5

Is your organization challenged in identifying robust social media topics to share, especially via blogging? If you are struggling with this, I’ll bet you aren’t taking advantage of an outside-in blogging strategy.

The Challenge of Creating Robust Social Media Topics

That was the challenge for someone I talked with recently who is blogging for an Alzheimer’s care facility. Because of patient privacy restrictions and the fact that people would probably rather not have to think about life in a long-term, senior care facility, the organization was struggling with what they could write about regarding the center. She asked what ideas I had for alternative blog topics.

As with so many organizations, I pointed out the primary problem was with the organization’s writing perspective.

We generally find organizations of all types just moving into social media approach it as they would other corporate communications efforts, i.e. starting with a list of topics the organization wants its audiences to know about on an ongoing basis.

While that might work (maybe) in traditional communication channels, this type of inside-out blogging approach is tremendously limiting.

Unless you have rabid brand fanatics who are consumed by your brand, you probably occupy a pretty small share of even a great customer’s interest. They have lives outside of what you do for them. They think about and are really interested in what’s going on with their lives, not what’s going on with your organization. So when you try and wedge what you care about into the relatively tiny mind share they have for you, there just aren’t that many compelling topics you can successfully cover.

Creating An Outside-In Blogging Strategy

When your organization moves into social media, you need to adopt an outside-in blogging strategy.

An outside-in blogging strategy implies you start identifying topics based on what your audience is interested in and then identifying how you can credibly address those topics. With an outside-in blogging strategy, you need to begin with a strong audience persona (or perhaps multiple ones) that describe a typical reader, their lifestyle, and their interests. As a generalized portrayal of a blog reader, the persona can be formed from market research, audience profile information, and insights from internal staff. We often create personas for our clients through a 10 question interactive exercise to create an initial persona for use in social media.

Once you have an audience persona developed, you’re in a fantastic position to start thinking about what your audience cares about and seeing which of their concerns you can address.

Getting back to the Alzheimer’s care center blogger, in our brief conversation, we described her target audience member as Joan, a married woman in her late forties with a mother exhibiting early stage Alzheimer’s. She is caring for her mother in her home, along with a couple of older kids. From that background, we generated five new topic ideas within a minute:

  • Managing financial issue for older parents
  • Meals that are fast to prepare
  • Providing full-time care without losing yourself
  • What to do when you can’t do any more than you are doing right now
  • How to make sure your parents are getting the best care

You can easily imagine all of these topics being of very high interest for Joan. While none are specifically related to the Alzheimer’s care center, it has a basis to address them, either with its own experts or through reaching out to others as guest contributors.

And most importantly, this list was generated in a minute using an outside-in blogging strategy. If we’d have kept going, this list of ideas would have grown to 100 within 15 minutes.

Getting Started

If you haven’t adopted an outside-in blogging strategy for your organization, now is the time to start. And if you need assistance getting an outside-in blogging strategy started, call The Brainzooming Group. We’ll get you going on it very quickly! – 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

Spend enough time on social media networks and you will see a variety of negative online behavior. During the last few years on Twitter, I have observed such bad social media practices as:

  • A live-in couple breaking up via back and forth tweets
  • An adult harassing a child as the child’s mother responded in a state of terror
  • An individual being targeted and antagonized repeatedly by multiple people with various troll-like behaviors

Beyond these two-way online attacks, there is another distinct strain of online vigilante attacks. This troll-like behavior involves certain individuals (usually an online expert) waging an attack against bad social media practices the online vigilante has labeled wrong, harmful, or disingenuous, all in the spirit of protecting (and supposedly educating) others.

Attacking Bad Social Media Practices?

I watched one of these play out recently.

A self-appointed online vigilante went after a competitor (and certain employees of the competitor) for disingenuous social media behavior. What started as a post bemoaning the competitor’s bad social media practices (supported by an uploaded screen grab of the competitor’s site) triggered supportive comments from the online vigilante’s followers. This was followed by the online vigilante’s more pointed invective. Finally, an employee at the competitor under attack responded with a mea culpa and a request to put a stop to the feeding frenzy underway.

While the original comment was a valid opinion about the competitor’s presence, it was a situation where the parties KNOW each other. Rather than pointing out a competitor’s weakness to the online vigilante’s large follower network (under the guise of being shocked by the competitor’s shortcomings), it could have been handled privately. Or even ignored completely. There was no compelling reason to call out a competitor’s bad social media practices – other than to belittle the competitor in the eyes of potential clients.

I might have believed the online vigilante’s claim that no harm was ever meant in the original post except I’ve seen the same type of attack in several venues. And each time, the same motivation is claimed: to simply point out something the online vigilante found surprising or incredulous about a competitor’s social media practices.

Acting on Our Behalf?

Looking at this situation and others, online vigilantes are characterized by a rather unsavory set of personality traits and behaviors, including:

  • Being disingenuous (which is why they like to call it out in others)
  • Sarcasm
  • Vindictiveness
  • A strong sense of personal superiority
  • Detraction
  • Narcissism

Sounds like someone you’d want to hang out with, doesn’t it?

There are certainly other and more appropriate ways to wage social duels and fight with some level of online etiquette. Yet in this case and others, online vigilantism seems to attract thousands of followers in spite of, or heaven forbid, because of their negative online behavior.

And to that, I guess all I can say is, if we’re following them (and I obviously am), then we, as an audience, get what we deserve.  – 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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3

I received an email recently about presenting to a technology marketing group on ideas for how to incorporate social media into your daily life. Thinking about the topic prompted this list of finding ideas on what to blog about in your daily life that is relevant for your social media audience.

As I always tell audiences, there are blog topic ideas in everything and every situation you encounter. While that is true, it is not as actionable as having a list to prompt you with specific situations to help you decide what to blog about in your daily life.

Today, you could consider these fifteen blogging topic ideas from:

  • Top stories from the morning news show you watched.
  • A novel idea that occurred to you in the shower.
  • Headlines in your newspaper or online feeds.
  • Topics customers are talking about during sales calls.
  • Questions being raised during customer service interactions.
  • Your opinion on today’s industry news.
  • Answering a question you received during a presentation.
  • A story you heard at lunch.
  • Insights gained from a conversation with a colleague.
  • Whatever the interesting person you met would like to cover in a guest blog post.
  • Information you shared in a capabilities presentation you delivered.
  • What you are doing for a customer today that provides tremendous value.
  • Sports analogies from the sports your kids are playing.
  • A perspective on a book you are currently reading.
  • Something you see on television this evening.

The moral of this blogging topic ideas story?

There are blogging topic ideas throughout your daily life, and it takes opening your perspective only slightly to find ideas for pages and pages of compelling blog content to share with your social media audience! – 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

I’m back at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County covering Blogging for Business with a particular focus on creating fantastic blog content during the sold-out two-hour presentation. We had a great time at the October blogging for business presentation at Enterprise Center of Johnson County, and we’re covering comparable social media content today.

For all the time we spend talking about creating fantastic blog content, maybe it’s also worthwhile to point out that not every organization needs a blog as part of its business strategy today.

Surprised I’d say that?

Well, it’s true, and here’s the list.

Top 10 reasons your organization DOESN’T need a blog . . . TODAY

10. You have as much business as you need or want.

9. You really have nothing intriguing to say to customers, prospects, or other audiences you are trying to reach.

8. Your customers, despite the fact they’re patrons of your organization, don’t care about anything you have to say.

7. You suspect your target audiences aren’t reading blogs.

6. Your website isn’t part of your lead generation strategy.

5. You’re not planning to integrate blogging into your overall online and business strategy.

4. You’re not willing to produce regular content.

3. You can’t stop yourself from writing only about your company.

2. Your senior team doesn’t support a blog and/or will demand edits compromising the value of your blog content.

1. You’re going to delegate primary social media content creation responsibilities to an intern.

Still Think You Don’t Need a Blog?

If you can go through this list and still think your organization would not benefit from blogging, you’re either:

  • Passing up great potential opportunities today (if you were agreeing with numbers 5 through 10) AND/OR
  • Not taking full advantage of your organization’s ability to develop and share fantastic blog content (if you were agreeing with numbers 1 through 4)

In either case, even if you still think you don’t need one TODAY, it’s highly likely you’ll not want to pass up these opportunities much longer.

So maybe you should get started on creating a fantastic blog today, after all! – 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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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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