Good at strategy? Great. Do the work. Be a practitioner.

Are you doing the work? Be a practitioner.

It’s great to be a strategist. Heck, it’s a higher paying job. But it’s dangerous to be too far away from tactics — especially since they change so often in tech. To be better at the work, you have to do the work.

A coder can’t understand overall strategy without an intimacy with the code he’s proficient in, or better yet, understanding trends in codebases. A mechanic would not be able to shape and evolve his business if he doesn’t understand how much time an oil change should take.

Most small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs are also practitioners. It’s not degrading to your role to do the work. So why do I hear myself saying this so often?

Do the Work.

Jason Knill and I shape organic and paid advertising at Give along with my traditional content marketing goals like blog posts and email marketing. We look at trends, we talk about insights from in-person meetings, Meetups, Twitter, WordCamps, and other people’s news. We bring a “mental rigor and curiosity,” as he calls it, to our work with Give.

Lately, we’ve been having a conversation around craft. Why do so many people in our industry enjoy making craft beer? Why are people in tech turning to knitting, gardening, or even fishing?

It’s about short-term satisfaction and accomplishment.

So often our work has long term results. It’s no different with strategy. To craft a strategy and then wait for results takes faith — faith in the process, faith in the forecasting, faith in the tactics.

Waiting for results takes faith -- in the process, in the forecasting, in the tactics. Click To Tweet

So why do so many people shy away from tactics and stick with strategy?

The only reason I can come up with is job protection.

Protecting The Boundaries of Your Job Title

Being a Marketing Manager means thinking strategically. That’s a closely-guarded job title. I’ve had friends say they won’t do “x, y, or z” because it devalues their job title. I’ve also been told that I’m acting like a “Social Media Manager” as if it’s more degrading than a “Marketing Manager.”

Hey, I get it. In this world, regardless of how far we’ve come, a woman usually only gains salary increases by switching jobs. It’s sad from the point of diversity, feminism, and, I hate to say it, company culture.

I recently read this post called “6 Reasons Why You Are Losing Key Employees” on LinkedIn by Bärí A. Williams. She brings up a valid point about salary history:

“If two people with the same experience and education are hired as peers, are their titles and pay equal? Because people of color and women are often underpaid, even when moving companies or switching roles, they lose out of money based on salary history. Assuring that rank and pay are fair helps keep people of color and women from being under-leveled and underpaid.” Bärí A. Williams

Consequences of Status Protection

Before I digress too far away from my point of “doing the work,” there is something we should think about in this vein.

If “it’s not my job” prevails any company culture, what you’ll have is an employee who is looking to transition to any good offer that presents itself. This will happen either consciously or subconsciously.

What you’ve lost is bigger than the time you’ve invested in said employee.

You’ve lost loyalty.

A loss in loyalty affects the entire company culture. People watch how Employee X is treated. They will pick up on cognitive dissonance. They will come to the conclusion that if Employee X isn’t valued, maybe they’re not either.

But I digress. The point is that no matter the reason you think you should protect the boundaries of your job title, being too far away from tactics affects strategy.

What is the difference between strategy and tactics?

Strategy is tied to goals. Where do you want to be? What would you like to achieve in a certain timeframe.

Strategy is the plan — 30 days, 120 days, 1 year.

Think of it in terms we may be more familiar with: war. Strategy is about winning the war. Tactics are how you do it. The great generals of time understand the landscape, their enemy, their enemy’s tactics, and the strengths and weaknesses of their own army.

Don’t like war? How about sports? No football team goes against another team without spending time on the field in practice. The strategy of the game never changes: outscore the opposing team by running the ball in the end zone.

The tactics to achieve that strategy vary depending upon the team you’re playing. Coaches and leadership — maybe even the team — will spend hours watching tape of the opposing team — studying their every move. The strategy of studying the opposition helps you find their strengths and weaknesses. It helps shape the tactics used in order to accomplish the overall goals.

Coaches and generals apply strategy to achieve their goals, but in war and football, the tactics and tools don’t evolve as quickly as the digital world. This is why it’s important to do the work.

Tactics in social shift frequently. Do the work. Be a practitioner. Click To Tweet

Strategy and Tactics are not Mutually Exclusive

If you’ve ever listened to Gary Vaynerchuk, then you’ve heard him say, “be a practitioner.” He talks about having his head in the clouds and his feet in the dirt.

For him, clouds represent strategy and tactics the dirt.

In this video he says,

I believe that engagement on Twitter makes sense. I also then do it.”

Do the Work.

Once you write your strategy and start implementing it, you may see results that surprise you — in any direction. Do you stop to ask yourself why?

Why are those ads converting? What is your time on site? What are the voids your brand can fill in your industry? Where can you show your value? How can  you increase loyalty? Why is your open rate so low? Is it just your company or is it the service?

Questions are important. Questions drive you to answers.

If you don't understand tactics, you won't ask the right questions. Click To Tweet

Doing the work gives you familiarity. Sure, Vayner Media has over 800 employees. But what’s amazing about Gary Vaynerchuk is that he always does the work. That’s why his agency has won in so many areas.

“Here’s the thing: if you’re not constantly working on your craft—if you get too romantic about doing things how they’ve “always been done”—you’re going to lose. You need to be a practitioner.” Gary Vaynerchuk

Tactical shifts — especially in media — can alter the effectiveness of your strategy. If you distance yourself too far from implementation, you will not be able to create or alter a strategy that creates results.

Do the work.

“Be a practitioner.”

 

 

 

 

Ten Things I learned from 10 WordCamps

A Season of New -- New Cities, New Experiences -- Because of WordCamps - BridgetWillard.com

Can you learn from WordCamps? Short answer: yes.

Since October of 2016, when I was asked to speak at WordCamp Cincinnati I have traveled to quite a few camps. In the last 12 months, I’ve grown professionally and personally. To me, this deserved an epic recap.

Beautiful sunrise.

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WordCamps – The List: October 2016 – September 2017

After Jason Knill and I attended WordCamp Cincinnati, Give decided to up our WordCamp game. Most of these have also been new city visits for me.

I’ll list my role after the camp.

  1. WordCamp Cincinnati – speaker
  2. WordCamp US – Philadelphia – attendee
  3. WordCamp Atlanta – Contributor Day (Marketing Team), speaker
  4. WordCamp San Diego – volunteer, sponsor
  5. WordCamp Chicago – attendee
  6. WordCamp Orange County – organizer
  7. WordCamp Europe – Contributor Day (Marketing Team), attendee
  8. WordCamp Ottawa, speaker
  9. WordCamp Sacramento, speaker (but sick)
  10. WordCamp Los Angeles, organizer, speaker

Yes. That’s ten WordCamps in 12 months. For the balance of 2017, I will also be going to Seattle, Rochester, and US in Nashville.

Let’s get to what I learned.

Lesson 1: You have friends everywhere.

Yes. These people are your friends. Connect on social media. Meet in person. Or meet in person and connect on social media. Either way, meeting people, having great conversations, and keeping that relationship going is good for your mental health and for referring people. We all live off of referrals.

Take selfies. Follow people on Twitter. Stay connected. People matter the most. I promise.

Thanks @bluehost for the great tour of Chicago. #WordPressMeansFriends #Chicago #ProHDRx #ChiTown #WCChi

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Lesson 2: Bars have the best burgers.

Honestly, before attending WordCamps, I never hung out at a bar. Ever. So, thanks for making me feel comfortable in a bar, WordPress. (This lesson is debated whether it’s a good thing but for the purpose of this blog post we’ll say yes.)

If the bar has craft beer, the food is even better. If they brew their own, they may even have their own root beer!

Thinking about the root beer I had two weeks ago at @613union613 #RootBeer #Ottawa #July #Throwback

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Lesson 3: I learned to travel on my own.

From March when I had to fly and Uber and check into the AirBNB by myself to going on my first international fight — alone — to Paris — I learned that I can baby step my way into confidence. That was huge. And I knew, that if anything happened, I had a whole community of people who would have helped me.

#ParisSelfies #wceu #paris

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Through the gate. #parliament #prohdrx #wcott #wplife #wptourism #Ottawa

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Lesson 4: WordCamp shirts don’t always fit; be glad when one does.

This lesson is about grace. It’s so easy to be annoyed. I have so many different size shirts, it’s not even funny.

WordCamps are organized by volunteers. If you think you can make a difference, join the Community Team or volunteer for your local WordCamp.

Lesson 5: Cherish your co-workers when you work remotely.

I love the freedom of remote work. That said, traveling with your coworkers helps so much. There’s more to relationships than weekly hangouts and slack messages can provide. Seriously.

I’ll never forget jamming on guitar with Ben in San Diego or checking out dinosaurs with Kevin in Philadelphia.

I really enjoyed all of the time I got to spend with Ben and Kevin this year, in addition to the local crew: Jason, Devin, and Matt.

People matter. Some days you realize that’s all that matters.

Lesson 6: Slides are great; audience participation is better.

We love slides. But engaging the audience is how they learn best. That’s all that matters. They are the reason you’ve traveled. Make the talk relevant to those people. They’ll remember it.

Lesson 7: Sometimes the food is weird. Try it.

This is a big one for me. I didn’t ever want to order something and not like it and then go hungry. Traveling to WordCamps has helped me realize that a) I can try something; and b) I can order something else if I need to.

You may be pleasantly surprised, too.

Bonjour mon amie #ottawa #andaz #copperspirits

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I had Devin's dinner but it was still good. #wceu

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Lesson 8: Go to talks above your skill level or from a different discipline.

We forget about the value of exposure. No, I can’t write in PHP or work with an API or even use ACF. But I understand some of the concepts now. That helps me understand my job and, more importantly, have empathy with my friends and co-workers.

You’ll be surprised from what you do learn. I promise.

Lesson 9: If you do get sick; be in a good hotel.

I felt bad I had to cancel speaking at WordCamp Sacramento but was glad for a few things. Namely, Matt Cromwell was able to speak for me and I was staying in a great hotel. Room service is the best when you’re sick. And Jen Miller brought me a tea. The thing is we have a team for a reason. It worked out wonderfully.

Lesson 10: The “little things” matter; even in Paris.

My favorite part of Paris wasn’t the architecture, museums, or even the food. It was seeing a sunset over the Seine and explaining to Heather and Devin Walker why it moves me so much.

No matter what happens in the day; it starts over. A sunset is redemptive.

Learn things. Make friendships. Life can be hard. Remember to celebrate the little things because they truly do mean the most.

x

Build Your Audience – With Tweeting

Your Audience -- Your Friends

If you build your audience with tweeting, you’ll be able to curate content and make friends. Let’s talk about it.

*This is a post just for a demonstration at WordCamp Los Angeles’ Beginner Day.

It’s not about you.

If you have a business, you should have a Facebook Page and a Public Twitter Account. Optionally, you can share posts on Pinterest and Google Plus as well as your LinkedIn Company Page or personal profile.

Sharing your content is good but you should also share content from your audience. We call this content curation.

No one likes a person who only shares their own stuff. It’s like a person at a party who only talks about themselves.

So, You’re Blogging — Now What?

It’s very important to not just blog but to share you blog post on your social networking sites. People aren’t magically going to know that you wrote a new post. Unless, of course, you have people already subscribing to your RSS feed or email marketing program.

What should I blog about?

You should blog about your business, your passion, and the things that make you — well, you. No one wants a hard sell. If you’re a realtor, you may also play golf. If you’re a website developer, you may also attend Trivia Nights at your pub. Regardless, talk about your business and your hobbies.

#NPChat: LinkedIn for Nonprofits

For this week’s #NPChat, we'll talk about LinkedIn for nonprofits. See you on Twitter at 10:00 am Pacific on 4/26/17!

Does LinkedIn still matter? Do nonprofits need to be present there?

Last fall, I wrote a post on GiveWP.com called “LinkedIn 101 For Nonprofits – Leveraging Your Professional Network” as part of my Nonprofit 101 series.

The truth is LinkedIn the most stable and professional of the social networks. The culture of LinkedIn allows and encourages self-promotion (like listing your projects, degrees, and certificates).

Users are encouraged to follow companies, professionals should list their volunteer experience, and Company Pages can post updates to engage their audience.

All of this is a plus in the column for nonprofits to leverage LinkedIn. So, let’s talk about it in #NPChat this week.

Why Join a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats are a great way to connect with like-minded professionals who are engaged users on Twitter. This elevates your brand, gives you visibility, and positions yourself as an expert on the topic and in the field.

Who doesn’t want to connect with your community? Who doesn’t need help every once in a while?

Joining our weekly Twitter Chat may just be the right thing for you. And, who knows, you may even have a few tweets featured in our recap!

#NPChat takes place every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

How to Join a Twitter Chat

  1. Follow the hashtag on Twitter (but don’t forget to add #NPChat manually after your tweet or we won’t see your tweet, especially in a comment retweet).
  2. Use Hootsuite or TweetDeck and make a column for #NPChat (but don’t forget to put #NPChat manually after your tweet).
  3. Go to the Twubs page for #NPChat.
  4. My preferred method is using TweetChat. Just go here and login with your Twitter account. You can even highlight the moderator so you don’t miss questions.

LinkedIn for Nonprofits: The Questions

This week’s chat topic is about LinkedIn. Worth mentioning also is LinkedIn’s nonprofit resource landing page here. That’s something you’ll want to read in addition to what will be offered during the chat.

Q1. How are you currently involved with a nonprofit?

Q2. Do you have a LinkedIn profile?

Q3. As a user, how do you interact with Company Pages?

Q4. Do you follow any nonprofits on LinkedIn?

Q5. Does your nonprofit have a Company Page?

Q6. What do you post on your Company Page?

Q7. What are your LinkedIn tips and tricks?

See you Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Twitter. Invite your friends.

I'm joining @GiveWP for #NPChat 4/26 at 10a Pacific. You should, too. Click To Tweet

The Best SEO Advice for Nonprofits — #NPChat Recap 4/19/17

For #NPChat this week, we'll talk about SEO for nonprofits. See you on Twitter at 10:00 am Pacific on 4/19/17!

What’s the best SEO advice for nonprofits? Do nonprofits even need SEO?

Yes. Nonprofits should care about SEO. Essentially online donations are e-commerce, so best practices apply to nonprofits.

Why should Nonprofits Care about SEO?

Donation sites are e-commerce. They need to be treated in the same way. You wouldn’t put an online store up and then not optimize i? Would you?

SEO isn’t black magic or wizardry. It’s really just intentional writing for your audience. It means being found. It means writing quality content that solves problems for your customers.

For nonprofits, SEO means answering the “why” to your current and potential donor base. What is your mission? Who are you serving? Why are you working so hard for your cause? Why should I donate? Who is my audience? What does my donor base care about?

SEO Tips from John Locke

Our friend John Locke of Lockedown Design, and co-host of WP-Tonic Podcast has a real-world SEO series on his site. I specifically reached out to him for some of his insight for nonprofits as he often develops sites for nonprofits and specializes in e-commerce and SEO.

Here is some of what he tweeted:

I lean heavily on Google sheets. I’ve been using these to grade content after audit exported from Google Search console & analytics. Also, test your keywords before you commit to writing. Make sure people are actually searching for what you want to write about. Tighten up your URLs. Tighten up your page titles. Excessive words don’t necessarily help those.

If you can get the page in question to page one in Google, the featured snippet can be anything off that first page. If you have bulleted numbered lists, those seem to show up more often as featured snippets at the top of page one of Google.

Most sites, 20% the content gets the bulk of the traffic. The other pages can be combined, improved, or deleted. If a page doesn’t bring traffic, like one or two visits in six months, it’s not doing much good anyway. Combine or improve. Anything that could be potentially back linked, shared, doesn’t necessarily need to be about your core offering, is valuable.

This is something I’m really beginning to implement in all content now. Break things up. Make it beyond easy to scan. Ideally, every sentence on the page can be tweeted — 140 characters or less. Web attention span is less than reading a book. The Yoast blog is on fire lately. So much great SEO knowledge is coming out of there.

If you look at blogs like Neil Patel or Brian Dean, notice how they do short sentences as paragraphs. This is the bucket brigade. Easily scanned. Draw people in at the beginning of the article. Don’t put huge paragraphs on the page.

The more you can publish, the better. But going in depth, and having a definitive article, the most thorough, is best. The advice a few years ago was to publish all the time, but it just led to a bunch of disposable 300 word articles. Without a doubt, the stuff that gets the most traffic is the most thorough on a subject.

Publishing is only the beginning of the battle. Promoting content and getting it seen is most of the work. Momentum starts somewhere. If you have a piece of content that you really want to promote, spend a little on Facebook boosting, Twitter promoted posts. Google reads traffic. The more traffic and engagement (comments, shares, dwell time) a page gets, the higher they will push it up.

Recap of #NPChat: The Best SEO Advice for Nonprofits

We had a great chat today with some engaged SEO pros and people involved in nonprofit marketing, volunteerism, and website development.

I hope you enjoy the recap.

Q1. How are you currently involved with a nonprofit?

Q2. How do you define SEO?

Q3. How do you determine your keywords?

Q4. What tools do you use to optimize your content?

Q5. What are your strategies to reach your audience?

Q6. How often do you publish?

Q7. What are your favorite SEO tips and tricks?

And that’s a wrap!

We’d love to have you join us every week on Wednesday at 10:00 am Pacific Time.

On April 26 2017, we will be talking about LinkedIn for nonprofits.

See you there.

#NPChat: SEO for Nonprofits

For #NPChat this week, we'll talk about SEO for nonprofits. See you on Twitter at 10:00 am Pacific on 4/19/17!

Do nonprofits need to bother with SEO? Why does it even matter? They’re just collecting donations, right? Or are they?

SEO isn’t black magic or wizardry. It’s really just intentional writing for your audience. It means being found. It means writing quality content that solves problems for your customers.

For nonprofits, SEO means answering the “why” to your current and potential donor base. What is your mission? Who are you serving? Why are you working so hard for your cause? Why should I donate?

Last fall, I wrote a post on GiveWP.com called “Why should your nonprofit care about SEO?” as part of my Nonprofit 101 series. Check it out.

And let’s talk about it at this week’s #NPChat on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 10:00 am Pacific Time over on Twitter.

Why Join a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats are a great way to connect with like-minded professionals who are engaged users on Twitter. This elevates your brand, gives you visibility, and positions yourself as an expert on the topic and in the field.

Who doesn’t want to connect with your community? Who doesn’t need help every once in a while?

Joining our weekly Twitter Chat may just be the right thing for you. And, who knows, you may even have a few tweets featured in our recap!

#NPChat takes place every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

How to Join a Twitter Chat

  1. Follow the hashtag on Twitter (but don’t forget to add #NPChat manually after your tweet or we won’t see your tweet, especially in a comment retweet).
  2. Use Hootsuite or TweetDeck and make a column for #NPChat (but don’t forget to put #NPChat manually after your tweet).
  3. Go to the Twubs page for #NPChat.
  4. My preferred method is using TweetChat. Just go here and login with your Twitter account. You can even highlight the moderator so you don’t miss questions.

SEO for Nonprofits: The Questions

Q1. How are you currently involved with a nonprofit?

Q2. How do you define SEO?

Q3. How do you determine your keywords?

Q4. What tools do you use to optimize your content?

Q5. What are your strategies to reach your audience?

Q6. How often do you publish?

Q7. What are your favorite SEO tips and tricks?

 

See you Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Twitter!