Too much information, running through my brain
Too much information, driving me insane.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 30 years since The Police dominated the Billboard charts. If Sting, Summers, and Copeland were overwhelmed by information then, what might they sing about today? (Easy answer – De doo doo doo, de daa daa daa, that’s all I want to say to you. De doo doo doo, de daa daa daa, they’re meaningless and all that’s true.)
Don’t think me unkind, but keeping up with change is mandatory in today’s technical and complicated business world. That’s a problem, because the pace of change is rapid and it’s difficult to differentiate between fads and lasting trends. How to keep up? How is it possible to manage a busy printing business and stay current?
Today’s post is basic how-to. It’s intended to help you sift through the noise, at least as regards marketing trends, and to offer a recipe for how to read and suggestions for what to read to keep up with the latest in the print marketing conversation.
- Feedly Reader on your tablet or laptop
- Subscription List (see below)
- Evernote Clipper
- LinkedIn (more next week)
- Downtime – yeah, I know . . .
Feedly is old school technology, which means that no one had even dreamed about it when the Police were playing. It’s an RSS reader, which allows the user to subscribe to blog feeds. Feedly is the natural heir to Google Reader, an archaic service introduced in 2005 and phased out last year because Google lost interest. As an interesting contrast, Gutenberg’s printing press was introduced in 1450. I digress . . . back to the subject. Feedly is a functional and useful tool that will allow you to organize blog posts that you’d like to read regularly. The price is right. It’s free. Set up an account at feedly.com.
The next tool you’ll need in your arsenal is Evernote. An application that’s a little hard to describe, Evernote can be used across your devices to take notes and to collect information. There’s also a browser plugin called Clipper that’s indispensable for collecting useful information (or ridiculous trivia, for that matter). Click a button and you can save and catalog web pages for future reference.
LinkedIn isn’t just a social network. LinkedIn groups are a repository of current information (and opinion and conjecture) and the new Pulse feature which offers a selection of daily news that is “magically” tailored to your professional interest. It’s almost unimaginable that there are business people who don’t have a LinkedIn account. If that’s you, register immediately. I’ll write more about LinkedIn in next week’s blog post.
About downtime, the good news is that you don’t have to be bright and chipper when you read this kind of stuff. Using Feedly to check blog posts is a perfect after dinner, La-Z-boy experience.
Suggestions for Subscriptions:
Here are some must follow blogs (in no particular order of preference):
- The Digital Nirvana – A long-established blog that is associated with What They Think. Heidi Tolliver-Walker and others write about all things print and design. The marketing content is especially good and is always on target with the identification of new trends and possibilities.
- The Printfirm Blog – A recent discovery, Katherine Tattersfield’s posts are a great example for any printer considering a content marketing strategy. Topical, conversational, and to the point – delightful reading.
- TMR Direct’s Marketing blog – Spencer Powell writes compelling content for his family business, a direct mail operation steering steadily in the direction of becoming an inbound marketing agency. You’ll find entertaining and topical posts here and lots of inbound marketing insight*
- Profitable Print Relationships – Here’s the take from the UK. Matthew Parker’s blog is more sales than marketing, and his print-buyer perspective is extremely valuable. His sometimes counter-intuitive insights are “spot on.”
- B2B Marketing Directions – G. David Dodd consults for the printing industry, but his clear and logical marketing analysis is a good resource for any small business owner. Lots to learn here.
A final (and important) mention is Print Media Centr. Their website is a compendium of information, references, posts and articles. Print Media Centr also sponsors #printchat, an online Twitter discussion that happens Wednesday each week at 4:00 PM Eastern. You should try #printchat, at least once. This conversation draws an international crowd that loves print. The mechanics can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated Twitteratus, but the discussion stream is witty, mostly intelligent and always entertaining.
What About LinkedIn?
That’s a whole ‘nother story, as my kids used to say. Next week we’ll take a look at just why LinkedIn is such a good resource for business, and at some limitations and challenges involving this business/social network.
Spencer Powell and I will be starting a new marketing project together in January using Google hangouts. We’re planning a monthly live video chat, tentatively called 21/20 Marketing, that will be available on both the TMR Direct and DP Marketing websites. Each month we’ll take on a new marketing topic and viewers can submit comments and questions via Twitter. The first episode is scheduled for Thursday, January 23, and the topic is Content Marketing Basics. Learn more on the Registration Page for the chat.