Blogging | The Brainzooming Group - Part 16 – page 16
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When I ran into mutliple-time Brainzooming guest blogger Alyssa Murfey at TEDxKC, she mentioned her recent passion project. Her excitement as she described it was infectious. As a result, I asked her to share why it’s important to have a passion project with Brainzooming readers, as she’s done today. When not working on her passion project, Alyssa is a social media analyst and email marketing manager for emfluence, a Digital Marketing Agency. A native Kansas Citian, Alyssa is a regular on the local food, event, and, and music scene. Here’s Alyssa!

The Importance of a Passion Project

Just as the transition from college to the real world teaches you, applying the skills I learn from my job to creating a passion project on my own continues to be an eye-opening learning experience. My passion project, a blog called House of Femme, is a work in progress. A co-worker/friend and I developed the blog together and pushed it live about six months ago. We aim for House of Femme to be a healthy living online magazine about being a modern gal that works and plays hard. It’s our way of sharing and exchanging knowledge.

In some ways our “house’ is like a fixer-upper: we’re constantly turning a corner to find something else that we want to improve. There are ups and downs, but my pride in sharing ownership in the project never changes. The lessons I continue to learn from this experience make me want to shout from the rooftops:  if you have a passion project opportunity, pursue it!

And if I were to shout from the rooftops about how you would benefit from tackling your passion project, it would sound a little like this…

Learn the Potential of Your Strengths

In my job, I may wear a hat or two as I work on various marketing campaigns, but never do I touch all aspects of the horse and carriage involved. When you (and a partner, if you’re lucky like me) have to manage everything, you can get lost in the abundance of the details. There are so many tiny pieces that play into making the puzzle whole. I have to take on many roles to make sure things are a success: photographer, copywriter, event planner, etc. As a result, I have to extend beyond my usual comfort level and knowing my strengths and discover what my strengths could be.

Find Your Own Resources

When working for a company, one is often blessed with an abundant supply of resources. Sometimes, as in my case, you don’t realize how many resources you have until you are forced to find the connections and talent on your own. There’s no, “Well, the blah blah blah department handles that.” You handle it!

Recognize The Skills of Others

When forced to find your own resources, you begin to tap into what’s available around you. Doing so, you start to realize the strengths of your friends, your colleagues, and your family. I’m constantly amazed by the people around me. Some of these people I see every day and yet, had no idea what talents they possessed. For instance, when we discussed during a blog meeting we were lacking hair and beauty posts, my little sister’s perfectly coifed fishtail popped into my mind. She styled her hair for a couple posts, and now she’s our youngest “House Guest Contributor”! I was honored to showcase her talents on the blog and as a middle schooler, apparently, it’s pretty cool to be featured on a blog. Win-win.

Have Passion

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin

Passion makes the world go around, and if you love what you’re doing, the hours just fly by . . . happily. This final reason doesn’t require much explanation. A life full of passion is gold. So, pursue your passion project, stretch your boundaries, and find out why it’s worth it. – Alyssa Murfey

 

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Since early 2012, I have been writing a weekly feature on executive business and professional development topics for an executive briefing publisher. Within a daily executive intelligence briefing format focused on global events, the piece I write provides tips and suggestions for more effective strategic leadership.

One benefit of being on the hook to create a weekly, thousand-word article on topics I write and present about all the time is it’s sharpened my skills as I repurpose social media content. There are many reasons to not simply take what I’ve previously written and submit it as an article for the executive intelligence brief. The alternative is to find productive and effective ways to repurpose content that is already written.

If you are producing any amount of content across multiple channels (whether within one company or for multiple organizations), being very effective and efficient at being able to repurpose content is a valuable skill to develop.

7 Ways to Repurpose Your Social Media Content

Consider these seven techniques to repurpose your social media content for sharing within new channels, with different audiences, or at alternative times.

1. Consolidate a list post

We have all written list posts with more items than were required. After further reflection on these long list posts, you will like find ways to consolidate a few (maybe many) of the items on the list. So, consolidate away and write about new and fewer combined items on your revised list.

2. Ungroup and expand a topic

Pick one topic inside a multi-topic blog post. Pull the topic out from the remainder of the social media content and start writing in greater depth about it. Unshackled from having to account for the broader number and variety of topics in the original post, you can focus your exploration to create dramatically different content.

3. Reorder or regroup content

Take social media content you have already written and re-arrange its current flow into something new. This could include a different order for content to incorporate into the new piece or you can take specific sections in the original piece and integrate them as new topic sections.

4. Use headings from the original content to launch your rewrite

If your pre-existing social media content includes specific section headers, use the section headers from the earlier piece and begin writing from scratch about topics related to the previously used sections.

5. Integrate current news with the content

Look for a current news story or up-to-date issues you can integrate into pre-existing social media content to freshen it up dramatically. This type of repurpose technique provides a new introduction for your older social media content or can suggest new points of emphasis given the current environment.

6. Write two versions from different angles

When you write an article there are often multiple angles you could pursue. Start writing from a similar set-up but write in two different directions. Writing  two different pieces on the same topic but covering different aspects with different levels of depth is an ideal way to generate multiple pieces of new content at the same time.

7. Mix and match to create new content

If you already have considerable amounts of social media content on one or more topics, it is possible to create new content through pulling ideas from multiple older blog posts. You can put the extracted content together in new ways to make different points or uncover new ideas.

How are you trying to repurpose social media content?

What ways are you finding to repurpose social media content and generate additional content in an extremely time-efficient manner? – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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A Brainzooming blog email subscriber contacted me Friday letting me know she appreciated that morning’s post with seven questions to ask if it seems you keep getting into the same negative situations again and again. She also mentioned there were several typos in the blog’s email distribution.

Ouch.

However, she was absolutely correct.

While my creative routine for blog writing and publishing  has some variation relative to when and how I write posts, the number of rounds of proofreading, and how far in advance everything is ready, I try to keep the variation to a minimum. Typically, I complete nearly everything for a post the weekend before it runs. Through forced experimentation, however, my creative routine will flex to writing a blog post closer to the publishing deadline than I would like, say the afternoon or evening before the blog post runs.

Abandoning My Creative Routine

Because of various factors, however, last Friday’s post did not come to life with a creative routine I ever care to repeat.

The previous weekend was consumed with finishing a new presentation for Tuesday and a two-day client session at week’s end. While several posts were ready to go, Friday’s blog post was a question mark. In fact, I had resolved potentially to skip a new Friday Brainzooming blog post if it meant compromising something else for the client session.

Thursday night on the road in Phoenix, I had a few blog topic ideas jotted down. After a late evening refining our approach for Friday’s client Brainzooming session, I returned to my hotel room deciding to write the most developed blog topic – the one on harsh questions to ask yourself. I sat in bed typing the post directly into WordPress (which I rarely do) and fell asleep, only to wake up at 1:30 am, with the computer still on and the blog post half-written.

Putting the computer to the side, I crashed until 4 a.m. Pacific time. I decided that even with missing the typical publishing time for the Brainzooming blog (just before 3 a.m. Pacific time), there was still time to finish the post for the email publishing deadline around 5 a.m. I thankfully discovered most of the blog post saved as a draft in WordPress. I finished the post in a hurry, gave it a quick glance, inserted a photo, tagged it, hit publish, and turned my attention to getting ready for the day’s strategy session.

Only after the email published did I re-read the post, finding a number of typos. I immediately fixed them in the online version, but by then it was too late to correct what our regular email subscribers received.

Arghhhhh!

The Lesson Learned

For as much as I advocate adapting your creative routine, being okay with mistakes, and learning from things that go wrong, Friday’s experience of abandoning my creative routine was not the way to do it.

I appreciated a reader taking the time to call me out on it, however, because it prompted me to write this post to let you know what happened and to say I’m sorry the reader experience I strive for dipped WAY too low last Friday. True, it is not the end of the world, but if a similar situation develops again where I’d have to move forward with completely abandoning my creative routine, I will likely decide simply to wait a day to publish and save us all some frustration. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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We’re back . . . sorta.

The website – and others at our web host – were hit by a hacker on September 4. Suddenly, we made the Google “don’t go there because it’s a bad place” list. That notice effectively brought an end to the Brainzooming blog, creating a blogging exile  for nearly two weeks until we could get the issues cleared up, thanks to Mike Whaling at 30 Lines, whose expertise got us back up and all Google approved.

It was the longest break from blogging since I started the blog in November of 2007.

What did I learn during my forced blogging exile?

  • I enjoyed not having the pressure to publish a post daily. This was especially true when I had 8 hours in the car that was effectively dead time driving to and from a client strategy session.
  • The time away made me think about what a different approach to our social media strategy might look like. I even published a post to Google+ when the urge to write something became too strong! Though I thought about the list of guest posts I owe folks, none of those got written.
  • Potential blog post topics kept occurring to me, but few of the ideas were ever written down, so they’re lost . . . unless they pop back up in the near future.
  • The traffic declines on the website were dramatic. When Google tells people to not go to your website, people really get the message. Yet once Mike Whaling got everything moved to a new host, visitors came right back. I think all of you for your support in returning!
  • While it was a distraction to know what was (or wasn’t) going on with the website, it couldn’t afford to be my central focus. With other changes going on, there was too much travel and too much client work to get moving on getting the website fixed any sooner than it was.
  • Since much of what I share on Twitter involves links to new and previous Brainzooming articles that appear relevant for questions people are posing any given day, my other social media activity dropped dramatically as well. When I was unable to readily share content in an effort to be helpful, my enthusiasm for social media waned . . . in a big way.
  • Finding the blessing in the curse, I typically have to be forced out of something major to start something new. It seems like this may be the “something major” when it comes to social media . . . or maybe not.

And to paraphrase Forrest Gump, when it comes to my blogging exile, “That’s all I have to blog about that.” – Mike Brown

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Taking the No Out of Innovation eBook

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creative boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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One Google search that frequently lands people at the Brainzooming blog is, “What to blog about.” Not surprising given how much content we’ve published on what to blog about here. Plus there’s the social media-related work we do helping brands mine their knowledge, expertise, and experiences to match them to what audiences want to read about from them.

As I tell audiences when speaking on content and editorial strategies, I’m a big believer in the “George Costanza” blogging strategy, which is (to paraphrase a scene from Seinfeld) anything can provide the creative inspiration for a blog topic.

Brainzooming Creative Inspiration – What to Blog About

Photo by: skaisbon | Source: photocase.com

To offer proof for the George Costanza blogging strategy and suggest more creative inspiration regarding what to blog about for your organization, here are the inspirations behind the thirty Brainzooming blog posts before this one. There are thirty posts and twenty-eight inspirations since two creative inspiration ideas generated two blog posts each.

If you’re stuck on what to blog about for your brand, take a look at the creative inspiration ideas listed here and see how they might apply to your own organization.

You can write a blog post because:

1. You notice something is like something else – kind of (Fuel Mileage Project Management)

2. A friend just had a birthday and you think about how they influenced you (Skepticism)

3. You see a behavior many people in your audience do that doesn’t help them, but they don’t realize it (Social Media humility)

4. You offer advice to a potential client that could benefit others (10 Permissions for Small Business Blogging)

5. There’s a solid business practice you recently used that’s been in your repertoire and working forever (Finding agreement in adversarial situations, also #20 – Level 5 decisions)

6. Someone suggests a topic to you (on Facebook) that could work for your blog (Over deliver or not)

7. You have written something for another purpose that can be edited into a blog post (7 quick decisions)

8. There’s an opportunity to explain and invite people into using a business approach that’s worked for your organization (2 line visual thinking)

9. You want to offer advice to someone and something you see on TV provides a way to turn it into a more broadly applicable topic (Personal brand consistency)

10. A news event can be summarized and learnings shared (London Olympics)

11. Someone asks you a question you’ve never been asked before (18 organizational culture cues)

12. You’re standing in line witnessing the good and bad of a brand experience (Legoland)

13. A client-related frustration can be explored in a non-threatening way (Too smart for strategic planning)

14. You’ve read an interesting article that can be summarized and presented in lesson format (Unusual creativity)

15. You have a bunch of little thoughts that can be grouped together (10 ideas for thinking and action)

16. There’s an opportunity to reorganize and recap what you’ve written before so it’s easier to use (188 creativity tips and #26 – 50 extreme creativity ideas)

17. Sharing a previous case study relating to current news is once again relevant (Sponsor bomb the Olympics)

18. A business situation isn’t working and you’re trying to make sense of it (5 signs someone doesn’t want help)

19. Someone sends you a snarky tweet, but you ignore the snark and look for the hidden question in it (Twitter audience growth benefits)

20. See number 5

21. You had an opportunity to participate in something others didn’t, and they’d benefit from learning about it (Google Fiber announcement)

22. You see potential clients doing things that don’t make sense – and that others do as well (Social Media Personality)

23. Someone makes a statement that sticks with you for a month because you’re still thinking about its implications (When everything is in the cloud)

24. You have something to promote (Gigabit City summit)

25. Someone expresses frustration with a situation they can largely change (8 signs a creative project is done)

26. See number 16

27. You’re voicing a frustration you think others may share (Misleading blog titles suck)

28. You’re facing a challenging situation and working it out in public (Are we this far apart?)

29. Someone is willing to guest post (Metrics and branding)

30. You have relevant pictures to share (Pictures of creativity)

What creative inspiration does this list trigger regarding what to blog about for your brand?

– Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining social media ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your social media  strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Social Media HumilityA recent article titled “Are We All Braggarts Now?” by Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal immediately caught my eye. Bernstein surveys the phenomenon of how social media sharing trips up humility and creates pressure (real or imagined) for people to play up their personal accomplishments and those of their families.

Think of it as “social media bragging.”

We’re all familiar with bragging blog posts and status updates where Facebook friends and Twitter followers are ostensibly sharing what they’re doing currently (or just did or are just about to do). It’s clear many times these social networking updates about personal accomplishments are a thinly veiled blurb whose real message is, “Look how special I AM and consider how special YOU AREN’T.”

At one point I was saving online bragging examples from Facebook friends and Twitter followers as examples for a blog post on the bad ways to use social media. I never wrote the blog post because of my struggle with sharing the actual social media status updates as examples and calling out individual people for online bragging. While I know plenty of people who wouldn’t hesitate to make a negative example of someone on social media, it’s not an approach I’d want to follow. My previous compromise was running a Dilbert comic strip on social media bragging and humility juxtaposed with a saying from Proverbs: Don’t brag about yourself let others praise you (Proverbs 27:2).

To get the point across about how to better use social media for sharing personal accomplishments with humility in the “Are We All Braggarts Now?” Wall Street Journal article, Elizabeth Bernstein shared a sidebar listing five ideas for how to “Shine without Being a Braggart.” From my reading, though, her examples would STILL sound like online bragging if they showed up from Facebook friends or Twitter followers in my social media streams.

7 Ways to Share Accomplishments Online with Humility

Instead of pointing out online bragging offenders, here are 7 lessons from Facebook friends and Twitter followers  who share personal accomplishments without online bragging and are clearly tempering the instincts we apparently all have to derive pleasure from talking about ourselves.

1. Consider every good thing that happens to you as a blessing, i.e., you weren’t completely responsible for the good thing that happened to you, so don’t take all the credit.

2. Approach your personal accomplishments with a sense of sincere appreciation not a sense of entitlement.

3. Be self-deprecating. Poke fun at yourself in areas where people tend to assume/think/know you have strengths and talents.

4. Make sure you’re online sharing reflects a balanced view of your life:

  • For every incredible vacation or trip photo, share something mundane from your daily life.
  • For every windfall you are celebrating, share a moment of challenge, concern, or self-doubt you’ve faced.
  • For every personal or family accomplishment you trumpet, share when things didn’t work out as you expected – and that’s not, “Instead of winning the $200 million Powerball, I only won $600,000 : ( ”

5. Share and Like many more great experiences from other people than great blurbs you share about yourself.

6. Congratulate others; don’t self-congratulate yourself. Even if you think you’re self-congratulating with humility, chances are you’re not.

7. Before you share your update about what’s going on with you, re-read it and think about if whether you’d perceive the same update as online bragging if it came from a loved one? How about from a casual friend?

Are you put off by social media bragging or are you unphased by it?

Do you have some egregious examples of bragging on social media you’d like to share courtesy of Facebook friends or Twitter followers? Or maybe suggestions of people who seem to apply these lessons (or others) to share personal accomplishments with humility? – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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One advantage (and also potential downfall) of social media for freelance and small business people is the opportunity to jump in and get started blogging with less forethought because its costs (both real and opportunity) CAN largely be incurred as-you-go versus before you start blogging.

Blogging and Traditional Marketing Communications Tactics Are Different

There is a contrast between blogging and most traditional marketing communications tactics where significant creative, production, and media costs HAVE TO be incurred before starting, often making small scale efforts or experiments cost prohibitive.

This fundamental difference of social media versus traditional marketing communications is vital for freelance and small business people to remember when considering blogging. It is easy to apply the same hurdles you would use before starting a traditional marketing communications effort when it comes to blogs. Instead, there is an entirely different set of rules for blogs.

When It Comes to Social Media, Give Yourself Permission to . . .

It is vital for freelance and small business people to give themselves permission to:

  • Tell your version of whatever your story is; that is the story you are the most expert at sharing.
  • Reach out to other bloggers and ask questions about blogging; that is how you will short cut the hard knock lessons of blogging.
  • Not fully develop the case for your point of view; that is what future blogs are for.
  • Experiment with varied writing approaches; that is the only way you will learn what writing approach works for you.
  • Not elaborate on every proof point you can imagine; that is where reader comments come in.
  • Not perfect the prose of every post; that is what editing and republishing a blog post is for.
  • Not redo a blog post until you think it is perfect for your audience; that is when what your audience thinks is most important.
  • Write a post that falls flat; you are not writing Huckleberry Finn.
  • Start telling people about your blogs in every way possible; that’s the start of building an audience.
  • Begin publishing posts; that is what blogs are for.
Just think – you have all those permissions. You just need to accept them!

Have you hesitated to get started blogging?

If you have a freelance or small business, have you hesitated to get started with blogging until it is just right? If that’s the case, how are you wrestling with these (or other) social media permissions?

So how about it, small business people – are you ready to cut yourself a break now and get started with your blog?- Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

If you’re struggling with determining social media ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your social media  strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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