21 Essential Blog Posts from January ’09

Just a reminder: These are blogs that I enjoyed reading, for whatever reason. Perhaps they were valuable for me, merely entertaining, thought provoking, were about something I’m interested in (i.e. social media) or potentially something I thought my tribe would enjoy. As always, I would love feedback. Did you catch these posts during January? Did any of these resonate with you? What are some of your most recent favorite reads? Even better, what’s your favorite thing YOU wrote during January? Share it with me in the comments section.

The Social Media Conversion Scale – David Armano (Logic + Emotion)
Hopefully this post will challenge you to think about some of the stages we go through as we navigate this space we call social media. The visual alone is worth the click.

It’s Been a Crazy Year – Employee Evolution’s Top Posts of 2008 – Ryan Healy (Employee Evolution)
I wouldn’t ordinarily feature a post like this, as is just seems a little unfair. There are probably better “Best Posts Of” for 2008, but the Ryan’s combined to put out a lot of stuff that resonated with me, and will likely provoke a lot of thought within my readers.

100 Best Kept Marketing Secrets – Free eBook – Drew McLellan (The Marketing Minute)
Great content comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. Drew introduces us to Small Business Trend’s compilation of 100 of the best kept marketing secrets, from 100 marketing experts. He’s included 3 themes that consistently permeate throughout.

Social vs Traditional Marketing Efforts – Jeremiah Owyang (Web Strategy with Jeremiah)
This post features a short video (1:54) where Jim, the founder of Ignite Social Media explains the difference in traditional marketing agencies and social media marketing agencies. There’s some clear distinctions, certainly worth 2 minutes.

Now For My Next Trick, I’ll Turn Brand into Cash – Sarah Lacy (SarahLacy.com)
Sarah talks about how much hard work goes into building a personal brand, and how important it is to lay a foundation. She then discusses how hard you have to work (and obtain a bit of luck) for that brand to translate to profitability. It’s a good dose of reality, as well as an encouraging story of someone who’s ‘done it.’

Are You a Gen Y Superstar? 10 Strategies for Becoming One of the Best of the Best – Bea Fields (Millennial Leaders)
The title is pretty self explanatory, but what I like about the piece is that it isn’t the same re-hashed cliches, and it’s not specific to Gen Y. You’ll do yourself a favor by reading these list and applying a few nuggets to your life today.

Event Summary: The Future of the Social Web – Jeremiah Owyang (Web Strategy with Jeremiah)
The top leaders got together to discuss the future of social networks, and Jeremiah gleaned insight to share with all of us. Some of the things we learned were that culture holds some companies back, not technology. Also, measurement will continue to be a key issue. Starting on slide 22, there’s some great value to be had for those curious as to where the social web is headed.

Social Media Target Strategies for a Better 2009 – Jason Falls (Social Media Explorer)
Jason takes Forrester’s research of U.S. online adults and explains what the numbers mean to him and how they translate into actionable strategies for us in 2009. He discusses intertwining your brand in a relevant way with an experience consumers are looking for, and that we need to focus both on influencers and people tip-toeing into the space.

Just Do the Right Thing – Rachel Happe (The Social Organization)
I hadn’t read Rachel’s work before, but this is definitely one of my favorite posts from January. Here’s my favorite, “Stop the analysis, stop the wondering if you are right, stop the endless hand wringing, and more than anything stop the fear that you don’t have ‘proof’ that something works. Just do the right thing.Part of my passion around social media comes from wanting us as a business community to start treating each other like humans again rather than protagonists in a plot that can be compartmentalized as ‘just business’.”

Avoid Copy that Makes You Look Like an Ass – James Chartrand (Copyblogger)
This is something I talk about all the time, but James’ gift for words explains it a lot more eloquently than I could. He talks about shedding motivations and personal perceptions and giving our clients what they want. Become the target audience.

Do More With Less – Mitch Joel (Twist Image)
I love this post because instead of focusing on all the doom and gloom Mitch shoots it straight, “This type of forced creative destruction brings with it newer business models and efficiencies.” The reality is that blogging can help change the game, and help us understand how to be more efficient in this new world of publishing.

How to Find True Happiness and Be Successful in 2009 – Dan Schawbel w/ Gretchen Rubin (Personal Branding Blog)
If you’re like me you spend a lot of time in over-drive. Don’t even get me started on some of my peers in the new media world. It’s rare I take the time to evaluate if I’m truly happy doing what I’m doing. This post (and advice from Gretchen) will help you put things in perspective. What can we do? Take care of ourselves, cultivate relationships, and keep learning and growing.

Monetization and Social Media – Chris Penn (Awaken Your Superhero)
Chris always has an innovative way of looking at things and this discussion on monetization is no exception. “The most successful social media practitioners recognize that social media in and of itself is of relatively little value. It’s a communications channel. What is of value is what you deliver to your audience.”

Video – Find Your Voice in Business – Chris Brogan
More than anything this vlog is a reminder to myself to let my raw authentic voice shine through more often in the business world. So often I censor myself for professionalism sake, yet that’s not really me. Besides, I want to work with and for people who value what I bring to the table, not a dialed down version of myself. You?

The Goals You Never Hear About – Seth Godin
Seth has such a gift for reminding us to be remarkable (and the risks associated.) I think we’ve all been that person that ‘doesn’t want to look stupid.’ “These are very easy goals to achieve, of course. Just do as little as possible. The problem is that they sabotage your real goals, the achievement ones.”

Top 10 Ways to Promote Your Business Book in 2009 – Yvonne DiVita (Small Business Trends)
One day I want to write a book, especially getting the opportunity to read and review so many great books that my friends are currently working on. (Certainly not for $$$; I’m thinking long-term strategy here.) Yvonne shares ten solid ways to promote a book, and I wanted to document this to re-visit when I’m ready. In the meantime, maybe all my friends getting ready to publish can benefit from it.

[UPDATE: If you really want to understand how to market a book, talk to Ramit.]

Humanizing Your Brand – One Customer at a Time – David Finch
I frequently hammer home the importance of humanizing your brand. David finds a common thread between companies that do it well, “These brands have bought into the realization that brand evangelists don’t evolve because of just great products. They evolve when great brands incorporate customers to become a part of a great experience.” Listen, Engage and Celebrate your customer.

Go Beyond Blogging – Multi-Channel Marketing via Online Media Darren Rowse (Problogger)
This is an extremely extensive guide that will probably provide you with a few new strategies for expanding the reach of your content and engaging your readers. Most of us don’t have time to use all these tactics, but you can certainly pick and choose the ones that will be most important for your brand. Doing this effectively could be diversifying your profit streams.

How is Your Relationship Balance Sheet? (And Why it Pays to be in the Black) – Scott Drummond (Come Together)
This is a great post that shows the power of social media. It explains the need to always be giving in your online relationships (any relationship) so that when it comes time to ask you can achieve the kind of success David Armano did in raising money Daniela’s family (a lot of money from great people like you in social media.) One of the best parts of this post is Scott’s, “What can we learn from this.” Thanks Scott!

Publishing as Life Hack – Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent)
What I took away from this post was the value in asking myself the questions Valeria poses at the end of the post. I’m a big advocate for evaluating where my blog is at and how people are receiving it (and hopefully how it benefits their lives.) I believe those seven questions (and learning a bit about Gina Trapani) can get you back on track, or inspire you to keep pushing.

The TED Conference is All About Ideas Worth Spreading – Mitch Joel (Twist Image)
If you’re not familiar with TED and TED talks then you should be. Listening to Benjamin Zander (even on video) is one of the most captivating and enthralling experiences I’ve had online. I included this post because if you’re one my readers and aren’t familiar with TED, this is a good starting point. Start with the four Mitch suggests here, and you won’t be able to stop.