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Friday, March 30, 2007

Advancing through 200 posts (and over the moon about it).

Sayidatymoon_2You find out a lot--about a lot of things--through blogging. Not the least of which are things about yourself. Writing of any sort, really. But when there is a conversation and an archive of enough posts, themes about yourself, and your work, emerge. Even to see actual words repeated creates a thread of sorts.

A fan of methodologies and such, I'm always working to home in on a paradigm or framework. Maybe I have a methodical nature. Or maybe biz school and a battery of case studies messed with my head. But as it pertains to just about anything on the marketing front--and life, really--I've found that I basically need ask but one question to decide if it's worth my time, thought and trouble:

Is it advancing? Does it advance this medium and/or does it advance the marketing discipline?That's my $64,000 question. That's my litmus test and my barometer. It's what drives me, my decisions, my professional time and, in large part, my personal time.

It can be a program that advances a company or brand to increase ROI. Or it can advance a cause solely by opening a conversation. It can be an effort that advances the marketing profession, or a medium that does that. People are advancing. But it's people from all types of backgrounds and levels of experience that advance me. There's no set recipe or resume; I learn as much from those with less experience than I do from those with more. Heck, I learn as much from those outside of the profession as I do from those within it (like fan armies, Doctors or heavy-metal heads).

Reading books is advancing. But even more so when you can discuss the theories with others. I always have questions--or just plain "don't get" something--after I've read a piece so it seemed natural to push for a forum where I could get some answers (thanks to MarketingProfs for pushing for it with me). Getting closer to customers is advancing. So I'm encouraging clients to open more feedback channels (get a darn blog or wiki!) and instill more customer advisory boards (hope upon hope they listen).

Seeing the "myriad opportunities in mishaps" is advancing as so many times when a company has done wrong they are afforded ways to advance themselves, not just apologize. And it seems such a wasted opportunity when they don't (sigh).

Promoting socially responsible practices is advancing and it's one way I can help raise awareness on these fronts. Giving CEOs ideas for ways to give back to those just starting out in their careers is advancing. I love giving fellow marketers recommendations to advance their brands, staying on top of them so they join the community...and also giving them well-deserved props for trying new things.

It's why the collage was important to create, because it could show the world (er, a very, very small corner of it) just how many ways social media is advancing and contributing so much value to to so many smart people, not just me.

In large part, if not in full, advancement is why I've been so focused on the blogging front--as I have more than my share of friends, clients and colleagues who think I'm absolutely nuts spending the amount of time I do in my "blogging bubble." And a Book Club that takes time but doesn't pay? They think I've completely lost my mind (granted they could be right).

But they've no idea how many newfound contacts I've met through blogging and books. Relationships from all over No. America, India, Europe, Australia, etc. that genuinely advance me because I'm afforded to see the world from outside my USA bubble. We are such a small part of the world and I need to better understand just how skewed my viewpoint, or the assumptions I hold may be if I want to advance into global terrain.

And meeting all you brainy bloggers when afforded the chance through travels to other cities...or travels to mine? That's highly advancing and just adds another dimension to the strong relationships we're building (I've been so fortunate to meet so many of you that I can't just point to one post, the category is here).

Girl_on_moon_2While I'm a fan of connecting, sharing and uniting--and I outright deplore initiatives that divide and destroy--my barometer is really set by advancing, or advancement. It's a subjective barometer to be sure--I'm certainly not the authority on what is or isn't advancing overall. Just advancing for me.

So, 200 posts later, that's one thing I've learned about myself and why I do, believe and support what I do. It's not groundbreaking by any measure...who wants to spend time on things that don't advance themselves, their company or cause? But it does give me my barometer. It also gives me a way to craft and position the message to my colleagues and clients. Maybe it will "advance" them to join the conversation and get closer to their own communities. Hope so.

Thanks to all you brilliant bloggers for advancing me. Not sure I'll ever be able to give you as much as you've given me but I'll always work to advance this medium, the marketing discipline and you good folks. Wish I could give you the moon. Alas, I'm told she's not mine to give.

Comments

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CK,

I get the same questions from non-bloggers: How can I afford to spend so much time blogging? Doesn't it hurt your business?

My response: Neither I nor my business can afford for me not to blog. In addition to your points, all with which I agree, blogging benefits my business in the following ways:

1) Yesterday, I was a guest on the Engaging Brand Podcast from England, hosted by the wonderful Anna Farmery. We discussed social reponsibility. I will post the link when the podcast is available. For now, here is her blog link: http://theengagingbrand.typepad.com. Anna found me as a reader of my blog.
2) I have had articles published throughout the US, and recently in Bulgaria. The editor liked my posts, and asked me to contribute. (By the way: more than 50% of my readers are from outside the US.)
3) Anne asked me to be a contributor at The Daily Fix. That has to be good for my business. She would have never found me were I not a blogger.
4) My clients benefit from all that the community teaches me. And you all teach me lots.
5) My next book is getting great publicity because of my blogging. That has to be a good thing.

I personally benefit in the following ways:
1) I have made a new circle of friends. I treasure and honor each of you.
2) I am a happier and a calmer person because of my relationship with this blogging community.
3) I am blessed, honored and humbled by CK, David, Paul, Cam, Drew, Toby, Valeria, Mack, John, Gianandrea, Ann, Elaine, Andrea, David, Gavin, Tim, Luc, B.L. and so many others who I read and who share their thoughts. (I apologize to all those I didn't mention but know that you mean much to me.)

Writers, marketers, communicators of every sort have to write everyday to sharpen their craft. And we have to read everyday to get better at what we do. If someone knows of a more fun, a better relationship-building, community-forming way than blogging, let me know.

CK, you are the best, girl. Keep on keepin' on!

CK - Congrats on #200. What a great ride it has been so far. :)

I love how you were able to boil your framework down into just one thing, but then inject it with your vivid, engaging, and bright personality.

You are adept at that.

In addition, you move forward the conversation by including others. There is something to be learned by the way you do it here. If you are trying to move forward the conversation without including others, you're just talking to yourself.

If there is one thing you've proved over the last 200 posts (and many, many comments on the blogs of others) is that you are surrounded by a warm community that greatly profits by your involvement.

Best to you!

Lew: As with everyone in this community you've been both colleague and dear friend. I love how you extrapolated on the value in your comment. I think that makes for a terrific post on your side!

Cam: You're so kind and always so supportive...we all remark on how amazed we are that you're able to comment so in depthly on everyone's blogs. I'm glad I was able to boil it down to what it's about for me--it took the exercise of blogging and writing my thoughts and interacting with others through a few hundred posts to really get to the core of it.

Nothing makes me happier than to work on advancing the medium, marketing and you guys--nothing would make me happier, or make me feel I'm putting my energies to better use, than to help in those ways. We're all better because of one another, that's for sure...and something I learned very early on.

Congrats on the big 2-0-0. And don't forget that you're closing in on 500 links, which of course means that Technorati will get up to speed on what we've already known, that you're an A-Lister! ;)

CK, congratulations on hitting #200. I remember how you went over and over your first post until you felt you had it just right. Now you're cranking them out.

Lewis and Cam have said it so well up above, so all I can do is echo their comments. I see every day how much good on so many fronts can come from blogging. For that, I thank you for getting me to follow you into the blogospere. It's good to be here, and you help make it so, my friend.

CK,

200 posts (wow!), and obviously a lot of time spent on the net. But when you look back and observe, what impressions are left behind all this? A lot of time spent (or eventually waisted)? Or so many things learnt and yet to discover? You just gave us your answer. And I feel the same way too.

There is a link between reading, writing and learning. That's what blogging is about, really. There would be no readers if there were no writers and no writers if there were no readers. The great thing about doing both is that it leads us to learning. Learning that behind blogs there are people, great people. Learning that behind marketing there are consumers, great consumers.

Open minds, freely linked, communicating, sharing... do learn faster. I hope our clients will understand this... as soon as possible and consider it as a new era of communication.

Ohhhh and, I almost forgot ; )
Whoever told you the Moon is not yours to give, was unfortunately not looking right into your eyes, when you said : "Look! There is the Moon!". After reading your post, I see it there... so thank you for sharing that brilliant reflection with us. Yes, you gave us the Moon, CK!

Luc the Alien blogger from "out there". ; )

PS : Lewis, thank you. : )

A great milestone CK - and a wonderfully reflective post to commemorate it. You were advanced when I first started commenting. I recall how blown away I was at seeing THE COLLAGE and even more astounded to be part of it.

And still you continue advancing and growing - the Book Club but one example. Your wit, your humor, your gifts help us learn and grow.

Honestly, you don't look a day over 50 ;)

Congrats on the big 200! It is yet another milestone in a jam packed couple of weeks. AND you are on the edge of Mack's Top 25 and about to crash into the A-list. But you know, for us, you are an A+ lister.

Have a martini for me ;)

Lists are self-fulfilling prophecies that exist mostly in the mind. And you already believe it is possible to achieve while being yourself: in your blog and in your work.

That is the most remarkable story about all this. Milestones are figurative ways of pausing and reflecting. Heavens, even birthdays are like that! In English you say you turn "x" number; in Italian you achieve it (compiere). What a difference a word can make, eh?

Congratulations, CK. Of course you're over the moon, you're a star.

CK,

Ditto to everything that has already been said. What I love most about you is your giving heart. You just can't help yourself. It shows in your blog, in your friendships developed from your blog (of which I consider myself lucky to be included) and as I have learned about you -- in all aspects of your life.

200 posts = 200 moments of sharing, celebrating, thinking and reaching out.

Thanks for sharing yourself with us. We're quite lucky.

Drew

what is amazing is the consistent quality of all this posts. different topics, huge number of insights, a lot of stimulating questions.

CK,

You are brilliant. Not only do studens like the idea you suggested, but the posts I make in response to their questions are among my most popular, drawing tons of comments in reply.

Thanks again!

Paul

Am just learning to blog and found your website recommended from other readers. keep it up. I think ill adopt your way of writing.

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