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How to Plan for Spontaneity and React to Google’s New Algorithm [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending Nov. 1, 2019

This week I’m thinking about the danger of losing spontaneity. I offer a fresh take on the news that Google is changing the way search works. I talk with Kathy Klotz-Guest about how to promote a culture of experimentation in business. And I share an article about how chinchillas and bacon help you write better content.

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This week, we’re all about planning, spontaneity, and a little luck. Let’s wrap it up.

  • One deep thought (2:10): Not all that long ago, there were no Caller ID, no text messages saying “I’m calling you now.” Every time the phone rang, it was a lottery. It could be anybody. Your sister. Your mother. Your best friend. A telemarketer. Even a prank caller (“Is your refrigerator running?”). But there was no doubt that you would answer it. Today, people rarely call someone without planning it or announcing the intention first. Instead of enhancing our spontaneity, tech seems to have squeezed it out of our lives.

#Tech has squeezed spontaneity from our lives, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

If you value creativity and innovation, you should find a way to fit it back in. A Johns Hopkins research study of jazz musicians found improvisation let their brains “turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow.” I explore how and why content teams can and should plan for spontaneity.

  • A fresh take on the news (8:47): This week’s news is really news. Google recently announced a major improvement in the way its algorithm understands queries. The company’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (known by the acronym BERT) will now power search queries on the platform. Google calls it “the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search.” (Read the announcement.)

.@Google announced it will now power search queries on the platform, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap #SEO Read more: Click To Tweet

.@Google’s latest update advances understanding context & how prepositions signal intent, says @cspenn via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

I explain what this means for content marketing. (Spoiler: It’s great news for everyone who takes a human-first approach.)

  • This week’s person making a difference in content (15:19): Comic, storyteller, and strategist Kathy Klotz-Guest joins me for an impromptu and improvisational talk about creativity in business. Kathy is a speaker, author, workshop leader, and improv comedian who has honed her craft over 20 years of work in communication and innovation strategy, and storytelling on business and comedy stages in and around San Francisco.

Take an improv approach to help your #content team develop speed and fearlessness, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

She says her career is “a story of using play as creative fuel.” Through her company Keeping It Human, she helps teams, leaders, and brands tell human stories, banish boring marketing, develop great culture, and unleash creativity for big ideas and big results.

Laugh along with Kathy and me as we talk about how she combined her love of improv and marketing, and how improv’s “yes, and …” approach can help teams develop the speed, fearlessness, and spirit of experimentation necessary to innovate. Then learn more about Kathy at her website and in her 2016 book:

  • One content marketing idea you can use (31:57): This week, I’d love for you to rediscover a 2017 article by Marcia Riefer Johnston that perfectly captures the themes of playfulness, improv, and creativity: Ex-SNL Writer Reveals How to Spend 5 Minutes a Day to Improve Storytelling. I hope you enjoy the fun – and useful – word-play games and exercises suggested.
Spend 5 minutes a day playing a word juxtaposition game to boost creativity, says @TimWasher via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

The wrap-up

Tune in next week when I must ash you a question about a deep thought, eye brows the internet for a news item to shave you some time, and I offer one tip that will keep you combing back for more. And it’s all delivered in a little less time than it takes Rudy Giuliani to butt dial somebody else.

I hope you like our weekly play on words. If you do, I’d sure love for you to review it and share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute