Following on from my recent interview, Social customer service can make your business more customer focused – Interview with Joshua March, Conversocial, today I am very, very excited (this was one of my blogging goals this year!) to share with you an interview that I conducted with Chris Brogan CEO & President of Human Business Works, a business design company using publishing and media to provide tools and insights smarts to help professionals and business owners work better.
He’s been blogging since 1998 and his site, www.chrisbrogan.com, is one of the most popular business and marketing blogs in the world, ranked at number 3 in AdAge’s Power 150: A Ranking of Marketing Blogs.
The Impact Equation is Chris’ new book (co-written with Julien Smith) and is about how to get your important ideas distilled, spread across a platform that you’ve built, and cared for and understood by other people. It’s not a sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Trust Agents, but it does encompass a lot of what the authors have learned between the publication of that book and the years following.
This interview makes up number thirty in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that I think that you will find interesting and helpful in growing your businesses.
Note: this interview did get recorded as a video too. However, there was a problem with my video camera so you only see still shots of my ugly mug (thank God, I hear you say) but the video and audio of Chris are good. If you are that way inclined you can click here and watch the video.
Below are highlights from our interview:
- Chris is focused on helping businesses from the solo entrepreneur to large 80k employee businesses to help people build sustainable, relationship-minded business that are focused on relationships rather than transactions.
- New book, The Trust Equation, is out on October 25th.
- The Impact Equation is about how do you take a great idea and get it to a platform of people who care and how do you get those people to take action.
- The previous book, Trust Agents, was about how do you build relationships and trust in this modern world. In other words, how do you be human at a distance.
- With The Impact Equation, they build on the ideas of Trust Agents to help people take the trust that they have built up, make your ideas stand out, help it travel as far as it needs to go, how do you help people trust the idea is worthwhile and how do you build a platform of value underneath you.
- Chris believes that people and businesses generally have one of three things:
- A good idea but not a big enough platform;
- A really great platform but have nothing to say; or
- Maybe they have a great idea and a great platform but they haven’t been able to figure out how to make people care enough about what they have to say.
- The Impact Equation is:
- Impact = C × (R + E + A + T + E)
- Contrast x (Reach + Exposure + Articulation + Trust + Echo) where
- Contrast – how do you get your idea to stand out?
- Reach – how many people do you need to reach to be successful?
- Exposure – how often should you connect with people about your ideas/needs?
- Articulation – how can you be understood simply and quickly?
- Trust – how do you get people to trust you?
- Echo – how do you convince people that your goals are to their benefit?
- Chris goes on to say that before you say anything. Don’t argue with the maths. I mean. Who cares, right? Read the book and make the principles work for you.
- The Impact Equation is a recipe and the book contains all sorts of examples about how this can work, in practice.
- The book is aimed at professionals, whether they are executives in a large firm all the way to solo business or individuals working for themselves, who want to work in the way that they want to and want to do it better.
- However, there is a path all of these attributes should follow before you can start having an impact and that is:
- Set your Goals, find your Idea, create your Platform and then build A Network of Value.
- In Chris’ experience, many people and businesses do one or two of these well. However, where they fall short is that they are missing all four.
- However, this is not a social media book. When Chris talks about a platform he does not mean a social networking platform. These principles apply in the offline and online world and is all about choosing and building a platform that allows you to tell the story the right way.
- Chris uses an example in the interview about an author who wants to target elderly residents of nursing homes. Therefore, delivering their message only via Kindle would not necessarily be the right way to go to engage these potential readers. But, perhaps, using flyers may be a more effective way to engage them.
- It’s a back to basics, common-sense message that says if you want to build your business then you have to go to where your customers are. The challenge is that many people and businesses don’t do what is common.
- When I asked Chris for one piece of advice to anyone starting out on their journey he suggested that they do the following:
- Get clear, really clear and honest on your goals and what you want to achieve.
- Then, if you are starting out online, then Chris suggests starting a blog-based website that can help you maintain some level of continuous relationship building information that is value driven.
- Finally, after this and the number one thing that Chris says he didn’t do soon enough, is to start a really good and powerful email newsletter. However, this is not a newsletter that is heavy on HTML formatting or is just a rehash of your blog posts but one in which you are trying to build a relationship, with your readers and your customers, that matters.
- Chris has been blogging since 1998. Things really changed for him when he started making his readers the heroes of his blog and when he started being helpful to his readers rather than just writing about things that were of interest to him.
- In my final question when I asked Chris what he would like to ‘shamelessly plug’? Rather than plugging his new book, Chris chose to plug Skip1.org, a charity that provides food and water to children and families in need. Their idea is simple: instead of spending money on that latte, car wash, magazine, or even lunch – SKIP IT! And donate the money instead to Skip1.org. You can check out their website at www.skip1.org, connect with them on Twitter @skip1 and find them on Facebook here.
- Nice plug!
About Chris (adapted from his About page and his blog)
Chris is President and CEO of Human Business Works, a publishing and media company that focuses on business design. They work with professionals in any size company (from solo to 80K employees). That takes the shape of providing online courses, live keynote events, in-person education and events.
He blogs at [chrisbrogan.com], where he aims to find ways to help you improve your business and yourself.
Chris has appeared in several magazine and news articles from Forbes, The Boston Globe, Success, USA Today, and has appeared on TV shows like The Dr Phil Show. (Oddly, in conversations with people who aren’t into the online world, people are always more impressed with the Dr. Phil appearance than the New York Times bestseller thing.)
Chris is also the cofounder of the PodCamp new media conference series, exploring the use of new media community tools to extend and build value.
He has 12 years of experience in online networks, social communities, and other elements of digital business.
He has 16 years of enterprise telecommunications and wireless experience prior to all this.
You can pre-order a copy of his new book: The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? on Amazon here. If you haven’t already, you should check out his blog here and connect with him on Twitter @chrisbrogan.
Thanks to Thomas Cunningham for the image.