Archive for November, 2003

Television blogging?

Sunday, November 30th, 2003

Several months ago I canceled my cable–because of Joe Dominguez who, in his wonderful book from the 70s Your Money or Your Life, pointed out that how we spend–our money, our time, our resources–should reflect our real values in life. I thought about the 40 bucks for the cable and realized I didn’t value it that much.

(By the way, the numbers in Joe’s book are dated, but the methodology he explains is still just as valuable for evaluating your spending.)

Having no cable was strange at first. But after a few weeks I rediscovered an incredibly rich resource, PBS, and discovered a new source for very high quality entertainment: Oh! (Oxygen). Besides the excellent movies–high quality acting in stories that consistently educate and inspire as they entertain–for the first time I got to see the gazillionly-rich-unbelievably-famous Oprah Winfrey on her “Oprah After The Show” show–a half hour segment of free-flowing thought exchange she does with her audience and guests after the filming of the regular program.

And this morning, I realized something else: that show is an animated-3D-plus-audio version of blogging. “Unscripted, unrehearsed” is the way they describe it. Well, well, just like a good blog. Check it out sometime.

What price talent?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2003

Did you know that Information Week recently reported results of a survey that said besides security execs, managers who supply “content” (read: websites, blogs, newsletters) would receive the highest raises in corporate America?

If you like what this new tool does for you and you find your staff members are getting too busy to do it properly, assign a piece of your budget to hiring a professional. You need to keep doing what works…

Next: Who can help? What to look for in a professional.

By the way, blessings and good wishes for a Thanksgiving day full of gratitude and appreciation for all that you have and all that you are and all that you have to give.

Balancing act

Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Spreading yourself too thin is never a good idea. Blogging can require a big investment of time and energy. Add it to an already-too-long list of tasks, and you begin to dilute the energy that makes your true voice so powerful.

A few extremely talented and prolific people who also happen to be good writers can carry everything off by themselves for a while. But the fact is that, by using blogging effectively, they will be attracting new business and new clients in ever greater numbers–guaranteed. Then these blogging business owners run the risk of getting so engaged with this new business that their resources begin to wear thin. They may focus on delivering the business and neglect to continue sharing information and providing value.

It’s a mistake. For all but the most exceptional businesses, it’s essential to keep a balancing act going between marketing and delivering. Don’t be fooled–as many business owners were as they watched the precipitous decline in the economy over the last few years–into thinking you can sit back and rest on your laurels (or your high-priced marketing materials that haven’t kept pace with the realities of today’s marketing techniques).

You’ll be astonished at the power of blogging, this new tool for your business. But don’t let it blind you to the advice that’s been good for centures: To sustain success, you need to keep up the things that got you there in the first place…

Positive power makes prosperity

Monday, November 24th, 2003

Oh, dear. Blogger’s been down. Lost an entire post on the topic of attitude. Will try again.

Blogging is all about maintaining a positive attitude. Your customers and prospects aren’t interested in your negative thoughts–chances are they have enough of their own that they don’t enjoy.

But you can bet they don’t mind hearing about what frustrates you–especially as it affects your efforts to serve them better. In fact, they love to hear that stuff. Don’t you appreciate it when you know someone is putting sweat and tears behind an effort to make your life easier? You’d be an odd duck if you didn’t.

Attention for your business can be gained in many ways. Complaining, criticizing and finding fault are sure to get you attention. But it’s questionable whether the best, most profitable customers–that is, the ones who choose you because they believe in you–are the ones who will respond to that kind of attitude.

There is always something not right with the world. Business is no different. Something’s always wrong, and maybe you can fix it. If you can, talk about how wonderful the world will be when your solution is implemented (not about how bad it is now).

Businesspeople who are forward-thinking and who are looking for solutions–not publicity, arguments or fistfights–respond much better to a positive focus.

Introducing…

Sunday, November 23rd, 2003

It’s tough to edit down your notes when you’ve been interviewing a brilliant business person who is extremely articulate. But it’s always worth the effort–it’s one of the secrets of delivering true value to your readers.

Naturally an important part of helping your customers get that value is creating a handsome format that emphasizes important points in proper proportion. While information is good–even in a big block of text–it usually becomes truly useful only when it’s presented in a highly readable format. It has been my pleasure to work that out for you for this new series of BizBlog Reviews. Feedback and constructive suggestions most welcome.

Having decided to start with a couple of stories from Northeast Ohio (and move out later), it is my distinct pleasure to present the final design containing the first official case study about how blogging is bringing success to businesses around the world.

Introducing, the Don Iannone BizBlog Review

Viral – big time

Saturday, November 22nd, 2003

You’ve heard of viral marketing, right? Supposedly the best thing to come along since sliced bread, according to many professional marketing folks. Well, guess what? They’re right.

And now the blog has come on the scene to make even the least sophisticated among us be able to pull off this wonderful viral marketing. Anita Campbell (I promise her case study is almost ready!) reports she’s already been contacted by a Silicon Valley software company in response to her small business blog. Now, this is not to say they’re offering her a project yet, but they are asking her to review their software. She’s interviewed the CEO and received a sample of the software, and by God, she says it looks like a great product.

A win-win situation if there ever was one. Her company and theirs will get found by more people than they otherwise would have–especially if they’re smart with keywords (email me if you want to know more)–and people looking for X (that software) will tell other people about Y (the reviewing company) and build up recognition for both companies. Who knows what might develop?

Viral marketing is one of the most valuable results of the Internet/blog combination. What the heck are you waiting for?

P.S. Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John Kennedy. Remembering a profound moment in history, it’s a good time to pause a moment and reflect.

Blogs of Learning

Thursday, November 20th, 2003

What a day of learning today. Exciting developments in the Cleveland enterpreneurial/economic development corridor–world class universities partnering with successful businesses to attract new energy to the region. Stuff going on in Northeast Ohio lately is beginning to take on the look of serious innovation.

Would what you learned today make a good topic for a company blog? Why not? Wouldn’t your customers love to know how much time and effort you–and all your people–put into learning new things so that you can serve them better?

Wouldn’t you love to know that about your vendors?

Double whammy

Wednesday, November 19th, 2003

Quote from an excellent 1996 source on marketing:

“Newsletters are the single most versatile tool you can buy to market [your business] more effectively. And they’re easy to use.”
~ Mary Lou Gutscher, from her chapter in the book Marketing Magic

Still true. And now you can add this one:

“Blogs are breathtakingly simple to use. And they’re the single most powerful tool ever invented to use with your newsletters to attract the best possible clients for your business.”
~ Barbara Payne, from her chapter in the upcoming book, The World’s Greatest Business Mentors

Stay tuned for more on how to combine blogs and newsletters for the best one-two message-delivery punch you ever heard of…

Find business exactly where you want it – blog!

Monday, November 17th, 2003

One of the most successful bloggers-for-business I know, Don Iannone, recently introduced yet another iteration of his popular economic development blog–this one aimed at a specific target region (the one right around his home office). The fact is, if your blog is attracting clients well around the country, it’s quite likely to do the same in your local area–and then you can contribute your expertise to attract good projects that don’t require you to travel so far!

Good. Intelligent, creative application of the power of blogging. You know, they say that narrowing your niche brings the greatest success. But did you know you can also narrow your market for any number of good reasons–even just because you want to?

How might you want to do that for your own business? Reply here and share your ideas.

Reality Business

Friday, November 14th, 2003

Ah, technology! I am sitting at a public computer in a high-rise apartment building in Chicago, IL, logged on to this blog from my laptop (which is turned on and connected to DSL on my desk in Cleveland, OH) via a remote-access program called GoToMyPC. This way I don’t have to remember any passwords and user IDs or, well, really almost anything, because I’m actually working from my own computer. All my documents, all my programs, are available as if I were sitting there.

Now if we apply this tool with universally available WIFI and public computers everywhere (much as there are public phones everywhere), no one will ever have to lug around a computer again. The next step is Star-Trek-beaming stuff to our computers and to each other. Thoughts creating physical reality (many brilliant thinkers tell us this is what’s actually going on anyway so it’s really not that far a stretch).

Just think what blogging could do for business then. How many times have you thought of a brilliant idea, something you wanted to share with others at work or your customers or your vendors, and you didn’t have a piece of paper, or a pen, or you were driving. Yes, you could use a voice recorder, but then you’d have the problem of remembering to transcribe your ideas and transfer them to some sort of publishing mechanism. Sometimes it wouldn’t get done, or it would lose its savor when you translated it.

Fear of people publishing things that don’t make sense? Yes, that’s a real possibility. But we all know that having plenty of time before publication is no guarantee that what you put out will always make total sense anyway… But consider what some of the most popular television programs are today: reality shows. That’s what blogging is about: it’s a reality show for your cause, your idea, your hobby, your life, or whatever.

Reality is just as attractive in business as it is in every arena of life. As long as it’s articulate writing and it has meaning for your customers, it’s fair game for the blog.