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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Relationships, not control

I am still basking in the glow of Jim Griffin’s talk at the UKSG annual conference a couple of weeks ago. Jim is a digital music pioneer and was involved with napster some years back.

His points were mainly around the restrictive pricing and bundling of information as compared to the “voluntary” fees for music tracks. But my main takeaway was that relationships and marketing will be the key success driver for scholarly publishing in future, not controlling access to information, and not a product-centric strategy.

He ended to great applause with the already infamous line that as publishers and librarians, “we will have succeeded when our information feels free without being free.”

While I’m big on Agile web development and User-Centered Design, and have dabbled in geek-like fashion in techniques such as gaze plots and heat maps, I specialize in Marketing because I know we really make the difference between people using a product and people loving a product.

Those who use your product/journal/book/website, do so because they really need it. Which is great. But those who love your product/journal/book/website, have had a say over the years in how it works and how it’s packaged. They feel ownership of it, and they feel valued, fulfilled and proud because they helped get it right. They have a relationship with you, and that means they’ve told others.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The machine is (using) us

A thought-provoking demonstration of the evolution of content and the new collaborative web (web 2.0). I plan to use this to kick off all my training sessions!

video

Friday, 18 April 2008

Words that should be banned from press releases!

Essential reading for new PR recruits, this buzzboard has been compiled by a bunch of New York journalists and cites examples of fatuous words and phrases they receive in abundance from people like us trying to pitch headlines, and to which they immediately respond with a click of the ‘delete’ button.

I notice that 'end users' is on there. There's probably not an STM publisher out there that has managed to eradicate its use of the term in brochures and other communication. In a world of personalization, it’s scary how it never occurs to publishers to replace 'end users' with 'researchers' or 'medical students'. Or even, 'people'!

Of course, the other problem with press releases is that they are often not written for journalists at all. Many communications managers issue a news release instead for:

  1. informing customers (because the company doesn't have an effective, widely-read, or well-publicized newsletter);
  2. positioning (because your competitor had a great idea and you have to respond saying how much better your product is); or
  3. the boss (because internally you need to be seen to be very busy developing new features and functionality, and you might get more budget if the CEO likes the sound of it. Besides, you were told to write a press release about it so you'd better just get on with it).

And that is why most of the press releases in this industry contain jargony nonsense and robotic quotes, and rarely make it into publication.

Okay, rant over. For now!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Are you falling into bad (Forbes) email habits?

How many publishers can say they've never sent a message out like the one Seth Godin got from Forbes recently?

I also love his succint advice for personalising messages - "talk to them about them, not about you".

SEO - top considerations for landing pages

From SEOmoz.org, the following components are ranked below with scores out of 5.

On-page optimization ranking factor importance:

  • title attribute of document = 4.9/5
  • Meta name description = 2/5
  • Meta name keywords = 1/5
  • Keyword frequency and density = 3.7/5
  • Keyword in headings - h1 = 3.1, h2 = 2.8
  • Keyword in document name = 2.8
Off-page optimisation ranking factor importance:
  • More backlinks (higher PageRank) = 4/5
  • Page assessed as a hub = 3.5/5
  • Page assessed as an authority = 3.5/5
  • Link anchor text contains keyword = 4.4/5
  • Link velocity (rate at which changes) = 3.5/5