What and where you put content in your sales funnel matters. Whether you're in content marketing, inbound marketing or just regular, old-fashioned marketing, the elements that you use to court a prospective customer matter a lot. Today I want to look at a few places where I think self-publishing a book makes sense as part of a company's marketing initiatives.Read More
This is the most important sentence you'll ever read. It's my only opportunity to convince you not to click away. And this sentence is equally important because statistically speaking, if I haven't done anything interesting yet, I've practically begged you to ignore me.Read More
What can content marketers learn from Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert? Click to read about the difference between novelty and invention.Read More
A few years ago content marketing was the dorky new kid on the playground. It looked normal, it sounded smart, but something wasn't quite what people were expecting. As the story often goes, the early bird got the worm ...Read More
I've broken up with my website at least four times. It's a mildly unstable relationship, but as a content marketer it's something I simply can't live without (even though I've tried). During the last four or five years, here are the four golden rules of redesigning a website.Read More
These are three things I've noticed about content marketing when it's ego-driven. Plus a tip from my Content Marketing Fairy Godmother.Read More
After quoting this podcast interview with Seth Godin ad nauseum to my friends and colleagues, I decided to summarize my favorite points in this blog. I'd argue the best one is creating from a place of generosity, not ego.Read More
It would be an understatement to say that Texas summers are brutal. They are merciless and unending. I know because I've been living in them since I was 2. Around age 9 I realized that the state of Texas breaths a collective sigh of relief around the second week of October--that's when the temperatures typically cool down "for good."
Growing up, my parents had pretty normal jobs. My mom worked for a while at American Airlines, then was a stay-at-home mom and then worked for a daycare. My dad was fortunate to be introduced to the fiber-optic world long before coaxial cables were a thing -- before CAT4 turned into CAT5 and so on. I remember watching him place CDs into the CD-rom drive of the family computer, and teaching himself about fibers, cables, etc., in hopes that he could work outside in the field for GTE (now Verizon). This was in the mid-90s, and at the time we were grateful he had a full-time job in the customer care center. However, working 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts is tough on any family man. Sitting at a desk was torture defined for my dad. When he passed the tests and got the job to be the "GTE cable guy," he was so relieved. No more sitting at a desk!
Texas summers without air conditioning
I remember the day he drove home the clunkity GTE company van. This van was old. It looked old, it smelled old, it sounded old. The doors creaked when you opened them. And worst of all? There was no air conditioning. It was an expense GTE (now Verizon) couldn't spare. At any point during the year, my dad could have a job that required him to climb a phone pole or crawl through an attic. Putting cable into people's homes is necessarily physical work. It was especially exhausting during the summer time. One day he came home and I counted six distinctive sweat rings draped along his back.
Most summer evenings, my dad would come home and immediately take an ice cold shower. Afterward, he would talk about how nice a swimming pool would be on these hot summer evenings. One day he came home and said there was good news -- the company had decided to buy one new van that had air conditioning. I was elated! I asked if he would get to drive it. He said no, that they offered it to his friend with the most seniority, Marvin. But Marvin refused it, too. My dad explained that Marvin felt it was unfair for one guy to have an air conditioned van while all the other guys had to endure the summer heat for 9+ hours every day. Until there was an air conditioned van for everyone, Marvin wouldn't take it.
Fair treatment in the workplace
Three years ago I began building a virtual content department. The first thing I researched was fair pay for blogging (I was astounded to see some folks paying $10 per 500-word blog!), fair content deadlines, robust training and clear expectations and timely pay. I'm not perfect and neither is my system. Sometimes I overlook a client request; sometimes I mess up. But I can say with 100 percent confidence that no one pays them faster or more fairly -- everyone on my team knows I put their best interests first at every possible turn. Because the culture at Verizon where my dad worked missed a big, big lesson: without employees, there are no leaders. Without my designers, there are no e-books. Without writers, there are no blogs.
My uncomfortable relationship with business and entrepreneurship
To be honest, I don't live and breathe for business or the next sale. I live and breathe for creating opportunity. I don't love entrepreneurship. I love people. When I get down in the dumps and sleep all day in my pajamas and avoid my email, the single thing that gets me moving again is knowing that good people trust me -- and they need me to be working at the top so they have paychecks coming in.
I want to be a place where people do good work for good people and are treated with the dignity they deserve. In traditional entrepreneurship, I've learned this is particularly difficult. Most people start cutting corners by cutting off their employees. I can't do this, which is probably why I'll never be a traditionally successful entrepreneur. But I will be one who sleeps well at night, and who maybe has a story to tell down the road.
I'm in business because of the sweat rings on my dad's back that Verizon didn't care about. I'm in business because someone has to care, and it might as well be me.
Story is important because it’s in everything we say and do. Everything you tell me gives me insight into who you are, how you operate, when your parents divorced, if your grandmother was critical and so on.Read More
Last year I had the privilege of being interviewed for a role on HubSpot's content team and Mike Volpe. These are just a few of my thoughts on his recent departure.Read More
At least once a day, I find myself in an AIC (acronym-induced coma). And I'm sure you do, too.Read More
Long, long ago in a galaxy far away there were these things called bookshelves...Read More
This is the story of the Internet. The very truncated, anecdotal-but-factual story. You should keep reading this story if you’re interested in how to understand the Internet and Google and how marketing fits inside somewhere.Read More
If you've read Penelope Trunk or James Altucher, you've likely picked up on the babbling brook quality in their writing style. My inner managing editor used to cringe at the run-on sentences, contradictory statements and comma splices galore. The more I read them, the more I began to realize that this rambling is an art in and of itself.Read More
I believe in usability. I believe in accessibility. I believe in transparency. I believe in meeting people where they are. I believe in acknowledging where I am. I believe in seeing my talents for what they are, my business for what it is and is not and my clients for what they can and can never be to me. I believe the most important person in my life is the person standing right in front of me.Read More
Here’s a gently edited version of that frantic, brain dump email that became my presentation outline.Read More
“So can a Boomer like me create a cool place to work? Probably not.”
What do you mean “probably not”? In stereotypical millennial fashion, I turned to Twitter, shared John’s post and tweeted back:
“I have faith.”
Twitter led to emails, which led to a phone call—and now this first article in what I hope will be an ongoing conversation around the unnecessary inter-generational finger pointing (as John so aptly put it) between millennials and “everybody else.”Read More
For all the other companies championing work-life balance, there’s still a growing tension between older generations and millennials—who view this “balance” as an excuse for laziness and not working long hours when a deadline approaches, etc. In contrast, millennials typically see Boomers as misguided, unhappy workaholics. In my experience, I’ve never met a Boomer who lauds the supposed virtues of being a “workaholic,” nor have I met a millennial who tosses his arms in the air when asked to work late on a project.
What is this discussion missing?Read More