This month, we’ve got a hodgepodge of glory for your Nuggets of Knowledge: videos, articles, bacon. From semantic connectivity to collaborative creativity, from balancing your life to accomplishing your goals, from metrics to bacon, from the psychology of conversion to the psychology of narrative, we’ve got a little something for everyone.
(Plus the bacon. Did we mention the bacon?)
Check it out.
(And, as ever, check out past NOKlists so that you can revel in how awesome the world is and how great our team is for sharing little bits of it with you.)
Mmmm … bacon.
As a 25-year vegetarian, I’m as surprised as anyone that I’ve chosen to highlight Hormel this month. But when I find a campaign that sizzles like this one, I must huff and puff and blow my principles down.
Jessica Manner’s short but tasty blog post provides the highlights of Hormel’s “Driven by Bacon” project. Not only is the creative beautiful and genuine, but the integrated nature of this campaign makes me salivate: Tumblr, documentary, and Bacon Fest – oh my!
And at the center of it all? That’s right – a bacon-fueled motorcycle.
This TED Talk opens with a bit of a terrifying story that hooks you immediately: in 1819, 20 American sailors watched their ship sink after being struck by a whale. They were left stranded in the Pacific Ocean, more than 1,000 miles from land, with only three small whaleboats and limited food.
Quite fittingly, this TED Talk is a discussion of stories, but more so, a discussion of fear. It begins by illuminating the way we traditionally think of fear: something to be avoided, overcome, or silenced. (As someone who has a real knack for imagining the worst outcome of any possible situation, I (and the “conquer your fears” or “don’t panic” directives that people have given me over the years) can testify to this.)
But this talk offers a new way to think about our fears: not as dreaded things to be pushed below the surface, but as stories that have the potential to fuel our imagination.
It posits a strong link between fear and the imagination. (Which makes sense. Think: the classic childhood fear of monsters hiding under the bed.) It also discusses how to channel our fears into productivity. (A little thing called productive paranoia that’s apparently quite popular with some entrepreneurs.)
It’s fascinating for anyone who has an interest in storytelling, writing, and the human psyche. And for all of you non-conformists who like challenging traditional cultural narratives regarding things like fear.
Oh, and what became of those sailors, you ask? You’ll have to watch to find out. (And if you’re thinking the tale sounds slightly similar to Moby Dick, you’re right. And also well-read.)
Never fear, this post is not actually about consuming a pachyderm. The title is referencing a productivity quip: when eating an elephant (i.e. taking on a daunting project or goal) take one bite at a time.
If you’re like me, you keep a lists of things you want to learn or accomplish (be it at work or in your personal life). Things like: take online tutorials to improve my job skills, learn how to play the violin, run a 5k, and finish the blog post that I promised @courtneymackweb three months ago (okay, so that last one is probably unique to my list). Our lists grow as we keep adding to-dos, and then all those lovely ideas and aspirations just sit there. At least, that’s what happens to all the items on my list because I can’t find time in my day to actually work on them.
That’s where eating an elephant (not literally, as we previously established) comes into play. Alexander Charchar suggests picking a topic, then tackling it in bite-sized chunks for 30 days. Take note, while this post is targeted for designers, the process itself is applicable for everyone. So why not give it a try and see what new and wonderful things you learn in 30 days? One month is a pretty brief span of time, so you have almost nothing to lose, everything to gain, and a blog post to help you along the way.
By Jeremy Smith
Many times people overthink what they need to make a landing page more effective. We get wrapped up in what we think sounds and looks good without thinking about what the customer wants.
The psychology of how we think can be very complex but Jeremy Smith speaks about three very simple elements that can help you build better landing page: happiness, pain, and financials.
Take the extra time to understand the goals of your landing page and who your audience is. Make sure you’re answering specific questions and ultimately providing value to your audience.
Personally, I’m all about taking the happiness route but it’s not about me so test, test, test!
By Marla Tabaka
Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and in your life can be a pretty easy thing to do. Especially when you’re an entrepreneur, a wife, a mom, and essentially an overachiever in all things, there’s a lot of pressure that you can put on yourself and big things that you feel like you’ve got to live up to.
Out of all the gentle reminders in Marla Tabaka’s post, my favorite one is this:
We are bombarded with overwhelming messages from the world dictating how things “are supposed” to be. But when you take the time to get really clear on what works best for you and do things in your own unique style, chances are you will feel successful and happy.
At some point, you have to be realistic about what’s really important and what you really want to accomplish in your life as there will always be too many things to choose from and many more that can become barriers and get in the way of being happy.
The challenge, for me, is always to be realistic about what I can accomplish and, out of those things, make sure they really matter. Keeping my priorities straight so that I’m focusing on the right things for me as a mom and entrepreneur is what helps me to feel accomplished and fulfilled.
by Jonah Lehrer
We humans are fascinating and predictable and inexplicable little beings. Give us a concept almost as far from science as you can imagine – like, for example, creativity – and what’s our first instinct? To apply science to it so that we can understand it better. And what does science reveal: that we’re contrary, idiosyncratic creatures who defy all logic. It’s a beautiful thing.
Though it’s a few years old, Jonah Lehrer’s article on the research on scientific inquiry into collaborative creativity – AKA the evolution of the ‘brainstorm’ is a fascinating read on the how and when and who and what of how people come together to work creatively. The origins, the studies, the physical spaces, historical examples: it’s a little long but well worth persevering, if for no other reason than the ideas for your next quote-unquote team brainstorming session.
(Because that’s the bonus: apparently, as originally conceived, ‘brainstorming’? Doesn’t actually work. Yep. Check it out.)
We create a lot of strategies over here at Mack Web, and one of the hardest parts for us can be deciding which metrics we want to report on. Put in too many metrics and you risk 1) being irrelevant and 2) overwhelming the client right into a mental shutdown. Too few metrics and you are in trouble of 1) missing wins (and places to adjust strategy) and 2) the client thinking that you’re not doing enough or getting good enough results.
So converting goals to metrics for reporting to clients is a careful balance. Dana DiTomaso gives great instructions in this Whiteboard Friday (and her accompanying MozCon 2014 presentation) that’ll help you not fall off the tightrope of goals & metrics.
by Rand Fishkin
I almost shared a post about semantic connectivity last month. But, to be completely honest, I wasn’t 1000% sure what the post was talking about it. It was super intriguing – the new vistas of web marketing opened up by the evolution of Google – and yet very confusing. SEO has its own language and a lot of it is technical. It’s part of what makes this industry (and the beast known as Google) so fascinating. But at the same time, if you don’t have a degree in mathematics, statistics, or programing, it can be a bit daunting. Which is what makes Rand’s terminology breakdown and helpful tips so great.
Though new things in the algorithm (such as topic modeling and semantic connectivity) can seem intimidating, they’re important to understand because they’re a part of Google’s evolution beyond 10 blue links with exact keyword match. As search engines get smarter in their ability to read and comprehend web content, it provides companies new ways to build their brands and grow their businesses. As marketers, the better we understand what Google is looking for (aka: what the searcher is looking for), the more opportunities we have to expand our organic reach. And looking at the direction things are going, we’ve got a greater range for creativity in our future, thinking more about ideas and topics as opposed to one exact phrase.