Category Archives: Business

Online reputation management

Does your reputation need a life-line?

Does your reputation need a life-line?

How to make your companies reputation management plan – online version.

Now some of this will depend on your industry and I don’t claim to be an expert in everything, well almost everything ! This post is meant to be a generic plan, a list of ideas or activities that you could consider in making your plan ready, sharing with all that need to be aware of it.

Why you might need a reputation plan?

The scenario you are likely to be in if you need an online reputation plan is normally not a good one. This may be your making (and you may deserve it?) or it may be through no fault of your own. But you should be ready with a plan that you or a number of people can turn on very quickly.

What might you be able to control?

The idea of this plan is to take control of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This will allow you or your company to try and control what people fine who are looking for you. This is definitely not a fall-proof plan by any means. And depending on the topic you may actually want to stay quiet. But if you are informed and have a plan, then you have a choice to act or not to act.

A couple of simple current examples could the recent ash cloud from Iceland that has messed around with people travel and holidays. Through to natural disaster or pandemics e.g. earthquakes and swine flu.

Generic objectives

  • To provide emergency information
  • To surpress bad or damaging online content

The planning

You should take stock of all the digital assets and resources you could have in your arsenal.

These could commonly be:

  • Press Releases ready, with a hungry PR team/agency
  • PPC creatives – maybe to swithc from sales to customer service/advice
  • SEO page(s) with the appropriate key messages
  • Digital assets of images, video and the like

How to flood the SERPs and “own the page”?.

First of all check out the search demand in KW research tools, the autosuggest in Google and trending topics – to see if you the need to do anything. It might be a storm in your own office !! But if people and journalists are going to be searching for you or your company by name/brand you can try to flood the results.

In the modern Google world, with the latest QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) the blended results could contain a variety of media.

Leverage existing assets

  • TV ads online e.g. in YouTube or Vimeo. This could also be interview or TV appearance clips

Social media marketing

  • Facebook page – make updates and spark conversation
  • LinkedIn groups – as above
  • Twitter – get your own accounts working, support your other initiatives and spark others to RT or talk about you. If you trend, these will appear in the one box
  • Wikipedia – always shows on Information searches
  • Forum answering, Q&A – if appropriate, get involved
  • Guest post, get your big guns and names out

Sales and marketing channels

  • Get a lot of mentions on pages and social by releasing coupons and amazing deals

Normal comms and PR

  • If comments are out there – answer them and provide your side of the story (if you are right)
  • Use your PR teams to get you everywhere legitimately
  • Send our old, but ‘evergreen’ PRs, through all levels of distribution services, even through article and SEO ‘pr’ hubs
  • Bait journalists with more juicy stories / “distract them”

Paid activities

  • PPC/SEM with as many ‘sitelinks’ as you can buy to push the results down the page
  • Buy business directories

Leveraging your size & network

  • Get your name on your sister site companies, suppliers and friends. Make them also rank for your company name
  • Get your employees who blog to write

The outcome

The aim is to push the bad press down. This will only work if the opposition don’t go on a big hunt as they may be very motivated and may play nasty.

If you are trying to diseeminate information to help people this too can effective as sometimes if you don’t act, your reputation may suffer too.

If you know your position and you judge you can win, then you can make an informed choice.

What makes a good people manager?

I am a people manager, and I have a manager.  I am sure most people who stumble across these ramblings are one or the other or both.  In a recent conversations about this topic with a number of colleagues past and present I compiled these lists

Having worked for some excellent managers, some OK, and unluckily historically some bad managers this intrigued me into thinking about Me, how I act and am perceived by immediate reports, peers and virtual teams.

So, I thought I would share somes notes.  I am sure I am opening myself up for ton of abuse from people who know me, but would be fascinated in hearing what you think I should add to these categories.

Good traits in a people manager/team leader

  • Accessible & Personable
  • Knowledgeable and can communicate it
  • Respected and shows respects to other
  • Open & Honest
  • Fair & Consistent
  • 1-2-1’s are on time and add value
  • Timely feedback
  • Awards credit when it is due
  • Receives feedback
  • Cares about Me

What traits makes a bad people manager?

  • Vague (in all forms)
  • Personality misfit, lacks social skills
  • Unrealistic targets or expectations
  • Picks on employees
  • Pits 1 employee against another
  • Changes their mind all of the time
  • Micromanages
  • Lies (especially when they say publicly different things to what they advise you)

And then, being the thinking type I am and trying to be fair.

There are on occasions when circumstances or the environment can make this hard or fall straight to the bad category.  It is possible to have a circumstance that your manager  is under orders, or a company culture actually puts up barriers you and them being a  good manager.  These could be:

Excuses for being a bad people manager!

  • Development opportunities as reward/goals are limited by the company
  • Office politics
  • Changing orgs and re-orgs
  • Communications styles are dictated by a higher power
  • Fear and Fears
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of experience in being a people manager
  • Time/Prioritisation imposed upon them
  • And I am sure the list goes on

What do you think?

Opinions welcome.  Unless you are in one of my teams! Then “SHUT UP and DO SOME WORK!”

Bandwidth & Bureaucracy

Where is Utopia?

Where is Utopia?

A long time since I made a post in this section of Jargon. On a call today, someone used, well almost one of these expressions that sparked a thought.

We all talk and die by prioritisation especially in larger companies. We aim to have as much bandwidth in terms of headcount and resources needed to do everything we need to do, quickly. Most of the time, we don’t have the bandwidth, and quite often we do have the bureaucracy.

That got me thinking. As I see if we only have 3 states.

  1. Bandwidth with Bureaucracy = Ideal working environment, well workable
  2. No Bandwidth with Bureaucracy = The Real world, which sucks!/li>
  3. Bandwidth without Bureaucracy = the unobtainable UTOPIA

Which one do you work in?

How to build a business case

adrianland-business-case

If you work in a large company you probably are familiar with having to prioritise.  And if, like me, you work with a year long technology roadmap to make any change you need to build a case.

I have found the best way to build this case, is to use these 4 criteria.

• Size of Opportunity
• Risk of doing / risk of NOT doing
• Level of Effort
• Time to Impact

It generally works if there is a big opportunity and quick to impact. Then high levels of effort and risk are normally then just managed.

If there is a long time to impact, and only medium or small possible return, you are unlikely to get your idea squeezed in.

Sometimes, if the level of effort is next to nothing and the size is medium and is quick you might be lucky!

If this is a SEO business case, that is when the risk of not doing really kicks in.  Try to model what the loss is, especially if this is a hygiene change!

I reckon most situations can be modelled on these 4 criteria.

UK market data – telecomms, advertising, broadband and the Grey market

Its always good to understand the market that we work in and the “Communications Market Report  by OFCOM” is a great piece of research.

Here are some of the key findings.

Adoption rates

Two and a half million DAB digital radio sets were sold in the year to June 2008, taking total cumulative sales to 8.3 million.

The UK is moving towards faster broadband with huge investment in fibre optics. BT (which aims to reach 10 million homes by 2012), and Virgin (which aims to reach 9 million homes by the end of 2008).

Digital television penetration rose by 7.5 percentage points over the year to Q1 2008 to reach 87.1%.Two and a half million DAB digital radio sets were sold in the year to June 2008, taking total cumulative sales to 8.3 million.

Communication services by the Grey market

The adoption of broadband by the over 65 is growing faster than in the <65 yr old category.  So, the gap is narrowing.

Older people spend significantly more time than the UK average using many key media. In 2007 the over-65s spent 83 more minutes a day (38%) watching television and 20 minutes longer (12%) listening to the radio. Those with an internet connection spent 30 minutes longer (50%) online per day than the UK average, although they accounted for just 6% of total UK internet usage because take-up was lower among this group.

The most popular internet activity among older people is ‘communication’ (using email, instant messaging and chat rooms for example); 63% of over-65s say they communicate online, compared to 76% of all adults.

Older people remain much lower users of mobile phones than the general population. 

The Advertising market

The UK’s advertising market grew by 6.3% to £14.9bn in 2007, the largest growth rate for three years and the first year in which growth has outstripped inflation since 2005.  Most of this came from internet advertising, on ave. >70% per year!

Television advertising revenue remained static in 2007, at £3.5bn. 

Television advertising revenues continue to face challenges; 23% of homes now own a digital video recorder (DVR), up from 15% since Q1 2007, and 88% of DVR owners claim that they usually fast-forward through commercial breaks when watching recorded programmes (which currently account for 14% of viewing in DVR-owning homes).

Advertising spend on radio advertising increased during 2007 for the first time in three years, up by £5m (1%) in the year to £442m. However, radio’s share of total advertising revenue continued to fall, from 3.0% in 2006 to 2.9% in 2007 as internet advertisng and broadly onsite grows.

Converging technologies

Overall in 2007 there was a huge movement towards multi devise. Digital television rose from 80% to 87% of households.  MP3 player ownership stood at 45% of individuals (up five percentage points) while consumers with access to a DAB digital radio nearly doubled to 27%.

The internet emerged as a popular platform for broadcasters for the distribution of audio-visual content in 2007/08. Many TV broadcasters started downloads of programmes, live TV, extras and supporting information. 

Twenty-six per cent of those aged 15-24 claim to use the internet for ‘watching TV programmes’ in 2008, up by 16 percentage points in twelve months. Fifty-one per cent used it for ‘watching video clips/webcasts’, also up by 16 percentage points over the same period.

Mobile broadband emerged in 2008 as an increasingly popular means of accessing the internet. The five mobile network operators have all begun to target their mobile broadband offers at residential consumers, and while the subscriber base is relatively low, it is growing fast. There were over 500k new connections in the five months from February 2008, with 133k connections in June 2008. Seventy-five per cent of those with access to mobile broadband use it at home, 18% do so at work and 27% while elsewhere/on the move.

Mobile phones – in 2007, 41% of mobile phone users claiming to use their handset for taking pictures and 15% uploading photos to their PC.

A quarter of people confess to stream, download or copy unauthorised music with the proportions for film and television programmes standing at 15% and 13% respectively. 

40% of households have taken up a media bundle in 2007 and there are more and more competitive packages available in 08.

Television

Total television industry revenue reached nearly £11.2bn in 2007, up 3.8% from 2006. 

The TV industry outputted 2.1 million hours in 2007 (2006: 1.8 million). Channels within the Entertainment, Factual, Children’s, Sport, News, Leisure and Music genres accounted for just over one million of these hours. Original content only made up for <10% of the content.

HD TV has been slow for the uptake.  In the UK the subscribers are less than 1 million.

Telecomms & Broadband

Seventy per cent of people with a mobile and a fixed-line phone use their mobile to make some calls even when they are in the home; ten per cent of people with a fixed line at home never use it, claiming that they always use their mobile.

Although still increasing, the rate of broadband growth is slowing; by the end of 2007, 58% of UK households had a broadband connection, up from 52% a year previously and from 41% two years ago. 

The number of 3G connections (including mobile broadband connections) in the UK increased by 60% during 2007 to reach 12.5 million by the end of the year, amounting to 17% of all mobile connections.

More adults in the UK use text messaging than use the internet: 59 billion SMS messages were sent in 2007, an average of 68 a month sent from each mobile connection (up 28% on 2006).

The majority of children aged 5-7 have access to the internet and most children aged 8-11 have access to a mobile phone. Children are more likely to use the internet for instant messaging than for email.

The best thing to do is read the original report at the OFCOM site >>

 

 

What is RSS? and how can it be used?

RSS - what is it?What is RSS. ? Well you may of seen this logo appear on websites and espexially sites that update their content very frequently.

It is defined as ‘Really Simple Syndication’. It means sharing data. What does that mean I still hear you ask and what does that mean to me?

Think of it as a distributable “What’s New” on websites.

On a practical basis you can get your news headlines in your ‘RSS Reader’ like receiving email ! This is the only current practical use to the average internet users. Many companies share data using XML. RSS is effecitively just like XML, and is another form of that but kindof for news and consumer content.

A program known as a feed reader or aggregator can check a list of feeds on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that it finds.

There are two main ones that I use for work and for personal info. The first is Bloglines, this is web based and has been around for a while. This has the advantage of being able to save Blog searches. And the other really popular web based one is Google Reader. This is my main one for my personal and professional reading.

I really like the BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation) here in the UK for their explaination and they have been very good in setting up their services. They have adopted their content and it is good stuff. Take a look at their content.

Take a look at a RSS reader and have a play.

I get all my work news, news and sport direct to my ‘news inbox’ every day. It is addicitive and easier than trawling through your favourites to find new content.

Did this makes sense, any comments? A.