Category Archives: Thoughts

Leadership vs. Mentorship

In my career, I’ve been asked to build and lead teams.

It’s definitely an exciting proposition to build and lead a team. Having the resources and authority to staff your own department is a luxury not afforded to all. But what exactly is leadership? Does having a title make you a leader?

In my experience, no. We’ve all had bosses that couldn’t do their job for shit. We’ve all thought, I could do that better.

For me, leadership starts with helping those around you, including your boss who may (like it or not) need to learn from you. For me, leadership is mentorship.

Think about the opportunities you have on a daily basis to help those around you develop their skill vs. fix a problem for them. In the workplace, problems can be a good thing as they are indicative of someone pushing either their own limits or the limits of an assignment.

As an employee, the easier and safer way to (relative) prosperity is to show up and do as you’re told. As a leader, the more difficult path of challenging brand dogma and questioning why things are the way they are creates a deep understanding of project needs and goals.

Armed with a deep understanding of the issues at hand, leaders remove boundaries for staff members.

For example, if a member of my team is an excellent marketer but relies on an agency to provide images for a Facebook ad carousel, I will teach that team member enough Photoshop to stimulate a personal desire to learn more.

As another example, if a team member is a strong digital artist but lacks significant experience as a digital marketer, I will show that artist how to build audiences in Facebook that he or she could then create specific pieces of art that may appeal to specific audiences. Then, I’ll empower that artist with his or her own campaign so he or she can see, first hand, how creative and audiences work together to generate engagement.

At the heart of mentorship is empowerment. By empowering those around me to develop passionate interests in personal development, my job as a leader becomes easier. I don’t have to worry about people coming in late, leaving early or slacking off half as much as I normally would with a disenfranchised workforce. Also, I don’t have to worry about staff turnover as much which reduces lost work time and the costs associated with finding and training new talent.

In conclusion, I think it’s important to mention that even mentors need mentors. Don’t overlook this. Being the smartest person in the room is a terrible thing. Always look for professional opportunities to both share your knowledge and to gain it from others.

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[BATTLEPLAN] Marketing to Generation @Me

As a marketer, I consider most people aged 13 to 30 years to be a part of Generation @Me where likes, comments and follows serve as social currency.

If you want to design a program that appeals to Generation @Me, you need to first design a program with social currency flow baked-in.

I say baked-in because social currency flow can’t be something you layer in or place on top of a program. It has to be the program.

Here’s the “How do I market a brand or IP to Gen@Me” formula

  1. Be a thought leader, influencer and taste maker which means being EXTRAORDINARY at something
    1. If you are not already all of the above, you’re pretty much dunzo because there’s someone out there that is.
    2. You can rent a thought leader but at the end of the day, the majority of the equity stays with the thought leader.
  2. Bring your personal audience to the public brand
    1. You need a small but committed group to spread your message. These are people that can vet you personally.
  3. Show and share the love
    1. As a thought leader, you have pockets full of social currency to pay out. As you like, comment, follow or otherwise pay out social currency, you’re rewarded with social currency in return. This is social currency flow.
  4. Become a bank
    1. Be mindful and selective of how and who you lend social currency to. More often than not, you can lend it to yourself to launch additional brands.
  5. Sell shit
    1. Here’s where people start – they want to sell things so they use social as a layer instead of the program. They’re thinking backwards.

In conclusion, I’d just like to acknowledge that anyone could disprove the above with a case study of someone that did something great who wasn’t an influencer or didn’t have any knowledge of what they were doing, The above is (somewhat) agnostic of being lucky, having influential parents, friends, loved ones or being in the right place at the right time – all of which can elevate your success levels no matter how much you suck 🙂

Before you write new content, take a look at your old content

As a writer, blogger or copywriter, you may be relying heavily on the belief that well-written content is enough and therefore, cannot be significantly improved once published.

Rather than constantly churning out page after page of content, I suggest you look at your top pages and look for ways to improve them. If your bounce rates on top pages are high, chances are you’re not learning enough from your logs and will just create more pages with high bounce rates.

This never ending tea poppin’ doe

My suggestion is that you think multi-dimensionally. It’s not just the words on the page, it’s the total user experience. Here are just a few of the many dimensions you can address:

Length – the widely held belief now is that longer is better, but I suggest that you be respectful of people’s time get to the point
Usefulness – trim the filler and expand upon what’s actually useful
Tone / Voice – try being positive, negative, sarcastic, optimistic, elitist or a commoner
Ease of use – make readers work less

 

Ease of use is really the big one. Writers, bloggers and copywriters have only recently started taking ownership of UX.

Visuals

  • Maybe what you’ve written is great but you’ve overestimated readers’ attention spans / time available to consume / commitment to your clients’ brands  (especially in cases where you’ve written big / long content)
  • Visuals make content easier to digest, provide visual breaks and increase scan-ability
  • How can you make your content interactive?
    • Is there a plug-in to add comment boxes inline with article content similar to Medium?
    • Can you mimic this behavior using existing tech like forms placed inline with content that act as micro lead generators?
    • Can you add CTA breaks that ask commenters for their thoughts mid-way through?
  • And don’t forget … video, video, video

All these things can increase time spent on page and lower bounce rate.

What have you learned from your bounce rates?

 

To brand or rebrand? That is the question.

My co-worker Kelly recently attended an iStock branding webinar and shared her notes with the team.

There were elements of the webinar that intrigued me enough to seek out the video below and to share a few of her bullet points.

 

 

Kelly’s bullet points appear quoted below. My responses appear after each.

“Do NOT start by creating a website; perfect your strategy and THEN create the website”

I see this happen all the time. Entrepreneurs think building a website is the first step towards building a business. Then once the website is built, suddenly they are a business. Not true!

“So, whatever you tell your clients to do, your site must do exceptionally well and it must demonstrate the effects of doing it well.”

This made me think of a client that has five different options for fitment and how they NEED to have videos demonstrating each option before they expect the general public to request one at all.

“Don’t try to make your business more sensational than it is. Instead, be truthful.

I like this because it’s defensible. We shouldn’t pose as experts. We should ask to partner with experts so we can learn and serve.

“Juggling multiple brands is seldom effective

Here’s an extension of the above. People do business with people and not brands, companies, industries or websites. The most important brand is your personal brand – who you are, what you can do and why you’re the only person that can do it. The company name, tag line or web address is inconsequential by comparison.

So the question remains … to brand or rebrand? When hard times befall your company or when industry changes make you feel outmoded, chances are your brand isn’t responsible. The webinar mentions a couple valid reasons for rebranding (such as a merger or outgrowing of your business) so make sure you’re just not out of ideas before you take this pivotal step.