Professional development in the digital era

Content Marketing Institute does a twitter chat every Tuesday at noon. You can follow along at #CMWorld.

Yesterday, they asked an interesting question related to professional development without falling behind.

It’s damn hard not to feel overwhelmed in the digital marketing space these days. Heck, most jobs move at 1,000 miles per hour. A lot of people are up to their eyeballs in an ocean of information, anxiety, fear and complexity. You want to do good, but by the time you get started, the game changes. It’s tough and I’m right there with you.

Here are my tips on how I stay motivated and informed.

  1. Keep a separate bank account devoted strictly to personal development. Use these funds to purchase books, attend conferences and grow yo’ mind! It doesn’t have to be much. Get a $10/month Skillshare membership, use the library or scour Youtube for learning opportunities.
  2. Set aside time in your daily schedule. Each morning I try to sneak past my 11-month old boy and get 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading. I’ve read 20 books since January with this trick. Don’t have time in the morning? Listen to a podcast on the drive in or schedule a meeting with yourself and escape to a park bench or empty cubicle. Your boss can’t possibly get mad if you’re using this time to improve your capabilities and value.
  3. Find a handful of blogs, newsletters and personalities that you can trust. Keep this to a manageable number. If you want to add a new information source, then you have to cut a current one. is a great service to consolidate your email newsletters into one daily message. 
  4. Chill and calm your mind. You can’t possibly know and do everything. You can’t read every tweet, every book, every post. Even if you did, you wouldn’t have the time or budget to execute it all. Be a life-long learner and be OK with not knowing every detail.


How-to craft the perfect blog post has developed a well-mannered blueprint for crafting the perfect blog post. Being really good at the items in blue below will put you ahead of 80% of your competition.

Because things change over time, here are a few additional points I would consider to take that next step.

  • Give some love to your images. Pick compelling images and optimize (ALT text, anyone?) for search engines.
  • Ensure that your site plays nice with mobile devices.
  • Add rich snippets to your HTML (like twitter cards) so your content looks good and is super compelling when shared. Here are 6 WordPress plugins to help with that.
  • Balance and test the benefit of having comments on your site.
  • Don’t go overboard with the sharing buttons. Too many can slow your site down. If you’re spewing great information, people will find a way to share it.
  • Test, test, test.

If you’re looking for additional reading, Moz has an intense master plan to optimize your page for search engines.

Blueprint for the perfect blog post

How to quickly erode customer trust

Apple’s customers trust the company with much of their daily lives. Sneaky promotions quickly erode that goodwill. See how things snowball in the eyes of the customer?  An auto-downloaded album leads to them lamenting about small storage limits which leads to poor storage management systems… possible hacks…future distrust.

The right way for Apple to do a big U2 promotional deal like this would have been to simply make the album free on the iTunes Store for a while and promote the hell out of that.

Instead, Apple set everyone’s account to have “purchased” this album, which auto-downloaded it to all of their devices, possibly filling up the stingy base-level storage that Apple still hasn’t raised and exacerbates by iOS’ poor and confusing storage-management facilities. And when people see a random album they didn’t buy suddenly showing up in their “purchases” and library, it makes them wonder where it came from, why it’s there, whether they were charged for it, and whether they were hacked or had their credit card stolen.

via Marco, Anger Over Songs of Innocence

An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world. But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away. His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous “self-esteem” that educators would impart to students, as though by magic.

via Matthew B. CrawfordShop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Layer Tennis is an example of content marketing done right

Layer Tennis is a live online tournament pitting two artists (designers, animators, illustrators or anything else) against one another. The competitors battle for ten rounds, swapping files in real-time and embellishing upon the work. They have 15 minutes between each volley.

Layer Tennis is a great example of content marketing that doesn’t smell or appear like content marketing. Here artists are inspired by other artists, in a format that can be easily digested by the reader. Adobe allows the competitors to use their tools and tell their unique story in a way that spreads to other artists and designers.

How could you take this same idea and apply it to your industry?

Layer Tennis is a production of Coudal Partners, an advertising, design, and interactive firm, located in Chicago and is sponsored by Adobe Creative Cloud.

See Season 4 of Layer Tennis.

Your mind spinning like fan blades at high speed

Dear you,
you who always have
so many things to do
so many places to be
your mind spinning like
fan blades at high speed
each moment always a blur
because you’re never still

I know you’re tired
I also know it’s not your fault
The constant brain-buzz is like
a swarm of bees threatening
to sting if you close your eyes
You’ve forgotten something again
You need to prepare for that or else
You should have done that differently

What if you closed your eyes?
Would the world fall
apart without you?
Or would your mind
become the open sky
flock of thoughts
flying across the sunrise
as you just watched and smiled

Kaveri Patel, “The Voice”