10 Things Marketing Professionals Starting Out Should Do
In a fragmented media society, where attention is a scarce resource, the value of good marketers and marketing agencies just keeps increasing. At the same time, competition for marketing jobs is fierce and while the industry itself is hot, there is still as much a need as ever to stand out.
With that in mind, I was thinking today it might be helpful if I share some things new marketers could do when entering the industry to give themselves the edge against the competition. These are of course in addition to doing an outstanding job on client work and gaining experience over time – this is all about going the extra mile personally.
1. Start a blog
Blogging about your experiences professionally is the number one tool for marketing yourself. If you have insights and strategy to share, openness is a wonderful philosophy to embrace. Don’t worry about giving away secrets or a competitive advantage to your peers; the rewards outweigh this by far. You’ll also elevate your writing skills by challenging yourself to create original content on a regular basis, connect with like-minded professionals and gain insight to how the social web works.
2. Keep a personal portfolio of case studies
Documenting your successes is a great way not only to create a personal roadmap to learn and build upon as you go, but is vital to be able to move ahead in the industry. New marketers should get in the habit of doing this. Another great benefit is on occasion you’ll get permission from your firm and/or a client to share a case study or campaign publicly – depending on the industry and type of work you’re doing. Smart companies benefit from this as much as the marketing professionals behind the campaign – a rising tide lifts all boats.
3. Network, network, network
Connections are vital for success, especially if you can make them with people who have leverage in the industry. Use the web to your advantage, attend industry conferences, go to local meet-ups and build your network. It helps both personally and professionally, and if you’re serious about becoming a go-to person in the industry, there is no excuse not to do this.
4. Learn from the partners/senior members of your firm/company
The partners of most firms or senior staff are happy to share their experiences/expertise and get into discussions about the industry. Get to know their history and learn from them as much as possible – I was always happy to share knowledge with all my colleagues and from experience I notice others have been equally as open.
5. Personal SEO
This might not be easy, depending how popular your name is – but you should work hard to rank for your name in the engines. Inevitably you are going to be searched, you really want to be first – and at the very least on page 1 somewhere.
6. Respond to media queries
Subscribe to services like ProfNet and keep tabs on what industry reporters are covering, then offer yourself as an expert source where you can add value to a story. Aggregate and collect as you go – just like you would for a client. It opens doors with industry reporters and helps get your name out there.
7. Make some close, personal friends in the industry
This is different than purely networking to follow others on the web. Make some real friends in the industry you speak with frequently. You’ll be able to bounce ideas off each other, share resources, collaborate on things like non-profit work and sandbox projects and essentially help motivate each other to get to the next level.
8. Stay at the edge of communications/technology trends
To be an effective marketer in a world of constantly-changing communications trends, it is essential to stay at the edge. Embrace this and take the charge personally to keep your company at the edge. Read case studies, industry trades, relevant blogs – create a system to get the right information and data coming to you every day without spending much time.
9. Learn to be an analytics, data and research wizard
Becoming fluent in interpreting analytics and using the data for actionable next steps is now a basic requirement of marketers. Also, get efficient in using research tools to get data to help you make better choices. Learn to not just come up with good ideas, but also know how to support them.
10. Become efficient with pull marketing strategies
Pull strategies are far more efficient in a fragmented media world. They break through the clutter and resonate stronger than traditional push marketing. I’m not saying push doesn’t have a place at times, but pull is becoming the far more valuable skill to have, as it’s common to understand push marketing.
This is definitely a short list – there is far more I could have added here. What else do you think new marketers can do to stand out from the crowd and position themselves for future success?
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