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See you in September–again

Long-time readers might know that I do something somewhat unusual each August. For the last two years (and I am doing it again this year), I take off the month of August. Each year, I refine it a bit, and I am making some changes again this year in my approach. In some ways, it feels harder for me to take off in August than ever, even though I know that I need it and i know that it will turn out very well for me in the end. It’s still a little bit scary to do, even though I have done it twice before. No, wait—maybe it is scary because I’ve done it twice before.

The first year that I took off for a month, this blog went silent. I didn’t have many contributors, and everyone just went dark with me. I am sure that it didn’t help our subscriber counts, but I did need it and I came back refreshed.

Last year, I refined it a bit. Frank Reed wrote three posts a week that were posted throughout August, so although I went dark, the blog kept the lights on. And, honestly, I thought that Frank kept it going better than I do.

This year, we’ll have posts from a few different contributors, but none of them me. I bet they are good.

But I am making a big change this year–after two straight Augusts of being dark on Twitter, this year I am going to post one tweet a day, but by remote control. In recent months, my marketing manager, Eileen Cosenza, has begin compiling short tips from my writings over the years, and crafting them into 140 characters. She’ll continue to do that while I am out, so there will be a few tweets flying around even while I am resting. She might say thanks to a few people, too.

Eileen has been instrumental in getting our monthly Biznology Webinars off the ground, and I will relent from vacation on August 30 to do our August broadcast. (It’s about persuading upper management to invest in search marketing, if you are free at 11 am ET that day.)

I’m hoping that by next year, someone else will be editing this blog and we’ll have enough contributors that I can disappear and the blog will keep running. Each year, I try to do a little more throughout the year so that I can do a little less in August.

I suspect that most of us struggle with these same problems. How can we meet the expectations of our always-on digital audience without being always-on ourselves? It’s not easy, and I won’t pretend that I’m not peeking at e-mail throughout August, because I can’t bear to think about what will happen if something really important came in (nor the idea of catching up on several thousand e-mails in early September).

In fact, this year, it is tougher than ever to take the time off. Several of my clients could really use me over the next few weeks as they work through big opportunities, but they understand what I am doing. They know that I need to recharge and that I don’t have too many more years when I can enjoy my kids. (I have one trooping off to college at the end of August and another who just got behind the wheel for the first time this week.)

You might have similar challenges, whether it’s spending time with your spouse, your kids, or your aging parents. Or catching up with friends that have been strangers for too long. We all need to get a break and I know that we all aren’t as lucky as i am to take one this long. But I hope that we can take the pressure off ourselves to never take a break, because it just isn’t healthy. I am as guilty as anyone of working too many hours, but this month, I want it to be different.

I’ll let you know in September how I did. Wish me luck.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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