Category Archives: Marketing Tips

How to Create a Professional Headshot by Wendy D

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Wendy D’s article is the first in a series of guest blog posts from local entrepreneurs, artists, marketers and authors.

When Matt asked if I would be interested in doing a blog post about “headshots” I said absolutely. These days everyone needs a headshot. What exactly is a headshot you might ask? The dictionary definition is a photograph of someone’s face, especially a promotional photograph of a model, actor or author. Yes that is a bit outdated, so I went to wikipedia to see what it had to say..  Continue reading

5 Qualities of a Great Manager

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Being a good manager is tough. Most people have a hard time making the tough decisions and also trying to get their team on side.

1) Great Listening Skills

Listening and communication are probably the most important qualities of a good manager. If employees don’t feel like they are being heard or that their opinion matters, then you go down a slippery slope that eventually ends with either you firing the person or getting a resignation letter out of the blue. Take the time to listen to your employees and take their suggestions, ideas and sometimes criticism seriously.

2) Empathy

Empathy is another key quality of a great manager. Everyone has hard days and sometimes the best that a person gives to a situation is going to vary from day to day. Although you want to make sure it’s clear that you have high standards for performance, you don’t want to come across as a cold, emotionless person. It’s possible to find a balance of getting things done and also dealing with personal issues that may arise unexpectedly. Make sure you make it clear to your team that you are open to figuring out ways to make their experience and work the best it can be.

3) A clear vision of the desired outcome

Often, managers will fail when the outcome is ambiguous. Is it customer service or internal politics that comes first? Establish a clear vision of what you and your team are hoping to accomplish and remind them regularly of how their contributions will get you there. Breaking down a large project into small pieces allows people to see why they are moving in a certain directly and provides clarity to the day to day decision making.

4) The ability to empower your team

Great leaders and managers inspire their team to bring forward their best ideas and work. By creating an environment that fosters empowerment and creativity, your team will be able to bring their best ideas to the table. Everyone always says that they hate micro-managing but very few managers have the awareness to stop. Keep your team accountable for their KPIs but allow them to get to that goal in their own way.

5) Be Open

Managers frequently think of themselves as the ones who have a lot to teach their employees. But it also works the other way around. Typically a great manager has a generalist skill set and brings on specialists on to their team. Having a cross functional team allows each member to bring a unique contribution to the table. Be open to the idea that you can learn a lot from your employees. They may teach you a different way to solve a problem or come up with an idea to hit that goal or KPI in a more efficient way. By making it clear that you set the direction for the team but that you are also open to suggestions and ideas, you foster an environment of learning and coaching.

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5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

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Feeling stuck or mentally blocked? I find that there are a number of ways that help me get the creative juices flowing.

Here are my top 5 tips to stimulating the creativity muscle:

1) Spend time in silence

I meditate most days and even spend time driving around in my car in silence. Stopping for a few moments and taking a break from absorbing information or concentrating on a project really helps me open up to new ideas and methods for tackling a project.

2) Writing

I use Julia Cameron’s technique of writing morning pages each day to clear out the mental junk in my head and open up space for creativity. Check out the “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for more information.

3) Having Great Conversations

This is a really helpful practice to getting you inspired and energized. I find that if I’m feeling blocked, and I have a great conversation with somebody, I immediately benefit from the inspiration and ideas that come to me. My 30 day challenge idea came from a great conversation.

4) Cross functional activities

If you focus too much on one area, you’ll find that your creativity is limited. Try exposing yourself to new books, activities and people. I got really into rock climbing last year, and it was a fantastic way for me to learn about myself and also think about things differently.

5) Read good books

I usually read a lot of non-fiction but recently I started reading more literature. I finished “Pride and Prejudice” and now i’m working on “The Great Gatsby”. Good books are awesome at stimulating the brain in different ways.

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3 To Do List Apps That Will Change Your Life

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Today kicks off my 30 day challenge to write a new blog post every day. I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out!

I frequently write about productivity tools I use, but today I’m going to tell you about the 3 essential tools I use for keeping my To Do lists from overwhelming me.

Each app has different features and benefits but together, they make for a kick ass team of organizational mojo.

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1) Astrid

Astrid is a standard to To Do list app that allows you to create lot’s of different lists and reminders. Out of the three tools, I use Astrid the most because of its accessibility of having both iOS apps and a web app. Once you set a reminder on Astrid, it will pop up on your phone with funny messages if you don’t check it off before the task is due.

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2) Teamly

Teamly is a web app that encourages you to try to set your top 5 priorities for the day. In the early days, Teamly would actually restrict the number of items on your list to 5. That function seems to be gone now but it is still a very useful app for establishing your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly priorities. I use this app for project planning and to keep focused on what my key priorities each day. One great feature of this app is that you can move items forward in time so if you don’t get to them today, you can add them to tomorrow’s list. It’s great to get a snapshot of what your key priorities are for both your short and long term projects.

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3) Producteev

Producteev is similar to Astrid; however, a major feature that sets it apart from other to list apps is the ability to create sub-lists within your main list. This is really helpful for project work and for assigning other team members with tasks. I use producteev a lot for collaboration on projects as well a capture tool to allow me visualize all the small critical path items that need to get done in a project. The email feature which allows you to send tasks to other people is great for assigning responsibility right after a planning meeting.

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10 Marketing Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

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In today’s ever changing marketing landscape, technology is king. As such, the types of jobs that marketers fill has exploded into a wide variety of niches and specialties. I remember when I was studying marketing in University and all my peers had the narrow focus of having a career in advertising. Not just because advertising was prestigious and cool but because there wasn’t as much choice as there is now. The evolution of the marketing job has created so many interesting types of positions at brands both big and small. Whether you want to work on the front end of the business in customer engagement or at the end in analytics, the world is at the feet of the marketer of today.

Here are 10 Marketing Jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago:

1) SEO and Search Marketing Specialist

2) Digital Strategist

3) Chief Marketing Technologist

4) Community Manager

5) Analytics Manager

6) Engagement Specialist

7) Social Media Coordinator

8) Conversion Manager

9) Webinar Marketing Manager

10) PPC Marketing Specialist

I’m curious to see what the next 10 years brings for the marketing industry as well as how jobs in the field will evolve.

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