So, often the absolute last thing I want to do when I have a moment's peace is fire up my great computer machine — handheld or otherwise — and get caught up on the latest digital sales and marketing news.
My usual "yay-I-have-a-break!" reflexes skew more toward re-runs of The Newsroom or West Wing, sitting outside by my fire pit in quiet contemplation, or scolding my cat about insisting on grooming herself on a clean pile of laundry, as if she speaks or understands English.
I know that last item sounds a touch specific, but that is literally happening right now, and I just needed someone out there in this universe to understand that there is an unglamorous side to working from home.
Anyway, I digress.
With all of that said, I have a responsibility to keep on top of what's happening in my digitized industry — as many of you do — so I can continue to develop as a professional in my career.
I also have a responsibility to stay in-the-know as the author of our thrice-weekly newsletter, THE LATEST, which promises to arm our subscribers with all of the knowledge, insights, and news they need to hit their most aggressive goals in about five to 10 minutes... depending on how word-y I'm feeling on a given day:
Having primary sources as a part of my digital marketing news consumption strategy solves for two needs.
First, when vetting ideas and stories for our contributors to tackle in their news reaction articles, I'd much rather be writing an analysis that cites the primary source of the news, rather than a secondary news outlet, if possible.
Second, I like to initially digest news (again, if possible) straight from the horse's mouth without someone telling me what to think.
Your list may differ greatly from mine, depending on your niche and interests — but you should have your own set of primary resources you follow, because that's where a lot of the news will break first.
Of course, since what is published on these sites is (almost always) run through well-oiled public relations (PR) machines that obsess about things like "optics," you should never rely on them exclusively.
Digiday does a great job of publishing breaking news, measured analysis, and member exclusive research across a wide range of digital marketing topics. It's one of my favorite sites for staying in the know. Even just a quick skim of the headlines when you don't have a lot of time can be a whirlwind education.
Oh, and Digiday's The Confessions series is so compelling, thought-provoking, and addictive, I'm so mad at myself for not having thought of it.
If you're looking for SEO news, you need to bookmark Search Engine Land.
Whereas the similarly-named Search Engine Journal is more of an insights blog about SEO, Search Engine Land primarily publishes breaking news and research, with more insights-focused "X ways to do Y" content taking more of a backseat.
Like Search Engine Land, the content you'll find on Marketing Land is mostly news. However, sometimes you'll notice that a few of the same stories will be found across both publications. That's not a negative, of course, but worth pointing out.
Like it or not, social media is a part of the digital marketing ecosystem. I know many of us hate being held hostage by the whims of Silicon Valley and/or consider Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever platform is irking us on a particular day to be a useless money pit.
But that fact will never change.
At least not for the foreseeable future.
So, read Social Media Today. Stay informed on what's happening across all platforms. Your amplification strategies will depend on how well you know what the rules are, as well as what's changed.
CMO.com is a little less news-y and a little more "stop and smell the roses" analysis, which is, quite frankly, a nice break from the steady stream of stories about how Facebook is awful or that Google is, yet again, going to personally attack marketers by having the nerve to change their algorithm.
Plus, CMO.com publishes some fascinating, forward-looking research and predictions that I always find thought-provoking.
As more brands either make the leap from content marketing to brand publishing — or simply start adopting at least a handful of the revenue-generating principles of brand publishers — understanding the world of online publishing has become an imperative for most progressive digital marketing leaders.
To that end, while What's New in Publishing may seem a bit off the beaten path, I urge you to add it to your rotation or RSS feed reader.
Content of all varieties — written, video, podcast, etc. — should drive how we build trust with our audiences every single day as business leadership, digital marketers, and sales pros. So, you need to start purposefully bringing publishing news and knowledge into your sphere.
Do I look to Entrepreneur and Inc. for the latest breaking news? No.
But given the equity of their brands, they attract top minds in the industry for interesting interviews and analysis. Not everything is gold on these sites, so you sometimes need to do some digging. Still, these are two sites worth checking in on when you need some digital marketing news and inspiration.
Unlike CMO.com by Adobe, Forbes CMO Network is a great stop for digital sales and marketing leaders — particularly those who occupy the C-suite, obviously. Although VPs, directors, and managers who have audacious goals and a big picture mindset should definitely bookmark this site, as well.
All three of these sites are geared toward those in the journalism field. As such, the vast majority of content you will find on these sites will not be relevant to you.
However, once a week, I go diving into the different topics on each site, because the journalism field and digital marketers share a common set of challenges — what we do (e.g., content creation) is often not viewed as a profit center, and an ever-changing landscape with our tools and technology doesn't make our jobs any easier.
And they do a great job of addressing those problems through their content and research. So, the rewards often outweigh the negatives of having to dig for the diamonds in the rough.
One last piece of advice for digital marketing news seekers
If you plan to stay on top of digital marketing news by creating a folder in your bookmarks bar of all of these websites, please hear me when I say this:
Don't do that.
If you do, you will end up like me a couple of years ago. Constantly staring at the folder, knowing you should open it and work your way down the list, and then opening up Twitter instead.
While I've never quite gotten over the lost of Google Reader — a beautifully simple RSS reader that made my online reading life in the early and mid-2000s a dream — I have found a worthy replacement in Feedly.
It's free, although there are upgrade options. You can share items with your team members. You can also do what I did — I created an account for our editorial team (affectionately known internally as the "Comma Drama Squad") that everyone can log into as a resource, not just me.
Bottom line, I spent less than an hour one recent afternoon building out a couple of feeds in Feedly with the end result being I now have one centralized location for digital marketing news that I will actually use. Additionally, I've empowered my team with a new resource for their own needs and professional development.
I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of wins where everybody benefits, not just me. Especially when it comes to professional development and education.