Tag Archives: social media networking

Why blog? 13 reasons to love blogging

Why blog?

Blogging is fun! Yes, it is. I started the Performance Ideas Blog almost two years ago and I would not want to miss that. There were certainly some stretches where I thought about just dropping the project. Blogging regularly requires a lot of discipline and focus. This is especially true when you write the majority of the posts planes, trains, airline lounges and random hotel rooms. Some friend recently asked why I still went ahead and kept on growing this blog. Here are some of my top reasons. If you have asked yourself the question ‘Why blog?’, you might find some inspiration here in this post. Blogging

Why blog? 13 reasons

  1. You need to stay fresh & agile. Blogging frequently requires you to constantly search for topics. This keeps you fresh and agile. Also, you tend to know more than others who don’t put in that effort.
  2. You get to learn many new things. Writing about something requires you to have a deeper understanding about a topic. A successful post looks at various different angles. I therefore often invest time researching ideas. That includes following other blogs, reading more books, attending more conferences. That allows me to learn.
  3. You conquer some fears. Writing about certain topics can be scary. There are some posts where you are not quite sure how people will react. Sometimes there is criticism. But at the end of the day, you just post the stuff and you feel good about not letting your fear stop you.
  4. You get rewarded. Certain posts often generate tons of feedback. It feels awesome to see people sharing your content. It feels even better to receive emails, tweets or comments.
  5. You create new relationships. The Performance Ideas blog has dramatically increased my network. I have met a bunch of fantastic analytics professionals and other bloggers. And these relationships pay off.
  6. You actively build your own brand. Blogging allows you to share your ideas and to actively shape your own brand. Your brand is no longer just determined by who you really are but also by what Google says about you. Blog posts feed and shape your online persona.
  7. You let your creativity flow. Blogging allows me to combine my passion for business, photography and design. I love taking photos for the different posts. Developing posts is definitely a great way to get creative.
  8. You develop (potentially) valuable skills. Running your own blog requires you to learn new and unexpected skills. I use the self-hosted version of WordPress and have taught myself a ton about that platform and social media. While I don’t have any use for those skills in my job, I was able to build my wife a new website for her recent business launch. We developed her presence within half a day. It was fun and Jen was able to save a ton of money (hmmm…she does owe me a dinner!)
  9. You get to do something geeky. Running your blog in a self-hosted environment allows to get really geeky sometimes. You get to configure plug-ins, tune databases and test new functionality. Well, I sometimes enjoy that type of thing.
  10. You stay current with social media and web x.0. Running a successful blog without being involved in social media is almost not possible. This has forced me to dig a lot deeper than I ever thought.
  11. You get market insights. Performance Ideas is a business blog. As such it is an interesting measure of what people are interested in. Some posts receive virtually no traffic whereas others go viral. And that is an excellent indicator of what people care about. I have often used these insights to develop new presentations or to prepare for customer meetings.
  12. You get to feel like a rockstar…sort of. On more than several occasions, people have approached me at conferences and wanted to know if I was ‘the guy from the Performance Ideas blog’….oh man….those moments make you feel like a rockstar….and then reality sets back in….
  13. You develop an valuable repository. In the past, I often lost good ideas. But having a blog allows you to capture everything. You build up a repository of your own thoughts. And that is extremely valuable.

Why blog?

Well, those are just thirteen reasons. I could go on and easily find another twenty or thirty. If you are considering to write your own blog, just get started. Give it a try. Some of my former colleagues and friends also recently started their own blogs and I think they really enjoy it, too.

What are your experiences?

Related Posts:

Guest Post: Become the topic of conversation with content marketing

PR and Social Media Expert Bernhard Lermann

Content Marketing

If Dr. Johann August Unzer would have had a company website, it would have been a very lively place. The practicing physician from Altona, Germany, was the publisher of the well-known medical weekly journal “Der Arzt” („The Physician”) as well as the author of numerous medical, philosophical and early psychological essays. His home was a central point for society in Altona. On the painting of Johann Jacob Tischbein, which caught my attention during a visit at the  German Museum of Medical History in Ingolstadt, he portrayed himself as a well-connected, scholarly medical scientist and author. He is surrounded by letters from colleagues and his hand rests on his best-seller: “Der Arzt” (“The Physician”), published 1759 to 1764 also as a set of 12 books.

Dr. Johann August Unzer, physician and networker

Unzer dedicated himself to topics that were discussed intensively in the medical world of the 18th century. He wrote for example “De sternutatione”, a discussion about sneezing. And he wrote down his “Gedancken vom Einfluß der Seele in ihren Körper” (“Thoughts on the influence of the soul on its body”). Burning questions that wanted to be answered.

Since the invention of a search engine, however, one must no longer consult experts nor call nor mail a letter in order to find answers; the answer appears on the computer screen within milliseconds – delivery free of charge.

Google prefers high-quality content

Sophisticated content marketing for companies utilizes the new possibilities of searching for answers. A company website is no longer optimized towards products but rather towards topics. One of the reasons for this is that Google prefers “high-quality” content that supplies answers and currently neglects outdated methods like keyword frequency.

But the one-time creation of content is not enough. The up-to-datedness of content is important; users and search engines prefer fresh content, whether that’s text, images, informative graphics, or video clips. An interaction with a graphically pleasing interface will, for example, offer easy entry into a topic, which is particularly recommended for complex matters and generates a long user session.

Know-how generates topics

If one focuses on the customer‘s needs, the customer’s trust in that brand increases immensely, which will automatically result in higher sales volumes. Schwarzkopf’s story of success is often told: the internal website was completely revamped, and since early 2011 presents itself like a thematic portal in the style of Vogue or Madame. Complete with topics regarding hair – and since then with fantastic hit-rates.

The engineering blogs of Indium, a developer and producer of special alloys for component production show how to create high-quality content in the B2B segment. Indium recognized that company’s content capital is made up of the Know-How of its staff and its network.

In order to create high-quality content it is necessary for marketing, PR, and distribution to work together on a daily basis. Distribution staffs are familiar with their customer’s needs, the PR department develops topics in alignment with these needs, and marketing prepares the content according to the various formats and knows the best distribution channels.

Once content is placed, it works “round the clock“, on the web

Many companies balk at the high expenditure of time for the production of content. It’s not for impatient people: such measures don’t have immediate effects but they improve the reputation of the company bit by bit. However, since content works round the clock for the company once its placed, success can be seen faster and is effective for a much longer time than in printed customer magazines, for example.

For as long as he was alive, Dr. Johann August Unzer refused offers to teach as a professor in Copenhagen or Goettingen. His publications were highly recognized and solidified his reputation as an expert in his field. He surely had enough well-paying patients.

In this context, content marketing is nothing new. For a company it is today much easier to connect with its target group. Once upon a time one placed its message exclusively into commercial breaks, which interrupted customer discussions, but today it’s possible to participate in the discussion. Once this is understood, one can use content marketing to provide suggestions regarding the direction into which the discussion may go.

Bernhard Lermann supports customers from the semiconductor, industrial electronics, logistics and IT industries and small to medium size businesses for Lermann Public Relations. He designs story lines for content marketing strategies and for company videos and regularly writes specialized contributions for companies from his core segments.

Related Posts:

7 reasons to get social

Getting social at a Bavarian beergarden

This past month, I did something I haven’t done in a long time: I did not travel. Being home also opened up the opportunity to hang out in some of the famous beergardens in Munich. In case you haven’t been to a beergarden – it’s kind of like a social network: You connect with friends and strangers, you share, you chat, you collect and you sometimes get spammed (mostly by drunk people). One of those evenings I met a few people from a former job. The entire group basically consisted of pretty successful guys in their mid  30s and 40s. One of them raised the topic of social networking.

Continue reading

Related Posts:

How to read more blogs on your iPad

About a year ago I discovered a true treasure: Blogs. No, I didn’t find out about them a year ago. Just like everybody else, I had been reading some of them here and there. Sure, I had a few bookmarks on my work & personal laptop. But I never really got into the habit of actively leveraging the awesome, inspiring and educational content many blogs offer us today. I never systematically participated in highly valuable discussions around certain posts that cover topics that are important to my job and personal life. And that is really too bad. Many of my friends and colleagues are running into the same issues. But the iPad and some awesome apps changed that. Here are some ideas for you to get started with enjoying the valuable content.

“The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.” Shawn Achor

The biggest hurdle for me to really enjoy blogs was the process of sourcing the content. Bookmarks here and there didn’t do it for me. I tried loading a few RSS Feeds into my mail program but that didn’t work either. Google Reader did a somewhat decent job for a while but I do not usually enjoy reading on my laptop. Plus, I spend so much time on the road. But the iPad started offering some amazing Blog Readers. These apps allow you to easily subscribe to your favorite blogs and to take the content with you. Even offline. The apps basically automate the sourcing process.  Suddenly I had access to valuable blog content even while sitting on an airplane. And that is what did it for me. Today, I read a ton of blogs on a daily basis. What apps are there? Well, I use three different ones. And I am not quite sure yet, which app is my favorite.

EARLY EDITION

The Early Edition looks and handles like a regular newspaper. You can literally sit down every morning with your coffee and read your personal blog and newsfeed paper. New blog posts and news are easily identified. Navigation is intuitive. The layout is very simple but effective from my point of view. All synchronized content is available offline (except for photos and graphics).  The app is pretty fast overall. However, subscribing to new blogs is a bit tedious: You have to know the feed address and copy it into the app. This app currently costs USD 4.99 making it one of the more expensive readers.

PULSE

Pulse is one of the most popular readers (it’s currently free!) But I am still warming up to it. The interface looks sophisticated but it is a bit too loud for my taste. There is a lot going on which impacts the reading experience. On the other hand, subscribing to new blogs and newsfeeds is super easy: there is a catalogue and you can search for specific blogs. The original setup process is therefore a lot easier than with the Early Edition. You can also add Facebook updates to the reader. Content is available offline but without pictures and graphics.

BLOGSHELF

Blogshelf is an app that I just recently added. I was a bit frustrated with the fact that Early Edition and Pulse do not synchronize photos and graphics for offline use. Blogshelf fixes that issue and even allows you to save certain pictures to your photo collection. The app has a clean interface that looks and feels like iBooks. Searching for new blogs and other feeds is extremely easy and pleasant. It took me under five minutes to get the app up and running with my content. But organizing blogs is abysmal. The other two readers are much better at that. Identifying new blog posts requires you to scan through your entire bookshelf and to look for little orange triangles on the different subscriptions.

GET STARTED

If you own an iPad or a smartphone, take a look at these iPad Blog Readers. My personal favorite is still Early Paper but I am slowly migrating towards Blogshelf because of the ability to view the entire post (with graphics) in offline mode. All apps have definitely made a huge difference for me. There are some excellent blogs out there and it would be a shame to miss engaging with the content and/ or the authors. These apps lower the hurdle towards actively reading and following the blogs. And of course: Make sure to subscribe to this blog! ;-) Let me know if you have other iPad Blog Readers and experiences to share.

UPDATE – September 2012

Things have changed since the original post. Blogshelf is no longer available in the app store. It still works on iOS 6, although it does crash often. The Early Edition has received a major make-over and looks better than ever. You can also export all your feeds and import them easily to Google Reader. This app is by far my favorite. Pulse has improved dramatically as well. However, it only allows 60 feeds. I do follow a ton of blogs and this is not enough for my only personal taste.

Related Posts:

Social Networking = Better Performance = Happiness?

Amazon.com’s recommendation engine is pretty amazing I have to admit. The algorithms at work clearly know how to expand one’s horizon beyond the obvious choices. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised and almost annoyed when the engine suggested the fluffy sounding title ‘The Happiness Advantage’. Does amazon.com really think I need some self-help books??? To make a long story short, I ended up buying the book based on the enormously positive reviews and my general curiosity. Turns out that this was a good decision. But apart from providing some provocative ideas the book also revealed some highly interesting research about social networks. And this research is relevant to Business Analytics.

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

One of the key points in the book is that the quality and the strength of our social network has a big impact on our happiness and our job performance. In other words: The more stressed we are, the more time we should invest in social interaction. We all seem to know that…sort of. One of the researchers mentioned in the book is George Vaillant. In an article from 2009 in the Atlantic Monthly he stated that there are ’70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world.’ That is a pretty big statement, but I guess we all agree with that. So, that is not a surprise. But there is a big surprise.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK AT WORK

Shawn Achor goes ahead and describes that studies have found that positive social interaction between employees during work hours are tremendously effective at protecting people from the stress of their job. As a result, those people that invest in these interactions typically perform better. Again. Seems like common sense. But it gets better. The MIT was looking at this stuff as well. So they spent an entire year at a small company that you might have heard of: IBM. The researchers from MIT followed over 2600 IBM employees over an entire year. The guys monitored and analyzed various different aspects of the social network of these employees: Buddy lists, size & scope of their address books, social interactions. Here is how Shawn Achor describes the core findings of this study:

“(The researchers)… found that the more socially connected the IBM employees were, the better they performed. They could even quantify the difference: On average, every email contact was worth and added $948 in revenue. There in black and white is the power of social investment.”

Wow….interesting insights. Wouldn’t you agree?

1+1 = 4?

In a previous blog post I discussed how IBM Cognos 10 allows users to leverage the power of social networking. Using the latest Cognos 10 platform, we can collaborate around Business Analytics using the same techniques that we use on the popular platforms like Facebook, Flickr & Twitter. Most of you would probably agree that this is a powerful value proposition. And the findings make sense if you think about it: Business today is complex and finding solutions to problems is complex as well. The better networked we are, the easier we can pull relevant people into the problem solving process. And if all this is facilitated by technology, we can collaborate in real-time.

THE PATH TOWARDS HAPPINESS?

Over the past few months I did run into some skeptical people. They still regard social networking as ‘a thing that teenagers do’. But let’s face it: the way we communicate has been changed once again. Email did that a while ago. And this study shows that there is a tremendous benefit in expanding and using our social network. And if it’s not just about better job performance, how about increasing our own happiness? Now that is a unique value proposition, isn’t it?

Related Posts: