Ternyata

Oleh: M. Adhy Trisnanto

Siaran teve kita sering bikin jengkel.

Coba saja, seseorang dijadikan obyek, dikuras habis ceritanya. Udah gitu diulang-ulang terus dalam serentetan hari. Seakan-akan tidak ada hal lain yang lebih penting ketimbang orang tadi dan apa yang menimpanya. Di bagian lain, pesan yang mestinya bernas dikemas seperti lawakan. Penonton dirangsang untuk tertawa karena peragaan sebuah kekonyolan tapi pada detik berikutnya diajak merenungi sesuatu yang (sebenarnya) teramat luhur. Dan di bagian lain lagi, penonton disuguhi panggung debat, yang kadang-kadang demikian kasar. Kebenaran bisa dijungkirbalikkan. Putih jadi hitam, hitam jadi putih. Penonton yang waras pun bisa diombang-ambingkan dari pikiran satu ke pikiran lain. Siaran teve benar-benar sudah jadi industri. Semua hal, korupsi-sidang DPR-kenaikan harga-selingkuh-kecelakaan-bencana-kriminal dikemas sebagai hiburan di balik istilah infotainment. Kita harus memaknainya bukan sebagai hiburan yang informatif, melainkan informasi yang menghibur. Teve mengedepankan fungsi hiburan, dan mengebelakangkan fungsi pendidikan. Kalau sudah begini, berani taruhan orang yang setia menonton siaran teve dari pagi sampai pagi lagi tidak akan makin cerdas, tapi malah makin bodoh. Padahal teve, demikian pula media yang lain, mengemban amanat konstitusi, “mencerdaskan kehidupan bangsa”…

Para perancang program senantiasa berkilah kalau masyarakat kita emang demennya ama program-program seperti itu. Nyatanya rating program konyol selalu ada di peringkat atas. Pikiran demikian sama saja dengan mengatakan kalau orang jaman ini sukanya narkoba, ya marilah kita gelontorkan narkoba sebanyak mungkin. Teori mengenai rating sebagai satu-satunya ukuran efektivitas dan efisiensi iklan sebenarnya sudah ketinggalan jaman. Karena nyatanya program ber-rating tinggi tidak menyebabkan penonton otomatis menonton iklannya.

Merasa nyaman dalam pola pembodohan memang sikap yang paling mudah diambil. Memproduksi acara bermutu tentu saja berimplikasi ke dana, dan ada wilayah resiko yang kelabu. Padahal teve –dan media lain- tidak harus bersikap demikian. Kita bisa mengambil contoh film-film bermutu semacam Laskar Pelangi yang nyatanya mampu menyedot penonton. Bukankah dalam arus film-film horor dan vulgar, film begini juga melawan arus?

Jadi  memang media bisa berbuat lain. Lihat saja program-program pengetahuan luar biasa yang dapat kita saksikan lewat TV Berbayar. Atau cerita tentang berbagai tempat menarik di dunia. Atau film-film bermutu yang membawa pesan tertentu. Tak usah jauh-jauh, lihat saja Ekspedisi Cincin Api yang membuka mata kita tentang Indonesia yang kaya gunung berapi. Memberi pemahaman-pemahaman baru tentang Danau Toba, atau Rinjani, atau Merapi. Mereka menyebutnya beyond journalism.

Kita berharap senantiasa ada orang yang terpanggil untuk berbuat yang lebih baik. Sejarah peradaaban manusia membuktikan, ada cukup banyak orang semacam itu di setiap jaman. Memang Allah tak pernah tidur, Dia senantiasa menjagai kita..

 

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TIPS DAN STRATEGI MARKETING

Siapa yang belum pernah mendengar kata marketing? Secara sederhana kata yang berasal dari bahasa Inggris ini diartikan sebagai pemasaran. Pemasaran itu sendiri tak selesai hanya dengan kemasan menarik, menjualnya dan kemudian mendapat uang sesuai keinginan.

Di dalam maketing ada sebuah proses yang tak bisa dilalui secara instan.  Mulai dari pengetahuan produk, kemasan, harga dan juga maintenance para konsumen. Namun keinginan manusia yang seringkali berubah meski mempunyai kebutuhan yang sama terhadap suaru barang menyebabkan dunia marketing harus mempunyai kreativitas tanpa batas. Untuk menjaring konsumen loyal dan menghasilkan keuntungan maksimal, dibutuhkan strategi yang lebih detail dalam memasarkan produk.

Berikut adalah hal-hal yang harus diperhatikan dalam menyusun strategi marketing:

  1. Produk yang berkualitas

Produk yang berkualitas adalah syarat mutlak untuk mendapatkan pelanggan dan menembus pasar suatu produk. Ketika di pasaran banyak sekali produk yang serupa, maka pastikan produk Anda unik dan mempunyai kualitas yang bagus sehingga mudah diterima oleh pasar.

  1. Tempat yang strategis

Tak mungkin bukan memasarkan suatu produk di tempat yang sepi? Karena itu lokasi bisa menjadi salah satu penentu utama lakunya suatu produk yang dipasarkan. Carilah tempat yang banyak dilalui orang dan pastikan mereka adalah orang-orang yang Anda sasar untuk membeli produk yang dijual.

  1. Promosi yang menarik

Banyak teknik promosi yang bisa Anda pilih untuk mengenalkan produk Anda. Entah itu melalui brosur yang disebar dari rumah ke rumah, dari angkot ke angkot, atau juga dengan memberi potongan harga pada produk yang sedang Anda pasarkan. Atau Anda juga bisa memanfaatkan jejaring sosial yang akhir-akhir ini tengah marak.

  1. Harga yang kompetitif

Selisih harga bisa menjadi hal yang amat penting untuk para calon konsumen. Oleh karena itu Anda harus memperhatikan mengenai hal tersebut.

 

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Bagaimana Menggali Kreativitas?

Dalam bidang apapun kreativitas mutlak diperlukan. Oleh karena itu menjaga otak agar senantiasa fresh saat mencari ide-ide menjadi hal yang penting untuk dilakukan. Lalu bagaimana cara agar ide-ide itu tidak macet begitu saja saat diperlukan dan kreativitas tetap terpelihara. Berikut adalah tips-tips yang dapat Anda praktekan:

Berpikir Layaknya Anak Kecil 

Yang khas dari anak kecil adalah rasa ingin tahunya tentang berbagai hal. Biasaya mereka tak pernah bosan untuk mencari tahu sesuatu hingga menemukan jawaban memuaskan. Nah, berlakulah demikian. Kosongkan pikiran, anggap Anda anak kecil yang nggak tahu apa-apa dan mulailah mengeksplore sesuatu yang Anda inginkan. Temukan ide-ide yang sebelumnya tak pernah terpikirkan.

Jangan Malas Berpikir

Satu-satunya penyakit yang tak ada obatnya adalah malas. Dan jika ia sudah menjangkiti, maka tak ada yang mampu mengobati selain diri sendiri. Berpikirlah untuk segera menyelesaikan segala sesuatu secepat mungkin agar Anda dapat berleha-leha dan bermalas-malasan setelahnya, termasuk juga mencari ide-ide dalam inovasi pekerjaan Anda.

Mengubah Rutinitas

Ubah kebiasaan Anda selama ini. Misalnya Anda seorang penulis yang terbiasa begadang  dan bangun siang. Cobalah untuk istirahat lebih sore dan bangun lebih pagi. Misalnya bangun pukul 03.00 dan mulai menulis di tengah suasanan heningnya pagi. Ide-ide yang Anda dapatkan pasti juga akan berbeda dari sebelumnya.

Berpikirlah dari Sudut Pandang Orang Lain

Meski mungkin Anda sudah cukup menguasai satu bidang, tapi cobalah berpikir terbuka dengan menempatkan diri Anda di posisi orang lain. Lihatlah dari sudut pandang yang berbeda, dan Anda akan menemukan ilmu yang mungkin selama ini terlupa atau bahkan belum pernah Anda dapatkan.

 

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4 Tips to Optimize Your Time as an Entrepreneur

Each morning people wake up and choose how they will start the day. For some, this may mean a quick workout before heading to the office and for others it could mean spending some time with their kids, reading the morning news or catching up on work-related emails.

In reality, everyone is making personal and professional trade-offs — spending time here versus there. But ultimately being effective is not a matter of finding a balance between two spheres, but rather it’s optimizing how you spend your time across the board. It’s time that people embrace the notion of time optimization and put the idea of attaining work-life balance to bed.

The secret lies not in weighing opposing priorities, but in planningahead so as to have time to spend it where you wish.

As 2015 quickly approaches, entrepreneurs should aim to set intentions for each and every day to fully optimize your time throughout the year.

Here is my approach to optimizing time in 2015:

Related: How to Transform Your Life in 6 Minutes a Day

1. Don’t follow a one-size-fits-all system.

Recognize that everyone optimizes time differently. My priorities and the demands on my time will differ from yours, another CEO’s or even those of someone in my family.

The key is to create an individualized plan that works for you based on all the factors at hand — available minutes in the day, amount of sleep required and work commute. I believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that people need to optimize all aspects of their lives on an individual basis.

Related: Match the Right Communication Type to the Occasion

2. Make time for in-person communication.

Often, there are lapses in communication over text, email or even the phone. While people think these digital forms of communication are making them more efficient and social, they are actually wasting time deciphering mixed messages and clarifying points of view.

Constant interaction through digital technology prevents people from stepping back and engaging in physical reality. People often forget how much more efficient they can be by stepping away from the computer, meeting with someone in person and working through a task or issue. It’s not just comical when people seated at the same table send texts to one another. It’s sad.

3. Create a log.

If you feel that your time isn’t being allocated efficiently or are unsure of where the hours in your day are being spent, it’s time for a log. Creating a log will help you identify what activities take the most time and will help you identify where you can cut back or shift priorities.

To optimize my time I have been keeping a log for the past 15 years of my life. I can tell you approximately how many hours I’ve spent working, networking, exercising, playing guitar or taking part in social activities. Yes, you can even make time for your social life.

A log, which can be as simple as a well-kept electronic calendar, also provides an honest view of where someone is spending his or her time and is a good way to assess if adjustments should be made. From personal experience, I can say it’s far too easy to spend time on activities that preclude you from making the most of every moment of your day.

4. Plan ahead.

I suggest planning way ahead. I had most of the major milestones of 2015 in my calendar before carving 2014’s Thanksgiving turkey. Scheduling big work events such as board meetings or conferences in advance provides anchor points to build the year around. Be transparent in communicating the master schedule so that colleagues can plan vacations and maximize time in other parts of their life.

Integrating these tips as you consider your outlook for the new year can be a defining point in your professional and personal success. Remember, no one is perfect and even if you follow these tips, there will always be distractions pulling your attention away from what really matters.

It’s easy to become wrapped up in the highs and lows associated with daily tasks at work or home. Taking a step back to reflect when this happens is an important activity to embrace. In the end, it’s not about counting the minutes of the day but rather optimizing your time across multiple activities and leading a fulfilled life.

To Make Your eBook a Success, Focus on These 4 Things

Ebooks are extremely valuable and effective tools for marketers – especially B2B marketers. They position your brand as a thought leader and allow audiences to engage with your products and offerings through different lenses. They’re also useful transactional tools that can be used to collect quality leads to market to at a later date.

It’s true that when ebooks are executed poorly they can be relatively fruitless.  In May, Jay Acunzo demonstrated how if ebooks don’t save their audience time or money, they underperform for lead generation vs. other content marketing tactics.  Perhaps this is a reason why they are currently less popular among B2B marketers than other long-form content. Success with ebooks for lead generation requires proper strategy, design, distribution and tracking.

1. Strategy: What you should think about before creating your ebook. 

Begin with careful and thoughtful planning before moving on to create and publish an ebook. Stand out by developing content that is different yet applicable to your industry and to your business.

Related: Must Reads for Leaders: 10 Invaluable Books for Moving Hearts and Minds

There are six major things to keep in mind:

  • Make it available for free.  You’re not in the business of selling ebooks (unless you are).  You’re out to sell your own product.  So if possible, don’t make the audience pay with money to learn about it.  Instead, collect other information that will be more valuable to you as a content marketer, like an email address so that you can segment groups of readers who have read your ebook and target them later.
  • Choose a straightforward topic. Even if your topic isn’t straightforward, take a simple spin on it and make it as accessible as possible.  Create something you believe a lot of people will appreciate and learn from, not something that’s too obscure.
  • Time it well.  Pay attention to your industry and see what is happening.  What are people talking about?  We released our micro-content ebook, for instance, just as the trend of creating content for social channels was gaining momentum and not long after Gary Vaynerchuk dedicated a whole chapter to it in “Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
  • Create something new.  It’s likely that someone will have written on your topic before – acknowledge that and build on it. Do your research, see what’s out there, and make sure you do it better or differently in some way.  In the case of our micro-content ebook, we were sure to provide plenty of examples since we saw they were relatively scarce in a lot of existing pieces.
  • Educate first, sell second. Inform your users about the space as a whole and enable them to explore what else is in it.  Don’t be afraid to talk about the benefits of other products you don’t sell.  The best customers have done their due diligence.  Build trust with your audience, then introduce your value proposition.
  • Provide examples to support your argument.  Ebooks are useful for lead generation when they’re practical and not entirely theoretical.  Remember, the goal is to save your audience time and money. Inspire them to action.

2. Design: You need to sell it.

Like anything else, ebooks have unique constraints when it comes to design.  Recognize these constraints up front in order to maximize the ebook’s potential and keep it engaging.

Seven tips for ebook design:

  • People will judge it by its cover.  So don’t leave the cover as an afterthought.  Make it compelling and relevant.  It doesn’t have to be too complex, either, and it doesn’t have to give anything away.  The ebooks we’ve produced both for our clients and for ourselves have all had relatively simple covers, but they were alluring nonetheless, and they fit the brand.  You need to sell it.  Your audience needs to be able to decide quickly that it’s something they want, something that could potentially help them.   blue:
  • Make it “skimmable.”  Ebooks are not meant to be read cover to cover.  Your audience wants to focus on the sub-topics that interest them – let them.  Make it easy for them to find the parts they’re looking for by adding bullet points or thumbnail images in the margins or in an interactive table of contents.
  • Kill your darlings.  The age-old advice applies.  Recognize when text is necessary and be ruthless with eliminating it.  Your audience is not going to know what you cut out and whatever remains will be much stronger (because they’ll actually read it!).
  • Replace text with visuals.  People are attracted to visual content and the more you have, the more time they’ll spend with your ebook.  It will be easier for them to skim this way, too.
  • Don’t underestimate what you can do.  The ebook must evolve with its medium.  Stay up to date and take advantage of technology.  An ebook is not just an image of a book online. Include trackable hyperlinks by using bit.ly or UTM parameter,s so you can see how engaged your audience is with material and direct them elsewhere based on that information.
  • Take risks. Experiment with different layouts and customization.  In our new video ebook, we opted for a landscape layout, which allowed us to incorporate plenty of visuals that were necessary for the topic. In a small business guidebook project we made in partnership with Twitter, the team set up an interactive flow-chart for people to click through to access the information they needed depending on interest and experience level: Your answer on page one determines the information you access in the guide.
  • Treat it like a web product.  Most people will read your ebook on screen, so choose the most accessible file formats for the web and mobile devices. Be sure to test your ebook on different devices – does it look good on a tablet?  In grayscale?

Related: 10 Truths About Self-Publishing for Entrepreneurs With a Book Idea

3. Distribution: Your ebook is nothing if no one reads it.

Distribution strategies for ebooks will vary depending on your subject matter.  Still, there are some basic best-practices to keep in mind when it comes to getting the word out:

  • Whet the palate of your audience with a back-cover synopsis of a blog post or with visual micro-content.  People are much more likely to read something short than they are to download your ebook without knowing anything about it.  So let them know something and make them want to read more.  Micro-content can also help drive social sharing.
  • Leverage your relationships and partnerships.  Ask any content partners if your ebook is something they can promote through their social channels, newsletters or blogs. Reach out to relevant publications and see if they’ll help you share it: It will be worth it.   Tweet at influencers who have written about similar topics.  Ask your friends in the industry to help you promote it.  It’s OK to wait until your ebook is complete, but it can also be useful to contact people prior to its release.  Send them an early copy and ask for their input.  If they’ve contributed in some way up front they’ll be more interested in helping you distribute it later.  Make your ebook a currency for your audience.
  • Invest in smart paid promotion.  Every industry has relevant trades and paid channels.  CMI and Marketing Profs are great for marketers.  LinkedIn lets you target profiles with specific titles, as well.  It can be extremely valuable to pay for paid placement or ads on these sites to ensure your ebook reaches the right niche audiences.
  • Send it to your existing prospects. This is the perfect time to use your email and subscriber list to get the word out.
  • Make it discoverable from many points of entry. Try searching on Quora, subreddits or inbound.org for discussions around your ebook’s subject matter and leave a link.  At Visually, we’ve used Uberflip for hosting a lot of our content.  We’ve also used Slideshare and DoxIQ. This way we’re sure to capture the emails of those viewing or downloading our content.  Another way to make your ebook discoverable is to add banners on your homepage.  Split test what works.
  • Set a link in your company’s signature.  Your company’s employees can be a promotional resource.  WiseStamp is a good tool for this.

Related: The Secrets to Landing a Literary Agent

4. Analytics: Track everything and pay attention to the results.

There is a plethora of software available to help measure the success of an ebook at each stage of your unique marketing funnel — whether it’s for lead capture or for engagement with the content itself.

For instance, Bizible will help you see not only which leads converted because of an ebook download but also which users have engaged with other pages that promote it.  You’re able to view referrer pages for each user session as well and information about existing contacts and opportunities.

We use DoxIQ not only to host our ebooks but also for more advanced insights about user engagement.  Like Slideshare and Uberflip, it can be set up to capture emails before allowing a user to view or download the ebook, which can be extremely valuable as people are apt to send the link around to their contacts and teams.  It captures referral information and can display your ebooks on your subdomain so you do not lose your own tracking.  It also scores user emails based on their interactions with different pages of the ebook itself and it can be set up to pass that information through to your existing databases.  This can help you prioritize contacts for outbound sales or other marketing campaigns, as well as gain insights on what’s effective within your content for future ebooks or current distribution strategies.

DoxIQ can also integrate with Olark Chat, which for us has helped bring in over 25 percent of our opportunity amount in recent months — and the messaging can be customized per page.  That way Olark can be optimized for each stage of the funnel: It can work as an information hotline for prospects reading your ebook, while on product pages it can still be set up for direct lead capture or sales.

No matter what you use, it’s crucial to share all tracking insights with your team and take real action based on that to improve your ebook marketing initiatives.  Score your prospects differently in your marketing-automation software based on how they’re interacting with your ebooks.  Notice which referral pages are driving the ebook downloads and leverage that.  See which parts of the ebook worked and which didn’t and take note for future (or current!) designs.

This article was edited for brevity and clarity.

5 Tech Tools that Help Businesses Compete With the Big Guys

Over the past few decades, the Internet has been touted as “the great equalizer,” and small businesses have found some great successes in virtual spaces. However, the realities of online business haven’t consistently allowed independent local companies to truly corner markets that are dominated by multinational corporations.

Big business simply has too much firepower — or at least that’s been the status quo. The big guys have been able to spend more, have had access to more useful troves of data and have been the only ones who can work with super-powerful game-changing technologies. But the booming software-as-a-service (SaaS) scene has changed all that by providing solutions that give an edge to “mom and pop” business owners too.

Now, some of this best-in-class tech is available to small companies too. The gatekeepers of big data are now allowing anyone who can work with an API to work with their information. Thanks to the “integrations” trend, SaaS developers are enabling us to trigger automated processes across platforms. Apps powered by intelligence algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Related: The 23 Best Business Tools Built By Startups

To help your business compete on the level of enterprise companies, consider bringing these five technology solutions into your toolbox.

1. Multichannel ad retargeting with AdRoll

After you visit a big website, you might feel like it’s following you around for days on end, thanks to ads for the site appearing on many of the other websites you visit. Retargeting has been proven to be an effective digital marketing tool, but nowadays, it’s become surprisingly inexpensive. CPM costs range from $1 to $2.50 with the Adroll platform, and there are no minimum budget requirements or long-term contracts.

Since users often switch between browsers, apps and devices, Adroll features cross-platform retargeting, catching users on social networks, news sites and search networks, both on their desktops and on their mobile devices.

2. Integrated business intelligence tracking with Cyfe

Cyfe is a business-intelligence tracking platform that lets users create custom dashboards with widgets. After you’ve got Cyfe set up, you can monitor your social media, marketing, sales, analytics, support, infrastructure and more. It pulls data from your business records and from popular services such as Google and Salesforce to provide you with relevant data in easy-to-read and easy-to-download formats.

This service allows even the smallest startups to gain insight and use data in a way that was once reserved for enterprises with investments in staff and servers built to crunch numbers. Simply put, it enables leaders that leverage numerous online tools for daily tasks to customize perspectives vital to accomplishing specific goals, rather than tediously extracting data from multiple sources and trying to make sense of it all.

Unlimited dashboard configurations and widgets are available at only $19 per month. Powerful real-time and visual business intelligence is no longer the exclusive privilege of large enterprises.

3. Big data insights with Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics, the new service from IBM, provides business owners with powerful analytics to help them in decision-making. You import your data from various sources and then choose to slice it in several ways. Watson makes it easy to click around your data in search of patterns and interesting insights. You can also ask Watson questions and let the system find answers in the data. Watson also works with “story templates,” which give users access to standard questions that most businesses need answered.

The premise of Watson Analytics is that even when data is available, small-business owners often don’t know how to practically interpret, apply and get everything they can out of it. The system eliminates the need to understand how to look at data and simply provides the answers needed that can be realistically applied to everyday businesses.

Related: 18 Effective Social-Media Tools That Will Save You Time

4. Mobile apps with BuildFire

Even app development is no longer the exclusive territory of big companies and elite developers. BuildFire allows users to create apps without the need to hire a developer. The platform has solutions for driving web traffic, sending out push notifications on deals and letting your customers purchase products directly from the app. You can even create interactive groups that work like miniature social networks.

The approach here is not simply creating a static app just for sake of having an app but applying functionality that supports and pushes forward your business’ sales and marketing goals. Its basic plan is free, while the premium plan will run just $49 per month. Makes you wonder why there are still small businesses without apps.

5. Email marketing with GetResponse

These days, it seems that everyone is doing email marketing, but many of the companies working with email are approaching it in outdated ways. It’s easy to take your email-marketing efforts to the next level withGetResponse.

In addition to the usual email-marketing-platform features, GetResponse also offers modular landing-page creation, conversion-optimization experiments with A/B testing and tools for designing responsive emails. But the real game-changer is its event-triggered email capability, which shoots out messages with alerts or content to subscribers when they take certain actions on your site, when it’s their birthdays or when they haven’t yet visited a specific page.

Email-marketing campaigns are not just about sending emails anymore but is an amalgamation of advanced business processes, intelligence and relationship-building tools. It’s a powerful tool for making businesses’ email-marketing intelligent and effective. Prices vary according to the size of your audience list, starting at $15 per month.

Game-changing tech for the up-and-comers

As technology advances and becomes more common and affordable, we see the introduction of constantly improving online tools all the time. To stay competitive, your small business should be taking advantage of these technologies.

Local businesses often struggle to keep up with the multinationals, but a small investment can give you some of the same tools they are using, which helps to level the playing field, with only a fraction of the investment. Did we fail to mention one of your favorites? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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