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Is Content Consuming You or Are You Consuming Content?

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Content is being published at record levels. Regardless of your interest and professional inclination. There is a great deal of content, and it's right at your fingertips; accessed on your phone, tablet, computer or dare I say trade magazine. Since I am a marketer, I am writing this article thinking about those of you who have a marketing title on your business card.

Are you like me, always trying to carve out time from your day to read blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, attend webinars, watch videos and visit yet another website? Our challenge isn't finding the information, but finding time to read it.

Where Do You Consume Content?

If you're like most people, you probably consume more content at home than you do at work. Don't worry, you're in good company. Take a look at these stats published in a Linkedin eBook titled, The Mindset Divide, Spotlight On Content.

Professionals are 62 percent more likely to consume professional content at home than at work.

Now we have some data to go on. Are you one of those people that read content at work or do you take it home? I admit, I am a take it home content reader. In fact, I take content home so much it consumes me, I don't consume it. My consumption behavior raises some questions that I think need some clarification.

When Is The Best Time To Read Content?

I don't know about you, but there never seems to be a great time to read and absorb professional content. Life just seems to get in the way. When I go into work early, my goal is to spend some time to skim through the latest eBook or whitepaper I just received. However, as soon as I get to my desk, the day's to-do list screams at me (figuratively) and I just can't put it off. My next option is to load eBooks on my iPad and read them over lunch. Nope, that doesn't work either because I end up skipping lunch or skipping the reading. My last resort is to take the reading home at night or over the weekend and stay up late reading through the plethora of content piled-up over the last few weeks. This is not always a good idea either. However, this does seem to be the best option for me and the most popular option reported from the Linkedin stats above. I guess I am in good company.

Is Content Consumption Considered Training?

When I read through marketing content that's always packed with great statistics and perspectives, I like to call it 'candy for the mind.' I enjoy it because I am continuously learning new things and experimenting with new ideas. This happens mostly when I see new software, visual ideas, advertisements, apps or technology. I consider this training, because when I learn and apply something new that is directly applicable to my job, it's similar to attending a paid workshop. Only this is free. A perfect example is when I recently came across flipbook software called Flipsnack. I was looking for a way to take powerpoint presentations and add a flipping and / or page-turn motion to them. Flipsnack's free version was perfect for what I needed. It was easy to use as well.

Where Do You Find Content That Is Valuable For Professional Development?

I have experienced a wide range of content that has been helpful for me. There is not any one place to go in order to find everything I need. Typically, I see the best content in a variety of places. This includes web, social media, videos, apps, email and industry news sites. If I were to rate the types of media that work best for me, I would say email from RSS feeds is number one and social media sites are number two. I would rank blogs a close third.

Here's the crazy part, as I read through the data from The Mindset Divide, Spotlight On Content, I noticed their top two highest percentages of types of media in which content is being accessed is exactly what mine are. What are your consumption habits?

• 64 percent of professionals are sharing professional content through a social network via website or posting to a social media service.
• 54 percent of Content is Accessed Once a day or more often via online websites and email
• 30 percent of Content is Accessed Once a day or more often via social media sites and apps

Do You Share With Your Co-Workers What You Learned?

Do you tell someone when you find content that you know is extremely helpful? My suggestion is to share it with others, don't hold on to it. Sharing the knowledge makes everyone smarter, including you. I am sure there are a select few business people that don't share what they learn. Linkedin reports:

• Almost 70 percent of professionals agree that they like to be the first to receive and share professional content that others might find useful.

In my career, the more I read and applied what I have learned, the more confident I felt in my job. In my lengthy career, it has been rare for me to be part of a company that had lots of time and money to spend on employees for training. Today, I feel that I can train myself just by continuing to absorb as much marketing content as possible. I feel personal content consumption is a valued training vehicle for today's motivated employees.

My suggestion is to take advantage of web, social, email, mobile and video content. However, don't let it consume you. Excess time spent consuming content can cause burnout, then you risk not learning anything at all. When you decide to consume content topically, it will have more meaning and purpose. The intrinsic value will not only refresh your perspective, but provide a deeper understanding. Now, it's time to be honest with yourself. Is content consuming you or are you consuming content? Only you can answer that one.