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By David Meerman Scott
Wikipedia is among the top ten most visited sites on the Web. When there is a Wikipedia article on a topic that you search on, I’m sure you’ve noticed that article usually appears as one of the top few results, frequently in the number one position.
However there are few people who understand the inner workings of Wikipedia and how the more than 3.8 million articles in the English language (and millions more in 282 other languages) are created.
Comments Off on How to Create and Edit Wikipedia Articles
By David Meerman Scott
Every second of every day, people around the world are talking online about the companies they do business with and products that they use. Simple and free social media monitoring tools allow you to listen in on these discussions as ordinary people talk about your company.
Big or small, it doesn’t matter: You need to know what’s being said about you and about the issues critical to your business. And in order to react in real time, you need to know quickly.
The first priority is to listen to bloggers, analysts, journalists, and others who talk frequently about you and your business. To find these voices, start by checking the search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and so on) for all the relevant keywords and phrases you can think of: your company, customers, competitors, prospects, product categories, buzzwords—whatever you can think of.
Once you have identified key sources, the next step is to begin monitoring what they say in real time. As its name suggests, the really simple way to do this is using RSS, “Really Simple Syndication”—a tool that allows you to harvest content from hundreds of blogs and news feeds without having to visit each one. RSS feeds update each time a site changes, alerting you to relevant information on topics that you specify. I use Google Reader for this, but there are many RSS readers to choose from.
Twitter is a great way to stay on top of breaking news. Many bloggers, journalists, and media outlets now use Twitter to drive traffic to fresh content as it appears. If these sources are active on Twitter, you’ll find a Twitter ID on their sites or blogs. Use TweetDeck or another Twitter-monitoring tool to aggregate your important Twitter feeds (that is, sets of tweets important for your business) so you can easily monitor what’s being said by the people who matter to you.
How to Stay on Top of the Millions of Discussions Going on Right Now
Create a comprehensive list of search terms relevant to your activities. Include the names of your company, senior executives, competitors, customers, prospects, products; plus any relevant buzzwords or phrases—every term you can think of!
Use search engines (e.g., Google News or Yahoo! News) to set up a news alert using those search terms. This will automatically inform you in real time when any of your search terms crop up. Set up alerts on blog search engines, too. Note that if you choose Google Alerts, you can set the alert to let you know when a phrase appears in multiple content types, so one set of alerts can help you monitor blogs, newsfeeds, Web sites, and more.
As monitoring progresses you will likely need to modify your search terms as some yield a flood of “false hits” and others nothing. Some services offer advanced features that allow you to refine your searches. For instance, Boolean operators like “and,” “but,” and “not” can make your searches more specific. If you need help, look for independent consultants with a background in library science. Add new search terms as you go along (watch for tags authors apply to items that interest you). It’s an ongoing process so you can’t just set your search terms and forget about them.
Monitor your search terms on Twitter, too. Some tweets will show up in your news alerts if you use a service that indexes Twitter, like Google. Even so, I find it’s more effective to monitor Twitter directly. Use a Twitter monitoring tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite to catch your key phrases. You can also use Twitter’s own search function for one-off searches.
The goal here is to know what people say immediately, so you can comment in real time if appropriate. And that is certainly easier when you have already identified people likely to talk about you.
It’s like joining a circle of your friends at a cocktail party: You can anticipate that their conversations will interest you. And because you are accepted by the circle you can easily jump in with your own thoughts.
So as you monitor the people who talk about you, it is good to get a sense of what each person’s interests are. If someone writes about your industry, get to know their specific interests. Comment occasionally on their posts or articles even if they don’t refer to your company or products. If you’re already a known voice, your opinion will be taken more seriously when you jump in to discuss something directly related to your business.
The benefit of reacting quickly and being among the first to comment is huge. You are seen as someone who cares and is on top of what’s going on.
Portions excerpted from Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now by David Meerman Scott. Used with permission. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0470645956. U.S. $24.95
Imagine a huge company announces it is to acquire one of your competitors. It hit the wires five minutes ago. What would you do right now? Not tomorrow. Now. How about writing a blog post about it in real-time?
That’s what Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua did when Oracle announced the acquisition of Market2Lead, a company that is also in the marketing automation arena.
The Oracle announcement contained only a North Korea style one-paragraph announcement. So Payne realized that there was a tremendous opportunity to immediately write a blog post and define what the announcement meant to the wider marketplace.
In his post “Oracle joins the party” published a few hours after the Oracle announcement, Payne said (in part): “I expect Oracle’s entry to make a major difference in the attention paid to this sector. It’s going to open marketers’ eyes, and, as a result, expand the market. This is exactly the type of movement this industry needs. You see, the potential market for lead management systems is less than 10 percent penetrated.”
With this, Eloqua owned the soundbite for an acquisition announcement made by Oracle. As a result of this real-time market commentary, Eloqua became an important part of the resulting stories appearing in BusinessWeek, InfoWorld, Customer Experience Matrix, PC World, Customer Think, and more.
Had Payne waited even a few more hours, the opportunity would have been lost. The same principles apply to all businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.
QUICK BREAK: Congratulations to David Meerman Scott. His newest book, REAL-TIME MARKETING & PR released the first week of this month hit bestseller status on the Wall Street Journal and USA Today on November 7, 2010. David’s been a long-time contributor and friend to Cincom Expert Access. To celebrate the bestselling success of another Cincom Expert Access contributor, the first 25 people to leave comments on how they view the real-time business revolution now going on, pro or con, will win a copy of David’s book.
THE REAL-TIME REVOLUTION
Just like the transformation of the financial markets resulting from real-time data several decades ago, all businesses find ourselves in a real-time revolution. Businesspeople are feeling their way forward in search of new truths. The laws have changed. The road signs are gone. It’s like trying to drive across America with a map made in 1950, before the Interstate system. On the ground you can hardly find a trace of Route 66!
The Internet has fundamentally changed the pace of business, compressing time and rewarding speed.
Here are several ways that your organization can enable real-time marketing & PR:
CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS NOW
Finding ways to interact with customers on a regular basis and in real time is something of an art form. But if you have the right creative approach social media can now make communication instant, easy and free.
The cookies are ready!
Albion Cafe in Shoreditch, London, sends a tweet (Twitter ID: @albionsoven) when baked goods come fresh and hot from the oven. Example: Freshly baked crumbly Chocolate Chip Cookies stuffed with oozy chocolate chips. http://bakertweet.com/m/721 (the URL points to a photo of the cookies). Locals subscribe so they know exactly when to pop over. Albion Cafe uses BakerTweet, a tool that makes it easy for bakers to tweet when something is fresh out of the oven.
DEVELOP A REAL-TIME COMMUNICATIONS POLICY
Develop an effective code of real-time communications and proactively embed it throughout your organization. Guidelines mean employees know they have the freedom to communicate in real time when the opportunity arises. Train it, demonstrate it, discuss it and review it until this becomes second nature to everyone. Have your people internalize it as deeply as the instincts that tell them when it’s safe to turn left at a traffic light (or right if they’re Brits). This is fully possible.
IBM’s code is called Social Computing Guidelines. The purpose is to provide rules to help employees engage the marketplace and customers in real time—effectively and responsibly.
“IBM wants IBMers to communicate,” says Tim Washer, head of social media productions for IBM worldwide. Washer was part of the team that developed the document. “A big part of being engaged in the community is feeling comfortable with what you can say and what you can’t say, so we wanted to establish the boundaries. If you identify yourself as an IBMer, then you need to adhere to the guidelines. The guidance we offer is that, if you give perspective on a topic that has something to do with IBM, we want you to speak as an IBMer.”
ENABLE REAL-TIME TECHNOLOGIES
To support real-time business, you need technology infrastructure every bit as sophisticated as a financial trading floor. When well-integrated into an appropriate technology backbone these modules work together to feed the dashboard that your marketers, PR professionals, salespeople, and executives use every day.
THE REAL-TIME ORGANIZATION
I’ve talked with people all over the world who are wrestling with the challenge, and most are not at all comfortable with adopting a real-time mindset. It’s not on the corporate agenda or the business-school curriculum. And when the notion is put to them, many people dismiss quick response to opportunities and threats as “reckless” or “risky.”
An immensely powerful competitive advantage flows to organizations whose people understand the power of real-time information.
Attitudes are so ingrained that even when confronted with an iceberg off the bow, companies persist in choosing slow and cautious over quick and nimble. Way too much time is spent checking, getting permission, researching and running it past “experts.” By the time a decision is finally reached it’s time to head for the lifeboats.
DEVELOP A REAL-TIME MINDSET
The real-time mindset recognizes the importance of speed. It is an attitude to business (and to life) that emphasizes moving quickly when the time is right.
The process starts with an understanding just how severely conventional methods handicap business functions—especially marketing and PR—in the always-on, world of instant communication.
The conventional approach favors a “campaign” (note the war metaphor) that requires people to spend weeks or months planning to hit “targets.” Agencies must be consulted. Messaging strategies must be developed. Advertising space/time must be bought. Conference rooms and refreshments must be prepared for press conferences. Do we serve them sushi or sandwiches?
In planning ahead, marketing and PR teams commonly look back. What were we doing five or six quarters ago? What happened at the trade show last year? In doing so they ignore what’s happening right now, today, this instant.
Within your organization, develop a mindset focused on today, not just six months from now!
If you’re the leader, and you want to cultivate a real-time mindset throughout your organization, tear down the command-and-control mentality. Recognize your employees as responsible adults. Empower them to take initiative. Give them opportunities to hone their communication skills, give them clear guidelines as to what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Scale and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage.What counts today is speed and agility. While your competitors scramble to adjust, you can seize the initiative, open new channels, and grow your brand.