The Coming Death of Self-Publishing
FEBRUARY 14, 2012
It won’t be long before self-publishing as a concept is dead. That’s not to say that the activity of publishing, whether it’s done by an individual, a small loose-knit group, or a corporation, is in decline. In fact, it’s healthier and growing faster than ever. These distinctions were once a reliable measure of quality. But the rise of self-publishing has complicated the equation.
A Look Inside a B2B Editor’s Head
JULY 5, 2012
If you want to understand the state of mind of the typical journalist today, or to dig into the challenges they face in managing their careers, you don’t have to look far—as long as you mean the typical newspaper journalist. Although there is plenty of online debate and discussion of journalistic issues, the mass of it concerns the daily press. Dealing with insufficient staffing and hiring.
Swabbing the Decks of the Titanic: Why You Should Learn Programming
OCTOBER 19, 2011
The Perils of Corporate-Personal Twitter Names
JULY 25, 2011
In a post today on The Wall , Tom Callow addressed the tricky question of ownership of journalists’ Twitter accounts. If employees use a Twitter ID that combines their names with those of their employers’ brands, whose account is it? The issue is more complicated than you might think, and isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. Tweet under a personal name, like @johnbethune.
The Tyranny of Images: Why Instagram and Pinterest Worry Me
APRIL 9, 2012
Today’s news that the mobile photo-sharing platform Instagram has been acquired by Facebook for $1 billion underscores a trend that’s been gnawing at me for the last few months. Mark Zuckerberg clearly understands that images are an increasingly important element in social discourse. guess I fear that the emphasis now being given to the visual is upsetting that balance.
Ariana Owes Me (and Maybe You) Big Bucks
APRIL 13, 2011
Time to pay up. I’ve never written for the Huffington Post , but I’ve given them something worth much more than words: my attention. So I think it’s only fair that Arianna hand over a reasonable chunk of the $315 million that AOL paid for her site. Sure, Jonathan Tasini and all those other cry babies who are suing her wrote a lot of great content for HuffPo. Not much. Not on your life.
What Is the Lifespan of an Error?
MARCH 6, 2012
There has been much coverage lately of a new book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal called The Lifespan of a Fact. It relates the years-long debate between D’Agata, an essayist, and Fingal, a fact checker, about whether artistry and accuracy can cohabit in the same nonfiction essay. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the book itself, as Craig Silverman says , “isn’t, you know, factual.”. But no. Jarvis.
Social Media and Ethics: An Interview with B2B Editor Maureen Alley
MARCH 11, 2011
Maureen Alley: Never tweet what you wouldn't say in person. In preparation for my talk in an ASBPE webinar on ethic s next week, I’ve been speaking with B2B editors about how they use social media. Though it’s true that the trade press in general is decidedly behind the curve in this respect, there are notable exceptions. It’s very fluid. Do you manage a social media account for your magazine?
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My February Challenge: 10 Tweets a Day
FEBRUARY 1, 2012
It’s somewhat sad, I suppose, that my only effective mode of self-improvement is to set arbitrary goals. But it works. Last November, I challenged myself to write a blog post a day. I am happy to say I met my goal. Although I subsequently fell off the wagon in December (8 posts) and January (5 posts), it still feels like a significant achievement. This month, I’m setting my sights on Twitter. I think of myself as an active and enthusiastic user of the platform, but when I actually calculate my daily tweets, the number is unimpressive. visit to How Often Do You Tweet? tweets a day. Perhaps not.
Dialogue vs. Monologue: Six New-Media Principles, No. 1
NOVEMBER 23, 2011
As I wrote in yesterday’s post , over the next six days I will be discussing six new-media principles, adapted from my forthcoming e-book, the New-Media Survival Guide. Today’s principle is based on the importance and power of conversation, reflecting new media’s emphasis on dialogue rather than monologue. We ignore it at our peril. But that’s the challenge.
Digital Drudgery and Second-Stage Shovelware
FEBRUARY 23, 2011
In a post earlier this month, I raised the sensitive question of whether legacy print journalists might be unduly worried about the workload involved in social media. It spurred a substantial number of comments, and even played a small role in that all-too rara avis, a blog post by Paul Conley. He’s right, of course. didn’t put it very well. The problem, he explains, is second-stage shovelware.
Journalism, Professionalism, and the Turing Test
MAY 9, 2012
What’s the way forward for journalists? Doubling down on the traditional ideals of objectivity and impartiality? Embracing the subjective, personality-driven approach of social media? Or is there some uncertain, ill-defined middle way? The problem with traditional news is that traditional journalists are increasingly unnecessary to produce it. You should behave accordingly.”. I don’t disagree.
Editorial Quality Vs. Revenue: A False Dichotomy
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
On its blog earlier this month, the American Society of Business Publication Editors published an anonymous and despairing note from one of its members. In it, the magazine editor described a frustrating planning meeting with his counterparts in advertising sales. Though the editor had done thorough reader research in proposing editorial topics for an upcoming magazine project, the sales staff would have none of it: The topics I suggested would provide the basis for good editorial quality; however, our sales team deemed them too difficult to sell sponsorships. But that’s not fair.
Is the Distinction Between Consumer and B2B Media Still Meaningful?
OCTOBER 21, 2011
Writing this week in Folio: , Matt Kinsman asks “Why Do Consumer Stars So Often Fail to Shine in B-to-B?” It’s no criticism of Kinsman, whose work I admire, that after reading this piece I could only ask in return, “who cares anymore?”. In his article he reflects on the departures of Richard Beckman and Michael Wolff from trade publisher Prometheus Global Media. Their effort to use their consumer publication experience to add luster to business-to-business books like Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter failed, he writes, because “useful trumps sexy.”. Fair enough. Now it seems merely quaint.
Fear and Social Media Don’t Mix
NOVEMBER 19, 2011
MUD day 19: A friend of mine who works for a large nonprofit institution serves on a panel that’s trying to decide what the institution should think and do about social media. Should it encourage its employees and other stakeholders to use social media? Should it restrict what they say and do there? Or should it stay strictly hands off, neither aiding nor impeding social media activities?
Three Tips for Simple but Effective Infographics
MARCH 29, 2011
Angela Alcorn's Advice on Infographics. Last Friday’s post on infographics got much more attention than I expected from an impromptu effort. It’s evidently a topic that resonates with all kinds of content creators, not just journalists. That being the case, it’s not really enough for me to say that infographics are useful and cool and that you need to use them. Three Infographic Tips.
Facebook Subscriptions: Overdrive for Journalists?
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011
Though I understand its appeal, I’ve never found Facebook compelling. What I’ve taken to be its core assumptions—that one’s world is divided into friends and everyone else, and that all your friends are friends in exactly the same way—just don’t work for me. With Facebook’s introduction yesterday of Twitter-like subscriptions , though, that could change. Related posts: Be Yourself.
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Do B2B Editors Get Twitter?
AUGUST 12, 2011
As with other business-to-business content creators these days, there are few trade press editors who don’t have—and at least occasionally use—a Twitter account. The obvious promotional benefits of this social media tool have led most trade publishers to insist, rightly, that their editors use it. But how many use Twitter not just for promotion, but for its most valuable benefit, social engagement? There’s no authoritative answer that I know of. But my own unscientific survey suggests that the number of editors who really get Twitter is small indeed. found seven who met this standard. Editor.
Why Publishers Need Early Adopters, Annoying or Not
JULY 15, 2011
Yesterday, B2B editor and blogger Maureen Alley wrote a provocative post declaring that early adopters are annoying. I’m not sure she means it. Alley herself, after all, stands out among young B2B journalists for being well ahead of her peers in adopting the tools and ethos of social media. If anything, the B2B industry needs to encourage early adopters, not bemoan them. Trade publishing has declined for plenty of other reasons as well, but resistance to new technologies and modes of communication has been a critical factor. But few publishers need to be warned against that.
Infographic skills: No longer optional for journalists
MARCH 25, 2011
First, a confession: My first reason for writing this post is so I can embed a really cool infographic about Google on my blog. But the fact that I want to do it reflects the power and beauty of infographics. good infographic combines the visual splendor of print with the accessibility and engagement of the Web. It encourages your readers to dwell on data they would otherwise skim over.
A Lesson from the Digital Productivity Terrorists
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
Doctorow: Productivity Terrorist? Some time ago I came across this comment from BoingBoing blogger Cory Doctorow that inspires both shock and awe: “As a co-parenting new father who writes at least a book per year, half-a-dozen columns a month, ten or more blog posts a day, plus assorted novellas and stories and speeches, I know just how short time can be and how dangerous distraction is.” Maybe so.
8 Ways to Create More Effective Lead Generation Programs
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30 Lessons from 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days
NOVEMBER 30, 2011
Twenty-nine days ago, I set out to write a post a day for this blog. Somehow, despite a couple of late nights, I managed to achieve my goal. Though no one’s going to hand me a blogger’s version of their badge, I feel something akin to the mixture of pride and relief all those successful NaNoWriMo writers must be experiencing today. My less-than-helpful blogging companion. think so. Share the links!
“Content Is Power”: Q & A with Mark W. Schaefer
NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Mark W. Schaefer. couple of years ago when I started B2B Memes it was my plan to focus exclusively on trade publishing. But as I looked around the blogosphere/Twitterverse, it didn’t take long to realize that the most enthusiastic and informed discussions about B2B communications involved not publishing, but marketing. For me, a journalist, this came as a jolt. Use your head. love that!
The Future of Content Is Not Destination but Identity
NOVEMBER 8, 2011
MUD day 8: There’s been a lot of excitement in the past week about the new Web publication The Verge. Founded by Joshua Topolsky and several other former Engadget staff, it’s been praised for its dynamic design and for features like StoryStream, which aggregates the site’s content into timelines. But But if it succeeds, will it be due to great design, or inherently great stories?
Should You Edit Guest Posts? 5 Tips for Better Copy
JUNE 7, 2011
There’s wide agreement in the blogging world about the benefits of guest posts, both for the guest blogger and the blog owner. There seems to be less consensus, however, about the logical next question: If you use guest posts, should you edit them? In a way, I’m asking a trick question. As I explain below, the moment you accept an article, you’ve already started to edit it. Not to finish the job would do a disservice both to your guest blogger and to yourself. The real question, then, is just how much editing you should do. Give fair warning. The last thing you want is an unhappy guest blogger.
Ethics Must Come from the Heart As Well As the Head
NOVEMBER 11, 2011
MUD day 11: For anyone interested in the ethics of new-media journalism, the past 24 hours have been painfully instructive. For me, it’s been a reminder that in any ethical decision, you have to be guided by your heart as well as your head. The episode began when, in response to an inquiry by a Columbia Journalism Review reporter, the Poynter Institute’s director of publications, Julie Moos, wrote a blog post criticizing Poynter’s celebrated columnist Jim Romenesko. According to Moos, Romenesko had a years-long habit of insufficiently attributing quoted comments.
Curation: Add Value and Pass It Along
JUNE 18, 2012
Among all the topics that seem to rile journalists and publishers these days, perhaps the most contentious is curation. Is summarizing and linking to another person’s article an honorable act or a form of theft? How can you distinguish between good curation and bad curation? Let me begin to answer those questions by summarizing and linking to Rex Hammock’s post last week on this very issue. The act of finding great content and linking to it, he says, is a fine idea. Though he dislikes the term curation , he approves of the activity as it was originally practiced.
Should You Publish? A Tale of Two Melvilles
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
Not Herman. Is what you write worth publishing? Once upon a time, that wasn’t your choice to make. It used to be that the threshold to publication was as high as the transom. The only way most people could hope to cross it and break into print was through an unlikely toss over a publisher’s front door. Even though the power to publish is entirely in your hands, you may not do it.
Three Stock Photography Pitfalls to Avoid
APRIL 27, 2011
I’ve written recently about the need to use meaningful visuals to accompany your text. In passing, I mentioned the downsides of that frequent last resort, stock photography, but left it to an article by Heather Rubesch , elsewhere on the web, to provide details. Stock photo: Here be a dragon. Some vegans have been deeply offended by this practice. Probably not. When the U.S. The mind reels.
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Is Rex Hammock the Groucho Marx of New Media?
MARCH 26, 2012
In his autobiography, The Last Laugh , S. J. Perelman recalls that his first book included the following blurb from Groucho Marx: “From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.”. Perelman doesn’t say how he felt about it, but given his admiration of the Marx Brothers, he was surely delighted. feel the same way about Rex Hammock’s blog post last week declaring my book, the New-Media Survival Guide , to be “awesome and a must read.” Not at all. It’s classic Rex: funny, generous, and honest.
It’s Time to Embrace Editorial as a Profit Center
JUNE 13, 2011
Early this week, Steve Yelvington made a comment on Twitter that reminded me of something I’ve been mulling over for some time. Our newsrooms (or whatever we choose to call them) should be engines of success,” he said , “not cost centers.”. He’s right, but I prefer stronger phrasing. If the people who hold the pursestrings are to pay attention, we need to call editorial what it is: a profit center. As any editor who’s somehow crept into the upper echelons of B2B publication management will know, the language of accounting and spreadsheets rules most boardroom discussions.
Writing for the Web: The Human Algorithm and Zero-Sum SEO
MAY 31, 2012
Do you write for the Penguin, or the human? sometimes fear that search-engine optimization (SEO) is the only aspect of new media that people have really cottoned to. Not that they’ve understood it, necessarily, but that they feel it is both justified and essential. It is something they simply accept. But for any content creator, SEO (as most people practice it, at least) is the kiss of death.
Time to Surf the Wave of the Personal Brand
JULY 22, 2013
Politico’s version of the negotiations describes how NYT executive editor Jill Abramson and Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt fought hard to keep Silver at the paper because they saw his “brand within a brand as a wave of the future,”. For the moment at least, editorial personal brands are growing more powerful primarily—or most obviously—in big media. link]. Time is running out.
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