First…

Oh, Boston, you’re my home.

Dirty Water by The Standells (video)

Dirty Water by The Standells (video)
my favorite by Mission of Burma didn’t seem appropriate right now

Back to your regularly scheduled program…

One of my favorite curated posts to read during the weekend is GigaOm’s Look Back at the Week in Tech. They describe it as “our rewind and quick take on the most important stories and some great links for your weekend reading.”

digitalNOW (#diginow13)

I’ve been too busy to dig deeply into my digitalNOW conference notes but Sheri Jacobs‘ session on membership value and segmentation inspired me to write a post for Avectra about an interesting membership model. 

Maggie McGary is exasperated with the disconnect she witnessed during social media presentations by association execs at digitalNOW. When she examined one association’s programs, she discovered that social media was helping them create value and revenue, yet the exec said just the opposite. Why the disconnect? Knee-jerk reaction syndrome? Fear? 

Digital Marketing for Business (#dmfb)

I spent Monday and Tuesday at the Digital Marketing for Business conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. Like any conference, there were a few so-so sessions, but most of the 16 sessions I attended were excellent. I was especially impressed with Gregory Ng’s opening keynote on Tuesday – The Data Driven CMO. I kept thinking the association community would really benefit from his ideas, particularly on the intersection of tech and marketing – after all, most association positions have an element of marketing in them. ASAE and digitalNOW, give him a look. 

Another session I enjoyed at #dmfb was John Lane’s Content Marketing Art of War. He led with a stat that demonstrates why content marketing is critical to the success of any organization: 60% of the B2B buying process is over before the prospect makes the first sales touch with you. Content marketing is about delivering value before the sale. It’s the hook that entices prospects (and customers) to come to you. 

Tweetstream alert

On Tuesday I also saw intriguing tweets from Andrew Hanelly who was attending Folio’s MediaMashup conference. My plan is to check out the #mediamashup tweet stream this weekend. What a geek. 

Reads of the Week

Ray van Hilst says associations “are already on the leading edge” of the content marketing trend because the key elements to successful content marketing — content, distribution and trust – are embedded in association culture and business. But, many associations are losing the content competition because of antiquated policies and processes. See if you’re one of them.

Do you know what your association’s younger members really need? Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs does. He facilitated a strategic planning session for MACPA’s New/Young Professionals Network and now knows the top seven issues facing young professionals. MACPA also “developed a list of the top activities we can do to help young professionals address these issues.” 

“Each generation imagines itself as rebellious and iconoclastic. But none before has felt as free to call bullshit on conventional wisdom, backed by a trillion pages of information on the web and with the power of the Internet to broadcast their opinions. They have thrown off the shackles of received culture—compiling their own playlists, getting news from Twitter, decorating web pages with their own art.”

That’s Jerry Adler at Wired describing the first digital generation. This fascinating article is required reading for anyone who plans to be alive the next few years.

I love the ideas that Katya Andresen shares on what to do when you’re stuck on replay and need inspiration. She says, “It’s one thing to identify best practices and build on what works – it’s quite another to get too comfortable and call it in. Whole industries have fallen into habit only to be rendered irrelevant. You have to keep fine-tuning (or sometimes revolutionizing) what you do and how you do it.” She’s writing for a non-profit audience, but her suggestions would do wonders for any of us.

Quickies

  • 27 time-saving tools & tricks to be a more productive marketer (HubSpot)
  • You too, if you’re smart and talented enough, can be a kick-ass, well-paid conference speaker like Laurie Ruettimann. She shares how she rose to the top of the HR conference circuit. (Cynical Girl)
  • Here’s the poop on the daily routines of seven top CEOs. (Guardian)
  • The cicadas are coming! The cicadas are coming! (The Atlantic)
  • Want to help feed hungry kids? Vote for my local food bank (or yours) so they can receive a huge grant from Walmart. (Facebook)

In case you missed the best video this week – Boston Bruins’ fans singing the National Anthem – I’ve got you covered. Chills and tears.

Happy Friday! 

bruins anthem

Reads of the Week was on vacation last week while I was at digitalNOW in Orlando, which means it’s a long one this week. Again.

In years past, I’ve been envious reading the digitalNOW tweets and watching the keynote webcasts. Since I’m not an association executive, I felt very fortunate to attend this year. Without a doubt, it’s the best association conference I’ve attended. If you’re an association executive, put it on your radar.

To give you a taste, here are a few digitalNOW posts and resources. I’ll share more next week.

Conference season rolls on. Now that the Avectra Users & Developers Conference, ASAE Great Ideas and digitalNOW are behind me, the only one left, for now, is Digital Marketing for Business on Monday and Tuesday at the Raleigh Convention Center. It does not at all surprise me that a conference organized by Phil Buckley is the first result when you google “digital marketing for business.” All hail the SEO master!

If you’re in the nonprofit space, I probably don’t need to tell you about the NTEN conference that started Thursday. You can attend online or follow along on #13ntc until it ends Saturday.

My sources tell me…

Each week I’m revealing one of my many sources for good reads. Denise Graveline’s regular Friday post, The Weekend Read, on her Don’t Get Caught blog is one of my favorites. One of my good reads this week is also from Denise — Tweeting About Food, and Why It’s Smarter Than You Think. She tells you why and when it’s okay to tweet about food. So there!

Let’s talk about it

Chris Bonney at Vanguard Technology shares a list of questions associations should ask about their website. Gather some colleagues, grab some lunch and go over these questions so you can “help your association shake loose from old beliefs about your association website and start thinking about it not as a part of organization, but as your organization itself.”

Now, the reads of the week

I am not a robot. But, I may be replaceable, or at least that was my fear when I read Mitch Joel’s post about a ‘Robo-reporter’ computer program that writes newspaper articles. But then he reassured me:

“The true power in this is not how computers, algorithms and robots can now replace human writers. The true power is in how computers, algorithms and robots can now free up these human writers to do the more important work that our society requires of them.”

Phew.

You can do something a robot can’t do: convince your C-suite that your organization needs to develop and implement a content strategy. And, if you have Hilary Marsh’s presentation in hand, good money says you’ll succeed.

“The algorithm will likely replace the editor and curator.” Algorithms, again! One day, I’ll wonder how I ever got along without them. Roger Wood and Evelyn Robbrecht wrote a fascinating article about Intelligent Content at paidContent. “Written and visual content will eventually be continuously reconfigured and redesigned by the moment to accommodate data gathered about what you like to read.” That’s fine and all, but I don’t want to live in a content bubble. Hopefully I’ll always have the random serendipity of Twitter.

Where I get cranky

Stop using so many damn hashtags! “When kept to a small scale, they can ably perform their service as a filter of relevant tweets” – like my beloved #assnchat. But, Daniel Victor at Nieman Journalism Lab says:

“I believe for every person who stumbles upon your tweet via hashtag, you’re likely turning off many more who are put off by hashtag overuse. We need not banish the hashtag, but let’s start putting more thought into when we’re using it.”

Wise up, tweeps! Nonprofit Tech 2.0 identifies five types of tweets you should never post. Note number 3, please. Seriously, these are all obnoxious.

Quickies

  • Cute kitten videos are all that stand between us and the cyber-apocalypse. (The Verge)
  • Study says…blogs are still more influential than Twitter. Of course they are. (The Wall)
  • Turn your Google Analytics into an infographic with Visual.ly. (SocialTimes)
  • Note to self: the next time you’re tempted to use the word awesome… (Instead of Awesome)
  • Become a masterful note-taker. (The Atlantic)
  • Make sure you’re legally using online photos. (Lifehacker)
  • Four questions to ask before you send that press release. (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Read a poem

Thank you, Jeff Cobb, for tweeting the link to this inspiring post, Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in School. It reminded me that it’s been way too long since I sat with a poem. I’m making a date this weekend for some time on the couch with a poet. Hmm, now who should it be?

Feed your neighbors

There’s a really good reason to visit Facebook every single day, at least until the end of April. Walmart is providing $3 million in grants for hunger relief programs – that’s means 35,000,000 (yes, million) meals — for food banks across the country. You can vote once a day for your local food bank on Walmart’s Facebook page. I’ll be voting, of course, for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Happy Friday!

vote for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina

Friday, already?!

Time to get it done and get to the weekend. I’ve got your leisure time reading selections all ready for you.

Curated Post of the Week

No surprise, I love curated posts. The Verge publishes The Best Writing of the Week on Sundays. It usually introduces me to well-written posts that I might have missed during the week, usually about the intersection of life and technology.

Reads of the Week

While we’re on the topic of content curation, over at Top Rank, Brian Larson recommends using content curation to grow your company (or association) beyond being a me-me-me brand. Why? He points to the results of a study conducted by Jay Baer: “Brands that posted curated content linking to 3rd party sites experienced a 33% increase in clicks vs. those with original content linking back to their own site.” Follow his steps to diagnose and cure your me-me-me syndrome.

Gina Dietrich has business owner’s disease. You know it. You help clients with their problems and challenges, while neglecting the same issues with your own business. She says, “I’m calling baloney on myself.” Take a look at her website checklist. I bet a lot of these items could use fixing on your website. And mine. But first, I really should graduate from this baby blog to a big girl blog, but not until I get to the “Later” section of my to-do list.

“As we move towards a quantified society, one shaped by data, we start to dismiss things that are unquantified. Empathy, emotion and storytelling — these are as much a part of business as they are of life.” Om Malik says companies aren’t using their data in the most powerful way – to shape the user’s or customer’s experience. I’m glad I clicked on this. Normally, a post about data wouldn’t appeal to me, but there’s a lot to think about in this one.

Sarah Lacy, the founder of Pando Daily, takes a look at the media landscape now that the last major newspaper hold-outs are going over to the paywall side and the big digital players say the only way to survive is to produce “shit quality” content. She says, “I refuse to accept a reality where users can’t expect and demand quality.” She’s hopeful about the future, as am I. People are too creative and innovative to not make it work.

Someone who’s making it work in his own unique way is Shane Smith, publisher of Vice. Yes, the same Vice that sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea. “I wanted to build the next CNN, the next ESPN. And I also realized that, given the digital revolution, that is not only within my grasp, but I am a frontrunner to get there.” Tim Adams at The Observer has the scoop on this growing media brand that Rupert Murdoch described on Twitter as: “Wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don’t read or watch established media. Global success.”

Speaking of millennials, another publication that’s getting their attention is Mental Floss. One of Mental Floss’ co-founders, William Pearson, spoke recently at a publishing summit about the brand’s growth. Saya Weissman of Digiday was there to capture four reasons Mental Floss attracts and retains a millennial audience. If you publish content, these four take-aways are for you.

Must investors be on Twitter?” asks Felix Salmon at Reuters. You could ask that same question about a lot of professions. He says, “If you’re an investor who wants to avoid being blindsided by something huge you were utterly unaware of, Twitter is a great tool for minimizing that risk.” It’s a fascinating read about the impact social media is making on an information-dependent industry.

Lightning Round

  • NBC News correspondent, Richard Engel, writes about his kidnapping. (Vanity Fair)

Happy Friday!

best read this week about the French and wine

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski (CC license)

 

 

Google Reader is where I go first thing in the morning for my professional reads about associations, marketing, digital media, technology, etc., and at the end of the day for my personal reads about food, culture, etc. I have hundreds of RSS subscriptions in dozens of Reader folders. Yes, I find a lot to read on Twitter, but its randomness, although appreciated, is no substitute for Reader. I rely on Reader to catch up on anything I missed from my favorite blogs and sites.

When I heard the news yesterday about Reader’s demise – is “murder” too strong a word? – I tweeted this:

“I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for Google Reader. Dramatic but true. Reading changes lives.”

My fellow Reader addicts, we have a few months to find a replacement. So far, Feedly is in the lead for me. What’s looking good for you? Ernie Smith at Associations Now plans to write about post-Reader life on Tuesday. In the meantime, you can start your hunt for a Reader replacement with these posts:

Wednesday night, I returned from ASAE’s Great Ideas conference and hiking in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. I hope to have time this weekend to review the tweetstream of my favorite hashtag of the week, no surprise, #ideas13.

The SXSW tweetstream is too vast to explore, so here’s an alternative: the official audio recordings.

Katie Bascuas at Associations Now writes about the four friends every content marketer needs. When I first read this, I thought, what about me!? But, no worries. In his comment, my friend Scott Oser suggested adding a fifth type: writer/subject matter expert.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a market research consultant, Katya Andresen provides advice on how to do a little research on your own. Just be sure not to rely solely on anecdotes – data is your friend. Also, although it’s tempting to talk to your board or other volunteer leaders about their needs, remember, they may not represent the views of many of your members or constituents.

Association folks, are you reading Jeffrey Cufaude’s Cultivating Engagement series? Here’s yesterday’s post: Let’s Talk About Connections. I’ve lost track of the number of good ideas he’s suggested in this series. Each post would make an interesting and productive topic for a brown bag lunch.

If your company or organization is just getting started with a blog, or even if you’ve had one for a while, check out this eight-point blog analysis by Daniel Burstein at Marketing Sherpa. You’re bound to find something you can improve.

In his New York Times Bit column, Nick Bilton writes about the development of a new digital etiquette as we adopt new tools and adapt to information overload. He says, “Many social norms just don’t make sense to people drowning in digital communication.” Careful, it’s a fine line between trying not to waste someone’s time and appearing rude or ungrateful.

It’s getting harder and harder to turn off the laptop or iPad at night. Google recently announced the launch of Art Talks: “a series of talks, hosted on Google Hangout, with museum directors, curators, historians, and educators. It’s an online series that aims to educate art lovers on famous masterpieces and share the insights of some of the art world’s greatest minds.” Even though I love this news, I’m still mad at Google.

Use your social media powers for good! Find out if a local charity needs social media ambassadors to help share their stories and news. I’ve been helping my local food bank in this way. It’s an easy way to contribute without getting off the couch.  

Happy Friday!

Photo by Striatic (Flickr)

Hmm, is she relaxing or volunteering?
Photo by Striatic (Flickr CC license)

I’m not the only one who likes being a content curator. Elizabeth Engel is always an excellent source for interesting reads. Check out her weekly What I’m Reading series.

If your job involves engaging members, customers, constituents, donors or volunteers, you must read this post by Jeffery Cufaude, Cultivating Engagement: What was the Catalyst? He says, “If we want to cultivate relationships that invest people in our community, cause, or organization, we must remain curious about them: how might what I’m learning about you now alter my next interaction with you?” Grab your team, make them read this, and figure out how you’re going to start doing this next week.

Andy Freed captures why I like reading all kinds of things and making odd connections. He was heading to TEDActive (the live Palm Springs simulcast) where he anticipated learning about association management from a dolphin researcher. And why not?

When’s the last time you picked up a phone and called a member you don’t know? I know. I never did it either, except when we were desperately promoting our trade show in the midst of the housing implosion. Eric Lanke has some ideas about the real reasons we don’t pick up the phone.

Barry Feldman wants you to take a hard look at your website after reading his post, 11 Reasons Why Prospects Don’t Convert Into Customers. He gives you the eleven reasons, good advice and a quick checklist at the Convince & Convert blog.

I just LOVE this post about a dying restaurant by Ken Mueller. I can feel for them because for eight years I was the general manager of an independently-owned (and very successful) restaurant, long before the days of social media. But we’ve all seen this story – lots of attention, but a little too late. Let’s all pledge to honor Ken’s words:

“I will continue to support small, independently owned family businesses whenever I can. I will also go out of my way to let them know I appreciate and support them. I will reward them for their humanity by spending my money with them, in hopes that they will be sustainable and profitable.”

Are you texting and using LOL like an old fart? Luckily for me I got tired of LOL long ago. And it’s a good thing because it no longer means what you think it does, if you’re of a certain age. Not my age. And if you’re one to lament the decline of the English language because of texting, fear not. “Anyone who says that text language is chaotic isn’t paying enough attention to the system of rules that users have developed to move real-time conversation into written form,” says Anne Curzan in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At ProBlogger, Thomas Ford explains what you need to know about using free images from the web. His post will help you understand copyright rules, rights and different types of Creative Commons licenses.

Here’s one to bookmark and hope you never have to use. Tia Fisher at Social Media Today shows you what to do if your Twitter account has been hacked.

Steal this idea from Association Media & Publishing: sponsored small group dinner discussions.

Steal this idea too for your next trade show:

vendor twitter game tweet

The only infographic I looked at this week, thanks to Stowe Boyd.

This is conference week for me. I spent Sunday through Tuesday at the Avectra Users & Developers Conference where I wrote a few blog posts:

I got back Wednesday afternoon and today I’m heading to Colorado Springs for the ASAE Great Ideas Conference. Be sure to check out the hashtag #ideas13 if you want to follow along.

Pretty soon we’ll all be Dr. Doolittles. Vince Cerf “envisions an interspecies Internet” where we’ll communicate with animals and aliens.

Happy Friday!

“…talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals”Photo by Curt Smith (Flickr)

“…talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals”
Photo by Curt Smith (Flickr)

 

Last night I went to Ignite Raleigh where the speakers, including a few of my friends, delivered a mix of inspiration, entertainment and education. Even better, the nonprofit partner for the evening was one of my favorite organizations: the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

One of the original founders of the Triangle’s Ignite movement is Jeff Cohen. Jeff holds a special place in my heart because he arranged a welcome lunch for me when I moved to Raleigh. The power of Twitter! In one of his latest posts, he explains how to use social media to reduce the power of silos in your organization. He says “B2Bs <like associations> approach social media the same way they approach other parts of their business. With silos…Social media starts in a silo, usually in the marketing or PR department. And don’t even get me started on technology silos where company data lives in different systems depending on the function.” Sound familiar? He’s got some great ideas on how to tear down those walls.

Here’s more advice on how to help your organization’s content marketing efforts by encouraging more collaboration between your sales and marketing teams. Mark Sherbin at the Content Marketing Institute writes, “Marketing’s role is increasingly about managing the conversation with an audience — with content serving as the catalyst. Sales has been having these conversations face-to-face for decades, so who better to tap as a resource to inform your content marketing strategy and tactics?” He tells you how to start that collaboration and provides several questions to ask your sales team.

Wacarra Yeomans at MediaPost provides tips on building a 12-month editorial calendar. “While the imperative to respond to trends and conversations as they pop up prevents us from ever setting the calendar in stone, taking the time to plan can help us avoid roadblocks – and writer’s block – throughout the year.” If you feel like you missed out on Valentine’s Day, you should definitely check this out.

Thank you, Augie Ray, for introducing me to The Secret Door. Oh, the places I have been! The Secret Door “is earning media and consumer attention not by begging for likes on Facebook but by giving them something to talk about.” The window and door company Safestyle UK (and their creatives) are the geniuses behind it. “The Secret Door demonstrates that even a company in the relatively mundane category of home supplies can still become buzzworthy with a little creativity.” Because of this cool marketing campaign, the next time I’m in London, I am finding Gordon’s Wine Bar.

Feeling a little vulnerable with all the hacks going around? Oddballs taking over the Twitter accounts of Jeep and Burger King. A building in Shanghai full of hackers attacking Apple, newspapers and god knows who else. Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic tells us “how to avoid getting spear-phished by China’s hackers.” You don’t have to be technically savvy to follow her advice, just aware and suspicious. As one malware expert said, “Users are the front line defense. We need every user to have a little paranoia about email.” 

Are you bold and creative? Do you want to be part of the select group who tests an early version of Google Glass? Get in your application, along with $1,500 to Google and maybe I’ll see you walking around town looking like a cyborg. 

It’s National Sweet Potato Month. I love sweet potatoes. I’m in a good state to love sweet potatoes. North Carolina produces about half the sweet potato crop in the U.S. We’re number one, yeah! Last weekend I made a delicious sweet potato and turkey shepherd’s pie – healthy comfort food. Give it a try!

Ooh, look, it’s The Secret Door!   The Secret Door

The Secret Door is presented by Safestyle UK

Everyone (well, most everyone) knows the benefits of content marketing. But you can’t just say to your staff, “Yeah, good idea, start doing social media.” Valeria Maltoni says, “There are three crucial challenges to overcome if you want to implement a successful content strategy” – resource allocation, workflow planning and governance.

Over at Copyblogger, Barry Feldman shares nine ways you might be losing your audience’s trust without even realizing you’re doing it. Take a look at his list. How does your online behavior match up? I love his parting advice:

“So be good. Be ethical and honest. Be present. Be like the people you trust most — the ones who are happy to help you. Emulate the people who help you, because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s lucrative.”

Geoff Livingston writes about wearable computing, specifically Google Project Glass which “empowers two things: sharing and accessing information anywhere.” How will this impact marketing? He speculates that we will rely less on the written word (no!) and mobile platforms, and more on visual and audio communications.

“It is happening again,” says Augie Ray. “New technology is coming. We’ve all seen it and many are dismissing it as creepy, unnecessary or unimportant, just as many once mistook PCs, the Web, smartphones and social networking as creepy, unnecessary or unimportant .” He’s also talking about wearable technology combined with social media, and explains how marketers can prepare for these changes.

Anthony Ha at TechCrunch reports that Hearst, “a publisher that was previously known for a contrarian strategy that kept the Internet at arm’s length,” is revamping all its online magazines with a responsive, personalized design. This is what we will all come to expect – responsive and personalized. Is your organization keeping up? 

Back to basics for a moment. If you’re new to Twitter, be sure to read this piece by Nonprofit Tech 2.0: Eight Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make When They First Join Twitter. And if you’re not a nonprofit, read it anyway, the advice applies to any individual or organization.

The Angerosa Research Foundation is asking association executives to participate in the Association Publishing/Media Nondues Revenue Study. This benchmarking study will:

“Gauge how association publishers are building new and existing revenue streams in their publications and e-media. The study investigates advertising and paid sponsorships across all types of media, including periodicals, books, digital publications, websites, social media, and apps. It aims to breakdown revenue by media type, assess staff compensation practices, determine sales policy best practices, and much more. Results from the study will be used to develop benchmarks for organizations to compare their own practices and identify new areas for revenue expansion.”

The findings will be released in the spring. As a former association magazine publisher, this is a fascinating topic for me. I’d love to see and write about some of the results.

If you’re a hiker, you must put the Grand Canyon on your bucket (or backpack) list. A few years ago, we were lucky enough to get a reservation for a night at Phantom Ranch down at the bottom of the canyon. The hike down the South Kaibab trail was unbelievably beautiful. The hike up the Bright Angel trail the next day was grueling, but also stunning. You can get a taste of the true awesomeness on Google Map’s Street Views.

The best Valentine this week (besides the one from my honey and the heart-shaped pizzas I made): the American Cheese Society’s heart-shaped box of cheese. Cheers for cheese!

Happy Friday!

Photo by the American Cheese Society

Photo by the American Cheese Society

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,180 other followers