Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for

making decisions

Are You Letting the Wrong People Control Your Content?

Author:

Community is absolutely necessary if you want to grow your content online, but I think some people allow too much community involvement. You might be letting the wrong people control too much. I was recently reading a post on Marketing Profs by Matthew Grant, and he threw out a very insightful quote about business:

“Everybody should have a voice, but not everybody should have a vote.” – Tom Fishburne

In the business world, this absolutely makes sense. The CEO of your company needs to be a leader, making the hard decisions and guiding the team. It’s important to build a team of employees you trust and to value their opinions, but ultimately, it’s up to you to have final say on everything. Everybody should have a voice, but not everybody should have a vote.

Why shouldn’t the same be true of your blog, podcast, or web series/videos? You can call yourself by whatever title strikes your fancy, but you’re the CEO. It’s time to take control of your content.

Listening to Your Community

Before I tell you why you shouldn’t do everything your community wants you to do, let me make it clear, that just like Tom and Matthew, I agree with the idea that everyone should have a voice. Your community members are comparable to your employees in this way – it makes sense to listen to what they have to say. Here’s why:

  • Community members can be extremely creative and can come up with awesome ideas for your blog.
  • You might believe your community feels one way when they, in fact, do not, and this can shape the kind of content you produce.
  • If one community member complains about something, it probably means there are others also having problems but not being vocal.
  • Sometimes you’re too close to your content to see problems.
  • Listen to your community – and interacting with them – is fun!

So yes, definitely listen to your community. Just be selective with the advice you take.

The Dangers of Crowdsourcing the Decision Making Process

Sometimes, it can be really cool to allow your community to make a decision for you. For example, some travel bloggers let everyone vote on where they’ll be traveling next. But most of the time, leaving an important content decision in the hands of your fans is a recipe for disaster. Why?

  • They might vote for something as a joke or because it is the worst decision. Remember the American Idol Vote for the Worst movement? It’s still going and apparently covers more than just AI at this point.
  • Your audience doesn’t care about your content. Well, they might, but not the way that you do. Their livelihood and futures aren’t tied to it the way yours are.
  • Community members will vote for the option that’s best for their needs, not for the needs of the entire community or your content in general.
  • People don’t always know what they need or want until you give it to them.
  • When people feel passionate about something, they try to persuade others to vote the same way, even if those community members might not care. If you open voting to everyone with a public poll, they might even get non-community members to vote.
  • If you open it up to voting and then don’t do what your community says, you’ll have a riot on your hands worse than if you never opened the decision at all.
  • Your community members are probably thinking about what’s best right now, not what will be best long term.
  • Your community members probably won’t think about the cost of a decision since they don’t have to pay for it.

The bottom line is that your content is your responsibility. What your community has to say does matter, but only to a point. Ultimately, you have to take control of the situation and make a final decision.

If you’re interested in learning more about both content and community management, check out our upcoming conference in Las Vegas. NMX 2013 is shaping up to have awesome education in both areas!

Your Secret Blog Decision-Making Weapon

Author:

When you own your own blog, lots of decisions have to be made. What color should you make the background? Is the font too small? How often is too often when you’re posting content? Which logo looks best? And on and on and on…even after you launch the blog, there are decisions to be made. It doesn’t ever end.

Hopefully, you have enough vision for your blog that you can make most choices rather easily. Well, perhaps easily isn’t the word, but hopefully you can make a choice and feel confident that it’s the right one.

But what about the times when you can’t? What if you feel like there are two or more choices that could be equally “right”? What if the decision you are making isn’t something that can easily be changed if you choose incorrectly? Decisions like that can keep you up at night. They certainly have caused a number of sleepless nights for me, and when it comes to business decisions, I’m usually pretty confident.

I’ve found the perfect way to make decisions, though. Over the years of blogging that I’ve done, there’s one weapon, one secret weapon, that I return to again and again and again…and it’s a weapon that every blogger had in their arsenal. In fact, even if you don’t yet have a blog, even if you only have a Twitter account or Facebook page, this secret weapon is something you possess.

What exactly is the weapon I’m talking about? Your audience.

I’m not suggesting that you should crowd-source every decision you make, but when you truly don’t know the right way to turn, your audience – the people who are your readers or who will become your readers – can help point you in the perfect direction. What they reveal could be extremely helpful – often their answers are skewed one way or another, not split 50-50 like the choices might be in your own mind.

The easiest way to ask your audience what they think, in my opinion, is to set up a poll. You can do so for free at Survey Monkey*, which is my personal favorite poll tool, though there are other options as well, some of which you can even embed in a blog post or on your sidebar (Survey Monkey allows this, but it can also be hosted on their site). Once you have your poll set up, blast it to everyone – your email list, your social profiles, even your friends and family if you think their input will help. If you don’t have a huge fanbase yet, you might not get much of a response – but even ten people weighing in can give you some insight, especially if all ten people feel strongly one way or the other.

Seeing responses might also give you a reflection of your own opinions. If you see everyone voting one way and find yourself feeling upset that they’re not picking the other choice, it’s a good indication that you didn’t feel 50-50 about the choices anyway. Remember, you don’t always have to listen to your readers. One of the things I like about Survey Monkey rather than on-site poll options is that they’re blind – people make their choices, but they can’t view the results. This discourages bandwagoning, as well as gives you more freedom to choose what you want, not the popular vote, when the poll closes.

As a mini case-study, let me show you what I’m doing right now. My next blogging project, which is zombie-themed, doesn’t yet have a URL, and after thinking about it, I just couldn’t decide on my own. So I came up with my top picks, based on what was available, an created a poll, which you can see here. A few things to note:

  • It’s super simple, with only one question.
  • There’s an optional comment box where users who are so inclined can explain their answer. This really helps me out, but it doesn’t pressure people to leave a comment if their choice was just a gut reaction.
  • I gave people a way to sign up for my mailing list at the end. Most of the people responding are already on my mailing list, but I’ve put out a net to catch people who aren’t, but who want to be.

I hope that some of you will head over there and vote – and for the reason I’m not going to tell you my results so far, but I will say this: there are two strong front runners. I didn’t really expect that, but now that I’m thinking about it, it makes sense – they really are the two best URLs on the list. Chances are that you’ll vote for one of them if you do vote.

Asking my audience has time and time again helped me make decisions about my blog. As an added bonus, making my readers part of a decision helps build buzz about my projects and makes the community strong – people like to be a part of your choices when they feel connected to your site. Even if you ultimately don’t go with the popular vote, polling your readers can really help you make blog decisions. Have you tried it before? What have your experiences been?

*FYI, the link to Survey Monkey is not an affiliate link or anything. My post sounds a little gushy about them, so I wanted to make that clear. I don’t know if there’s even an affiliate program associated with Survey Monkey. I legitimately just love their service!

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives