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Posts Tagged ‘Make It Count’

How To Invest in Your Brand, Wherever You Go

In Business & Marketing on June 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I announced on Twitter that I went to a job fair. (Exciting, right?) There were employers like Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and Civil Service tests there which aren’t in my career goals. But I learned a valuable lesson there: create opportunity at every turn and take action because there is something to be gained or something to be lost.

I collected four business contacts as freelance leads, which I will be pursuing privately. Aside from the potential for more business, I gained valuable insight into execution strategies. Particularly:

  1. How to engage prospective clients and business partners
  2. Establishing your brand and services through clear communication and voice
  3. Pitching or making your value known to organizations
  4. Find their needs, if you don’t know them already.

Points of Success

  1. Your success begins with identifying your goal. Going into this job fair I had no intention to pass out business cards or resumes. I was gathering information to research and connect, as potential freelance work. What are your objectives and intentions when you engaging your target market?
  2. Be knowledgeable about your environment and the people you talk with. In this case: Recruiters at job fairs are very excited to talk to you about your pursuits. They are there to promote their business and see how you might fit into their work culture (or bottom line). Knowing your environment and audience will ease you into a comfort zone for talking about yourself and what you want to pursue. Remember: communicate directly.
  3. You can learn to put the “useless” to use. Clear, commanding, and incisive communication is privy to business applications that numbers cannot achieve. Communication creates or accesses the numbers.

  4. Remember to shine. The professionals who were representing large companies that day were captivated by my ambition. Sometimes being young and hungry is the only advantage you need. I felt like I was pitching them. Know what you are looking for and be able to elaborate. If the employer cannot figure out what you are after, how can they help? The basics are important too (e.g. body language, smiling). Note: this isn’t something to be gained overnight. You’ll need to develop insight into your niche and field.

Here’s the twist.

I did not see one person there who was dressed casually. Everyone was suited-up! And that’s great for them. I was wearing quarter length black Nike socks, beige cargo shorts, a white Detroit Red Wings t-shirt (with Hebrew writing) and a bright red Valet Services windbreaker. I don’t suggest walking into your next board meeting wearing a Hawaiian shirt. (This goes back to knowing your environment.) Job fairs attract the full spectrum of income and social class. I just bent the rules, here. Know what is flexible and what is not.

I gathered that most of the job-seekers looked at me and laughed. But I was making advancements and creating valuable connections. Make yourself memorable and create a separate identity from everyone who shovels their resume on to every table. My information and what’s more my time is valuable.

Here’s a question I hope will be thought provoking, not discouraging:

If you will work for anyone and perform any task, what is your worth? Where are your values?

There are qualities and talents specific to you, which nobody else has. Never forget this, and make them work for you. This I’ll take the next thing that comes my way mentality is endemic to today’s job seekers. It’s sad. It’s time to find happiness in your work and produce great work, which happens when you’re doing it for more than a paycheck. I’m interested to see what correlation this has to the growth of service economies in the United States. It’s OK to be hungry—even starving. But be smart about how and what you consume. (And excrete?)

Moving Forward…
Time to begin cross-training. The job fair diversified my workout and exercised my muscles differently—making for a healthy day of spring training, leading up to the season. (I have interviews and applications that I’m very excited about.) What is your opening day? Do you have one scheduled yet? Get off of waivers, today!

5 Digital Communities To Join and Begin Your Research

In Business & Marketing on June 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Yesterday I posted an article, #MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape, which highlighted (1) participation, (2) workflow analysis, and (3) observation as key roles to changing digital culture, while promoting your brand. Remember: the focus here is development in digital. If you would like help researching a different field, please contact me.

I’ve assembled an ordered list of 5 communities and networks for you to begin your research and observation, all of which I use. I will have specific activities you can take to join the conversation tomorrow. Check back with us.

  1. HBR Blog Network. I discussed the benefits of HBR Blogs on May 19th 2012. Why this network will help you succeed: personal development, strategy, insight from people who have been there.
  2. Radian6. I don’t own a business but I am in the business of the self. Stay tuned with Radian6 for their Webinars, which focus on social media, digital, sales, marketing, and customer engagement. From Boring to Story: How to Make Your Content Rule is coming up on June 7th. (Click the link above for more information.) Why this service will help you succeed: strategy, hone in on your craft.
  3. W3 Schools. If you plan on working in digital, especially blogging and editing, it’s a great idea to have a background in some coding. They offer tutorials that are straight-forward and information that is simple to digest. Why these tutorials will help you succeed: foundations in understanding how digital operates.
  4. Wired | Mashable | Gizmodo | Tech Crunch If these were people, they would be a great golf foursome. Developing a regular news diet tailored to your interests is paramount when pursuing digital careers. These are my personal favorites. Find what yours are with Google. I will discuss how to get deeper into their culture later in the week. Why this information will help you succeed: strategy, keeping current with your industry, learning from the pros.
  5. Copyblogger. These guys (and gals!) are the bomb! They offer tutorials in copywriting, content marketing, SEO copywriting, email marketing, keyword research, landing pages, and internet marketing. Many claim to be the Bible when it comes to these topics, with catchy slogans like The all-in-one to becoming a marketing guru! Just …. Don’t. Copyblogger doesn’t claim to be a Marketing Bible because they don’t need to create hype. Why this site will help you succeed: their content speaks for itself.

Summary of the content featured above:
(1) blog network, (2) industry service: webinars, (3) code tutorials, (4) stay current: develop a news diet, and (5) building skill sets. There are plenty of other great sources to explore by way of performing Google searches. Add your favorites to this list in the comment section below.

Update: 06/06/2012 9:44 a.m.
As promised: 5 Methods To Participate In Digital That Lead To Personal Growth.

#MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape

In Business & Marketing on June 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I ate breakfast on my balcony today and saw the “double-yellow” lines on my street had been redone. (And the street recently paved!) I noticed, however, that these lines did not meet at the white crosswalk lane. And I thought: huh, that’s funny. The next question is fairly easy to think of, but not obvious to address: why didn’t they draw the double-yellow to the white crosswalk?

Answer: because they aren’t finished yet. They will be touching up the white crosswalks as well, which are currently cracked–prime for development and change.

The same can be said for social media and the Internet, but we’re not always as conscious about these things as we are in real life. The information pool and wealth of knowledge is much greater and more subtle. It’s not as simple to identify the “pothole” (keep thinking: social). Staring at the computer screen won’t give you answer, like observing the road does. So how can we “predict” change and see what’s coming next? (On the horizon.)

Participation in Digital
To “understand” the digital frontier, you must participate. An interactive experience gives you the opportunity to explore the current landscape and discover other users’ passions, thoughts, and desires in digital [to promote your own]. Blogs, webinars, conversations, posting—as stated: participation, first. To be knowledgeable is to marshal potential resources in your favor to push digital culture forward. And to innovate, it’s important to develop strong creative and strategic thinking. This is seldom learned by following a rigid set of instructions, like a technical manual. So enjoy drafting your own syllabus.

Example:
I am a writer seeking introductions in content management to promote a brand, mission or company. I attend @Radian6 webinars regularly, and connect with people like @ginidietrich, founder and CEO at Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. I will be guest blogging for them in July! (I am very excited.)

Wrestling with Uncertainty
Discovering outlets I’m interested in has proven to be a great tool in directing my attention and how I can get there—to apply my skills and expertise to new media. Your passion and development is to be determined along the way. Don’t let this uncertainty intimidate you. Or if you already know exactly what you wish to do, your execution should be that much easier.

The beauty of innovation is: you don’t have to do it alone. We need a lot of fingers and toes to count the number of people looking for what’s next in digital. And the big guys at corporations don’t even know.

Developing Valuable Connections, with Mutual Interest
Find like-minded people and groups to learn and develop with, together. Organizations like Radian6 and Arment Dietrich are two of many places I look for quality information. Don’t be afraid to make leaps and connect with people. A beautiful network of connections awaits you. Consider Twitter, Facebook, Quora, niche forums and threads, etc. You just have to get out there and go.

Susan Chun, who recently announced her own blog’s obituary, Smudged Text, writes: “Twitter is like a virtual water cooler where you can share interesting links with interesting people.” (Twitter is the reason I am blogging less.) I’m discussing collaboration with Sue, now, which I am very excited about. Remember: Information exchange is at an all-time high. It’s important to choose wisely, as not to spread your jam too thin, but also Make It Count:

Don’t forget the Medium
The digital landscape’s workflow must also be considered. Humans are not the only members in the process. Workflow systems now incorporate man and machine, as I like to call it “manchine”. Knowing how these devices work is also a must. I am currently learning HTML, CSS, and Google Webmaster Tools to name a few. A carpenter can’t build something great or discover use without insight into how their trade and resources operate. Observation is paramount.

Summary

  • Participate, to gain knowledge and insight into the user experience and collaborate with current professionals.
  • Workflow analysis, to facilitate the growth of new ideas and create a strategy. Remember: it’s not concrete; you may need to adjust along the way.
  • Observation, to identify existing structures and resources.

Above all:

#MAKE IT COUNT

Are you pursuing a career in new media or involving the Internet? What are you looking for? If you have insight into strategies or inspiration, share your ways! How do you spend your time online? What’s worked for you and what has not?

Stay hungry, and you will make sure you get fed.