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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.

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.