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Sometimes you get thrown into something and think, maybe this is the future. Digital media is EVERYWHERE today and it fits right in with communications, public relations, and marketing.

I have been in the communications industry since 2000 and when I graduated from college I was still faxing press releases and information to the media. I remember the first glimpses of social media and how I never thought at the time it would catch on. It did. My first “ah-ha” moment came around 2005 when I saw a Honda car TV ad that featured their MySpace account URL instead of their website. Whoa.

In the past 10 years, social/digital media has gone from a tactic to a legitimate profession with thousands of tactics itself. Heck, 20 years ago what was social media? It was not here yet.

Digital media came and hit me like a freight train, and I was hooked. I successfully received my master’s degree in 2013 and my school immediately asked me to teach a class. Still to this day I teach undergraduates and master’s students about digital media and how they can harness the power today, both personally and professionally. At that time I had my online web show and bi-weekly television segment called DoItIndy that had come of age from social media to a blog website to then on television. This never would have happened unless I had been active and very responsive on social media. But what I was figuring out in 2012 was that things were starting to change, new platforms were beginning to evolve. I had to learn. I had to keep up with all the new changes and implement them myself in my own show.

Fast forward to today, July of 2019. Digital media is not only EVERYWHERE still, it follows you now. Digital media advertising and social media listen to you, they analyze you, they give you an algorithm that is tailor made for your tastes. What’s hot on social media seems to change daily now, not every few months or years as in the previous decade. Live-streaming, Stories, Instagram, TikTok, and more seem to be in our faces every single day. Go for it, try to harness that power for yourself and/or your business.

We talk so much today about digital and social media that at times traditional media gets left out of the picture. Yes, the print ads, billboards, mass mailings, television and radio ads and more. There is still a place for traditional media today (I will admit that the need tends to be shrinking) so look at your audience. Not every demographic sits on social media, and plan on that for at least another 15-20 years. Previously I worked in the healthcare industry, where newspaper ads and billboards still did amazingly well. On the flip side I am proud to say that before my 80-year-old great aunt passed away in 2012, she was on Facebook and interacted with family. You can’t discount Instagram today either – it is a platform that does a good job of hitting all demographics today. (I love it, it works, use it now!)

Everything seems to be changing, right? So what are some good resources to follow? Please see my list below of digital resources to help you stay informed. I read/browse the internet every single day to stay up-to-date on what the public wants and is using.

Here are my top five digital resources:

  • Social Media Examiner – Blog and podcast.
    ANYTHING and everything social media that is relevant, from beginner to seasoned pro. One of the first digital, legit organizations out there – this team knows what is up and help immensely.
  • Ad Age – Blog and magazine.
    One of the earliest contenders that used to be called Advertising Age – started in the early 1900s. I love to subscribe and get this in the mail which features different content than the online editions. A mix of it all.
  • PRSA Content Connection – Blog.
    The Public Relations Society of America is a PR organization, but they embrace so much more. Today, you have to know a little about it all. Content Connection gives you the information you need from staff writers and guest blogs across the country. I suggest subscribing to their newsletter for a good email.
  • TechCrunch – Blog, events, podcasts.
    Digital. Techy. Anything. The TechCrunch Battlefield is an amazing competition that brings people together from all over the world to talk tech, communications, marketing and more. Their online content is top notch.
  • Hootsuite – Content Management System, certifications, blog.
    I love the Hootsuite platform and use it personally and professionally every day. Hootsuite went a step beyond and offers certifications (I have my college students take it) and a plethora of information on their blogs and social media.

What will the future hold? The future is starting to show itself now. Virtual Reality (VR) is here and has started to be used not only in digital media but in traditional business and healthcare. Automated Intelligence (AI) can listen to you and give personalized recommendations. I use my Alexa hub every day for my smart home to turn on the lights, play music, give reminders, etc. Everything digital will become more personalized. Every day.

As you have read, it is important for you to stay informed of the realm of communications as it continues to evolve faster and faster. Stay on top of the trends, read blogs, watch videos, follow a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and be vigilant. The need to learn will only become greater as more platforms arise and the older population adapts to the digital landscape.

….. Do you see what I just did there? If you’re familiar with the Enneagram I hope you appreciate the irony, or if you’re still fuzzy or new to the conversation, then I invite you to read along. Yes, the Enneagram can be confusing, and at times feels like a secret language. People who know about it will quickly jump into, “I’m an 8,” “I’m a 3,” “I’m a 7, wing 6.” Which may lead you to say, “I have no idea what that means.” In short, the Enneagram is simply a map for self-discovery and personal growth. It is an ancient personality system that recognizes 9 inherently different (and yet connected) personality types that frame and describe the why behind what you think, feel, and do. Got it figured out?

The Challenge of the Enneagram

The inherent challenge of the Enneagram is that nothing with it is brief. It takes time to understand, and even more effort to utilize as a leader. Even so, I am convinced that it is a proven leadership tool for individuals and teams to lead themselves better. The hard work of leadership always begins with the most difficult person we will ever lead: ourselves. So, if you are looking for a quick fix or silver bullet strategic process to grow your own leadership and the impact your team can make, this is not the tool for you. It’s more like a long road trip that happens one mile at a time, and if you don’t understand how to read the map, you can get turned around, lost, or in a fight about the exit you just missed.

Why Does it Matter for Leaders?

Every leader has to first lead themselves, and the Enneagram will help you as a leader grow in your self-awareness by understanding the “why” behind what you think, how you feel, and the ways you behave. The wisdom of the Enneagram is that it gives comprehensive language and precise description to 9 different ways people show up. Its language describes how you experience the world and how others experience you in the world. And that is also why it matters for teams.

Why Does it Matter for Teams?

When individuals are willing to do the hard work of understanding who they are and why they do what they do, they will also begin to understand who others are and why they do what they do. I contend that leadership always begins with an individual leader and their willingness to lead themselves for the sake of others. The Enneagram is important for teams because it can tell us what gifts we have and don’t have on our team. In my approach to the Enneagram, I find that the names of the 9 different types tell us so much. What gifts does each type bring to the world? What dynamic tension are they always trying to resolve? In some ways, each number is a superpower, which is both a leadership gift and task to manage. So here they are: 9 reasons the Enneagram matters for leaders and teams (and yes, these are the 9 Enneagram types because we need all of them). One more disclaimer: There is a variety of names for the 9 types, and I think all the resources enhance our understanding of each. In what follows, I invite you to notice what these descriptions communicate about each type’s leadership gift and potential struggle. Think superheroes discovering how to use their superpower for good or ill.

Where Do You Fit?

1. The Moral Perfectionist Principled | Purposeful | Self-Controlled | Perfectionistic We see what is wrong and we make it better. 2. The Supportive Advisor Generous | Demonstrative | Loving | Hospitable We see where to help out and we say yes. 3. The Successful Achiever Adaptable | Excelling | Driven | Efficient We get stuff done 24/7, 365. What else do you need? 4. The Romantic Individualist Expressive | Creative | Authentic | Introspective We make the world and its people beautiful; make sure you let us feel all of it. 5. The Investigative Thinker Perceptive | Innovative | Curious | Objective We observe, think, and then think some more. You may need to ask us what we are thinking. 6. The Loyal Guardian Engaging | Responsible | Prepared | Practical We are reliable and consistent. You should always have one of us on your team. 7. The Entertaining Optimist Spontaneous | Versatile | Acquisitive | Confident We have more ideas and energy than all of you, and we don’t have an off button. 8. The Protective Challenger Self-Confident | Decisive | Compassionate | Resilient We are who you want to take to a fight or close the deal. Everyone should have one of us in their life. 9. The Peaceful Mediator Receptive | Reassuring | Generous | Diplomatic We smile because we believe we can all get along. All 9 of these personality types matter, and have the potential to make significant leadership contributions to any team, business, and organization. I invite you to take a one step forward your own leadership growth through the power of self-discovery that the Enneagram provides. It matters for you, and it matters for those you lead. Take a step! ….. For more information, check out Joe Graham and his Enneagram coaching. The power couple of the year award goes to public relations and digital marketing. In today’s technology and internet-driven age, these two disciplines drive each other. Digital activity largely relies on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, if you want your website to be visible to your intended audience, you have to have an understanding of what search engines like Google are looking for when they give users search results. Sure, keywords and working links help with SEO, but recently Google has implemented algorithms that look for much more than that. This means that brands can no longer throw in keywords to show up in search results. Ultimately, Google is looking for quality content to offer users. It’s no surprise that quality content is king. Creating that content is not only time-consuming but it can be a challenge to stay on top of “quality” and produce relevant information. That’s where PR comes in. Through press releases, sponsorship, events, and more, PR can create the kind of content that provides credible links and keywords on top of real stories, all of which contribute to the digital activity on a company’s website. Also, PR content can even be about digital activity. Stories trend about digital ad spend surpassing TV ad spend, for example. Google values a third party source sharing information and content about your brand over you sharing information about your own brand. PR can help with those third party connections and help develop relevant story lines that are interesting to an audience outside of your own team. The value of links and sources developed through PR is amplified through smart digital strategy. That’s why PR + Digital = Love. Amanda Rogalski is the Principal at Rogo Marketing & Communications. She has been building brands and driving sales through marketing and communications planning for over 10 years.