Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Beckett

"After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life." Joseph Brodsky

"The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose." Jacques Monod

Today's image: If You Want to Achieve Greatness Stop Asking for Permission by Thomas Hawk. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Eating your own dog food

Whose blog is this I think I know. He's spends his time on Twitter, though.

Been a while since I was last in this hall. Hope that you are enjoying your summer and that all is well with you.

Please allow me to share some thoughts about broadcasters and the road ahead.

A quick review of just about any station website will blatantly suggest broadcasters are laggards, they're not pacing with innovation. My thought is they should be (but are not) eating their own dog food. Let me put that into context. As Professor Leonard Lodish said...

"Technology-oriented people think if they build a better mousetrap, people will buy it," Lodish says. "But as the venture capitalists say, ‘The dogs don't always eat the dog food.' You've got to market effectively."

[ Reference: Getting the dogs to eat the dog food]

In my experience, station staffs are not living, breathing, and fussing over every pixel of their website(s). They're putting it out there but they're not, themselves, heavy users. Some station folk may like their site(s) but too few are real believers, honestly passionate, pumped about being in-the-tank, rabid evangelists, proud enough to say they LOVE their site(s), ready to take up the fight with anyone not in complete agreement that their site(s) is/are, by far, the very best in the market.

Clearly, station staffs are overworked and consumed with the daily press of affairs, however, the listeners/viewers don't care. They've been told to visit and when they do they typically find a site that fails to deliver. Station sites fail on many counts but none greater than failing as a total time suck. Too often listeners/viewers are failing to find things that they are excited about sharing. This is an epic fail, the failure of engagement. It's one of those engine warning lights you best be being paying close attention to going forward. The quality of your station website(s) has/have to be equal to or greater than the quality of your on-air product(s).

Do your assets matter?

Are they discoverable and easy to share?

A review of your referrals will give you a richer picture. How much of your inbound traffic is from the folks? Where are MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, et al ranking in your referrals?

Last month, how many times did your site(s) strike the responsive chord and generate over one-hundred comments on a single post? How many times have your Twitter updates achieved the social network gold of 100+ retweets? How many times this year has your site attracted the attention of your local media colleagues and become news in the metro? When was the last time something on your site became the subject of state, national and/or international attention/news? Are your digital assets highly ranked and prized locally (e.g., A top 20 Twitter account in your DMA? Are one or more of your blogs respected and linked to by other local media and bloggers?). Are your assets "made fresh daily" dynamic and in the moment taking advantage of the new "nowness" and hyper-connectivity of the real-time network? I'm not talking about pulling a Webby nomination, I'm talking about the number of times you have crashed your server, I'm talking about the kind of stuff that leads to your sales people fighting over the inventory baked into your web assets.

If you've not achieved any of those kind of results know this - there is still time to get serious and get in the game. You can do it. It all starts with being honest and doing the hard work. First, show the listeners/viewers that you truly care. Care enough to get into the conversation and engage. Care enough to listen seriously. Care enough to eat your own dog food, the stuff that you keep telling your listeners/viewers to eat. How is it? How can it be better? What would have to happen to make it the best?

How do you go from being the station known (and loved) for Carlos and the Chicken (hat tip: Tom Webster) or that fun-loving morning show weather guy to also being the station known (trusted) for being the gold standard of ongoing local community engagement?

And, really important, please do remember this (Thank me later)

Don't be concerned about whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, be very concerned with who's pouring. Game on! Your thoughts are invited and appreciated. Next, engaging the developer community and getting real about curation. Thanks for stopping by.

Bonus: TV stations websites are preaching to the choir by Terry Heaton, here.

Extra credit bonus: What Happened to Yahoo by Paul Graham, here.

P.S. If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.