recentpopularlog in

jerryking : thought_leadership   20

Why Startups Need to Blog (and what to talk about …)
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Mark Suster (@msuster), a 2x entrepreneur, now VC at GRP Partners. Read more about Suster at Bothsidesofthetable

Blogs. We all read them to get a sense of what is going on in the world, peeling back layers of the old world in which media was too scripted.

By definition, if you are reading this you read blogs. But should you actually write one if you’re a startup, an industry figure (lawyer, banker) or VC? Absolutely.

This is a post to help you figure out why you should write and what you should talk about.

1. Why
If you care about accessing customers, reaching an audience, communicating your vision, influencing people in your industry, marketing your services or just plain engaging in a dialog with others in your industry a blog is a great way to achieve this.

People often ask me why I started blogging. It really started simply enough. I was meeting regularly with entrepreneurs and offering (for better or for worse) advice on how to run a startup and how to raise venture capital from my experience in doing so at two companies. I was having the same conversations over-and-over again (JFDI, Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet when Employees are on the Way Out the Door, Don’t Drink Your Own Kool Aid, etc) and I figured I might as well just write them up and make them available for future people who might be interested. I never really expected a big audience or ever thought about it.

I had been reading Brad Feld’s blog & Fred Wilson’s blog for a couple of years and found them very helpful to my thinking so I honestly just thought I was giving back to the community.

The results have been both unexpected and astounding. Within 2 years I was getting 400,000 views / month and had been voted the 2nd most respected VC in the country by an independent survey of entrepreneurs, The Funded and sentiment analysis. I know that I have not yet earned these kudos based on investment returns (although my partners have. GRP Partners last fund is the single best performing VC fund in the US (prequin data) for its vintage year). But it speaks volumes to what people want from our industry:

transparency
accessibility
authenticity
thought leadership
advice

I’ll bet your customers, business partners or suppliers would love similar.
2. What



I often get the question from people, “I’d like to blog, but I don’t really know what to talk about?” Or “I’m a new entrepreneur, why would I offer advice on how to run a startup?”
You wouldn’t. You shouldn’t.

Not only would it be less authentic but if you’re a startup it’s not immediately clear that other startup CEOs are your target market. They’re mine because I’m a VC. I care about having a steady stream of talented startup people who want to raise money thinking that they should talk to me in addition to the top others whom they’re targeting.

Whom do you want to target? Who are your customers, partners or suppliers?

My suggestion is to blog about your industry. Think Mint.com. In their early days they had an enormously effective blog on the topic of personal financial management. They created a reason for their customers to aggregate on their site on a regular basis. They became both a thought leader in the space as well as a beautifully designed product. They created inbound link juice on topics that drove more traffic to their site. Type “personal financial management” into Google.  Mint.com is the second result. Smart.

Think Magento. They are an open-source & SaaS provider of eCommerce solutions. They are the fastest growing player in the world in this space. They achieved all of this before they raised even a penny of venture capital. eCommerce is an enormously competitive search term. Yet type it into Google and the third result (behind the Wikipedia entry and ecommerce.com) is Magento. Magic. They did it by creating a blog, discussion board and hub for eCommerce advice and information.

So you developed a product for the mommy community? Blog on that topic. Do you have an application that helps mobile developers build HTML5 apps? You know your blog topic. Do you have sales productivity software? Obvious. Check out SalesCrunch posts. Blog to your community. Be a thought leader. Don’t blog to your friend (that might be a separate Tumblog or something) but blog to your community.

If you’re going to pump out regular content that is meaningful, you obviously need to blog about a topic in which you’re knowledgeable, thoughtful and passionate. If you’re not all three of these things in your industry then I guess you’ve got a broader problem. Honestly.

So my biggest recommendation of “what” to blog is a series of articles that will be helpful to your community. If you’re a lawyer, blog on a topic that would be helpful to potential customers. Show that you’re a thought leader. Scott Edward Walker does an excellent job at this. It’s the only reason I know who he is. I had seen his blog & his Tweets and then was interested to meet him IRL.
Do a brainstorming session and create a list of 40-50 topics that interest you. Write out the topic and maybe even the blog title. Keep the list electronically. .

Struggling to come up with enough topics? Take one topic and break it up into 10 bite-sized articles. It’s probably better that way anyways. I wanted to write about the top 10 attributes of an entrepreneur. I wrote it all in one sitting and then broke it up into 10 separate posts. It kept me busy for 3 weeks! Each one ended up taking on a life of its own as the comments flowed in for post 1 I had more thoughts to add to post 2 and so on.


3. Where

You need a blog. Duh. If you’re a company and if hanging it off of your company website makes sense for the link traffic – go for it. If you’re head of marketing at a company and keeping a more generalized blog (in addition to your company blog) so that you can influence brands & agencies – it can be separate.

I chose for my blog to be independent of my firm, GRP Partners.  The reason is that I wanted to be free to say what I was thinking independently of my partners. My views don’t always represent theirs and vice-versa even though we’re pretty like-minded (we’ve worked together for 10+ years).  I chose a title that represented a brand that I wanted to emphasize – Both Sides of the Table. I chose it because I thought it would represent who I am – mostly an entrepreneur but somebody with investment chops. I wanted to differentiate.

So. People keep asking me, “why would you write on TechCrunch?” I guess I would have thought it was obvious. Apparently not. People say, “aren’t you driving traffic away from your own blog?”

Facts:

I don’t really care about total page views or uniques other than as a measure of whether I’m improving. I don’t sell ads.
I DO care about “share of mind,” which means that I want fish in the pond where the people whom I want to speak with hang out. I know a certain number hit my blog. But I’m not so arrogant (or successful) as to think they come all the time. So I take my show on the road. If I can write about a topic for which I’m passionate about and double or triple the number of people who read it – that’s gold dust. That’s why I never stopped anybody from taking my feed and republishing.
As it happens, since I began writing at TechCrunch my viewership has continued to go up, not down. I always publish on my own blog the day after it runs on TC. I want the historical post there. A large number of readers on my site get it from Feedburner or newsletter feed.
I also get a lot of inbound links from writing here. I try to make any inbound links to my blog authentic to the story. But each story has driven 1,000′s of views.
The majority of my traffic still comes from Twitter. TC posts = more Twitter followers = more conversion when I do write on my own blog = more Feedburner / newsletter subs = more traffic. It’s an ecosystem. Simple.

So once you have a blog, a voice and a small following – don’t be shy about writing some guest posts for target blogs. Remember – for you that’s likely not TC – it’s the place your community hangs out.

4. How

Be authentic. Don’t try to sound too smart or too funny.  Just be yourself.  People will see who you are in your words.  If you try to make everything too perfect you’ll never hit publish.  If you try to sound too intelligent you’ll likely be boring as shit.  Most blogs are.  I hate reading blow hards who try to sound like they’re smarter than the rest of us. Be open and transparent.  Get inside your reader’s minds.  Try to think about what they would want to know from you.  In fact, ask them!

Don’t be offensive – it’s never worth it to offend great masses of people.  But that doesn’t mean sitting on the fence.  I have a point of view and I’m sure sometimes it rankles.  But I try to be respectful about it.  Sitting on the fence on all issues is also pretty boring.  And don’t blog drunk.  Or at least don’t hit publish ;-) Mostly, have fun.  If you can’t do that you won’t last very long.

How do I get started? First, you’ll need a platform.  I use WordPress.  Some people swear by SquareSpace. There are the new tools like Tumblr and Posterous.  I’ve played with both and they’re pretty cool. They’re more light weight and easier to use. Importantly, they’re more social. It’s much easier to build an audience in social blogging platforms the way you do in Twitter or Facebook.  T

hen  you need to decide whether to use the “hosted” version or the “installed” version.  At least that’s true in WordPress.  The advantage of the hosted version is that it’s easier to get started.  The disadvantage is that you can’t install a lot of additional tools that use Javascript. I started with the hosted version and then migrated to an installed version so I could use Google Analytics and some other products.

You then need a URL.  It’s … [more]
featured  TC  Mark_Suster  start_ups  blogs  via:trevinwagner  content  advice  JCK  personal_branding  thought_leadership  WordPress  SquareSpace  Tumblr  Posterous 
july 2015 by jerryking
If you want to be big in 2015, think big - The Globe and Mail
DAVID CICCARELLI
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 01 2015

Thought leadership builds your brand and raises your profile in arenas you may not be able to enter otherwise. Write about what you know and make yourself available to speak about your topic.

Add value by sharing your knowledge and empowering others to succeed. Contributing to the greater discussion will gain more impressions for your brand. To paraphrase the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, helping others get what they want will help you to get what you want.
preparation  growth  small_business  thought_leadership  serving_others  organizational_culture  chutzpah  large_companies  individual_initiative  thinking_big 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Thought Leader - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: December 16, 2013

..."When people who think they are smart surround themselves with people who think equally highly of themselves, it doesn't take long for those people to confuse their verbal dexterity (& social graces) for moral superiority as Brooks describes"....
David_Brooks  thought_leadership  sarcasm  self-congratulatory  socially_graceful  letters_to_the_editor  smart_people  verbal_dexterity 
december 2013 by jerryking
Ten ways to position yourself as a thought leader - The Globe and Mail
Jeff Quipp (for Charles Waud & WaudWare)

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Dec. 13 2013

key tips for professionals and business owners looking to carve out their place as thought leaders:

1. Blog. Wordpress is a popular platform and easy to use. Set up your blog and your editorial calendar (what you’ll blog about/when) at the same time with a commitment to blogging once a week.

2. Create e-books and white papers. This content showcases in-depth knowledge and entices website visitors to subscribe in order to access the information. By offering a valuable piece of content in exchange for their contact information you can continue to share insights and solicit feedback that informs your future content creation. These items are subsequently shared through various social networks thereby growing your profile as an authority. To begin this process, identify the areas for which you have the expertise to create a “how-to” guide. Offer information that is enduring while incorporating timely examples. Once created, the link and a call to action to download the e-book should be placed on every relevant page of your website. Using the contact information that was submitted in order to download the e-book, you can then carry on a dialogue with a captive audience and continue to define yourself as an authority in that space/on that topic.

3. PR and media coverage. Earned media is the signal that what you are doing or saying is newsworthy. Obtaining coverage of new initiatives, launches, and products adds profile and builds your caché in the public eye. Earned media is much more trusted than owned or paid media. It’s worth the investment to outsource this to an expert. You can be a thought leader and still outsource part of the effort to communicate that fact.

4. Speak at conferences (expertise). Every time you put yourself in the role of presenter or panel speaker for conferences you are building your authority as the go-to for those looking to glean new learning and best practices. Especially when the conference speaks to your industry, it takes confidence in your own knowledge and expertise to take on that role. If you establish yourself as being assured of your authority, others will confirm it through word of mouth and insider discussions about those speaker events. Look for opportunities by researching conferences by geography, topic, industry or associations with which you want to connect. When speaking, err on the side of giving people more -- not less -- so they walk away impressed, give good reviews, and buoy your reputation as a desired speaker.

5. Make yourself available through Q & A sites. Whether it’s an online industry forum or LinkedIn, professional chats are an ever-increasing avenue to get your thoughts and opinions seen.

6. Twitter chats. Every day, thousands of Twitter chats take place bringing people from all across the globe together, online, in real time, to discuss topics of interest.

7. Publish news early. Sharing news is vital on social media channels to carve out your space as an authority; it shows you’re on top of what’s happening. But being among the first to do so is key. Anyone can retweet the headline from today’s paper. Share it early and go the extra mile to find and share emerging news from less prevalent sources – keep in mind time differences and get your news from sources that may be ahead.

8. Expert commentary (expertise) on breaking news in your field. The latest launch, merger, acquisition. There are always changes and those are just the facts. What about the impact and the future it bears? Offer your expert commentary to key media as the news happens. Offer thoughtful input and practical tips to address changes or exploit opportunities; this is where your trusted PR experts come in handy. Additionally use these opportunities to fuel a blog and leverage those posts on your website and social media channels where they often get additional pick up. Remember, ***don’t just share the news – add value – say what it means to your current/prospective clients.***

9. Connect with other thought leaders. Comment on blogs or in LinkedIn groups within your industry. It will help get your name out there on topics that current and prospective stakeholders are interested in talking about and your comments will also be found in Google searches of your name. If other thought leaders are talking to you and about you that translates to a level of success by association.

10. Be a mentor. Offer your support to those coming up in the field. Whether it’s in the form of informational interviews, reviewing a proposal and providing feedback, speaking at postsecondary institutions or sitting on program advisory committees. By growing your presence as a source of influence and inspiration others will seek out your advice, input and professional service and spread the word about your authority.
thought_leadership  personal_branding  Managing_Your_Career  JCK  mentoring  content_creators  creating_valuable_content  public_speaking  expertise 
december 2013 by jerryking
Inventing HBR
November 2012 | HBR | Julia Kirby.

Meanwhile, HBR was growing as a business itself. When the renowned HBS marketing professor Ted Levitt assumed the editorship, in 1985, he saw the magazine as an underleveraged brand that he could manage like a consumer product. He gave it a design makeover, even introducing cartoons, and encouraged a new slate of editors to push more articles to the point that they would ignite debate. He also jacked up the price, nearly doubling the subscription rate, and increased the cost of a full-page ad by more than 50%.
A Shove Toward the Magazine Side
Soon after taking over, Levitt met with HBS colleagues to explain how he saw the challenge. The Review’s content had always been supplied by experts like them, he noted, whose prose was the desiccated, reference-riddled stuff of scholars. Its customer base, meanwhile, was made up of action-oriented managers who were perpetually pressed for time. HBR, he is said to have concluded, was “a magazine written by people who can’t write for people who won’t read.”

The changes he introduced were exciting. It’s probably fair to say that he altered the course of HBR forever, by taking a publication that had sat on the fence between journal and magazine for six decades and giving it a decisive shove toward the magazine side. He essentially declared the customer king. But for a publication owned by a dignified institution of higher learning—HBR’s sole shareholder was and still is the dean of the business school—excitement can spell consternation. A couple of small crises forced the question of whether HBR’s growth as a popular magazine could be reconciled with its Harvard Business School ties.
history  HBR  anniversaries  magazines  thought_leadership  Theodore_Levitt 
july 2013 by jerryking
Strategy: How to get ahead by being different - The Globe and Mail
marjo johne
Globe and Mail Update
Published Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011

Christie Henderson, partner at Henderson Partners LLP in Oakville, just
west of Toronto, says one way she established herself and her accounting
firm as leaders in personal tax accounting was by writing a series of
Tax Tips for Canadians for Dummies books.

Writing the books is time-consuming, she says, but it’s worth the effort
because the books increase brand recognition and position Henderson
Partners as an authority in its field.

“It immediately makes us unique in the eyes of our customers,” says Ms.
Henderson. “In addition to all the unique and proprietary things we’re
doing service-wise, we can also say that we’re the company that writes
the Taxes for Dummies books.
branding  competition  differentiation  howto  JCK  management_consulting  personal_branding  thought_leadership  writing 
september 2011 by jerryking
Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers | Foreign Policy
DECEMBER 2010 | The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. Foreign Policy
presents a unique portrait of 2010's global marketplace of ideas and
the thinkers who make them.
thought_leadership  best_of  lists  globalization  foreign_policy  booklists  policymakers  policymaking 
december 2010 by jerryking
A Symposium: What Is Moderate Islam? - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | A Symposium: What
Is Moderate Islam? The controversy over a proposed mosque in lower
Manhattan has spurred a wider debate about the nature of Islam. We asked
six leading thinkers—Anwar Ibrahim, Bernard Lewis, Ed Husain, Reuel
Marc Gerecht, Tawfik Hamid and Akbar Ahmed—to weigh in.
assorted  islam  moderates  thought_leadership 
september 2010 by jerryking
Prahalad lives | The Economist | Human Potential | September 15-16, 2010 | New York
Submitted by economist on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 22:22.
Schumpeter's notebook remembers the late C.K. Prahalad, a thought
leader in management and inventor of "core competencies". Prahalad
believed in the centrality of the individual as the backbone of business
strategy. What do you think is a company's biggest resource today?
C.K._Prahalad  thought_leadership  core_competencies  strategy 
august 2010 by jerryking
After 50 years, Journal enters weekend fray
Monday, September 12, 2005 G&M article by SHAWN MCCARTHY.
Adopt to understand how to offer analysis and context. "The key to
success for The Wall Street Journal or any business publication is to
provide context and analysis, to explore trends in the financial world,
and to profile decision makers,""Our whole goal is to be a lighthouse as
opposed to a street light; to show people where things are going and
not where they are."
ahead_of_the_curve  analysis  contextual  HeyMath  mathematics  newspapers  thought_leadership  trends  Waudware  WSJ 
february 2009 by jerryking
Capital C: Why can't Canada get it in gear?
Jennifer Wells interview with Tony Chapman of Capital C.

"I look at Canada and I think, why aren't we doing global brands here? We have a multicultural society, we are one of the earliest adopters of new technologies in the world. We have so many things going for us, but no one's come up with a strategy that says, how do we become a superpower in creativity?"
Capital C has proved a creative power in the advertising world. That unbranded "Wig-out" viral video – the one in which a bride goes nuts over hair unhappiness – was revealed to be the work of Capital C for Sunsilk shampoo. The agency counts Frito Lay Canada among its client base, and Dove among its brands.
"We won the global retail strategy for Dove worldwide two weeks ago," Mr. Chapman says. "The retail footprint for Dove around the world will now be coming out of Capital C. That's the kind of work we need to get."
By "we" he doesn't mean his own shop, but the agency world in Canada.
"Could you imagine if we had, for example, the ability to do predictive modelling against every marketplace in the world?" In other words if Canada sold itself as the world's test market, with the capability of measuring the relative impact of a product in marketplaces from Shanghai to Mumbai to London.
"A big part of the future of creativity is understanding the consumer – how they think, feel and behave," he says.
"I want every agency in Canada and every head office in Canada to have access to the technology and tools to invent, create, test, prototype, validate and implement. … If we're the test market for validating brands, head offices around the world are going to send their best people to Canada."
He envisages university alliances and the development of a student population where the learning is more about entrepreneurship and less about the standard marketing precepts of product, place and promotion.
Tony_Chapman  branding  innovators  Jennifer_Wells  design  national_identity  predictive_modeling  thought_leadership  advertising_agencies  Frito_Lay  Bolthouse_Farms  global_champions  brands  multiculturalism  advertising  creativity  test_marketing  innovation  Capital_C  cultural_creativity  Canada  customer_insights  consumer_research  head_offices 
january 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read