Rethinking Productivity

Rethinking Productivity - Brass Tack ThinkingI think a lot of the ‘productivity’ set have it wrong.

Or at least the messages are getting convoluted by those obsessed with their quest for inbox zero to little discernible end.

Being productive isn’t about wringing every last minute out of every day doing something or checking stuff off a to-do list and building a relentlessly efficient system that allows nothing through the cracks.

I say that being productive is about accomplishing the things you need to accomplish at a minimum so that you can regain some flexibility to adapt to the opportunities that are optional and even fuzzy at best. The things you can’t so much do as discover, or wait for, or adapt to when they happen. [Read more…]

From Successful Social Media Blog To…Failure?

Brass Tack Thinking - From Social Media Blog to FailureEveryone has a different take on blogging.

Why you should do it, how you should do it, how to grow it and sustain it and all that jazz.

Over the last five years that this blog has been around, I’ve shifted gears more than once. I thought it would be interesting to share with you what happens when you do that kind of thing.

First of all, I always blog for me, and me first. I blog about the topics that are interesting to me, which means they evolve alongside my work.

When I started the blog, it was focused heavily on branding and communications from a business perspective. Then it shifted to be more about social media, because that was becoming more and more of a focus in my work.

I caught a lot of traction then, because it turns out people wanted to read about social media stuff. So from a subscriber perspective, my numbers went through the roof.

I had over 16K subscribers at one point, which is still amateur by many “big blog” standards but was pretty solid for a couple of years worth of work. I was getting mentions on lots of other blogs, getting the attention of the big kids on the playground, having good discussions in the comments, and getting put on all kinds of lists for the “top social media blogs” and influencers in the space. [Read more…]

My Battle With Content Marketing and Selling Out

Brass Tack Thinking - On Content Marketing and Selling OutI’m struggling with this. A lot.

I absolutely realize I’m a stick in the mud, here.

But more and more, I’m finding that I don’t fit the aesthetic of the outstanding “content marketer”, whatever that means.

For example, more and more blogs – including typically excellent ones – are using the whole “tweet this” thingie in the midst of their posts so you can quote a bit of their brilliant prose (a bit that they’ve determined is ‘tweetable’) and post it on Twitter.

An increasing amount of material, from posts to presentations, seems to be more concerned with being ‘sound bite’ worthy than being substantive. We want people to post and share and spread our stuff around, so some of the content gets watered down to the least common denominator and everything ends up being a collection of the same 12 points, repackaged to suit the personality of the presenter but most assuredly designed to spread.

Sometimes, I’m pretty sure we’re designing content to spread instead of to educate, inform, or teach. [Read more…]