My 2016 Personal Exploration Goals

Can you accomplish a personal goal if you commit to working towards it for 10 minutes a day, every day in 2016?

A seemingly simple yet compelling challenge that Eric Zorn wrote about in a recent Chicago Tribune column. (you might have to be a subscriber to access it). He was successful in his goal of playing the fiddle for a minimum 10 minutes every day, and he gave a synopsis of other people who accepted the 10MaD 2015 pledge.

I have thought about this column for the past couple days.  Eric Zorn, I accept 10MaD as my 2016 challenge and resolution. But what goal to reach?? So many options!

Since writing and photography are two hobbies/passions I wish I had more time to spend time with, I decided that 2016 will be a year for “My Personal Exploration of Fine Arts.”   At this point, my “major” will be writing and “minor” will be photography, but that could swap during the year. Who knows?

Since I work as an audience development consultant where I spend hours writing proposals/project updates/marketing efforts, I want to clarify what I consider part of this 10MaD pledge:

  1. Writing for my blog on my business website.
  2. Writing for my personal blog, which has been inactive for a couple years.
  3. Starting work on a novel that has been floating just beyond my consciousness.
  4. Writing short stories or poetry.
  5. Writing freelance articles for magazines or other websites.
  6. Taking photos for a freelance projects.
  7. Editing or printing photos for above projects.
  8. When I go out specifically to shoot pictures.
  9. Maybe finally creating a website to sell some of my photos.

I will have to manage my time, since I know that any of these can entail a creative block or the opposite–that vortex, when time disappears while working on a project. I will occasionally post here about the status of my 10MaD challenge.

I am excited and a little intimidated to accept the 2016 10MaD pledge. One day done with this writing, 365 left since it is a Leap Year.

The journey continues. Happy New Years to all!

C

1/2/16 update–Readers, an fyi that I will post more personal posts and poetry on my other blog, which has been unused in over 3 years. That blog is Have an Opinion’s Opinion.   Feel free to follow either or both sites.

Business Resolutions

Do you make annual business resolutions? Or an annual business plan that includes non-financial goals you want to achieve each year? This is a fantastic way for small business owners to look up from details, to envision changes they want to see within their businesses or themselves in the next year. For those who work for an organization, this will help you think about where YOU want to be in another year. Are there new skills you can learn this year to propel or change your career? People you can network with? Local organizations you can get involved with?

I have been a consultant for 15+ years. I was so focused on “getting the work done” that until 2013 I didn’t actually write down any business goals. Physically writing them down and then sharing them with others helped me to actually accomplish my 2014 goals.   I spaced them out throughout the year, so I would have time to achieve them.

The goals followed in a logical progression:

  1. Design a new logo to better reflect where I want to go, which you can see on this website. I worked with an independent designer, after laying out new business goals.  She then designed letterhead and new business cards, already in circulation.
  2. Create this company website and blog. Done.
  3. Increase social media presence.  While I have accomplished this here and on Twitter, I hope to do more to see a jump in followers in 2015.
  4. Do more outside speaking and training. I spoke at industry events, including the AAMP and MCA this fall. I was also hired to layout and present a 2-day training session for a vendor, which I did last spring.
  5. The most challenging: changing my business focus, from doing mainly hands on direct marketing work to helping with business strategies, improving clients customer relations and marketing results, building marketing databases (with outside fulfillment/IT management), and training.

The final bullet point above is still a work-in-progress. I underestimated the time it would take to change small business direction, since I feel like I am explaining to prospects WHY they need to look at their marketing in a new way. But, all my speaking and training was focused on this, and I passionately believe that we need to market smarter to improve the bottom line. I sometimes literally envision my business changing like a large ocean liner trying to change directions.  It takes time to do it without tipping.

I am now noodling around several goals for 2015, which I hope to share in the next couple weeks. Again, writing them will keep me focused and honest about them.

Have you already laid out business goals for 2015, or accomplished any in 2014 that you want to brag about ? Don’t be shy, feel free to list them below! It’s okay to be proud of the work we do, when we work hard!

The journey continues.

C

Holding the Almighty Pen Aloft

I am a marketer. I am a writer. I am a photographer.   Every single day of my business life and during my personal time, I express my beliefs, my viewpoints. I share in social media, on my blog, in my photos.

Our Freedom of Speech, my freedom of expression, is one of the rights I most value today.   And I am astounded at the terroristic cowardice that took place in Paris this week, the killing of journalists and police officers and innocent people at Charlie Hebdo and the streets of Paris. I am disgusted at the number of journalists who have been captured and murdered in the Middle East in the past year.

I cannot stand in Paris this weekend with others, holding my pens up stating en masse that this right of expression should never be subdued. If anything, it should be widened. Read on the Amnesty International website how Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years behind bars for articles he posted on his website “Saudi Arabian Liberals.” Appalling. What are governments and individuals so afraid of?

But, I stand in solidarity with those honoring the victims.  I share with you a photo of my pens and my well-used camera, demonstrating agreement with maintaining and expanding worldwide our freedom of speech. I encourage you to do the same.

pens and my camera

This is NOT what I was going to write about today. But I cannot stop thinking about those murdered in Paris this week.  My prayers are with you and your families.

The journey continues.

C

Update: According to Amnesty International, today (1/9/15) Raif Badawi sadly received 50 lashings today. Sickeningly, he will get 950 move over the next months. You can send an email to try and stop him from getting more–visit the Amnesty International site.

Audience Development Roles in Media Companies Today

Having worked in audience development in the publishing/media/information services world for most of my career, people still don’t know what I do every day. Frankly, it’s hard to me to categorize what I do it changes so often! Rotating projects, technology, and departments that I interact with keep this job challenging and interesting.

For a media-related brand, here are a few of the major responsibilities that audience development professionals have today:

  • Achieve BPA/AAM goals for audited brands.
  • Maintain USPS goals for any magazines that mail at periodicals rates.
  • Ferret out and consolidate customer data into a central location, where possible.
  • Help other departments with marketing efforts to achieve attendance or participation goals. Can include helping to make list selects, research outside lists, marketing vendors, or execute marketing efforts.
  • Assist the publishers in flushing out a comprehensive sales strategy.
  • Identify “hot” areas on database that can help identify new products.
  • Keep database current and with demos where possible. Helps to market smarter and for lead gen.
  • Review customer touch points to 1—make sure our online web page flow is logical and correct. 2-ensure we have consistent, current brand messages.
  • Manage the issue close process, including getting files to the printer and/or digital file sender.

Knowing the audience development responsibilities vary at different organizations, feel free to add other roles you handle in the comment section. All the items listed above are topics I will continue to explore on this blog, as well as the critical importance of the audience development specialist on your team.

The journey continues.

C

Changing up the View

How do you stay inspired in your daily work environment? We are all busy. Too busy. It is so easy to focus solely on our our day-to-day tasks; sometimes we need step back and see at how what we do impacts the entire organization.

Sometimes I think it’s beneficial to change where/how/when we work, even for a couple of hours or a day. An unexpected view can trigger our synapses in unexpected ways. Being fortunate to often work from home, if I am stuck on a problem or have writers’ block, answers often come to me when I step away from the computer, begin working out or walking the dogs. I will voice record my thoughts, so they don’t vanish before returning to my desk.

I can be extremely productive working on my deck, surrounded by beauty–with no distractions. Can you hold a meeting on an outside location, no cost? Did you ever have a teacher who took class outside–I loved the freedom, and there was no clock watching on those days.

Occasionally I meet with clients on neutral territory–a library, a coffee shop, so that I can train someone or work on a list of projects with virtually no interference. Sometimes we clear items off our to-do list trying to reach out by phone or email on open issues, and sometimes we add to our list.

Image 1

The photo here is from the inspiring views I had while writing for several hours, just a few weeks ago. On a lovely Friday afternoon, my friend Patti invited us to work on her boat, where we were amazingly quiet and productive.

Yes, there are times for meetings and conference calls and cleaning out that in-box, but occasional time away from you regular workspace can be enlightening, inspiring, and productive.  Note that it will be awhile until I get to work here from a boat again, as autumn in in full gorgeous color.

The journey continues.

C

Welcome!

Welcome to the CC Communications Inc. website and blog! This is my first foray into the business blogging.

With this website, I hope to introduce you to my business, my talents, my experience, and my background. I want to open a dialogue with other industry experts with a Collaberation Corner, where others can post articles. If you are interested in sharing, feel free to contact me.

With this blog I will articulate my point of view on marketing, emedia, database management, publishing, speaking, running a business, consulting, and other un-identified topics. I am hoping to share my knowledge and experiences, learn from colleagues, and think about marketing from different view points.

Post your comments and opinions here. You can subscribe to my blog, share it, or just visit occasionally.

The journey begins.

C