Persuasive Picks for the week of 10/05/09

What Do Clients Want Now? Six Top Companies from Tech to Travel Reveal the Biggest Opportunities for PR Firm Work in 2010
Brian Pittman from The Bulldog Reporter contributed this guest post to The Firm Voice, sharing perspectives from 6 top company execs including what they are now looking from their agencies in the upcoming year.

Rubbermaid Social Media Effort Thinks Inside the Container
Douglas Quenqua provides an interesting overview of Rubbermaid’s recent social marketing campaign that was the company’s first experience with “paid” social media.

The tacky techie conundrum
Seth Godin offers food for thought for marketers launching new technologies, hoping to gain the acceptance from the “top-right” demographic.

Integrating Social Into Traditional: 10 Tips For A Remarkable Blogger Event
Christine Whittemore provides some practical advice of what to do and not do when planning a launching for your own blogger-centric event.

It’s people not tools that matter
While its easy to be drawn towards all the fancy free tools for social media and PR measurement that keep popping up each month, KD Paine reminds us that only real human beings can help provide proper measurement in areas like reputation, relationships, brand health and brand strength.

Should Google’s Knol be part of your marketing toolkit?

Knol - A Unit of KnowledgeAfter a half year of testing, Google publicly launched its Knol service this week and the inter-webs are buzzing about how it will stack up against its similar encyclopedia-like competitors. As you’ll see from the comparison below, Knol is much less restrictive than Wikipedia when it comes to creating content.

Knol vs. Wikipedia

Right out of the gate there are several major differences between Knol and Wikipedia that make publishing information much more accessible. First, anyone can create a “Knol” (page) on any topic, even if its already been written about. It will be common to find multiple pages on the same subject written by different authors. Google doesn’t have a team of moderators to keep content aligned to a specific viewpoint, and multiple perspectives on topics are encouraged.

Each Knol author has complete control over the content they create. It can’t be modified or deleted without the author’s permission. Any subject can be written about as long as it falls under Knols’ Terms of Service and Content Policy. Unlike Wikipedia, self-promotion is acceptable as the content policy states “You may use Knol to create articles for your business or to promote your lawful products or services.

Once a Knol has been published, readers are free to post comments, assign a rating or write a review on the content. These abilities are clearly missing from Wikipedia and add an extra layer of interaction between the author and the reading community.

The final difference between Knol and Wikipedia lies in the author’s ability to monetize their content. Google AdSense banners can be placed on Knol pages to potentially generate small amounts of income as content becomes popular. One of Google’s biggest hurdles right now is the task of starting a knowledge-base from scratch. Hopefully this type of incentive will be enough to consistently attract writing talent and help build a repository worth returning to.

Google's Knol

The future of Knol

Just as I’ve done above, most articles being written about Knol immediately compare it to Wikipedia. How can you not when it’s the most well-known online information archive in the world? However, Knol really has more in common with and Seth Godin’s Both of these sites have the same ability to create un-moderated, monetized content, and Knol could potentially give them a run for their money.

While both Squidoo and HubPages give authors complete control over their content, they have not been widely used as alternatives to Wikipedia. Knol’s clean and professional design could be the just what this type of platform needs to attract businesses who have encountered multiple failed attempts to publish information there. At the same time, this is a double edged sword that could see Knol turning into a glorified business directory. Smart businesses will leverage the expertise they have in their respective verticals and publish high quality content that is not purely a marketing sell sheet.

Regardless, this is an ambitious addition to the Google product line-up, and it should be very interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years. What is your opinion of Knol? Will it survive and flourish or struggle to grow in the shadow of its rivals?