August is Big Picture Month for the Mack Web NOKlist. This month’s Nuggets of Knowledge are about looking at how things work together: how all things matter for the ultimate good of your brand, how to balance priorities and how to keep ideas alive beyond the moment, how to plan for the future of your designs and how to imagine the Future in all its glory. All fitting topics as summer draws to a close and we all prepare to head back to the grind.
There are also pandas.
If that’s not enough Mack Web amazingness for you, check out our previous issues of the NOKlist in the archive.
Read on to the pandas and perspective!
by Rand Fishkin
I won’t keep you hanging – branding is technically not a ranking factor for Google. However, that doesn’t mean branding (especially via link building earned through content marketing and relationship building, better user experiences on your site, and social signals) doesn’t matter. In that way, yes, great branding does positively affect SEO rankings. I don’t explain it nearly as well as Rand does so check out the video.
by Suzie Levy via Flexible Boss
It took me a really long time to figure out what it really means to focus. After years of feeling over-committed, over-worked, and completely over-stressed, I finally understand that focus has everything to do with priorities and how I set them. I am challenged with this lesson every day, and as a leader, I’m also working on teaching my team that everything cannot be a priority.
Suzie Levy’s post, Teach Your Employees to Say No By Saying Yes, addresses how “most leaders and employees don’t have the right skills to manage the demands placed upon them.” That instead of teaching our employees to continually say yes, take on more, and test their balance and well-being, they need to learn how to negotiate priorities. She provides some very simple guidance that will help your team better communicate so that lots can still get done and no one has to suffer.
by Lauren Jung
Using imagery in online content (be it a blog post, social content, etc.) is important. You’ll find numerous articles out there supporting this, or you can simply study the posts your friends and family share. More often than not, there’s a photo that accompanies their post, or is, in fact, the main focus.
Now, as important as it is to use graphics for social content and blog posts, I sometimes feel (as the designer here) that it takes too much time out of my day to create these seemingly simple graphics. This feeling tends to arise when I have an extremely tight deadline or larger design projects on my plate.
Then I saw this blog post, and the main headline said it all: Designing Custom Images For Your Online Content, Faster! (specifically the “faster “part – I love it when I can accomplish tasks faster). The process Lauren Jung proposed in her post not only sounds like a speedier way to design this type of content, it also helps you build up an arsenal of icons and graphic elements to recycle into new ideas and graphics when you need them. That last bit is especially compelling to me, because when I’m up against a tight deadline, a shorter design time really helps (and keeps my stress levels lower).
Give this method a try and see if it works for you. I know I’m excited to try it out!
By Julie Zhou
When the Mack Web team wants to brainstorm ideas, we usually hold a strat jam. We have a whole great process for this kind of event, but regardless of the specific rules or the specific topic we’re discussing, there’s a theme at the core of every strat jam we hold: we throw out ideas, talk about them, refine them, and grow them, but we don’t shoot them down in this initial stage.
This theme is what Julie Zhou discusses in this Medium post, and she does so through a brilliant and powerful metaphor that involves panda bears. (Yes, you will find adorable photos of pandas in this post. If that’s not motivation to check this out, then I don’t know what is.)
See, ideas and pandas are both fragile things. And it’s important that we protect both from an early death. Of course, there are tons of ways to discredit an idea (and isn’t it so easy to do so?), but there’s a spark and passion at the heart of every one. This makes the case for growing and tending to ideas rather than killing them off simply because they aren’t totally refined or there’s a potential obstacle.
This post made me, one, want to be more aware of how I approach and protect ideas and, two, help some panda bears. Currently working on both.
by Rose Eveleth
When I first read this title, I had the exact same question: “Why aren’t there more women futurists?!” I could feel my blood start to boil and my muscle memory prompting me to reach out for my well-used soapbox. But then I paused, realizing I had one teensy problem: I didn’t actually know what a “futurist” was.
Turns out, preparing for Back to the Future Day and longing for those medical bays from Elysium isn’t the full extent of what a futurist is. In fact, as Rose Eveleth explains, the field of Futurism is not so specifically defined and can actually cover a multitude of views, desires, interests, and academic and professional specialties.
However, what is clear is that this field is marching to the beat of a drummer who doesn’t have a complete score. These leaders provide their perspectives to help the rest of us anticipate and influence the future, but here’s the thing: “The futures that get imagined depend largely on the person or people doing the imagining.” And if women are missing from this imagining, whose vision are we chasing?