Personality | Jenn Lisak

How to Start a Personal Blog

How to Start a Personal Blog

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality | 4 Comments

I was just asked by a client what types of considerations they should take into account when starting a personal blog, and I realized that it would make a great blog post for aspiring bloggers!

I think it’s a great idea to start a personal blog. It’s a place for you to share your thoughts and experiences in our your own voice, aside from the brand that you might work for or any other publications you might write for. Plus, it’s fun!

So, you want to start a blog? What’s first?

1. Decide on a topic or theme.

How to Start a Personal BlogIt’s your blog, but people are drawn to blogs that have a certain theme or niche. It could be anything from something you do for your career to a hobby that you’re very passionate about. Either way, make sure to make that theme clear and promote it as such.

2. Buy a domain name. 

Depending on the topic or the purpose of the blog, the domain name should be thought out carefully. It shouldn’t be too long, and it should be relevant to the topic at hand. You can use a catchy phrase, or you can use your own name. Up to you!

5 Best Domain Name Registrars

3. Pick a Content Management System (CMS).

I might be a bit biased here, but I will always recommend WordPress. It’s easily optimizable, there is a huge development and support community, multiple add-ons and much more. There are two types of WordPress sites: WordPress.com, which is fully hosted by WordPress, then WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted version. Check out this post for the main differences:

Differences Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Between the two, I definitely recommend a WordPress.org site, but, unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing (like me!), you’ll need help from a developer to get your site staged and set up. For cost effective option, I’d recommend having a developer friend do it for you or post your job on Elance.*

However, there are a couple other options for easy to setup personal blogging sites, including:

*For some tips on how to use Elance, check out the second section of this infographic tips post

Hosting

If you do decide to go the WordPress.org route, you’ll want to think about hosting. For all of our clients, we use WPEngine, which has 24 hour support and backups. But, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, here’s a great post from Lifehacker:

5 Best Personal Web Hosts

Site Theme

With a WordPress.org site, half the fun is being able to pick your website theme! One of the greatest places to find WordPress themes is Themeforest, a repository a themes for all types of sites.

When picking a theme, keep these things in mind:

  • Make sure that you pick a theme that will be supported by your CMS platform. A WordPress theme won’t be supported on a Tumblr blog.
  • To avoid the headache of optimizing for mobile, tablet and desktop, select a responsive theme that will adjust for all three.

So, there you have it! Have you ever wanted to start a personal blog, but haven’t?

PERQ

Connecting with the Brand: The PERQ Marketing Culture

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personality, Random | 2 Comments

Before I begin, for disclosure purposes, I should note that I do have a couple of friends in the marketing department at PERQ (shout out to Courtney, Muhammad, and Bryant). But I’ve always known that all three (and the rest of the department) are talented individuals, and a big round of applause is in order.

UberWhen I was a junior in college, I was part of an internship/living program at Butler that had us tour different companies around Indy once a week. One of the businesses we toured was CIK Enterprises, which, for the record, looks completely different than what it does now. I remember that the building was large and open, and I thought it was much nicer than the standard corporate American office. Despite the cubicles, it seemed like the culture supported open communication and was a little “alternative.” I liked it. I even considered applying there after college.

But given where I work now and years in between the initial CIK introduction, man, has it changed. Not just the name, but the BRAND. Yeesh.

I had the lucky opportunity to get a tour of the design overhaul in the PERQ building a couple of weeks ago, and I was already super impressed. This was even before their wall art, book shelves and street sign! The colors, the culture, the benefits – all of it – was completely different and “positive.” A big kudos for the design overhaul is definitely called for.

Then, I started to notice the marketing communications coming through for their launch party tonight (are you going? let’s chat!), and I was even more impressed. The attention to detail, the strategic partnerships, and the incentives alone set the stage for the marketing efforts to come. In order to get as many attendees as possible, they teamed up with Verge to co-market the event. Since parking would be an issue, they have an Uber deal (see above) that makes our lives easier. And they even have an incentive to write a blog post for a chance to win $500 (shush). Well done, team.

Incentive

For more information on PERQ and their new product, FATWIN, check out our recent interviews on Edge of the Web Radio:

PERQ Marketing Interview: Part 1 PERQ Marketing Interview: Part 2

Anywho, a big shout out to the fantastic marketing efforts in the past couple months, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone tonight. Cheers!

Confessions of a Project Manager

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality, Random, SEO | 2 Comments

The day in the life of a project manager is crazy – emails and calls, meetings and conferences, assigning tasks internally, marketing efforts, content production, strategy consultation, managing timelines and priorities – the list goes on and on and on. My bossman, Douglas Karr, always says that my job is literally “herding cats.” Trust me, he’s not far off.

While there is a lot to do on a day to day basis, I absolutely, positively, without a doubt love being a project manager for a number of reasons. You get to be involved with every aspect and individual within the business, you meet new people everyday, you get to become a “voice” for the company, and you are constantly challenged to learn more and be better at what you do. But being a project manager isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows. It’s actually very humbling.

Why Project Management is Like Serving Tables

When I was applying for jobs after I graduated from Butler, within my portfolio, I created a short article on why being a project manager is like being a server. Waiting tables for almost 4 years through college, I learned a thing or two about customer service and managing multiple projects at once, which I thought would help me in my quest for project management glory. Granted, serving tables is a shorter engagement and has more clear cut responsibilities, it has similar concepts. Think about it – if I have a section of 10 tables on a busy Friday night, I have to prioritize the tasks at those tables to make sure that my customers are happy and that, ultimately, I get a good tip. If I can’t do that efficiently, I’ll be left with 10 dirty tables and nothing to show for it.

project management and communication tipsDo all the tables have their drinks? If a drink takes time to make, does that patron have water in the mean time? Did I let a parton know if a specific dish takes longer to make than others? Did I ask them if they’d like their side salad with their meal or as an appetizer? Did I ask them if they’d like an appetizer? Did I try to up-sell with a desert or after-dinner coffee? If they had a problem with their food, did I fix the problem in a time efficient manner? These questions are not far off from what I have to ask myself on a daily basis with clients – just switch out food for project tasks.

Let’s compare scenarios, shall we?

  • Theoretical Problem: Customer waits 10 minutes for their drink. Client waits a week for an email response. Outcome: Both are unhappy with the timing and expectations have not been met. Their trust has faltered.
  • Theoretical Problem: Customer receives a dish that wasn’t made properly. Client receives a strategy document with recommendations that do not make sense for their business. Outcome: This shows incompetency and the incapacity to do one’s job.
  • Theoretical Problem: Customer waits 40 minutes for a dish that takes 40 minutes to make, but was not told. Client requests a task that takes two weeks to complete, but wants it within an unrealistic timeline and was not notified. Outcome: Both are not aware that their expectations are not realistic from an internal timeframe and are dissatisfied with the timing.

Overall problem in these scenarios: lack of communication. 

Overall outcome: opportunity loss of tips and a client account.

A business relationship should be mutually beneficial, but it cannot be if realistic goals and expectations aren’t communicated on behalf of both parties. A customer or client can’t respect you if you don’t tell them what to expect and when to expect it. Even if you are scared of upsetting you customer/client, letting them know that you can’t get a task done until X time is better than promising something you can’t deliver in their timeframe.

Being a project manager is not just about doing your job. It’s about being able to take the heat when things get messy. You’re the main point of contact for your clients, while you’re also the main point of contact for your internal team. You’re the middleman between the client and your colleagues. If I don’t gather enough information from my clients in order for my team to do their respective jobs, then I’m not going to be able to provide enough information for my team to get things done. And I’m going to feel the pressure. Just like I would if a customer’s sandwich came out with tomatoes when they specifically said “no tomatoes.”

But enough with the analogies. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Being a “Team” Project Manager

When you’re in an uncomfortable situation with a client, it’s tough to not get defensive and emotional, not taking the complaints personally, and the worst of all, blaming it on someone else. This is a team effort – we are all responsible for the outcomes. We all have to look at the bigger picture and make sure that things are communicated properly and look at where we can improve workflow.

<rant> And that is why, as a project manager, there is one underlying truth that I believe you have to respect in order to be successful:

Everyone on your team is your colleague and your equal. Treat them as such.

how to be a good project managerJust because you get face time with the clients doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else on your team. My developer, Stephen, is capable of things that I can’t even comprehend or ever be able to do. My designer, Nathan, creates beautiful designs that I could never come up from scratch or even begin to conceptualize. Marty, our social business strategist, understands the depths of how content and social play together in ways that blow my mind. Nikhil, our SEO analyst, provides these complicated and intricate SEO audits with findings about things I didn’t even know existed. And of course, my bossman, Dougie Fresh, has by far one of the most complex and best grasps on search engine optimization in the industry (and that’s an understatement). Respect, appreciate, and praise them for what they do on a regular basis. You are not capable of doing your job without them.

I don’t care if you’re the CEO or on the support team. Every position within your company is needed and viable. That’s why they exist. Fancy titles aside, respect the people you work with. We’re in this together! Your success is my success and vice versa.

When things get messy and heated, a project manager’s true colors come out. A project manager’s job is to handle the situation the best they can. A good project manager will do this by putting their emotions aside, finding the best possible solution for everyone, and fixing the problem as quickly as possible without placing blame. </rant>

Reasons for Unfollowing People on Twitter [Infographic]

Posted by | Infographics, People, Personality, SEO, Social Media | 4 Comments

Above all other social networks, my favorite social media network is Twitter. While there are many reasons, the main reason is because it is socially acceptable to connect with people that you might not know, but want to know. It’s a great way to also curate and promote content.

Twitter is also fickle. People can follow you and unfollow you with one click. If you want to retain a following and create engagement, then it’s important that you keep a couple of things in mind. Specifically, pay attention to the top 15 reasons as to why people unfollow you on Twitter described in the infographic below.

Twitter Tips & Tricks

It seems that the #1 reason why people unfollow others is if the tweeter is”too noisy.” Tweeting all day every day is not going to retain followers. While you should post on a consistent basis, just make sure that it’s reasonable. A way to combat this is to check Twitter during different times in the day. Reply and post what’s really important to you, and engage when appropriate.

I’ve found that a great way to retain a following is to retweet and respond to content that others’ post. It shows that you took the time to engage them and that you cared to respond. This will start forming a relationship.

Another thing to avoid is too much automation. I know it’s hard, especially in our busy world, but it’s important to post personal items and be engaged in real-time.

What are some other reasons you can think of for unfollowing people on Twitter?

Reasons Why People Unfollow You on Twitter

Getting real in the new year

Getting Real in the New Year

Posted by | People, Personality | 2 Comments

I recently had an event happen in my life that really made me take a real, deep, hard look at myself. Of course, I’m always trying to better myself, but sometimes, you need a pivotal event to happen for you to really put things into perspective. This was definitely one of those events.

We all make mistakes, and looking at the situation I was in, we could have all done things differently. But sometimes, we aren’t thinking clearly and we don’t use our better judgment. That leads us to do stupid, idiotic things. It also, most of the time, affects our relationships. For me, I hold the relationships in my life as top priority. I always need to work at it and spend more time with the people I care about, and there is a near and dear place in my heart for them. I just wish that I wasn’t such a workaholic and I would take a step away for a while. But that’s not what this is about.

Things were said, actions were taken, bad thing after bad thing kept happening, and here we are. Feelings of loss, guilt, shame, anger, sadness, etc. are all coming into play. At least for me. And in most of these situations, there generally isn’t a voice a reason. What’s worse with this is that there was a person of reason. The one person who had their head on straight, the one person who really had all of our best interests at heart, wasn’t listened to. It seriously hurts when I think about it. In my mind, this person is owed the biggest apology. And to that person, I am truly, completely, with all my heart, sorry.

But I also have to think about the people that I felt wronged me. Despite the anger and sadness that I felt, I did NOT do everything right and they deserve an apology from me as well. It just really sucks when you realize that you weren’t at your best. You were responsible for hurting someone else. You were responsible for causing the problem. You were responsible for this mess. It’s a hard thing to swallow.

But part of the mending process is forgiveness. Not only forgiving others, but forgiving yourself. So shit happens. You can’t change it, but you can try to mend it. You take the necessary actions to make it right, then you figure out how to move on. But it takes time. It doesn’t just happen. And the most important thing is that you can’t let stubbornness get in the way. Admit and accept when you’re wrong. You can’t control others’ actions, but you can control yours. Be a good person and do what you need to do, as hard as it may be.

And in the midst of all these bad things, there is good. I had a friend who was willing to stand by me every step of the way, despite the messy situation at hand. And I also learned about some of the things that I really need to work on. If I didn’t have this experience, then I would not be as acutely aware of them as I am now. If there’s anything I have learned about bad situations, it is that there is always some sort of blessing in disguise. Try to find it next time you’re faced with an unpleasant situation.

With that being said, I really want to try and be better with my relationships in the new year. I want to spend more time with a friend I only see once a month for dinner. I want to have girls night with my ladies on a more consistent basis. I want to take a step back and think about the things I say before I say them. I want to not let my personal issues affect my communication with the closest person in my life. I want to spend more time with family. And I want to mend the situation that I was directly involved in that resulted in a lot of hurt feelings and conflict.

So, New Year, let’s make it a good year. I don’t need resolutions to work on myself, but you know what they say, timing is everything.

Cheers and good luck,

Jenn

Words I Live By [Part 2]

Posted by | Art, Infographics, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality, Writing | No Comments

As humans, we face a lot of negativity each and every day. I find that having personal sayings that you live by really help. Here are a couple of personal mantras, or “Words I Live By,” that I’ve come up with, and in case you’re interested, check out part 1 as well.

What are some of your personal mantras? Seriously – I want to know. Affirmations really help our psyche and it’s important that we have self-reassurance, as well as reassurance from others. This is about empowering – not promoting.

Words I Live By: Part 1

Words I Live By [Part 2]

Words I Live By

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