We’re proud to present Alan Berkson, Founder and Principal of Intelligist Group, a team of innovative strategists. He first got a demo of Zemanta back in October 2010 and started using it in September 2011. In this interview he says: "Bloggers who focus their content on SEO are missing the point."
Alan Berkson has been using Zemanta for more than a year and a half on his blog Intelligent Catalyst. He has more than two decades of entrepreneurial experience in helping businesses maximize value from their core strengths and aiding the creative process.
Alan describes himself as “an ADD strategist just trying to make sense of the world”. He has diverse, eclectic interests: “I have a computer science degree, but I minored in English, History, Political Science, and Education. Ok. I didn’t minor in ALL those, but it was close.” He graduated college looking for journalism jobs and accidentally took a job writing software for Wall Street. “Go figure,” he adds.
It shows in his digital footprint. “On any given day I could be discussing entertainment and pop culture or digital age sociology and their generational impact. You might also get business strategy, education – yes, we have a LOT of work to do there – or talk about my hapless Mets and Jets. The legion of doom,” Alan jokes.
What are you particularly interested in?
In influence. I am fascinated by the incredible impact of something that is difficult to measure. In an era of pervasive data and metrics I am curious to see how the influence measurement genre plays out. I even coined the term Influence Measurement Optimization™, because I know people will try to game the influence “scores” like Klout and Peerindex.
My current focus is on the challenges of content and brand in the 21st Century. The age of broadcast is over. The challenges organizations now face in a world of ever-increasing, often involuntary transparency require new strategies and new tools. Words like “story” and “narrative” are being used more often now to describe how brands need to communicate. I’m very interested in the developing strategies necessary to manage this chaotic, pervasive communications environment
Do you consider yourself a blogger?
Yes, I consider myself a blogger.
What makes someone a blogger?
Regardless of what business you’re in, or even if you’re not in business at all, you have something to say. You have conversations with colleagues, customers, and prospects — and even friends. A blogger is simply someone who writes these down.
What is your assessment of the blogosphere today?
The world we live in today is about content. While there is diverse content being created — video, images, etc — the written word will still remain powerful. The challenge for bloggers moving forward is raising the bar in how specific their blog content meets the needs of their intended audience. Bloggers who focus their content on SEO are missing the point. Start by expressing the conversations you’re having with your ecosystem.
What made you launch a blog?
I started blogging because I kept getting asked the same questions and wanted to quit repeating myself. There’s truth in that jest. I maintain that the value in creating content is not only getting people to consume it, but getting people to share it. I used my original content as follow up to conversations I’ve had, to reinforce the message, as I discuss in the my Zemanta guest post: Who’s Going To Read My Blog?
It’s evolved since then. Now, it’s more of a sounding board. It gives me a place to lay out my thoughts and observations on trends I see or issues I feel are important. Now it becomes as much a conversation starter as it is reinforcement for conversations I’ve already had.
What are your blog’s objectives and who is it targeted to?
My blog is how people vet me. If you really want to know about me, it’s in there. What I think is important. What I feel strongly about. I’m not really sure who reads it outside of those with whom I directly share it. I’m generally interested in the intersection of technology and communication, which is the subject of most of my content. It’s not a high volume blog, but I get great feedback on the posts, both in blog comments and, more often, on social platforms.
What is a good blog? How can we separate the wheat from the chaff?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? How do we vet good content on the web? I think the best blogs are the ones that make it easier for us to do that. If I read your blog and wonder if what you’re saying is true, whether you’re just trying to sell me something, or whether you have some ulterior motive, then you’ve failed.
How does Zemanta help you blog better/easier?
I really like the “In-Text Links” feature, useful for putting links to topics directly in the post. I also really like the My Sources. While I don’t always add the links to my posts it allows me to see what the sources I think are important are saying about my post topic.
Can you share a Zemanta tip?
One of my favorite aspects of Zemanta is it allows me to use my Flickr and Instagram accounts as sources in the Media Gallery for images for my posts. Now, when I’m out and about, I sometimes take photos just because I think it might be a cool image to use in a post some time. So when I’m writing the post, there they are!