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Three Summer Activities to Keep You in the Game

Monday, August 7th, 2017 by Laurel

Your summer office

Your summer office

It’s August and officially the dog days of summer. Everyone is either leaving for vacation, on vacation, or just back from vacation, and nothing’s really getting done in the office. But instead of waiting till work shifts back into gear, here are three things you can do right now that will help you personally and professionally.

  1. Write five recommendations on LinkedIn. You’ve probably got a bit of spare time now, so why not thank the people who help you excel at your job—and who enable your projects’ success? It takes about 15 minutes to write a sincere, thoughtful recommendation, so take those 75 minutes (broken up over the day, if necessary) and let the world know how awesome your co-workers, partners, and freelancers are.
  2. Start looking into your vendor needs for the fall. It’s inevitable: you think you’ve got all the time in the world to line up expert content creators for those big projects—and then suddenly it’s a last-second scramble to find the right folks. Start investigating now by browsing websites, asking for recommendations, and reviewing your preferred vendor list. Or perhaps you want to funnel more work to a particularly good partner. For the reliable vendors you do have, make sure their paperwork (NDAs, MSAs, and ACHs) are up to date. That will save you time and headaches when the project rush hits.
  3. Find a conference to attend—and then buy the ticket so you don’t forget about it. It could be a trade show for your industry, a networking opportunity, or a personal development event (yes, yoga retreats count). A conference will get you out of your office and into a space that will help you learn as well as connect with other people. And if it pushes you outside your comfort zone, that’s not a bad thing. Take a risk and explore the unknown!

If you take the time to do these three things now—small, easily manageable tasks—your future self will thank you in October. And so will your boss!

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Avoid the Pitfalls of Online Research for Stats and Surveys

Friday, July 21st, 2017 by Chris

With just a few keystrokes and clicks in Google, a world of research, statistics, and studies are available to bolster white papers, bylined articles, and blog posts. Unfortunately, the explosion of online content has made sourcing this research a needle-in-the-haystack exercise. Unless the stat you want to use is in a news article from a […]

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Earning Trust in a Post-Truth Age

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Eric

We used to say the truth was slippery. If we could never quite grasp it, still we believed it was out there somewhere, swimming the currents of events, perspective, and time. And as slippery as it might have been, getting at the truth mattered. These days, by contrast, truth is not only more difficult than […]

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Don’t Fear the Editor: An Expert Support Team in One Professional

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 by Lisa S.

You’re a marketing expert, not a writer. In any case, whatever your job title, odds are good that you don’t exactly look forward to handing your writing over to an editor. Maybe it’s the memory of a particular red-pen-wielding third-grade teacher, or a particularly embarrassing typo in an important presentation. Or maybe you’re just a […]

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Naming Matters: Eschew the Fancy “E”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Laurel

  I was traveling on a train recently and I found myself staring at the station sign at Bay Pointe, the name of a new housing development. Is it pronounced “bay point” or “bay point-ee” or “bay point-ay?” I wondered. Who decided on that spelling? What’s the deal with that Fancy E? Adding that superfluous […]

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Purple Throwback Thursday: 5 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from Prince

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Kate

The beautiful Purple One is, sadly, gone. His most enduring legacy will be his virtuoso guitar playing followed by fabulous showmanship in a killer wardrobe. But there are other ways Prince left his mark, and content marketers could learn a thing or two from him in our own work. Stories and visual prose are more […]

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6 Best Practices for Working With an Outside Content Provider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 by Eric

I’ve been creating marketing content for clients small and large for more than 20 years. Most of the projects I’ve worked on have been enjoyable and even fun. Occasionally, though, things have turned south, putting an unpleasant taste in the mouths of everyone involved—client and content provider alike. To optimize the return on your investment […]

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Distance Makes the Writer Grow Fonder of Editors—Or, Bringing It Home with the TZ Advantage

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Lucy A.

For millennia, members of families—blood and work—lived mostly in the same area and were impacted considerably when one of their own struck out for distant pastures. But now that we’ve become wedged in the ethereal arms of technology, distance is a snap to negotiate. Electronic devices make it almost too convenient to move all forms […]

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What Format Should We Use: Adobe InDesign or Microsoft PowerPoint?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 by Allison and Todd

  “In the end, we want a PDF—but should we create it in InDesign or PowerPoint?” It’s a question frequently asked around here, and the answer is always the same: “It depends.” When deciding on an asset format, we ask our clients to consider the following: Design sophistication: Do you want a beautiful, slick, professional […]

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The Oxford Comma Argument Rages On

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Chris

“Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender pronouns, apostrophe abuse—excites the passion of grammar geeks more than the serial, or Oxford, comma,” according to The New Yorker. Much like asking creative types if they put one space or two after a period, demanding they pick a side in the serial-comma debate can spark fistfights, especially now that we’ve […]

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