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Catch attention with GIFs

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF might be worth two. They can help tell stories in fun, memorable ways, and can keep a conversation going on social media.

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Although they may seem like a new trend, GIFs actually predate the internet. These looped, animated clips were created to share digital images without taking up too much space. They’ve made a comeback in recent years thanks to social media and meme culture.

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It’s possible to incorporate GIFs into your own social media and digital marketing strategies. You can make your own GIFs through software like Adobe Photoshop or Camtasia, and there are also plenty of free or low-cost GIF tools available online. These online tools include Animatron Studio, CloudApp, Gifs.com, GIPHY, and Make a Gif.

Even if you think GIFs are too casual, they are important and can lead to clever communication ideas. That element of movement can catch people off guard and invite people in. Consider adding them to an e-newsletter to break up text, using a GIF as a cover for your Facebook page to stand out from the crowd, or including on social media to help create a unique voice.

GIFs aren’t only for fun, either. Consider adding GIFs to a how-to blog post to better show each step or adding GIFs to show data changes.

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Keep in mind that GIFs, like emojis and other images, can have hidden meanings. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but do a little homework before you post without thinking. Sites like GIPHY will include hashtags associated with existing images, and that can give you some clue as to how that GIF is used.

Oh, and one more thing: GIF was 2012’s Word of the Year, but the debate continues over the correct way to pronounce it. Since GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” many folks prefer to pronounce it with a hard “g.” However, Steve Wilhite, who is credited as the inventor of GIFs, has said he prefers the other way, which sounds more like “jif.”

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Happy GIF-ing!


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Do You Feel Lucky?

Is it possible to be lucky in marketing?

Just your luck! Everything is going your way.

Sometimes it can feel as if higher forces are behind notable events, like a risk paying off or a new client showing interest, and even plans falling apart. But relying on superstitions can simplify what’s actually happening.

What is luck?

The concept of luck came about as a way to make sense of events and tell a story, says statistician Jeff Rosenthal, a professor at the University of Toronto and author of Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance and the Meaning of Everything.

“It goes back to the old days. If there was a big storm, well, that meant the gods were angry. It didn’t just mean that the water molecules were moving in a certain way,” Rosenthal told The Current radio program in December.

Rosenthal studies the workings of randomness and uncertainty, and in his, book says he is often asked if he believes in luck. He explains there are two ways to define luck. There is “random luck” (where events or people come together just right, like two people meeting at a party) and there is “forceful luck” (where special forces are responsible for bringing those people together).

As a statistician, Rosenthal cautions against believing too strongly in the latter, because patterns are not set. Instead, Rosenthal suggests people keep in mind there are things we can control, and there are things we can’t. That mindset can prepare us for better—not necessarily lucky—outcomes.

“I think there are things in life that are in our control and others that are not,” Rosenthal shared with his University of Toronto colleagues. “For example, somebody might t-bone your car, and that’s just bad luck. Wrong time, wrong place. But there are also things you can do to drive safely: wear a seatbelt, drive within the speed limit, and so on.”

Sure, unfortunate events may impact our work. If we properly prepare, do our research and collect the right data, we’ll be able to weather the storm.

Can we make ourselves more lucky?

As with so many things in life, luck can come down to having the right attitude.

That’s what psychologist and author, Richard Wiseman, has suggested could be the answer to more people being lucky. People who define themselves as lucky likely also define themselves as optimists. They stay positive and look for opportunities.

“My research revealed that lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles,” Wiseman wrote in his article The Luck Factor. “They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies [sic] via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

In one experiment, Wiseman had lucky and unlucky people count the ads in a newspaper. The people who considered themselves lucky took less time counting, Wiseman reported. That’s because they were more likely to notice an advertisement that announced, “Stop counting—there are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

Even with a set task, we don’t have to do the expect. Nothing is guaranteed, and that’s not bad! By staying creative and open-minded, we can make our own luck.

How should we talk about luck?

Outside of talking about lottery tickets or weather, when we say someone is “lucky,” we are often ignoring their hard work and talent.

In marketing, it can sometimes seem as if everything is falling into place. Sure, there may be a magic, indefinable ingredient, but there’s also data, strategizing, brainstorming and planning.  There is even a science behind making content go viral.

As lifestyle coach Barbara Sher says, “The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.”

It’s OK to be thankful when events inexplicably line up. But the next time your plan pays off for you or your client, don’t downplay your skills by attributing your success to luck.

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10 Albert Einstein Quotes that will Motivate and Inspire Your Work

To keep experimenting, to stay curious and to connect with others—Einstein reminds us that hard work and information don’t necessarily add up to achieving our goals. Instead of doing what we’ve always done or accepting the status quo, we need to broaden our horizons and make fresh connections.

How can you make your work more relevant? Find direction in these Einstein quotes.

  1. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
  2. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
  3. The only source of knowledge is experience.
  4. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
  5. If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
  6. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
  7. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
  8. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  9. Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
  10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

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4 Little-Known Features to Help you Make the Most of Google Calendar

Ding! That’s the sound of another meeting request coming through. Is your calendar working as hard as you are to keep life running smoothly?

Chances are a digital calendar keeps you mostly on track—you may even depend on one to schedule promotions and social media, as well as remind you when to go to the dentist. The ability to quickly create appointments and receive needed reminders is truly helpful, but you may be totally unaware of other digital calendar features that can push your productivity and make communications easier on your clients and coworkers.

Thanks to PC Mag’s recent post 12 Google Calendar Tricks You’re Probably Not Using, we have a few new tricks for G Suite users. Here are four favorites.

Keep track of holidays

Did you accidentally double-book yourself for the big game? Do major and minor holidays sneak up on you? Google Calendar has several calendars of interest that you can browse and add, without having to plug in the date of every holiday yourself. You can even track the phases of the moon.

Set the agenda

You may already start the day with a glance at your inbox. Thanks to Google Calendar, you can opt in to receiving an email at 5 a.m. each morning with your daily agenda pulled from your existing calendar events.

Find the right time

Instead of asking coworkers when they are free and combing through responses, find a time that works for everyone in Google Calendar. When you click the +Create button to create your event, select “More Options” and then the “Find a Time” tab. Add your guests and Google Calendar will pull up their calendars so you can see when each person is free. If they already have something scheduled, that time will be marked as “Busy.”

Hangout in an events

It’s important to keep meetings running without a hitch—even when everyone isn’t in the same room. If you have colleagues working remotely, invite them to join you for a video conference on Google Hangouts. When creating an event, select the “Add Conferencing” option to generate a video call URL to go in the invite. (Google Calendar is also compatible with other VOIP services.)

For the more details and tips, read the full article at pcmag.com.

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