In accordance with our new NOKlist protocol, the other half of the team speaks! And as you can expect from any cross-section of the Mack Web team, we’ve got a mixed bunch of food-for-thought for your noggins today.
Obsession and follow-through, integrated marketing and dubious GIFs, the joys and perils of being the New Kid: we like to keep you guessing.
(If you’re at all familiar with our past NOKlists, you’re well accustomed to such an eclectic mix. If you’re new, you’re in for a treat.)
So sit back and enjoy Nuggets of Knowledge, March 2015 edition. You won’t regret it.
(Well, you probably won’t regret it … allowing for context. If you miss the birth of your first child or the signs of an impending tiger attack because you were completely engrossed in our NOKlist, you might regret it. Maybe.)
I have a deep-buried secret that I’ve never admitted to anyone but my husband and a trusted few, for I felt it would bring shame upon my kind and kin.
I’ve never completed all five seasons of Chuck.
You see, at around season 2, watching this should-have-been-my-favorite-TV-show got more difficult. I had to endure a whole lot of love angst and an insecure leading man before getting to the good spy stuff. At that time in my life, Chuck was a good idea, but I just didn’t have what it took to follow through to the end.
There’s a lesson to be learned here, and Julie Zhuo talks all about it in her recent post about the follow-through person. (There’s no mention of Chuck, but she does mention a lotus and Final Fantasy.) Yet she doesn’t just talk about the follow-through person – she celebrates her.
We are indeed a culture that celebrates the idea person. But what about the ones who endure through the muck and mire of research, planning, revisions, revisions, revisions … to finally emerge at the end with a fully realized idea? As part of a great team of muck and mire sloggers, I nearly wept after reading Julie Zhuo’s post. I didn’t feel like I was laying face-down in the trenches. I felt hands-raised-in-the-air celebrated.
Lesson: “Nothing thrills like the promise of a good idea. Nothing happens without the follow-through.”
Life application: T minus 24 episodes
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When it comes to setting the bar and accomplishing things in life, I’ve always admired those that cross the line of liking something to becoming utterly obsessed. It’s one thing to run a marathon, which is on my list, but it’s another thing to be an ultramarathon runner. As you’ll see in this article, Michael Wardian was obsessed with being the fastest person to run a 50k.
It takes that kind of determination to be successful; OK, maybe not as crazy as Michael Wardian got, but you get my point. In their lives and careers, too many people fail to set their goals high enough or quit before they get there. I like the quote in this article that states, “People cheer at the starting and the finish line. The middle miles need mental toughness.”
And that’s very true, especially for a business. Starting a business is always shiny in the beginning and usually gets tough in the middle. Personally, the middle miles are what excite me the most about coming to work everyday. Those are the miles where you learn, test, build, and reflect on a daily basis. And all the skills you build will serve you well beyond the finish line. Because if you think about it, the finish line isn’t really the end, it’s the start of something new. A new challenge, a new record, a new experience that ultimately shape who you are today.
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It’s not a long article and it’s not even terribly deep: a brief commentary on the falling barriers between political media and PR. It’s also not surprising that even the House Judiciary Committee – an important body that goes largely unheeded by most of the population that falls outside the Beltway – is resorting to GIFs these days to communicate its point.
But two interesting things struck me as I was perusing the Committee’s offering.
Now, I love a good GIF as much as the next person (there’s one of llama rejection that I find particularly delightful and I have a whole collection of famous people doing stupid dance moves that I like to circulate when I feel the office environment is becoming oppressive). But no one has ever claimed them as a particularly high-brow form of communication. Nevertheless, it turns out, it is possible to do a GIF post very badly indeed. All respect to the Committee, but…this is clearly not their media department’s forte. What I actually took away from that realization though is: if you can tell that something has been done poorly, that means that you can also recognize when it has been done well. I tend to be a strictly-words kinda girl for effective communication, so it was a reminder to think outside my comfort zone (and other mangled cliches).
On a related and almost contradictory note, the second thing that struck me reading this article was that all this talk we’ve been talking about ensuring everything your marketing does is genuine and authentic and comes from the core of who you are – it’s really, actually true. Not that I doubted it, but I saw it in action in two ways. First, you can’t count on flashy gimmicks to set you apart: everyone is using them. (Like, everyone.) Second, I have actually never been less impressed with the House Judiciary Committee. Their struggle to be relevant has actually just made them look like a bunch of suits desperately trying to ‘be chill, dudes.’ In ceding the gravitas and general self-importance that one expects from an elite group of our governing body, they’ve actually torpedoed what they were trying to say.
In short, it’s important to tailor your message to your audience. Absolutely. But you should do it without losing your grasp on who you are and what makes you powerful.
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I’ve recently joined Mack Web as the Content Strategist. It’s a new role for them and a new role for me. Prior to this, I spent 8 1/2 years as the director of communications for the alumni association of a large, public, land-grant institution.
Now that I am in a totally new industry, a small office space, and working with a team of 10 (instead of hundreds), I am in the backseat, watching out the window, wondering and waiting. It’s a strange place to be. I’m accustomed to being the driver – or at least the navigator – and right now I’m a passenger, listening and watching and taking it all in.
This article from Scott McDowell, published at 99U, is a re-cap of The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins, and gives a five-step roadmap for surviving and succeeding in a new job. These 5 steps are a great guide for tempering your urge to dive in, building your relationships with new co-workers, and clarifying expectations and needs from the boss.
I’m glad I’ve done a few of the steps – I could improve on some of the others – and it’s helpful to know that it’s common to feel inept and anxious to jump in. So, though it’s difficult, I shall sit down, buckle up, and listen hard. It won’t be long, I’m sure, before the lay of the land becomes clear and I can start to navigate the path.
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It’s no secret that I heart the guys over at Vero. Jimmy & Chris are a) super smart b) authentic & transparent and c) extra friendly and approachable. I mean, does it get much better than that?
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see this Buffer article was written by none other than Jimmy Daly from Vero.
Speaking of people I heart, our very own Ayelet is definitely at the tip top of that list. And this article is all about our two worlds colliding – social & email. If you haven’t heard it a hundred times yet, we’re all about the integrated experience here at Mack Web. Our fearless leader pushes us to avoid the silos of our individual channels. All of our strategies are about using the channels together to accomplish big goals for our clients.
Since the path to conversion isn’t always as linear as we’d like it to be, we create the experience everywhere – before, during, and after conversion. And that’s right where this post from Jimmy comes in handy. He presents six tactics for integrating your social & email channels so the experience carries seamlessly between the two.
This post is super practical with screen shots walking you through every step. So, give it a read and plan afternoon tea date with your social & community strategist (or coffee or beer with whatever role your social/email counterpart fills).
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