Need a Refocus Break?
In this digital world, a lot of us probably spend more time at our desks than we’d like to. Long amounts of time staring at a computer can take a toll! Here’s a few things you can do to give you a physical and mental break.
Take a Stretch Break
Admit it, you’re sitting hunched over your keyboard or phone right now. 😜 Its ok; we all do it. Here’s 3 quick stretches you can do at your desk!
#1 Give Your Wrists Some Love
Being on the computer all day overuses some muscles and underuses others. New York City based physical therapist, Dr. Abby Bales, suggests stretching your wrist flexors and extenders. The easiest way to do this is to hold your arm straight out and bend your wrist up and down at 90 degree angles. Bales says this “prevents the wrist from getting locked in a smaller range.”
Your upper back and shoulders can lock from being at a desk too long. Dr. Bales suggests stretching by clasping your hands behind your head and squeezing your shoulder blades. This opens up your chest and shoulders, helping stop the hunch.
#3 Big Shrugs
While on the computer most of us have the habit of scrunching up our shoulders and leaning toward the screen. Doing some 3-5 second shoulders shrugs helps! “By actively shrugging and then letting go, the brain is made aware of the unhealthy height of the shoulders,” Dr. Bales said, and it resets accordingly.
Anytime you disrupt your routine (either by doing little things like pausing to stretch or like, I don’t know, a global pandemic) you have opportunity to reset. What can you do to reset your brain?
Pausing and taking a couple deep breathes can help clear your mind, relax, and refocus. It’s as simple as just looking up from your computer or phone and focusing on your breathing for a bit.
Another thing you can do to mental reset is take a moment to go over your tasks and reprioritize. Ask yourself, “What is my overall goal for the day and what do I need to do next to reach that goal?” It’s critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. Reorganizing your task list can help you to stay focused on what really matters and make it easier to adapt to shifting priorities.
#3 Change Up Your Surroundings
Changing something about your surroundings can help you refocus. Can you get up and move? Now that it’s summer, could you work outside? Disrupting your groove gives you the opportunity to reset your focus. Changing where you physically are or even something small like switching up your music is super effective!
What ways have you found to reset your focus and give yourself a physical or mental break?
Scared of Content Creation? Here’s 6 tips
Content creation is an integral part of marketing or running a business in general now. Even if you don’t think that you are a quote-on-quote content creator, you probably do create content. Every time you post on Facebook or update Instagram, that’s content. What are some easy things you can do to up your content game?
Here’s 6 things we have found to be essential in making quality content!
Know Your Audience
The content you create for one audience can be very different from another. Understanding the WHO is helpful first step.
It can also be helpful if you think of your audience as a single composite person. Instead of trying to talk to all of them, you are instead making content for one person. A lot of companies do this by making a buyer persona. That way you can think, “Would my buyer persona like this?” vs. “Would all my followers enjoy this content?”
Make a Plan
There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to maintain consistent content posting across multiple channels without a plan. It can feel like juggling snakes. 🐍 Making a plan can be as simple as figuring out what types of content you want to post and when it would be best to time to post it. The more specific your plan is the more you time you take out of the equation.
Part of making a plan is planning out your message and/or your angle. Now that you know who your audience is, think about what type of content would work best for them. Knowing what you want to talk about can make it easier to figure out what types of content would be best. Would your audience benefit from long form blog articles or would a TikTok series be more helpful? Both of those types of content take a lot of effort, so planning it out ahead of time is valuable!
Keep It Simple and Honest
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. No matter who your audience is, needlessly complicated language or content structure isn’t appreciated. Simple and honest is always good. Remember, why you are making the content. Is it to promote you or your brand? Then tone of the content should match your voice. People can see right through any inauthenticity if you are trying to make something that isn’t you.
It’s easier to connect with a brand online if you feel like you are talking to a real person. Does the content you are making sound personal?
What is the Purpose of Your Content?
Why do you want to make this content? Keep the big picture of your content in mind as well as each individual piece. Are you trying to promote a specific product or service? Don’t be afraid to include a call to action in your content! A call to action is how to accomplish the goal of your content. It’s the follow through.
A good call to action is simple and concise. It uses strong verbiage. Give your audience a good reason to take the desired action. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Take a Step Back
When it comes to content, it’s often valuable to take a step back and from your project and let it rest for a bit. The longer you work on a piece of content the easier it is to be become blind to mistakes, errors, and typos. You may be surprised by the power of fresh eyes!
An old copy writer trick is to proofread backwards. Instead of starting at the beginning of your content: start at the end. Because your brain is following a different path through the information, it sees things in a different way. Starting at the end allows you to look at it sentence by sentence instead of word by word or thought by thought. Knowing your content is edited well will help you feel more confident in posting it.
Another aspect of taking a step back from your content is revisiting old content. Repurposing or adapting finished content is an excellent way to stay inspired and make more content. There are always new things that can be added. Adding information keeps your messages up to date. Up-to-date content is more accurate and provides for value to your followers. Another reason to recycle content is that it gives more people an opportunity to see it. And even if someone has been following you for a long time there’s a good chance that they didn’t see the content the first time around.
Keep Consuming Content
This is my favorite part. 😜 One of the best ways to keep your own content sharp is to consume other content. It can inspire you, help you stay up to date with current trends, and keep your skill sharp. Most ideas don’t start in our heads, the spark is external. All of the creative juices it takes to create content can easily be burnt out if you don’t feed it with creative thing that you care about. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity!
What’s your favorite type of content to create? How do you stay motivated in content creation?
5 Things To Help You Stay Productive
We often focus on tips and tricks to help your business, but nothing is important to your business than you! Did you know that April is Stress Awareness month and May is Mental Health Month? What can you do to make sure you are running at your highest capacity and stay productive?
Managing stress has been a challenge for a lot of people this year. In Asana’s Anatomy of Work 2021 study, 71% of workers said that they felt burnt out at least once in the last year. Also, 42% rated their stress levels as high or very high. When employees are stressed or exhausted, engagement and productivity dip and the whole company can feel the effects.
What Can You Do as A Team to Stay Productive?
Unfortunately, work related stress often has to do with environment. When one person id feeling burnt out on your team, it can bring the whole team down. What can you do to create a less stress inducing work environment?
Talk It Out
Ewww, right? However, it’s impossible to know what is wrong or how you can help a situation if you don’t know at the problem is. Take in interest in people you work with. Is there anything going on in their life that might be adding stress? Is a process or workflow just not working for and its making things difficult?
Once you understand how your team is feeling, don’t disregard it! See what you can do to make things run smoother.
Take Control Over Your Situation
We are all responsible for ourselves. If you are lucky enough to have anatomy in your job, use it! Think about what areas of your job are stressing you and then figure out what you can do to help the situation. For example, do you struggle with being productive in the afternoons because you hit a massive exhaustion wall? Could you be hitting that dip because you constantly don’t get enough sleep? Or does coffee make you crash? Those are things that you have control over and can change.
And after this year, more and more companies are realizing that giving their employees flexibility over schedule and in some cases, whether they want to work from home, actually increases productivity!
The Asana study mentioned early found that “work about work” took up 60% of most employee’s days. That “work about work” is things like, meetings about processes, communicating about specific tasks, switching between tools, waiting for apps to load, searching for information, following up with team members about a project’s status, and managing shifted task priorities. A lot of those things are things that you don’t have control over. However, dealing with tasks like that can quickly give you the feeling of being on a work sized hamster wheel. That’s partly because “work about work” doesn’t feel like you are accomplishing anything.
What can help you feel in control? Figure out the right processes and find the right tools. If you can work with your team to put an effective process in place for dealing with collaborative projects. Part of that involves finding the right tools. There are so many workflow and team management tools available now that it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that works for you and your budget. (We are big fans of Teams/Planner and good old fashioned white boards.)
Time management single handedly has the biggest impact on work stressor and burn out. Good time management can drastically increase your productivity and give you more time to focus on other aspects of your life. A healthy work-life balance will help aspects of your life, including reducing stress!
Connect Your Targets to Big Goals
Time management is about getting the work done, it about getting the right things done at the time. A big part of understanding and prioritizing what’s most important is know what your goals. And if you work for a company, what its goals are. A recent study found that only 26% of employees understand how their work relates to the overall company goals. How can you know what daily targets to set if you don’t understand where you are trying to go?
Only 26% of employees understand how their work relates to the overall company goals
This goes back to talk it out. If you have questions, ask! And if you are in a management position, work with your employees so everyone understands what they are doing to help the company reach its goals!
Prioritize and Organize
Its critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. If you understand what’s most important in the grand scheme, however, it can make adapting to those changes easier. In the Asana study, they found that 29% of employees cited confusion on task priorities as a contributing factor to their burnout.
There are many different methods to prioritizing and organizing your daily tasks. The “Eat The Frog” method (named after the famous Mark Twain quote) encourages you to take care of the big or complex tasks first thing in the morning. This way you are productive right out the gate and don’t have a big task hanging over your head all day. Once you’ve eaten the frog you can move to other things.
Another popular method is David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method. The first step in this method is write everything you need to get done down. Once you have an overview it’s easy to see what tasks are important. Writing it all down and putting it one place frees up brain power and lets you focus on actually getting the stuff done.
Writing down your targets for the next day before you finish for the night or as you think of it, helps you feel on top of the day as soon as it starts. Spending a few minutes to plan out tomorrow’s tasks is way easier than spending the first part of your day scrambling to remember what was a priority to get done that day. This will also help your work life balance because you don’t have to keep thinking about all you have tomorrow.
Say “No” or Delegate
This is a struggle, we know. But one advantage of having clear, prioritized tasks, is that you can see when a task is not a priority or not one you have time for. It’s easier to explain why you are saying no if everyone knows what your current priorities are. Sharing your clearly defined priorities with your team gives everyone more clearly. This is something that we have found to be successful. In our morning meeting we often go through what everyone’s priority tasks for the day are. By doing this, we know what each of us needs to be focusing on and how much a priority it is to reach our company goals. It also makes it easier to see where we could help.
Knowing what your team’s priorities are, can also make it easier to delegate tasks. Just because something is a priority task for you doesn’t mean it’s not important! Help it get to the right person and that benefits everyone.
Audit Your Tasks
Is there anything on your plate right now that doesn’t align with your goals? Ask yourself, is this task not a priority for today anymore? Or is it not a priority at all? If the task is still important but keeps getting moved to the bottom of your priorities, ask yourself if you are the right person to be handling it?
Another aspect of auditing task is looking at how you view the task. Are you procrastinating the task because you don’t really want to do it? It’s easy to add time to situations if want to avoid the task. However, tasks don’t usually take care of themselves. (wouldn’t that be nice?) procrastinating the task will just make it worse. And often, when we finally do something, we’ve been procrastinating, we find it wasn’t that difficult in the first place!
What have you found successful in dealing with work stress? Any time management tricks you swear by?
How Your Flow State Can Help Productivity
When was the last time you felt fully engaged in a task and the hours just melted away? That’s called your flow state, something that psychology researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, from Claremont Graduate University in California, identified. Here’s how your flow state can help your productivity!
Flow is simply that state of mind in which we feel and perform our best and feel at ease. We don’t have to wait for a flow state to happen — we can take steps that can allow us to access it.
Here are the 2 steps needed to tap into your flow state.
- First, you must observe yourself. For the next two weeks, observe yourself, notice what you’re doing, and look for the clues of flow: losing your sense of time or self, feeling that you’re acting with ease, gaining new insights, and having a positive feedback loop.
- Then, when you are in a state of flow, broaden your awareness: Notice and remember the activities surrounding you. Recognize what you’re physically doing and think about what you’re doing mentally.
Tell us your tips and tricks for staying productive!
3 Types of Alternative Black Friday Campaigns
Calling Black Friday the biggest shopping event of the year is an understatement. In 2019, consumers spent $7.4 Billion online alone. This year more than ever, online spending is expected to grow. What are some ways to stand out online this holiday season?
Instead of the usual ‘one-day-only % off’ sale, campaigns focused on other things can be a great way to set you brand apart, gain awareness, and increase conversions. Here are three examples.
#1 – the Anti-Black Friday.
Taking a page from REI’s #OptOutside campaign, focusing on not buying anything on Black Friday can be very effective. Since 2015 REI closes on Black Friday and uses #OptOutside to encourage people to spend the day outside, which goes along perfectly with their brand mission and has helped grow their online community. Due to the longevity of the campaign and community it has created, the Opt Outside campaign helps increase REI sales year-round.
Another company using the Anti-Black Friday approach is the skincare company Deciem. In 2019, closed their stores and blacked out their website to protest the hyper consumerism focused Black Friday. Instead, their holiday campaign focused on “shopping slow.” For the entire month of November, every product was on sale. The longer, inclusive sale increased sales and helped reinforce their brand ideals with their customers.
#2 Highlight Your Mission
Many companies use Black Friday as an opportunity to show their customers what their brand ideals are. Donating to charities is a popular way. For example, Patagonia is known for alternative Black Friday campaigns but one especially effective one was 2016. They pledged to donate all their Black Friday sales to grassroot organizations that aligned with their brand goals. The campaign ended up generating $10 million in sales, over 5xs their goal!
The fashion company Kotn did something similar. Instead of sales, they promoted that they were going to donate Black Friday weekend profits to a charity that builds schools in Egypt, where the cotton used in their products is grown.
#3 Make it an event
A great example of this is MeUndies’ 2016 campaign. They promoted a Facebook live event for Black Friday. As more people joined, they unlocked more discounts and promotions. The event ended up with over 13,000 viewers and had a conversion rate of over 25%, which is 13x more than their average!
All of these brands used a day usually clogged with advertising to redirect their customer’s focus. They reminded people of their band mission and goals and helped strength their connection to their customers. What fun ways have you seen company handle Black Friday?
How To: Be A Team Player
Today the people in our work teams might be spread out across the country – or the world. It is easy to take it for granted that because of technology, we are able to work together and solve problems no matter where we are physically. The need for good teamwork will always be a necessity. What can you do to be good team player and help your team run smoother?
- Be humble. Unsurprisingly, being a good team player means not focusing on yourself or thinking that your ideas are the best. On the flip side, not having confidence in your ideas is also a violation of humility. As the saying goes: “Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves; it’s thinking about ourselves less.”
- Be hungry. Be willing to hustle. People who have a strong work ethic are often successful on teams because they don’t do the bare minimum. They want to do more than expected. When everyone on a team works hard, things go smoother.
- Be smart. Have common sense. Think before you speak. Think about what effects your actions will have on the project and on your team members.
It’s important to be able to identify what gaps your team has. And to look at yourself and see what you can to do make things run smoother.
What have you found to help your team run smoother?
How to: Declutter Your Digital Space
Let’s be honest, having a totally cleaned out inbox or a completely crossed off to-do list is one of life’s great joys. Clean digital workspace can help your focus and productivity. So what can you do to declutter your digital space?
- Put in a gap. Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University, said many people succumb to what he calls the list/reactive method: They instantly react to communication. That means answering texts, emails, messages as soon as they pop up and therefore constantly interrupting their workflow. Waiting to answer messages until a time that’s more convenient for you can help you stay focused and actually make progress on your work.
- Set a schedule. Set aside time to focus on work communications and then let your colleagues know when that is. Sticking to “office hours” can be surprisingly helpful.. Going from a Zoom video to a call with your kid’s school to texting about social plans with friends can blur the lines between personal and professional. Dr. Newport says, “It blends together the lives completely, You’re never not working. You always feel behind.”
- Take control of your inbox. If you have to delete tons of promotional emails everyday, the consider unsubscribing. Having less to go through everyday will save you time and help you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the start of your day!
- Streamline your workflow. If you are collaborating with a team, emails threads can get long and if you have multiple streaks of communication, it can get confusing. Having a streamlined and structured process “substantially reduces the number of simultaneous, asynchronous back and forth conversations happening,” Dr. Newport said.
What ways have you found to declutter your digital workspace?
6 Tips for Effective Content Marketing
According to HubSpot, nearly 70% of business are investing in upping their content production this year. What can you do to make sure your content stands out from the rest?
Here are six steps:
- Figure out what you want to accomplish. Goals are key to any plan. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) suggests outlining your goals in a formal business plan. It will also be helpful to outline what value you are going to provide your customers with your content and any possible challenges.
- Figure out your audience. Knowing who you want to reach makes it much easier to know what type of content they’ll want to engage with.
- Remember your own branding. What do you want your customers to know about you? What problems can you solve for them? How are you different from your competitors? Knowing what your overarching message will help you choose the right type content and tone.
- Figure out what type of content your audience will respond to. There are so many different types of content, such as blog posts, eBooks, videos, podcasts, webinars, newsletters, etc. However, not all of them will be effective for your audience.
- Keep a schedule. You’ll need a clear plan of attack, especially if different parts of your organization will be involved in content. HubSpot recommends implementing an editorial and a social media calendar. To keep tract of when are where content is going out. Doing so will also help keep your messaging cohesive.
- Keep track of engagement. Keeping track of analytics will help you learn your content’s effectiveness. You can use what you’ve learned about what works or your audience to inform upcoming decisions and make your content continually more effective.
Want more information on how to make your content marketing more effective? Get in touch here.
How to Increase Your Adaptability
If this year has taught us anything it’s that being to react well to inevitability of change is a must-have trait. In venture investor Natalie Fratto’s TED Talk on adaptability, she focused on how we can work on a becoming more adaptable in the workplace.
Here are her three suggestions:
- Be proactive. Fratto says,“Adaptability has to be proactive, not reactive. We have to seek it out, exercise it and flex it like a muscle.” How can you seek out adaptability? Start by looking for gaps in your organization that need filled. For example, is your team having a hard time communicating with the podcast team? Take the opportunity to learn about podcasts and help bridge the communication gap. Putting yourself in a position to help can make it easier to adapt to new roles later.
- Look at things from another point of view. Being agreeable can actually be the opposite of adaptability. Occasionally (and respectfully) playing the devil’s advocate can help you and your team see things from a different viewpoint. This can prevent you from getting to attached to your opinions or view. Not being stuck to ideas promotes flexibility and creativity.
- Remember the times you changed your mind. “It’s helpful to write down the times where you were wrong, changed your mind, or made mistakes,” says Fratto. Instead of viewing the times you’ve made mistakes as negatives, view them in a more positive light. Focus on what you learned and how you were able to grow.
What ways have you had to adapt this year?
How To Digital Advertise Effectively
With things changing around us so quickly, having a long-term advertising strategy can be a challenge. We need real time audience data as much as possible. How can we build an adaptable audience in this rapidly changing world?
One of the biggest changes in advertising this year was the extreme shift to digital. In an eMarketer poll, 56% of people said that they increased their online shopping this year. And 14% said that they shopped online for the first time. The way we shop has also changed. Because of the increase in online shopping, we tend to make faster, more impulsive purchase decisions. What does that mean for advertising?
Before the necessary shift to digital, brands could interact with customers in a wide variety of ways, often spread out over large physical distances. Billboards, signs, posters, newspapers, and magazines all exist with in different physical spaces. With digital advertising however, we are all competing for the same ad space. That ad space is worth more now has less guarantees attached to it.
Having the right audience is the foundation for your campaign…..Asking yourself simple questions about your clientele such are gender, age, income, and possible other interests can make it easier to target more efficiently.
What can you do then make sure your potentials are seeing your brand? Start with the right people. A lot of marketers view the audience as a small detail or a piece of the puzzle. Having the right audience is the foundation for your campaign. Asking yourself simple questions about your clientele such are gender, age, income, and possible other interests can make it easier to target more efficiently.
Having a general idea of your audience is a good first step. Slowing narrowing down that audience helps reduce costs. A trigger-based campaign is a good way to do that. For example, you can send an email to a large amount of people who fit your initial criteria rather cheaply. Since social ads are more expensive, you then only need to advertise to the people for clicked or opened your email. You can then retarget them with Direct mail. Learn about your audience from each channel individually then apply it back to your campaign as a whole.
As difficult as it can be to have to shift an entire advertising strategy, it can be also be a great opportunity for growth. Using different channels can help you take a step back and look at your campaigns and your potentials in a new light. What have you learned about adapting strategies this year?