After a speaking gig I am often asked for book tips. People are really eager to know more about ‘doing business on the social web’. They realise they need to change their headset from mass communications to targeted communications, from broadcasting to conversation, from interruption marketing to permission marketing, from keeping control to gaining influence, and so on.

Recently – during a visit to my local book store – I noticed that the ‘social media book section’ has exploded. So many books. So much choice. Where do you start?

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Hi there!

I want to kick off the New Year with some food for thought.

From Good To Great by Jim Collins is one of my favourite business books. In it, Jim and his team identify ‘The Hedgehog Concept” as one of their key concepts for taking an organisation from good to great.

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Last week, we do communications’ PR & Strategy director Steve Seager gave a presentation the Dutch Architecture PR Group in Rotterdam.

His biggest insight from this great meeting was that PR and Comms people in Architecture are essentially no different from those in B2B PR and marketing. They all face the similar challenges when getting started.

Since many of our clients are also in B2B services, I thought his post was useful to share here as well.

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Two shakes of a lambs' tail

In a recent post on the Google Webmaster Central blog, the world’s #1 search engine now confirms that content in RSS feeds gets special attention and gets indexed quicker than normal web pages.

This allows journalists and other stakeholders to find your news quicker when they do a Google search.

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An important tip to make bloggers write about you…

For many people plugged in to social media, the headline of this blog post is quite obvious. But for many just getting their feet wet in social media, it may well not be.

Simply put, if you want bloggers to write about you, don’t send them your press release! It’s a common mistake many traditional PR agencies seem to make when they expand their press lists with blogger names.

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Visualise your proposition…

In my blog post ‘It’s all about them, not you’, I suggest a little check to see how consumer oriented your website is: just by grabbing a pen and counting the number of times you use the word ‘we’ on your website as oppose to the word ‘you’. It really helps you get a feel of how consumer centric your organisation is.

Here’s a nice way of visualising all of the words on your website or your blog. Go to Wordle.net. Add your URL or the text from your website. It generates a really neat word cloud. In essence what you are looking at is the way you articulate your product or service.

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The art of selling through informing…

Throughout my career as a product marketer I tended to view Public Relations as a promotion activity. And with promotion I mean free publicity in media. As such PR is usually seen as a welcome addition to advertising.

With the rise of the social web, a different aspect of PR becomes increasingly important. On the web, the most valuable thing PR can do is to help businesses build relations with prospects, customers and stakeholders.

Building relationships. Right.
Does that sell anything?
The answer to that question is: YES. Public relations sells.

Why?

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McKinsey change the purchase funnel!

Everyone knows the purchase funnel gets narrower towards the end, right? The entire marketing process has been aligned to this principle for more than forty years.

Well, now we can think again. McKinsey’s recent global study shows a definite change in the way consumers research and buy products. And that opens up ways of smarter marketing.

McKinsey have replaced the traditional purchase funnel with the ‘Customer decision journey’. At the beginning of this journey, the consumer begins with an ‘Initial consideration set’ of brands or products. So far, so much the same.

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A quick check to see where your company head is at…

Depending on which source you prefer, the average person is exposed to anywhere from 2 to 3,000 advertising messages each day. That’s an awful lot of noise, an awful lot of people shouting about their product.

People are so bombarded by advertising messages that they are becoming immune. It’s not just banners and display ads. Most companies treat their website just like an advertising brochure: a chance to shout about their product.

The challenge is to stand out. People are hardwired to notice things that are different. So instead of talking about ‘you’ – your product features and spec, try talking about ‘them’ – the problems you solve for your prospects and customers.

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Great primer for the new rules of marketing and PR…

In nearly all the organisations I visit, I hear people actively debating a more effective use of online communication as a means to reach business objectives.

One of the biggest challenges here is to convert the collective ‘mass communication’ headset to a headset that embraces the new communication rules of the web.

If you want to get your organisation on the same page quickly, we recommend buying a few copies of this book by David Meerman Scott.

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