Funny how things converge in your mind while you read a book.

This evening, I sat down to finish reading The New Influencers by Paul Gillin.

I met Paul a few weeks ago and realised I hadn’t finished his book. I’ve been picking it up once every couple of days and find I get so many ideas that I only get through a few pages at a sitting.
My kind of book!

Part of this effect is in the multitude of new areas I’ve been researching. We have projects going to put a lot of reworked content up on the web, I’m uploading videos every chance I get (have you seen the $1 trial at and at the same time I’m trying 47 new social networking sites.

Add one more factoid to the mix. I just went through an overhaul on our author database and identified those authors that communicate with us most actively. I was certain that an email target only to these subscribers would be opened by twice normal open rate we get for mailings to the full list… instead, the response to emails to this section of the list.. and all the list is off by more that 50% this week.

I heard it was a busy week.. but 50% less readership?

How does this all relate?

Like the major corporate advertisers, my direct marketing friends, the media themselves.. we’re all seeing less results when we attempt to “communicate at” our readers with a one way stream of messages.

Every day, it becomes more an more important to have a two way conversation with your readers. This group will be smaller.. not everyone will respond at the same time and they won’t respond in any way you can predict.

The opinion leader of today may be gone tomorrow. The next blog swarm may come from a post in a 3 reader blog that posted something just interesting enough to get one of those readers to hit DIGG with keywords that got picked up by another reader who tells a friend, etc. etc.

We have some systems in place to get the word out about new books, generate publicity, and start a buzz in the marketplace. When we keep at it, a good book gets noticed and the buzz grows.

I compare it to kicking over a beehive. You know there will be a lot of buzzing.. but you can’t predict exactly where the swarm will go.

Cinny Little, EVP at Digital Influence Group said what I’ve been feeling for some time..

“The biggest misconception a lot of companies have is that some engine will provide you with one definitive “ranking” of a blogger, a community site, or an area of a social network.

At the end of the day, you have to consider both quantitative and qualitative measures, and you still have to build relationships. You have to learn who the influencer are and understand what’s relevant to them”

I laugh when I talk to some people about Facebook and they ask “can I make any money on it?” like their mailing list or existing business is too successful to bother.

What will they do when the market stops responding?

The social networking sites are still in their infancy. Reminds of 10 years back when people wondered why I was recommending the ugly new search engine called Google.

Still a lot to learn. Just don’t try too hard. You can’t know for sure and likely you’ll never again “control” what goes out about you. But if you encourage the conversation, become as transparent as you can and remain “genuine” you’ll do fine.