I've recently been doing a bit of research on space exploration. The hunt has inevitably led me to stories about SpaceX founder (and billionaire genius) Elon Musk, a man whose mission to colonize Mars has led to the development of self-landing rockets, among other innovations over the last few years.
In the course of geeking out about such rocketry, I stumbled across two Musk interviews that inadvertently illustrate one of the biggest conversational mistakes — and missed opportunities — I see people make every day. Coincidentally, they're both by men named Rose: Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and partner at Google Ventures, and Charlie Rose, the veteran PBS/CBS interview host. Each had the chance to interview one of today's most fascinating innovators, but one of them succeeded in a slightly more enlightening (and less awkward) interview.
The difference was in the questions they asked, and specifically how they asked them. See if you can spot what's going on:
Google recently celebrated its 15th Birthday (many happy returns), so I thought I'd do a bit of analysis and critique on one of their newest products, Google+.
Introduced in July 2011, Google+ was going to be Google's answer to social networking and compete with established players such as Facebook and Twitter. However, over two years since its inception Google+ still divides opinion amongst the digital community.
So here are some of my personal Pros and Cons of the site.
A fellowship of NSA spies has been sent forth into the World of Warcraft on a quest to root out nefarious plots against the United State of America. Having to infiltrate many realms to monitor the millions of people playing there, the NSA team donned disguises and adopted alter-egos. Each team deployed into the various realms no doubt had a tactical mix of healers, tanks and damage dealers. You need a good mix of skills on your team to survive this rough world and to get the intelligence you need, especially when you come across a terrorist cell also in similar disguises. If the NSA teams are not good enough with their disguises, terrorist cells throughout WoW are likely to attack them at a moment's notice, especially in the PvP-RP realm (oooh, gotta watch out for that one). But they must succeed. Our nation depends on them.
Meanwhile, the dark lord of the government (is Cheney still in office?) has dispatched Nine Riders of the most terrible form. They are agents of the law operating under the guise of dark, ominous things. In reality, they are there to spy on and terrorize good, innocent dwarves, elves, gnomes and, of course, humans. As long as the Nine are among us in this world, no one's privacy is safe. No one will truly be able to enjoy the pure rush of combat and the thrill of finding booty fit for kings.
I suspect that both the far left and the far right imagine that the NSA's foray into the World of Warcraft is more like the Nine Riders than a fellowship on a noble quest. And Americans in the middle are more likely to see it either as the fellowship (if they see government as a force for good) or a deployment of soldiers to protect us (if they see government as a necessary evil).
Online community management has (finally) risen to the rank of a being a respected and understood profession. There are now official community management titles, proper job descriptions, and sometimes even a bit of budget to allocate. Due to the elevation of the profession, community managers are experiencing unprecedented levels of visibility within the organization. We are now recognized as the voice of the customer, partner or employee for the organization. As the champions of human interaction, community managers are looked upon as the people who enable online relationships and the data-miners who are able to shepherd insights to the forefront of the business so they can act on the information.
Now that organizations are starting to understand community, they are increasingly looking to it to deliver value to the business. With increased responsibility comes a heightened level of accountability. This is causing a significant change in how community leaders engage with peers and communicate about the work they do. The change is both exciting and challenging as it requires new skill sets and an increase in cross-functional collaboration.
No longer can community managers remain in the "safe-zone" of managing the site in isolation, and solely reporting tactical outcomes such as how many new members there are this quarter, how many questions have been answered, and what new content is slotted for publication. This will not be enough to satiate the growing business appetite to understanding business value. Increasingly, community managers are being called upon to codify business metrics and measure of success. It is now a common expectation that community will be able to clearly communicate the ways in which initiative supports and contribute to the top-line, and to work with business to achieve their goals through community. While this may seem to be a daunting expectation, it can be done. In fact, it must be done well for community's long-term survival. And, it is important to present community value in a way that captures executives' attention and taps into what matters most to them- customer satisfaction, new product and service ideas, cost reduction and idea generation for future innovation which leads to top line growth.
Have you ever been left wondering 'What's the point?' after labouring to create compelling content for your corporate blog only to receve little or no direct resonse to your post? The truth is we have all been there. However, according to 2013 report by HubSpot here's why you shouldn't lose heart.
- 79% of companies who have a blog reported a positive return on investment for inbound marketing in 2013, compared with just 20% of 'blogless' companies.
- 82% of marketers who blogged on a daily basis acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blogged only monthly.
- 43% of marketers have generated a customer via their blog this year.
- HubSpot customers who produced more than 15 blog posts a month generated an average of 1,200 new leads each month!
The Staying Power of Blogging
The real benefit of blogging as part of your content marketing strategy is its potentially limitless shelf-life. It's true that you might not receive the same instant gratification for your efforts as you would perhaps, for a presentation or trade show, where you can gauge immediate feedback and opinion. However, unlike these one-off marketing events, blogs can generate hits (and, by extension, sales), months or even years after they are created.
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