6 Questions from a College Student

This Q&A is different. I’m answering the questions rather than asking them. A college student at Fort Hays State University interviewed me for a class called “Leadership in Information Technology.”

Besides learning a bit more about me, maybe the Q&A will spark some new thoughts about you and your work.

Q. What roles do you play in your business?

NEIL SAGEBIEL: I wear all the hats, from marketing my services to doing all aspects of the work (research, writing, editing, etc.), including things such as book promotion and media. I manage all the business relationships. I handle all financial aspects as well. Again, I do it all. My cats are no help at all.

Q. How would you describe your management style?

NS: I’m pretty easy to work for. I know myself fairly well by now, after nearly two decades of self employment. Ha! I’m pragmatic and usually steady and sufficiently focused.

Q. How do you think vision is created and communicated?

NS: In my case, it’s understanding how my skill set and interest in communication and my passion for storytelling can serve a market. For someone like me who is a solo creative professional, it’s more intuitive and internal rather than a formal process or a company statement of some kind. I tend to gravitate toward markets that allow me to earn a living and find fulfillment as a writer.

Q. What is the best way to create “buy-in” and loyalty within an organization and with your readers?

NS: Always treat them with respect. Show that I understand something about them and their interests. Tell them great stories and always strive to offer something valuable in the communications I create.

Q. What is the best way to motivate people in your experience?

NS: As a communications professional, I think it’s paramount to be a good listener. You need to get to know people, and treat them with respect. Find out what their interests and wants are, and how you can help them. If you want them to do something, you need to communicate it clearly, including how the outcome will benefit them as well as others.

Q. What are your thoughts on the challenges involved in working in the information industry with ever expanding market and technology parameters vs. working in an industry with defined technology and market parameters?

NS: It can be hard to keep up, and sometimes technology advances such as the proliferation of social media can seem like a barrier to making truly valuable connections. Many people are overwhelmed with information these days, in large part because of the Internet and technology. It can be hard to break through. At the same time, the tools are available to everyone, so it also creates an opportunity. That has been the case for me.


‘Think Like a Publisher, Not a Marketer’

There’s a good post at MarketingProf’s Daily Fix entitled “Social Media and the Seven Marketing Blind Spots,” authored by Mark Ivey.

“Seven Marketing Blind Spots” (nice title) caught my eye. And Mark’s sixth blind spot – not creating “social” content – stood out for me. He explains that way too much Web content is corporate speak and “brochure-ware.” That’s so true. I plead guilty.

Let’s face it, we all want something. But we’re not going to get what we want by slapping any old thing on the Web. The folks we want to attract are looking for great information. I repeat, GREAT.

“Forget your message a few minutes and focus on your customers,” Mark writes. “Define your audience before you begin and understand what content they find interesting.”

Yes. It sounds simple, but so many things can get in the way.

So, whether you’re a publisher, marketer, or both (I’m both), your job is to provide useful information to your audiences. In other words, information that’s closely aligned to their interests, needs, wants and more.

A takeaway? As Mark writes, “Think like a publisher, not a marketer.”