June 20 Content Chat Recap: Editorial Calendars and Content Workflow Best Practices

I've been a participant in the #ContentChat community for several years, including a couple of special guest slots. Originated by Jenise Stout Fryatt of Smarter Shift, and handed off to Lucy Rendler-Kaplan at the beginning of this year, the chat has become a place for content creators and content marketers to share their tips and best practices (not to mention their favorite GIFs). Two weeks ago, Lucy handed me the reigns of the chat, as her new work schedule and other commitments didn't leave her with the time to dedicate to planning and hosting the weekly chats.

I'm incredibly excited to have the opportunity to keep this dynamic twitter community's mojo flowing, and am working on scheduling special guests on a range of topics suggested by our regular participants. If you have a topic suggestion, or would like to be a guest on a future chat, reach out to me on twitter @sferika, or email me at erika[at]erikaheald[DOT]com.

 

Join us for the next #ContentChat twitter chat on Monday, June 27, at noon Pacific, 3:00 p.m. Eastern as Anne Janzer (@AnneJanzer), author of "The Writer's Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear" shares her secrets for creating a more effective writing process.

#ContentChat (1)


Making the Most out of Social Media Marketing World

Making the Most out of Social Media Marketing World

Twitter is already full of pre-Social Media Marketing World shenanigans in San Diego. Since I'm not flying down until tomorrow, in the midst of my FOMO,  I have time to share a few thoughts, as a returning attendee, on how to make the most of this unique event.

  1. Join in on the pre-conference virtual networking. On Slack, there are channels for everything from technology marketers to craft beer lovers—join the ones that will connect you with like-minded folks! There's also Facebook page and a Linkedin group to explore.
  2. Download the event app. Search the app store of your choice for Bizzabo. This is a great way to build and manage your sessions schedule, and planning meetups with other attendees.
  3. Pack backup device batteries. It's not too late to get them sent via Amazon Prime to your hotel. You don't want to run out of phone juice just as you're snapping that perfect selfie on the U.S.S. Midway tomorrow night, do you?
  4. Bring your walking shoes. The Convention Center is steps away from the Gaslamp Quarter, a neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants and shops you'll want to explore. I highly recommend tapas and sangria at Cafe Sevilla.
  5. Eat tacos. Lots of tacos. Especially fish tacos. It's pretty much mandatory. When I was in college, we'd hit up Casa de Bandini in Old Town (it's since moved to Carlsbad), but more recently Huapangos  has been a favorite place of mine for margaritas and Mexican food.
  6. Visit the Zoo. San Diego's Zoo is an amazing park, with some of the best-designed exhibits I've seen. It's well worth the time and entrance fee.
  7. Bring a water bottle. It's easy to get dehydrated between the socializing, sunny weather, and canned air in the session rooms. So keep that water bottle in hand and filled up. If you forgot to bring one, it's likely you'll be able to obtain one from a friendly conference sponsor.
  8. Prep your note-taking setup. I'm a big fan of Evernote and create a new notebook for each conference I attend. Within those notebooks, I create individual notes for each session I'm attending. I try to ID the speaker's twitter handle in advance and add it to the note to make sure I'm tagging any quotes I share appropriately. I like that it's easy to share my conference notebook with my team, to share the learnings and resources from the event.
  9. Talk to strangers. This conference has facilitation of networking down pat. I'm an introvert, and really appreciate how easy (and painless) they make it for you to find people you're interested in connecting with. 

I'm going to go get packed now. Hope to see you there!


Invest in Yourself or Become Obsolete: Schedule Time for Your Professional Development

Invest in Yourself

Several years ago, in a marketing team meeting, as we discussed our professional development plans for the upcoming quarter, one of my colleagues blurted out "I don't have time to for professional development. I'm too busy. I can't take a day to go to a conference or a workshop."

Neither our boss nor the rest of the team let her off easy on that comment. The marketing landscape is changing every day, with new tools and tactics to be aware of coming at you all the time. If you simply throw up your hands and say "I'm too busy!", where do you see your career heading? 

My friend Gini Dietrich brought this up over on the Spin Sucks blog recently. And since professional development for content marketers was the topic of my recent #CMworld chat, this seems like a great time to share some of my favorite tips and resources for professional development.

Start by creating a professional development plan

I know planning is an often overlooked activity in the content marketing world, but the best way to ensure you're focusing your limited time and resources on the right professional development activities is to document your professional development plan. What are the areas you need to focus on to reach your professional goals over the next 12 months? And what activities can get you there? Yes, paid training and conferences should be in the mix but so should on-the-job projects and committees, volunteer work, company sponsored training, books, blogs, white papers, podcasts, and industry networking activities. I created a helpful template for getting your career development plan organized, and recommend you start there.

Useful educational resources for content marketers

Blogs

OK, now that you have your career development plan documented, what are some of the external resources you should check out? One of my primary ways of keeping professional development front-and-center on a daily basis is by reading a range of informative content marketing and social media blogs. My current favorites include Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute, and Social Media Examiner. I've captured more of my favorite blogs, which I read every week, in this list.ly: Must-read content marketing and social media blogs

Podcasts

Podcasts make up another big chunk of my weekly professional development time, thanks in large part to their portability. I can listen to them during my daily commute, or while doing chores around the house. I listen to This American Life and CMI's This Old Marketing every week, and listen to a number of other podcasts when the special guest or topic is of interest.

Twitter Chats

As time allows, I also participate in a number of recurring twitter chats on marketing topics. It's amazing how much you can learn from your peers. And best of all, unlike some of the other learning venues, twitter chats are interactive, and provide you with the opportunity to ask your peers questions that can help you improve your skills and work process,

Conferences

I'm a big proponent of carving out time to attend industry conferences like Content Marketing World. Unlike self-study opportunities which can often be interrupted by your day-to-day responsibilities, packing your bags and heading to a conference provides you with a focused, immersive learning experience. For a comprehensive list of national and regional conferences, check out this post from Curata.

Extracurricular Activities

For my own professional development, I've frequently taken on freelance or volunteer positions outside of my regular job that would allow me to build out new skills. That has the added benefit of providing fuel for your LinkedIn profile, and broadening your professional network while making yourself more employable. My moonlighting gigs allowed me to explore podcasting, learn how to build online communities, keep my arts and entertainment writing dream alive, and gain hands-on social media strategy experience. All of which helped keep me engaged in my current full time job, while preparing me for taking on new challenges in future roles.

So, how about it? Are you ready to take charge of your professional development? What do you want to learn next?

 


Why I'm Attending my Third Content Marketing World (and You Should Too!)

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In just two short weeks, I’ll be in Cleveland taking part in my third Content Marketing World in as many years. With so many conferences, many in more glamorous locations, what keeps me coming back for more? In one word: community.
 
Throughout the year, I get to check in with the Content Marketing World community through the Tuesday morning (my time) #CMworld twitter chats. I love seeing the familiar faces each week, and enjoy have a place to catch up on what’s new on content marketing and hear from my peers as to what’s working. I leave every week with a number of ideas to put into practice for myself and my clients.
 
But I have to say, although I look forward to kicking off my Tuesday mornings each week with the chat, nothing beats having a week of content marketing immersion in Cleveland at the conference. That’s my time to focus 100% on learning more about content marketing and connecting in person with the awesome folks I’ve gotten to know through twitter. 
 
I will admit I’m more than a little sad that I won’t be having Brandie McCallum by my side this year though. She was absolutely the best conference buddy I’ve ever had. It’s hard to believe that was our first time meeting in person because she instantly felt like an old friend. That’s the power of the  #CMworld community for you.
 
I’m charging my backup power supplies, packing my Hello Kitty notebook, and prepping my Evernote notebooks (more here on how I prep for the conference). How are you getting ready for Content Marketing World? Can’t wait to see you there
 
P.S. If you're attending the conference, add yourself to my Content Marketing World 2015 list.ly to connect with other attendees and speakers.

Moving on to a new challenge

Summer 2015 Moving on to a new challenge

This time last year, I'd just transitioned from consulting into running social media and content full time at Anaplan. It was a great opportunity to shape the content strategy and processes for a global company. It's pretty rare to work for a start-up with offices—and content—serving customers on four continents. It was fun to build up the team from just myself and a new social media manager when I started to a team of six content professionals creating compelling content.

But after a year of managing Anaplan's content in-house, I was starting to get the consulting itch again. I missed having the cross-pollination effects that come from creating content for multiple clients, and different industries. And that's when a new opportunity arose that was a perfect fit: leading content for Highwire PR, a San Francisco-based technology communications firm. 

In addition to SF, Highwire has offices in NYC and Chicago and focuses on innovative companies in the industries (finance, enterprise tech, healthcare) that have made up the bulk of my career. I get to work on building the agency's content bureau, including defining processes, building the content team, and working with clients on both content strategy and content creation. It's an amazingly awesome combination of the favorite parts of my previous jobs, all rolled into one.

And did I mention there's an adorable office dog? I'm not saying that was the clincher...but...she's pretty darn cute, don't you think?

 

Our furry coworker is taking a snooze. #frenchbulldog #puppy

A photo posted by @misserikasf on Jul 27, 2015 at 1:43pm PDT

 

This is my first agency gig, so it's been fun learning the ropes and seeing what makes agency life similar to (and quite different from) my prior consulting and in-house content team management gigs. Look for more blog posts from me as I share some of the things I learn along the way.