Project Management – Manage Wha??

You would be person #5 who I have told that I got a “promotion” at work this past January! (!!!!) I put quotations around promotion because it wasn’t a direct move up the work ladder, but more a sideways leap into a different team and a completely new role. I gain a lot more responsibility, and I’m hungry for it.

I’m now a project manager at my start-up! Way to go me! *pats self on back*

The position encompasses working with other project managers, engineers, and some business partners down the road. Because of how different this job is compared to my previous duties, I am trying to get myself into a mindset of ultimate learning. Learning at work from my new colleagues and learning at home on my own with the textbook I borrowed, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)”. There’s a whole line of published materials on this kind of stuff, and it may strike someone to find that there’s so much you can write about how to manage projects. I don’t know if this will lead me to certification, but it’s a start to moving forward in my career.

I haven’t done this much learning since college! Kind of exciting, really.


Social Networks & Digital Media

Framing our thoughts on social media

We need to begin thinking about not only our audiences but the networks our audiences are a part of – both online communities and that of the physical world. Most of us are overloaded with content every day, and even if  we are not glued to our smartphones or laptops, we all know some people who are. We can always catch up on the latest trends or news updates with peer recommendations. So, content is everywhere. The marketplace is flooded with information, and readers are selectively parsing what they want to see on their preferred platforms. Thinking about how to break through all that noise to reach our target audiences is what we should be strategizing as content strategists.

Factors to consider when developing content strategies

Consider three crucial questions:

  1. How will we create value? (That is, value to your customers’ eyes, not simply that of the company’s.)
  2. How will we deliver value? (Think multi-media!)
  3. How will we capture value? (What is our relation with our audience and how does that come in to play in terms our defining our value?)

Learn about your audience and find the influencers and experts for a topic or community. When you locate that information, identify and serve them by retweeting their content. Learn about the hashtags they use and watch what they discuss on different topics. In a sense, become a part of their world!

There are also advanced social monitoring tools out there that can help you examine topics and give you the break-down of key words used around topics (for example, Salesforce’s Radian6 and IBM Social Media Analytics). These tools can produce raw data that can put your quantitative data into actionable insights. With more insight about our audience, we can adapt our content strategy to meet the needs to changing live trends.

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Putting the “Strategy” in Content Strategy

Creating Shareworthy Content

Social media – visuals matter! Great photographs can be turned into videos, and in general, pictures and videos share more than text alone. Also, think of ways to integrate both print and digital content. We thought that digital would complete displace print materials, but it turns out that that’s not the case. Using a combination of both shows greater returns. You are likely to address a bigger audience this way. Perhaps young adults are glued to their laptops and smartphones, but the more mature generations would find it more enjoyable to pick up a magazine and browse through that.

In today’s digital age, the length of your content matters greatly. Brevity is key, and it’s important to choose your words carefully. While not every piece needs to be brief, every word counts.

Stuck on a problem? Crowd-sourcing is the new great way to engage the public and ask your audience what they think. Gather ideas and solutions from the public, the very people you are trying to address!

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Content Strategy – Coursera MOOC

I recently enrolled in a Content Strategy MOOC course with other members of my new team NerdWallet. (I got this new gig 2 months ago!) While content strategy doesn’t quite jump-start my thinking engines, I thought to myself, I work with so many writers and editors on a daily basis; I should be able to chime in every once in a while and give knowledgeable feedback or input. A large number of my team is enrolling in the certificate program, and I did so, too.

I aim to take notes from the lecture videos and discussions we have and include them here on my WordPress. Perhaps this will help some of you out there who are managing your own online content and would like some tips on best practices.

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Chapter 10: HTML Forms

HTML forms are the primary way in which online commerce occurs. Without forms for customer input (mailing address, credit card information, etc.), there will not be such a bustling online industry. The HTML form is the interface in which readers enter data, but this is only the input. The data needs to be processed on the web server using applications or in the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). The CGI is the “communication bridge” between the web server and the internet. The CGI collects data sent by the user through HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the web browser, basically), using computer programs called scripts. It then transfers the data to a variety of data-processing programs that are running on the server. It can work on the data and then send back confirmation (or any other type of information) to the CGI that in turns sends it to the original sender.

JavaScript is a client-side scripting language, which means it runs on the user’s computer and not the server. JavaScript can enhance your site’s usability with beneficial programming functions, such as checking to ensure all entries are accurate before submitting. This language is the most commonly used scripting language for HTML forms.

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