Thank for reading the Webbiquity blog this year. Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m grateful for the people in my life: a wonderful family, great friends, phenomenal clients.
I’m also very thankful for the brilliant, insightful, and engaging people I’ve “met” online, and for the social media technologies that make that possible.
Lifelong learning has always been vital for career success, but social media has simultaneously made it easier and much broader. In the pre-Internet days, professionals kept their knowledge and skills up to date by attending conferences, reading books, and subscribing to trade magazines.
Many still use those same resources, but also broaden their perspective and specific expertise through social media. The problem with relying on “paid” media is that the costs of print publishing and events necessarily limit the number of “voices” that can be heard to the most popular.
Though such voices still command large audiences, blogging and social networks have greatly increased the number of voices that can be heard. Smart people with interesting perspectives who may, for a variety of reasons, not have been published in traditional media can attract modestly sized but specialized and highly engaged audiences online. Professionals have a much wider and richer range of sources to turn to for ongoing learning.
I’m grateful this year in particular for the expanding list of marketing and PR professionals who really stand out in terms of producing and sharing valuable content and being socially engaging. Here’s a partial visual snapshot; you can find and subscribe to the full list here. Check out these experts; you may find yourself thankful for them well before this time next year.
What are you laughing at?
If the answer is “nothing,” then you need to read this post!
Humor can be a highly effective element in marketing campaigns, whether the goal is get people laughing at our competitors, at themselves, or even at us.
Kick back, relax for a few minutes, and check out these 24 examples of some of the best marketing and business humor of the past year or so.
The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made by Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand celebrates it’s tie in with the popular Hobbit Trilogy movie franchise by creating quite possibly the best airplane safety video ever (though Southwest Airlines does a pretty awesome job with this as well).
A very clever twist on a horror classic.
3 PPC Fails That Can Hurt Your Brand by ClickZ
Michelle Morehouse provides serious advice on pitfalls to avoid in PPC advertising, but uses unusually entertaining examples to illustrate her points, including “The World’s Worst Website” and this:
First, THIS is how to handle complaint trolls, and second, it’s also how to make weekday morning news shows actually seem interesting.
While PhotoShopping is nothing new, this guy’s work really is amazing. Check out this eight-image collection.
Parallel Consumerverse: If Retailers Were Like Google | The Checkout
Inappropriate search suggestion autocomplete, irrelevant search results, creepy re-marketing ads…this video brilliantly nails it all.
The 18 Most Hilarious And Clever Print Ads Ever by Business Insider
Okay, perhaps not most hilarious and clever ever, but certainly amusing and worth wasting a few minutes with.
12 Smart Jokes That Make You Sound Like a Genius by Reader’s Digest
Andy Simmons presents a dozen jokes that will make people think. Or at least make them think you’re a nerd. Sample: Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocaine during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
Strategic Humor: Cartoons from the March 2014 Issue by Harvard Business Review
Josh Olejarz showcases cartoon caption winners from HBR.
Strategic Humor: Cartoons from the November 2014 Issue by Harvard Business Review
If you enjoyed the cartoons above, check out this updated collection.
25 hilariously unexplainable images by Just something (creative)
Just a collection of images that, as the title of the post implies, defy explanation. Really.
17 Cartoons that Will Change Your Business by Brian Solis
Brian Solis shares a collection of cartoons created by Hugh MacLeod for Brian’s book, What’s the Future of Business. This post highlights the first cartoon, all of which are compiled in a Slideshare presentation.
The Hundred Best Lists of All Time by The New Yorker
Not all of the lists on this list of lists compiled by Gary Belsky are funny per se, but the list is quite extraordinary. Some of the lists are actually useful (e.g., U.S. News and World Report’s best-college rankings and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) while others are…just interesting (such as The World Rock Paper Scissors player’s responsibility code and the 1927 Yankees’ opening-day lineup).
Dracula’s LinkedIn Profile by Social Media Today
This is actually a serious post from Celina Guerrero on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, but it creatively uses Count Dracula’s LinkedIn account as an example.
20 Funny Tweets Your Brand Should Take Seriously by Mashable
Max Knoblauch shares a collection of brand tweets that are funny, creative, or in some cases, just plain odd. But they seemed to resonate with Twitterers.
“#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)
On the off-chance you haven’t already seen this – Jimmy Fallon and JT spoof hashtags, showing “what a Twitter conversation sounds like in real life.”
10 hilarious digital media parodies by iMedia Connection
From “Catvertising” to “Are Chairs Like Facebook” to “I Have Timeline” to “”CIA’s ‘Facebook’ Program Dramatically Cuts Agency’s Costs,” here are 10 of the best spoofs and satires of digital marketing and media. Some are a bit dated, but still funny.
9 of the craziest PR and social media requests by Ragan’s PR Daily
Writing “With the assistance of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), I wanted to document some of the craziest, most absurd requests or assignments PR and social media professionals have received,” Ryan Greives has compiled quite a list here, with such gems as ““Please have Matt Lauer read this exact script” and “Get Queen Noor and NASA on the phone.” Enough to make PR pros laugh (or maybe cry).
Digital Marketing Buzzword Bingo by Digital Growth
For some interactive fun, Luke Chapman offers a downloadable digital marketing buzzword (Key Influencers, Halo Effect, Content is King, etc.) bingo card to print and bring along to your next marketing meeting or seminar. “Cross out a square each time you hear the buzzword. When you have an entire row crossed out, stand up and shout ‘BINGO!'” Something you probably don’t want to try when your boss is speaking.
THIS JUST IN: Harvard professor explains how to perfectly market on mobile by iMedia Connection
Harvard professor of network marketing Ellis Fowler has provided a step-by-step guide to mobile marketing, and reportedly “doesn’t understand why digital marketers find mobile so confusing.” I won’t spoil it, but this is worth a quick look.
5 Funniest Pinterest Parodies by SEO Chat
The wild success of Pinterest has inspired the creation of other photo-sharing platforms, but also some parodies. Here are five rather interesting sites designed to playfully mock the original, including Pinstrosity (which includes categories “like missing directions, misprinted supplies, cleaning tips gone awry, DIY project fails and less than stellar recipes”) and Really Pinterest?, a showcase for some of the oddest shared images, like this one.
12 Vertical Social Networking Sites You May Not Know Of by TwittNotes
Sure, LinkedIn is for professionals, Pinterest is for sharing recipes, and Snapchat is for exhibitionists, but this collection of specialty social networks goes way beyond. There’s Ravelry, a network just for “knitters, weavers, spinners, and crocheters”; Catster, a community for cat lovers; and many more.
20 Worst Advertising Placement Fails by Bored Panda
When good creative meets bad placement, the results can be embarrassing for brands, but funny for everyone else. Check out these unfortunate but amusing examples.
How To Be Funny: Stand-Up Comic Takes Public Speakers to School by DIY Blogger NET
Humor doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Okay, more like not to most of us. Looking for some expert guidance on how to liven up your next presentation? Watch as standup comic Brendan Fitzgibbons gives Dino Dogan practical tips on how to be funny. This video is useful (though not short—about 26 minutes).
If there’s one universal truth in business today, it’s that everyone is busy. This is what drives people to try to multitask (even though it’s not possible). It’s why we’re told that as marketers, we have only 30 seconds (or less) to get a reader’s attention, and why 40% of website visitors will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load (four or five seconds – who’s got that kind of time?!).
It’s certainly not the case that five years ago, workers had all the time in the world–that they could stresslessly ponder the ramifications of and reflect upon the results of each task. No, people were already very busy back in 2008-2009; but the great recession magnified this. Many large companies have discovered how much they can get done with how little, and are unlikely to relax demands much even in an improving employment climate.
Here then are five ways to get more done without simply working longer hours.
The Rock-Pebble-Sand-Water Model
If you’re not familiar with this model, it involves categorizing tasks as either rocks (large and important projects), pebbles (smaller, but still somewhat important activities), sand (the small stuff, e.g., checking email) and water (everything else). The idea is that if you think of your time as a jar and start by filling it with pebbles and sand, the rocks will never fit it.
But if you put the rocks into your “jar” first, the pebbles, sand and water will fill in the spaces.
This model is popular with management gurus, but can be challenging to implement. The key is to understand that, ultimately, you have to decide which of your tasks are really rocks–and which are pebbles, sand, or even something that just doesn’t belong in your jar at all.
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix
In the Eisenhower Decision Matrix (originally developed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower but later popularized by Stephen Covey), tasks are organized into four boxes, with the degree of urgency on one scale and importance on the other.
Items that are both urgent and important (significant problems or opportunities) represent the largest “rocks” in the model above. Tasks that are important but not necessarily urgent (e.g., getting a blog post written for next week, catching up on project management organization) are smaller rocks. They have to get done, just not necessarily immediately.
Two important considerations when using this model are 1) making clear who decides which tasks are in which box (as it’s likely not everyone will agree on either the urgency or importance of any given task) and 2) properly setting expectations, particularly for those tasks which are important but not urgent.
Combine either or both of the models above with scheduling or day planning.
Once beyond college age, the majority of people are most mentally alert in the early morning hours. To take advantage of this, use the first part of the morning (i.e., from as early as you’re able to start work until about 10:00) to take care of “rocks” or urgent+important tasks, particularly those requiring significant mental effort.
Use the “core” hours of the day (10:00 to 4:00) for tasks involving communication and coordination with others, and late afternoon for tasks requiring time and effort but not strenuous mental exertion.
To help maintain this regimen, minimize checking email during the early morning and late afternoon time slots.
The Pomodoro Technique
While there’s an entire book devoted to this strategy, to grossly oversimplify, the Pomodoro technique involves working in short 25-minute bursts of concentrated effort, punctuated by five-minute breaks. After four “pomodoros” (Italian for “tomatoes”) have passed, you take a longer (15-20 minute) break.
Writers and others who need to get and stay “in the zone” mentally for a bit longer in order to be optimally productive may opt for what could be called the “big tomato” or “ripe tomato” variation of this strategy: work for 60-90 minute periods, followed by a 10-15 minute break, with a 30-minute break after three such stretches.
The most direct way to get more done is to get more people working. “Many hands make light work,” as your grandmother may have said.
Delegation is not only for those in management roles. Bloggers, for example, can delegate by inviting guest posters to contribute content or asking experts to answer questions for a round-up post.
Freelancers can be hired, often at nominal cost, to perform specific tasks. And partnering with another individual–and sharing the credit–is a great way to double the end result of a project, or cut the effort required in half.
What productivity hacks do you find most useful?
In addition to providing original content for marketing and PR professionals, this blog frequently highlights “best of” content across a variety of topic areas including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, social PR, and web presence optimization (WPO)—the discipline that ties together these areas plus online advertising and content marketing.
In the process of curating noteworthy content from the industry’s best minds, some posts and articles are discovered which clearly merit recognition, but don’t fit neatly into any online marketing category.
Nevertheless, they answer important questions, such as: which old-school, offline marketing tactics are still most effective? What’s the best time to reach b2b sales prospects? How can you maximize results from event marketing (while minimizing the stress of travel)? And what really matters in life?
Find the answers to those questions and others here in almost a dozen of the best general marketing and hard-to-categorize articles and blogs posts of the past 18 months or so.
14 Simple Ways to Show Customers the Love by Blue Kite Marketing
Laura Click details more than a dozen ways to show your customers how much you appreciate them, from handwritten notes and and freebies to promoting their work: “As long as it’s not a conflict to do so, use your client’s products and services and look for ways to promote them. For instance, you could give them a shout out on social media channels, share their content, showcase their work at your office and talk them up to your other customers. Be their biggest advocate.”
19 Simple Marketing Tips That Won’t Break Your Advertising Budget by Branding Beat
Mandy Kilinskis details more than a dozen-and-a-half marketing tips categorized under social media, online advertising, offline advertising, networking, and referrals & customer service (e.g., partnering with other businesses for mutual referrals: “If you are a business coach then find some attorneys, bookkeepers, or website developers who are happy to refer you when they have clients who need what you have to offer. A nice 10% kick back will go a LONG way in the thank you department”).
5 Classic Marketing Tactics That Still Work by Millennial CEO
Guest author Steve Olenski explores a handful of old-school marketing practices that still generate results, including promotional gifts (a.k.a. tchotchkes, or trinkets & trash) bearing a company’s logo, mailing lists, and coupons and mailers (“The ability to send mailers to very specific locations, down to the zip code or neighborhood, allows many service companies to identify and target their best potential customers”).
B2B Buyer Behavior: Timing is Everything [INFOGRAPHIC] by salesforce Blog
Noting that “B2B buyer activity and research peaks at different times of the day, week, month and year,” Amanda Nelson showcases an infographic that reveals “when B2B buyers perform research on the web, when they convert on a website, and when you can get them on the phone.” For example, the best time to call is generally just before lunch time.
The 10 types of people you meet at marketing events by iMedia Connection
Josh Dreller offers a zoological “list of 10 common industry stereotypes you might encounter while attending industry events, along with the dos and don’ts for engaging with each animal personality,” for example, worker bees: “Don’t bother engaging with these people. Learn to recognize the worker bees early and know that they don’t want to be bothered. Killer bees might actually attack if provoked. Do ask them for their drink tickets to the cocktail party that they don’t need.”
13 more of the coolest hidden Google tricks by memeburn
As a followup to her post on 17 of the Coolest Google Tricks, Lauren Granger shares a baker’s dozen more Easter eggs and hidden tricks on Google — such as what happens when you search on the word “askew.” Sadly, Google appears to have “fixed” a few of these; for example, it no longer offers directions from Japan to China by jet ski.
6 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Google by Mix The Net
Unlike the post above which is mostly for amusement, the tips presented here by Darko Johnson are (mostly) actually useful: for example, how to avoid spam by creating unlimited disposable email addresses with Gmail; how to quickly find beautiful wallpapers; and how to find alternatives to all types of products.
The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding [Infographic] by MarketingProfs
***** 5 STARS
Seth Price highlights a brilliantly clever infographic illustrating the “A to Z” of personal branding, from authenticity, blogging and content through “you” phrasing and zeal (“a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes one determined to do something. Without it, there’s no point in building a personal brand”).
A Personal Marketing Plan for the New Job Search by The Savvy Intern
What used to work for job hunting and obtaining interviews no longer works, writes Scott Keenan, who recommends job seekers use social media to network and get noticed outside traditional channels, and also “find a way to stand out from the other candidates; to show recruiters you have the skills to solve their problems..those requirements can all easily be organized – and then satisfied – with a personal marketing plan” as he outlines.
Must-Have Gadgets For Carry-On Travel by Soulati-TUDE
The delightful Jayme Soulati reviews seven essential devices for the business traveler, including Tumi wheeled carry-on luggage, which she notes “are not cheap, but you’re not going to replace these bags for 20 years.” This post is from early 2013 so some of the models have been updated, but the brand recommendations remain solid.
(Infographic) The Top 10 Regrets In Life By Those About To Die by Addicted 2 Success
***** 5 STARS
This may sound horribly depressing but it’s well worth a look. We spend so much time focusing on our careers, we can forget what’s truly important. The perspective offered in this infographic showcased by Joel Brown is invaluable. Be excellent at what you do, yes—but take time to enjoy life and enrich the lives of others along the way.