LinkedIn, Medium, tons of CX blogs and websites, including the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), Customer Think, and others, are all great sources of information for those looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of Customer Experience. There are insights into specific tactical issues, organizational concepts and approaches, strategic thought leadership, and much more. Given the robust nature of topics within CX, it’s vital to be out there consuming as much information from as many different sources as possible in order to keep up.
It’s also helpful for you to share what you find. These forums are a great source of those thoughts, and I encourage everybody to avail themselves of it no matter what they do in the CX space. And it goes both ways: if you are in receive-only mode, you should consider sharing your own thoughts as well, by making your own contributions. Everybody’s got a story to tell, and whatever your background or experience, you’ve been a Customer, so you have that to share as well. Conversely, if you’re doing a bunch of writing, you should also be reading and sharing also. Here are a few reasons why:
- You’ll get smarter. It’s not a mystery that reading generally makes you smarter. Nobody has all the answers, and you’ve surely not had all the experiences; not as a Customer, and not as a CX practitioner. Curiosity requires a greed for learning more things and being exposed to not just your own history, but those of as many others as possible. Getting out there and reading (then turning around and sharing what you find) will expose you to a broader scope of ideas and experiences. And you can grow from all of them.
- You can “steal” ideas. If you want to be utilitarian about it, simply learning about more things (see #1 above) will generate more ideas and get your mind rolling. Sometimes it’s as good as disagreeing with a point someone else has made and constructing a thoughtful response. Sometimes it’s building on another writer’s ideas and expanding on or tweaking with your own thoughts and experiences. And in some instances, it’s simply repeating what someone else has said (with attribution, of course). But once you get started thinking on someone else’s piece, you’ll likely come up with enough of your own thoughts to make something you can publish on your own. But just make sure to give credit where it’s due…it’s polite, and in many instances, can lead to a robust and illuminating dialog.
- It’s good for your karma. Reposting or referring to someone else’s work in your own articles can make you feel good: Like you’re someone who’s helping out the community. That’s because you are. Not every author has ubiquitous reach. Someone you read and follow regularly may not be so popular that many people have heard of him or her. When you amplify ideas you find intriguing, you’re helping everybody in your network by exposing them to these great thoughts. Plus, that person whom you’re promoting is likely to get a nice kick out of it too.
- It comes around. In a more transactional sense, but similar to #3, when you reference or simply re-post or link to someone’s work, they’re more likely to return the favor. And it is a favor. Many of my articles get broader reach simply because people whom I’ve promoted feel encouraged to do the same for me. In line with the entire concept of broadening the marketplace of ideas, that’s good all around…more sharing is definitely good sharing, and it feeds on itself. In a compounding way.
- A genuine brand is a more trusted brand. Let’s face it: We’re not all pioneers in our industry, and we’re not all creating the Next Biggest Thing. That’s fine, but we each have something unique to offer to the community and the profession of CX. And there’s something to be gained from spending time reading what each of us has to say. If you’re Jeanne Bliss or Shep Hyken or Bruce Temkin, well then, great…you’re a recognized thought leader. If you are one of them, go ahead and just write your own stuff; we’re listening! But even they use their vaunted positions to share the thoughts and ideas of others. It’s not simply about being gracious, either; leaders in any industry are always curious to learn more. What’s more, if you’re not one of them (and I can tell you this from experience, myself not being one of them), it’s more fitting with your brand to share rather than simply to pronounce from on high. That’s not a license to be shy or downplay or diminish your own original thoughts—put those out there—but it’s important to realize that we’re all in this parade together, and we’re all part of a shared conversation.
This, of course, is generally applicable topic to topic…I’m writing to my CX community pals right now, but surely whatever your expertise (or level of expertise), it applies. So by all means, write, read, and most importantly, share. You can start with this one!