Mary Adams is the principal of Trek Consulting LLC, Winchester, Massachusetts, USA. Mary Adams' article entitled "Management 2.0: managing the growing intangible side of your business" published in Emerald's Business Strategy Series was chosen as a highly commended award winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, 2009.
How did you get to know Emerald?
When I met the folks from your organization in Boston, they gave a good introduction to Emerald. My partner had written a paper for the Business Strategy Series in the past and I had written a paper last year, but I didn't really know that much about Emerald and the fact that you are trying to be academic and serious, but also really practical.
This came through very strongly for me in the presentation delivered by Emerald. I think that's something you want to emphasize and make real for people. Something that came to mind that day, and I shared it with one of your people, was the idea that the value for practitioners, for people that are in business, is having a link from a credible source like Emerald. It's very valuable to us because of search engine maximization. By having a page where you feature your author that says "this is Mary Adams, this is her business" and has a link to my site begins to create a community and identity for the author as well as credibility, so it's a great thing for me as it gives me a link.
How visible is Emerald in your work and how aware are people in your line of work of Emerald and other competitor journals?
Emerald is known for specific journals such as the Journal of Intellectual Capital. I had certainly been very aware of this. I think that people are aware of journals in their field.
Does the awareness of individual journals translate into people reading these journals? How do non-academics get access to the content?
I subscribed for one year to the Journal of Intellectual Capital, but it was a little too academic for me, I write and I blog a fair amount, but I found the journal material a little too micro studies by academics so I found that less practical.
Did you find the website a useful resource?
I certainly visit your website, mostly when there is a new issue of Journal of Intellectual Capital as I get a reminder. I was introduced to Google Scholar recently and I think that it's going to be really good for Emerald and other journals because if you are not an academic, you are not going to have an exhaustive bibliography on your desk all the time. You try to be well read, but it's not your day job so it will probably help people to find your articles.
What made you write the paper for the Business Strategy Series?
I have been working in this field for a long time and one of my frustrations was that I would talk to people about what I thought was a solution to the challenges of business and the knowledge area and I would get that people would understand one little piece of the picture but never really understand the whole thing. I had come up with a series of ideas and I knew that it would make a great article. At about the same time my partner got an e-mail from Emerald about his having written for you in the past, and prospecting for any ideas for papers in the coming year. He forwarded this on to me and I decided that this was what I was going to do with my idea.
Was the main motivation therefore to share information?
Yes, and also to form your own ideas, they say the same about teaching as about writing, until you do it, you haven't really mastered the ideas. This happens a lot in consulting. You experience things live and you help clients solve problems and, after a while, you start to see patterns to the extent that you can capture the patterns and communicate them. This helps me in my thinking, but obviously helps keep my thinking tangible.
This article is a real success story because it really helped me form my ideas. At the same time as writing the article, I read a book called Made to Stick, which is about how some ideas capture people's imagination. This helped me get even more tangible about what I was saying. Once I finished the article, I thought this would be a really good book.
I had previously written for a few magazines and have written for four conference journals after presenting papers. Everybody wants someone who says they have read your magazine article. You have the article and you use it on your website and send it to clients. It's like a book though; sometimes people find it by accident, but most of the time you have to be out there marketing it. The reason for using a publisher like Emerald is that it gives the article credibility through the review process that you don't get from publishing it yourself. As a consultant, you face the challenge that every one is SMART so how do you make your SMART's real to people and also give them some comfort that they know what they are getting into when they deal with you?
When you wrote your paper, did you use any resource guides?
There is a lot of good stuff on the Emerald "For authors" pages. The more interactive you make it, the better. There was a paper guide and an abstract guide that I used. The "Meet the editors" section is really good. Emerald has a really good resource.
Is there anything we could have done to make the process of writing or submitting an article easier?
More visibility of the resources page, I didn't focus on it until recently.
How do you think you have gained professionally from publishing in a journal rather than on the Web?
I have definitely gained credibility. I am able to use your brand as validation of mine. In terms of what I have gained, it gives me something that makes my ideas tangible that I can share with other people. I have two consulting companies and we don't have brochures, we just have folders. Depending on whom we are seeing and speaking to, which is usually through e-mail, we follow up with two or three things that may interest them as a way of continuing conversation. I put a link to the Emerald website and point out where my article is.
The content to practitioners has to be more visible. This motivates them to write. I could change something in the article and publish this myself, but I couldn't put your logo on it.
When I got my award, I wrote in and asked if you had a logo that I could put on my website and I could link it back to yours which is something you could more actively do.
How did you use the article to raise your profile?
I got a logo from you guys, you were very responsive and I put that with the article on my website. I used it in social media, I have a newsletter and I have a blog on LinkedIn where it says, "what are you up to?". I put it there as well as on Plaxo and other different places. I don't use press releases, but a lot of people do. I have enough ways of reaching out to people. The one thing I didn't do was let Emerald know I was attending the European Conference on Intellectual Capital and I was so upset when one of the other people got an award. I had received this e-mail saying if I was going to be at any conferences, let us know and I didn't. One of my colleagues got called up because she won an award and I was like "shoot" because I did too but it was too late at that point. That was my own lesson, you guys didn't do anything wrong. I wasn't on top of the game.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering writing for a journal?
Think strategically about how you are going to use this in your business from the beginning. All of us are constantly battling for informational integrity on the business side and you have to provide value in what you are writing about, but obviously this is part of a marketing strategy for a business so think strategically about how you would use this and what it would help you accomplish. It makes it easier to make yourself do it rather than just doing an abstract exercise. It also helps you craft your message and I think that blends really well with your mission. Emerald wants the practical, so how do you take these things and make it practical and real to potential clients and partners?
Market the piece and use the piece. Emerald does a great job in marketing, but just getting it into the journal is not doing that much for the practitioner if they don't have a website, which is amazing, some people still don't. Think about other websites and media you can get it on to get the attention.