How to Engage From Within

Okay, so there’s no "dating" period in the "marriage" of an employee and employer – but there should be "engagement’ – continued, consistent and communicated.

Friend Michael Keen at Entisys pointed me to a stellar article from CIO, Get Engaged. In it, writer John Boldoni points out four ways a manager can engage with their team:

  • Communicate the Difference – Be specific as to what roles each person plays and how their efforts will pay off.
  • Reinvent the Job – When things become rote, job skills atrophy. Time to re-energize the troops!
  • Let Them Try Their Wings – Give their ideas a chance, let people prove themselves. If the risk is not high, even a mistake could be a successful learning experience.
  • Make it Pay – Find out what motivates your team. Different people may have different motivators. Reward success, Rinse, Repeat.

I can almost hear ya – "We’re too busy doing our own job!" So what to do, what to do…

Make Yourself Obsolete: A great leader will make themselves obsolete. One way to do this, is to train others (wow – that would almost hit on all four points) and delegate.
Write an Internal Blog: What – you think I’m going to skip this subject? Put a blog behind your firewall, equip your team with the feed and engage in a conversation with them. It’s a team, after all.
Make Others Greater Than Yourself: Yes, it’s a Radical Agenda, but you are a "leader", right?

BlogHer: Where the Women Bloggers Are

I’m not at the BlogHer conference, but I’m enjoying following along on several live-blogging and review posts (from both the guys and the gals).

Every so often, I hear the question, "Where are all the women bloggers?"  I don’t get it – many are among my favorite reads (in random order):

Amy Gahran; Susan Getgood; Beth Kanter; Lisa Haneberg; Debbie Weil; Toby Bloomberg; Ann Handley; Lorelle VanFossen; Liz Strauss; Marianne Richmond; Diane Ensey; Jennifer Rice; Kami Huyse; Lauren Vargas; Valorie Luther; Andrea Weckerle; Tara Hunt; Kathy Sierra; Maria Palma; Nancy White; Rachel Cunliffe; Kirsten Osolind; Ellen Weber; Evelyn Rodriguez; Ann Michael; Shilpa Unalkat; Heather Dority; Tammi Lenski; Pam Blackstone; Heidi Miller; Lynn Terry; Rosa Say; Jodee Bock; Delaney Kirk; Sue Pelletier; Christine Kane; Laura Ricci; Wendy Maynard; Holly Buchanan; Michelle Miller, Mary Schmidt; Lori Grant; Louise Fletcher; Meryl Evans

I probably missed a few, but the folks in this list help make me smarter. Thank you!

Customer Footprints on Corporate Hind Parts

The Times Online article, Bloggers put the boot into big business is worth the read, with several great nuggets. One that caught my eye:

"A corporate blog is a way of redressing the balance. Most companies have more ‘authority’ about their brand than a blogger, said Rogers. But if a company is failing to communicate with its customers online, the opportunity is there for someone else to fill that gap — and the company may not like what they have to say. "

Blogs are F.A.D. Look, I’m not suggesting that companies cower to customers (I don’t think the article is either), that would be chaos. Collaborate with your customers. Develop a relationship. Blogging is just one way to do that.

In fact, the best line of the article is almost a mantra, isn’t it?

"Blogging is a conversation, and the first and most important step for companies is to listen."

Thanks to Munir Umrani of the The Blogging Journalist for pointing this article out. I follow many feeds of blogs and search results, but none about blogging news. Why? Munir provides the most in-depth coverage of blogging news appearing in the mainstream media.

Update: It’s not just the big corporate folks that need to heed. Church of the Customer points to this customer complaint about a local plumber.

Think Blogs Are a FAD? Me Too

We’re probably thinking along different lines though. Blogs are F.A.D.

Blogs are Findable: (do a search for cannoli in Pittsburgh)

Blogs are Affordable (Case in Point)

Blogs are Dialogue (Blogs are NOT Important)

Perceptions of Bloggers

Rare is the day I don’t have a conversation (or nine) about blogs and blogging. The perception about blogging is all over the map. I acknowledge that we humans have a desire to "label" groups of people.

Some business folks think of bloggers as:

A Pajama Clad Community

Pajamaparty

A Horde of Political Zealots

Political_1

A Gaggle of Teens

Students_1

An Array of Geeks

Geeks

Many of these business leaders recognize a change, but can’t figure out what’s coming

Train

They are confuddled by all of this and don’t know what to do. They sit tight – and then…

Cubicle

Someone gets run over by the Cluetrain. Conversations are taking place – and they aren’t yet engaged. Sometimes, they don’t even know the conversation exists. But they have to do something, even the Wall Street Journal is tapping into the blogosphere. Huddle up.

Boardroom

Frustration builds. What to do – what to do. Let’s put a label on the bloggers and do nothing. We’ll just watch how things play out – it will go away…won’t it?

Envy

So, are these bloggers looked upon by these business leaders with disdain – or is it actually envy?

Get over the labels. You’re right.

Bloggers are people. People sharing passions, ideas and building relationships – and sometimes, building businesses. These people may be your customers

Blogging is a tool. A tool for communication and conversation. Some companies are using blogging to build relationships with their customers. Is yours?

Thanks to these Flickr photos in order of appearance:
- Pajamas by oetii
- Rally by Winograd Watchdog
- Students by David Hernandez
- Geeks by Twylo
- Train by jimfrazier
- Dead by mmonk
- Boredroom by c2k2e
- Generations by piacere

Whistle Stops – 07/28/06

Whistlestops_33 When I come across a blog that’s new, I place it in a feed folder I’ve named “Watch” and eventually give it a permanent place or unsubscribe.  Here are a few that have found a permanent place.

  • SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog by Adam McFarland. Adam runs (among other things), iPrioritize. I think I may take advantage of his generous offer – if I can find the time:-) Adam also points us to tizoko. Another great find!
  • Experiments – Trial by Fire by Harsha Raghavan. Sometimes you’ve got to step out on a limb – that’s where the fruit is. Sometimes the branch breaks, sometimes you grab the fruit. Without the experiment, all you’re holding is a trunk of bark. Here’s one vote for Harsha on KMM.
  • Blue Sky Resumes Blog by Louise Fletcher. I’m a big fan of resume/blogs. Most of the HR pros I talk to say that a resume/blog would assist in pre- and post-interview process and give a real sense of who the applicant really is. Though I don’t see it on their services page (yet), I’m hoping to find that this team helps others launch resume/blog sites.

I find that having a “watch” folder allows me to keep my feeds to a minimum – which currently hovers around 600.

Aside: Has it been that long (over a month) since we did Whistle Stops?

Typepad Solves Tagging Dilemma

Typepad has come to the rescue of our head-scratching dilemma of automating Technorati Tags while composing a post.

UPDATE IIa: The code for Advanced Templates and the steps to take follow these Basic Template instructions:

Now you can include tags automatically (SWEET). Here are the steps:

  1. At the bottom of the "Compose a New Post" screen, click on the "Customize display of this page link at the bottom right". Do this BEFORE you write your post.
  2. Select either the ADVANCED option (which will enable T’rati Tagging by default) or Select CUSTOM and choose Technorati Tags from there. (I did the latter).
  3. Send Typepad a Thank You Note!

UPDATE I: There may be a need to tweak a module or template if you’re using advanced templates. Another update to come shortly.

UPDATE IIb: Thanks to the TypePad team (they’ll be updating the Knowledge Base soon), we’ve been able to implement this into sites that use Advanced Templates:

  1. Go to Design>Edit Current. Create a new module. I named mine tech-tags.
  2. Paste the code that follows these instructions into that module.
  3. In the entry-list and entry-individual modules, enter this text line: <$MTInclude module="tech-tags"$>  above the <p class:="entry-footer"> line, as shown:

</MTEntryIfExtended>
</div>

<$MTInclude module="tech-tags"$>
<p class="entry-footer">

If you’re using FeedBurner’s FeedFlare script, place the new module above that script.

Here’s the code I placed into the tech-tags module

<!– technorati tags –> <MTWeblogIfExposeTags> <MTEntryIfTagged> <p class="entry-technorati-tags"> <a href="http://www.technorati.com/search/<$MTEntryPermalink$>" title="<$MTTrans phrase="Find related items at Technorati."$>"><$MTTrans phrase="Technorati Tags"$></a>: <MTEntryTags glue=", "><a href="http://technorati.com/tag/<$MTTagLabelClean encode_url="1"$>" rel="tag"><$MTTagLabel$></a></MTEntryTags> </p> </MTEntryIfTagged> </MTWeblogIfExposeTags>

Hat tip to Andy Wibbels for the alert. Read more about Typepad’s new look and new tool.

Business Blog Summit – Oct 25-27

I just found out the Business Blog Summit ’06 will be held October 25-27 in Seattle. If you register before August 21, you get 50% off.

If it’s anything like last year’s event, you’ll be impressed with the knowledge, the notes and the networking contacts you take back to your office.

We’re putting together something for next spring in the Midwest (A Diamond Buzzin’), so if you’re going to this event – let me know. We’ll be looking for speakers and sponsors.

Thanks to Diane at AListReview for the heads-up (She’ll be there).

technorati tags: Blog Business Summit

Do You Know Your Feed Response Rate?

What’s your email response rate? There are Open Rates (Reach) and Click-Through Rates (CTR). (Definition of the Difference) You’re probably already measuring this, though acting on it may be a different animal.

What’s your content feed response rate? Yes, that can (and should) be measured – and acted upon.

If you use FeedBurner’s TotalStatsPro (less than $5 per month), you can get an accurate measurement of Reach and CTR on a daily basis and a per-article basis.

Feedreach_1 

To improve your reach and click-through, try different things in the following areas:

If you’re measuring your feed statistics, are there numbers you look at more closely than others?

If you’re not measuring your feed statistics, how are you measuring the success of your efforts?

As more Internet users begin reading content through feed aggregators such as GreatNews (stand-alone) or NewsGator (web-based), it will be important to measure these numbers (and act on them).

technorati tags: Feed Statistics, GreatNews, Newsgator

Technorati Redesigns on Anniversary

As you read this site, you know two things I embrace are Technorati and Change. Today, they embrace each other.

Numerous changes appear on Technorati’s new portal-like page, additions without subtractions. (David Sifry blogs about the changes).

Trati

Things I like at a quick glance:

  • In the search bar at the top, you can quickly research for keywords by blog post (the keyword appears in the post), by tags (the keyword is a theme of the post) or in blog directory (the keyword is a theme of the blog site).
  • Channel/Categories of Entertainment, Life, Sports, Business and Tech improve findability for both author and audience.
  • Favorited by is cool new tool. Meet those who have marked your blog as a favorite, and meet others with a like mind. While you’re there, feel free to mark ConverStations as a favorite.
  • More Photos: Put faces with the names.

Good stuff. More to come as I roam through Technorati this week.

Google