Archives For Me

The Verge is a popular website that covers all things tech.

It’s been around for a while and produces great content.
At least that was what I heard.

I am sure you have a place you go to read tech news.

There are so many options out there, you are bound to find something that suits your needs.

For the longest time, the Verge was not my site of choice.

That was until I started following them on snapchat.

The personal connection I made with their team was instant.
I felt like we were friends talking about the latest gadgets and trends.

After about two weeks of following them on snapchat I started following their twitter account. This is where they really got me.

Next thing I know, I am adding them in to my daily routine of sites I check.

All because they used snapchat to produce organic and original content.

You can do the same.

The verge used their human side to bring a connection before they pushed to content.

Often times we lead with our content first and hope people will click and read.

But why would they?

You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date do you?

99% of us would answer this question with a NO.

Asking someone to marry you is a big question. You don’t ask this question until you have spent time with someone, learned about them, laughed with them, had adventures with them.

Having someone read your content is not like asking them to marry you. 

But it is asking someone to make a commitment.

You are asking someone to take time away from their day to read your content.

That’s a commitment.

Before you tweet, post, or email ask yourself what kind of connection have you made with your followers?

Here are some practical thoughts to help you brainstorm some ways to make a personal connection before asking for readers to click the link:
-Make a behind the scenes video series about who runs the brand or blog.
-Have a day a week devoted to showing people who you are with images, videos, and stories.
-Share you personal opinions about tech news, world news, or sports.
-Do a live broadcast with periscope or meerkat showing them your process of creation.
-Get a snapchat account and don’t talk about your content at all.

These are just a few things you can do to humanize yourself a bit more and use platforms to show your personality to lead people to your content.

Kyle

The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop and I noticed a pastor from the church my wife and I attend. I said hello and asked him how long he had been here. He went on to tell me he makes a habit of coming to this particular coffee shop. Mostly to work, but also to be a presence in our community. We talked for a bit more, then I went on to drink my coffee and get some work done.

On the surface this sounds great.
A man living out the calling of caring for his community.
What could be the problem?

There is only one detail that I am leaving out. The campus that he serves is located about 15 miles away from this coffee shop. On the surface, he was doing the right thing. The church was right up the street. Several people in the coffee shop went to the church, he was engaging with the community. The only problem, no one from his community was in the coffee shop.

Sometimes we can do all the right things on the surface, but be in the wrong context.

Social media is a lot like this.

There are so many factors that go into what you are producing that can lead you to success or mediocrity. Context is one of the most important.

Knowing the context of the platform you are working with will allow you to create content tailored to that specific audience.

Let me give you another example.

I was working with a brand who was very well known. They wanted to get better at creating content for Facebook. After several conversations and strategy meetings relaying the need for organic and original content for Facebook, the client said they were just going to link their Instagram account to Facebook. So every post they do on Instagram will appear on Facebook.

In their minds the problem was solved.
But, if we bring context back into the equation we know this was only putting a band-aid on the problem.

Why?
Because Facebook doesn’t want you to link accounts like this. In fact, they punish you in the newsfeed for using third party apps. They want you to operate in their platform. My client understood the need for putting content on Facebook, but they missed the whole context of the situation.
They were in the wrong “coffee shop” for their content.

If you don’t treat each social platform as a social network you can’t expect to make an impact.

The context of social media is as important as the content of social media.
Understanding your audience, the platform, the content style, and trends will help you stand apart from other channels.

Today, take the extra five minutes to work natively inside a specific social platform. Don’t pick your favorite or best social network, focus on one you haven’t worked with in a while and create some specific content for that network and measure the results.

Here are some hacks I use to make sure I stay native to the context of the platform:
-I operate twitter from twitter.com.
-I schedule Facebook post inside of Facebook.com (not buffer or Hootsuite).
-I focus on how I am telling the story of my content for each platform.
-I treat each platform as a social network rather than a place to upload videos, or post links to my website.

Kyle

Did you know: 75 people move to Nashville a day.
That’s a lot of people.

I don’t know every specific reason these people are moving to Nashville, but I imagine several of them have dreams of work.
Weird to dream about work, but we all have had grand dreams about the work we will do.

Ordinarily these dreams are tangible with specifics to fields of interest.
Rarely do we dream about who we will work for.

I would argue it’s more important who you work for rather than what you work for (towards).

You can work really hard at something but have a boss or client who doesn’t understand.
You can have great ideas, but have a boss or client who has other ideas.

Before you start working, consider who you are working for. 

If you are going in for a job interview, here are 5 questions to ask when interviewing for a job.

This post is a part of a series entitled Hinneh: a blog series on vocation and calling. You can read more here: http://manofdepravity.com/2015/05/vocation-in-stages/

Do you remember those times as a kid when someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I sure do. It was a magical question that was filled with hope, opportunity, and excitement. There was no hint of fear, doubt, or worry. This was the time to dream and say whatever your heart desired. I don’t know about you, but I think it was right around the age of 12 I lost that excitement and the reality that “my dreams” might not come true.

“Honestly Kyle, I don’t think you have worked hard enough to become a professional.” Tears rolling down my face as I looked out the passenger window of my dad’s car. “You have a great skill, but to truly make it, to go to the next level takes discipline and practice, are you willing to give up everything to go to the next level?” I knew the answer to my dad’s question, I wasn’t willing. This might seem like my dad was being harsh with me, but up to this moment he had been my biggest support. And at this point in my life, I needed to hear the truth. He wasn’t saying no to my dream, he was bringing in the reality. And at the age of 12, I knew, I wasn’t going to be a professional baseball player. That was the moment I lost the feeling of being able to do whatever I want, and started to see the reality of where I want to go.

It’s taken me many years since that conversation with my dad to realize that having a calling is like that. It’s a long process that doesn’t come overnight. It is revealed to us in stages, long conversations, and practice. Finding your calling happens over time, not in a singular moment.

DeathtoStock_People1

I’m probably not the best person to talk about calling, at least on paper. I have a degree in youth ministry. And yet, I work at a record label doing Digital Marketing. I have even worked in churches, but never in the youth department. I have spent more time building websites and writing marketing plans than planning youth retreats and playing games. And through this time I always felt like I was being patient, a time of growth and development was what I viewed it as. Never fully confronting my vocation as something different than what I studied in college. Until my 30th birthday started to approach and I asked the question we have all asked, “what am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

Vocation comes in stages. From the beginning stage of discovery, to when you finally become a maste of your craft, each opportunity brings about more time to learn, grow, be stretched, figure out what you like, and get better. I can look back at the opportunities I have had that seemed to be nothing more than a job or task and yet, when I follow the thread of the various stages of vocation, I can see how each opportunity was molding me for my calling. Like the time I had a summer internship at a youth conference where I managed backstage and programming. Or the time I was a middle school teacher and was challenged to come up with creative ways to communicate stories I heard long before.

Most of us spend more time thinking about vocation then working on our vocation. My friend Jeff calls this the stage of apprenticeship and usually lasts up to 7 years. It’s a time of growth and learning. It’s a time of figuring out what we are good at and what we don’t want to do. This apprenticeship time is quiet, sometimes lonely, and often times frustrating. The overwhelming feeling of not doing what you want to do seems to be the theme of this stage. Everything you do feels more like a task leading to frustration rather than an opportunity for the future. You do a lot of listening and watching rather than talking and doing. You wonder when your time will come? When will I be the one to lead? When will I hit my stride? Only to not find the answers.

Leonard Ravenhill said “the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

And living out opportunities is what we are doing. Opportunities don’t feel like steps to finding your vocation, but what I have learned is opportunities are the foundations to the calling that has been placed on each of us. They are the building blocks we step on as we walk through life. It’s easy to want to skip over these opportunities. To focus only on what gets us to our calling. But I would argue, each opportunity is a chance for us to learn about our calling.

In the times we are asked to do jobs we don’t want to do, we learn.
In the process of finding a job, we learn.
In the daily grind of work, we learn.
In the void of answers, we learn.
In the madness of others, we learn.
In the chaos of a project, we learn.

Every day is an opportunity to work on our vocation or calling. You could be wondering what you are going to do with your life right out of college, or your early 30’s wondering what you will do with the rest of your life. But when you realize that vocation comes in stages and each stage has a different theme and development, we can begin to see every single moment as an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop.

This changes the way we approach our work, and even more so, our life. If we will approach every day as an opportunity to redeem it for the future, we will be free to live a life of being in our vocation. For we are called to make the most of what we have been given. Not focus on the dreams of our future, but to live in the everyday moments we are presented with to get better, to learn more, to encourage others, and to do great work.

Vocation is not something we will ever obtain, but something we can strive after every day to find that what we are doing is what we were created to do. It all comes down to how you view your opportunities.

Evander Holyfield, ya the guy who had chunks of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson, tells a story about his first trainer. Evander was a young boxer making his way into the sport and his trainer asked him one day, “do you want to be great?” Of course Evander had the same answer as we all would have, “yes sir, I do.”

But the follow-up question was what shocked me the most. Evander’s trainer responded, “Okay, if you want to be great, you now have to decide if it’s a dream or a goal?”

Are you living a dream or chasing a goal?

Both dreams and goals have a forward focusing view. You look ahead to obtain them.
This is about all they have in common.
Dreams and goals are separated by wishes and reality.

Dream: I hope this will happen some day.
Goal: I am working on making this happen.

Dream: Wouldn’t it be great if this happened.
Goal: This is what I want to see happen.

When we know the difference between a dream and a goal we are able to focus on how to get there.
Figuring out if we are pursuing a dream or a goal will give direction on where we need to go, what we need to do, and how we need to get there.

Goals Are Dreams with Deadlines

Today I want to talk about risk.

A subject living in the shadow of fear.

Take a look at your life, do you like what you see?
Now take a look at your past, what have you learned?

Risk-Award-logo-designed-by-Kelelr-Maurer-Design-copy

 

I believe achievement comes through what we achieve (novel thought right?).
We can talk about all we want to achieve, but the ability to point to what we actual did only comes from what we actually do.

This is as much for me as it is for you. For I am the biggest culprit in fear and risk management. I’ve mastered the proper amount of risk to allow myself to believe the lie of truly making change.
But as I reflect on my career professionally, I have not accomplished the things I really want to accomplish. I can only blame myself for the state I am in.

I’ve been a pretender when it comes to achievement and risk.

Have you struggled with moving forward?
Of taking on fear and risk and making it to the other side?
Let’s both stop playing it safe.

Consider these words from Casey Neistat:

As a guiding principle life shrinks and life expands in direct proportion to your willingness to take risk.

You get a small amount of time to pursue what you care about.

The right time to pursue something is always right now.

The most dangerous thing you can do in your career and in life is to play it safe.

It’s time to stop playing it safe and do what we believe we can do.
As Seth Godin says, turn pro.

Doing the work requires risk and hard work. The only person who can do this is you.

Get to work!

How to discover the ROI of your content

The ROI of content is one of the hardest things to define. It is also the most frustrating.
How do you explain to a boss, client, or yourself the ROI of something so intangible?

The intangibles leading to ROI:

  • The value of the brand.
  • Other marketing messages.
  • The response of the audience.
  • The product itself.
  • Time. place, setting, date.
  • Organic search or discovery.
  • Word of mouth.

With so many factors leading to ROI how do you know the true value or if you even made a difference?
This has been the question that many marketers ask daily, “how do we know if our content is effective in leading to the desired result?”

There are two areas I focus on to find the ROI of social media content: Measurement and Movement.

Measurement

Having a target to hit is important in anything you do. When you do not identify a target or result you will feel like you are never winning. If you don’t have a desired measuring point, you will feel like the target never stays in one place. Before creating any content, defining how you will measure the “success” of your content will be very important. Defining this up front with specific campaigns, content pieces, and actions will be something you can use to measure the ROI of your content. The measurement comes in several different forms. It doesn’t always have to be transactional. I understand explaining this to your boss or client might not be as easy as it sounds, but if you have specific measurables, showing the ROI becomes very tangible.

Here is a couple of ways to measure your content:

1. Ask: What is the desired response of this content?

2. Define: What is success defined by the market?

3. Write: Three desired outcomes from the content?

4. Plan: How this content fits into the overall content strategy.

Measuring what you do will keep you from wanting to punch yourself in the face and will also allow you to show others around you the ROI of the content you are producing and sharing. Simply put, it will keep you sane and motivated to continue to produce more.

Movement

For most us, social media is a way to land a call-to-action to the reader or follower. We use social media to convert. That’s how we find the ROI, how many units, clicks, shares, or items sold. But as any good social media content producer knows, if you throw constant “buy messages” at your readers or followers you will get little response.

So how do you define the ROI of your content if you are not always including call-to-action messages? You find the movement or direction you want to take the reader in.

The content you and I produce is like a river. It is constantly flowing, never stopping, and never slowing down. If you can see yourself in this river moving through each turn and bend you can see the ROI of what you are doing. Movement is all about building momentum (another great M word). And this is the focus of your content ROI: create the movement to the next piece of content. This free’s all of us up from having to constantly produce major results. If you can see your content in a way of movement you can see the overall picture. You start to define the ROI in a way of taking you to the next post or next stop in the river instead of focusing on one individual post having to produce all the results. This not only frees you from the pressure to constantly produce, it frees the reader or follower from constantly having to act.

Finding the movement of your content will help you plan content strategy that last beyond a couple post and will provide you with longer lasting campaigns that help you focus in on your goals and define the desired ROI of your content.

Measuring and Movement work together in leading you to producing great ROI of our content. Defining these two areas will allow you to keep moving forward and finding success in digital marketing. Leave these two areas of focus out of your content planning and you will find that the desired outcomes of digital content never seem possible.