Satisfying Knowledge Worker Values

Bribing the knowledge workers on whom these industries [of the Information Revolution] depend will therefore simply not work. The key knowledge workers in these businesses will surely continue to expect to share financially in the fruits of their labor. But the financial fruits are likely to take much longer to ripen, if they ripen at all. And then, probably within ten years or so, running a business with (short-term) "shareholder value" as its first—if not its only—goal and justification will have become counterproductive. Increasingly, performance in these new knowledge-based industries will come to depend on running the institution so as to attract, hold, and motivate knowledge workers. When this can no longer be done by satisfying knowledge workers' greed, as we are now trying to do, it will have to be done by satisfying their values, and by giving them social recognition and social power. It will have to be done by turning them from subordinates into fellow executives, and from employees, however well paid, into partners.
This was written in 1999 by Peter Drucker (Beyond the Information Revolution). We still have long way to go...

What's the real issue with Information Overload?

What's the real problem underlying information overload? Nathan Zeldes has been finding answers to this question for years. Recently he wrote a must-read post on the answers he found. There are all kinds of reasons we keep on using email in an unproductive way. But the underlying issue, according to Zeldes, is mistrust. To solve the information overload problem within organizations we need to address this "dark side" of overload. If we don't we'll never structurally solve the problem. Address this dark side and change the underlying culture, Zeldes advises.

I agree this is a way to fundamentally root out mistrust. But what if this is not possible? What if the company just doesn't see the problem and therefore does not want to spend time on this extermination process?
I think every person can start by settting an example. Be counter-cultural! Show how the way you use email is more effective and productive. It's the long bottom-up approach, but this road empowers you, instead of waiting and complaining until "the rest of the company" gets it and starts the "improve trust program".

Email integrated with Social Software

James Dellow has a nice post researching the history of email and why email is so successful. More importantly he wonders what this means for social tools and their success. He concludes his post with the following:
Enterprise social software can also learn some important lessons from email:
  • We need interoperability between enterprise social systems.
  • Users prefer standardised interfaces.
  • It needs to be cost effective to own and operate.
Far from being a nemesis, email and enterprise social software are more likely to form a strong symbiotic relationship.
I've been thinkings and blogging about this topic quite a bit as well. I did research and product concept development on document management tools in the past. One of the things we said back then is: integrate document management into email. I think this principle still applies. I also think the killer social tools will be deeply integrated into/with email. For that reason I think Google+ has a good chance of winning the social game. People want one spot to do a lot of different things. They live in their inbox. To me the holy grail is to have a platform from which you can easily share content to email, to social nets, etc. Don't worry this will lead to less email, not more.

The importance of punctuation by @wimdaniels #webred12

The last keynote of the Copywriting & Content Marketing conference! About the importance of the comma by Wim Daniels. If you focus on the comma you don't need to worry about content marketing, says Daniels...

And with respect to the rest of his talk: you should have been there. It was hilarious! :-)

Content marketing: from buzz to business by @robert_rose #webred12

Next keynote at the Copywriting & Content Marketing conference is by Robert Rose.

Marketing processes have changed. All content people are now marketeers. Why? Marketing is not only responsible for leads and visitors, but also for retention, satisfaction and upselling. We need to work towards customers that will defend us to death (evangelism).

Buyers used to solve their problems and that's how they bought products. "People don't notice ads, they notice what interests them and sometimes its an ad." (Gossage)
But buyers have changed due to the internet. Audiences now filter. Email and direct mail are less effective. Buyers are rising above the noise. They are empowered and more informed.

Some numbers: 90% of buy start with a search and 30% (and rising quickly) is done via social media. 40% and rising is done via mobile.

People don't search in Google and social media about you. They have a question and are looking for answers. "People don't buy into your product. They buy the way you solve their problem."

However, you are still important. Tell stories. Differentiate! Tell a different story, not the same story better.
Rose refers to the 2020 project by Coca-Cola. They are going to double their sales by brand storytelling. The goal is to fill the emotional well of consumers.

Rose shares some more numbers: content marketing spending is up compared to previous years, except for mid-sized companies.

The biggest challenge in content marketing is to create content that is engaging. This is difficult because we are slaved to data (analytics). Rose stresses we all know how to do this. We all can tell stories and we often are already doing this. Rose pointed to the Statefarm (William Shatner commercial) and Whole Foods (blog) case to prove it works this way. Both cases show webcontent editors starting something innovative that ended up being big.

First rule of content marketing: you are not competing with other tactics (like ads)! But all the tactics should be focused on cultivating evangelists. This starts at the content editor level of the company. So, become marketeer. It's so much more interesting. Move away from the data-driven approach. Be and become a rock star. It's your story, make it remarkable.

Online storytelling @joepvanloon #webred12

First breakout round during the Copywriting & Content Marketing conference. Colleague Joep van Loon will talk about online storytelling.

What is a story? The shortest story is: For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn. By Ernest Hemingway.

The difference between storytelling and online storytelling: in online storytelling you have lots of tech tools to tell your story. (YouTube is the number 1 way to tell and sell stories.)

Why stories? Because our brains like them, says Joep. We can remember stories and a good story touches us. Therefore authenticity is key in stories. Joep points to several examples of 'stories' and stories on the web.

Joep finished his breakout by sharing different types of stories, like a scenario and synopsis. And examples of the tools that companies can use to tell stories, like infographics, video and photo.

When there is perfection there is not story to tell (Ben Okri).

Get the most from your website by @gerrymcgovern #webred12

Gerry McGovern is the next keynote at the Copywriting and Content Marketing conference. His talk is about 'Getting the most from your website'.

Gerry started out by looking at several presidential campaign websites. What are they about? Their core tasks are clear: to get names from people.

The biggest challenge for companies and their website is to cut content, to understand what we don't do, to simplify.

Gerry explains his top-task management approach and shows how certain tasks show up and are important for organizations. A great website has things to do on the homepage.

Customer success should be your number one priority (also on your website).

I'm not a copywriter by @polledemaagt #webred12

I'll be live-blogging the Copywriting & Content Marketing conference today. First up is Polle de Maagt. His keynote is titled 'Relevant and notable content: it's possible'.

Polle's goal is to change companies to do less with ads and act more. Content is never the end goal. Real people want something and content is the in-between step to get there. Polle showed the KLM Surprise campagne. He learned from that campaign that people loved it, but are also very practical. They want to get things done and, e.g., find their suitecase.
Now, let's talk managers. When working on cool content we need to work on input for their talks at the golf course. Make sure you show them lots of facts and figures, even though this is not what it's really about. The underlying construct is important. Technology forces us to rethink content. And metrics dictates creativity.

Copywriters and content marketeers are in the squeeze between tech, managers and consumers. And there's an exploding number of touchpoints. And things get even worse... consumers expect more. He refers to the Skyfall Coca Cola campaign. But is this a good campaign? Does it get things done?

De Maagt is obsessed with solution-driven content and copy. How do you show that content has value? Start with a business case focusing on things that is important to your managers. Polle also points to the Net Promotor Score.

Wrap up:

  • layer your content calender
  • construct concepts worth sharing
  • talk the management porn (they don't understand content)
  • try, test, experiment and scale what works
  • build momentum and change the organization
  • don't reinvent, learn from others (don't trust your agency, trust your competitors)

And, ACT (within the next 48 hours)!