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Clout Twitterview Transcript with @leenjones and @Peachpit

By  Jan 5, 2011

Topics: Web Design & Development

On Wednesday, January 5, @Peachpit and @leenjones faced off in a live Twitterview about creating influential web content. Check out the transcript and suggest the next Twitterview author!

@leenjones Twitterview time! First of all, congrats on your new book, Clout! http://peachp.it/gHV828

@leenjones Who was Clout written for? Who are the primary people who should be concerned about the quality of their web content? #clout

@leenjones: @Peachpit Well, it's easier to say who Clout is NOT written for. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones LOL, ok who was it NOT written for? ;) #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit It 's not written for people who hate getting results online. Or dread change. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit If you're satisfied with making little impact with web content, Clout isn't for you. :) #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Then Clout def has a wide audience! What are some common mistakes people make when building their online presence? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit One mistake is to spend most of your time and budget on SEO snake oil. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit What's the point in being found if your content isn't worth finding? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit The biggest mistake of all is to turn to wrong solutions like SEO snake oil over and over, then expect different results. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit That's also how Einstein defined insanity. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Good point. What is the business value of compelling web content? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit One huge value of compelling web content is gaining qualified leads. Media might call that growing a target audience. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit That's all a fancy way of saying that web content helps you attract the right people. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Once you have the attention of the right people, influencing them is MUCH easier. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones So what exactly is "influential web content?" How do you know if you have it? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit The tricky part is you have to ATTRACT people. Not target or otherwise hunt them down. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit You know you have influential web content when you get the results you want. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit As a simple example, IHG improved the quality of the copy and photos on HolidayInn.com. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit The result was a statistically significant increase in bookings. IHG liked that result. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones That's a great example. Which other websites do you feel are building really influential web content? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I always love HowStuffWorks.com as a great example of web content (shout out to @tracyvwilson). #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit The HSW voice, the content formats (from articles to quizzes to podcasts), and the immersive interaction are geek heaven. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Not coincidentally, geeks are HSW's target audience. (I think I just revealed I'm a geek. ) #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Me too. ;) Do you need a large budget or staff to create great content? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit No, but you must have A budget and staff to create great content. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit For clients who are new to caring about content, I usually recommend hiring certain staff + freelance help. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Let's say you have a small staff/budget. What advice could you offer that could be applied immediately to any website? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Doing less content well will get better results than doing a lot of content poorly. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I'd recommend focusing on basic credibility. These guidelines will help. http://bit.ly/Ywo8X (expand) #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Also, decide on key messages to guide content decisions. Talk to @mbloomstein about a message architecture. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Once you have the content, how can you measure influence? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit The best way to measure influence is to measure the results you want. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Before you launch a website, social media effort, etc., focus on qualitative research & validate it with quantitative. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit After you launch, reverse it. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Focus on quantitative research and dig deeper into problems or opportunities with qualitative research. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Focus on asking the right questions and using the right methods to get answers. Don't drown yourself in data. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Excellent advice! Who in the industry has influenced you professionally and has “clout?” #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I like reading, so everyone from Aristotle to @sethgodin has influenced me. (That's right, their content influenced me.) #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit If I stop laughing long enough while watching Colbert Nation (@stephenathome), I realize it's a crash course in rhetoric. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit For Clout particularly, I was influenced by @bjfogg, @jeffmacintyre, @halvorson, and @karenmcgrane. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I always pay attention to the people on my content strategy Twitter list, too. Smart community. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit And, @marissamayer inspires me. You CAN rock high fashion, user experience, and LBS. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones Great names, all worth reading/following! Now we have a few questions from some followers and readers... #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones From Matthew Grocki: After a company buys into the benefits of organized content strategy, how do u maintain the strategy? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit First, congrats @mgrocki on making it to day 2! #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Before I end a consulting engagement, I ensure a company has people, tools, and process to stay on course. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I often offer 3-to-6 month check ins after a consultancy has ended to hold the company accountable and guide changes. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Changes to the original content strategy are good if they're based on sound evaluation. They're bad if based on neglect. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones From @radiofreegeorgy: when arguing 4 content strategy across a large org, how do u convey importance & make it attainable?#clout

leenjones: @Peachpit One way to make the case for content is to share lessons learned from other organizations. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Clout includes 150+ examples and case studies across startups, Fortune 500s, govt agencies, higher ed, health, and more. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Feel free to share them. (With references, of course!) #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit I expect the content conferences this year to share great lessons learned, too. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Govt content often emphasizes credibility and authority at the expense of emotion. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit A great start to making the tone of govt content friendlier is to remove passive voice. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Another tactic is to use first and second person (we + you) instead of third person. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Those tactics usually make your content more concise, too. Bonus. #clout

Peachpit: @leenjones From @svolinsky: Is there a way to measure if people are reading the content & if they find it useful? #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit You can't measure what people are actually reading, only signs that they have read (or not read). #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit If people take the behavior you want, then they likely are reading. In Clout, I have 3 chapters devoted to evaluation. #clout

leenjones: @Peachpit Thank you! And thanks to all who posted questions! Good luck on winning Clout! #clout

Peachpit: If u liked the Twitterview with @leenjones, feel free to check out a sample chapter of her new book, Clout: http://peachp.it/gHV828 #clout

Peachpit: Congrats to our #Clout winners, @svolinsky, @radiofreegeorgy, @cosmicdancer1, & @mgrocki! DM ur address & we'll send ur copy of Clout!

If you have more questions for Colleen Jones, post them as comments and we'll continue the Twitterview fun! Also, let us know which author we should Twitterview next.