9

In the comments to last Friday’s post about deciding whether to ditch a blogging schedule, Jeffrey Henning asked what factors I’d considered in leading to the conclusion that a daily blog strategy still makes sense for the Brainzooming blog. It’s a very valid question, although one of a strategic nature about our business that I typically wouldn’t address here. However, since Jeffrey asked, here’s a sampling of the factors we considered with our daily blog strategy and our conclusions on each of them.

5 Reasons to Not Ditch Our Daily Blog Strategy

1. Strategic Brand Messaging

We’ve incorporated versions of a phrase referencing we “blog daily on strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media” in a variety of business descriptions personally and about The Brainzooming Group. The phrase says where we focus (both in content and as a business) and how actively we are engaged in these areas. Since we have made a daily blog strategy part of The Brainzooming Group promise and our strategic brand messaging, it is important to live out the promise.

2. Proof Point to the Brainzooming Process

We don’t sell the idea of “creativity when you feel like it.” We sell the Brainzooming process and our creativity exercises and techniques as the way to be creative when feeling creative is the last thing on your mind, but the first thing on your to do list. If we were to only blog when we feel like it, there would be a major disconnect and no credibility to a fundamental proof point for our brand.

3. A Point of Differentiation

There are many organizations claiming to do aspects of what we do in helping companies develop more innovative strategies. Consistently publishing Brainzooming with a daily blog strategy demonstrates our tenure, experience, plus our focus on continually creating and expanding our strategic innovation techniques. When another firm throws up an online site with a few pages and a “check back here” message on a blog, I like our advantage in winning a potential client as they compare who really specializes in strategic innovation.

4. We’re Doing What We Recommend

While The Brainzooming Group isn’t focused exclusively on social media strategy for clients, social media strategy development and implementation has become a significant part of what we do.  If we recommend being a consistent social media presence as a key to success, it’s important we carry out what we recommend, gaining new strategic learnings to benefit our social media strategy clients.

5. Our Readership Is Growing at Triple Digit Rates

We’ve just reached two years for the Brainzooming blog on a single WordPress platform, so we now have stable year-over-year comparisons in Google Analytics (another reason in itself to maintain our schedule). The original article on why you should ditch a blogging schedule suggested a regular schedule “sucks the life force out of your blog.” To the contrary, the Google Analytics metrics show unique visitors nearly doubled in the second year on WordPress while visits from search were up more than 650% in the same period. We reached readers in 179 countries last year. Those metrics don’t even consider audience growth from email subscriptions and the RSS feed. If the audience is continuing to grow at those rates, it’s important to continue fueling it with regular content.

The Only Significant Challenge to Our Daily Blog Strategy: Time

The time demands along with it becoming more challenging to remember what I have and haven’t already addressed in the Brainzooming blog makes it seem like I’m ready for a new creative adventure apart from the blog. Since the Brainzooming blog started, I’ve hardly ever picked up the guitar, painted a picture, or even drawn much. Four years concentrating on a single creative outlet is a long time for me to stick with one form. That frustration does have me considering a variety of other alternatives. So far though, none of the alternatives considered delivers the same advantages as regular, daily publishing.

You Have to Make Your Own Decisions

As I wrote Friday, you have to answer your own question about regular or even daily blogging. The answer that’s right for you or your organization has to make sense with what you’re trying to achieve. What are you thinking about publishing to a regular schedule? Does it make sense for you?  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7

Michael Gelphman at @KCITP forwarded a post to me early in the week titled “Why You Should Ditch Your Blogging Schedule,” asking, “So what do you think?” Yesterday, Alex Greenwood wrote about the post’s recommendation that the standing advice about the need to post on a regular blogging schedule should now be ignored, replacing it with a blog whenever you have something really important and impactful to say approach.

The central reason offered for the change in the regular blogging schedule recommendation was summarized pointedly: “Constant, reliable, regular posting sucks the life force out of your blog.”

This was perhaps the only summarized statement in the blog post. At over 1,100 words, it was a lot of space to spell out little more than the social media guru’s equivalent of the perpetual corporate strategy switcheroo, “Centralize. Now decentralize. Oops, now centralize.” Consultants have gotten paid huge sums for a long time by flipping that advice every three years!

Since, I have been a proponent of regular blogging schedules, it’s fair to expect me to weigh in with what I think about the post.

My initial response to Michael was to return to the fundamental question, “What do you want to achieve?”

When you start answering that question really well, the answer about how frequently to blog (or even if you need to blog at all) becomes a whole lot easier to answer. Going through that process is a lot more important than blindly following an idea someone has tried to turn into an absolute “rule” of social media conduct.

The biggest personal take away for me from “Why You Should Ditch Your Blogging Schedule” was it prompted me to review our objectives at The Brainzooming Group regarding the blog, pushing them around a bit to see if daily blogging still makes sense for us. After that strategic reflection, I still came up with blogging daily as the right answer for us.

But like everything, it is an answer subject to change if our goals change in the future. What do you think? Do you read anything into a brand based on its blogging schedule?  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

 


Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

Listening to some folks talk recently about business development and client opportunities in social networking prompted these questions directly related to social media expertise:

  • Would you want to make plans to meet for a networking event with someone who registers but never shows up?
  • Would you choose a surgeon for your medical procedure who doesn’t perform the type of surgery you need?
  • If you had a child needing help with calculus, would you select a math tutor who has never bothered to learn how to add, subtract, multiply, or divide?
  • Could you depend on a sports reporter to provide insightful analysis of a baseball game when they left in the second inning of the game?
  • Would you expect to learn much about life in the Broadway theatre from someone claiming to be an actor who doesn’t personally know any other actors, let along any producers or directors?

No big surprise if the answer to each of these questions is a resounding, “No.”

Yet when it comes to social media expertise, how often do you run across individuals selling social media strategy who:

  • Sign up but never actually use social networks?
  • Can’t demonstrate an experience-based, strategic understanding of the very social networks they recommend?
  • Claim awareness of the newest social networks yet have never carried out the basics of devising, integrating, and implementing a social media presence?
  • Have launched social media presences they quickly abandon or neglect for months or years afterward?
  • Don’t cultivate an active network of people who invest time and effort across major social networks AND relevant business processes?

Why Should Social Media Expertise Be Any Different?

Just because you think someone is young enough or has more social media expertise than YOU do doesn’t make them the right person to shape an effective social networking strategy and realistic implementation plan for making social media work as an integrated component of YOUR business.

In a world of social networks where it’s incredibly hard to AVOID creating an online social network presence, why would you want to have someone who can’t point to one lead you in creating a social network presence for your organization? – Mike Brown

 


If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

 


Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

One of my blogging mantras is always be listening for blog content because you never know where content will appear. Maybe listening for blog content is easier said than done, but when you’re having to come up with 235+ blog posts a year, you can’t afford to miss great content just because it comes up in an unexpected situation.

Last night, I dropped in on the sold out “Achieve Your 2012 Goals: Social Accountability Happy Hour” presented by Michael Gelphman of Kansas City IT Professionals. While big happy hour networking events aren’t the first thing I flock to, I had a great time catching up with a number of Kansas City social media and IT folks.

Michael Gelphman asked everyone to bring three 2012 goals we were expected to socialize with other attendees. I put together my list before heading over to the event. Although I didn’t run into that many people talking up 2012 goals, I shared mine with Dee Sadler, who provided helpful comments on moving ahead with them this year.

In the course of talking with friends Aaron Deacon and Jason Harper, Jason made the comment below which screamed to be a blog post. I quickly wrote it down on the back of my 2012 goals sheet:

The Hipster Like Button

 

There’s the lesson: even if it’s handwritten with a Sharpie on the back of a piece of paper, when you hear a great idea, figure out how to turn it into a blog post! – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

Today’s Brainzooming article comes from San Diego where I’m speaking to the Virtual Edge Summit (#VES12) this afternoon on using “Social Media Strategy to Drive Virtual Events.” This presentation combines two of my favorite strategy topics – events and social media strategy – with content covering how creating a meaningful social media strategy for an event starts when designing the entire event experience – whether virtual or face-to-face.

Since we have a lot to cover in the one-hour presentation at the Virtual Edge Summit, the links below which follow the presentation structure provide additional support information – whether from the Brainzooming website or other reference pieces.

While created for #VES12 attendees, the list is beneficial for anyone who is trying to get the benefits of incorporating social media as a part of an event strategy – whether that’s for a large organization, a small business, nonprofits, or even for your local church, school, or professional group.

Social Media Strategy Basics

Creating Fantastic Content Before, During, and After Your Event

Getting Your Event and Content Noticed

Social Media ROI

Other Resources

– Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

It is beneficial to save ideas you brainstormed but did not use since they may work for someone else or at a later time for you. Today’s post is a great example of this principle where you can save ideas to offer them to someone else later.

I chaired a global market research virtual event for the American Marketing Association in 2010. As part of our virtual event planning, we did a Brainzooming creativity session and brainstormed ideas to take best advantage of our virtual event opportunity. We brainstormed several hundred ideas, many of which were specific social media ideas for how to drive virtual event success.

Flash forward two years, and I will be speaking Monday afternoon at the Virtual Edge Institute 2012 conference on using social media ideas to drive virtual events by growing attendance and creating greater engagement.

Recently, I went back through our final Brainzooming report document from the 2010 American Marketing Association virtual event and identified out this list of 51 social media ideas to drive virtual events.

Many of the social media ideas could apply to any type of event or even other marketing programs. But since it does not make much sense to go through a list of 51 ideas during a presentation, the list is shared for you and all the attendees at the Monday Virtual Edge Institute session (4 pm PDT on Monday, January 9). Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and adapt them to suit your organization’s purposes. And if you would like to follow along during Monday’s session, be sure to track the Twitter hashtag #VES12!

Attendance Building

1. Create a micro-site for the conference – drive members there via email campaigns

2. Create themed web badges for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors to put on their sites

3. Crowd source a “10 Ways to Sell Your Attendance to Your Boss” list

4. Offer a free association membership for life as a contest give-away

5. Do a weekly give away on social media channels leading up to the conference

6. Extend offers at special times of the day

7. Extend offers for the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

8. Offer a dramatic prize for the 500th registrant for the digital event

9. Sponsor a scholarship program for out of work attendees to participate

10. Provide an offer to digital event attendees to attend future in-person events at a reduced rate

11. Give previous attendees a discount for referrals, plus free attendance for the person who gets the most referrals over some target number

Interactivity

12. Actively build the Twitter following for the event’s Twitter account well in advance of the event

13. Develop a conference / event app

14. Host a monthly, industry-oriented Twitter chat leading up to or kicking off with the digital event

15. Create an event word cloud that evolves over the day

16. Crowd source a “What the future of the industry looks like” video or article

17. Crowd source nominations for annual awards via social networks

18. Crowd source the theme for the next digital event

19. Conduct a pre-event session on how to get more out of the conference through social media

20. Hold a webinar for attendees before the conference on maximizing the value of the digital event experience

21. Have a live viewing session for the digital event in high-density membership areas

22. Have an online interaction area for attendees and speakers

23. Invite industry professionals to share content for the event community website

24. Monitor the event Twitter feed and introduce people to each other

25. Produce the social media content at the event with a team approach

26. Offer an incentive for attendees to blog or live tweet about the conference

27. Provide exclusive digital interactions with speakers at the event

Networking

28. Allow attendees to post resumes and job opportunities in the virtual event

29. Create a buddy / mentoring system for senior and junior people in the industry to reach out to each other, network, and schedule time together at the event

30. Do a virtual speed-networking event

31. Pair people up with similar interests at the conference through a community matching approach

32. Provide different avatar backgrounds for attendees to indicate their interest areas, experience, event objectives, etc.

33. Provide a means to network and pre-schedule meetings with suppliers or clients through a social media platform

Presentations / Content

34. Best rated / most popular breakout sessions (as identified through social media channels) are repeated in a general session

35. Crowd source a final recap presentation by soliciting ideas throughout the meeting via Twitter and other social networks

36. Crowd source session ideas from among social networks

37. Crowd source virtual event word of the day ideas from attendees

38. Host a global panel with Skype/video participation from all over the world

39. Do a session based on crowd sourcing a list of industry predictions that did/didn’t come true

40. Have attendees submit their own 1-2 minute videos that are compiled and shown

41. Have featured presenters doing a running commentary on social networks throughout the event

42. Host a virtual unconference – select a topic during the day of the digital event and discuss it live on Twitter or in an online chat room

43. Let attendees submit “new” content before the conference and the top 3 people get to present for 20 minutes

44. Create an online group to submit conference ideas

45. Post short teaser videos from presenters covering their topics

46. Solicit questions for presenters via social media

47. Win a video camera for the best ideas on how you will use it to create content for the event

Trade Show / Exhibitors

48. Allow exhibitors to put videos of best practices on a conference community site

49. Provide a coaching session for exhibitors on interactive and social media elements of the conference to maximize their business building experience

50. Solicit and provide e-opinions on suppliers

51. Video 2-minute pitches / interviews with exhibitors on the cool things they are doing. Show videos around presentations at general session & prompt attendees to visit the exhibitors

And what other social media ideas do you have?

What other social media ideas would you add to the list to driver virtual events? Please share them in the comments! If you’re at the Virtual Edge Institute (#VES12) in San Diego next week, please stop by and attend my Monday afternoon session!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

Last Christmas, I did a spur of the moment post about Christmas gifts blog readers could give their favorite bloggers. This holiday, I thought I’d turn the tables and share a list of Christmas gifts bloggers can give blog readers. Stay tuned at the end though, for a special request you can help me with this holiday season!

8 Christmas Gifts for Blog Readers

1. Keep your posts tightly edited and brief – unless there are really compelling reasons for a longer blog post.

Everybody’s “crazy busy,” massive amounts of information are inundating us, and blog readers have to prioritize where they’re investing time and reading content. Give them a break and keep your content short: a few hundred words and less than 90 seconds in reading time.

2. Add variety to your blog posts.

How much do you enjoy reading the same thing over and over? Not so much? Neither do your readers. You want predictability in the types of blog posts you write, but if you’re writing identically structured posts daily, make adding variety to your blogging a priority in the coming year.

3. Write about your readers and let them know.

One way to strengthen your social media connections is writing about readers (and potential readers) to share what they’re doing. When you do it though, make sure you include links to the person’s social media presence and give them a heads up you’re featuring them in your blog post.

4. Share blog posts multiple times on multiple social media channels.

Many readers likely use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks as substitutes for RSS feeds. If your new blog post doesn’t show up on social media channels, how will these readers know you’ve published fresh content? As interested blog readers, we want to make sure we’re updated when you have created new content.

5. Publish regularly and consistently.

Don’t make your blog readers guess when you’ll have something new to say. Make it clear what your publishing schedule is and stick to it. Consistent publishing creates consistent fans.

6. Don’t make someone do a rewrite when they share your social media content.

Use social media sharing plugins that allow you to customize and create a productive tweet or status update for blog readers. It’s a pain when the pre-populated tweet doesn’t include your Twitter name or a shortened-link to make it convenient to add hashtags, a comment, and share your social media content with others.

7. Make it easy to leave blog comments.

I hate when it takes longer to supply information to get a blog comment accepted than it does to write the original comment. And if the comment disappears because it can’t get authenticated . . . watch out! Install a reader-friendly commenting system and make life easier for everyone.

8. Approve comments quickly and carry on the conversation.

Nothing is more frustrating than leaving a blog comment then waiting DAYS before it is approved and appears on the website. One reason why that should also be frustrating for bloggers? Once my comment is published, I’ll share the whole post on Twitter. The longer you delay, the more likely you’ll miss out on potential new fans checking out your social media content.

Have a great holiday! – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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