The word authentic is so hot right now. I’d also argue that by becoming a marketing watchword, it’s become the least sincere/true/authentic version of itself.
With brands and people striving to prove their authenticity, the very concept is undermined. “How can we make this more authentic?” may be a good way to reach your audience but what you’re really saying is “what spin can we put on this marketing ploy to make the average Jennifer buy into it?”
In the end, the very act of trying to make something “authentic” nullifies its (and if this is your personal brand, your) authenticity. That isn’t to say it’s not a good strategy but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we’re digging deep and being vulnerable.
The cardinal rule of Getting People To Do Something For You is to make it easy. As someone who gets what feels like a lot of press releases, I have some thoughts on how to encourage your recipients to share the info early and often via their social platforms:
+ Include handles, all of em. If I have to search for them, you’ve already lost me. (Also try and get your client to make them all the same)
+ The gist. Start with the real shit. You can even pre-craft tweets for me. Put the 1000 word essay about the chef’s childhood at the bottom.
+ A link to good photos of whatever you’re trying to sell me. Use your cloud poison of choice.
+ Send me an embedded jpg press release. #delete
+ Bury the lead. The 500 word story is good for reference but I’m trying to triage, not settle in with a cuppa tea for War & Peace.
+ Do that tired-ass format with a big bold title. We’re in a visual world now… surely we can incorporate some attractive design?
Magical tools like buffer and hootsuite are making sharing sooooo easy. For example, with the chrome plugins, I highlight the important text, click a button and share away from my gmail window. Knowing that these are the tools most of your (digital zine) recipients are using, work backwards to find the right format.
So, to summarize, here’s a pretty-ish picture:
Recently, a friend of mine died completely unexpectedly. Her death was jarring and a reminder that we can never know when the end is coming. If you’re lucky, you have some time to prepare. If you’re unlucky, you leave a abandoned digital trail for grieving loved ones.
You may want your properties maintained, edited or erased. They may want to be able to download your past posts, memorialize you or delete it. There’s language you can add in your traditional estate planning and tools like Everplan that help you set up a digital executor.
Given life’s uncertainty, maybe take a moment to familiarize yourself with how to get your digital affairs in order. Here are links to the major social and digital asset “after death” policies.” Some (facebook, google) have options to designate someone else if you pass, others will deactivate via their submission process. (No word on what happens to your Pokémon Go account.)
A friend said to me yesterday, “I’d rather feel pressured than trapped.” It was one of those genius things that just rolls off the tongue.
Trapped = a box that’s getting smaller and smaller. Your choices are: punch your way out or make your self smaller and smaller.
Pressure = a force pushing you to do something, propelling you one direction or the other. You can choose backwards or forward and forward is a hell of a lot easier
They both cause stress, anxiety and potentially sleepless nights. Maybe the way out of being trapped (in a job, in a relationship, in a toxic environment) is to find the right forcing function to pressure you out of it.
Recently, the world has flipped the script on Failure. Failure is not an option has evolved into failure as a strategy. You should take great leaps, make big decisions, try all the things and if you fail, you fail. That’s a success all its own – that failure. (Google is an excellent example – leading the reward failure charge with Google X’s “moonshots.”)
Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, Isaac Newton are all cited as people who failed and failed and then succeeded. That’s the story we love – of a failure that turns into wild success. And maybe that’s real and it will happen to you, oh Grand Master of Failing Fast.
But the reality is that Google can afford to fail a lot – they’ve got a pretty sweet cushion of dollars and investors. And you can afford to fail for a certain amount of time before it becomes a drain on your network and resources. But holding up failure as a value on its own is dangerous. Depending on the person who’s absorbing the message, it can engender complacency (oh well, I tried), often with someone else’s investment on the line. And no matter what the Ted Talks say, failure still rankles and it may damage your next project’s viability.
The concept of failing fast is really saying: “let’s not sink a bunch of capital, time and effort into something thats ultimately going to fail mkay?” Failing fast is nothing more than what you should encounter when doing due diligence: identify risks, test the weaknesses, make a well-researched/thought out attempt and don’t let your ego get in the way.
Our openness to risk is like a muscle. Unless you’re consistently building it, it can atrophy. In the interest of building your risk bicep, take a teeny risk today. Hello to a stranger, a different way on public transpo, an off-the-wall event you’ve been eyeing. Hell, just go to happy hour alone instead of with your usual gaggle. In muscle speak, light weights, lots of reps.
It doesn’t matter why it works, just that it does and it will if you’re willing.
When the next interesting opportunity comes around that reeks of risk, are you going to have the strength to grab hold? Or will you stand around like the saddest non-spinach eating Popeye and continue down that familiar rut?
Happy Friday friends! Here are some little nuggets mined from the internets this week. Just in time to help keep you from actually having to do work today. Yours in mac & cheetos
RoutePerfect “plans” your route in Europe. Pick a starting place, time gone and the “feel of your trip” (romantic, friends, fam, solo) and let this do the work.
Fascinating read from Google’s Design Ethicist (that’s a job??) about how companies hijack your mind via the slot machine effect, tit-for-tat, social approval, controlling the menu, etc.
At first glance, this seems like a much a pretty intuitive entrepreneur-focused project tool. CRM, billing, time tracking, to do lists – all in one place. There’s a free trial to get you hooked.
Spotify uses your listening habits to determine who you’d be on Spotify. Like a cosmo quiz, but better. I mean, I know we’re all really just hoping to be Khaleesi.
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Remember Lincoln Logs? What a weird concept right?
First, lets agree there were never enough of each piece to build something truly spectacular unless you sunk deep dollars into the effort. Legos really won that round.
Second, it occurs to me that sometimes the 15 little projects you’re taking on (paid or unpaid) somehow eventually morph into that lovely log cabin you didn’t realize was hidden inside all that raw wood.
Of course, we’d all prefer to have a vision from the start but coming at it a different way may be just as effective.