- by admin
Yesterday I had one of the most interesting, challenging and unique days of my work experience so far: I sat down with the team at my office and participated in planning a year-long marketing strategy.
This was the first time that I was tasked with developing a long-term strategy for a client/employer, and while I'm thrilled to say that I rose to the occasion, preparing for it also ate up a ton of my free time and focus over the last little while. Beyond doing my community management and copywriting freelance stuff I barely had the time to get together with friends or have a night in to unwind.
I was drained for weeks.
So it was natural for me to expect that after 8 hours of planning, discussing, and planning some more, and finally setting a date for a follow-up meeting (yikes) that I would be feeling just as run-down and at a total lack for words as I've felt over the past little while.
Except I didn't. I felt great. And, for the first time in what feels like forever, I actually have words spilling from my fingertips so fast that I can barely keep up with them.
(which any writer will tell you is the best feeling imaginable)
As I sipped my wine in my bath yesterday, I started thinking about why this might have happened, and I realized that (gasp, shock, awe) my 9-5 actually cured me
It made me think outside of my comfort zone.
I work in a real estate office by day and since I've started we've been working on getting a total stylistic overhaul in place, as well as developing a long-term social media and content marketing plan. Because of the nature of the business (fast-paced, really intense) I had to really plan out a lot of moves in advance and focus on areas such as direct mail marketing in addition to the online stuff that I'm used to, so it really forced me to think outside of my comfort zone and make changes to what I normally think of "business as usual" tactics for marketing.
It forced me to focus.
#RealTalk time: these past 6 months have been a total whirlwind. I left a lover, fell head over heels with a charming-as-hell slice of a man, attended two festivals, camped, grew a garden, cycled all over the city, and moved house, all while working my regular 9-5 and managing my freelance clients. Needless to say it's been a bit crazy, and while I don't think I let my work slip in any way, I certainly felt pretty scattered and focusing on planning 2015 really helped me get centered and start pulling the pieces of myself back together.
It made my defend and discuss, and sometimes reconsider my decisions.
Most realtors brand themselves in a very similar fashion (if they brand themselves at all) and it was an interesting challenge to have to explain why things like blogging and Facebook engagement are worthwhile investments to someone who, while understanding that they are important, don't quite grasp the why of it. Something like content marketing seems like a given for me, but having to go in-depth as to why and how they would benefit the business, as well as presenting a long-term strategy which was challenged from multiple angles made me really have to think over why I wanted to shape our brand in a particular way. It was great practice, since I haven't had to do that for a while, and the feedback was immensely helpful in making sure that I was making the best possible decisions.
It made me work out more.
Sounds silly, but bear with me here: honestly, there were days where, after being at the office and doing freelance stuff at home, my brain felt so jumbled with stats and ideas and words that I just needed to get out, and I've started hitting the gym again on a regular basis. I write heaps more when I work out regularly (is there something about the treadmill that gets the creative juices flowing? Who knows.) and definitely feel significantly more inspired after hitting the gym after a day at the office.
It forced me to do a ton of research.
This is pretty self-explanatory: when you spend a bunch of time looking at, listening to, or discussing stuff that you love (in my case: copywriting, content management, social media, all that good stuff) it's hard not to want to start implementing all of the things you've learned right the f now. As a result I literally have a backlog of things that I want to blog about and share here, and it feels ah-maz-ing.
It reminded me that I'm totally capable.
We all have times when we start to feel down about ourselves, and while I was preparing for this huge meeting I had my fair share of "oh my god can I even get this together in a way that makes sense?!" moments. So when it call came together, smoothly and efficiently, it felt like this huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt relief wash over me and I remembered that, heck yeah, I can totally rock this!
It made me want to take on more freelance work.
This kinda relates to the above point. After yesterday's meeting I felt totally inspired to get out there and do more of what I just finished doing -there's nothing like the feeling of successfully planning and implementing a huge project, is there? Anyway, now I'm ravenous for more clients! Not because I'm in this huge hurry to ditch my 9-5 -not at all!- But being able to explore new ideas and help this business grow makes me want to help other clients as well.
So (shameless plug) if you or anyone else know you know are looking for some copywriting or community management help, hit me up and let's chat!
It feels SO GOOD to be cured of my blogging blues!
What do you do to cure yours when you're feeling uninspired? I'd love to know!
- by adminBrian Fung at the Washington Post published an article stating that the Internet isn't making us dumb, it's making us angry.
Which doesn't make me angry per se, but it definitely makes me think of the stuff I say and do online, and how it makes me feel afterward.
From the article:
In a study of 70 million posts on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, Rui Fan and a team of others at Beihan University tracked the spread of joy, sadness, anger and disgust across the social network. According to the MIT Technology Review, they found that angry tweets were far more likely to be retweeted by others — or be the subject of angry responses — up to three degrees away from the original user.
Maybe things are different in China but if you tweet a bunch of negative shit you're getting an unfollow from me.
I don't think that it's the internet is making us angrier, it's that it gives generally negative people a soapbox to broadcast their negativity to everyone else, specifically when it comes to sites like 4chan, Reddit and etc where you have a fairly large degree of anonymity and because of that are able to to disregard regular social conventions and straight-up be a jerk to people.
That kind of behaviour and the negative tweets Fung refers to in his article aren't the products of the Internet, these people would be just as negative, destructive, horrible, disgusting, and whatnot regardless of whether or not the Internet existed. Their bad qualities would simply manifest themselves in a different way.
The one thing that the article neglects to mention is the fact that, before now, we didn't have a global public forum to express ourselves and there was no global public record of it before now.
We can't go back in time and see a timeline of what millions of peasants in the Dark Ages had to say. Though I'm sure it would sound something like this:
- by admin
The point of an ad is to get people talking and sharing, which is what's happening.
Why are we okay with ads that sexualize eating burgers and plays into racial stereotypes, but can't make light of suicide?
Why is that off bounds while other topics are free game?
I've love to hear your thoughts.
- by admin
no, not me.
the person who is in charge of the burger king twitter account, which has been hacked for over an hour now.
generally I don't point fingers and say "this is how you do something" but if yr job is to manage a social media account, you shouldn't be taking time off.
the internet never sleeps and even though you have to, maybe checking the account yr being paid (probably a lot of money) to manage is a good idea.
even (especially!) on holidays.
in fact, anyone paying a shred of attention to the internet right now would know it's happening.
like yours truly, for example.
bk, gimme a call.
[UPDATE: okay, the account has been suspended. I guess the entire internet was enough to alert them to the problem]
- by admin
let's just admit it already.
what was once a great user experience that connected us with everyone we had ever known and every single new person we met that (I'll admit) revolutionized the way we interact online, this relationship is going downhill and we need to face facts: it's just not good for us any more.
it changes our privacy and sharing options constantly (and resets them at random). it suggests weird and sometimes offensive ads based on what people in our feed say. it crashes (often). it's slow. it's become less about networking and sharing and more about ad revenue based on flash-based games and ads inserted into our news feeds. the only thing it is good at (event management) has fallen by the wayside so much that it's barely even worthwhile to use when there are third-party sites like MeetUp.com out there.
and now facebook is going to be bringing videos to our already overly-cluttered networking experience.
auto-playing, probably audio-enabled, full-window, at least 15-second-long videos.
and it does all of this so blatantly, flying in the face of a positive user experience. nobody wants to deal with ads or videos or intrusive weird privacy policies that we constantly have to police and re-correct to the way we want them, but the people behind facebook do it anyway because profit is more important than respecting the people who made your site what it is in the first place.
as a user of multiple social networking sites, this hits me like a drunken smack to the jaw. none of my other beloved sites would treat me this way! why am I letting facebook get away with it? why are we?!
because we're stuck in an abusive relationship with it. it's safe, it's easy, we can go back whenever we want and even though sometimes we get frustrated and upset with it, and it does things that hurt us (like completely disregard our user experience), at the end of the day we feel like we can't do any better.
which is the very definition of being in an abusive relationship.
we can do better, Internet.
- by admin
if there's one thing I can't stand, it's smoking. when I was a little girl I spent nearly a decade watching both of my parents -who were heavy smokers- struggle to quit, trying and failing over and over. it was heartbreaking.
I think the biggest deterrent for me though was when my dad woke me up early in the morning one day and showed me the tar he'd coughed up from his lungs into the toilet as they were clearing out. Believe me, if there's a reason to not smoke, that's it!
now that I'm an adult a lot of my friends are smokers -heck, even my boyfriend is a smoker- and even though I don't like watching them smoke, you can't make someone stop smoking. it's like when someone has a toxic boyfriend/girlfriend, even though you know you should say something, you know they have to figure it out on their own and make sure you're there for support when they do.
which is why I was so excited to be asked to be a part of the Break It Off! campaign with Twist Image and The Canadian Cancer Society! their approach -that smoking is like breaking up with someone- is something that I totally agree with, having seen my parents and some of my friends really struggle with quitting.
but you can't do it alone! That's why they've set up their website where you can get tips for quitting, become part of a Smoker's Helpline for those really rough times (hey, it happens!), and my personal fav -the smartphone app (iPhone users can go here) that helps you track when you get cravings, how you're feeling, what you're doing at the time, etc, to really give you insight into your own progress. plus you can log on and share your progress to help inspire other people who are going through the same thing, because let's be honest -breaking up can feel pretty isolating.
which is why I'm doubly excited to share with you that Tyrone has decided to 'break it off'! I'm really proud of him for using this opportunity to really do something to better his health and to help motivate others, so I'll be documenting his 'breaking up' process from both of our perspectives. so without further ado, here's our first vid:
so if you've even been considering quitting smoking, now is the time to do it! BREAK IT OFF!
- by admin
and though you guys all know I'm the social media coordinator for one of the best festivals on the Prairies
and though I try not to brag (too much) about how great MEME really is
I needed to share our brand-spakin' new promo vid with you guys, because watching it gets me so excited for this coming summer
we're got some great acts booked, like
and possibly the coolest venue in town, the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
and yes, yes, I know it's the middle of January and June seems like a million miles away, but there's nothing like anticipating all the fun you'll be having over the summer to warm your spirit, right?
I'm going a bit crazy right now thinking about how insane things are going to be once we shift into full-on Festivel Prep Mode. Omg.
seriously guys, this year's MEME is going to be ridiculous.
ps: make sure to follow us at @memefestival also ;)
- by adminfor you non-Winnipeggers Pat Martin is the New Democrat MP for Winnipeg Centre (my riding! big ups!) and has been the MP here for nearly fourteen years. lots of people don't like him because, admittedly, he's known for being a bit of a loudmouth, as was demonstrated during this exchange on Twitter just now that has a lot of people getting upset:
I'm sorry... no matter how unprofessional it may be, it's still the best response ever. I think it's great.
Now I understand that profanity is an iffy thing, even in social media, and that saying "fuck you" directly isn't the most 'professional' way to handle it, but when someone tries to go about trolling you by dragging religion into it, frankly I can totally understand why he said it. You can't feed the trolls, the best way to deal with them is to deal with them quickly and directly, which the response certainly was.
And let's be honest: despite being a loudmouth Pat Martin is undefeated in his riding since he was first voted in, so obviously people appreciate that there's someone out there with the balls to say what needs to be said, even if he may not always be diplomatic in saying it.
@shawncarthy sums it up best:
You can follow tweets from my badass MP here: @PatMartinMP
- by adminthe Rico campaign.
Rico is a globe-trotting puppet who promotes their series of international seating arrangements through a series of off-colour jokes and dirty double-entendres which push the limits of what can be implied in a television commercial. He's also featured prominently on their YouTube page.
I won't lie, I found Rico by way of Air New Zealand's The Inseperable Sheep commercial which features David Hasselhoff doing... weird David Hasselhoff-type stuff that makes you feel kind of uneasy (which is what makes it great)
but I love, love, love the Rico campaign.
At times it's eye-yolling bad and at others it's so borderline crass you wonder how it manages to make its way onto TV. They have him being obsessed with Kim Kardashian and even made a special Valentine's Day message to her.
He also interviews celebrities on The Skycouch
makes rap videos with Snoop Dogg
and wrote a fake book called "Beating off the Track"
what I love about this campaign is that it shows that the airline is willing to take some risks with its image in order to stand apart in an otherwise (let's face it) pretty bland market. It also implies that Kiwis don't take themselves too seriously and that Air New Zealand is a 'fun' airline which will be a unique experience.
usually I think puppets are weird and creepy, and even though Rico is a weird and creepy puppet, he isn't a typical 'airline mascot' in the boring, normal sense. let's face it, marketing something like a seat on an airline isn't the most enthralling campaign, but Air New Zealand hit the ball out of the park on this one.
not to mention Rico gives some pretty sweet advice.
- by adminit's taken me a while to sort out my feelings about this topic, and I feel like last Thursday I said a lot of things that were insightful, important and hopefully useful to the students I was speaking to.
however being part of a panel of bloggers who do a decidedly different form of blogging than I do -that is, blogging that is extremely focused on a specific set of topics and targeted at a very specific audience- I felt like maybe my voice and the relevance of writing a 'personal blog' fell a bit by the wayside.
maybe the students I spoke to will read this, maybe they won't. however for those of you that I know read this (hello new readers! I see you) I just want to make the distinction between something that perhaps I didn't articulate properly during the round table:
this blog isn't my 'online portfolio', it is my personal brand.
I do a lot of things. I'm a blogger who is obsessed with social media and The Internet. I'm a Joint Communications student. I contribute at squarepegcity.com. I'm the Social Media Manager for the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition and I'm an unprofessional photographer who does freelance consulting. I live a rich and interesting life full of people who admire and respect what I do and it's all because of this stupid blog. because when people visit my blog they don't just see some schmuck who has a 'blog on The Internet' but someone who spends a great deal of time thinking about and crafting their online image and their personal brand.
there are others like me that I can say the same thing about: Tony Pierce (of course), Lauren O'Nizzle, Kyla Roma, Christine Estima, Zach Bussey, to name a very select few. all of these people have extremely interesting and unique personal blogs that not only highlight their mastery of their field and ongoing accumulation of knowledge/experience but also provide insightful, funny and sometimes shocking peeks into their personal life.
the reason people want to work with these individuals is because of who they are, not just what they've shown that they know.
because let's be honest, people aren't hiring what you know, they're hiring who you are, and your portfolio blog could be the most knowledgeable and on-the-ball blog there is, but if you're not engaging, open and interesting nobody's going to give a shit about what you have to say.
don't get me wrong, topic-specific (portfolio) blogs have their place. The other participators in the Blogger's Round Circle (Erica, Liz and James) are extremely good at what they do. but I'm here to tell you it's not your only choice.
I'm here to tell you that you can be weird
that you should give insight where it isn't wanted
to read how to blog every day and do it
that it's okay to wear like a fucking sailor if you want because having a squeaky-clean image isn't always what employers/collaborators want (in most cases it seems cheap and fake, and in most cases it is)
that it's okay to share stories about your dog, your summer vacation, or your sweet thrift store finds with your audience because it means you're a real person and that's so hard to come by in 'the industry'
that you need to realize that the people worth working for will both respect your blog and appreciate it. I haven't worked with a single person, ever, who hasn't said "I love your blog, it's why I got in touch/was recommended to you". seriously.
but you can't take yourself or your blog too seriously. then you just become some asshole trying to manipulate your audience and you'll lose everyone who cares enough to read what you have to say, no matter what you're saying
and finally if you can't or don't want to share your life, don't feel bad. there are untold numbers of blogs that are centered around a specific topic that are wildly successful and entertaining. just look at the people on the rest of the panel with me.
however that being said social media is just that -social. living your life (or part of it) online not only demonstrates your expertise with drawing an audience, keeping them engaged and interested, and creating a positive brand image for yourself but it shows fearlessness and accessibility. both to potential employers/collaborators as well as your audience.
if you want people to care about what you have to say, you have to make them care about you.
however you choose to blog about it is your choice.