Author Archives: Olivia Ward

How To Be More Productive at Work During the Holiday Season

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Shopping lists, capturing the perfect holiday card photo, putting up the decorations, last minute Q4 projects and ending the year with a fiscal bang. The fourth quarter can be a chaotic time of year, making it difficult to stay focused on work and negatively impacting productivity.

Thanks to my Emergenetics Profile I’ve discovered that my personality type gravitates towards structure. So what’s a structure lover supposed to do in the ever-changing Q4 climate? Based on my experience balancing multiple clients and projects, here are four tips that have dramatically increased my ability to stay focused regardless of the season. I hope they ho-ho-help you stay more productive during this holiday season too!

1. Write a To Do List and Revisit it Throughout the Day

You’ve probably heard that at the end of each day you should write a to-do list for the next day — this is 100 percent true! But the key is to revisit that to-do list first thing in your day. Don’t check Slack. Don’t check your email. Check in with your to-do list. This will help you set the intention for your day and act as the North Star that keeps you on track.

2. Eat the Frog First

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, brilliantly authored 28 separate book releases. (Side note: I’m pretty sure we would have been besties if we had been born in the same era). During his writing career, he learned a thing or two about staying productive. His recommendation?  

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

When you’re creating that to-do list, identify which 1-3 items are your “frogs.” What do you have to complete today? Tackle the toughest one first thing in your day to avoid the “I don’t know how to start this project blues.” This will give you the momentum to stay productive for the rest of the day!

3. Practice the OHIO Method

OHIO which stands for Only Handle It Once is the most recent productivity method I’ve been practicing, thanks to Shine. The idea is to tackle and complete those smaller one-off projects as they come up. Instead of overthinking that email response or sending a delayed text message, complete them in the moment. This method has taught me a few things: most things don’t take as long as I tell myself they will and mental to-dos haunt you. The things that aren’t “big enough” to put on the to-do list are the things that take up the most mental space. By completing them in the moment, I have more energy to dedicate to my “frogs.”

4. Tell Time With Tomatoes

For those bigger projects, the ones that take more than 30 minutes, I highly recommend using the Pomodoro (Italian for “tomato”) Technique to help stay focused.

The idea is to dedicate 25 minutes of undivided attention to a project (e.g. creating a digital advertising strategy for a client). At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. After the break jump back into 25 minutes of dedicated project work, then take another 5-minute break. Continue this cycle three to four times. At the end of the fourth cycle, take a 15-minute break, instead of a 5-minute break. Repeat this time management technique as needed until the project is finished. My personal favorite Pomodoro timer is Tomato Timers. Their graphics are cute and the timer sounds like happy rainfall.     

How do you stay focused during the holiday season? Do you have a productivity method that you love? Please share it with us in the comments!

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable, where she creates digital marketing strategies that make client dreams come true. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.

Need a Halloween Costume Idea? Google Has Some Ideas

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This edition of Weekly Reads covers LinkedIn’s much-needed algorithm update, magazine publisher Meredith making bold moves with IGTV, new ways to consume Instagram content, YouTube’s decision to redefine a video “engagement,” and the top Halloween costumes of 2018 based on Google Trends.

LinkedIn

Social Media Today: LinkedIn Updates Feed Algorithm to Generate More Engagement for Users

Now is the perfect time to post on LinkedIn based on their recent algorithm changes. Their previous algorithm catered to top content creators by consistently serving their content over everyone else. LinkedIn discovered that this was discouraging a majority of their users, who were seeing little to no engagement on posts. With this recent update, all users should see better distribution of their posts and hopefully more engagement. Read more after the jump…

Apple’s Winning Twitter Strategy

During this month’s Apple Event, when Apple announced new product releases for the world to drool over, Twitter felt more like a farmers market than a social media platform. As a Project Fi advocate, images of a sleek phone with a technicolor screen didn’t do much for me. What did catch my attention was Apple’s use of Twitter advertising strategies to promote and ultimately own their #AppleEvent.

Apple’s Paid Media Wins   

The most impressive aspect of their recent media push was their paid strategy. Instead of buying placements across multiple platforms, they picked one digital platform that’s highly relevant to tech lovin’ early adopters and focused their paid social efforts there. According to Digiday, they purchased a promoted trend, “like a reminder” custom placement and promoted tweets. This single platform focus demonstrates confidence in both their audience and the platform, which is prime advertising real estate for events, trends and conversations.

They also took time to create promoted tweets in 12 different languages, like the example below. This further indicates that they know their target audiences and want to connect with them through a relatable experience.

Apple’s Owned Media Misses  

In my opinion, a big missed opportunity for Apple was its continued organic silence on Twitter. They have never tweeted and an #AppleEvent didn’t change that organic strategy. Over the years, organic social media content has seen a decline in reach, causing a decrease in engagements. Typically when we run digital advertising campaigns, we see an increase in profile traffic and engagement, indicating that the most engaged members of the audience want a place where they can engage with a brand immediately after seeing an ad. By not tweeting organically, Apple missed out on organic reach and engaging with superfan conversations.

Apple’s Earned Media Love

Last week’s paid strategies directly impacted their earned media love. Promoting a trend was a brilliant idea, which gave #AppleEvent extra exposure and probably greatly impacted usage and engagement, like this user’s tweet:

What did you think of Apple’s Twitter takeover last week? Did it inspire you to join the conversation, or better yet, pre-order an iPhone XS? Let me know in the comments below!

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable, where she creates digital marketing strategies that make client dreams come true. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.

Five Ways to Resonate With Generation Z

As a digital marketer, my daily mission is to understand where people are spending their time and how to connect with them. Generational differences fascinate me, as this is one of the first things I consider when I craft a marketing message.  Now that we’ve spent the last 10 years talking about Millennials, let’s take a deep-dive into the next generation on the rise – Generation Z.

Generation Z: Who They Are

Born between the mid-1990’s and mid-2000’s, members of Generation Z have grown up in the Millennials’ shadow. Comprising 26% of the U.S. population, they’re now the largest generation.

Generation Z: How to Speak Their Language

Based on their unique characteristics, here are five things to keep in mind when marketing to Generation Z.

  • Generation Z taking a selfie | Photo Credit Elijah O'DonellThink Tech Savvy: This generation is fondly termed “digital natives,” because they don’t remember a world without the internet or cell phones – let that sink in. Why would they spend any time on your website if they can’t easily navigate it on their cell phone? Why would they trust your brand if you don’t have a digital presence? When marketing to them, it’s important to have a digital-first and mobile-first strategy.
  • You Don’t Have Their Full Attention: Gen Z are the ultimate multi-taskers who consistently use multiple devices at one time. With an attention span of 8 seconds, it’s important to make your content easily consumable. Stats and other impactful information should not be hidden in a wall of words.
  • Be Authentic: This generation evaluates your brand based on your digital and offline actions. For example, claiming that you care about your customers in a press conference, but ignoring complaints on social media will send up major red flags. It’s vital that your brand lives up to its promises at all times and on all mediums.  
  • Celebrities Are Their BFFs: Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Gen Z has an intimate view into the everyday life of their favorite celebrity. Unlike their parent’s generation, they don’t have to wait for the paparazzi to capture a photo, their favorite celebrities are sharing updates (and influencing purchasing decisions) in real time, multiple times a day. Incorporating pop culture or industry influencers into your marketing strategy can make your brand or product more relatable and relevant to Gen Z.
  • Tap Into Their Entrepreneurial Spirit: According to a 2014 study, 72% of Gen Z high schoolers and 64% of college students said they want to start a business someday. Incorporating inspirational messages and business tactics into your marketing is a great way to provide relevant content to this generation. Remember: Ideas are their currency.

What unique characteristics have you discovered from Generation Z? Want to learn more about targeting your messaging to the right audience? Contact us! We love to chat about audiences, tactics, and all things Colorado.

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.