David Armano – Conversation by Design

David Armanohttp://darmano.typepad.com (I didn’t realize who this was – for me this guy is a bloggers superstar and has an incredible following and for good reason!) He writes for business week – is this one article or is this multiple columns??

One word to focus on in his presentation: experience.

His blog came out of nowhere, but wants to share what has worked for him.

Starting at the beginning – we are all unique. We’re all individuals. Are our blogs as unique as we are, and the voice, and the experience and the brand. When we talk about 75M blogs, does our blog really stand apart? If your blog is your business you need to focus on this.

He say 34 reasons why peole unsubscribe from your blog, reason #5: too many posts that I see elsewhere. SO your blog does not stand out.

how do we define success? We all have to ask ourselves this question. (he defined it but I didn’t get it -I heard it but it didn’t click)

Blogs + brands – some have it (google, ipod, etc.) and others have lost it (burger king, kmart, kodak (all have red, all have big K).

Q: do you have a blog brand?? Seth has it, Guy has it, Kathy had it (but it will likely change)… any successful blog has blog brand.

Q: are you blogging or representing your personal brand? He uses blogs as an extension of his personal brand. A brand is a gut feeling about products, services, etc. how do you convey this GUT FEELING?

I’t not any one thing (community, voice, message) … it’s all of the things together to give a GUT FEELING.

Q: can you design a better blog experience? YES – and it’s not just in the asthetics, but the complete experience. You want them to have had such a great experience so they come back.

4 Cs of blogging:

    • invest in the community, get involved;
    • Listen and facilitate,
    • Cultivate, ask their opinions
    • frame our subjects, don’t just report but have opinions and seek opinions of others;
    • share – people are hungry for knowledge, don’t worry about your ideas being stolen because everyone is stealing from one another;
    • serve – we are 100% in the service industry – if you are not providing value then stop blogging!
    • See where you are going, vision is everything;
    • communicate, be clear and articulate – rambling doesn’t make for good conversation;
    • vision IS NOT visionary – don’t let this word scare you off – you don’t need ot be a genious, you just need to “keep your eyes on the road”
    • Find your voice – speak up;
    • write about things you care about and be true to yourself (this is better than saying “be authentic”;
    • experiment, evolve and do it consistently.

This is his framework and it is working…he never writes about something that he doesn’t want to write about – no one is forcing him (perhaps in a business setting)

Clarity combines vision with agility. No matter how much planning we do we’ll have to improvise… we have to be flexible. We still have to plan but we have to roll with what life gives us – and same with the blog. He didn’t know his blog was going to take off like is has… so “have a plan butbe really good at improvising!”

Technology recommendation – SLIDESHARE. need to check that out. “it almost makes the content 3D in one single post”…

STOP calling yourself a blogger. As a brand, it has a lot of baggage. When we are thinking about our audience be empathetic (I need to incorporate this into my personal branding stuff ‘it’s not “be a blogger” it’s “develop your brand with tools”) — this is more of a change in mindset – we need to be (1) unique individuals that have interests that (2) use tools to do self-publishing. When you stop thinking of yourself as a blogger your blog will be effected by that !! very cool idea.

Bloggers are one-dimentional, but people are multi-dimensional (because we can be users, and all kinds of other things (producers, customers, etc.). There is nothing wrong with calling a person a customer but that is not the core of what/who they are. Ashley Cecil says that when we do this it expands our audience (as opposed to getting the blank stare (what is a blog)?

David: blogging is a commodity. Wow, that’s profound, but think about it, there are 75M out there… this is a COMMODITY.

a lot of readers don’t know they are reading a blog, just that it’s a website.

Really, this is less about what we call ourselves but more about what our core passion is. Many people go through life never figuring out what the core passion is… if we figure out what it is then we need to harness the passion, pinpoint it, analyize it and then harness it. He has figured out his own. And all the blogs that we admire have figured out their passions.

Let your passion shape your blog, above anything else. What is your cause? Engagement, conversation and all that jazz is cool and impt but it’s not the cause – his cause is that design is in everything… he is passionate about it to the core.

Start with YOU, then what is your PASSION, which then leads to CONVERSATION, which leads to RELATIONSHIPS, and that leads to AFFINITY (feeling good about the experience that they just had – and it keeps people coming back). So then we become not bloggers but conversation architects…

Cycle –> Visit -> engage -> share -> (and back to visit again) .. this is not buzz marketing (when the are happy), this is the best word of mouth marketing there is. Succes is when people feel like they are PART of the content and experience… (jason: and this gives them ownership)

Has anyone talked to a seven year old that has just come back from a Disney vacation? They have a great experience and they’ll talk your ear off… Disney delivers this to an almost-lethal fashion — why can’t we do this on our blogs?? Provide a great experience and this is what’s going to happen.

****** the end – this was awesome… I’m jealous of artists anyway – this guy is over-the-edge.

Wendy eMom comment: 2% believe what we tell them, 20% believe what their friends tell them, and 100% believe what they tell themselves.

Q: what is the conversion rate (on getting people to visit to engage to share and back again) – she looks at her blog, sees that a whole bunch of people come, and to see who comes back it’s a real low %. A: you can’t look at just traffic… although he has 2000 RSS, 400 e-mail, 1200 referrals (those that click on a link to get to him)… and his mainstream traffic from magazines… (they aren’t talking about how many posts are spawned by your post (on other’s blogs) – another thing to look at is, how many peope IN YOUR TARGET (or industry) are looking at your blog? That’s huge,

Q: Christine Kane, says lots of musicians think that bloggers are just geeks. She is interested in knowing how to market this stuff to people who don’t get what blogs are? You can’t say Link Love … A: you have to do a lot more doing and a lot less talking. He says the idea of “tell them” “have them repeat” and then “have them teach” … the idea that you put it back in their court with more responsibility to teach others or us is more impt.

Q: how do we share the experience and passion that we have, we can’t do body language and all that. he thinks design is “incredibly valuable” to replace the body language stuff. (jason’s thought: I’d rather read excellent writing than care for excellent design – go back to the classic books – it’s about the excellent writing). A: you have to look at what’s out there – and you can mimick all of this “gesticulation” (sp) – look at Seth Godin – he doesn’t use images or anything like that – he is a master communicator. So the question is, what are the tools to accomplish? Words? Images? What else? (Jason: perhaps videos?)

Q: Ashley Cecil – she really downplays the “blogging thing” with her community — her q is: she feels baffled by all the advice about building communities, follows it, but wonders why she isn’t getting it as big as she wants it to be. She is wondering what the missing link is!! Huge question. A: if you really have something amazing it will find it’s way to the top. If it is different, provides value, it WILL find it’s way to the top. (from the audience: Audiences has different sizes. A community starts with 2.)

4 thoughts on “David Armano – Conversation by Design

  1. Dan Schawbel

    The most important point is to just be yourself and if people are interested in reading about who you are and your interests, they will come.

  2. Karin H.

    Hi again
    (This is turning in a very nice way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon ;-))

    The last item on Consistency made me chuckle: how can you evolve consistently? Evolution comes in heaps and leaps.
    (I know I read it wrong, sorry, but couldn’t resists)

    As for using the term blogger (I am!) I more and more use the phrase I’m a webpublisher, gives it more understandable body for non-bloggers (web they understand, publishing they understand = presto! connection made).

    Karin H (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  3. David Armano

    Two points I brought up in my presentation were adding value and serving. The notes you took in these presentations are excellent. Thank you for doing this!

  4. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work

    These are great notes, Jason. Thanks.

    I agree totally; David’s presentation was amazing, and my favorite of the weekend. His design is a huge part of it (since I love design), and it goes together with his ideas to create quite an experience.

    He was also a relaxed, engaging speaker, and that makes a huge difference as well. I felt the size of the room disappear as he spoke; it was great.

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