Books in Chinese

June 22, 2012

I’m please to announce that both Personality Poker and Best Practices Are Stupid  are now available in Chinese.  I love the cover designs, especially the cat on the Best Practices Are Stupid book.

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Video: Speaking at Crowdopolis

June 22, 2012

On July 19th, I will be keynoting the inaugural Crowdopolis event in Los Angeles.  Want to know what I will discuss?  Check out this 2 minute video.  And if you want to attend, use this link to register and save $100.

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Crowdsourcing Content

June 20, 2012

On July 19th, 2012, I will be keynoting at the inaugural Crowdopolis event being held July 19th in Los Angeles. You don’t want to miss this event!  I can assure you it will be incredible.  And at the bottom of this article there is a link which will give you a discount.

I asked Crowdopolis organizer and founder of Daily Crowdsource, David Bratvold, to write me a brief article on his perspective on crowdsourcing and in particular on how it can be used for content creation (I created a video about my perspective that I will be posting soon). Enjoy!

Curating Content with Crowdsourcing
by David Bratvold

Creating compelling and worthwhile content is an essential fact of life for companies looking to attract and engage consumers and incentivizing them to buy. But creating sufficient content to meet business objectives is an ongoing challenge. Besides hiring a large enough editorial staff to meet the content needs of your brand’s community, tapping into what your customers care most about related to your products and services can provide a treasure trove of meaningful content.

Crowdsourcing is a relatively new method of generating content for your brand’s product, and as it grows, organizations are now able to leverage this channel as means of connecting with their customers.  Below are three ways crowdsourcing is impacting the future of content marketing.

Crowdsourcing speeds up the content creation process 

You will never have enough time in the day to create the amount of content you want to create. Writer’s block, vacation, major deadlines, and other business emergencies can get in the way. With sites like CrowdSource.com, you can employ a scalable crowd of workers to create your content. No matter how many articles you write each week, more is better. With scalable labor, the only limitation to posting 5 articles per day is your budget. Keep in mind, however, that crowdsourcing projects do take a lot of moderation & feedback.

Crowdsourcing offers you diversity and creative choice

One of the main draws of using a site like Genius Rocket to crowdsource a commercial or viral video is the number of options to choose from along the way. Imagine what your video would look like if you or your internal team created it.  The scripting, filming, acting, and even editing would, over time, begin to take on a uniform appearance. Once you turn this over to crowdsourcing, you begin picking from 30 different scripts, written from 30 different individuals from several different countries, cultures, & backgrounds. The diverse perspectives these individuals bring to the table are invaluable.

Now apply this benefit of diversity to the earlier benefit of drawing input from your customers and potential customers. Your target audience will begin to show you all the different ways they want to be approached – They’ll essentially be giving you your ideal marketing strategy.

Crowdsourcing inherently atomizes your content marketing process

By its nature crowdsourcing does not atomize the process. It’s only after you get unsatisfactory results will you start to break processes down so small that you will arrive at your desired goal.  It’s tough to imagine that projects need to be broken down into steps that could take no more than seconds to accomplish. However, to effectively use crowdsourcing, every project must be atomized as small as possible.

Consider the task of moderating your forum. As an alternative to hiring a forum moderator, every single post could be fed through MTurk with a simple Yes or No question: “Is this post offensive?” Any Yes responses could be removed or reviewed. By atomizing this process, crowdsourcing can keep your forum (or any UGC Content) valuable and problem free.

Summary

As you sit and think about your content marketing strategy, engage your community and solicit their input. Each industry and community is different, offering quality analysis and creative ideas. Content marketers will be able to accomplish their objectives by using crowdsourcing as a means of better engaging and growing their social networks.

David Bratvold is the founder of Daily Crowdsource, an open-format website that aims to educate the public on the topic of crowdsourcing and a producer of Crowdopolis 2012, a major crowdsourcing conference teaching the future of crowdsourcing in advertising, technology, and content marketing scheduled this July 19.  You can follow David on Twitter at @TDCrowdsource.

P.S. If you use this link to register, you will save $100 and pay only $378 (until June 25th when the price goes up)

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Stop Calling it Innovation!

June 18, 2012

A potential client asked, “What is the best way to create a culture of innovation?”

My response: “Stop calling it innovation!”

Innovation has become the word du jour.  Is it important?  Of course.  But the term has been used and abused by so many people that it means nothing. I am seeing a backlash against the word.  Inside many organizations, there are antibodies waiting to kill anything called “innovation.”

If you want to have a chance at innovating, call it something else.

Although this is an old fashioned term, I like: “problem solving.”  It is calling it what it really is.

Yes, maybe the problems when innovating seem bigger, like business model changes or the creation of new product lines.  But you are still solving a problem (ok you can call it an “opportunity” if you prefer).

If you have an innovative idea and if doesn’t solve a problem, it will not be valuable.* (see footnote)

When starting an “innovation” program (excuse my perpetuation of the word), I ask the leaders of the organization (top executives, P&L owners, Business Unit/Lines of Business leads) to give me their three most important issues; ones that if solved would be incredibly valuable.  These problems/opportunities could be related to improving productivity, developing new service offerings, stimulating sales, addressing changing market conditions, or dealing with commoditization.  We look for leverage points; things that will create exponential value.

Everything ties back to an issue, challenge, problem, or opportunity.

Once the challenge is identified, we use the best method – brainstorming, skunkworks, open innovation, outsourcing, alliances, etc – to find solutions.

After doing this with the senior leaders, we can then engage the entire organization in identifying and solving pressing challenges.  This starts the cycle.

Every organization wants to know if they and their ideas are “innovative enough.”  Who cares?  The more important question is, “Do you know which problems, if solved, would create substantial value for your organization and your customers?”

There are many companies that produce unsexy products with few “breakthrough” technologies (they are not considered “cool” like Apple, 3M or Google). However, these organizations adapt and grow at incredibly fast rates.  Does it matter that others don’t consider them to be innovative?

Explosive and continued growth is the name of the game.  By calling it innovation, you may in fact be killing what you hope to create.

Look for important problems to solve and then find the best means for sourcing solutions.  This is what you really want.

* FOOTNOTE: Please note that this does not mean that the problems/opportunities needs to be known/understood by consumers or others.  Focus groups and surveys are poor ways to identifying problems as they only tap into conscious beliefs.  For more on this, read my tip, “Your Market Research Sucks” in my Best Practices Are Stupid book.

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