Speaking and Writing and Interviewing, Oh My!

Despite 2020 being the most insane year ever with all the terrible things, I’ve actually been busy with awesome things! I spoke at several conferences, participated in several podcast and webinar interviews, and contributed a couple of articles to various outlets. Here’s a few highlights:

Content Marketing Conference: I was supposed to speak in-person at CMC in Boston, but they made it a virtual-only event. I reprised my session,
“Beyond the Editorial Calendar: New Rules of Content Strategy”. I also participated in a 3-hour content planning workshop, sharing the narrative and distribution frameworks from the content playground. The full session is available with a paid pass to CMC365, and the above recap links are available free and un-gated.

Inbound Success Podcast: It was a busy spring, as I interviewed with Kathleen Booth about content strategy and marketing in general. We talked about the content playground, how to allocate resources if you’re a small team, and metrics and tracking. The episode is free and un-gated if you want to listen!

How and Why to Use LinkedIn Articles: I wrote an article for MarketingProfs on incorporating long-form articles into your LinkedIn content strategy, complete with real-world examples from several companies and colleagues. The article is free and un-gated with a MarketingProfs account.

Write engaging social media copy: Another piece for MarketingProfs! This post includes tips, tropes, and examples to write engaging copy for social media. The article is free and un-gated with a MarketingProfs account.

INBOUND 2020: I was THRILLED when I found out my session on thought leadership was accepted to INBOUND this year! Alas, the event also went digital. I ended up recording a free 15-minute audio-only session on thought leadership and participating in a live debate on gated vs. un-gated content. I also shared a debate recap on LinkedIn, complete with a 2-minute video and a 2,600-word article, so choose your depth! The on-demand version of the debate requires a paid pass to view, but the audio session and recap are both available free and un-gated.

Ascent Conference: I’m excited to see growing interest in the content playground! The organizers of Ascent Conference reached out to ask me to present my session on the new rules of content strategy, and it’s available with a free general pass using the code ASHLEYGENFREE.

It’s been a busy few months! I’ve got one more speaking engagement locked in before the end of the year, MarketingProfs B2B Forum in November. I’m excited to share more details about my thought leadership framework!

Featured on MarketingProfs

I’m excited to get back into writing after a rather long absence (building a career is hard work!), and I’m so excited that my first article of the year is on MarketingProfs. I love Ann Handley and the MarketingProfs team, and after a lively discussion about Periscope at a Bay Area meetup, I wrote my first piece for them. Check out “Four Kinds of Periscope Broadcasts You Should Be Creating” for tips on adding live-streaming to your B2B marketing strategy.

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

I attended a talk called, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” during SXSW, with author Douglas Rushkoff. Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book. Further disclaimer: the concepts in his talk will smack you in the face and send you down the rabbit hole.

So, what is present shock? It’s what we experience in our information overload, tweet it, Facebook it, stream it, Instagram it, post it, always on, always live, always available world. It’s the fact that we aren’t really sure when the past, present, and future begin and end. We demand to know the future right now, but we believe “now” is what’s happening on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. The thing is, the posts on social media platforms are actually in the past. By the time you shoot it, edit it, tag it, and post it as a status update, the moment is already gone. In fact, the moment that you’re living NOW is the moment that you’re spending posting whatever moment just happened in the past! I know, kinda complicated to follow, but think about it. When was the last time you left your smart phone at home while attending a concert? When was the last time you didn’t check in when you landed at a destination? When was the last time you ate your freakin’ food without taking a picture of it? We think that our pictures and tweets and status updates are real life, and that we’re living in the now by capturing every detail of every moment.

There’s a new trend to rebel against the hyper-digital world. I came across a blog of a mom that was lamenting the fact that she spent so much time trying to photograph and post pictures of her kids that she was actually missing spending time with them. She wasn’t holding them in her lap because she was too busy focusing the camera. She wasn’t playing catch or make-believe because she had to act as the history officer to capture every moment. She finally figured out that she was, in fact, living every moment tethered to her smart phone. I realized my own hypocrisy in this area while at SXSW: I was so busy tweeting my sound bites that I was missing content in the moment. I started skimming all my sessions for the tweet, and then I end up in this session that’s telling me that my tweets aren’t really life. And you know what I did? I tweeted that. It’s the definition of an oxymoron!

My husband went backpacking recently, and left our fancy camera at home. I was shocked, and quite frankly, so was he. But, he made an amazing point, “Yeah, I’ll probably be bored, but that’s a good thing.” Yes, cameras capture so much beauty, but they are far inferior to the human eye. Twitter makes information digestible in bite-sized tidbits, but nothing satisfies quite like reading Ayn Rand or Agatha Christie in paperback form by a river. A photo of a steak is enticing, but man, enjoying that first hot bite is truly delicious. My mom planned amazing birthday parties long before Pinterest made us all feel inferior and lacking in creativity (Aladdin castle made from recycled fabric bolts? AMAZING!)

So, life: will you choose to live it or capture it?

How to Explain SXSW to Your Grandparents

I returned from SXSW about two weeks ago, and I tweeted about explaining the conference to my grandparents. My team had an amazing time at SXSW, and we did a ton of social media around our time at the conference. You can check out the Twitter hashtag #whatsyourstory or @Duarte on Twitter to see some of the insights we gained while attending sessions, trekking the tradeshow floor, and going to events in the evenings. We made quite a few videos to document the experience, and you can check out my contribution here!

But, what you REALLY want to know is, “how did you explain SXSW to your grandparents?” So, here’s the conversation:

GP: Now, I thought I heard that SXSW is a music festival, so why would they send a business person to Austin?

Me: Well, it started as a music festival, but now it’s a hub for interactive, music, and film. The “interactive” portion is all about the digital world.

GP: The digital world? What is that?

Me: Um, it’s for apps… applications… um, you know how you have a phone? Ok, well, on your phone, you can access the internet. So there’s all these programs on your phone called apps, and they help you do all sorts of things. You can look up reviews on restaurants, or convert different currencies. The other big thing this year was 3D printing. Basically, they put a picture into a computer program and then load up a special little printer with plastic, and it goes around and builds the picture. There’s also a lot of bloggers, you know how I have a blog that I send links to? Well, lots of people are trying to tell their story on their blog or their company website, and so they go to SXSW to meet up with other people who are trying to tell their story.

GP: So how do you know if you did well at SXSW?

Me: One of our big metrics was around a service called Twitter. So, Twitter is kind of like Facebook, where you can have friends… except, they’re called followers. And, you can post updates, kind of like a Facebook status, and people can respond or share your status. We had lots of people sharing our status and responding, so that was successful.

GP: *Confused look*

Me: Ok, you know when your sons were in high school, and when they returned home from school, you’d ask how their day went? And they’d respond with like one sentence? Twitter is kind of like that… except more informative.

GP: OOOHHHHHH, that makes sense now.

I learned a lot during my time at SXSW, and I’ll be posting a few of those insights in separate posts. But for now, enjoy the conversation and videos 🙂

#earthquake

It’s 11:00 pm, and I’m laying in bed, surfing the ‘net… and suddenly, the whole apartment starts shaking! This is Irving, TX, people, we don’t get shaking floors in these parts. My husband is in the living room, and we look at each other with confusion. “Um, was that an earthquake?” Surely not, since, ya know, we don’t get earthquakes in Texas very frequently. Cue operation: figure out if we had an earthquake. GO!

My husband heads to the official government website that tracks and measures earthquakes around the US. I head to Facebook and Twitter. Guess who got verification first? The hashtag earthquake query on Twitter brough up confirmation from around the metroplex in less than 20 seconds. My Facebook status update resulted in confirmation replies with locations within 10 seconds. So while I’m hitting F5 and seeing reports of the earthquake from friends and strangers, my husband is still waiting on the government website to register any news at all. It took a full 15 minutes for the site to show our earthquake. Heck, we had an AFTERSHOCK before the official site logged the first set of ripples! The aftershock was also confirmed by social media before the initial shock was recorded through official channels!

Am I the only one who nerds out about this kind of connectivity? I mean, there was a time when you had to wait MONTHS to get news, and now we have real-time conversations about events. #blowsmymind!