Winning the Paywall Debate

first_imgThough it may seem anti-climactic to you, given the rigorous discussion and testing around other publications’ paywalls, this is giant for us. We’ve finally moved from discussion to doing, and I, for one, could not be happier. Movement and experimentation, not standing still and hiding, is how smart business decisions are made.Previously, half of our content was behind a paywall that pushed people to subscribe. Now, the majority of our new content will be paywalled for at least a day or two, as it’s released. Editors will gradually rotate all pieces in front of the paywall during the week, so that every single piece will get its chance to circulate for free. This allows editors to better control the timing and PR strategy surrounding the release of content, but especially helps the efforts of the marketing team. Because our issues go live each week, the impact of our paywall is to encourage people to pay for instant access to our content.One of the most unanticipated pushbacks has been not from readers, but from writers who worry about cutting off eyeballs to their page. Our editorial staff has done a good job of communicating the necessity of testing, and I hope that my points below help other publications open a constructive dialogue about paywall strategy with their writers.1. Our financial vitality is necessary in order to further our editorial mission. Being a subscription-based publication, we rely on money from our readers in ways that other places do not. I’m not giving away free copies of The Nation at the dentist’s office; our basic annual rate for a printed magazine is $79 (a pittance compared to $138 for The Economist). We are not beholden to advertisers or a ratebase, leaving us to refreshingly cover what we want how we want. News media across the board have been fighting an uphill battle against free news on the web for years; The Nation is not immune. But I sense a shifting of the tides, and the industry has been teaching readers, little by little, that good, factual journalism costs something. Sending a reporter to Egypt or Russia or a photo-essayist to Detroit costs more than travel fees—these reporters are in Syria or Russia or Detroit, and readers should expect to have to pay people for the work that surrounds these issues. Believe it or not, solid, rigorous reporting isn’t done from a desktop or pieced together from a bunch of Wikipedia facts. Real journalism, like a crane operator or a chef, requires nuanced skill, time, and expertise. Writers know this. But it’s easy for them to lose sight of this in a vacuum—especially in an era we’ve created where we make clicks and pageviews count more than actual content, which practically demands a reversal. What needs to be reiterated is how, in order to avoid becoming a slogfest of half-truths and online “facts,” we need money to fund their work. If we’re not relying on advertising, then we need to rely on circulation. And in this day and age, a paywall is just another type of circulation.2. Our readers, not our advertisers, are our future. I liken our readers to Packers fans. Green Bay is the only community-owned sports franchise in the country. Cheeseheads are rabid about their Packers because they have a psychological stake in the team (no dividends are paid out; extra monies go to a variety of non-profits throughout Wisconsin). The structure is different, but the sentiment is similar: The Nation’s writers give readers a point of view they don’t often read. We need them both on board to continue our work. As long as we push affordable business initiatives to a new audience, we can build said audience with a greater psychological investment in our content provided by the writers. The readers and writers work in tandem, walking along a tightrope of limited funds, and without those funds, both will falter.3. Leverage the exclusionary aspect to inspire a bigger audience. It’s not rocket science: the glut of crap on the internet is astounding, and we all read it, but we don’t remember it (when was the last time you quoted a Yahoo News statistic at a meeting?). Everything has been bit.ly’ed to the point where news has become trivia questions, not actual substance. But the writers can fight that, with their own followings and via their own audiences, by talking about their “exclusive” content on The Nation. It’s a way to leverage money for the paywall, but also for readers of their content. They want more eyeballs, not less; their resistance is to the general idea that a paywall will reduce eyeballs. This may be accurate on the outset. But the ownership is on everyone at the magazine—from the PR team to the writers’ own connections—to emphasize the importance of their pieces, offer teasers, and establish a firm stance that there is a reason we are asking you to cough up some money (in our case, $9.50) to read content. We’re like an exclusive club that costs next to nothing to join.4. Finally, this too shall pass. This is only temporary. This is only a test. Remember: it will either work or it won’t. If it works, then you’ve got the eyeballs, and we’ve got money to pay you. If it doesn’t, we experiment with something new and try a different angle. I promise you, it’s not in my interest to pour money into a continually failing strategy. Trust that your business staff is doing the best they can in your interest and in the publication’s, and that we won’t do something that will hurt the future of magazine. We’re doing something revolutionary at The Nation: we’re finally testing different paywall strategies. Sharing this is like dumping my purse on the table of a restaurant—it’s a mixed bag of embarrassment and pride. Why haven’t we done this sooner?It’s a little tricky, of course, being a subscription-based publication with a 150-year history of an audience allied to very strong editorial content. We have become increasingly forward-thinking with our approach to advertising, but at the core of it, our subscribers fund the magazine. At The Nation, Editorial Rules. We’ve been slower to test for all the reasons you think: less money; limited staff; an audience of truth-seekers who find paywalls a moral hindrance if nothing else; a founding prospectus that emphasizes our role to engage open, critical discussion of political and social issues; a staunch belief in the freedom of the press.last_img read more

Recording Academys Neil Portnow Talks GRAMMY Noms Diversity

first_img Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) Neil Portnow On Diversity In 2018 GRAMMY Noms recording-academys-neil-portnow-talks-grammy-noms-diversity-2 Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees Facebook KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? News (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: Wireimage.com Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: WireImage.com These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees More 60th GRAMMY Awards News Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Music Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: WireImage.com 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List Twitter KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/WireImage.com These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: Wireimage.com Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? Read more Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show Congratulations to the 60th #GRAMMYs nominees! View the full list here: https://t.co/FwSnpmZbC9 pic.twitter.com/3OIYfJZoXb— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) November 28, 2017 Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music MusiCares John Legend One clear example of the multicultural and genre-diverse nature of this year’s noms is the first-ever dual Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year nomination going towards a predominantly Spanish-language song; namely, “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber.”It’s a reflection of the times, something we’re very proud of,” says Portnow. “I would say that we have to be careful in the sense that [the nominations] didn’t happen solely because of its enormous popularity and acceptance. That’s undeniable, but through the lens of our folks who listen to that record as a musician or a producer and listen to all those elements that got fused together and the production elements, the instrumentation and the diversity there, from a craft standpoint, it’s an extraordinary record.”Be sure to tune in to the 60th GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 28, 2018, broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York. The 60th GRAMMY Awards telecast will air from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT. Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Nov 28, 2017 – 5:30 am Record Of The Year Nominees | 60th GRAMMY Awards Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Recording Academy’s Neil Portnow Talks GRAMMY Noms, Diversity ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Music Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Music John Legend Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: WireImage.com 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Imagescenter_img Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/WireImage.com Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/WireImage.com Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/WireImage.com Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards John Legend Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.com See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs Indeed, the nominations for the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards represent the wide range of today’s musical landscape, partially as a result of the Recording Academy’s continued efforts to diversify its membership.”We have taken a concerted effort to making sure that the voting membership of the Academy is representative of the creative community,” Portnow says. “We’ve got 84 categories. Are we well-represented with membership from all of them? Are we engaging them? Are they participating? We look at that regularly and to the extent that we find there are areas that need more attention, we’ll do that.”  Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? 60th GRAMMY nominations are “a reflection of our times,” according to Recording Academy President/CEO Nate HertweckGRAMMYs Nov 28, 2017 – 3:15 pm This morning, many of the world’s best music creators woke up to some life-changing news: a GRAMMY nomination. For Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, the results were equally exciting.”I was very pleased,” Portnow told Billboard, calling the nominations “a wonderful reflection on our organization and how relevant and in touch and savvy our voting members are.”        Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com https://twitter.com/RecordingAcad/status/935502805913260032 Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/WireImage.com Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: Wireimage.com Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Prev Next MusiCares Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/WireImage.com Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 MusiCares See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards Email Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Imageslast_img read more

9 great reads from CNET this week

first_img Tags Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors • 0 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? The end of the year is near, even if the news cycle doesn’t seem to have noticed. GoFundMe returned more than $400,000 after learning one of the site’s campaigns was a scam. Fortnite, the shoot-’em-up video game, is reportedly set to turn a cool $3 billion in profit this year. And Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman apologized for unwittingly funding an Alabama disinformation campaign. If you missed any of the action, now’s your chance to catch up. And don’t worry… there’ll be plenty more in 2019. You thought the net neutrality fight was over? Think againTime’s run out to restore the rules using a legislative loophole. The fight, however, is far from over. Sarah Tew/CNET From NASA to SpaceX, 2018 was a great year for space news The launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket headlined a year of marvelous space milestones. deyhrbkvqaau6kd Virgin Galactic Here’s why Cher’s was the must-follow Twitter account of the yearThe global superstar is the antithesis of all the wrong types of tweeters. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals Samir Hussein/Getty Images From iPhone XR to Galaxy S9, we just had the best year for phones ever Phones were fast, powerful and brimming with exciting features. The 2019 crop will likely be better. i-phone-xs-i-phone-xs-max-1 Angela Lang/CNET Facebook Watch may have been the best part of the social network’s bad year But it wasn’t that great. Jessica Miglio Jessica Miglio Google employees found voice in protest this yearYou’ll likely hear more. Google Walkout Me Too Protest James Martin/CNET Google Home’s 2018 in reviewOwning the smart home. google-home-hub-9 Chris Monroe/CNET Fighting fake news on social media is going to get harderThe shift to messaging and ephemeral content will prove challenging. FRANCE-INTERNET-COMPANY-STOCKS-FACEBOOK Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images The best cars we drove in 2018You’ll want to drive ’em all. 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Steven Ewing/Roadshow ‘Hello, humans’: Google’s Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet. Infowars and Silicon Valley: Everything you need to know about the tech industry’s free speech debate. Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Share your voice NASA Facebook Google Instagram Porsche Snapchat SpaceX Tesla Twitter Volkswagen Apple WhatsApp See All Apple reading • 9 great reads from CNET this week Tech Industry Post a commentlast_img read more

Districts Medical Marijuana Program Advances

first_imgMedical MarijuanaThe DC Council passed emergency legislation on July 14 to advance the medical marijuana program. The bills provide a patient-centric medical marijuana use program, a sliding scale for the purchase marijuana, and an increase in the number of plants a grower can cultivate to meet patient demands.Passage of B20-678, “Medical Marijuana Plant Cultivation Amendment Act of 2014” and B20-766, “Medical Marijuana Expansion Amendment of 2014” paved the way for medical marijuana cultivation centers to increase the number of plants from 95 to 500. These changes allow patients and their physicians to determine if using medical marijuana is more beneficial than conventional medications for treatment. Also included are provisions for a payment sliding scale for patients with income less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. “This debate regarding the state of the District’s medical marijuana program began last Fall. Since then we’ve worked with patients, advocates, dispensaries, cultivators, and the Department of Health continuously to improve patient access. This legislation is another step in the right direction. I was pleased to support it and I’m glad my colleagues did as well,” said At Large Councilmember David Grosso.Dr. Joxel Garcia, director of the D.C. Department of Health, said, “The department supports legislation that permits the expansion of the qualifying medical conditions to mean any condition for which use of the medical marijuana may be beneficial, as determined by the patient and their physician.”Olivia Johnson, a medical marijuana user, moved to the District in 1983 from California, a state with a medical marijuana program for 17 years. She suffers from a degenerative spine and disc disorder. “I think it’s wonderful. I knew because it was a new program, the District government seemed terrified to implement the program with full force. I thought it would take longer to move this along. I am ecstatic the changes came so quickly.”Sarah Kirsten Farthing suffers with Stage 4 endometriosis. “I am incredibly relieved. I do not believe that the government should be involved in improving individual conditions,” said Farthing. “Before, the process left many citizens, like myself, without legal access to a drug that is safer, more effective, and has fewer side effects than the drugs frequently given to patients with serious health needs.”Not all physicians are supportive of the expansion. “As a pediatrician who specializes in caring for teenagers, I am concerned that medical marijuana is erroneously sending the signal to youth that not only is marijuana not harmful, it’s actually beneficial,” said Krishna Upadhya, MD. “There is evidence that expansion of medical marijuana programs does cause harm. I am opposed to legislators deciding that something is a medicine. There is no assurance of uniformity, purity, or concentration of the active ingredients as is required for prescription drugs.”The issue of growing more plants was not readily accepted by Department of Health but passed the Council. “Currently, we cannot say there is a demonstrated need to expand the plant limit to 500, or if the demand for medical marijuana will support the increased supply. Although we know that the program will continue to grow,” testified Garcia at a Council hearing in June.Under its current design, the District has 412 patients registered in the program and 114 physicians that have requested access to recommend medical marijuana. Patients are also able to submit applications online. Supporters expect the number of patients to increase now that barriers have been lifted.“There was no sound reason to continue capping the number of plants licensed cultivators may possess at any given time. The federal government has never targeted relatively large-scale producers who operate in compliance with a state regulatory scheme in any of the states where they have been allowed,” said Robert J. Capecchi, deputy director of state policies, Marijuana Policy Project.A medical marijuana initiative, mirroring the California statute, was passed by 69 percent of the District’s voters in 1998. At that time California was the only state in the nation to have a program. Congress blocked any action to implement the program until 2009. Now 22 states have medical marijuana programs, and Colorado and Washington have full legalization. In August, the Justice Department issued a statement to allow states with medical marijuana laws to operate programs. “In short, the way was clear for DC to move ahead with improvements to its program. The ultimate solution here is to treat medical marijuana the same way we treat medical alcohol and medical tobacco because it has far more uses and is much safer,” said Richard F. Kennedy, PhD.Corey Barnette, owner and operator of District Growers Cultivation Center, applauded the positive directional changes. However, he mentioned other hurdles that needed to be addressed. “It must begin to allow existing ownership groups to finance expansion and operation, like any other business in the District. Lessen the burden of a lack of access to bank financing and merchant services. Prevent supply interruption and continue to supply growing demand. Support reduction in pricing,” said Barnette, owner of the only Black-owned cultivation center in this region.last_img read more

Avoiding the Shiny Object Trap How to Focus on What Matters Most

first_img Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 30, 2018 Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Running a company in the 21st century maymake you feel as if you’re living in a world of infinite possibilities: Technology is causing things to change rapidly in every industry, and there are so many different things you can try, to out-innovate your competitors.Related: 3 Ways to End Technology DistractionBut becoming too enamored with the endless possibilities can cause you to divert your focus from the critical functions of the organization.Striking a proper balance, therefore, between learning when to embrace new opportunities and sticking to what you know is actually fairly straightforward. You just have to pay attention to the evidence around you, understand what makes you successful and never take your eyes off your customers just to chase a fad.Trust your data to keep you on track.One of the best things you can do for your business is to institute a comprehensive policy for collecting, using and managing performance data. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to spend the resources to do this, and then disregard your findings.According to a study from CEB summarized in the Harvard Business Review, companies still see a significant gap between collecting data and using it properly. Despite the widespread availability of data and the relative ease of gathering it, compared to what previously was the case, many businesses still struggle with employing analytics to aid in decision-making. Only 50 percent of senior leaders in the study were identified as being “data-savvy.”Related: 6 Ways to Master Distraction and Stay FocusedThe ability to be bold and take risks is important for any business leader. However, when you think you are on to the next great idea, and you refuse to listen to data that indicates otherwise, critical problems will likely arise.Experiment with new marketing channels slowly and carefully.Marketing in the digital age really is like holding a double-edged sword.On the one hand, there are more ways than ever to reach a captive audience of millions with personalized messaging. But it also seems like a new marketing medium pops up every few months. Just think of how few companies even considered marketing through Snapchat a couple of years ago. For business owners, trying to keep up with the latest platform can be a resource-intense distraction.It is important to follow the developments of new technology and try to reach customers through different marketing outlets, especially if your core customer base is made up of people who are likely to be using these platforms. However, it is unwise to divert too many dollars and staff hours away from your proven marketing channels in an effort to be on top of trends. Start gradually, at first, until you have a clear idea of what kind of results you can expect to achieve, and at what cost.Know your core competencies.One of the best ways to avoid getting distracted by all of the possibilities available to you is to understand what your company does exceptionally well, and funnel most of your energy into that. Then, allocate a small portion of your remaining resources toward piloting new projects and experimenting with novel campaigns.When GoPro decided to enter the drone market, the company shifted its focus and resources away from its core product, action cameras. Although this move seemed promising, the action-camera company was unsuccessful in manufacturing and marketing a drone that customers actually wanted. Earlier this year, GoPro decided to exit the drone business.Ultimately, you should never lose sight of what your customers expect from you, and never interrupt your mission to deliver that to them in a more effective way.Be willing to outsource.Your core competencies may be too important to stray from, but you have some wiggle room when it comes to anything outside of those functions. These are areas where you can afford to outsource work to other companies when that makes sense both financially, and from a quality perspective.With all the resources you put toward enhancing your core value proposition, you aren’t going to be able to do everything as well as some companies can do one thing. If your organization needs to outsource functions such as human resources or business development so you can focus on what you do best, then don’t hesitate.Always bring it back to the customer.The best way to ensure you aren’t getting distracted from your mission is to tie everything back to your relationship with the customer. If the choices you make are in service of improving your customers’ overall experience, then you’ll always find yourself on the right track.That doesn’t mean every decision will yield positive results, but it will help you narrow your decision-making so you don’t lose sight of the one relationship you absolutely can’t afford to ignore. Numerous studies have proven time and time again that the quality of the customer experience is, by far, the most important part of any business.Related: 5 Distractions That Are Productivity Poison (and How to Avoid Them)To succed, entrepreneurs must not get caught in the “shiny object” trap. Instead, they need to focus on optimizing their resources and delivering unparalleled value to their customers. 5 min readlast_img read more