Leadership is a role

“To build a great career in content marketing, you need to develop all the right skills, but you also have to elevate above the day-to-day work. To be seen as a leader, you have to act like one. Leadership, therefore, isn’t a job title, it’s a role.”

How to Earn a Senior Content Marketing Role (Animalz)

Shoutout to Devin at Animalz for this piece on career development in the world of content marketing. It piggybacks on an episode of their podcast that’s also worth a listen.

Another juicy takeaway from her article:

“If you want to level up, you need to be the one who comes up with ideas, advocates for them, turns them into reality and gets them to the finish line.”

— Devin Bramhall, Animalz

Devin’s experience at Help Scout feels incredibly familiar, and it matches my own journey at GoDaddy over the last five years.

Keep reading…Leadership is a role

A dream job in your current company

While there’s no one path to convincing your company to let you do your dream job, career professionals say it’s critical to figure out how your aspirations and interests intersect with the company’s needs. From there, it’s about convincing your company to let you pursue those goals.”

How to Create Your Dream Job Inside a Company (Adobe 99U)

I think about this a lot.

Arriving at GoDaddy nearly five years ago brought me into a company that’s perfectly aligned to the stuff I did for years out of personal interest.

The potential of what we can do at GoDaddy keeps me going, and it’s why I’ve stuck around for so long. (Anything over 2 years seems to be an eternity in tech.)

Things can always change, but for now? Everything I want to do, I can see myself doing with GoDaddy.

Moderation creates communities

“I hope people can express themselves. I hope they can share their ideas, share their thoughts. But we’re not a platform for free speech. We are not upholding the First Amendment. That’s the government’s job. We’re a community. And communities have standards for how you have to behave inside that community. And so we think that it’s not anything goes.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear on how moderation creates communities (The Verge)

Like Emmet Shear, the CEO of Twitch, I’m a firm supporter of community moderation. As community leaders, we’re responsible in setting expectations early on with clear guidelines. That includes a Code of Conduct for behaviour; a Governance policy for how decisions get made as a team; and defined escalation paths for dealing with problematic members.

I’ve gotten some heat in the past for having this position, accusations of censorship and impeding free speech (or freedom of expression, here in Canada). But those are enshrined in our rights as citizens; not in our rights as members of a community group.

That said, I also believe that community guidelines should be ever-evolving. New incidents may pop up that you hadn’t expected. It’s happened to me more than a few times. So, if they’re not covered in your guidelines, update the guidelines to address those issues in the future.

Technology is not the world

“It’s been hard to accept, at least for me, that each of our techy ideologies, while containing various merits, don’t really add up to a worldview, because technology is not the world. It’s just another layer in the Big Crappy Human System along with religion, energy, government, sex, and, more than anything else, money.

Why I (Still) Love Tech (Wired)

This essay from Paul Ford echoes much of how I feel about this industry I fell into. I love tech because of the opportunity it affords us. Tech isn’t inherently good or evil. It reflects the intent and decisions of those who harness it.

Also FTA: “Technology is just another human creation—like religion or government or sports or money. It’s not perfect, and it never will be. But it’s still a miracle.” — Amen.

The secular faith of Workism

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.”

Workism Is Making Americans Miserable (The Atlantic)

One side frets over the anxiety and blurred lines separating work life and personal life, while the other side gets knocked around in an unpredictable “gig economy” designed to make things more convenient for those who can afford it.

Skyscraper content & unoriginal ideas

“In chasing search traffic, companies are sleep-walking into intellectual plagiarism. They’re fixating on their keyword research tools and SEO briefs at the expense of originality and personality. They’re curating other people’s work, instead of creating their own. They’re choosing to make content longer, instead of better.”

“Writing copycat content yields, at best, small improvements over the existing search results. We’re not adding anything new, just collating existing information into one place. As content marketers, we shouldn’t settle for that.”

Copycat Content (Animalz)

Over the last several years, marketers focused so intensely on chasing search rankings that we’ve abandoned honesty — “authenticity” — in favour of exhaustive, sprawling essays about whatever key phrase we’re chasing.

More often than not, these long-winded pieces end up looking like carbon copies of one another because we’re farming out consolidation assignments.

I’m guilty of this. Heck, I built an entire system around it, heavily inspired by the skyscraper technique that Brian Dean (Backlinko) preaches.

Does it work? To an extent, sure. But it kills the spirit and original voice of the individual.

Keep reading…Skyscraper content & unoriginal ideas

A good enough life

“Buddhism offers a criticism of the caste system and the idea that some people have to live lives of servitude in order to ensure the greatness of others. It posits instead the idea of the “middle path,” a life that is neither excessively materialistic nor too ascetic. […] In this radical vision of the good enough life, our task is not to make the perfect human society, but rather a good enough world in which each of us has sufficient (but never too many) resources to handle our encounters with the inevitable sufferings of a world full of chance and complexity.

The Good-Enough Life (New York Times)

A good enough life is a life worth living.

Create a system for qualitative feedback

“I’d highly suggest setting up your own system for collecting quotes from customers, influencers, media, and industry experts, both to help you improve and to equip yourself with a form of data we often overlook, but which can lead to productive discussions internally: qualitative feedback.”

Invest in Branded Podcasts and Video Shows (Marketing Showrunners)

I wholeheartedly agree with this advice from Jay Acunzo. Look and listen for the insights from those around you; from the communities you participate in; from the customer community you lead. Look and listen broadly enough and you’ll likely find takeaways that are applicable throughout your organization.

Pinterest’s potential

“One of the biggest value propositions in retailers for Pinterest lies in creating as seamless of an experience possible for users to find something they like on Pinterest and go buy it. And while Pinterest hasn’t yet perfected the format for doing so — neither have any of its competitors.”

Pinterest’s long road to becoming a commerce platform (Digiday)

I like Pinterest. Sometimes I even love Pinterest.

It’s a source of inspiration; DIY solutions for household problems; and discovery for things I’d maybe like to buy. And because it doesn’t have any of the volatility of other social networks, it’s also like a mental break, a breather, from the rest of the web.