Posts Tagged ‘business’

Is It Hip to Be Square?

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 17 Comments

G+ for Business

The great debate is upon us thanks to the launch of Google+ for Business. From Jim Long’s social media survey to Debra Askanese’s well debated post on Google+’s benefits and detriments, voices across the web are debating whether it’s hip to be Square (Corporate brands are denoted by squares on Google+).

The reality of the situation is even from a simple brand reputation standpoint, it’s time to get your square and protect your brand integrity. The last thing you want is someone else owning your brand on Google+! What if it actually takes off? Or worse, what if an unforeseen blogodrama savages your brand reputation on Google+?

Beyond that, there is the very obvious search value of being on Google+. Pete Cashmore said it best, “Now those little +1 votes being cast around the Web are starting to change the order of Google’s search results, helping to keep Google in line with the social trend.” And if your content isn’t integrated with +1 technology, you are hurting your organic search possibilities.

In fact, Google is actively redeveloping its entire ecosystem to revolve around Google+, as Google Reader users can attest to. The only way to natively share outbound posts beyond email is Google. This integration is systematic, and we are seeing the next generation of the online behemoth evolve before our eyes.

From a strategic communications perspective, Google+ is real hit or miss. It is still an early adopter’s social network, with testosterone driven techies riding its ether waves. Most mainstream brands will find the network wanting. Further, if you want to market towards the “Mommy Tsunami,” the demographics are generally not skewed well.

Additionally, real advertising on Google+ remains in the wings and the application programming interface (API) is still read only. Right now the only Google+ business offering is a participation game with a profile. You have to connect with people, which means your brand has to invest the time to build relationships and cultivate a following. Otherwise, you will be posting in silence.

But, all things in consideration, it is time to stop experimenting and at a minimum set up a business outpost on Google+. It may never beat Facebook, but Google+ is unlikely to fade into the night the way Buzz and Wave did. The last thing you want is to be caught with your pants down on a social network. Just like other networks, own your real estate, and take advantage of the search benefits Google+ has to offer.

What do you think of Google+ for Business?

Women Rock It!

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 4 Comments

Women Rock It

This Thursday night is the Women Rock It event in San Francisco highlighting inspiring women and conversations about how they became successful. Speakers include Deborah Lindholm, whose foundation has helped over 300,000 women work their way out of poverty.

“The event is both inspirational and practical, and will be the first of many Women Rock It’s we will be producing around the country and beyond to encourage women to start businesses and pursue what they love to do,” said online marketing wizard Evan Bailyn, one of the co-producers of the event. “Eventually we will be getting even more deeply practical to complement the inspirational nature of the event by partnering with high-level mentoring programs and granting scholarships to women.”

In a revealing post, Evan discussed who he and co-producer Hyla Molander both shared how their failures and fears inspired their successess: “When you get into a room with people and one person admits it, suddenly all the walls come down. Suddenly it’s OK to admit that you’re scared.”

This event is spot on. In working with many people and supporting several women’s causes over the years (such as the NextGen Tech Women Fundraiser), fear, self valuation and failure are huge detractors. Working through those real issues — issues that every human being faces in business and life — are critical to success. Talking about how common these problems are, and how others have worked through them can make a huge difference.

There are so many brilliant women out there, and many have walked along the same path, from my grandmother and mother and their entrepreneurial successes to recent business partners Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse and current co-author, Gini Dietrich. It only seems natural to give this San Francisco and soon to be national movement a big thumbs up. Because women really do rock it!

Please support this valuable event and cause if you can.

Getting Ready for the Long Write

Posted on: August 15th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 13 Comments

Books to be returned...
Image by hashmil

Writing two unpublished novels, two business books, and a graduate thesis teaches you a thing or two about long writing projects. Long form writing can be grueling in nature, lasting six months or even a year. When beginning such a project, it helps to have a writing program, very similar in nature to a training program that an athlete dedicates him/herself to prepare for a marathon or a long season.

Here are some methods that helped with these five projects:

Use a Blueprint

john_cage_blue_print
Image by emanueleED
Many authors use the table of contents as their blueprint. Some business writers like larger arcs — themes like the Fifth Estate — that guide their overall effort. This is analogous to a plot for a novel, but has less suspense and development to it. Nevertheless the arc may be the overarching lesson that you want people to learn.

Parts help break a book into major components. For example, a communications book may focus on strategy and then tactics. Chapters support the larger parts. These parts may have their own arcs and goals, depending on the subject matter. Welcome to the Fifth Estate had two parts, the first focused on theory and cultural readiness, while the second focused on the actual work of social media. Others simply adhere to a chapter and subsection structure.

Whatever you do, a blueprint helps guide you. You don’t have to write in a linear fashion, but having the blueprint lets you see all the areas you need to address.

Discipline

You must be disciplined and write everyday. Every damn day. When your friends give you grief for not hanging out on Twitter or going out more often, you must have the discipline to say no.

Starting tomorrow never works. That is for people who want to be authors. People who actually accomplish books write everyday. Books and other long forms of writing are accomplished paragraph by paragraph, page by page, section by section, chapter by chapter.

There will be times where one page will be brutal with each phrase coming at an absolutely painful pace. Other times you will see pages fly with the minutes. You never know which pages matter more until the editing process. Take each page as they come, but never stop writing.

Accept Crap

write down my name ...
Image by Josef Stuefer

There are parts of your work that suck. And you know they suck as soon as the words leave your fingers. You try to fix it, but you can’t. Each time you rewrite the section, it sucks. This is when you must accept crap.

That weak section fits into a picture, and you may not understand the context of the section until you complete the larger chapter. So move on. Finish the chapter, and get some distance between you and the painful section. Then go back and read it in the context of the larger chapter. Editing becomes much easier when you can pull away from the weeds for a bit.

Having an editor to bounce difficult sections off of helps. However, most writers don’t have this luxury, particularly unpublished authors or those working with small presses. If it is in your nature, join a local writing club to get support for such moments.

Take Breaks

Any process that requires this amount of isolation can unleash your demons: “It’s not perfect (it’s terrible!)”; “what if they hate it?”; “I can’t make it to the end”; “the whole concept is off”; etc. That’s when it is important to get out.

A consistent work-out schedule is very therapeutic in conjunction with the daily write. It forces you out of the house and around other people, and gets the endorphins going, clearing your mind… Until the next write.

Also, it might be good to write about anything else besides the book one day a week. Write a blog post or some other text. This keeps you in the habit of writing everyday, but gives your mind an opportunity to relax and chew on something lighter.

Fight Through the Wall

365::115 - write
Image by Reid

Inevitably there comes a time in the long write — roughly 2/3 of the way through — where you feel absolutely beaten. You can’t go on. But you have to.

This is the most brutal part of the writing process. It is what long distance runners call “hitting the wall.”

You will hit the wall, and you need to power through it. It is a fight with each sentence requiring serious effort, but once you get through that chapter (wherever it is in the process), you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The project becomes easier as you close.

Good Luck!

Other authors have different processes for dealing with the long write. Be sure to ask them how they did it, too.

And remember, no matter how many snarky social media remarks you get about books and bloggers and blah blah blah, writing a book or a major report is a significant accomplishment. Good luck on your project!