Innovation ain't for sissies
Blogher Follow-up:
The Rock and Roll of it All

Lessons from BlogHer Business:
Focus on the 'I' AND the 'R'

Blogher by Guest Blogger, Lena West

What can I say about the BlogHer Business conference

It was sch-sch-schmokin'.  The venue was convenient, the people (notice I didn't say "networking") were awesome, the vibe was chill yet professional, the attendees were diverse and I got to see people I haven't seen in a while - namely the Editor of this blog, Yvonne (the lady in red!), Nelly Yusupova from Webgrrls, my attorney, Nina Kaufman (I love Nina to death but when I don't see her, it's a good thing - be sure to read Nina's new blog, Business Partnership Central) and Maria DeVito and Roy Bavaro (whose event planning talents are off the chain). 

And, I got to meet some people I've never met IRL, like my interviewee, Carmen Van Kerhove, Shirley Frazier, Elisa Camahort (whom I learned is vegan! yay!)and Jory Des Jardins (who has the funniest "numeric portrait" of her experience with the month of March)...and a whole bunch of other exciting people I'll be talking about in this space.

Missed it? Wow, it stinks to be you! :) You can grab live blogs from the event and some audio here.

But, enough of the shout outs...(but wait, did I mention the TABLE FULL O' CANDY?!?)

I have something really interesting I want to share with you. It's something I taught myself while speaking at BlogHer.

I spoke on the How to Measure Social Media ROI panel with Katie Paine and Daniela Barbosa. And, one of the things I noticed is that everyone and their mother want to talk about the 'R' part of ROI but no one wants to discuss the 'I'.  When it comes to collecting the return, we're all ready to roll out the red carpet but, what about the investment?

What are you willing to INVEST to get a RETURN?

We just had a client tell us they want to start using social media but they don't want to invest a lot of money or time. My response: "Well then go buy an ad in a trade pub and call it a day."  The golden rule is, if you don't have time, you have to have money (or additional resources). And, if you have no money, well you had better have time (or energy).  You can't be cash AND time-strapped and expect a grand result.  Everyone wants a high return for little effort. And, well, that just isn't realistic. You've got to invest something.

Instead of asking about the 'R' in ROI, you should start asking about what are you willing to 'I' (invest) to get a return.  What's your I2R?  Writing a post is easy – blogging is not.

Some more questions for you to consider (don't you just love that I'm nailing you week after week with in-the-trenches questions to force you into thinking bigger about your business?):

  • Why are you engaging in social media?  What is your reason? What is your currency (I don't mean money)?
  • Do you understand the anatomy of social media well enough to get involved - or do you need a guide?
  • What can you afford to invest to get a return? Will it be time? Will it be money?  Will you have a unique point of view to "invest" or will you rehash the same old tired garbage?
  • What combination of team talents is going to get 'the work' done?  (Social media isn't just play.)
  • How will you know when you 'get there'? How will you measure? What are your KPI's?

It's a lot to think about.  Are you going to use this week's business development day to go over these questions?  Why not?

P.S. Last week's contest winner is Bonnie! <applause> I flipped a coin and heads was Bonnie, tails was Kelly. Heads it was. Bonnie, gimme a ring (914-377-zero six zero zero) and we'll set up your free internet strategy laser call.  On the call, you'll have access to my brain for an entire half-hour. You can use your time to ask me to make recommendations, evaluate your blog/web site, get my opinion on the latest technologies or chat about American Idol (not!).  You've got until Thursday @ 6:00pm, EST to set up your appointment.


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Lena West

Thanks, Nicki!

Sorry you missed the ROI panel. It was a great one...and to be fair to my co-panelists, they had some EXCELLENT points as well. At one point, I gave my microphone to an attendee because his comment was so great that I wanted to make sure everyone heard it.

Yes, the event was fabulous. I was totally enthralled with the diversity - pros, beginners, industry and corporate all under one roof.

If you're going to BlogHer annual conference in July, I'll see you there! I'm Co-Chairing the Business of You track so, I'll be around.


Nicki Dugan

Hey, Lena:

Loved your talk with Carmen and I'm so bummed I missed your ROI panel. It was the same time as mine (How to Embrace the Social Media Culture). Glad to get the highlights here.

Wasn't that a rockin' event? Not quite the same decibel of "I am woman, hear me roar" as the annual event, but some appropriate vestiges thereof!

Nicki Dugan
Editor of Yahoo!'s Yodel Anecdotal

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