Be concise and specific

I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
—Mark Twain
I've just written 31 concise—short—company profiles. It's amazingly difficult to capture what's interesting and different about a company in two pages, especially for companies whose services are typical of the industry. That's why it took so long to write the Guide to Social Media Analysis, and it gets at the value I wanted to provide for readers.

I imagined a marketing executive, interested in the value of following the online conversation, assigning a staff member to investigate the available services. The Guide is the finished report that staffer could deliver—if the company wanted to spend 5 months of staff time to collect the information.

The core of the Guide is the company profiles, which collect information beyond what's available on vendor web sites in a convenient package. It's meant to accelerate the initial information gathering steps for a company looking for a vendor.

Each profile includes:

  • A brief statement of the company's business and 4–5 highlights for quick scanning.
  • An overview of the company's services, including a discussion of what analysis they provide and how they do it.
  • A checklist of which of the typical services the vendor offers (also summarized across all vendors in the overview section).
  • A closer look at the deliverables and, when provided, pricing.
  • Investor information: identifies ownership and announced investments in the company.
  • Player stats: company size, when it was founded, how long they've offered social media analysis, percentage of revenue from social media analysis, geographical scope, language capabilities and company bloggers.
  • Contact information, including office locations and direct contact for potential clients.
A sample profile is available on the product page. I went through an RFI process and extensive interviews with these companies. The Guide condenses those months of effort into 31 brief profiles. I wrote a book ten years ago, and at 300+ pages, that was easier.


About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
  • Principal, Social Target
  • Profile
  • Highlights from the archive


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