Oh! That’s What You Mean!

Much of our writing today is what I call “low cost” forms of writing. So it is with instant messages (I don’t think I ever spelled that out before), emails, texts, tweets, status updates… All of these things happen so often and in such rapid succession that, indeed, it seems ridiculous to invest much time in them. Why spend time crafting a message out of a response to “Whose food is in the fridge?” or “Where do we keep the ink cartridges?” The problem arises when we use the same careless, “low cost” approach for less utilitarian communication.

So how do you become a more considerate writer? In my case, I eliminated the distractions. Maybe you won’t have to be as drastic. Maybe you’re just not cool enough to consider a typewriter as an option. Either way, if you take the time to apply a little bit of thought and style to the small stuff (responses to client concerns, interoffice questions, etc.*) you might find you get better results. As a copywriter, I may take too much time wording things but I tend to get my point across.

Writing, if it’s good, has someone’s blood on it (or at least some sweat).

That is to say, it was really hard for them to write. And the prose is clearer for it.

Some time ago, before I was so bloody busy, I used to think one day I’d grow up to be a real bona fide writer. I would come home determined; and always produced something.

When the novel thing started burning me out, I really needed a reason to write; moreover, I needed to write something that didn’t take much thought. I concluded that letters might be the answer. You remember those things, right? It’s how you used to keep in touch with girlfriends in other cities… or Santa. Leer más “Oh! That’s What You Mean!”

The Fairness Strategy: Negotiating for the Long-Term

If you’re buying a car or a piece of real estate, aggressive may be the right strategy. But, when it comes to negotiating partnerships for bold, long-term creative pursuits, relationships and precedent matter. In fact, the relationship matters more than the extra spread you might gain from being aggressive.

When it comes to negotiating partnerships for bold, long-term creative pursuits, relationships and precedent matter.

When negotiating a deal that will result in an ongoing relationship, consider the “fairness” strategy. It’s simple: Have a discussion up front with your counterpart in the negotiation. Make the case that you want to reach a fair deal for both parties.

Negotiation is a part of business. Whether you are hiring a team, agreeing to terms with a client, or ironing out a deal with a vendor – negotiation sets the tone for the relationship.

Of course, you want a good deal. Everyone does. Some people take the aggressive approach: asking for more or offering less than they think is fair. The brash business figures of the 20th century were infamous for aggressive negotiation practices. The strategy here is to purposefully exceed the boundaries of fairness with the understanding that you’ll need to take a few steps back.

However, by doing so, you are setting an antagonistic precedent. Screwing over the other party creates distrust and insecurity – very shaky ground for collaboration. Leer más “The Fairness Strategy: Negotiating for the Long-Term”

Do Social Networks See Organizations as Customers?

Many of the social networks, in their haste to build volume with individual accounts have not really thought through the features and benefits available to organizations beyond offering them a pay to play avenue with advertising and/or the recruitment route.

Given that many of these networks need to start converting business, it seems a bit short-sighted, if not immature, to fail to address the point of view of organizations beyond clicks and numbers of followers. It makes it pretty hard to measure something when the metrics are lacking in the first place.

Sure, we have a ton of data — in many cases of useless or wrong data. If you followed the evolution of these services, it’s been URL links shortening companies, monitoring and analytic firms, Twitter clients, and overall companies outside the original network that have provided usefulness when it comes to tracking and correlation at first.

Many social media teams on the company side, although quite stretched, have compensated by creating their own ways of reading the information and integrating it with the organization’s overall marketing and communications metrics in their reporting.

108966 With the maturity of many social networks, we should be seeing a better fine tuning of what those networks offer individuals and organizations alike.

However, to an observer it seems that the plan was to enroll oodles of people to put their stuff there and charge advertising money to companies in exchange for eyeballs.

You can see from this chart here that many organizations are maintaining company-related accounts or profiles on social media sites.

Someone has to pay for the data center hosting all the information — and to keep the lights on — right? Looks like that role was intended for organizations. Leer más “Do Social Networks See Organizations as Customers?”

Creating a Content-Driven Community

What about the professional services world (accounting, in particular). Couldn’t one of the Big Four or second-tier firms create a community aimed at helping controllers and CFOs get quality content that can help them make more informed decision? Don’t think that would have a halo effect for one of those firms?

Could they partner with an existing community? For example Intuit for small business. Or with a software company that provides enterprise services, like SAP? Starting from scratch many not make sense for them if their customers are already vested in an existing system.

Introducing them to further value via uncovering and curating might be enough in their case. Partnership may make sense. In my experience, firms in the service business (with some considerable IP investment, real or perceived) have a hard time sharing knowledge freely, even with customers.

They are also very focused on lead generation and any and all activities that could detract from that need a solid reason for time and resources investment that provide outcomes other than dollar signs.

Of course, the bigger reason may one day be one of the following:

* reputation issues
* a full blown crisis
* diminishing returns from lead gen activities
* a competitor is doing it

Opportunity can be found in cha

For many B2B companies — that is companies that sell products, services, or information to other businesses vs. consumers — building a sustainable community means providing access to content that is fine tuned to their needs. Which presupposes you know your customers.

You will also want to infuse the company values, associations, ideas, and perceptions you want to transmit customers as well as offers or rewards in your content.

First, figure out where you’re going

Purpose has a way of focusing activities and interactions, until they provide business impact. Declaring your objective, attaching goals to it, and making them measurable, will get you there. While people are definitely in the spot light of community, unless you know where you want to go with it, you will have a hard time going from building to engaged.

This step presupposes that you’ve identified who your customers and prospective customers are. Leer más “Creating a Content-Driven Community”