Archive for December, 2010

My NY Times Electronic Edition: Ending a Moral Dilemma

Posted on December 31, 2010. Filed under: Content, Jazz, Media, Newspapers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? While you read my last post of the year, enjoy saxophonist Houston Person and friends asking that question in their swingin’, jazzy way.

In addition to writing one last post, I decided to end 2010 by finally changing my New York Times paper subscription to the Electronic Edition – a day ahead of the Times’ new pay policy for online-only readers. I’ve been working my way to this moment gradually.Paper Boy by leslieblissphoto CC

A while back I downsized from daily to the ‘Weekender’ subscription. Most of my papers were going into the recycling bin unopened. I had lost the luxury of time to sit and read the paper leisurely over coffee and instead began grabbing the Times news headlines and my favorite features online.

Even with the weekend-only change, I still ended up tossing out most of my papers unread and decided to go to the online only subscription. Now it’s interesting to know that the Times will allow us to change our home delivery subscriptions online. But if you want to ditch paper in favor of bytes, it’s not so easy. It requires a phone call. And voice mail hell offers every option but switching to an online-only subscription.

When I finally got a ‘customer service’ rep on the line, she practically begged me not to go all-electronic but to just try a Sunday-only home delivery subscription and she would give me a special promotional price to keep receiving the print paper. I would continue to get full online access as a print subscriber for free. The promotional price and the almost desperate appeal got me to relent and, until now, I’ve been receiving the Sunday paper. Same thing. It still often goes unopened, while I read the Times daily on my computer or smart phone.

I am happy to pay for the New York Times’ content in whatever format. It’s worth it. It costs a lot of money to hire the best reporters, editors and columnists, build an online future and whatever else is required to keep high quality news coverage coming. We shouldn’t expect it for free.

As I struggled with the waste of paper that my subscription continued to represent, I also thought about the guy who delivers it daily and the fact that I’m contributing to his having a job. Same with the paper mill workers and the printing plant employees. We have to reckon with the fact that the gains of evolving technologically into the future usually mean losses for older platforms.

That said, I decided to make a statement about the importance to me of my ‘newspaper of record’ by standing up and saying, “Of course I’ll pay for this; even before I have to.” So I braved the Times’ subscription phone lines once again to switch to the Electronic Edition. Once again the rep tried to sell me on another Sunday-only promotional price to keep me getting the paper.

“Why?” I asked. “My current subscription costs me $4.90 a week and the online subscription will be $20 a month. So you’re not losing any revenue on my switch – and, in fact, The Times is gaining margin. And, while we’re talking, why can’t I make this switch to online – online?”

The answer to the latter question is that it’s to be sure that it’s really me requesting the change. Given the process I had to go through to switch – it also appears that there are two separate subscription systems for print and online readers. Not very tech-forward.

“But,” I asked further, “If the reason I have to do this on the phone is security, and you’re not losing me as a customer, nor are you losing revenue, why the big push to keep me as a print customer.”

Her answer was bemusing: “Lots of people are switching to the Electronic Edition, and we’re trying to keep the paper in circulation.”

As far as I can tell, whether its content is in digital or print format, the Times remains in circulation. In fact, digital has the potential to circulate the stories far beyond a print run. Maybe the paper needs to make a further conceptual shift that what it has of value to sell is content, regardless of the delivery system.

The evolution of media is a fascinating topic to me. It would be great to hear more from someone at The Times about what its online transition strategy involves. In my effort to go paperless, I felt somewhat manipulated and I’d really like to know why the Times thinks that’s necessary.

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Letting it go: Accepting that we only control so much

Posted on December 23, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Communications, Content, ecommerce, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

snOMG - Blizzard of 2010 - Baltimore, MDTo accompany a holiday-time post about accepting what’s out of our control in order to live productively, enjoy listening to jazz pianist Oscar Peterson’s take on ‘Let it Snow!’. Vibes player Dave Samuels gives it a tropical feel. Heading south anyone?

One year ago I was looking forward to 2010. The end of 2008 and most of 2009 had been really tough in the crisis economy. I had taken the enforced ‘downtime’ to change direction, learn, re-think my business and career, work out frequently and get very fit. In effect, I worked on controlling what I could control.

Come January 2010, I hit the ground running with new collaborators, a new set of ideas and tools to offer clients — and optimism. 2010 turned out to be a year of accomplishment.

Fortunately, the economy improved enough that some other hearty souls decided to launch a new business or expand one. Some of these fellow optimists became clients.

I’ve worked steadily all year helping these clients build their Web presence through inbound marketing. For most, we’ve started by creating or re-doing a website so that it can support interactive functions. You have to walk before you can run.

Out with the old. In with the new.

As we’re about to ring out 2010 and welcome 2011, I have to – once again — admit shock that it’s flown by so fast. Come January 2011, I’m going to hit the ground jogging. I’m assessing how to take my own business and my clients’ to the next level. With great foundations in place, we’ll all be very busy.

I’m writing goals for me and my clients. We’re in a technological world that keeps evolving faster and faster. No one has all the answers. This year I feel inclined to take it a bit slower.

Adrenaline was helpful. In a way it’s more difficult this year when much is already in place. But I’m even more optimistic. My vision of what I can control is different but it’s becoming clear.

I’m assessing the foundations built in 2010 and what they will support in the coming year.

I’m hoping that you’re also thinking about you and your business about now: How to give up what’s in the environment that you can’t control and keep moving ahead. What are you planning for 2011?

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It’s Awesome When Your Content Connects!

Posted on December 5, 2010. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

This post is dedicated to the thousands of bloggers around the globe who read my last post when it was featured on the WordPress homepage showcase, ‘Freshly Pressed’. First of all, it was amazing to have one of my posts selected from almost half a million posted that day. Second of all, the response was humbling and heart warming. A special thanks to those who commented or hit the ‘Like’ button to share it and welcome to those of you who subscribed.

Although our blogs provide a doorway to the entire world, when people comment on a post it reminds me how much a one-to-one connection it is. So today’s musical post is “Just You, Just Me”, played on several overdubbed tracks by one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Bill Evans. Bloggers, it’s from an album ironically titled, “Conversations with Myself” — how our writing often feels.

For businesses, I believe in blogging as a way to share one’s expertise and create thought leadership. Because of its search-ability online, the content we create helps people who are looking for not only our products and services, but also our knowledge and experience, to find us. The knack is to share that info in an authentic and human way that connects.

At the moment we hit the keyboard, it’s hard to know whether what we write will resonate. We can write with our “Buyer Personae” in mind as David Meerman Scott explains in his book, “World Wide Rave”. But when we launch our content into cyber space, we can only hope it reaches its intended destination. Connect With content

The gift of the Internet is that when we connect, it lets us know! Whether it’s your WordPress blog stats, Google Analytics, Hubspot analytics or any of the robust tools out there, the value of our efforts is knowable.

When I wrote the post “10 Reasons Why I ‘Heart’ My Blog,” I didn’t say to myself, “OK, I’m going to sit down now and write some remarkable content.” I was thinking about people I speak to who are not convinced that they can or should blog. In my head I was talking to them and at the same time reminding myself that I want to dedicate more effort to my own blog.

What happened was a post that ended up connecting in a far bigger way than I ever intended. There have been other posts I’ve written that I thought shared meatier information. No one could have been more surprised than I was to receive a flood of response to this post that I wrote on a whim when I had a spare hour to think about blogging as an enjoyable path to success for my clients and myself.

The result reinforced for me in a very personal way that what I’m advocating for others works! When your content really connects it is the most awesome thing!!

Please share some of your stories about how your content has connected.

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10 Reasons Why I “Heart” My Blog

Posted on December 2, 2010. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I do love my blog! I’m happy it’s there when inspiration strikes. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the many benefits it provides to me personally and to my business. Clients and prospects often ask me if they HAVE to have a blog. Well no one has to. But I thought I’d share a few reasons why they may want to. I look forward to hearing why you love your blog!

To reflect how I’ve come to feel about blogging, here’s the beautiful song, “Love and Passion” sung by its composer Milton Nascimento (also heard a few posts ago) in duet with the wonderful Sarah Vaughan from her album “Brazilian Romance”. Please enjoy listening!

I love my blog because:

It’s a creative outlet. For someone whose career is based on providing creativity for others, it’s strangely pleasurable to be creative on my own behalf.

It’s a chance to get ideas out of my head and into the air where others can help either confirm or deny their validity.

It’s a place to share my passions for language, marketing and music.

It helps me educate my clients and prospects so that they can better understand how what I provide can benefit them.

It’s an opportunity to reveal a more playful side of myself than in a traditional business setting.

It does wonders for my SERP visibility. For some search terms my blog helps me dominate page one, two and three results!

It helps me think about past experiences – business and personal — and put them to work in a present or future context.

It brings people into my life who I might never have met otherwise.

It imposes a certain discipline on my own marketing.

It constantly surprises me and makes me smile!!

At the risk of this sounding like a premature New Year’s resolution, think I’ll give my blog even more love in the coming year.

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