Save the Children.
The name that you give your product or service is not important, what the client calls it (usually on Google!) is.
The headline you may use for an article is important only when it reflects the words people type in to Google.
You may think Twitter is for twits but there's a good chance your customers are Tweeting about you. Now!
Just because you can navigate around your product ranges, doesn't mean that clients can.
Who cares if you don't use Facebook? You may want to care if your customers are on it.
You may clever click on Google AdWords but some of my customers generate between 50% and 90% of their revenue from it!
It's possible that some customers know all your products and services. It's likely that most don't.
Your company name is worthless to those who don't know it. However, what your company represents is priceless (on Google!).
The bottom line is that when dealing with customers, on or offline, you have to set aside any preconceptions you may have about them or your products. Just deal with the Absolute Truth.
For the past few weeks I have been looking at a number of tools that I could use on this blog to connect with readers and those who have attended eMarketing Award courses, Social Media or Google AdWords workshops. I have looked at Google's Friend Connect and Facebook Connect and tried to weigh up: difficutly of implementation, style features and other elements that would work for this blog/site.
In the end I plumped for TypePad Connect - mainly for ease of implementation, the way of controlling comments, profile ability and the way its styling was in keeping with this site. Coupled with TypePad's new profiling abilities it will mean for a richer experience for those who post information to the site. TypePad profiles allow people to have a more social experience: they can upload their own photos and links, be notified of updates to comments immediately (via email) and connect with other people who have a TypePad profile. For me the important thing is to to provide a platform where everyone can add their thoughts AND also learn form others.
TypePad Connect itself goes beyond the standard commenting ability of a blog, where one reply appears after another, and lets people either add a comment about the article or to respond directly to the comments of individuals. This is very similar to threaded responses you find on forums and groups. Style-wise, it looks much smarter and even if you don't add your own image to a profile, the default TypePad image profiles are very neat.
From my perspective the back-end part of TypePad Connect is not that much different to the standard commenting facility on TypePad but without a doubt the smarter interface makes it a more pleasant job to maintain.
So, please get involved with the debate. Click on any article on this site and get started with the conversation! If you'd like to learn more about TypePad Connect, click on the play button below and listen to the good people of TypePad.
Web 2.0 is great in that it allows you to stumble across something on an application like
from where you may decide to blog about it,
by putting content such as an image
has more on the 25,000 books burned in the Bebelplatz. On the memorial
is a plaque that reads "this is just the beginning. Wherever books are
burnt, people are burnt too" from the poet Heinrich Heine whose books
were among those incinerated.
The memorial is a plate of glass in the ground through which you view
this room with empty bookshelves. Very powerful reminder of what took
and thus take the comversation to another part of the web.
[Image and text taken from Robert Scoble's Scobleizer photstream on Flickr]
Even though August in the UK is "set to be wettest in 100 years", visitors to this blog will have seen that there has been a bit of a blog drought. Many apologies - I have been away on holidays and didn't touch a PC. I did take my Blackberry though and thought that I could blog articles from it. It looks like the TypePad application I downloaded for it had some bug in it or could it just have been the sangria!
Anyway, this is my first attempt at 'moblogging' and I thought I'd share it with you:
This is quite exciting as it is my first blog post from a Blackberry.
Having had a couple of problems with the first Typepad App I
downloaded, it now seems that everything is working properly (if you
can read this it does work!).
I am now on holidays in Spain and
aside from enjoying the break, have had a chance to catch up on some
reading. Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, offers a
fascinating look into what companies can achieve, and have been
achieving, with the latest social technologies. Instead of just
detailing all the tactical tools available to marketers, it also
assesses when, or even if, companies should be considering them.
Freakonomics is a book which reminded me very much of the Tipping
Point and the Wisdom of Crowds. It offers an alternative view of
economics and the authors try to unravel how some statistics -
including abortion rates, drug deals, cheating and parenting - may
have come about.
I have also found some good statistics - courtesy of .net magazine -
which I will use on my courses. Here's a fascinating one - Google's
share of the UK market is 87.3% and 17000 copies of Firefox were being
doaoaded per minute at its peak on 'Download Day'.
I'd better fire off an email to TypePad to find out what I can do next.
Simon Jayham is passionate about surfing, he also loves to write about it on his blog and this combination has brought him more peer recongnition (he regularly features on news sites, like the Times Surf Blog). Just last week Simon's weblog, SurfGSD, became a TypePad Featured Blog - if you're a TypePad blogger, this is indeed the badge that will put a smile on your face! Over the years Simon has managed to combine blog articles with , YouTube videos, Flickr photos and even slideshows on Slide. His site is a nice mixture of articles about places he's visited (Hawaii, Madeira, Portugal), surf stories from around the world, things that interest him - rugby, Glastonbury, local stories - and obviously his own surf school - Gower Surf.
It's quite pleasing for me as I introduced him to blogging and TypePad when he came on my eMarketing Award course a couple of years' back. More importantly for Simon it looks like he now has a new buddy at TypePad Headquarters in San Francisco who is a keen surfer!
Well done Simon!
I got a Blackberry 8320 device last month and am quite excited about some of the things that I can do with it. Many of the things I have been able to do with other mobile devices though, in most cases, have never bothered to try out.
I haven't used Twitter too much of late but am now starting to get into it and have set myself a target of a 'twit' a day! Though I will have to be careful about using it when watching the football or after a beer, having read somewhere last week that you can easily damage your 'brand' through Twitter in a drunken moment! I suppose that Blackberrys and beers shouldn't be mixed.
I must admit that the best thing so far about the Blackberry is the push email facility, which allows me to receive emails from my main business email address instantly. It means I can respond to important emails as they arrive, throughout the day. In addition, I am able to view all manner of attachements that are sent through to me and, likewise respond straight away. It is a little addictive, though!
I was quite a heavy user of the Gmail app on my last phone but have now managed to pretty much move all email contacts over to my @marketingtom.com email address. However, I still regularly check emails through the Blackberry and still get enquiries for Madrid tours (a little sideline of mine) on it. Unlike the old phone the most recent emails appear to be 'pushed' to my phone.
TypePad is the only application that so far I have been unable to get working properly - the application says that there is some sort of network problem. I am sure though, that once I get it sorted, it will prove to be my favourite Blackberry app. The issue I had with doing articles from a mobile device previously was the keyboard - the qwerty keyboard I now have doesn't raise that issue.
I've also added some of my favourite RSS feeds to the browser application within Blackberry and can now read my favourite blog articles from pretty much anywhere. This is neat - especially if you're trying to kill time when standing in a queue at a bank or the supermarket!
So far, I have been mightily impressed by this little device. I can now take my office with me and ensure that clients and colleagues get quick responses to their queries through email. It also means, once I get TypePad sorted, that I can update my blog, add new twits and keep my Facebook profile up-to-date. How did I ever live/work without it before?
Filing From Flock
At present there's a bewildering array of Web 2.0 applications, social networks and social bookmarks available on the web, everything from Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook to Odeo, Digg, Basecamp and YouTube. I sometimes wonder how some people keep track of where they're at or where they should be throughout the day.
The way that things are tending to go is that companies have their social side and then they have their business side. At its most simplistic level, the social side builds community and develops loyalty - it often is the area that creates the leads; and the business side is just that - the place where people go to buy, view products, learn and enquire, etc. The social side is the one that interests me and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that companies need to firstly develop a blogging hub and then create social experiences which can be plugged into the blog. These experiences are basically a way of taking the conversation over to another neighbourhood, whilst still keeping a close eye on it.
Quite often it's possible to create a conversation (or borrow a conversation) and embed it straight into your blog - thus offering visitors a media experience which differs from the usual text and photos. Here are some examples of embedding that you may want to consider for your blog:
Most bloggers when they experiment with embedded media will generally start by using YouTube. Take a look at what Blendtec did to demonstrate the durability and quality of their products.
More and more people (and businesses) are starting to appreciate the reach and power of Flickr. Here's a selection of images from a Flickr set (http://flickr.com/groups/11604231@N00/pool/tags/sixnations) which are displayed as a slideshow:
If you'd like to create a link to your favourite podcast, then why not consider Odeo, which also allows you to customise your Odeo player.
If you would like to share your business or personal presentations online, it may be worth considering SlideShare. The presentation below is a favourite of mine as it combines both pictures and sound.
And what list would be complete without Google? (Here's a map of my hometown!).