Tag Archive for: Content

Facebook Style Content – Could It Choke LinkedIn?

24 Feb
February 24, 2016

Something unprofessional is happening with LinkedIn’s news feed.

While it’s always been terrible to navigate because it of the way it decides on Top Posts on a whim (try refreshing the page and watch it completely change), there is a trend that is on the rise which threatens the quality of the content and engagement.

I am talking about the increasing number of content pieces that are typically the domain of other networks, particularly Facebook style content.

Memes and pictures of lunch your friends share on their Instagram and Facebook? They’re now sitting right beside your 10 Habits of Highly Productive People.


Political posts that talk about how awesome Obama is doing, and that the republicans are wrong? Fitspo (apparently actually a word)? Questionably attributed celebrity quotes? All present and accounted for.
I spent ten minutes browsing my news feed each day over the last week and found at least 3 examples each day. All of these have the potential to choke LinkedIn’s already confusing and busy news feed and suck the life out of it.

I spent ten minutes browsing my news feed each day over the last week and found at least 3 examples each day. All of these have the potential to choke LinkedIn’s already confusing and busy news feed and suck the life out of it.

Where Is It Stemming From?

The main offenders are not always amongst your own LinkedIn connections. Given the way LinkedIn treats engagement with posts and presents them in your feed, whenever you begin liking or commenting on the content, it brings the full post to the attention of your network.

In a self-perpetuating cycle, even as we comment to tell people “this doesn’t belong here”, it increasingly appears “here”. It may be a third or even fourth-degree connection, but eventually, it makes it there.

So what’s wrong with it exactly?

It’s About The Nature of the Connection

LinkedIn connections are generally single faceted. Unlike Facebook, where occasional acquaintances to nearest and dearest fall under the very broad definition of “friend”, LinkedIn is by its definition a network of professionals.

Your connection is around what you do for a living – I have either done business with you, I’m interested in your expertise in your field, or I want to sell you an SEO solution (you know who you are…).

When you begin to introduce Facebook style content into the equation, your begin to make the relationship personal, which some business connections may not appreciate it. You can see it in the comments.

Define Your Social Tone Of Voice

If you are adding this type of content to LinkedIn, it’s important to consider before posting. Personal brand is of the utmost importance now, and the way in which you express these opinions online may lead to current and future business partners to take pause and reconsider your relationship.

Decide what you want to be known for online. Create your social tone of voice. I have a simple framework for deciding what and where to share:

How to decide what content to share on what social platform

LinkedIn makes it hard enough to find great content without having to wade through low-quality stuff. Use it to position yourself as a leader in your field, even if you’re not yet. Keep the memes on Facebook, wit on Twitter and lunch on Instagram.

How to Switch from Recent to Top Posts on LinkedInIncidentally, if you’re looking how to re-order from Top Posts to Recent posts, it these 3 little dots wedged in between your Publish a Post button and the first update in your feed. Obvious, right?

 

Can Your Old Content Work Against You?

23 Mar
March 23, 2015

Last week I was looking at an old presentation I gave at a conference 3 years ago. The deck itself wasn’t my finest work, and from my memory of the event, it was far from the greatest presentation I had ever given. Partly it was the theme of the conference and my desire to pick up an early speaking gig even if it wasn’t an ideal fit, but largely it was the views I expressed at the time. I guess the same can be said of a lot of the old content on my blog and other writings.

I looked at it in the the context of my current thinking on the subject I was speaking about, and it no longer felt like me.

As thinkers, we evolve, and while three years may not feel like a long time, the pure speed of information that shapes our opinions has changed. Three years ago we hadn’t heard of half the platforms that are now the biggest on the planet. Consumption habits change, attention spans get shorter. Customers demand more. But in the face of all that, we exist on platforms designed to house, archive and organise content for people to find easily.

So given this permanence, what is the impact of old content on a brand, be it a corporate or personal one?

The Only Constant Is Change

I read an excellent piece recently about Content Ownership and Agile Content Development, and what stood out for me was this – “When our organization changes, the education of our target audience changes, or even the way they consume data changes, we need to repeat the process.”

There will always be a bedrock of information that aligns to the industry you work in, especially if governed by legislation and regulation.

But when it comes to thought leadership, opinion and educational pieces, how do you manage when your organsiation changes a position, or your customers needs change?

Recency as a search criteria is important, and people are looking for information that is current.

Should You Delete Old Content?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with retiring old content, be it a white paper, a slide deck or a blog post. There will come a time where the relevance will decline. I don’t think this should be the first port of call, however.

The greater value is in review and updating, and where possible, calling out what has changed (which I am currently doing with the old presentation on my SlideShare). Why? Because it demonstrates that you have evolved as your market or customer has. It shows you as in tune with the audience. It also demonstrates how the reader should be thinking about things as well.

Make Content Maintenance Part of Your Process

Just like a car, your content should have a regular tune up. Not every week, but at the least every quarter.

This ensures that the small things are still relevant, given the speed at which information moves. It also facilitates efficiency in the process of creation, because your base line is already there.

There will be a time when the content itself no longer makes sense, and your promotion of it will naturally decline. If you can’t find the new value, or it no longer makes sense, then pull it down and maybe revisit it again at some stage when it may make sense.

But above all, you need to make sure what you’re talking about reflects both the current market, and your current opinion.

 

Message Before Content, Content Before Platform

20 Jan
January 20, 2015

I had a conversation with someone earlier this week and they asked my view on a social platform (not one of the majors) they wanted to implement in their business.

They spent a few minutes explaining some of the features, the big one seemingly the ability to add video. I asked what kind of video content they’ll be producing.

“We don’t know yet”.

I asked if they planned on using video at all.

“Maybe”.

With so much written about the importance of video to a strategy, this kind of cart before the horse approach is understandable. We know we need to be using this, so we must find a platform that uses it.

But two things come before the platform – the message and the content. What is it that you want to tell people? Without understanding your message, your content doesn’t serve a purpose. Which makes the platform irrelevant.

The content itself is shaped by this message. How can you best communicate it to your audience? Is it in a video? It might be. It might not be.

cycleOnce these two things are clearly articulated that you should think about the platform to distribute it. If that’s video, great. Most platforms support it. If it’s not video, that’s OK too. Do what works for you and your business.

But don’t pick a platform for a killer feature that you may not use.

To be clear, I’m not saying the process of creating content should be completed before determining the platform – just understanding the types of content you plan to use.

There is an important fourth step – learn and adapt. How did the content perform? Was your message clear? Did it have the desired outcome?

Take those learnings, and revisit the message if need be. And start the process again.

PHOTO: Ian Harris

3 Ways To Curate a Better Twitter Feed [INFOGRAPHIC]

21 Sep
September 21, 2014

Let’s face it, there is more than enough noise on Twitter without hearing from people you have no interest in. The longer you use Twitter however, the greater the chance of you following accounts that provide no value and just take up space in your feed.

I’ve been using Twitter for nearly 6 years, and every day I find content that ranges from incredibly useful to couldn’t care less about, a result of a number of factors that range from people I even forgot I was following from the early days, to people who have changed the focus of their content, and people curating from the same source.

There’s a process I regularly undertake that I want to share with you, to continually optimise the feed of content I get from Twitter.

It breaks down into three areas (or 4 R’s if you want to get specific):

Research

While it may seem obvious, understanding what you want from your feed is the first step. We all have multiple interests, and it’s important that your feed represents that diversity. From there, you can use things like Twitter lists to curate the feed further.

Visit the sites you regularly read, and find if they have a Twitter account. Click through and read some of their tweets to make sure they are providing content that you think is interesting (more on that in the next point).

Have a look through directories like WeFollow or Twellow, and find people in your broader area of interest.

And a final note here is to give Twitter’s recommendations of accounts to follow a thorough look over before to follow leave a lot to be desired. More often than not, these are promoted accounts of celebrities that, in my view, will do little for you getting any value out of your feed.

Review and Reciprocate

As you begin following more people, sharing their content, and creating your own, you will begin to grow your own following. Twitter’s growth has been built on reciprocation of people following each other.

It’s important though that you not trade quality for quantity. Even after 6 years on Twitter, I’ve built my following to only around 2,700 people for a number of reasons:

  • There is only so much capacity for consumption of information
  • There is a great deal of duplicate content being shared
  • I review every person who follows me to decide who to follow back

Remove

Consistently high quality, useful content is hard to keep going. Those who are leaders in their space, and therefore people you should be following, do it well. Eventually, some accounts begin churning out the same old thing, automate too much, or switch their focus to something you are no longer interested in. Because of the nature and speed at which Twitter moves, you may even see content from people you forgot you followed.

It’s important that you don’t let low quality consistently cloud your feed. As in the last point, you have a finite capacity for information. So if you are getting less and less value from certain users, unfollow them to up the quotient of good content.

This will also make sure you keep your following balanced.

Once you go past following 2,000 people, Twitter imposes a limit on the number of people you can follow in relation to following you. While the actual number is unpublished, from personal experience the ratio is around 10% (as an example, if I have 2,500 people following me, I can follow up to 2,750).

It’s important though to make sure this practice is in line with Twitter policy.

Over to you…

With 270 million active users and over 500 million tweets sent per day, it’s an imperative that you learn how to separate the signal from the noise. Building a solid base from which to glean useful information is the first step.

Have you found any other useful ways of building a quality feed? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s an infographic of the key points above:

 

 

This post is referenced in my SlideShare – 6 Steps to Better Twitter Citizenship

Why Content Rules, Well, Rules

01 Feb
February 1, 2011

I’ve just finished Content Rules by CC Chapman and Ann Handley. If I could sum up this review right now in 5 words, it would be this – go and buy this book. Whatever business you are in, you need this book. And here is why.

It’s no secret that we are in a new world of communications and how we reach consumers has changed. It’s easy to use phrases here like “joining the conversation” and “fundamental shift” in talking about it, but where this book is different is that it goes beyond the talk.

The important thing to note is that this is not a book about social media (entirely). It’s about content – the thing that drives social media. And for authors, it would be hard to find a couple of people more qualified to talk about it. Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, which I have always found a goldmine of information for not only social media, but marketing as a whole, and CC Chapman founded DigitalDads.com, which as a dad, I think is just an awesome site (they recently published an article called “Liking Stupid Music” that I thought was brilliant).

WHY CONTENT?

We read a lot about the importance of content. In fact, “Content is King” has become somewhat cliche nowadays, but what escapes a great number of businesses is exactly WHY content is king, and more importantly, HOW it transforms business and WHAT needs to be done.

I’ve collected an awful lot of white papers and presentations on content over the last few years that talk about it from a theoretical standpoint, but never I think has there been a guide as succinct as Content Rules. As the cover promises, it really is a How To on creating Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars and more.

For starters, Ann and CC have made it easy to take the info in. The book is divided up into three parts – the Content Rules, The How To Section and the Success Stories. As a reader and a strategist, for me it’s a pattern that makes sense – the theory, the practical and then the proof points. For a business owner, this should be the path to conversion on the value of content.

Don’t skip any of it. One thing that I hear a lot of is that businesses don’t feel they need to produce it, or can’t see how it can possibly work. The book is a gold mine of ideas that can be applied to virtually any business, and it’s not just left to the success stories to demonstrate how it can work.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT

It seems for many, the notion of producing content scares them for a few reasons – the time it takes to do it, the thought of writing, and the thought of just giving away knowledge. What I loved about Content Rules is that it blows the thought that content is just writing out of the water from the get go, and subsequently the time issue by talking about its ability to be re-imagined in a number of ways and formats to appeal to different audiences.

And it sums up the reason for content in probably the simplest way possible – moving a prospect over a hurdle and closer to becoming a customer. Which when you think about it, is exactly what the content of this book does. It moves you past the hurdle of the why and how it can work for you by showing what to do, and what I loved, how to do it.

You can pick it up in bookshops (I got my copy at Dymocks main city store in Sydney), or buy it online from the usual suspects (a great list here). Ann and CC have also set up a great companion site for the book at www.contentrulesbook.com.

I say it again – if you’re serious about putting your business ahead of your competition and making it stand out – go and buy this book. In reading it, I have a list of action points and ideas longer than I’ve ever had, and am excited about implementing them. As I think you will be.

 

PHOTO – CC Chapman