Category Archives: Thoughts

Learning the Lesson

Here in Boise, Idaho, the news came out this week that Mortimer’s, a fine-dining restaurant in downtown Boise, will be closing on June 21st.  That, in and of itself, is not really news – restaurants open and close all the time.

What sets this news apart is the reason that they’re closing.

The media has been quick to note that the reason that Mortimer’s is closing after eight years is because of a bad review in The Idaho Statesman.  But that’s not really the case, and the folks from Mortimer’s will be the first to say that.

The reason they’re closing, in their own words, is because “Last month Jon received the worst review of his career by The Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic Guy Hand.  The review made it obvious that Jon is spread too thin and needs to concentrate on one restaurant.  Although we were devastated by the review we both agreed with most of the criticism and decided neither of us could commit the time needed to make Mortimer’s what it should be.”

The review in question made note of several inconsistencies in recent visits to the restaurant, mainly those centered around the preparation of the dishes.  The comments that have followed, both on the original review, and the news of the closing, seem to echo similar sentiments — namely that the food is not prepared consistently, the service was below expectation, or other areas of dissatisfaction.

My point here is not to belabor the details about why the restaurant is closing, but rather to use this example to point out some very critical points that are essential to the success of any business.

Whether you’re in the restaurant, retail, service or any other business, the smallest details can make the difference between a bad experience, a good experience or a great experience.  Losing sight of that fact, and failing to focus on those details, can, and has been, the downfall of many a company – definitely not something that is unique to the restaurant industry.

The moral of the story?  In business, as in life, you can either learn from the lesson or you can be the next lesson.  Put another way, you can either set the example or be the example.  Which would you prefer?

Content is King. But She holds the keys.

No doubt you’ve heard the maxim “Content is King.”  This holds true today just as much as it ever has.

Using that same analogy, let’s look at it another way.  Content is King, yes, but Search is Queen.  And, as is the case more often than any man ever wants to admit, it is the woman in the relationship that holds the power – be it time, money, access, you name it.  If you want to get to the King, you have to go through the Queen.

Continue reading Content is King. But She holds the keys.

Content. Community. Action.

ContentCommunityAction.  In that order.

Those three words may not seem like much, but they are the key ingredients to any new media, social marketing, or other web 2.0 activity.

Here’s what I mean:

It’s been said over and over (and over and over): Content is king.  Always has been, always will be.  But that’s nothing new.  When you look at it in terms of any new media activity, however, it puts a whole new spin on things.

Content is the foundation for everything else that you do in the new media space.  Thinking about starting a blog or a podcast?  The first step is to have a grasp on what you’d like to talk about.  This can be either original content or collected content (or a combination of both).  However you come about it, the content absolutely must be there.  Otherwise, the rest is wasted effort.

But good content cannot exist in a bubble.  That’s where community comes in.

Whether you call it a community, an audience, friends, fans or followers, the second piece of the puzzle is to build a community around that content.  This could be the audience that subscribes to your podcast or blog.  The friends and fans that interact on your Facebook group or discussion board.  Those who are following your updates on Twitter.

That community, however it happens to take shape, has an interest in your content.  How, here’s where things get turned upside down.

It’s not about you and your content.  It’s about them.  The community.

The community has expressed an interest in your content.  They’ve volunteered information about themselves and their interests.  They’ve taken the first step in establishing a relationship with you and your content.  But, like any good relationship, it requires action from both sides.  You, in turn, have an obligation to the community to continue providing that content that the community is interested in.  Think of it this way: Mass marketing is a numbers game – a game of reach and frequency.  The goal is to reach as many people as possible, as often as possible, in hopes that your message will resonate with a percentage of that audience who is interested in the message.  Looking at the situation from a new media standpoint, the “interested audience” steps forward and identifies themselves from the get-go.  Instead of talking to 10,000 to try and reach 100, those same 100 can come forward on their own accord and say, “Hi, I’m interested. I want to know more.”

Now, here’s another consideration.  In virtually all cases, your community doesn’t need the content that you’re providing.  They want the content that you’re providing.  Your responsibility, then, is making sure that the community gets more of what it wants.

Again, the key idea to keep in mind is that a community must be built around the content, and from a relationship point of view, it’s all about the community and continuing to meet their wants.

Once the foundation has been laid with the content, and the community has been established, then – and only then – can you take some sort of action.  Try to take action without first establishing a community and your efforts will be wasted.  Try to take action without good, quality content and the community will see that there’s no value in the content, therefore the content doesn’t meet their wants, and your efforts will be wasted.

However, with good content and an active, receptive community, you have the ability to take any number of measurable actions.  This could be asking something specific of the audience, such as providing feedback or completing a survey.  It could be an offer or incentive available exclusively to your community.  From a business standpoint, this is the key to success in the new media world.

Now, there are those who might think that I’ve simplified this concept entirely too much, and they could be right.  In the abstract world that is new media and web 2.0, I tend to believe that the simple explanation is usually the best, not to mention the easiest to understand.

Questions? Comments? Please, feel free to let me know.