Notcasting: What Not to Do on Your Podcast

Paul Bissex has posted a great list of things not to do on your podcast:

  • I Must Apologize for the Terrible Sound Quality of the Last Podcast
  • I Must Apologize for the Terrible Sound Quality of the Present Podcast
  • I Must Apologize for Not Making a Podcast in Several Days/Weeks/Months
  • Thank You for All Your Emails Telling Me What I’m Doing Wrong
  • I Need to Speak Very Quietly, My (Mom|Dad|Girlfriend|Ferret) is Sleeping
  • There Is a Very Exciting Thing Coming at the End of This Podcast But I Won’t Tell You What It Is
  • We Only Have One Microphone for the Three of Us
  • We Are Laughing About This Thing, Ha Ha, You Kind of Had to Be There
  • I Had Big Plans for This Episode But They Just Didn’t Work Out
  • Please Listen to My Next Podcast, It Will Be Better Than This One I Promise

No one cares about any of that! Just do your best and be interesting. This is important because it is functionally impossible to skim a podcast as you can with text.

Customizing for New Members

Michelle Frisque is thinking and writing about how to reinvent the American Library Association as part of a pilot course about inventing Library 2.0. Every association should be so lucky as to have members like Michelle, Michael, Jenny and others who are dedicated to their profession and will blog about how the association could best serve them and their peers.

Michelle also mentioned one of my articles in another post, which made my day!

Michelle recently wrote about how the ALA web site could do a better job of serving new members:

ALA is a huge organization. I remember when I first joined I found it very confusing. How do you get involved? What is ALA doing that affects me? What will my membership in ALA do for me? How do I network? None of this is easy to find on the Web site.

Something I got from Michelle’s post is the idea of customizing your association home page for new members. Help them discover the organization by highlighting information, services and opportunities on the home page when that new member is logged in. Change it every week or every day! You can phase out the special content over time or allow the member to turn it off when they no longer need it. It should be fairly evergreen content, which is great because it is relatively easy to manage once it is developed.

A few other ideas: Provide the same content in an RSS feed! Create a serial e-mail autoresponder for new members that gives them a new tip about the association every day for two week after they join! You get the idea.

(A serial e-mail autoresponder is an e-mail announcement list where all the messages are written and queued up so that a new subscriber gets each message in order at a specified interval. These have been around a long time but I’ve never heard of an association using them, oddly enough. Seems like a natural for a lot of association promotions and content.)

The Art of Customer Service

From Guy Kawasaki in early April, The Art of Customer Service:

If you put in a policy to take care of the worst case, bad people, it will antagonize and insult the bulk of your customers.

Read that sentence above 3 times. Put it on your wall. Give it to HR and your CEO. I believe this is a universal truth for both customers and employees. Managing via exceptions creates a negative focus with very people for whom you should be providing value.

Ben gets

Ben Martin on how he has used the social bookmark service with his association’s volunteers to replace the traditional resource guide authoring process:

So, who writes these resource guides? Well, in my experience the links are harvested by association staff and/or volunteers, who also compose short descriptions for the sites they collect. They then write up the guides in MS Word, hand them over to a webmaster, who codes it into HTML and uploads it to the Web site. Then, the resource guide gathers dust on a static page. Perhaps it gets updated next year. Perhaps not.

Friends, there is a better way!

I agree that traditional resource guides, as traditionally authored, are inevitably stale and not too useful by the time they are published. The key to the approach that Ben describes is to trust your members to collaborate without an editorial filter. Upside: current, relevant, member-driven conent! Downside: letting go of the illusion of control. Hmm, maybe that is an upside too…

Nice line on strategic planning

Jamie Notter has a great line on strategic planning in his blog today:

Talk about planning. Talk about strategy. Do NOT talk about strategic planning.

Beautiful summation. I’ve always had some discomfort with the declaration that strategic planning is dead, in that it was never clear what exactly you’re supposed to do instead. The answer that feels best to me so far is that you divorce the two, as Jamie so clearly put it.

Using the Bottom of Your Page

Derek Powazek had a nice post a while ago on how to reward visitors who read an entire page:

When you’re designing pages – specifically content pages – what is the best possible thing that could happen? I mean after the user has bought a computer, gotten internet connectivity, figured out how to use a browser, and somehow found their way to your site … what is the single best thing that they could do?

Read. That’s right, read. And read all the way to the bottom of the page. In this business, a user that actually reads all the way to the bottom of a page is like gold. They’re your best, most engaged, happiest users. You know, because they haven’t clicked away. They did the best possible thing they could do, and now they’re at the bottom of the page. And how do you reward them?

With a copyright statement. Maybe, if they’re lucky, some bland footer navigation.

If you ask me, that’s just rude.

Read the rest of the post for the ideas on to provide value at the bottom of your pages.