In an 1983 radio interview Margaret Thatcher defined Victorian values as hard work, self-improvement, self-reliance, living within your income, cleanliness, self-respect, a duty to help others, pride in country, and being a good member of your community. Here are some excerpts from an April 15, 1983 radio interview with Peter Allen on The Decision Makers program.
Q: How do you develop good content for blog posts and newsletters on a regular basis?
One rule of thumb for sources of good content for an e-mail newsletter is to revise something that you have already written that would be appropriate for your target audience.
David Morse left a detailed comment today on my Sep-26-2014 blog post “Lessons Learned Blogging 1400 Posts in 8 Years” that I thought I would promote to a guest post that offers some practical tips about how to add graphics and video to a blog. Here is his bio on B2BSalesVP:
David Morse helps startup founders and sales teams achieve revenue nirvana. He is President of consulting firm B2BSalesVP and CEO of SaaS company Kindoo which is like a private YouTube for sales teams and sales training and development.
Creating value for others is the core of the entrepreneurial mindset. It enables the exchange of value that fuels entrepreneurs efforts to bring new ideas and products to market.
Dan Sullivan: Entrepreneurs Make Two Decisions
Successful entrepreneurs differ from other people–not in their abilities but in their mindset. They have internalized two fundamental commitments, by making these two decisions:
- Decision 1: To depend entirely on their own abilities for their financial security, because they realize that the only security is the security they create themselves.
- Decision 2: To expect opportunity only by creating value for others, because they understand that this is the only unlimited source of economic opportunity.
I got the following unsolicited E-mail this morning; I think the marketing term for this is “blogger outreach.” I have redacted the name of the sender (“YYY”) and the name of the firm/product (“XXX”) but “[press kit]” and “[review/checkout]” were included verbatim in the original. There was no footer with an unsubscribe option although phone number and address were included after the person’s title.
My name is YYY from XXX. We have developed an online innovation platform that allows businesses to create insight-driven ideation networks.
Each company has their own ideation network allowing them to set ‘challenges’ to their employees, and employees are able to suggest ideas to solve these challenges.
XXX is exciting and completely different to anything else on the market in that anybody can sign up at XXX and start their innovation network for free within minutes (much like Yammer). All you need to get started is an organisational email address.
I thought you and your readers might be interested in our service. We’re currently in beta at XXX, with currently over 120 companies signed up and using the product since a very soft launch last month. I have a [press kit] I’d like to send your way to [review/checkout] if you’d be interested, and if there’s anything else I can help with let me know!
Head of Product
<phone number and address>
One Good Thing and Five Mistakes
Good Thing: It’s from a real person with a phone number, physical address and personal email address.
- No Pricing
- No Target Customer
- Premature Send
- No Unsubscribe
“Good Morning” as an opening is mean to be a catch all. While politer than “To Whom It May Concern” it would be better to format this as an announcement. If you cannot take the time to personalize an email it has substantially less impact, or more accurately less positive impact.
I wondered how much this would cost. I checked the FAQ where there is a question:
How much does XXX cost?
Full details of our simple pricing structure is available on our pricing page.
But there is no pricing page, which indicates to me they have not worked out their business model. If this were intended to be a freemium app that might be OK, but idea management systems normally capture company proprietary data so it’s unlikely most companies want their internal process improvement ideas or their new product ideas posted on the Internet.
No Target Customer
The FAQ also has this question
Who uses XXX
Organisations of all shapes and sizes from across the globe use XXX. Due to the ease of getting started, organisations with as few as 10 employees are benefiting from using XXX, and thanks to its customisation capabilities, XXX is suitable for large enterprises too.
Based on this FAQ answer it does not appear anyone is actually using your product, or they have not figured out who their target customer is.
This sentence: “I have a [press kit] I’d like to send your way to [review/checkout] if you’d be interested, and if there’s anything else I can help with let me know!” leads me to believe they were not done editing the mass e-mail template before they hit send.
No Unsubscribe Option
This is clearly a mass e-mail without an unsubscribe option, technically it’s “unsolicited commercial e-mail” or “spam.”
I am not entirely clear on the thought process that leads a startup team to craft this e-mail as an outreach strategy. Their about page says “After lots of long nights and coffee runs, the first release of XXX was unleashed on our first customers in April 2014.” Unleashed would be a good verb for what happened with this “blogger outreach” campaign.
When I spoke on Thought Leadership at the San Bruno Rotary Club on August 6 this “four way test” was printed on all of the placemats. It was the first time I had encountered it and I found it a useful insight for evaluating a course of action.
Of the things we think, say or do:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
As I have reflected on the event in the interim I realized that this simple test, developed by Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 to turn around his failing company, was a great example of thought leadership. I had defined thought leadership as the ability to
Discern the important events and trends at work in the present, predict their likely effects, and offer perspective and actionable advice in time to have an impact.
This test offers a way to detect whether an organization or community is healthy. If people are not able to tell the truth, are not fair to other stakeholders, are not promoting goodwill and friendship, and are not seeking out comes that are generally beneficial, then the organization or community will not thrive.
- Four Way Test Organization About Us Page
How did The 4-Way Test Story begin?
It started in 1932. It’s author Herbert J. Taylor had just become president of Club Aluminum Products Company in Chicago, Illinois. The company employed 250 people, was bankrupt — over $400,000 in debt (equal to about $4.3 million today). The country was in the midst of what we know today as The Great Depression.
- Wikipedia: Four Way Test and Herbert J. Taylor
- Herbert J. Taylor Biography at American National Business Hall of Fame
- Rotary: Story Behind Four Way Test
I gave a talk on “How to Give a Great Demo” in April at the Co-Founders Club and met Elijah Angote, founder of “The Best Notary” who arranged for me to speak at the Rotary Club of San Bruno today. So I have him to thank and the audience knew who to blame. I really enjoyed the talk and felt very at home with the group. Here is the audio for the core of the talk (I have cut intro and and about ten minutes of Q&A)
Or download from http://traffic.libsyn.com/skmurphy/ThoughtLeadership140806c.mp3
Here is a handout from the talk.
A Briefing for San Bruno Rotary, Aug-6-2014 by Sean Murphy, SKMurphy, Inc.
- What is thought leadership?
- Why will it bring you more business?
- How do you get started?
Thought Leadership: Discern the important events and trends at work in the present, predict their likely effects, and offer perspective and actionable advice in time to have an impact.
Thought Leadership In Action
- Advise prospects and customers on how to overcome their most pressing problems
- Customers bring you their hard problems, prospects ask you for insight on options
How Does It Bring You More Business?
- A reputation for expertise means that you get called first
- You can compete on more than price: expertise acts as a differentiator
- Encourages current customers to bring you new challenges
- May lead to new opportunities and even new offerings for emerging needs
Key Practices for Thought Leadership
- Careful observation, questions, networking
- Writing and speaking to build influence
Build a Communication Strategy
- Identify audience / Understand their needs / Position your message / Promote
- Measure success: website traffic, mailing list size, inquiries, customers
Execute: Your 90-day Plan Should Address:
- What other people say about you
- What you say
- What you write
- Getting found when people are looking
Topics You Can Always Talk About
- Change: what’s waxing and waning
- Significance of recent events
- Checklists to identify or resolve problems
“The future is an abstraction, all change is happening now.”
You can only take action in the present.
“I have gradually come to appreciate that the really important predictions are about the present. What is happening right now, and what is its significance?”
What Is The Current Situation / What Is Significant About it?
- Before you can make predictions you have to understand what’s happened.
- The easiest predictions are based on the “acorns” already planted in the present
Checklists: Develop A Coachable Perspective
- Teach customers and prospect to diagnose problems from symptoms
- Teach prevention and self-service so that they call you for high value problems
Thought Leadership Brings Business
- You get called first
- Compete on more than price
- New opportunities
- New offerings
About SKMurphy, Inc.: We help you find leads and close deals
- Mastermind Groups
- Workshops: Great Demo! Oct 15-16 in San Jose
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 408-252-9676 / skype skmurphy
Bootstrappers Breakfast www.bootstrapperbreakfast.com
- Serious roundtable conversations about growing a business based on internal cashflow: join other entrepreneurs who eat problems for breakfast.
- Silicon Valley http://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/
- San Francisco http://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-San-Francisco/
If you are looking or a speaker for your Silicon Valley business group please contact us. I enjoy giving highly interactive presentations to groups of 12 to 40 people. I am happy to talk to larger groups but I prefer where there are opportunities for real audience participation. I also do a number of interactive webinars and workshops for groups who are not based in Silicon Valley so if that’s of interest please feel free to contact me as well.
SKMurphy develops highly relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage customers. We help our clients organize and clearly articulate their experiences and insights in ways that generate inquires. We develop an editorial calendar that complements SEO strategy and ecosystem partner relationships. We always consider audio, video, and animation options in addition leveraging public speaking events.
Here are a couple of articles that we developed:
- Are You Making a Medical Device?
- Nurse Case Manager’s RTW ROI Whitepaper
- Reduce risk by managing leading edge components
- Bill Review Silos Cost Payers Over $2 Billion
- Lucene: An Interview with Otis Gospodnetic
And here is some example videos
- BeamWise Demo For BiOS 2014
- UR Now Selects DataCare’s Utilization Review Software
- Tools For Maximizing Your Research ROI
- Lessons Learned Implementing the Great Demo! Methodology
- Video Animation Project for Motorola Engineering Team
There are two kinds of bloggers, referential and experiential.
The referential blogger uses the link as his fundamental unit of currency, building posts around ideas and experiences spawned elsewhere: Look at this. Referential bloggers are reporters, delivering pointers to and snippets of information, insight or entertainment happening out there, on the Internet. They can, and do, add their own information, insight and entertainment to the links they unearth — extrapolations, juxtapositions, even lengthy and personal anecdotes — but the outward direction of their focus remains their distinguishing feature.
The experiential blogger is inwardly directed, drawing entries from personal experience and opinion: How about this. They are storytellers (and/or bores), drawing whatever they have to offer from their own perspective. They can, and do, add links to supporting or explanatory information, even unique and undercited external sources. But their motivation, their impetus, comes from a desire to supply narrative, not reference it.
SKMurphy Blog is A Blend of Referential and Experiential
I think we tend to blend these two styles on this blog. We do a fair amount of “reporting” on events that we attend, particularly when we think we heard something useful worth sharing and the event was lightly covered, if at all, by other bloggers or press. To the extent that we are trying to offer advice, we try and back up our prescriptions with reference to both supporting and contrasting perspectives in the blogosphere or in other reference material.
Experiential Blogging Key to Startups Telling Their Story
As you think about your own blog for your startup I think it becomes more compelling to the extent that you talk about
- real experiences with customers,
- interactions with prospects,
- internal issues including team discussions and different perspectives,
- the decisions you’ve reached and why you’ve reached them,
- the decisions you’ve revisited and why you’ve revisited them.