My 3 words 2016

This has been due for a while, but I’ve been so preoccupied with work and our new apartment that I’ve not been able to prioritize this until now. Every year for the last few years, I write down 3 words that I will use as my guide through the year.

You can read my previous words here: 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Last year my words were health, hustle and balance. Let’s first look back on how I’ve done so far, before we look into the future.

Health. Well, not very proud of how my health went last year. I gained weight. I ate less healthy. I didn’t work out as much as I did in 2014. It’s safe to say, I failed there.

Hustle. For me, hustle was meant to remind me to work hard, take chances and believe in myself. And I can – with full confidence – say yes, I was hustling in 2015. I took on the role of CEO of United Influencers and at the same time closed down all my other projects just to focus on UI. We built the company from 8 to around 20. And we keep on growing. I also took on creating content again with my daily vlogs.

Balance. Reminding me to work hard while finding time to relax, reflect and spend time with my loved ones. This is also something I got better at last year. Something I’m really proud of. It’s so important to find time to do stuff other than work from time to time.

Now, for my 2016 focus.

Less. I’m a big fan of minimalism. I’ve tried over the years to reduce the number of things and the noise in my life. This year I want to make an even bigger commitment to this. I want to reduce the number of clothes I have, the gadgets I’ve accumulated and reduce the number of apps I use and websites I read regularly. Basically, less of all the things that don’t really matter.

Focus. As both my personal and work side of life are things I’m happy about right now, my main goal is to focus on not changing many things. I want to simply keep focused on all the things that are going well and avoid getting distracted. This also means that I’m going to focus on working smarter. Inbox zero, getting things done and horizon of focus are all things that will be part of how I work.

Health. As I failed this last year, I’m keeping it this year. I will eat healthier. I will eat less meat. I’ll move more and work out more. I’ll keep on meditating and focusing on a healthier body and mind.

I’m going to print out a poster this year of my words that will hang on my office wall so I’ll see it every day. It feels good – both looking back and looking forward. 2015 was a good year for me – and 2016, I’m going to focus on making even better.

 

Why do I meditate?

You probably know the feeling. Stress – the sense that you are behind, the fear of not delivering and that you are not totally in control of all the things you need to get done. I have that feeling all the time, but I have a secret weapon.

A few years ago I decided to try meditation. At first I was almost a bit ashamed and didn’t share what I was testing with any of my friends. Meditation is just monks sitting on a stone floor humming, right? Wrong.

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I soon realized how amazing this was both on my mind and body. I also started to read more about it. It turns out that a lot of my heroes also meditate daily.

Why would I recommend trying meditation?

  • I get this amazing sense of presence
  • I maintain focus longer
  • I work more effectively
  • I make better decisions

How do I get started?

  • Set small goals. I only meditate 10 minutes daily – start with 5
  • I use the app Headspace, that works for me
  • Set a fixed time every day. I meditate every morning.
  • Don’t try too hard, it’s a bit difficult in the beginning – just stick with it
  • It’s not so much about not thinking, but about acknowledging your thoughts

So I challenge you to try today. Let me know how it feels in the comments below. Keeping focus through the day is essential for me to be the best version of myself – which is good for me, and the ones around me.

You should also read:
– More sleep, and fewer hours at the office
– Do you check your emails before you go to sleep?

 

 

Read this book: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk has always fascinated me. Anyone who is able to create something from nothing has my respect. When that someone does it over and over again – I’m really curious as to what makes that person tick.

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The book paints an interesting picture of how Musk created companies like Tesla, Paypal and Space X. It touches on some of the controversy that’s surrounding him – and it has inspired me to think about how I can dream bigger and be a better leader to the team.

You can buy the book here. (affiliate link)

Read my other book recommendations.

 

Less about your frame, more about your content

I’ve been really lucky to work with content creators for over a decade. Last week I met with one really talented blogger that I’ve known for 5 years now. We had an interesting discussion about frame vs content.

When most people start a blog, they’re extremely focused on the design of the blog. The layout, colours, widgets, sidebars, boxes and plugins. They feel they can’t publish a single post before the blog is just.. perfect.

This way of thinking is like starting on the opposite side of what matters – of what will determine if your content attracts an audience. And it is even less important then just a few years ago.

Look at Instagram, you don’t decide the frame of your content. Instagram has successfully created its vision of an optimal experience of viewing pictures on mobile. You just control the content. SnapChat is the same, it’s not even a frame – just your content filling the whole screen.

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I view a blog in exactly the same way. Right now 70% of the people who visit United Influencers are experiencing the content via a handheld device. 70%! That’s crazy. And most of the bloggers I know are viewing their blog via their desktop computer. In my experience, bloggers are just too focused on the desktop experience.

We see Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News and Google’s AMP in the same way. They are all stripping away the frame and just presenting the core content. This is the future, my friends.

And I truly believe when you stop thinking so much about the frame you’re creating content for and focus more on delivering great content to your audience, your content will get better and where you put it will come more natural to you.

Hint: It’s not always about getting people to your website.

Remember – The people who create the best content and at the same time really focus on their audience, win….not the people with the nicest frame.

 

When blogs die

Every once in a while a popular blogger decides to shut their blog down. “I’m quitting”, they say, and all of their readers flood the comments with “rest in peace”, “we will miss you” and “OMG noooo! I LOOOVE YOU <3”.

A few years ago this meant that the person quitting disappeared from the face of the earth. These days it might actually have a very low impact on the person’s reach and their following.

These days a blogger is not “just a blogger”. They’re an influencer with a big audience on many social channels. The talented Norwegian woman, Annette Haga, recently shared that she is going to stop blogging after 8 years, but she still has a large following on Instagram and SnapChat. She still has the opportunity to influence and inspire her audience.

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A blog is just a channel and a blogger is just a content creator. Ending your blog does not mean that you will stop creating content. It just means that you’ve matured into other channels and formats. Annette is continuing to create content, just not on her blog.

See my point?

I want you to stop over-thinking where you put your content. I want you to focus on creating great content for the people you want as your audience. The channels and various mediums are going to change all the time, but great content will always have a place to shine.

 

Bloggers and other social media

Many bloggers and publishers focus a lot (and sometimes too much) on generating as much traffic to their website as possible. Every Instagram photo, tweet or Facebook post is about asking their audience to visit their site. This is an old way of thinking and will hurt you more in the long-run than help you grow your audience.

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It’s called social networks for a reason. Not all activities should have the goal of taking your audience away from what they’re doing and into your website. Most people that scroll through their Instagram feed would like to continue doing just that after they like your picture. They don’t want to click your name, find the link in your bio and visit your site.

Don’t waste people’s time and don’t overestimate the value you provide them.

Sometimes the best way to serve your audience is to just give them the beautiful picture you took on Instagram, without asking for something in return – or upload a video to your Facebook page, without making them click something at the end.

Also read: What is Native Content?

Instead of just focusing on your site, you should start creating great content, tailor-made to the different social channels your audience is using on a daily basis.

A great example of this is Vox Media on SnapChat Discovery. They really understand how to create native content and tell stories on the terms of the platforms they’re using.

Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about your audience.

 

Stick to one language when you blog

It’s interesting to watch how something can become a ‘truth’ just because ‘everyone’ is doing it. One of the things that a lot of bloggers are adapting to: Squeezing two different languages into the same post.

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Typically in the Nordics, for example, you would have your native language first, then an English summary at the bottom.

Why?

The bloggers I talk to tell me it’s to get a broader audience and to please their international readers. Fair enough.

It’s important to realize what you are sacrificing, though. When you mix two languages on one page, Google gets confused. It doesn’t know how to index you, causing you to drop dramatically on the search results.

Sure, the people that already found you can understand you. Unfortunately, new people will be unable to find you via the world’s biggest search engine and traffic driver.

My advice would be to go all-in to one target group – Local or International.

If you want both, create two blogs. You’ll have two different audiences that expect to be communicated with in slightly different ways.

 

How many hashtags are too many?

When the Twitter community started using hashtags in 2007, it was to enhance the experience of the service. Using a tag to track a conversation or a topic across the whole platform made it a lot easier to follow – and to be heard. Instagram was introduced 3 years later and used hashtags as well. The big difference was how the Instagram community chose to use it.

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On Instagram, it’s not uncommon for someone to throw in 5-6 hashtags on every post. Of course, this is done as a vague attempt to have someone – anyone – from across the network to notice their hashtag and pick up on it. The truth is, it ruins the user experience and doesn’t bring enough traffic to make it worth it.

Also read: You don’t want traffic, you want an audience

I’ve written about this many times, but I can’t say it enough. The most valuable thing you, as a brand or as an influencer, can have is your core audience – the people who engage with your content and add value to the conversation. It’s about them. It’s not about you.

Going all crazy with your hashtags gets very little results in terms of attention, but creates plenty of frustration for your core audience.

Stop doing that.

Hashtags were created for tagging a piece of content to one topic or one conversation, not six. Focus on things that add value for your audience, not that create confusion.

#awesome

 

Take yourself seriously

The media has given Norwegian bloggers a bad reputation. The bloggers gave them the pleasure of being right.

I’ve worked closely with bloggers for over 12 years. I’ve seen different phases of how they work, how the media sees them, how they see themselves. It’s been interesting noticing patterns and helping bloggers succeed in every way I can.

For too many years now, the word blog, blogging, being a blogger have been looked down on in Norway. People tend to think of blonde girls writing about stuff no one cares about. That could not be farther from the truth — but unfortunately, not even the bloggers are standing up for themselves.

I did a keynote for all bloggers from United Bloggers in January. My main message: Step up your game. (see it here)

It’s time they start taking themselves seriously. If they don’t, no one will.

Being a blogger that actually makes a living serving their audience is hard work. Creating content that people actually seek and are engaged by is not easy and a skill I have absolute respect for. It’s something most big brands are not able to do.

Anyone can get traffic, but to create an audience is something not many people are able to achieve. And on top of that, to be able to make a living from it…Wow.

So it’s long overdue that these influencers get the respect they deserve. They are the trendsetters of our generation. They set the agenda. They are important people.

But before the people will see them with respect, bloggers need to respect themselves.

So to all bloggers: Keep your chin up. The next time someone asks what you do, answer proudly — I’m a blogger.

 

Sponset vs reklame

Det har vært mye prat om ordlyd på innhold som hvor mottaker har fått en fordel eller godtgjørelse for å produsere innholdet.

Mange mener at det bør merkes som reklame, andre mener det bør merkes som sponset innhold. Jeg mener at det er viktig at vi definerer hva de forskjellige begrepene betyr, og på den måten er det veldig tydelig hvordan det bør merkes.

Reklame er når en merkevare har produsert innhold som de betaler for å få synlighet for. Som en TV reklame, der reklamebyrå har laget en film som et mediebyrå har plassert på TV-skjermen.

Sponset innhold er når en merkevare har gitt en godgjørelse til noen som produserer sitt eget innhold for å få en plass i det innholdet. Det er altså ikke innhold styrt av merkevaren, men oppfordret av merkevaren.

Hadde en blogger postet samme bilde som brukes på utendørsreklame som et innlegg på bloggen sin så er det selvsagt reklame. Man bare plasserer innhold laget av merkevaren, men om bloggeren selv skaper innholdet – så er det sponset innhold. Fordi merkevaren er ikke i 100% kontroll, det er bloggeren som bestemmer hvordan innhold og budskap utformes.

Reklame er innhold skapt av merkevaren, plassert på en flate. Sponset innhold er innhold skapt på oppfordring av merkevaren, men hvor innholdsskaper står for innhold og produksjon.