eight Sincere Items of Recommendation That Will Make You a Higher Marketer
Before 2020, one of the things I loved most about my job was meeting and talking to other incredible women in my industry. Back then, it went without saying how easy it was to make these connections … by signing up for a conference, attending a local networking event, or even making a random connection at a party.
Of course, there are no face-to-face events and chance meetings happening right now – but it’s never been more important for women to make these important connections. We need to see one another, learn from one another, and strengthen one another, not just because these relationships are essential to sustaining our careers through this pandemic, but because they fuel our fire and let us know that we are not having this experience alone.
To bring women together in our industry and to ensure that exceptional women’s achievements don’t go unnoticed, our women-led Masthead Media team created WICMA Connect, a virtual network extension of the Women in Content Marketing Awards. The idea was to have the most accomplished and inspiring women in our industry in one room – or in this case many smaller zoom breakout rooms! – To match with those who are just starting out, making a career transition, or just looking to grow as marketers.
As I couldn’t be in every breakout room, I reached out to our WICMA winners after the event to continue the conversation and hear their best advice for marketers as this new (and hopefully, much better!) Year begins. Here are some of the directions I will be taking in 2021.
“There’s nothing wrong with just listening”
Wright Creative Agency co-founder Heather Keets Wright shared this simple – but rarely followed – piece of advice with her grandmother. She noted that the marketing industry as a whole can benefit from more listening, especially when it comes to underrepresented voices.
“It’s not just about the buzzwords we hear all the time – authenticity, engagement, storytelling … none of that matters unless you really go out and find people from different backgrounds to tell different stories.”
How can you include different perspectives in your work? Consider reaching outside your immediate network and joining larger online communities, focusing on building relationships with professionals of other races, genders, ages, and experience levels. Be intentional (and open!) When stepping up the work of marketers from different backgrounds.
“The audience is also your customer”
When we create content marketing campaigns, a lot of us focus on what the brand wants to say or publish – and we completely forget to ask ourselves what our audience actually cares about.
“Our readers are our customers, and so are the brands that work with us,” said Denise Burrell-Stinson, who heads WP BrandStudio, the Washington Post’s branded content division. “We continuously and critically evaluate the content topics that interest audiences and how they deal with the different types of content formats.”
When Burrell-Stinson and her team know this, they can better understand the topics and user experience that audiences really connect with. That way, they can keep developing content that the audience wants to engage with.
“Diversify Your Skills”
At this critical moment in healthcare, I was particularly interested in Amanda Todorovich’s thoughts on expanding content marketing in her organization – she is the senior director of digital marketing and healthcare content at the Cleveland Clinic.
Amanda emphasized the importance of not only honing your marketing and writing skills, but also developing a data-driven mindset. “Diversify your skills. Become a better writer, but make sure you understand analytics and measurement, too,” she said. “In any case, data tells us our story.”
Amanda also recommends a data-driven approach when requesting additional budget or hires for teams. “It’s much easier to advocate for ongoing support and investment in content when there are such strong, measurable results that can be routinely shared.”
“Divide the Numbers”
In some organizations, there is a tendency for only certain people – often a small group of managers – to be able to view analytics and success metrics. The problem with this mindset, how can your entire team learn what’s working (and what’s a flop) when they can’t see how stories and campaigns have played out?
For this and other reasons, Giselle Abramovich, executive editor of Enterprise Thought Leadership at Adobe, is a whole-hearted believer in democratizing performance data.
“We created a really detailed dashboard in Adobe Analytics that is available to all of our stakeholders across the company. Anyone who wants access can get it,” said Giselle, noting that content creators can see details like topics and length of Content and format that readers are most concerned with.
“Teams across the organization can look at different audiences and really understand what content they are interested in so that they can meet those needs.”
“Reinvest in your team”
As Vice President of Content at NerdWallet, Maggie Leung had the unique opportunity to rebuild the company’s content operations from the ground up. She quickly realized that the success of her new department relied heavily on the team she had hired.
“It’s so important to invest in training, development and coaching,” said Leung. “We primarily promote from within and try to keep talent with us for as long as possible. We are constantly striving to build up specialist and institutional knowledge. This is important to us because we want to be a trustworthy brand for future generations”, she said .
She also emphasized the importance of building a diverse team – hiring writers from different backgrounds, generations and geographic locations. “The better we reflect our users, the better we can serve them.”
“Stay prepared, but flexible”
There couldn’t be a more important time to work in politics. As Social Media Director for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, Anastasia Golovashkina pioneered a new level of integration between digital and communication.
“By adapting key quotes from debates, town halls, interviews, and other videos to include shareable content like GIFs and quote graphics, we have ensured that Elizabeth Warren’s best moments are shared and remembered long after a single story or moment is up.” According to Anastasia, adding “prepared but flexible” with the team’s content queue is critical to success.
Reusing content across channels is a crucial tactic for any resourceful marketer, too. As you plan your content calendar, plan how each piece of content can be customized to reach your audience across platforms and at important moments.
If your brand is considering using its content and platform to talk about a political cause or issue that is dominating the news, think about how to customize your message across platforms as well. “It’s never too late or too early to get involved with the campaigns and causes that matter to you,” said Anastasia.
“Estimate the numbers – but look beyond”
Dina Morocco, Executive Director, Content Marketing at Comcast, was responsible for increasing the editorial presence and value of the brand for consumers. That meant developing a framework to measure the success of their content.
“With strong engagement metrics, we can understand user interest in the content,” she says. “We also measure ourselves by the return on our investment. Does the content we create and promote move the needle toward our business goals?”
Another, more intrinsic measure of success, Dina also wants to see how effectively she and her team have worked with others across functions. “We work with a lot of colleagues in the production of our branded entertainment,” she says. “The most successful projects are those in which we inspired each other and had fun doing it.
“Do the job well – no matter how small”
When you first start your career (in marketing or otherwise) it is only natural to ask for more responsibility. Before getting into the big, higher-profile tasks, make sure you’ve done the smaller, seemingly “unimportant” parts of your job first.
Before she was editor-in-chief at Tonal, Sahar Aman was a student working on a film set. There she was assigned … to make tea. At the time, she felt discouraged.
“To keep my mood up, the third assistant director told me that making tea is actually a very important task, even if it doesn’t seem like it, she remembered.” So I started learning how to make the most of tea makes my ability. Sure enough, my dedication to tea earned me serious praise on set and I got more and more responsibilities. I immediately decided never to be put off by a ‘small’ job and to do everything I could with 110 percent. “
Show your willingness to do any job with thoughtfulness and care – I can guarantee it won’t go unnoticed (especially by your boss!).
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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