Almost Timely News, 10 October 2021: Leadership, Competitive SEO, Social Media Analytics

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Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: Are You a Leader?

This week, my company held a focus group for some reporting products we’re aiming to improve, and at the open Q&A towards the end, one of the participants asked a really interesting question:

Do you consider yourself to be a leader, at least in analytics?

The short answer: I view my company, Trust Insights as a leader. I don’t view myself that personally.


Leaders, by definition, are not only creating a path forward, but encouraging others to follow them towards a destination. You need a leader when you’ve got to get from point A to point B safely and quickly enough to achieve whatever objective you’ve set. The very etymology of leadership – lead comes from proto-Germanic’s laidjanan – means to travel, to go somewhere.

In that light, I see my company as a leader. We, organizationally, encourage people to follow us, to follow the strategies, tactics, and methods of data-driven marketing, change management, etc. We want people to travel the path of making great decisions with data, and we’re willing to help them along the way so that in their industries, they become leaders in their own right.

So why don’t I consider myself that? Because I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea for you to be following me, not in the leadership sense. By design, by conscious choice, I don’t know where I’m going a fair amount of the time. I consider myself an explorer. I don’t mind venturing out, stumbling a whole lot, exploring new territory, being wrong most of the time, and sometimes not even achieving a particular goal. I like to go and do things, test things, see what I can learn, see what’s possible.

That is great for science, for learning, for experimentation, for discovery.

That is a recipe for disaster when it comes to leadership.

A leader should, generally speaking, know where they are going – and where they’re trying to lead others. If you’re lost in the woods, do you want to follow the person who knows the way out, or do you want to follow the person who’s just wandering around, exploring and mapping out the woods?

The one area where I could agree about leadership & what I do is the idea of thought leadership – if we go by the definition I use for evaluating my own. A thought leader is someone whose thinking changes how you lead. They may not be leaders, but their thinking reframes a problem you may face in your own leadership efforts, and that makes them better leaders. In that light, I may run an experiment or share some results that, if you apply to your own work, may make your work better – and in that case, I have performed the task of thought leadership.

Here’s the important bit: everyone is, to some degree, a thought leader if you’re sharing your thinking. Everyone has something to teach us (even if sometimes that’s how not to do something). Just sitting and listening to someone else’s thinking can change how we work, how we solve our own problems. You are a thought leader if you share your thoughts with others, so if that’s something you aspire to, start by sharing your thinking. No matter where you are on your professional journey, you likely have something to share that will spark inspiration in someone else – and that’s the first step in thought leadership.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week, it would actually be a video – the livestream I did this week on competitive SEO. Why? We covered a lot of ground about how to think about competitive SEO, why SEO tools may not give you great answers if you just use them as is, and most important, what other things you can do with competitive SEO data.

Competitive SEO on YouTube

Catch the replay on YouTube, no forms to fill out or anything »

As for the rest of the week:

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

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Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Ad: Google Analytics 4 Readiness Audit

Google Analytics 4 is the next generation of Google Analytics and at some point will be mandatory for everyone using GA. Are you ready? If not, get a checkup with my company, Trust Insights. We’ll help you:

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How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2021, virtual

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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