Quote of the Week

“As you start and end your day, say ‘thank you’ for every little things in your life. And you will come to realize how blessed you truly are.” – Unknown 

It’s hard to believe it’s the last day of July, and the summer is quickly winding down and coming to a close.  Time is flying by and it’s important to remember to take a moment to step back, and be thankful for what we have.  Life if short, so we should all take our best to take a moment and enjoy every minute of it!

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My Three Rules to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

In an age where we are readily able to access our work 24/7 many people are putting in extra hours, and using their smartphones to continue to be “on-call” outside of traditional work hours. I’m guilty as charged and often reach for my phone and answer work emails early in the morning and late at night before getting out of bed. I’ve found a few ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

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Here are three ways which have helped me find a little more daily balance within my routine:

Rule 1: Learn to Unplug

Because we are so plugged in and connected it can be a challenge to step away and leave work behind. When I take my vacation days I now unplug and turn off my alerts completely. I leave my team my personal email and cell phone, and they’ll find me if it’s urgent, but by unplugging and not reading emails & listening to voicemails has helped me to enjoy my paid time off.

As long as your clients and vendors are informed of your plans in advance (i.e. through previous correspondence, voicemail or out-of-office messaging) they typically respect your privacy and need to disconnect.
Rule 2: Use Your Vacation Time

While we are on the topic of taking time off and unplugging, it’s important to schedule vacations and personal days to step away from work and relax. Vacations allow us to re-energize and return to our job well rested, and too often we don’t use our time off!

Americans throw away $52.4 billion every year because we won’t take time off from work. (Source: Oxford Economics) Click to Tweet.

Overall, Americans are taking less vacation than they did a decade ago. In 2013, the average worker took 16 vacation days, down from 20.9 in 2000, according to an analysis by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off, an initiative to encourage more workplace vacation.

It’s important to schedule time off, and use your vacation time.  I’ll admit sometimes I take a “mental health” day and do nothing but lay in bed and relax, and for me, it makes such a difference. However you use your time off is your decision, a lot of people prefer “staycations” but whatever you do, use your time off, don’t throw away hard earned time off, use it and enjoy!

Rule 3: Communicate with Family, Friends, and Coworkers

Having an open line of communication with family, friends, and coworkers can help play a part with your overall happiness and balance. I always let my husband know key events and projects i’m working on so he understands when I’m going to be busy at my office. We’ve synched up our google calendars, and anything important and dates I need to be in early or stay late goes into the calendar. Since we’ve had the baby our time management skills have become thoroughly more efficient as we’ve had to make our days more productive to get home and pick our son up at daycare. We both typically bring home work, but after a certain time try to cut it off and be together as a family and enjoy dinner and a little downtime.

When we have big events at work I try to communicate to my co-workers to ensure all hands are on deck to help ease the workload and understand when longer hours are going to be expected. Ive found that many times issues arise in my work-life balance when I’m not properly communicating. Finding the methods and communication tactics that work best for you will help increase your productivity and overall well-being.

I hope these three tips have helped, what rules do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @MarissaPick.

Quote of the Week

“The Happiest People Don’t Have The Best of Everything, They Make The Best of Everything”make the best

This is one of those quotes turned my mood and day around and make me stop and think, and of course…share!  We are all very blessed to have all that we do, and of course there will always be someone out there with more than we have, however there is always someone out there who has less than we do.

This quote reminds me to take a moment and remember to be thankful for all that we do have, and make the best of every moment of every day.  Life is short, so we should all take a moment and enjoy every minute of it!

Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in getting a brand’s message to an interested audience in a relevant and authentic way. Whether launching a new product or just trying to raise brand awareness, it’s effective in driving engagement, visibility,quality traffic, and more. Last week I spoke at ClickZ Live New York on Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing.

The future of influence marketing is up and coming as marketers are trying to hone in on how to develop relationships with key influencers with hopes to lift awareness of their brands. It’s not enough to market through influencers, now it’s crucial to find a way to collaborate in partnerships with influencers.

Within my speech I discussed the four rules of influencer marketing:

1) Popularity Does NOT Equal influence.

2) To be influential, a person has to be actively writing on topics which matter to your audience.

3) To be influential, a person has to have authority.

4) Influencer’s drive action.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters. A research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. It’s important start a campaign with a precise set of goals, and understand the purpose of your influencer outreach plan.  Whether its to get them to be a brand advice, guest blog, or vouch for your brand you must begin by defining concise targets and have various KPI’s for various social media networks.

So how can you find Influencers? Great Question, here are some of my favorite (and free!) tools:

1) Follower Wonk Enables you to find, analyze, and optimize for social growth, and search bios of those influencers you’re after (especially very niche topics!).

2) Twitter provides free analytics which outlines top followers, influencers, and also gives a nice overview of your impressions, mentions, and more.  I also find using twitter lists to be an excellent way to tap into and influencer and “digest” twitter in a more streamlined manner.

3) BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and see what content performs best, as well as discover key influencers.

4) Topsy is one of my favorite tools to search all tweets and measure social trends, but they’ve also got an influencer option which has proven quite helpful.

5) Klout is the original tool to rank influencers based upon social networks and reach, they’ve started a content first approach, but hey, I still get free perks, and i’m still a fan!

Once you’ve found your influencers it’s important to get closer and engage with them using social media.  Being socially active you’ll be one step closer to your influential audience.  When reaching out to an influencer you’ve got to recruit, initialize and grow your relationship, and then nurture. Make sure your outreach is relevant.  Taking time to research your target influencers interests, and understand who they are and what they like is crucial.  Engage on social media by sharing an article, providing an opinion, and engaging when them in conversation without an ask. Once you’ve built your initial conversation pitch free it’s important to reach out offline to discuss next steps, and if possible remind them of your discussion and engagement to spark the conversation.

My slideshare from ClickZ Live is below, and remember Jay Baer’s quote, “Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” When done right tapping into this new generation of influencers can put your brand on the map, increase traffic, engagement, and so much more.

What do you think of the presentation, send me a tweet @MarissaPick, or leave a comment below.

Content Is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline

In 2013 Dave Kerpen shared a post on LinkedIn entitled Content Is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline.  Within the post he discusses the importance of keeping it real while also keeping it relevant. If your social media informs more often than it promotes, you’re on the right track. If it is deeply helpful rather than deeply promotional, you’re probably on a roll.

To get a better sense for how businesses can use content and social media together to be successful, Dave Kerpen asked Jay Baer to summarize the concepts of his book Youtility. Within the book he shares information regarding the concept of using marketing to promote your marketing.  Brands often talk too often on social media and miss the mark by never saying anything other than “we’re great” and “buy buy buy.” With so many updates constantly on social media brands are competing for attention, and can do so easily by being useful, not by shouting louder. 

Dave uses the company ExactTarget as an example, sharing two tweets back to back.  The first is a corporate message less relevant to a wider twitter audience.  The second is a real time tweet which created content on the most popular Olympic sports based on followers, which was sent during the London Olympic games.  The infographic has no information abut ExactTarget’s products and services, rather it used real time relevancy to create interest and to showcase some of it’s products (it has a software allowing companies to monitor and engage on twitter).

Content is everywhere, you can’t help but consume it within your everyday life.  Everyone has something they want to share with the world and we are constantly taking that information in.  We put content out there through the tools of social networks, leveraging sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on.

“Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” – Jay Baer

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Social media is what sparks our message and keeps the fire burning faster and brighter. Our number one tool so get our content and our message out there is the social media, and once we start the process, we need to keep feeding our fire.

“You cannot create without first consuming something.” -Jill Falk

Within my role I’m consuming content about 90% of my day.  I wake up each morning and check my Twitter account before even stepping out of bed.  I download two newspapers each morning to read on my ipad during my 40 minute train each morning.  I often sit next to my husband silently who does the same, and shares some additional content he finds on the various apps he checks into such as flipboard or good reader.  At work I build social media strategies to help boost the content my company created, and I often get emails on my work and personal accounts with content my friends, family, and co-workers find interesting.

It’s part of my job to keep up with these things, and also get myself out there.  I send tweets more than I pickup a phone, and I am guilty of constantly checking and updating my social notworks, I admit it, i’m totally addicted.  I learn new things everyday using social media and it keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the world and what is going on with my friends and family.  After we delivered our son and shared the moment with close friends and family, hours later I posted a photo and watched it spread like wildfire, the texts, calls, and messages rolled in.  I remember turning to my husband totally overwhelmed and overjoyed with the amount of messages I had to respond too, and it took me almost two weeks to circle back with everyone!

I always remember Jay’s words, “Content is the fire, social media is the gasoline.” Keep feeding your fire and keep it going!  Do what you love, and enjoy!