The year past and the year to come

The year past and the year to come

As we are approaching the holidays and year end, I have been thinking quite a lot about the year past and the year to come.   The year 2011 was quite a dynamic one for me, with many days of travel to conferences and book signings, a few new publications and book translations, and a new set of opportunities in Latin America to complement my activities in Europe.  All in all, it was an exciting and fulfilling year.

Throughout 2011, my attention was directed squarely to promoting the concepts of Email, social marketing and the art of storytelling.  Writing that book and speaking at some 50 venues was a great learning experience that stretched my thinking in new directions.

Part of our plan for the coming year will be a continuation of projects from 2011, and part will be a represent a change in my focus and my activities.

As a follow-up to the conference and book signings of 2011, we are planning a series of seminars for 2012, workshops that will show attendees how to put storytelling into practice in their social media and email campaigns, and how to use it all to create and foster a brand community.  Marketing on the internet is evolving constantly, and so many people have asked for help and advice about e-marketing their brands, that we decided to do hands-on seminars that would help people get started with, or improve, the management of their brand community.

Throughout 2011, the most common reaction to my conferences was people coming up to me after the speech, or during my book signings, with the comment: “I find all of this storytelling stuff so fascinating, and I believe it is the future of internet marketing and community management, but I am having trouble implementing it in my organization.”  Often, individuals would tell me that the missing element for them was a class or half-day seminar where they could learn to apply the principles of my books and conferences to their real-life situations.

So, the seminars planned for 2012 are a response to audience requests for direct practice.  We will take a hand-on approach to the use of storytelling with social media, with email, and with all the Internet offers for managing a brand community.

The basic plan for the seminars is to begin each 3-hour session with a 30-45 minute presentation of some of the interesting practices I see out there.  Then, there will be some time for an open discussion, where people will be able to raise their specific questions, or comment on their own circumstances and needs.  Depending on the audience, somewhere between ninety minutes to two hours of each seminar will be a “nuts-and-bolts” practical workshop, where each participant will have an opportunity to explain his situation and solicit ideas from the group.  Then, we will break into small work teams where attendees will sketch out, together with their fellow participants, their plans for using company stories, for generating user content, and for managing their brand communities.

I must say that I am very much looking forward to the first such event on our calendar, in London on February 2. Of course, I always enjoy coming to London, and that alone would be reason enough to be enthused.  In addition, the event will take place at the British Library.  Now, I would ask you, what better place could one imagine to hold a seminar about how to use storytelling?

Furthermore, I have done quite a lot of thinking and planning about how to bring people the ideas and tools they need to craft and disseminate their brand stories, and to involve their user community in the process.  Focusing on how to put all this into practice is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

For those of you who have requested details about my future seminars around these topics, we have produced a short video.  Even those who do not plan to attend the event in London, the information in this two-minute film will tell be relevant for similar seminars we plan to run throughout the year to come.  You can watch the video here

For practical details and registration information, please click here.

Of course, I hope to see as many of you as possible at the British Library on February 2.

Next week, I will write a bit more about plans for 2012, and why my focus is likely to change somewhat as the year unfolds.  In the meantime, have a happy holiday everyone!

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