Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

LeadershipDigital Provides Insights From 50 Leadership Bloggers

In Blogging, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management on September 4, 2011 at 8:57 am

If you haven’t visited LeadershipDigital recently, do so today.  The aggregator website that launched earlier this year now gives you access to more than 50 bloggers who write about leadership and management, including:

  • Harvard Business Review
  • The Leadership Advisor
  • Women On Business
  • Great Leadership
  • N2Growth
  • CEO Blog
  • C-Level Strategies
  • Managing Leadership
  • Women’s Leadership Exchange
  • Coaching Tip

You can subscribe to receive a daily or weekly/monthly eNewsletter that delivers the best, update-to-date content to your e-mail inbox.

I spend hours on the site and with the eNewsletters benefitting from the wealth of content.

Use A Board Of Advisors

In Blogging, Company Culture, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management, Mentoring on March 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

Leadership Blogger David Burkus is a person who effectively uses a board of advisers, instead of mentors, to help him achieve success.

“I’ve found that in my life, it was easier and more effective to set up a board of advisers,” said Burkus, the editor of LeaderLab.  “This is a group of people, three to five, that have rotated into my life at various times and that speak into it and help me grow.  I benefit from the variety of experience these people have.”

LeaderLab is an online community of resources dedicated to promoting the practice of leadership theory.  Its contributors include consultants and professors who present leadership theory in a practitioner-friendly format that provides easy-to-follow explanations on how to apply the best of leadership theory.

Community users can download a variety of research reports and presentations about leadership and leadership versus management.

For example, a presentation on LeaderLab explains:

•  Management is made up of activities needed to run a business, unit or organization to help achieve its goals.
•  Leadership is what it takes to inspire and engage employees to contribute their best to achieve the goals, support the vision, carry out the mission, and embody the company’s values.

Two of Burkus’ favorite leadership books are:
•  The Starfish and the Spider — A book actually about leaderLESS organizations. “This book examines organizations that didn’t need leaders to thrive,” said Burkus.
•  The Leadership Challenge — “This book examines the practices that make leaders effective and teaches aspiring leaders how to inspire and lead others,” explained Burkus.

David has written his own new book. It’s called, The Portable Guide To Leading Organizations.

5 Ways To Connect With Your Customers Online

In Blogging, Customer Service, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Management, Marketing, Social Media on March 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

If you are struggling with how best to connect with your customers online whether it’s via a company Blog or your website, consider these five approaches from the best-selling book, The Network Is Your Customer, by David L. Rogers:

  • Try Branding, Not Selling — Offer a story, entertainment, or a compelling idea that you can link convincingly to your brand, rather than trying to sell products or services directly.
  • Offer Utility — Provide content and interaction that helps solve a problem or answers a critical information need for your audience.
  • Show A Personal Face — Engage customers by showing a personal side and an authentic voice in digital content rather than the objective and authoritative voice of an institution.
  • Focus On The Particular — Focus on niche audiences and their specific needs and interests, rather than trying to engage every possible customer with the same content.
  • Make It A Game — Use the interactive, goal-based play of online games to engage customers for fun, education, and relationship-building.

Are You Connecting With Your Customers?

In Blogging, Company Culture, Customer Service, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management, Marketing, Sales Management on February 24, 2011 at 4:08 am

Here are some key questions to ask yourself about how to connect with your customers in today’s digital age:

  • Are we making it easy for customers to find us in their digital lives?
  • Do we offer services and content to customers on their schedule, not ours?
  • Do our Web services run well on any browser, smartphone, or digital interface?
  • Can our customers use their phones and mobile devices to find us, learn about us and pay us?
  • Are we responding to customers online in a timely manner?
  • Are we giving our biggest supporters the opportunity to connect with us and champion our business online?
  • Has the conversation among our customers become a vital part of our business?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you may need to also ask yourself these questions as well:

  • What assumptions about our business do we need to reconsider?
  • How does our culture need to change?
  • What new skills and capacities do we need to foster?
According to author David L. Rogers, “to thrive in our digital age, businesses need to reimagine our customers: not as a mass of isolated individual actors but as networks–with each customer as a node linking and dynamically interacting with each other and with us.”
In Roger’s latest book, The Network Is Your Customer, he offers delves deeply into five strategies for how to thrive in a digital age:
  • Access
  • Engage
  • Customize
  • Connect
  • Collaborate

Today’s customers, explains Rogers, seek to:

  • Freely access digital data, content and interaction as quickly, easily and flexibly as possible.
  • Engage with digital content that is sensory, interactive, and relevant to their needs.
  • Customize their experiences by choosing and modifying a wide assortment of information, products and services.
  • Connect with one another by sharing their ideas and opinions in text, videos, and social links.
  • Collaborate on collective projects and goals through open platforms.

Because of these new customer behaviors, Rogers suggests businesses may need to form new units within their companies to have dedicated teams for:

  • Interacting with customers using Facebook, Twitter or discussion forums.
  • Capturing, assessing and directing ideas from customers in order to feed them into product innovation and business process improvement.
  • Generating regular content for customer networks that is neither traditional advertising nor traditional public relations.

Rogers’ book is ideal for all businesses and nonprofits and includes more than 100 case studies that I found interesting and thought-provoking in the advance copy he sent me.

8 Tips For Leaders New To Blogging

In Blogging, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management on February 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

Here are eight tips for leaders new to blogging or for leaders who want to ensure their company’s Blog is the most effective it can be:
  1. Use keywords for your business in your Blog posting headlines.
  2. Write about the pain points of your target reader.
  3. Be sure your Blog covers topics where you or your company is truly an expert.
  4. Keep your Blog postings short.  Keep paragraphs and sentences short.  Use bullets.
  5. Include a call to action.  Perhaps you ask a question or offer a downloadable white paper.  Or, ask readers to sign up for your company’s e-newsletter.
  6. Publish a list that is likely to be shared by your Blog’s readers. 
  7. Include and quote industry experts in your Blog postings.
  8. Use free metrics and analytical tools to measure which of your postings are best read and shared.  Use the tool to track the sources that drive the most traffic to your Blog.

How To Produce An Effective Company Blog

In Blogging, Customer Service, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management on November 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm

If you lead a business and aren’t part of the 34% of U.S. companies using a blog for marketing purposes, your business likely will within the next year.

According to Emarketer, the proportion of companies using dedicated blogs as a marketing channel—excluding blogs on social networks and microblogs such as Twitter—will rise to 39% in 2011 and to 43% by 2012.

Emarketer reports that businesses are launching their own blogs for communications, lead generation, customer service and branding primarily for these reasons:

  • corporate control of the tool
  • its integration with company web properties
  • no limits on post lengths
  • the ability to maintain a full, searchable repository of information

Successful blogs generally follow these tips and guidelines:

  1. Make your blog as non-promotional as possible.
  2. Keep it relevant to the reader.
  3. Answer your customers’ questions or address their pain points.
  4. Be sure it’s well-written.
  5. Make it relevant to your company or products.
  6. Offer proof or third-party validation to claims you make.
  7. Keep each blog posting under 500 words.
  8. End each post with a question that encourages dialogue with your readers.
  9. Post regularly.  Shoot for at least three times each week.
  10. Talk in your normal voice.
  11. Use real language. Don’t talk over people’s heads.

 And once you’ve launched your blog, follow these tips for promoting it:

  1. Promote your blog URL on your website. 
  2. Include the blog URL in your email signature.  Encourage your employees to do the same.
  3. Put your blog URL on your business cards, direct mail and print advertising.
  4. Post your blog on Facebook.
  5. Post your blog to your LinkedIn status.
  6. Put your blog URL on company invoices as well as other correspondence to customers.
  7. Talk about your blog when you speak at events.

Finally, remember that your blog is a promise to customers that you will communicate with them honestly and regularly.  So, before you launch a blog be sure you have the time, staff and resources to post consistently and for the long-term.

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