Content and Communications with Jessica Kelly from Cisco – Episode 25

Nathaniel Schooler
Welcome to the show. Jessica. Your name is Jessica Kelly, and you work for Cisco. And we’ve kind of connected on Twitter probably for about; it’s got to be about three or four years, and you’ve kind of progressed in your jobs. And I don’t know quite what you actually do now. So I’ll let you introduce yourself.

Jessica Kelly
Well, first of all, apologies for my puppy who chose that moment to bark. I hope that you got a good solid recording of that. He’s very cute, by the way, I probably more interesting than than I am. I do work for Cisco just recently started working for Cisco as an employee. I’ve been a consultant for a long, long, long time, primarily because I enjoy working from my own office. And Cisco allows me to do that. So it’s, it’s great. I’ve been heavily involved in social media for publicity and promotion for years. And that is indeed where we met on Twitter. And it was an accidental meeting, if I remember correctly, just we were talking about a piece of content that got shared somewhere, but it’s been great. It’s been great sharing tweets with you.

Nathaniel Schooler
For sure. So I’ve got a few questions. I know you’re tight for time. So I’ll begin with the first one.

Q1) How can people use content marketing for building their personal brand?

Jessica Kelly
That’s a great question. First, a disclaimer, I sort of feel that marketing is just marketing and content marketing is the newest term, right. But if you know marketing is marketing, and to me under marketing, you’ve got PR and publicity and promotions and sales and, and all these wonderful things. And social media is part of that social media is to me is the evolution of publicity, its interactive, you know, you may be broadcasting information that you want people to know. But you also better be listening and interacting with them to that’s why it’s called “social media!” right.

So in terms of content, there’s so many ways to do it. Obviously, if you are an author or a designer, and you create an amazing piece of content that is all about you, or a service you provide or knowledge you have, then that’s a no brainer, you’re going to share that in every logical place; every logical place that you think you’re audience might might be not, you know, just not just scattershot, and that’s that’s your content marketing.

But then there are people who may be severely pressed for time, I would consider myself one of those people. But I also want to keep my skills sharp. And I want to know what’s going on in the tech world and the world of digital media.

And so for them, for people like me, I find content curation is just the perfect thing. It allows me to keep up on the latest news, and then curated somewhere I am and I happen to use the scoop it tool. It was one of the first that was available for free, I’ll be honest, and I really like way that it worked. Some people use Pinterest, there’s, you know, there’s all different places you can post. But it enables me to not only share information that I think might be useful to people all in one place. But I don’t have the best memory, right. So if I’m curating content, and I’m curating news and resources that I think other marketing people or writers or editors or communications, I kind of cross a broad spectrum all leading out from writing and communications, right? If I’ve curated something two years ago, I don’t remember what it was on topic x, but I know I read something and I can go back to through my own curated content and find something that’s helpful to be on my job. So curation to me is just a win win on all fronts when you don’t have time to create.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense, I think. Yeah, so you’re talking about really having like, an online it’s almost like a website, right? Like, from Scoopit on you.

Jessica Kelly 
Right.

Nathaniel Schooler
You put your name in there, and then and then all the stuff that you share will be shared from your Scoopit page. Right,

Jessica Kelly
So in terms of a personal brand, you know, on Facebook, I’m just somebody’s Mom or somebody’s friend, but I keep it that way. But on Twitter, I can establish some sort of presence as someone who has some information, knowledge, resources, etc, around social media, communications, and content, marketing, management, development, whatever you want to call it.

And so, you know, I don’t know that my “brand”, you know, I don’t know where someone would judge my brand, I work full time. So I don’t have as much time to put into it as I would, as I might if, say, I were trying to teach people about branding, or looking for new clients. But at least my presence is there.

And it’s very obvious the type of person if someone were to follow my Twitter stream, I’m pretty open. I’m pretty honest. And I tend not to spam and I’m only sharing something that I read that day, in very rare occasions, you know, I’ll share something from five years ago, that just is still so relevant. I’d forgotten about it. And I feel like it’s worth sharing.

So it’s an authentic presence. And, you know, to me, Authenticity, I guess, is a big part of my personal brand.

Nathaniel Schooler
I’m nodding completely here, if you could see me, you know, personal brand is all about authenticity. Without without that it’s not a personal brand is it’s generally fake,

Jessica Kelly
Right.

Nathaniel Schooler
I think there are a lot of people out there that do fake who they are. And, and when you meet them face to face, they actually are not the same people. I know that you’re the same person as you are online, as you are offline, you know, because you’re genuine.

And, and that for me, is is absolutely key for all of this. I mean, you you actually just answered my second question. No, nearly so, so. So that’s a few of your tips. So what are your top tips for, for building your personal brand through content and social for career success, or entrepreneurial ventures?

Jessica Kelly
So absolutely be yourself. So know, every part of yourself, every part of myself is not ready for prime time, and not appropriate for work. So that that’s a given, right? But find the parts of yourself that you’re really, really good at.

Because you’re going to, you’re going to be sustaining this you hope over a long period of time, right?

So I think what personal branding means to me is simply being my professional self, and sharing knowledge, information skills, whatever I’ve got, because I’m not one to work in silos. I’m not I’m not a territorial professional, that tries to keep all my expertise bottled up to myself, so that no one else, you know, can possibly some someone might steal my skill and steal my job. I’m just not about that. I’m very collaborative. And so that works. That works for me, you know, be authentic.

Absolutely. If you think building your personal brand means getting a Twitter account, buying 10,000 followers, and banning everyone with direct messages. That’s just so very wrong. So very wrong. Unless you want to do the type of marketing if you’re old enough to remember late night TV and infomercials that are still on on some channels. 24/7, unless that’s who you are. I don’t see a lot of gain in that, especially not in the mid or long term.

Nathaniel Schooler
I mean, I think in this era of personalisation, they’re even bringing personalised TV now. So that you see raising beyond and it will actually have a personalised message directly to your name. Yeah. Which is incredible. In some, in some, some instances.

You know, it’s, we’re in a very, very strange place. I mean, you know, when I grew up, I had like, three TV channels. Yeah, you know, in England, we had three TV channels, we had a telephone, right, you start your finger in it, and you were on this wheel round, you know,

Jessica Kelly
Exactly

Nathaniel Schooler
there’s just so many channels and, and so much technology overload, you know, and that’s a big topic right now full for me. Certainly. So do you.

Do you have any sort of tips for reducing the technology overload for people?

Jessica Kelly
Oh, that’s a good question, too I try to avoid, believe it or not, because I work in tech, and I am very techie. I try to avoid technology whenever possible. When I’m not working. You know,

it’s beyond personal health, right? There’s your eyes, there’s your brain, everything. I do not need to be connected. 24/7, I need to be connected to my family. Yes.

But in terms of work related technology exchanges over the over what am I trying to say in terms of work related communications that are technology enabled, right?

I don’t need to be on a leash, I don’t need to work for people that think I need to be on a leash. You know, Cisco is very, very gracious and very aware of work life balance, and that’s wonderful. But I say, if everybody that you care about is is within eyesight, put your phone down, you know, you’re not going to get an emergency, call, turn, go old fashioned, have dinner at the table.

And when it comes to work, same thing, if you really want to meet someone pick up the phone, if they don’t live near you. You know, if they do live near you schedule a lunch or coffee. It’s so much more fulfilling and informative to meet someone in person, or at least on the phone if you can. Technology only takes us so far. And if you can remember that and use it as a tool instead of letting it use you. You will be far happier.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, yeah, I’m nodding I agree.

Jessica Kelly
Well, and, you know, you’re very metrics focused. my current role is in marketing’s everything is very metrics focused. And we have 10,000 tools to tell us 100,000 different things.

And what it really comes down to is did the piece of content I created, send someone where I wanted them to go into that they stay there, right. That’s really all I need to know, there are a gazillion different metrics that are not helpful.

And when it comes to your personal brand, it’s the same thing. You can’t spend your whole life chasing the Facebook algorithm because it’s going to change you know, today, it’s video tomorrow. It’s back to gifts, your gifts, you know, so be authentic, be yourself. Use the technology when it serves you, but don’t be a slave to it.

Sorry, that was a bit pedantic but I you know, I feel pretty strongly you interview as the question that I feel pretty strongly about.

Nathaniel Schooler
It’s damaging relationships. Most certainly. So what are your top tips for building a personal brand alongside a big corporate like Cisco, or IBM or whatever?

Jessica Kelly
Oh, that’s Yeah. Okay. So that’s tough, because here you are, you’ve been a consultant for many, many years, you have your so called personal brand, and now you’ve gotten a job, hey, you know, I think I do want benefits. And I’ve met these great people, I’m going to dive in and take a, you know, quote, unquote, real job

That swallows your whole life, especially for the first three to six months. And so trying to maintain your personal your personal brand, say on Twitter, that’s where I must active is tough. I don’t, I was never spending more, you know, as a parent and a full time worker and a volunteer at various organisations. I was never spending more than, say, an hour to an hour and a half a day, you know, at different times of the day checking in, but suddenly, you find your time reduced to 10 or 15 minutes on some days.

Some days, you can’t get to Twitter at all, such as yesterday, I went over to message you, I believe in that was it.

So that that can be tough, that, again, is where I think that content curation is really helpful, because at least you have a lasting presence, everything’s compiled in one place. And when you do get back to wherever you are promoting, or publicising or interacting, you have something to fall back on. It’s like your stockpile of of information.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, so do you think your personal brands help you to get hired?

Jessica Kelly
I think it can help you get hired in this particular role. You know, my Twitter account demonstrates that I have knowledge around communications and social media and content, but at a company like Cisco, which is not very social media focused.

I don’t think anyone went to my Twitter account and said. “Oh, this is the person we need.”

I think that if you’re in a different field, or especially if you’re at a startup, I think that definitely your personal brand. And your presence, your digital presence can help greatly.

I’ve had offers. I’ve had head hunters, I’ve had, you know, interactions happen because of my digital presence that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Absolutely. But again, it’s, it’s me, I never thought of it as a personal brand. I never worked to create one, it is just me. So there’s no worry if somebody reaches out to me and wants to talk to me about social media?

Well, it wasn’t a bot that was curating the news I’m posting, I really did read it. And I know what I’m talking about on that particular subject. So you know, it’s all good.

Nathaniel Schooler
So what impact do you think artificial intelligence will have on content? Well actually on marketing itself?

Jessica Kelly
That is such a big question. I am not even sure where to start. Because it’s really hard to predict where it’s going to go.

I actually follow people back when they follow me on Twitter. And I do this by hand. That is one thing I do every day or every other day. And I have, you know, this is a little off topic.

But related, what I have seen happen is, it used to be very obvious that a “bot” was following you, right! I mean, it was so unbelievably obvious that this was about, it would have a picture, a generic stock photo of a picture, or cartoon. And the, the handle would be, you know, eight scrambled letters, just random consonants.

Now, then, after that phase, I saw people’s pictures, but it would be a man, and then the name under the person’s picture would be, obviously, obviously, you know someone of a different sex and a different nationality. And it was very clear that they were pulling stock photos of people now, but they were getting real names that didn’t, in any way look like they could be those people.

Lately. Over the past month or so. I see followers that could be people, I mean, they really look like people, their bio just doesn’t say, I love to laugh, and the photo looks genuine. And the name matches. But when you click through, you see that they are following 9000 people. And they have two followers. And they’ve been online for three days on Twitter. And so if it’s, it’s sneaking in all this type of bot mentality is slowly taking the place of actual human interactions. And so in marketing, you have all everything that comes. I mean, that was just a tiny example that isn’t even really on point. But I think you get my point in marketing, we’re going to see more and more and more of data driven bought interactions.

But the problem that I see with that is that sometimes it’s not the right data. It’s not the right data at all. And even at an amazing company like Cisco, who has all these tools at their disposal, watching watching people on the data, who are the data gathering teams trying to gather and compile and then analyse things. It often looks to me like an apples to oranges comparison that isn’t going to actually give you good quantitative or qualitative feedback. And unless a human comes in and looks at that and says, you know, whoa, where are we go? The shortest example of all is in some social media tools. They gauge sentiment, right?

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah.

Jessica Kelly
Well, if you post something about healing cancer, that’s negative sentiment for your brand, because you use the word cancer, if you say no, in a post, right, or never, I’ve never had a better day. That’s negative sentiment for your brand.

Nathaniel Schooler
Yeah, I agree completely. They’ve got a lot of work to do around sentiment analysis, for sure. And, and doing exactly, exactly that, just making sure that the data is actually going to work. You know, I think in five years time, things are going to be a lot more interesting, but I think there are a lot of problems around around it. It is a massive question. It’s a huge question. I dropped it right at the end as well. So, you know, we can revisit maybe in a few months time when I get through, get through the rest of the schedule, you know, but it’s, it’s a massive subject that I’d love to talk more about with you for sure.

So, I’ll leave you to it. Because I’m one minute over my time!

Jessica Kelly
It’s absolutely fine. I just, I honestly, I don’t have a meeting for another 14 minutes. I just need to prep. So it’s great. It’s been so nice to talk with you. You know, it’s after so many years of being connected on Twitter. It’s so nice to put a voice I already had the face because you’ve got your profile photo. But now I have a voice to go with it, too. It is very nice.

Nathaniel Schooler
Same here. It’s very nice. I really appreciate you sharing, sharing your time with me. Thank you.

Jessica Kelly
Thank you. Best of luck with your with your endeavour. It sounds fascinating. You have to keep me posted. And feel free to use my email in case I miss a direct message on Twitter because it’s so full of spam. Now, sometimes the DMs Get lost. But I always I do always look for your for your messages. There’s three or four people that I know are not robots and when I see their name in the message feed, I know this is actually a person so

Nathaniel Schooler
Wow, well, thanks ever so much again, Jessica. I Really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to do this podcast with me.

Thanks so much for listening. Please subscribe and wherever you prefer, share with your friends. And if you enjoyed this show, drop us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen.

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