Month: July, 2010

28 Jul

What are you reading?

Mike Koehler Uncategorized 2 Comments

I’ve got to admit that books got me to where I am today.

When I was trying to sort out the journalism business and how I could single-handedly save it, I started reading books about – gasp! – business.

Fortunately for me, this was right around the time that business books began booming. Like many others, I read Good to Great by Jim Collins and it really changed my perspective of how business worked and how to craft a staff to reach your goals. It also taught me the value of data. The cold hard facts.

Now, books are an inescapable part of my life. The more I can red the better. Sure, I have my ebbs and flows, but books have helped me get me here, writing this blog and trying this adventure of my own company.

Dave Ramsey sent out a Tweet yesterday – the average millionaire reads a book a month.

Sounds good to me.

So, what are you reading right now?

My answers:

  • Built to Last by Collins
  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Crush It by Gary V.
  • Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
  • Tender Warrior by Stu Weber

Your turn.

27 Jul

What can Comic Con teach us?

Mike Koehler Content, Nerd culture, social media 0 Comments

Never have the people had so much choice over the media that they consume. And because of that never have the people had so much power to wield.

Especially the savviest of consumers, who use their intense passion about certain kinds of media to make or break opinion and success in Hollywood.

That was the biggest lesson I learned from attending the San Diego Comic Con on Sunday. The geeks have inherited the Earth (and I proudly count myself in that number) and have brought the beautiful people calling in order to curry favor.

There are a few grand unifying theories in my world, but one of them is that high school still defines most of us. The groups (call them cliques, call them tribes) that we gravitate toward help us to understand who we are when we are desperate to find out.

To know that outside group (comic book and genre fans, who for the most part are still on the fringes) is now the one being pandered to is a testament to the power of technology and the theories of the long tail and word-of-mouth marketing.

Speaking broadly, the group that loves comics and science fiction is typically more technological than the mainstream. They built the web as a gathering place where they could share not only their individual passions, but also be in a space that was more comfortable socially. Virtual sharing is lot less intimate, especially when you are dealing with the important currency of information.

What are Star Trek episode synopses, Star Wars character origins, comic book continuity and the intricacies of Japanese Anime but information? What is the greatest world for this information but the web?

But back to Comic Con. Once it was discovered that the web could be brought to bear to bring an audience to a film, then those fringe players – geeks, nerds, what have you – became key to the equation of how a movie was marketed.

Capture the voices at Comic Con, and especially capture their positive sentiment through their social network updates, and you were more ensured of a successful product than not.

Just from the buzz at this year’s Con and you can tell that The Walking Dead on AMC is going to be successful, while the Green Hornet movie with Seth Rogan is not.

What does this have to do with what Smirk New Media has to do?

Of course, we have questions.

What is the equivalent network for your business? Who are the opinion shapers? Where are they gathered? How are you going to reach them?

How are you listening to what those people are saying online? How do you appeal to what they want with your communication?

These are not easy questions or easy answers. Sometimes it helps to have a partner to help you ferret out those answers and find the right platforms for you, your business and the crowd around you.

That’s what I’m trying to do. Nerd legacy, Superman T-shirt and all.

Questions for me? Leave them below.

23 Jul

What’s stopping you?

Mike Koehler SmallBiz 0 Comments
What are the barriers to business these days?
I’m writing this in the lobby of my mechanic on a laptop I bought for not very much. There’s a video camera in my bag that I was able to snag for less than $100.
There’s free wifi all around me in the air. You can go to Starbucks, the library, Panera Bread or McDonald’s and instantly be on the biggest marketplace on Earth.
Business cards are free online.
Websites can be too.
Email addresses, online storage, video conferencing. All free online.
Social media can raise your businesses profile to hundreds or thousands in an audience that you can choose yourself.
What are the barriers to business these days?
This journey started for me not very long ago. I invested in some equipment, tapped into my network and leaned on prayer.
If want to open a restaurant or mass produce an invention, there’s going to be demands for more capital, more of a strain financially, but technology has shattered so much that was once standing in the way for people who wanted to try to succeed on their own.
If you have an idea in your head that will help others, bring value and tap into the knowledge you want to share, think about it.
What’s holding you back?
What barriers are standing in your way?
And what are you doing to smash them?
22 Jul

Questions of the day(?)

Mike Koehler Uncategorized 4 Comments

Are you pondering what I’m pondering? Here are some questions that I have been kicking around in my noggin.

If you have a few moments of peace over a cold glass of iced coffee today, you might ask yourself these questions about social media, business and life.

Am I having fun doing what I’m doing?

Am I helping other people?

Am I sharing interesting links on my social networks?

Am I looking for opportunities to connect with someone I want to know better?

Am I learning something new every day?

Am I supporting people in my network who have their own business?

Am I sending personal greetings on birthdays and times of celebration?

Am I adding rich content to what I do online, like videos and photos?

Am I checking in at the businesses I am loyal to?

Am I checking my writing to make sure that it’s top-notch? (Does that have a hyphen?)

Am I keeping my work organized?

Am I making my clients feel great?

Am I taking care of myself — mentally, physically and spiritually?

Am I making my family a priority?

Am I making God a priority?

21 Jul

When is engaged really engaged?

Mike Koehler OKC, Oklahoma, social media 1 Comment

Some folks have asked me about the threshold for “social media engagement.”

How many posts, how many followers and how much conversation do you need to have in order to “be doing it right?”

First, the more “quotes” you can use in these situations, the better.

Second, your results may vary.

All of these questions, including the dreaded question about social media followers (don’t get me started), hinge on what your purpose is, what your business is and what you want to get out of the digital community.

For me, there has been benefit in having a great back-and-forth with another user. But it’s important to remember that the public conversations you have on Facebook or Twitter need to ultimately serve a higher purpose. Are they helping your brand and speaking to your expertise, or are they just telling everyone how annoying or bullheaded you can be?

For the most part, businesses can find success in speaking generally to a network (Good morning, have a great day, etc.) while strategically finding and creating conversations that are relevant. You can do that with some keyword searching or you can do that by being online constantly.

But one thing I’ve found after more than a week in the land of working for myself — time online means time you aren’t out hustling for business.

Sure, that creates the paradox of a social media guy who isn’t spending a lot of time in social media (not to mention blogging at 4:45 p.m.), but it does means that it’s more important to do work for clients online than to do it for myself.



20 Jul

What is social media policy?

Mike Koehler OKC, Oklahoma, social media policy 0 Comments

Here”s a video from a little while back, when I spoke to the Bartlesville Marketing and HR Associations to talk about social media policy. Employee policy is still something I really enjoy focusing one, since it helps protects brands that companies have built up and helps the employees too.

Thanks to Scott Townsend (@unitedlinen) for the invite and for shooting the video.

19 Jul

Getting unstuck: What to do for content?

Mike Koehler Content, social media 5 Comments
There you sit in front of your computer, wondering what you should blog, Tweet or Facebook.
The blank monitor mocks you. You’d prefer to throw it out the window, but for the good of the business you feel like you need to share — something.
Here are ten questions to ask yourself, that should spark some content ideas.
They may seem mundane to you, but the readers of your blog will enjoy the insight and understanding that comes with finding out how you do what you do and know what you know.
1. What is your morning routine? Tell readers how you survey the day you have ahead of you and what you do to launch yourself into your work.
2. What is your media diet? Do you have blogs that you must-read every day? Do you get the paper? When do you check your Facebook?
3. What time management system to you use? Trust me, there are enough Getting Things Done (GTD) fanatics out there that if you mention it in your blog, they’ll read it.
4. How do you balance work and family? It’s an issue for business people large and small, but finding the right way to navigate is a topic on top of many minds.
5. Who inspires you? It may be your wife, your God, your favorite author or a personal hero. Tell that story and explain why.
6. How did you learn the basics of your business? We were all beginners once. Explain to your readers and friends about a breakthrough memory.
7. What was the best business book you read? For some folks, Good to Great makes everything click. For others, it’s something by Seth Godin. Review your favorite.
8. What movie has moved you? One of the favorite blogs I ever wrote was about the connection between social media and Shawshank Redemption. And there’s always The Godfather for some righteous business tips.
9. What non-profit do you support? You have a blog, so here’s your chance to give your favorite charity a little boost in front of your network. Count the ways they are doing good.
10. What’s your vision? You may be a guy with a laptop today, but where does this go ten years from now, 25 years from now? What do you envision for your family? What impact do you want to have on your community. Cast some vision and see what happens.
16 Jul

Where in the world is @mkokc?

Mike Koehler Uncategorized 0 Comments

Quick update about something I love to do.

Talking, teaching and sharing about how the web has changed the way we communicate and share information.

Today I’m in Springfield, Mo., talking to a group of teachers from across the country about convergence journalism. Camp STN is the brainchild of my former media teacher at Hillcrest High School, Dave Davis. Since his first classes in video journalism 20 years ago, Dave has created a nationally recognized student journalism organization. Watch their work at HTV Magazine’s website.

Talk about lucky. I’ve had many mentors, from my Dad to Dave to Mike Sherman to Giovanni Gallucci who have taught me about what readers, businesses and customers want and how to talk to them about the platforms and stories that deliver.

Journalism, social media and the web are all growing and changing. It’s like Jack riding the giant beanstalk into the clouds.


15 Jul

What have you learned this week?

Mike Koehler social media 0 Comments

In the last few days through social media, I”ve learned about:

* The birth of one baby.

* The future birth of another.

* The death of George Steinbrenner.

* How a friend is coping with losing his mother.

* Another cool event coming to Oklahoma City.

* The excellence of Old Spice.

* Poor service at a restaurant I love.

* The fumbling of the iPhone 4″s problems.

* A friend”s intolerance to poorly constructed Stormtrooper costume.

* Ways to give back to my community.

* And the movies my friends like, just in case I would rather just escape.

I”ve learned these things from my friends, their friends, traditional media sources and blogs. I”ve read about them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; seen them on YouTube or the Huffington Post.

Would I have known these things if I hadn”t been plugged in and engaged? Perhaps. Maybe. Eventually.

Why have social networking as a tool in your life? Because it brings the world — from your friend”s allergy problems to the oil spill in the gulf — right to your pocket.

What have you learned this week?



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