There was an item on the local news the other night that I found fascinating. A number of students at the university campus were holding a rally advocating for a Diversity Center as a gathering place that would acknowledge the diversity of the campus and provide a place and programs that would focus on that aspect of their identity. Given the cash-strapped condition of higher education, my immediate thought was “re-inaugurate the Student Union as the Student Diversity Center and you’re done!”
heterogeneous make-up (see a short list of articles at the end of this post). There are a number values to look at, too. So many times, when we hear the word “diversity” we think race or gender. However, you might consider:
- Personality Type
- Cultural origin
- Regional or Geographic origin
- Educational focus (that is, arts, sciences, business, etc.)
- Work and professional history
- External focus or activities (what does this person do outside of the office?)
- How Diversity Can Drive Innovation (Harvard Business Review)
- The evidence is growing – there really is a business case for diversity (Financial Times)
- What’s the Business Case for Diversity in the Workplace? (MIT Sloan Experts)
A question I received this week was, “How often should a business post to their blog?” This is a very common question and usually driven by a small business owner’s fear of having to spend a lot of time creating the post and the frequency of posting for the effectiveness of the effort. In new bloggers’ nightmares, it takes hours to write a 400 word post and she has to do this every day. Neither of those is true.
A question I received this week was, “What is the single most important thing to do so the Internet works best for your company?”
A question I received this week was, “How do you balance the 24/7 of social media with an 8-to-5 work day?”
“Always on”, 24-by-7 is kind of scary. I live an area that, this winter, has lost power about 7 or 8 times in the past 2 months, so “always on” is kind of relative, but I digress…
Awhile back I was working through a visualization exercise mentioned in Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work”. My first post regarding this can be found here and if you search my blog you’ll a number of other visualizations that I’ve found useful using this. Let me summarize what this entails:
- Imagine a box with a lid. Hold the box in your hand. Now open it.
- What’s inside?
- It might be a frog, a silk scarf, a gold coin of Persia.
- But here’s the trick: no matter how many times you open the box, there is always something in it.
Over time I’ve found a golden table, a pressure washer, wood floors and a few others.
I hadn’t exercised my imagination in this way for a while, so I decided to give it a go and opened the box afresh. Today I found……a fish.
Do you remember the little plastic animals, usually dogs, that people used to place in the back windows of their cars? These plastic pooches would nod their heads as the car moved, giving the impression that they were looking around. Sadly, I see this plastic behavior sometimes taking place in meetings I attend. Someone is presenting an idea, a report, training or just carrying on conversation, and some of the people around are making appropriate nods and noises, but their follow-up conversation and engagement belies their inattentiveness. Even if they ARE listening, they don’t hear what is being said.
The online world is utterly obsessed with content. This takes a number of forms, from articles and blogs to photos, graphics of any kind, videos, podcasts, and any re-mix thereof. It is an attention economy and if you can get your customers and visitors to focus on JUST YOU for a bit, you have achieved something pretty impressive.
However, this is only getting harder to do well. If you have the goal of creating or highlighting something of real value and relevance to your audience (as opposed to distraction or “click-bait”…) you have to be thoughtful, intentional and resourceful while balancing the other needs of your business and life. While the standing approach can still be called “Fail Fast” or “Do It Wrong Quickly“, you still need to cultivate an acute awareness of the real value of what you publish to your audience. There are numerous articles, sites, books and courses about content marketing available. Still, navigating it all as a solopreneur or small business owner can seem like panning for gold, and you just don’t feel like you’ve got the time or resources. You’ve got a business to create and run.
I’ll keep this to the point to save you time: here are three views of content that can help you use the resources you have more effectively. Frame your efforts with these in mind and you will find you come closer to “hitting the mark.”
- Make it interesting – There’s the stuff you’re interested in and there’s the stuff your audience is interested in. Drive laser focus on the latter, include the former and do your best to leave ‘overt selling’ out of it. Don’t be a pimp. Remember, only roughly 1 out of every 20 pieces published should be considered selling.
- Make it relevant and useful – Jay Baer says to publish stuff your audience would be willing to pay for. The greater the utility and relevance of what you publish, the more valuable you are to your audience, which will bring them back to you frequently….and when you DO sell, they will listen.
- Be truly “value add“ – Don’t just shove articles and links onto your stream and let your audience figure it out. Comment….give them a clue or a question or a contrarian point of view. Provide a reason to care and click through.
Do you have any views of content you feel are foundational? Share in the comments and make your case.