I’m sitting in on an excellent presentation (that is me in the back row, third one in) by Nate Elliott of Forrester Research who is presenting his findings on the New Influentials – Internet users who maintain a weblog or personal homepage, who join in discussions on web message boards, forums, etc. and regularly update their social networking profile page – who continue to become a growing influence on consumers in decision-making around products, technology, music, etc. New Influentials primarily exert active influence by proactively giving advice, but are rarely sought out as compared to Classic Influentials who’s opinions are sought out but who rarely give unless asked. Forrester’s research shows that classic influence remains stagnant, while new influence continues to grow. But, as users grow overwhelmed by influence, they will seek greater context and ways to filter New Influencers for opinions they would value. So what needs to happen? New Influencers need to be rated so users can filter and decide who’s opinion they want to follow. And the further development of social graphs that map the people you know with the content you are looking at online. For example, you go to a restaurant review site, and are immediately shown reviews from the people you know immediately, and likely trust.
I was talking to a leadership consultant over coffee and we started discussing websites and blogs. He has a company site, but like many, it doesn’t get updated much and is used as the primary introduction to his business – an online brochure, more or less. I suggested he should start a blog. Then, I went as far as to say his blog should replace his company site. He seemed taken back. Then I explained.
A blog is the best type of site for a professional consultant. It’s tailor-made for their needs and what they have to offer: knowledge and expertise. A consultant can use the blog to continually share their knowledge, keep it regularly updated, cultivate a community passionate about the same field, and interact with an audience. How many company sites do that? How many even get updated unless for a change in an address or phone number. And you can save on the hosting costs with a free blog here at WP, complete with traffic and search stats. Add pages to the blog such as articles, bio and business info and you’ve got all the components of most regular sites, but a hell of a lot more effective and functional. If you’re a consultant and only have a company site because everyone else does, you’re not doing yourself much service. And chances are, your company site isn’t doing a whole lot to communicate your authentic voice – a key component when evaluating consultants. Start a blog and link to it from your site, or make your blog your main site.
This was sent to me by my colleague Tricia. I think she’s giving me a hint.