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My Favorite Leadership and Marketing Tools

As leaders we’re constantly bombarded by advertisements requesting our time to try a new tool. Most of these tools offer little value, are overcrowded with partner advertisements, or have a poor user interface. In this post I’ll share a few of the tools I use to manage some of my marketing tasks and overcome time management quandaries.

Buffer, HootSuite, and Social Scheduling 

I’ve said this before and i’ll say it again, schedule your social media posts. I’m still floored when people think I’m posting to Facebook at 7:53 AM on a Sunday. Seriously? Ain’t nobody got time for that. By “that” I mean posting for your business in real time. Check out Buffer, HootSuite, or any social scheduling app and get rolling. You could become a social media maven while only spending two hours per WEEK scheduling posts. 

Also consider reposting older posts. If you write your content to be evergreen you can recycle your posts over and over again. You can also schedule posts from other likeminded thought leaders. 

Feedly, Paper.li and RSS

Feedly is a site which allows you to pull RSS feeds from many sites by imputing the RSS URL, or by searching a keyword. If you’re looking for content to reshare Feedly allows you to make a real time library of content on the web. 

Paper.li has the same functionality as Feedly but also allows you to create your own branded online newspaper to share on social media. For example: If you own a hair salon you can curate articles about techniques (cut, color, etc…) and share that newspaper online with your clients or social followers. Your paper will automatically update with new content from the web based on the search terms you setup. 

Audiobooks & Podcasts

I cannot put a value on the knowledge I’ve gained by listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I travel frequently for my job; by listening to podcasts and audiobooks I’ve essentially turned my car into a rolling university. I recommend Stitcher, iTunes, and Audible as tools for adding this content to your daily commute. And here’s the kicker — most podcasts are free! I’ll share some of my favorite podcasters and authors in a future post so be sure to “stay tuned” to my blog. 

Toggl

Your time is valuable. Do you know how much time you’re spending in meetings, on projects, or on the golf course? Wouldn’t you like to see how your time is used and break down where you’re most productive? Toggl can help. People think it’s a little nutty that I document every work task. I think it’s nutty not to understand how many hours are spent on non-essential tasks. I clock in and out of everything I do during work hours. This allows me to stay on task, and find out why I’m ahead in one area and behind in another. For example: I know that website visits drop during weeks I’m at trade events. Why? Because I neglected to schedule web content. Remedy? Schedule content before I go out of town. 

Slack

I admit, I just found out about Slack. This neat app allows you to create chat groups and work on projects with anyone. It’s great for extracurricular projects (non-profit boards, bands, etc…) and works via app and desktop. You just have to be sure you’re not adding a duplicate tool for communication. People are habitual so it may take some training to get your teams or groups on board to the idea of using Slack more regularly. 

Coffee

No explanation nessesary. ☕️

Four Steps to Begin Marketing Your Brand Today

Lately you may have felt inundated with marketing ideas. Do this online, write that on your blog, post this on social media, re-brand that to attract these customers.

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to expand your brand. But how do you build exposure to your business in a short period of time?

Here are four steps to begin marketing your brand today:

1. Establish your mission
It’s all well and good that you have a company, and maybe you even have a product that you’re trying to sell, but the most important thing you need to do for yourself, and for your customers, is to establish your mission. I’m not talking about a mission statement. I’m talking about your passion, your why, the reason you get up in the morning. Write down one solid goal that you want to accomplish for your business in the next six months. That is your mission. That is your driving force for your marketing strategies. If you’ve mixed more than one goal into your mission then you’re doing it wrong.

2. Design your brand
Anyone who says that a good logo and a good color scheme is bunk isn’t aiming to scale their business. Customers are attracted to the familiar. Make sure that you use a color scheme and art that appeals to the regular man, or woman. Even the most artistic are drawn to the most simplistic graphic design. Finally, if you’re not an artist—go find one. It’s okay to admit that you’re not a graphic designer and that someone else could do a better job than you.

3. Develop a multi-channel approach
Multi-channel means marketing through multiple channels. What is a channel? An example of a channel would be television, radio, print, social media, etc… A multi-channel approach means targeting more than one of these channels. The easiest way to create a multi-channel approach is to create a piece of marketing that can be utilized across these different platforms. Consider writing a headline, a piece of body copy, searching for a photo that aligns with your headline and copy, and using that marketing piece both digitally and in print.

4. Be consistent
If you’re going to write a blog, post at least once a week, or in a time frame that’s consistent and works for your schedule. If you’re going to post on social media then be consistent with that too. You can use tools like HootSuite or Buffer to help you schedule posts so you don’t have to sit in front of your computer all day. If you’re selling a home decor item, make sure that you post on Pinterestconsistently as well. Don’t underestimate how closely customers pay attention to your posts. Customers are interested in what you have to sell. Customers are also interested in what you have to say. Also understand that even though I use the word customers, customers could be people who read your blog, follow you on social media, or people who buy your product. You should consider everyone who interacts with your brand a customer. 

There you have it. Four steps to begin marketing your brand today. Now what are you waiting for? Get going, and be sure to post your success stories below.

Put Down Your Cell Phone – Pick Up Your Imagination

It’s come to my attention that few are using their imaginations to build their marketing initiatives. Many Modern Marketers are instead spending their time tweeting, posting, sharing, crowd sourcing, hashtagging, re-purposing content, and swarming.

What these marketers are not spending enough time doing is: using their imagination, copywriting, holding quality brainstorming sessions (meetings), getting outside, going to events, stealing other successful ideas, going to conferences, getting topical education on the product they’re marketing, learning about topics that matter to their audience, and being silent.

We all get lost in the minutia. You have invoices to pay, venues to book, tweets to schedule, and campaigns to launch — but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about telling a story. It’s about being successful and conveying, as Simon Sinek writes, “your company’s why.”

So how do you break loose from the hamster wheel? Be silent and get away from your desk. Find a good place to focus, pick an idea and run with it. The very best idea I ever formed developed this way. I also brought along a sketchbook and pen. You don’t have to be an artist to use these tools. They can be extremely  helpful in mapping a webpage, logo, campaign, or slogan.

You may also consider using the Pomodoro Technique. This is when you hyper-focus on a project for a set number of minutes then break for 10-15 minutes. I typically go for 90 minute intervals. This compartmentalized time asks that you avoid distraction and gives your mind the freedom to work solely on the project at hand — thus allowing imagination and free thought to form.

Another technique is Batch Processing. Just like you would prep food for an evening restaurant service you can get a large chunk of one task out of the way and then move along to the next. You can batch process tweets, email scheduling, designs, phone calls, almost anything. By batch processing you leave time to explore new ideas without feeling the stress of many tasks.

Eventually all great marketers find their way to disconnect, reflect, and refocus. Whether you batch process or write it out, take time to recharge your imagination and be open to what’s new.

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