Print is dead. Long live print!

Print is dead. Media is dead. Journalism is dead. Nobody reads printed editions anymore. Right? Or is it really that bad? Perhaps not! This morning I visited a breakfast seminar which certainly awoke some hope for a brighter future for print products.

Photo: black and white product images of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

Despite the strong photograph on the cover of the magazine, it’s the typography that first caught my eyes. It’s delicious – functional with great readability, yet so attractive, soft and inviting. Simply irresistible. Oh, by the way. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, perhaps now would be a good time to add that both typography and graphic design are old and nerdy interests of mine. Thus the strong need to dive into these kind of details.

Having cleared that out, let’s get back to where we were. Swedish content agency Make your mark and their client Försvarsmakten have been nominated in The International Content Marketing Awards (CMA) for their staff magazine “Försvarets forum”. This is the third consecutive year in that the magazine has been nominated in the CMA.  

Photo: color image, close-up of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

On a breakfast seminar this morning, Editor-in-chief Fredrik Helmertz and Art Director Markus Hillborg talked about the working process behind the magazine. It’s been a long time since I last felt so eager and inspired as I did after this seminar! Few things are as interesting and amazing (if you ask me) as when you manage to combine great journalism with well thought through communication initiatives, graphic design and photography. And talking about photography: Fredrik Helmertz also touched upon the subject of newspaper photographers during this morning session. Needless to say, working conditions for professional photographers have been been rough during the past few years, with lower budgets for photo materials and so on. However, turns out that at least “Försvarets forum” is one of few magazines out there that still has its own photographers contracted.

This is probably one of the many success factors behind the magazine as it allows the creative process to take place in a more integrated, long-term and holistic way, instead of “just” buying photos and putting together something hasty.

Photo: black and white close-up from the inside of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

As a lover of both good journalism and printed media, initiatives like this makes me genuinly happy! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for “Försvarets forum” in this year’s edition of CMA.

Nerdy greetings & happy Friday!

/Malin

 

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Flow, thankfulness and juggling multiple roles

Ain’t it funny when you experience those ”mornings from hell”, get into a bad mood and sort of expect it to set the tone for the rest of your day as well? I definitely had one of THOSE mornings today.

There wasn’t really anything specific that happened. Just that it turned out to become a morning when nothing went according to plan. Just getting out of the house without interfering with myself almost seemed like a project – you get what I mean…

Photo: color image of bright, organge autum leaves on a path in the forestHowever, thankfully the day did not turn into a catastrophe. On the contrary. Instead (ironically!) I experienced one of the best work flows I’ve had in a very long time. I managed to just quietly shut down my thoughts, focus and get going. All of today’s to do’s got done. Even the boring ones, without putting to much emphasis on how I felt about doing them or overanalyzing the exact outcome of them. Hallelujah moment indeed!

Whether I would like it or not, my burnout last year is somehow always present in my mind. Not in such a way that it directly interfers with my work; it rather pops up during certain working processes when I notice that I’ve indeed changed so much as a person and how it’s affecting my ways of working today – compared to then.

Thus, there are really no proper words to express the thankfulness I experience during days like today when things just run smoothly and I experience a little bit of the good parts of my ”old” self. (I do not miss my unhealthy, no-boundries-workaholic-self at all).

Juggling multiple roles certainly comes with the job when you start your own business. However, a lot of times we tend to whine about the nasty and challenging parts of these roles and completely forget about the fun roles we juggle in life as well: consultant, writer, girlfriend, sister, friend, manager and so on.

Even though it’s a lot of hard work to do: I’m so incredible thankful for the freedom that comes with being my own. Being able to truly focus on the roles that excites me the most: marketing and communications, meeting and reaching out to new people, discussing business opportunities and unexpected collaborations. No boxes. No boundries. I love it!

What are you thankful for this Tuesday?

/Malin

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Buying articles for your corporate blog instead of writing them yourself

Photo: black and white "genre" shot of computer and office toolsIs it really that time of the month again? You know: delivering on your organisation’s key metrics, building that thought leadership you’re always talking about – posting those blog posts you just never seem to have enough time for.

In case writing and publishing those much needed articles mostly causes internal headaches, it might be a good idea to simply outsource your content creation to a professional writer.

There are several good reasons to buy articles instead of trying to do everything by yourself:

  • No need for trying to invent the wheel every month
    By hiring a professional writer to manage your continuous blog posts, you’ll also automatically get that important external perspective on the topics you’d like to highlight and promote in your corporate feed and channels.
  • Focus on what you’re good at
    Let’s face it: even though we’re living in a constant flow of reading and receiving information and messages, it does not mean that each and everyone of us should be managing corporate information. Focus on what you’re good at and let a communications professional provide you with their expertise within writing and communication.
  • Guaranteed maintenance by continuous updates
    By finding yourself a professional, trustworthy and passionate writer, you’ll be guaranteed those weekly or monthly updates for your blog without having to worry about the quality.

Think your communications department should be able to handle this task? That’s understandable. However, here’s the thing: maybe they’d love to but just won’t be able to. Not because you haven’t hired highly skilled professionals, but due to how several organisational aspects, changes, issues or challenges a lot of times tend to involve your communication professionals and completely consume most of their time.

All of a sudden: there’s just never enough time, peace and quiet for your team to research and produce high quality content.

  • Don’t frighten your customers and stakeholders with poor writing
    Excellent communication is an essential part of any business. So you’ve got the world’s best products and services? Great! Make sure your poor writing skills aren’t scaring your customers or potential investors away then.

Good writing equals good business opportunities.

Next time – skip the headache and invest part of that communications budget on getting the texts and assistance you need.

 

Want help? Feel free to get in touch at malin@ambaurora.se

 

/Malin

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Have we completely lost it?

Phot: black and white image of a cute cat, looking a bit hyserical while hiding behind some flower pots.I swear to God that if one more of these “Preaching Wannabe A Unicorn Entrepreneur™” self help articles pops up in my feed, I will slowly strangle myself. It seems to me like 2018 became a year when we finally completely lost it. Social Media Collective Stupidity VS Human Intelligence: 1–0.

I’m going through my different social networks. As could be expected, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the worst at the moment, but the trend remain strong throughout all platforms. All I can feel is “Congratulations Gary V, Oleg, Branson & Company!”. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m sure that all of the above mentioned entrepreneurs are both very good at what they do, and nice people as well. I don’t have issues with them. But I do have issues with trying to understand the sheepish behaviour of their followers.

Maybe it’s the unstable times we’re living in that sort of forces this development upon us? When most things out there in the great wild world seems to be either about climate disasters, nuclear threaths and forest fires: why even bother anymore? Perhaps it’s just easier to go to church and get your daily dose of religion. Learn the 13 Things Only Successful People Do! Learn all about how Business Leader XYZ structures his time. Hint: yes, it will include one of those “get up at 04:30 and be done with everything by 9 a.m.” tips.

Forget about originality and integrity, just copy and adapt to someone else’s life concept instead.

I can’t of course point out exactly when all of this online stupidity escalated, but at some point, the large masses started to visit the Digital Church of Entrepreneurship and Success Stories™ for their daily preachings. And there they’ve stayed.

Maybe I’m just keeping bad company, but I can’t help but notice that more and more people around me have started to actually quote, spread and firmly seem to uncritically believe in various of these “success stories”. It’s as if it’s the religion of 2018. It’s just as if all of their common sense has completely left the building. And before you ask: No, I’m not talking about teenagers but actual adults. And no, neither am I talking about people in desperate need of education. On the contrary. And I worry about the effects when too many, once intelligent, grown ups start to spread this propaganda into our work places and public organisations.

Whatever happened to believing in your own values, trusting your own, unique experiences and beliefs? After all, you’ve got them for a reason. Based on what you’ve been through. Not based on what generated the most clicks for an Oleg, Branson or a Gary. Why would you need several strangers out there to tell you how to live your life and conduct your business? I’m desperately trying to understand this phenomenon as I seem to be the only one NOT wanting to play along in this little emperor’s new clothes game, i.e. ancient universal truths, wrapped in an updated package.

The emperor has been stripped so long in front of my eyes that I don’t think I can take it anymore. It’s just as if humankind has completely lost its intelligent mind.

As I’m a child of my generation (-86) as well as a product of my industry, I’m aware of the “danger” of publishing a post like this. It is certainly not in accordance with any global brand manual to post this kind of whining online for all search motors to index for all eternity.

Still I can’t help but wonder: where did all the grown ups go? Whatever happened to critical thinking? (Probably not snappy enough, nobody would know how to best adopt such a dinosaur idea into a juicy SEO package).

So yes indeed, I wonder: have we completely lost it?

I sincerely hope not.

/Malin

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Läsning för semestern – mina bästa tips

Varm, torr och soldränkt – juli är här. Vare sig du gillar det eller ej, nu går tempot ner då många av oss checkar ut samtidigt och försvinner på semester. Passa på att göra det bästa av den stillsammare lunken genom att dyka ner i en härlig bok! Här kommer mina bästa tips för sköna semesterdagar – en mix av skönlitterära pärlor, deckare och några managementklassiker.

Bild: pocketböcker på en soldränkt balkong

”Ängeln på sjunde trappsteget” av Frank McCourt – det här är en av mina mycket tummade favoritböcker som jag alltid återkommer till och läser om. En klassiker som aldrig blir uttjatad. ”Ängeln på sjunde trappsteget” var McCourts debut, en självbiografi om en tämligen eländig irländsk barndom, dock berättad med ett sådant fantastiskt och underhållande språk att den är helt omöjlig att lägga ifrån sig. Så belönades den också med Pulitzerpriset!

”4 timmars arbetsvecka: konsten att leva mer & jobba mindre” av Timothy Ferriss. Vad är väl bättre än att inleda din semester med lite av det där hederliga, berömda perspektivet på saker och ting? Rekommenderar den här boken för dig som ännu är lite småstressad och har svårt att komma ner i varv. Använd den som ett sätt att lura din hjärna att du fortfarande är lite produktiv så får den varva ner successivt innan du ger dig på andra böcker.

”Svensk maffia” av Lasse Wierup och Matti Larsson. Boken har förvisso över 10 år på nacken, men är i allra högsta grad fortsatt aktuell. En djupdykning i hur kriminaliteten i Sverige förändrats – utpressning, beställningsmord, tystade vittnen och mutor. Bakom utvecklingen av en ny typ av brottslighet står kriminella gäng som under ett decennium vuxit kraftigt i antal. Gedigen, dokumentär skildring när den är som bäst.

”The Art of War” av Sun Tzu. Det händer att mina vänner skrattar åt mig när jag envisas med att komma dragandes med något uråldrigt citat från den här ljuva lilla klassikern. ”The Art of War” är precis som titeln antyder kort och gott en bok om krigskonst och strategi. Fullproppad med taktiska knep och klokheter. Kanske lär du dig något du kan använda i höst när du ska tillbaks och tjafsa med kollegerna? Perfekt för hängmattan med ett glas single malt!

Foto: färgbild, stillebensporträtt med böcker och en vacker kaffekopp

Busters öronav Maria Ernestam. Att sortera under kategorin skönlitterära pärlor. Oförutsedda svängningar i en stark historia som porträtteras med synnerligen verbal spänst. Bladvändare.

”The 2018 Influencer Marketing Handbook” av Aron Levin (med team) på Relatable. Fick ett exemplar av den här på ett event nyligen. Till skillnad från stora delar av ”mumbo jumbo”-snacket om influencers därute är den här boken precis vad den utgör sig för att vara – lättbegriplig, konkret och hands on! Bra. Digital variant av boken hittar du här: https://www.relatable.me/book/

”Polis, polis, potatismos” av Maj Sjöwall och Per Wahlöö. Vad vore väl en sommar utan Stockholmspolisens klanterier, Gunvald Larssons italienska mockaloafers och Månssons envisa förkärlek för ”Gripenbergare”? Inget. Avnjut gärna Martin Becks trötta cynismer i valfri titel av Sjöwall & Wahlöö. Ultimat strandläsning.

”Ordets makt och vanmakt – mitt skrivande liv” av Jan Guillou. Jag blir sällan starstruck. Förutom när jag läser valfritt verk av Jan Guillou och bara har att kapitulera för avundsjukan och stjärnglansen. ”Ordets makt och vanmakt – mitt skrivande liv” är givetvis inget undantag. Underhållande och rappt så det förslår. Icke att förglömma: lärorikt.  Om den inte redan är det, så borde boken omgående bli obligatorisk kurslitteratur i svenska språket på samtliga lärosäten runtom i landet.

”En tryckare på Blue Moon Bar” av Hanna Hellquist. När en futtig krönika i DN lördag är på tok för kort – Hannas samlade krönikor och kåserier från 2003-2015. You’re welcome.

Foto: färgbild på en vacker solnedgång som ses genom att fönster.

”Så blir du framgångsrik – utan pengar, utan kontakter och med helt fel bakgrund” av Stefan Ekberg. Jag kommer inte längre ihåg när jag först upptäckte Stefan Ekberg och hans helt fantastiska förlag Redaktionen, men hans utgivning har hängt med mig länge nu. Jag gillar verkligen Stefans syn på livet och arbete och hur han kompromisslöst applicerar den i sin vardag och allt han tar sig för. Den här boken kommer du antagligen att vilja hetsläsa i ett sträck, men den funkar precis lika bra att ha som ”uppslagsverk” på skrivbordet när du kört fast i dina egna ursäkter och behöver en uppsträckning, konkreta tips och råd. Läs den som en ”cut your crap”-boost inför hösten!

”The Magic of Thinking Big” av David Schwarz. En hederlig, gammal amerikansk klassiker! Har några år på nacken så har överseende med att en del av exemplen kommer att få dig att flyga i luften, därmed inte sagt att den inte fortfarande fungerar utmärkt som vaccin när du blivit utsatt för en överdos Jante. Du kan med fördel plocka upp något kapitel och läsa någon Hallelujah-historia om kämpande försäljningschefer som lyckades se ljuset genom lite sund megalomani och kämparanda.

”Den tredje rösten” av Rolf Börjlind och Cilla Börjlind. Det är ett bra tag sedan jag läste den här boken nu. Minnet sviker mig, men eftersom jag gjort en fet notering i mina anteckningar om att det var en otroligt spännande och välskriven bok så får ni lov att lita på mina ord. Passa gärna på att värma upp med deras tidigare bok ”Springfloden”, som också gick som serie på SVT för något år sedan.

 

Hoppas att något av tipsen ska falla dig i smaken – önskar en riktigt skön semester!

/Malin

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Checklist For Next Year’s Annual General Meeting

So you survived this year’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) too? Congratulations to your hard work! It’s fully understandable (and healthy) that by now you’ve probably started to dream about your upcoming vacation instead of preparing your Chairman and CEO for meeting shareholders and press. However, before you completely forget about all the insights and good lessons learned from this year – do yourself a tremendous favor and do a short checklist for next year’s AGM. Your future self will thank you.

Here’s a couple of useful bullets to get you started on your own list:

Image of a notebook and pen

When it commes to project planning, one can just never be too proactive (or have too many nice notebooks to get one’s productive juices going!).

Document the process – make sure you’ve got the process leading up to the AGM documented. When did you initiate preparations for your AGM this year? How many were involved and what kind of external help did you use? Are there names you might need again next year that should not be forgotten? Choose the format that works best for you and the kind of organization you’re working in. Hint: a short summary about the event including the time schedule you followed this year + important contacts should be a good starting point.

Document media coverage and save communications material – document press clippings, document the names of the journalists that attended your AGM and the kind of questions that popped up. Also make sure to save all important communications material you and your colleagues prepared for this year. Next year you’ll be able to save lots of time by using those press releases, speeches, statements and Q&As as templates.

Evaluate and ask for feedback – how did the whole thing go? Evaluate how your internal stakeholders experienced the AGM. Is there something they would have needed more help with? Perhaps something they thought must be fixed in a better way for next year? Now is the time to put that feedback down on paper. When it comes to your external stakeholders, that is, your shareholders, the media, collaboration partners and so on – now would be a good time to reach out and ask for their feedback too. Does not have to be anything complicated, but remember that it is always good to keep up with the word on the town. Hint for communications professionals: usually there can be lots of valuable stories to be found in this feedback if you care to listen.

Keep what worked good – for some reason, it’s always easier to beat oneself up than remembering what went really well. So do that! Put down your own internal success factors this year – did you find the perfect team for the assignment? Did you adjust the time schedule this year or perhaps you dared to do something a little bolder that payed of? As tiny as it might be – put it down in writing.

Define roles and responsibilities for next year – perhaps a little bit more of a boring, yet very useful task. Set clear intentions for next year. Who will be doing what? Decide now who will be in charge of the project so there won’t be any questions about it. Hint: schedule a start up meeting in Outlook for next year’s project. Based on what you know now, invite the relevant participants too.

Last but not least – did the location work out well for you? Great! Book it for next year’s meeting as soon as you can. You’d be surprised over the booking frenzy over specific dates in May…

 

Until next time, wish you all the best!

/Malin

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Celebrations: The Birth Of My Business

After a couple of intense months, things are finally starting to come together! Last week, I got the final approvement needed from the Swedish authorities to be able to actually call myself ”business owner” now. Such a happy, yet freaky feeling for someone like me, who’s always been employed.

A bright color image of balloons on a bridge

Celebrations and some bright balloons are in order when you start your business, am I right or am I right? 😉

This week has been intense too, as I’ve been working hard on finalizing the details and the texts for my website. You would think that things would be easier when you’re working for yourself, being able to have the final say on everything, right? Ironically, it turns out that instead it’s the other way around. Or at least for me, a never ending Virgo born critic…

It certainly seems that for every text finished it’s possible to immidiately find a new one that requires attention and corrections. On the other hand – definitely not complaining as this is really something that I love to do! As of right now I will still have to have some patience before I officially ”launch” my website and this blog to a broader audidence, as I will need to sleep on some texts and details before hitting the ”go public” button.

Stay tuned though, as I’m not only excited to get my business started but also being back as a blogger! Primarily, my blog will be written in English as I have lots of English speaking peers and stakeholders in my network with whome I want to be able to discuss. Still, I am based in Stockholm so I think that there will be a mix between English and Swedish blog posts here as I most likely also will want to comment on current events within Sweden.

Welcome to my blog, hope you’ll enjoy spending time here with me!

/Malin

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