It Takes a Community to Inspire a Muse

Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man concerned with words and taste…  In my last post, I beckoned the real brands stand up, condemning those of poor business tastes.  I sought to elucidate the “real” Content Muse.  Ironically, I have not been so clear about that myself.  Perhaps that’s a reflection of my brand’s nascent existence.  I’ve dipped my pen in online-marketing ink for over five years now yet only began Content Muse in December….You know, Content Muse. I comment on Moz posts and stuff…

I desire to inspire with words; it’s not a solitary task; it takes a community to raise a muse.  I believe I’m a member of an intelligent, demanding, and self-regulating online-marketing industry.  The regulation comes from all; but, as a former writing teacher, I understand the importance of being a student.  A good teacher never stops being a student.

A good student identifies respected sources and listens.  Dr. Pete is one of those sources for me.  He addressed ‘new SEOs’ in an open letter.  All of his advice is great, especially his final point directed at ‘telling.’

It’s amazing how many people in the industry I’ve known for 5+ years now, and I don’t actually know what, specifically, they do. This is a mistake I made for at least the first 2-3 years of being in business for myself – I assumed people knew what I did because I hung out in certain communities and wrote on certain topics.

Dr. Pete’s advice is engineered for those providing services.  I am not a business entity myself; I’m a professional who fulfills online marketing needs for my employer.  I love what I do, to the point I write about it during ‘off-the-clock,’ personal hours.  It’s a reflection of my passion.

content muse  content muse | March 8th, 2012

Thanks for the prescription, Dr.  I see a lot of things to consider – especially telling people what you do.  I think one of the most brilliant gems in this is ‘find what excites you.’  The feeling of doing something enjoyable is that ether professionals need to find.

However, I’m a brand within myself.  Therefore, I need to do things the ‘right’ way.  I take note from another respected source, John Doherty.  In his latest blog post, he gives an inspirational and transparent portrayal of personal blogging experiences thus far.  It also inspired me, making me realize my passion also needs focus and needs to adopt a slow burn.

content muse  March 8, 2012 at 11:34 am

Good points, John. This and Dr. Pete’s open letter to New SEOs [ http://www.seomoz.org/blog/an-open-letter-to-new-seos] work nicely together. It’s encouraging to see it really does take patience; and, though one may feel they have the passion to ‘set things on fire,’ the reality is more like a slow burn.

One thing I personally got from you and Dr. Pete today was personal branding. The online optimization industry is becoming more crowded and diverse. While it’s important to try and do several things well, it may be befitting to align with a particular niche. (personal ex. I’ve adopted ‘online marketing’ label but have a natural gravitation toward writing, branding, rep. management) – The Dr. prescribes ‘telling’ people what you do; I think digesting that spoonful results in better self and blog direction.

I believe my personal pursuits are to be conducted as a professional brand. Therefore, I recognize the value Dr. Pete’s and John’s advice holds for me.

My approach needs modification.  Online marketing is my industry but the header is too broad.  I need to better define myself.  Will the real Content Muse, please stand up?

Thanks to a bit of introspection, putting in more work, and keeping my ear to the beats of the industry, I can better ‘tell’ more things about my professional focus and direction…

I’ve been a writer ever since I can remember.  It’s who I am.  I accept and embrace this.  I’ve always been curious about psychology as well, to the point it became one of my majors in college (English and Secondary Education were the other two).  Ever since I’ve entered the business realm, I’ve entertained opinions about creating positive consumer perception.

In business, consumer perception is addressed via branding.  In addition, I see how a business conducts itself as an imperative element; this involves reputation management.  Reputation management and branding overlap in many ways and include elements of public relation work (I began my online marketing career as a writer and PR person).

I believe I was successful in PR because I went about the process in a genuine fashion, keeping principles of branding and reputation in mind.  I’m fortunate enough to have upstanding people in my life; my father being one of the best role models for my reputation and branding sentiments.  He does things the right way, whether that means reaching goals later, doing more work, and making sacrifices.

I think a lot of sentiments, which allow a brand to be successful (regarding branding and reputation management) are in the collective conscious; Shakespeare brought such sentiments to life via Polonius’ fatherly advice imparted to Laertes before the latter’s departure from home:

Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Rise anew, Content Muse

When I was younger, I was a brat and didn’t appreciate my teachers as I should have.  Maybe it took becoming a teacher myself to realize the importance of being a perennial student.  It took a community to make a muse arise.

Thanks for reading – Anthony Pensabene

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