Archive for the ‘Webpreneur’ Category
My cute video shoot that I created and edited. Check it out and consider me to make your next video so you too can be a star!
Video produced, shot and edited by Keri Singer
Content, Content Everywhere, But Who Really Cares?
Do you ever feel that everyone is trying to get in the last word? We are living in a world that content flows from everywhere. Whether it’s your Facebook update, Twitter feed, blogs, or just texting to a friend or business professional. Look at me, read me, help me drive traffic to my website - CONTENT IS KING! Yet, there is a difference between content that spits out words vs. content that educates, elicits emotions, creates awareness and a community of followers to generate something truly engaging for the audience. There is something to be said about the ability for one to string words along as a chorus that creates a memorable melody. This type of content may just be a few words on a page or a couple paragraphs. Not everyone has the skills or the desire to create it, but only a select few have a special talent.
Everything takes time, dedication and creative inspiration before one can put the words on a page.
Madonna said it best in her song Express Yourself, and now everyone is craving regular content production in hopes a community will take notice and gravitate to their business. The search-engines love it too!
One can be recognized for their content and provide useful information to others. It’s about being a thought leader, standing up for your beliefs, offering value, or adding a new perspective to the ways in which we live our lives, as well as conduct business. Perhaps, it’s recounting an incident, or sharing an entertaining story that makes one feel good about his or herself. Be authentic in your approach when offering advice because the audience can see through someone’s dishonesty, disguise, as well as knowledge on a certain subject matter.
Are you at a loss for words? There are plenty of places to get inspired to start. Go to Google and start typing in keywords where an entire string of information will start to appear before your eyes with instant results. Also, try the Google Insights tool to gauge better what people are searching for across different categories, regions and more on the web. Watch current events and newsworthy stories that are creating buzz in the community, or could stir a bit of controversy with a new approach to a common issue. Review what others are writing and read what people are saying. It’s as important to express your thoughts, but more importantly to listen to others and take those insights to develop more compelling content. Still searching for the right thing to say or how to say it?
Content Rules, a book by Ann Handley (MarketingProfs.com editorial director and acquaintance of mine) and CC Chapman, wrote about some ways to get started to generate content for a variety of different channels. Take some of these recommendations from the book, as well as some best practices from myself to write your next blog post, or add content to your website:
- Set up interviews at an event and create written transcript, or video to be showcased online
- Write about your passion
- Do a how-to session to teach others your expertise
- Put a face behind your company with behind-the-scenes footage of your crew
- Make sure to design your blog in an easy-to-navigate and search-friendly manner to find articles archived
- Moderate your comments regularly and respond
- Write catchy headlines and use alliterations or words that rhyme together to catch one’s attention
- Provide a way for the audience to contact you and entice people to generate their own content, or respond to your questions.
Hessan Made It Happen
It amazes me time and time again when you hear the stories of entrepreneurs and how much they didn’t know, didn’t have, but figured it out along the way because of their passion and belief in a business. “I had no idea how to raise VC money,” but it was imperative for Diane to seek assistance during the early stage of her venture and she raised over $10 million in her first round.
For Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace, she envisioned one day to have her own business. However, she didn’t quite know what that outcome would become, but she made it happen. Recipient of the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year award and her company recognized as One of The Best Places To Work, Diane Hessen knows a bit about using her physical energy to bring to life a true professional and a great mom to her daughters. As Mariah Carey sang, “If you believe in yourself enough, and know what you want, you’re gonna make it happen.” Diane’s making it happen for her and many others in her life.
Diane knew her company would be filled with talented people, where she visualized the office, as well as the culture she hoped to one day cultivate. “I knew that I could always get a job in big company that wasn’t my biggest fear, but rather not getting something off the ground and achieving my dream.”
I know life can be so tough,
And you feel like giving up.
But you must be strong.
Baby hold on.
Her dream team came true building Communispace. Yet, her initial product strategy wasn’t what made it a success. At first, the design of the software was built around an opportunity for members of a company to create profiles to communicate their business needs, questions and concerns to other employees. For example, a community for retail managers was designed for the ability to share their collective knowledge for the benefit of others to apply best practices throughout the stores. Yet, it was a slow adoption process for Diane’s first three clients. Competition from IBM, Microsoft and others was fierce. Also, very few people were participating in the community she built, so they decided next to incorporate facilitators that initiated questions in hopes to encourage the employees to participate. Still few people used the community platform that she dreamed of becoming a useful internal resource at companies. At one point, Hallmark requested, “why don’t we find real customers and have them answer our questions?” Ultimately, this changed the premise of the business and opened the door to new opportunities for Communispace to reach a wider audience of customers and became the catalyst of success for her business today.
A New Model For Success
A new business model and concept was born for Communispace. At that moment, Diane contacted all the mom’s she knew, as well as Hallmark reached out via email through their customer service department to elect real consumers to contribute to the discussions around the product, stores, and provided advice on better service. The magic finally came together and numerous members joined the conversations that provided Hallmark suggestions. Rather than creating focus groups, or surveys that were a sample of a small segment over a short period of time, Communispace created a constant connection and communication with the audience to determine how to make improvements. Today, the company is now providing comprehensive reports that are a quick resource for executives to gauge the audience preferences, decisions, and interests, in order to make decisions for their businesses.
I held on to my faith,
I struggled and I prayed,
And now I’ve finally found my way.
At the end of the day what makes her most proud, “It’s about building something with amazing people who offer different skills and each having a meaningful purpose in their life with passion.” She hopes that 100 more CEO’s come out of Communispace through the life lessons learned, challenges, and advancements made throughout the business ups and downs.
If you believe, within your soul,
Just hold on tight,
And don’t let go.
You can make it happen…make it happen.
Stay Positive, Focused, and You Can Also Make It Happen
If anyone doubts your abilities, rejects you, or believes it’s impossible to make your business dream a reality, you can and will make it happen! One day all those people who said no to you, slammed the door in your face, or told you thanks, but no thanks could later have second thoughts. It’s always best to be professional in these encounters and continue to develop your network. Those struggles along the way we encounter, those tests of your character and strength will eventually help you to become stronger to win the bigger battles to make it to the top. As Diane said, “For all those people who said no, it’s a possibly one day they will regret it,” having experienced it for herself. Today, she’s proud to be a role model for entrepreneurs, as well as on the board of numerous companies to create new places and spaces for many people who enrich the community.
Lyrics in this post by Mariah Carey, Make It Happen © 1991