While Joel is cruising in the Caribbean without much access to the internet, he asked me to share a little about my work with him. I would normally not crash someone's blog and start writing, but hey…. since he asked, I'll share a little about our work. In fact, I decided to pattern it like a product review. The product: SharePointJoel.com.
Joel is totally in a different league than I am, but I find him speaking my language—commitment to his faith, commitment to his family, commitment to growing the SharePoint community, and commitment to helping get products known in the community. About those things I am also passionate. It makes for a great team.
When I first became president of the Richmond (Virginia) SharePoint User Group I had a very small vision for our area—SUGAR—SharePoint User Groups Around Richmond. We have two groups that meet now, but I still consider that initial dream. I started meeting user group leaders and community leaders and hearing their passion for community. Then I met Joel at the inaugural SharePoint Saturday event in Virginia Beach in 2009 and started following him through Twitter and Facebook. I read the accounts of his visits to user groups around the globe and realized how technology had brought so many people together in a way I had never witnessed. How incredible is that! My vision then broadened to include connecting with the global community.
So, what is it like working with Joel? Well, there's truly never a dull moment. Planning and coordinating product reviews, sponsored blog posts, announcements, webcasts, etc., around a travel schedule that most of us just dream about and scheduling demos and phone calls around his regular work day in two time slots in Mountain Time that can coordinate with most of the other global time zones. It's quite amusing, but so far it has worked. I continue to be amazed at the flexibility that companies have to work with us through this process. For that, we are thankful!
I've realized for a couple of years through my work with Nothing But SharePoint and through SharePoint Joel that our SharePoint companies have great products and services and really are trying to get their products known. Not just that… many of them have become part of the community—sponsoring our events for SharePoint Saturdays in our communities, sponsoring our user group meetings, sponsoring blog sites, large events, etc. It's been a win-win relationship! Bringing those relationships to SharePoint Joel has been such an extension of networking, connecting, and getting to know so many on a personal basis.
Do you really know what all Joel offers to the community? Have you ever requested a media sheet to review his services? At first glance, SharePoint Joel's SharePoint Land looks like a blog, but it's so much more. Joel Oleson offers full services to companies who want to get their products and services reviewed, discussed, analyzed, and promoted in the community. He offers an honest look at a product's viability and success in the current marketplace and provides feedback and encouragement. His passion for writing keeps the site fresh with new content as he experiences new solutions and continues to connect with technology professionals who need answers. He provides his expert findings and advice for thousands of readers each week.
Figure 1: SharePointJoel.com: Taking a Look at the Home Page
Looking around on the home page of SharePointJoel.com is the main blog post with the opportunity for you to Tweet, share on Facebook, LinkedIn or email to a friend. There is a search box to search for an article or topic on the site. If you notice on either side, there are ads. These ads can be purchased directly from us or they are automatically added from SharePointAds.com affiliate. The banner ads can be displayed on either side. Once a product is reviewed, the product is listed on a sidebar so referencing it later is easier.
Figure 2: SharePoint Product Reviews Listings
Understanding Challenges Today
Companies are writing: "Can you review my product?" "Would you blog about my solution?" "Can you give me your opinion about our mobile product?"
The community is asking or Tweeting: "Tell me what you think of that." "What are you using?" "Which do you like better, this product or that product?" "How can I find out what others are doing?" How can I connect with the community?"
Joel listens, blogs, tweets, shares, speaks, and tries all possible angles to get answers to the community. He hears from companies and individuals who are looking for a specific answer to their immediate need or who have an idea that will solve a problem. He is honestly passionate about helping and goes above and beyond to do the best job possible in providing an answer. He created the SharePoint Yammer Community #SPYam to help connect the community even more and now has over 1600 SharePoint enthusiasts communicating daily with their questions and solutions and making announcements about events in their communities and around the world.
My Experience with SharePointJoel.com
My experience with SharePoint Joel—the person— is about integrity, openness, honesty. My experience with SharePointJoel.com—the product—is that it has become the place and vehicle to get a SharePoint product or service into the community. Why? Because Joel knows the community first-hand. It's not just a "distance relationship," it's "up close and personal." He has visited and talked with more end users and technology professionals throughout the globe than any of us ever will. He has met with company owners, Microsoft leaders, service providers, etc. and can give you an honest assessment that will help your product be successful.
Where I find the real strength for SharePointJoel.com is his approachability. He wants to meet you and get to know you. He wants to know what is making you successful and wants to help you. I think that's what sets him apart.
So what's the downside?
"Well, this is always a tough one." Regarding SharePointJoel.com, I've noted it, and hopefully, it will be corrected in the next version/upgrade (or before), but I would really like for the top bar or the logo to take me back to the home page. When I'm reading a specific blog post to which I've linked from Twitter, Facebook or other, I have to navigate from the address line instead of just being able to press a home link somewhere.
Another downside (or upside) is that Joel's services are very popular now and our schedule is very busy. Sometimes our schedules have to change for unforeseen circumstances. We are so glad that you understand that and are willing to work with us to reschedule. We always want each post to yield results and we do all we can to ensure its success through social media and other mentions.
If you're looking for a place to have your product reviewed or sponsor a blog, look no further. We will be glad to talk with you and help you in any way. We offer so many services and even will work with you on a regular basis to supplement your marketing programs. Many of you send newsletters each week. I know. I get them and I open a lot of them. I'm always curious about what you are doing. We can help you with those announcements to enhance your readership.
We hope you will visit us at SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. Stop by the SharePoint Community Hub and meet Joel. If you are an attendee, we want to meet you and connect you with other SharePoint leaders. If you are a vendor and are interested in discussing some options where we can help, we look forward to talking with you.
Respectfully written and posted by Bonnie Surma, Advertising and Services Coordinator for SharePointJoel.com. Twitter @sharepointmom. Send all requests to email@example.com. If you still have not joined the SharePoint Yammer Community, please let me know. I'll be glad to invite you! We don't want to exclude anyone wanting to join.
SharePointJoel.com was voted by the community as Top SharePoint blog and viewed monthly in over 100 countries worldwide. Would you like your product or tool reviewed by a Top SharePoint influencer?