Almost Timely News, 24-July-2022: The Importance of Community, Recession Data, Stop Funding Disinformation (7/24) :: View in Browser

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Almost Timely News: The Importance of Community, Recession Data, Stop Funding Disinformation
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What’s On My Mind: The Vital Importance of Community

Let’s talk community for a second, and not just in the context of marketing (though marketing also). What is community, and why do we care?

The standard definition and etymology is “a group of people associated together by fact of residence in the same locality”, from the Latin communis (which is the root word forr common, community, and communism). More broadly, it’s a group of people associated together by something in common.

These days, community really is about that second aspect, about the association together by something in common. When you look at communities, especially online, we see common interests, interests that bring people together and keep them together. Go into a directory like Disboard or Reddit and you’ll find more communities than you could ever possibly join on virtually any topic.

So why should we care about community? Community is an insurance policy, as both a concept and as something you should actively be participating in.

What kind of insurance policy? Like any group of people working together, a strong community comes to the aid of its individual members when one of them needs help. For example, the community that belongs to Beau of the Fifth Column’s YouTube channel was able to muster large quantities of PPE gear at the start of the pandemic for local hospitals in his area that couldn’t get hold of any. Similar things happened all over; I had a small amount of excess stock of N95 masks in early 2020 and a friend’s sister (who was an ICU nurse) desperately needed some for their COVID ward that I was able to provide.

Even in a commercial sense, a community can help its individual members. Our Slack community, Analytics for Marketers has folks helping each other out every day, answering questions, sharing ideas. For something like bringing attention to a particular initiative, communities can act faster and more effectively than large organizations, and can bypass traditional gatekeepers.

The benefits of communities don’t stop there. Beyond organizationally, communities can be a huge benefit to individual people. As a species, we evolved to depend on our community, on our local pooled resources. Since the earliest days of hiding together in caves, we have been social animals to survive. We derive pleasure from being around others, especially when we are mutually supported. Those folks who tended to fare worse during the lockdowns of 2020 from a mental health perspective were those who didn’t have communities of some kind they could participate in digitally.

The analogy of community to an insurance policy is especially apt because it explains why companies rarely succeed with communities to the extent that they might wish, especially from a marketing standpoint. For insurance to work, you have to have a lot of people invest in it over a long period of time with relatively few withdrawals to make the business of insurance financially viable.

The same is true of community; individuals have to invest a lot into it to gain benefit from it. We cannot simply put a group of people together and expect magic instantly. Moreover, our community from the beginning needs to have that clear sense of common ground, that focal point which binds them together. Sometimes it can be a person, like the legions of fans surrounding a public personality like Taylor Swift. Sometimes it’s a franchise, like people who are fans of Star Trek. Sometimes it’s a concept, like voting rights, but in every case, the common ground is the root of community in both literal and figurative senses.

Here’s another catch that companies often screw up. Common ground, common interest is almost always rooted in emotion. Sustainable, long-term community success is rooted in emotion. People have to feel something to believe in its importance. They have to have a literal passion for the common ground. If you’re trying to figure out why some communities work and others don’t, examine the emotions first. What kinds of emotions are common to successful communities? Why?

If you want to know your prospects for success in building a community (professionally or personally), answer a few straightforward questions. How emotionally invested in you are your audience? Do you know? Have you talked to them? Do they proactively talk to you? If so, what do they say, and how do they say it to you?

Here’s a second test. Tally up the number of actual, real, human audience members you talk to every week, whether it’s by email, social media, private community, in person, etc. If you can count the answer on one hand, you need to invest more time in speaking with the people already in your sphere, in your existing communities – followers on social media, subscribers to your newsletter, etc. Once you get past fingers and have to start counting on toes, you’re starting to talk to enough people to accurately assess your prospects for successful community building.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend the piece on whether or not a recession is imminent. I looked at the economic indicators the NBER uses for judging recessions.

Skill Up With Classes

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

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Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers

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What makes this different than other training courses?

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  • You’ll learn how marketers specifically should use Google Analytics 4, including the new Explore Hub with real world applications and use cases
  • You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
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  • And finally, you’ll learn how to rearrange Google Analytics 4’s menus to be a lot more sensible because that bothers everyone

With more than 5 hours of content across 17 lessons, plus templates, spreadsheets, transcripts, and certificates of completion, you’ll master Google Analytics 4 in ways no other course can teach you.

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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

Advertisement: Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

If you’d like to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has set up a special portal, United24, to help make contributing easy. The effort to free Ukraine from Russia’s illegal invasion needs our ongoing support.

Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Advertisement: Google Search Console for Marketers

Of the many tools in the Google Marketing Platform, none is more overlooked than Google Search Console. Marketers assume it’s just for SEO, but the information contained within benefits search, social media, public relations, advertising, and so much more. In my new Google Search Console for Marketers course, you’ll learn what Google Search Console is, why it matters to all marketers, and then dig deep into each of the features of the platform.

When you’re done, you’ll have working knowledge of the entire platform and what it can do – and you’ll be ready to start making the most of this valuable marketing tool.

Click/tap here to register »

Events I’ll Be At

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

  • MAICON, August 2022, Cleveland, OH – use code PENN150 for $150 off any conference ticket
  • Content Marketing World, September 2022, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston
  • Heapcon, November 2022, Belgrade, Serbia

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.

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:

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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