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Overwhelm & At A Crossroads


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Orpheus Descending

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:34 AM

Hi everyone at HighRankings, it's been months since my last post...

Last September I was hired by an anvertising agency in Ireland. It's an odd fit to say the least, but there is something to aligning online with ATL. Until January, I was the only search person in an agency that does about 140m turnover annually. It's been incredibly overwhelming. I dived into the PPC world rather successfully, and struggled unbelievably with tracking products. Now that the economy has tanked over here, search is exploding - and there aren't many of us over here who do this.

In the last 6 months, I have worked more hours than I care to count, and I work most weekends. With all the work I'm doing, I'm finding it impossible to keep up with all of the online information that I used to inhale on a daily basis. The fact that I haven't even been able to engage with this forum is evidence enough.

The problem is how do I keep up? And if I can't keep up, how do I serve my clients well? I'm amazed at how much people are able to blog, be on forums, and twitter while still being productive. How do you guys do it all?

#2 torka

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 12:09 PM

For me, it's because I work as an in-house web department. (I deliberately say I work "as" a department, not "in" a department -- it's a one-woman show here.)

But what that means is that I have exactly two clients I need to keep happy -- my employer and myself. smile.gif

And, for business reasons, my employer's involvement with PPC is minimal, so I'm able to focus heavily on the organic side of online marketing when it comes to keeping them happy.

Plus, I spend a lot less time on forums / twitter / blogs /etc. than it might seem. I try to take one day at a time, prioritize and decide which things to do that day. For instance, I try to set aside a bit of time during my lunch break to spin through my two favorite forums on a daily basis, while others I only visit maybe once a week (or even less often).

I also try to make use of productivity tools (such as Twhirl for Twitter, which I keep running in the background so I can dip my toes in the twitterstream should I find myself with a few extra minutes while waiting for a file to upload or something -- giving the illusion of being reasonably active there without actually spending that much time there on a day-to-day basis).

But even so, whenever I stop to think about it, I realize I have a list as long as my arm (and, unlike my arm, still growing) of things I want to get done that I just don't have the time to accomplish. Its become something of a chronic condition for many of us here in the USA over the last twenty years or so -- perhaps we just don't notice it so much as a result?

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#3 ttw

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 12:46 PM

I think it's impossible to keep up with all the reading/learning required to stay current so here's how I organize it.

I read High Rankings, Search Engine Land and a few other blogs, articles, etc. I don't spend time every day reading everything but when I scan an something that I think will be useful to me at some later point I copy it (or just the URL) into one Word file organized by categories. Examples of my categories include: B2B Lead Generation,SEO, Keyword Reserach, Video, 301 Redirects etc.

Then when I need something specific (or simply have time to read) I go into my Word doc. which is always on my desktop and read that specific information that applies to my current learning need. I often find in going back to read material, I've copied something that didn't turn out to be useful so I delete it - or I highlight something that was really useful. The document is now well over 100 pages but I have found it the only way to make sense of all the content I must digest.

I'm also an aggressive content scanner: I have lots of people/serives that auto subscribe me to stuff I don't want so I'm ruthless about stopping this to minimize what I need to scan.

Rosemary

#4 torka

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:32 PM

Rosemary, you might find a tool such as Surfulater helpful to organize that kind of information. (At least, I have found it useful.)

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#5 Randy

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:38 PM

It's a common problem OD, and one that is only going to continue to grow as more and more information becomes more and more accessible. Something I think you'll see a lot more of in the future in a lot of industries, not just SEO or Web Marketing, are organizations springing up that are basically aggregators of information. Really nothing more than services that compile a lot of information on the front end, wade through it all and disseminate it down into useful and usable nuggets that can quickly and easily digested.

You see some of this already in a few markets. But not nearly as much as there will be a year or two from now.

The value of the aggregator service is basically going to be two-fold. The first and most important will depend upon just how trustworthy the information they send down the pipe is on an ongoing basis. Consumers will need to be able to absolutely trust what's being sent out, without having to take the extra time to check it out for accuracy. The second part will be in how consumable the aggregator can make the information. eg Don't use 2,000 words when 200 will do. Or make the info available in a report that'll take 20 minutes to digest and a video that can get the info across in 5 minutes. Another moving target will be how often updates are sent out. That'll vary by industry, but the main issue being the aggregator won't want to be sending out a lot of filler that's not all that valuable to its users.

FWIW, I predict these aggregator services are going to be For Pay propositions. Not a lot each month, but not free. I for one wouldn't mind paying $40 or $50 per month for each if I could find services I could trust that delivered the info I need to stay on top for the various things I'm involved in. Time is just too valuable, I know I can't keep up with all of it and my time expires the moment it passes.

So there's your new business idea for the day if anyone was looking for one. wink1.gif

#6 Orpheus Descending

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:44 PM

Thanks Torka, ttw and Randy. You're responses are very helpful. Torka, I especially like how you engage with Twitter - I'm going to try that.

I had forgotten part of my question. Do you think it is better to become a specialist in one area (SEO or content creation or PPC) or do you think it is better to know a certain amount of all 3 for a holistic approach? It's a breadth vs depth question really.

One of the things I like about what I'm doing right now, is that I'm not stuck in the rut of just churning out ad copy or content nor am I creating keyword strategies and doing research all day - the flip side is that I don't really feel like I'm digging in to any one thing in a way that is not only more satisfying, but will also serve the clients better.

As always there is no time for everything. But I'm beginning to feel like I need to choose between being Jack of all trades or a master of one? (When I was a professor the great debate was always between students being taught a general liberal arts education or specializing in fine arts or the sciences - it's a debate that still rages - but that more theoretical and this is far more practical.)

#7 maleman

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:05 PM

QUOTE
Really nothing more than services that compile a lot of information on the front end, wade through it all and disseminate it down into useful and usable nuggets that can quickly and easily digested.

That's what I spend most of my time doing. Dig through it and determine what's relevant. Aside from constantly fixing stuff.

It seems like some folks have a credo like "spend one day to make it and two days to fix it". LOL!

QUOTE
I don't really feel like I'm digging in to any one thing in a way that is not only more satisfying, but will also serve the clients better

The client/customer is the ultimate boss. The best thing you can do in business is keep the boss happy!

Edited by maleman, 22 February 2009 - 10:11 PM.





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