Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Antennas Up!” Are you casting a wide net in your listening?

Earl Pertnoy’s quote is an exclamation that we should be listening. To members. To prospects. To donors. To our industry or profession. To trends that will impact our organizations.
  • So, how big is your antenna? 
  • How big is your information net? 
  • Are you a “single station” person or, do you follow information on “stations” you don’t like but which may offer great information? 
  • Are you connecting the unconnected in a way that helps you? Do you see the connections between other areas and your organization?
Back when I was in college public relations, I remember at professional development conferences listening with awe as PR folks from “small colleges” said “I can’t do that I’m not at a big university.” And, sometimes hearing the PR pros at big universities saying “that’s being done at a small college so it probably wouldn’t work here.”

My goal was always to take what I heard, saw or read (not just at conferences but in readings) and find a way to make it fit in my work. I remember taking one tip from a large university PR pro and converting it into a piece aired on the NBC radio news for our small college.

One of the reasons I love Twitter is the vast amount of content and ideas I read from the fantastic people I follow. I discover ideas that work in association management, in cause marketing, in running my business, in my blogs and speeches.

I regularly use two main tools to find information that helps me:

  • Google News Alerts: I get valuable information by getting daily updates on key words that I follow. For example: association management or cause marketing. 
  • Twitter and Twitter searches: In addition to watching what my Twitter buddies are tweeting, I use Tweetdeck because it lets me follow tweets on subjects that interest me. In addition to providing links to thoughtful articles, this search introduces me to folks I may want to follow.
  • I also rely on reading (newspapers, books, etc.)  For example, I just read in David Scott Meerman's book The New Rules of Marketing & PR about the Concrete Network.  Which reminded me about the Veterinary Information Network.  Both of which seem to be examples of competition for "traditional" associations ... something I blogged about back on November.
So, what tools can you use to create a wide net of information that might help you in your job?

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