Blogging gone bad!

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There is an ad currently running on Irish Radio, that completely encompasses my blog this morning. It starts with a man giving a tedious Power Point presentation, in a droney voice which is then replaced by a more interesting way of getting the same message across.

Why oh why do so many people have to write their blogs in either a moany/droney or preachy way?

Why don’t they just say what they mean and stop talking down to us?

The Blog in question shall remain nameless, needless to say, I have unfollowed them, so I have made my lack of interest known in that way, but they are not alone.

There are quite a few really interesting Horse Blogs out there, @pollson is the best for rider tips! There are even, though I know some of you won’t believe it,  quite a few erudite, and amusing Techie blogs out there!

I love to read blogs that give me an insight into the reader. I love to read blogs about individuals and their trials and tribulations with their horses/writing/children/computers. They are usually the voices of individuals, and I like meeting new people.

I do have my limits though. If you are going to write a post on increasing your blog attractiveness, or how to improve “feel” when riding, DO NOT make it tedious, unimaginative, boring and inaccessible

If I have to read the same post, over and over and over again, and you’re not saying anything new ….please don’t say anything at all!

 

 

New Year, New Site?

I have already had queries from people to update or spring clean their existing sites for 2012!

Great news for me but I have had to look at why.

Why do the majority of businesses I talk to feel their site is not meeting expectations? Are they too high? Unrealistic? Or did they ever meet the criteria that all sites must have… to Sell the Product or Service?

Businesses do not spend their web budget with the idea of “Having a Web Presence” they need their marketing to actually produce results!

So if you are looking at a site that looks tired and dreary, ask yourself one question…what return do I get from this.

If the answer is I don’t know, then it is time to rethink your expectations and be realistic about the message you want to get across, and to examine how you are going to do it.

Perhaps you have a new market, or your business has diversified and the target audience needs to be rethought.

Perhaps the message needs revitalising for the year ahead.

Either way, if you are not getting the return you envisage it’s time to talk to your designer about realistic plans for the new year.

 

If the answer is none then it’s time to get a new site immediately!

Goodwill Hunting – Social media reality for Business.

Once upon a time, Goodwill would have appeared on your Balance sheets, as a financial reflection of your good standing amongst your customers. It was what was known as an Intangible Asset.

And so endeth the lesson for today on archaic accounting practices.

However should Goodwill be something we are willing to write off so quickly? Does it still hold a valuable position in today’s business world? If so how does Social Media use affect it?

Sometimes something niggles at the back of your mind, and keeps going until you can’t ignore it any more. It’s the proverbial itch waiting to be scratched.

It often is prompted by hearing something that resonates with you and then recedes to the dark spaces of the brain.

Sometime later you receive another little prompt, and if you ignore that you can be guaranteed a full onslaught of related material until you take out the original idea and reexamine the now fully formed notion.

So it was with this post.

A little while ago at dotconf, I listened to Sabrina Dent give an inspired talk about  “Bronies“. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it relates to a whole new world of My little Pony Fans….yes you did read that correctly, who are young? men between the ages of 15 and 55 who love the newly relaunched My little Pony cartoon series released originally for 5-8 year old girls. The “bros” who love Ponies became Bronies,  (God forbid that gets into the OED), and they showed us how fans can elevate a brand above and beyond company expectations.

Anyway, the core of the presentation was on the relationship Brands have with their online community, and how this relationship could be used for good (read Mattel embracing the Bronies) or for ill (See Nestle’s online relationship with Greenpeace).

I loved it because it was exactly how I was advising my customers to behave. To respond in an inclusive way to all reasonable online mentions, and try to maximise the Goodwill existing for your Brand.

A few weeks later I got a little reminder from Ashton Kucher via my twitter stream. One of the most vocal, and possibly the most followed person on twitter (7,587,379 at last count); he had a full on slanging match with the Village Voice in New York. The Village Voice did not come out smelling of roses.

In the last week, I came across two more noteworthy pieces. Both of which caused little sparks in my brain as the synapses crackled. (I couldn’t yet put together all the elements, as is often the case when information is bombarded at us.)

First was an amazingly accurate piece from Ben Hammersly that should stop any business in it’s tracks.

He outlined how quickly technology changes, and how quickly we need to get to grips with this!

His assertion that

” a two term Prime Minister today would end his term of office with an iPhone 64 times as powerful as the one he won the election with. (Or the same thing, but 1/64th of the price.) His policies, therefore, need to written with that future in mind, not the present.

made me realise that here was someone who really gets it. But what was the “it”? The notion still eluded me.

The final piece of the jigsaw presented itself this morning with a podcast from the lovely people atFor Immediate Release. It was an interview with Jeremiah Owyang on Social Business Readiness. Who spoke of crises as something a business is unprepared for. I scratched the itch!

Put together, all of these lead me to the same conclusion.

Now more than ever, small to medium enterprises are relying on word of mouth for business. This need for “Goodwill” amongst our consumers is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only do we rely on Goodwill, but Negative Goodwill, or in common parlance, “a bad review” can really make a difference to our business.

We think we have embraced the internet, with lots of companies and brands starting Facebook pages and Twitter streams. But at the heart of that fallacy lies the crux of my notion.

That we as businesses have been unprepared for the use of Social media.

That we are in crisis.

That we really need to get a grip on what kind of message we are putting out.

That we really want our followers to be like the Bronies, and not spamming our Social Media streams with endless abuse….

The internet has made your own specialised Global Market a very small, and immediately accessible place. It gives your audience a chance to really interact with you. It also allows your audience to tell it how they see it , whether you like it or not.

Social Media hands you the opportunity to be a big fish in your own particular pond, if handled properly,  in a  way that reflects not just you, but everything you and your company stand for in a positive light…your ethos. Handled badly it can expose you as at best inept, at worst … (Again see Nestle)

Nonengagement will not excuse you from poor performance. (People will talk about you even if you’re not there!)

How are we dealing with Social Media? Is our message courting goodwill or bad reviews?

Are you aware of how you are percieved by your online community? What are you doing to make sure that you are breeding Bronies?

Social Media is a marketing tool, in the same way that a scalpel is a surgical tool. Yes I can use it to cut up bits of card for the kids’ school project, but a surgeon uses it in an entirely different way. To realise it’s true potential it needs to be wielded by someone who knows what they are doing.

People are  aware of the real value of their data as they allow it to be used for various marketing ploys, don’t be mistaken here. We do know what we’re doing when we give our information to Tesco, or iTunes etc., even if we don’t want to think too much about it.

Why are we so surprised when our audience question the true value of what we put out on Social Media.

 

Friday’s Dressage updates!!

Wow, the action really hotted up today, with lots more visitors there today to catch the second part of the Dressage.

Zara Philips took the lead today in the  CIC*** class on Lord Lauries, some 4 points ahead of Ireland’s Patricia Ryan from Bandon, Co Cork on Ballylynch Wizard, leaving Lucy Wiegersma on Shaabrak in third position followed by Oliver Townend in fourth and fifth on Pepper Anne and Jeepers Creepers. The CIC*** class do their cross country and show jumping on Sunday.

The main cross country action will take place tomorrow, Saturday, for all the other classes.

The Dunboyne Castle Pony class will be on course at 8.30 am, followed by the Tattersalls Ireland Autumn Festival of Eventing Junior class and the Rookery Park Stud CCI*.

The Irish Field CCI*** competitors tackle Ian Stark’s new cross country course at about 1.45pm followed by the Eventing Ireland Under25 class and finishing with the Rookery Park Stud CCI**.

After today’s dressage phase Louisa Lockwood and The Leopard have a narrow lead over William Fox-Pitt on Lady Voltaire in the CCI* class with Aaron Millar on Captain Hook in third. Co Down’s Suzanne Jordan is highest of the Irish in sixth place in this very competitive class on Da Capo Two.

The Under 25 class is led by New Zealander Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino with British riders filling the next 6 places with Angus Smales on Clover Hero in second place and Angus Humfrey in third. Kildare based James Clegg on Kincluny is highest of the Irish in eighth position.

Kerry based Katie Moffat leads the Junior class on Pick and Mix II ahead of GB’s David Doel on Kings Cross in second and Koyuna Sun Magic in third.

The family focussed fun of the Country Fair will be in full swing tomorrow with activities for all interests and ages, from bucking broncos and horse shoe throwing  to archery and rifle range, a Punch and Judy Show and merry-go-round as well as dog show and pony rides adding to the atmosphere.

 

First Day of Dressage.

Although very windy here today, there were occasions when the sun shone, with afternoon tests from Oliver Townend, Andrew Nicholson and Lucy Wiegersma.

In the CCI* the lead is changing every few tests, unfortunately some are being performed in the rain, others in the sunshine, so the results will reflect this.

All horses behaved incredibly well given the high winds, although Lucy Wiegersma almost got blown away on the center line during her test on Simon Porloe.
At the moment, William Fox-Pitt is leading the CCI*** on 41.2, and am glad to say that Sam Watson is in 2nd place in the CCI* on Lukeswell.
Will keep everything up to date via twitter feed over the weekend, but if you want the latest results, they are available at Tattersalls Results

Tattersalls kicks off!

Competitors for the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair in association with Horse Sport Ireland gathered yesterday for the first inspection of horses at the magnificent facilities of the Tattersalls complex in Co Meath. Three horses were withdrawn at this stage of the competition, two in the CIC*** class, Sea Cookie from GB ridden by William Fox-Pitt and Out of the Red from Ireland ridden by Jo Andrews, as well as a Junior competitor Criminal Class ridden by Sadhbh McGrath. There was also disappointment for Katie O’Sullivan and Shannondale Que who were unable to be at the inspection and therefore not able to compete. The dressage phase of the competition starts Today at 9am and continues through Friday before the cross country phase on Saturday, followed by the final show jumping phase on Sunday. At this stage everything is to play for as competitors make their final preparations for the exciting competition ahead. For information and tickets see www.tattersalls.ie

Weekend Beckons…

Finally, the kids are off school, I’m finished my working week and the weekend stretches ahead. Looking forward to getting out to a couple of shows, and lots of design work without the phone ringing. Might even get over to the yard to check out how the Youngster is behaving himself. Mary-Lou at the stables@swainstown has assured me he’s not pushing his luck too far.