Archives For consistency

For any leader, creating trust is essential.

Merriam-Webster.com defines “trust” as “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something : one in which confidence is placed.”  So creating that trust in relationships formed is crucial for the growth of the organization that you lead.  And when it comes to social media, trust is absolutely crucial.  Since you’re one voice among millions, you get one shot with potential followers.  One eye-grabbing tweet.  One game-changing blog post.  And if you don’t capture people there, you’ve likely lost them forever.  Hate it if you want, but that’s the game.

Without trust, people won’t follow you.  Well…they’ll follow you for a little while.  But positional leadership will only get you so far.  With trust, you can develop healthy, robust communities.

5 ways to create trust online

  1. Consistency – I’ve given up on trying to figure out which posts are going to do well and which aren’t.  I’ve resorted to this: post consistently.  I’m bound to strike a nerve with someone at some point.
  2. Quality – Add value, create discussion, spark interest, share an idea, encourage change, or share your story.  If it’s anything less, then why post?
  3. Honesty – people are looking for transparency and relate-ability…not just someone who has got it all together.  Don’t just tweet the good things…tweet the bad ideas, the failed initiatives, and ways you’ve struggled.
  4. Generosity – it’s not just all about you, promoting your stuff, making a name for yourself.  It’s also not just about giving products away.  Give away ideas, encouragement, and insights.
  5. Uniqueness – if you start something new, then you are, by nature, unique in that area.  If you’re jumping into an existing area, let your platform set you apart from the rest of the pack.  Your story’s not the same, your passions aren’t the same, your job’s not the same, and your family’s not the same.  Don’t try to be me, and I won’t try to be you.

Trust is essential in building any relationship.  Social media is no different.

What am I missing?  How do you build trust?  Jump in the conversation HERE!

 

Online effectiveness

Ben Reed —  January 18, 2011 — 28 Comments

I read a lot of blogs.  And I think that blogs will continue to become an increasingly respected source for opinion, information, and idea sharing.  Because no form of print media has the ability to impact as many people globally, in such a short time, as blogs.

But for the blogger that’s just getting started, or the company that’s looking to expand their influence and effectiveness, what should they be doing?  Here are some essentials, for both on and off your site.

Off of your site

1. Read other blogs. Although each blog has its unique twists, there’s a generally accepted format.  You pick this up the more you read other blogs.  In addition to formatting and styling, when you read blogs in your niche, you’ll notice trends, and what your readers care about.  You may think you know what makes your audience tick…but you also may be surprised by what bigger bloggers are saying.  And trust me, if they’re a big blogger, they’re doing research to know what posts will drive traffic to their site.

2. Comment on other blogs. And don’t just say, “Nice post!”  Interact on sites you like.  The more you do this, the more you will build your platform (your online reputation) with your potential audience.

3. Build your online platform on outposts. I’ve stolen this term from Michael Hyatt, and I think it’s helpful.  You don’t own Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare.  But you use them as outposts, representing yourself there.  You’ve got a unique voice…let it stand out among the rest on outposts.

5. Guest post. If there’s a site you’re learning from, and that you know the readers of your blog enjoy, ask the site owner if you can put a guest post together for them.  Of course, this would be something you’d do for free.  And though it may take you some time to put together a high-quality guest post, the return on investment you’ll see is worth the effort, as you build your online platform with a wider audience.

6. Connect offline. When you get an opportunity, connect with your online friends offline.  Don’t just be a robot.  Let online interactions spur you to build real, in-person relationships.

7. Read voraciously and widely. Don’t just hang out in the blogging world.  Read books.  Magazines.  Journals.  Pamphlets.  Brochures.  The fine print on back of your insurance card.  The more you know, the better blogger you’ll be.

On your site

1. Consistency. Some of your blog posts will hit a homerun…and some will be a pop fly to the catcher.  And that’s ok.  Blogging is, in a sense, an experiment.  The more you do it, the more you’ll know what will work with your audience.  But don’t let a few strike outs keep you from posting again.  Just keep putting your stuff out there.

2. Creativity. Try something different.  Mix up your posting style.  Try posting

  • a series of pictures
  • a video (that’s consistent with your niche)
  • a review of a product you’ve tried
  • a guest post
  • a praise of another site
  • a story from your childhood
  • a list of resources you use
  • a series of posts on ‘how-to’ do what you do
  • a question that helps people interact
3. Value. You need to be consistently posting, but to be successful, your posts need to add value to your specific readers.  If your audience is primarily young pastors, then posts with just pictures of your children probably won’t add much value.  However, if you’re a ‘mommy blogger,’ posts with pictures could be your m.o.  Knowing your audience is key.
Do you have a new site?

Have you found other ways to be effective?
 

Why bloggers love blogging

Ben Reed —  January 11, 2011 — 9 Comments

I love blogging.

In fact, to date, I’ve written 347 blog posts.

Given that there are over 133 million blogs, and that 1 in 5 update their blog daily, it’s apparent that many, many people throughout the world like blogging as well.  I’m guessing you’re one of them.

And I think I just might have an idea why.

10 Reasons Why Bloggers love Blogging

1. The immediacy of the feedback. Within 30 minutes, you can get Retweeted.  Mentioned.  Get a Facebook “like.”  Facebook comments.  Comments on your blog.  Replies to comments on your blog…all of which immediately tell you whether your post was a success or a flop.

2. The quickness of publishing. Have an idea?  Watch a video?  A quote move you?  Throw it up on the blog…right now.  No need to wait on a publisher to review and edit.  No need to wait on a webmaster to get back in front of their desk to push your post live.  You can publish right now.

3. The freedom. Since it’s your blog, you can publish what you want, when you want, how often you want, with the consistency and length you want.  You can include pictures, videos, and links…or not.  Your choice.

4. The design. What you write can look cool on a page.  That’s motivating.

5. The platform. Many of us don’t have the chance to communicate with mass numbers of people every week.  Yet God has gifted us to do so.  Blogs give us that chance.

6. Work out our thoughts publicly. Instead of sitting in your office and stewing over thoughts and ideas on your own, blogging gives you a chance to work those thoughts out loud.  And I, for one, find great value in extroverting my ideas.

7. The interaction. Iron sharpens iron.  I think somebody said that.

8. Global reach. Instead of just sharpening your iron in a conversation with one or two friends, blogs give you the chance to sharpen it with hundreds, or even thousands, of people around the world.

9. Sharing. So much of the value of social media is found in sharing ideas, insights, and wisdom with others.  Successful bloggers give away more than they ever get.

10. The challenge. Blogging isn’t easy.  Condensing the content.  Focusing it.  Consistently posting high quality content.  It’s a challenge, but one that bloggers love.

Why do you love blogging?  What did I miss?

 

I have a Starbucks “Black Card.”  It’s supposed to give various perks, one of which, from day 1, was free refills.  Until today.  I asked for a refill, gave the card to the cashier, and she said, “Do you have money loaded on this card?”  I said, “I don’t need money loaded on it…the refill should be free.”  She said, “Nope.  Not on this card it’s not.  You need a different card for the refill to be free.”

Starbucks is supposed to be the king of consistency.  A Hazelnut latte should taste the same in Belgium as it does in coffee mecca (Seattle).  They should look and feel the same wherever you are.  Consistency, and brand management, help people to feel “at home” when they go to a Starbucks that’s not their regular shop.  But when that consistency is broken, and that which used to go along with the Black Card changes, things no longer seem as…well…consistent.

A while back, we had a small group that was really struggling getting people to show up.  They had been meeting for 6 months, and had moved from 18 folks to 8.  The leader and his wife were incredibly gracious hosts, gifted in ministry, lovable, and fully bought into the mission and vision of Grace (our church).  I sat down with the leader to try to troubleshoot.  As I talked with the leader, and other group members, we came to the same conclusion.  Here’s what was happening.

The group leader was gifted in teaching, and had great ease in front of people.  He was also incredibly busy with work.  That deadly combination led him to not work on (or lead his group through) any kind of curriculum (not that every group needs to have a curriculum, but every group should have a plan).  In short, from week to week and month to month, he wasn’t taking his people anywhere.  Instead, he would show up each week and just start throwing out thoughts and questions randomly, relying on his gift of gab and natural ease in leading people.  This led to frustration as the group members never knew how to prepare for their small group time.  They didn’t know what to think through, what to read, or what questions to be prepared to answer.  The group members never knew what to expect, and never knew where the group was headed.  Trust was never built, and the group fizzled out.

While it’s not vital that your group utilize a curriculum, it is vital that you take your group somewhere.  With no understood goal, it’s impossible to know whether you’re “winning” as a small group or not.  If you have no idea where you’re taking your group, now’s the time to figure that out.  Don’t wait another day.  Begin praying now, and talking with your group through it.  Then consistently work to accomplish that goal.

Without consistency, people don’t know what to expect.  Consistency allows trust to be build.  Trust encourages the group to speak truth into each others’ lives.  Speaking truth into each others’ lives spurs growth in godliness.  And a group growing in godliness is a healthy group.

How are you building consistency into your group time, without allowing things to grow stale?

 

Don’t start a blog if…

Ben Reed —  November 11, 2009 — 7 Comments

Yesterday, I gave you 10 reasons your should start blogging.  Today, it’s the flip side.  There are lots of reasons why people don’t blog.  However, that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m going to give you reasons why you should not blog, even if you think you should.

blog

9 Reasons you should not blog

1. Don’t blog if you don’t have anything to say.  In the meantime, though, find something to say.  Learn to beautifully communicate the mundane.

2. Don’t start blogging if you know you won’t be able to consistently post.  My goal is, at minimum, 1 blog per week.  I always shoot for 2-3 per week, though.  If you won’t be able to consistently post, don’t start blogging.  Just wait until you have the time.  Blogs that aren’t updated regularly lose readership and influence.

3. Don’t blog just because everybody’s doing it.  Don’t just jump on the bandwagon, especially if #1 and #2 apply to you.  And yes, I know I said the same idea as a reason to blog HERE.  Remember, this is my blog, and I can do what I want.

4. If all you want to do is create an advertisement page.  Blogs are meant to communicate more than just advertisements.  Websites, billboards, and TV commercials do that just fine, thank you.

5. You have no writing skills.  Blogs aren’t terribly difficult to write, especially with the advent of spell check and grammar check.
However, you may need to touch up your writing first.  Or, maybe you should have another person in the organization write the blog for you. Not a bad way to loop one more person into the process.

6. You’ve tried it for 6 months, and still see only negligible benefits.  Maybe your efforts should be focused elsewhere.  What are your goals in writing a blog?  Personal?  Financial?  Organizational?  Evaluate effectiveness by your expressed goals.

7. Your blog is always focused on attacking others.  I’ve seen these blogs.  I don’t read them, so please don’t write them.

8. You can’t handle others attacking you.  A blog is your voice.  The more people that hear your voice, the more likely you will receive criticism.  If you blog consistently, just get ready to be slammed a few times.

9. You only want a one-way conversation.  Blogs, in my opinion, are meant to be a dialog.  I write my blog so that others will comment.  In fact, I completely redid my comments section to enhance debate.  If you want a one-way conversation, go talk to your car.

What do you think?  Are you convinced that blogging is for you?  Or maybe you’ve decided against it?  My goal is to help you think.

Are you blogging?  Will you start?  Will you share your blog address with us?