A Norman Rockwell kinda evening

Sometimes things go surprisingly well for a change…

Picked up P from school. She was bent she would miss playground time. Until I told her I needed her help taking care of Mommy, who didn’t feel well.

She sat on the center armrest, hugging me the entire way home. (Hey. It’s only a couple quiet, residential blocks. And it’s our little secret. Shhh.) Switched into Nurse P mode the minute she walked through the door. Aw.

After work, I caught a desperately needed haircut and beard trim at The Spot, where I’ve come to understand why guys hang out in barber shops when they’re not getting haircuts. before driving 11 miles across town for my weekly T and B shots.

Stopped at QT for some egg nog, the annual half gallon, on the way home. Where I discovered V and P hung Xmas decos, singing Xmas carols the whole time.

I had my leftover mac & cheese dinner. We all got into jammies and watched Adventure Time before getting to bed right on time.

Just felt kinda Rockwell for once.

GBXM DAM: a simple content audit

What’s the best story you’ve ever told?

Is that the one your friends would pick? Your customers?

I’ve been publishing online for over a decade. You know what’s still missing?

Digital Asset Management (DAM).

There are thousands of articles out there about reviewing the data to see what content gets the most traffic, the most likes, the most shares, comments, traction. I’ve read hundreds of them.

They all suggest a simple, data-driven approach to content strategy. “Figure out what your customers want and give them more of that.”

But the wannabe journalist in me is reminded of something I learned from Pew’s Excellence in Journalism Project some years ago.

Journalism has an obligation to make the significant interesting and relevant.

Buzzfeed can serve up more bacon pancake recipes.

Jalopnik can run more “Nice Price or Crack Pipe” stuff.

That’s giving the people what they want. And I’m all for it.

But I also want to give people what they need.

What’s the opportunity cost to the reader? What does the Buzzfeed reader miss while reading yet another pancake recipe? What does the Jalopnik reader trade for the time spent mocking another Craigslist listing?

I want to show my gearhead brothers and sisters what’s possible when they evolve beyond mod lists and time slips. I want to inspire them by sharing all the other ways being deeply engaged in an interest impacts the lives of those like them. And help them leverage those skills for massive gains.

But back to digital asset management (DAM).

Last month, I exported a list of everything on GBXM. All 750+ pieces of it.

Before I mash that up against site traffic data—to see what people want—I’m going through the list to trim the fat. Stories that never felt right in the first place. Project updates that should have run elsewhere. Stuff with broken images. That sort of thing.

I’ve moved 130 titles to the “shit-can” pile for violating The One Rule.

Feels pretty good to mow the lawn, so to speak.

Once the list is trimmed, THEN I’ll find out what was most popular. First by letting our Customer Advisory Board (aka: the focus group I mentioned the other day) offer THEIR advice. And then by using my simple content audit—a Google Spreadsheet—MY DAM—to prioritize what gets updated first.

You can’t be all things to all people.

Be something that matters to those that matter to you.

Passion is fuel. But only when it’s REAL passion.

Some people will tell you passion has nothing to do with success. They’ll say things like “passion can’t beat persistence.” And you know what? They’re right.

You know why they’re right? Because we’ve let passion become a marketing buzzword.

Find you passion.
Follow your passion.
Leverage your passion.
Passion, passion, passion!

Most of the people talking about passion these days—at least, in a business, startup, entrepreneurial sense—are talking about something so watered down from reality, it’s no wonder they dismiss it.

Passion isn’t a passing interest. It isn’t saying, “I like marketing,” or “I’m a car guy.” Passion—real passion—is as close to lust as you can get without being creepy.

If you aren’t thinking about the accuracy, cleanliness, and efficacy of your database, if you aren’t obsessing over ideal customer profiles and all the opportunities for one-on-one, personal connections with people whose lives you know your product will make an immediate and unmistakable difference, if you aren’t constantly trying to figure out the best way to reach people with your promise of meaningful success—if you aren’t thinking about it all the time—you aren’t passionate about marketing.

If you aren’t consumed with desire to disassemble every nut, bolt, and screw on your vehicle, so you can clean, replace, or upgrade it, if you aren’t dreaming about the places you’ll go and the things you’ll do with your machine, if you can’t see the shining gem beneath the faded, road weary sheetmetal and plastic—if you don’t love your vehicle—you ain’t a gearhead.

That’s passion. That’s real passion. It’s consuming. And it’s rocket fuel on a fire.

Once you’re parallel, that fuel supply is infinite and can take you anywhere.

So don’t discount passion. Passion is fuel. But only when it’s real passion.