“Hold on, let me just confirm the solution for you,” the service rep responds as she scrambles to look up the answer to a customer’s question.
It’s the corporate equivalent of a retail employee wandering aimlessly down each aisle when you ask where a certain product is, like you couldn’t have done that yourself.
Customers will eventually stump customer service (a department sometimes known as customer success, if it’s more focused on proactive goal-setting than reactive troubleshooting) with a question they ask over the phone or in a live chat window. And that’s okay; it’s hard to always have all the answers at the ready.
What’s not okay is when this becomes a pattern — customer success employees seeming puzzled by the same problems or questions every time their clients bring them up.
Does this sound like the situation at your company? Consider tapping your marketing department to fill those knowledge gaps.
You may have heard the term “smarketing,” which describes the ideal alignment of Marketing and Sales through shared goals and direct communication. What if I told you the same alignment could benefit Marketing and Customer Success, too?
There’s a critical opportunity for both Marketing and Customer Success to help each other better serve their common audience. Here are six ways Marketing can help customer success managers (CSMs) and service reps transform the client experience, and the benefit Marketing can receive in return.
6 Ways Marketing Content Can Support a Customer Service Team
1. Distilling Marketing Content Into Monthly Digests
Customer Success might already receive their company blog’s newsletter, but their conversations with clients can benefit from more tailored recommendations.
A dedicated roundup email just for these employees — offering a digest of the most product- or customer-focused material from the previous month or quarter — can ensure the team is always tuned into the issues Marketing knows their audience is most interested in.
A good place to start? Identify the latest ebooks, how-to articles, and data sheets your website is offering for download, and highlight the key points across each piece in this recurring email. Also known as “middle-of-the-funnel” content, this type of content can be hugely helpful to a customer success team because it reinforces product and value proposition comprehension.
Putting this material in client-facing hands ensures their remarks to customers are consistent with what people are reading on your blog or website.
2. Creating a Content Library on the Intranet
An internal wiki or intranet for sharing resources with coworkers is the perfect space for a content library. According to CMO Council, 40% of salespeople’s time is spent looking for content that Marketing has created. Because Customer success talks to customers just as often as Sales does, it stands to reason they do the same thing.
Rather than letting your CSMs Google everything Marketing has published — and potentially sending a dreaded “unusual traffic” signal to Google if they search too much — repost this content as links on an intranet page created just for Sales and/or Customer Success.
Sort the relevant articles and offers by common customer queries: An article on good email subject lines, for example, might be appropriate bucketed under the topic “how customers can stay out of their own clients’ spam folders.”
3. Reporting on Social Media Interaction
What do social media and community managers have in common with customer success managers? They see lots of customer complaints — but in a Twitter post or Facebook comment, rather than over the phone or in a live chat window.
And yet customer service experts at Sparkcentral suggest only 8% of marketing and customer service employees work together on social media. This is a missed opportunity.
If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that people are more willing to be honest about their feelings and experiences from behind a computer screen than they are in person or over the phone. That means Marketing could be sitting on a goldmine of feedback from social media followers that the folks in customer success hasn’t seen.
Want to help them serve your customers better? Open a line of communication with Customer Success to report on the latest interactions with followers of the brand’s social media accounts on a regular cadence. This should include both public comments and private messages, allowing CSMs to see how Marketing talks to users and diagnoses problems their clients may not be revealing directly.
4. Joining Kickoff or Implementation Meetings
Customer success departments that also onboard new customers are sometimes thrown broad questions about the industry during initial calls.
For example, in the marketing industry, a customer might ask, “what content should I publish?” versus or in addition to, “how do I integrate my content management system (CMS) with your product?” The first question may go beyond the product issues that service reps are trained to handle.
Luckily, industry best practices are marketers’ bread and butter, making them excellent wingmen during these kickoff meetings. Including just one marketing employee in this process can help keep the customer thoroughly educated in the early stages of a business relationship.
These kickoffs can take place frequently, though, and it’s important to be respectful of the marketing department’s time. If your marketing employees are separated by industry specialization, consider rotating them into kickoffs for clients that fit their area of expertise.
If their workload simply doesn’t allow for it, having marketing’s leadership staff (such as the CMO or VP of Marketing) take this responsibility may be in the best interest of the rest of the team.
5. Reporting on Chatbot Conversations
Chatbots and similar chat tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) aren’t yet ubiquitous in marketing, but for companies that have deployed AI-powered chatbots, these transcripts are invaluable to your customer service team.
(Skeptical about the AI hype? Research shows you may already be using AI and not realize it!)
Chatbot technology allows companies to talk to customers via messaging apps — or natively as a feature of their website — with an automated “bot” programmed to answer common questions about their services.
If your company hosts a chatbot on, say, HubSpot Conversations (get it for free here), it was likely set up to handle quick-answer queries so client-facing staff can spend time solving more complex problems for the customer. A smart move, no doubt about it.
However, this might also mean a log of some very interesting dialogue between a prospect visiting your website and a robot who speaks on the company’s behalf is going unseen by employees who can learn from it.
This chatbot might be designed to lighten the load of questions normally posed to a human service rep, but don’t let the automated conversations go to waste. Go a step further and examine how people are interacting with the chatbot.
People tend to lean on chatbots for open-ended, educational needs rather than technical issues, so examine your transcripts for trends in what users need the most information on when perusing your business’ website.
For example, you might baffle Customer Success with how many people ask the chatbot about a third-party integration your product offers relative to how little detail your website or CSMs provide on the subject themselves. Time to create some informational middle-of-the-funnel content …
6. Using Their Insights to Make Your Marketing Content Better
Like in Smarketing, the role of Marketing to Customer Success is a two-way street. Customer Success can offer valuable client insights right back to Marketing, which allows marketers to improve their content so it’s addressing the questions Customer Success typically needs help answering for clients.
Just as marketing teams have the opportunity to distill their content into an internal email specifically for service reps (per section 1 above), Customer Success likely keeps transcripts or recordings of their conversations with clients. Consider working with your Customer Success peers on a simple report that highlights call FAQs. Who knows? The company blog or website may be neglecting your customers’ most burning questions.
In addition, brainstorming sessions shouldn’t always be exclusive to the Marketing team. Everyone at the business can bring valuable content suggestions to the table, and Customer Success in particular has a breadth of on-the-job experience with clients that could make for a great how-to article or video.
Don’t hesitate to invite them to your next idea meeting.
Companies with the best customer experience share information across every department, and Customer Success is no exception. By keeping this department informed on what Marketing does all day, you equip them with the answers they’re expected to have and offer a more stable buyer’s journey to everyone the company works with.
As of late, it feels like an arms race between email marketing or Messenger marketing. A world where marketers have to pick: the workhorse of today or the most exciting channel of tomorrow?
When companies ask me which one to use, my answer surprises them: have your cake and eat it, too. Email and Messenger together will make your business more money than picking one. Which one you should use when — and for whom — comes down to context.
Here are three things to consider as you decide which areas of your marketing strategy need email, and which need Messenger.
Every interaction your company has with someone needs a purpose. All communication should be deliberate, whether it’s with a prospect or a customer. Your marketing goal will determine whether email or Messenger makes more sense.
In some cases, you have a lot to say — or show. That’s a big reason email remains the channel of choice for long-form communication. Email wins at getting lengthy points across that people can store and share later. More often than not, though, most marketing and sales emails I get don’t fall into that camp.
“Chatting with you > Talking at you”
This is where Messenger’s shorter communication style thrives. When you get an email, it feels like companies are talking at you. With Messenger, those same companies are chatting with you. It also pays to keep in mind who you’re trying to reach. Even though chatting is better for some, it’s not better for all.
Did your audience use the internet between 1990-2005? Chances are email was how they kept in touch with friends and businesses. It still is older generations’ line to businesses, according to HubSpot. Email used to be our connection to businesses and a personal CRM. But times have changed.
Younger generations don’t spend time in their email inbox; they message one another. It’s part of a larger shift where messaging apps have become the activity that dominates 91% of our time on screens. To be a successful marketer in 2018, you need to meet users where they spend their time. The most delightful marketing experiences of tomorrow will happen on platforms like Messenger.
How my dad thinks I use my phone, anyways.
If you and I are anything alike, you’ve gone through a few email addresses over the years. Student email? Good until graduation. Work address? Great until you change jobs. Email addresses tie to finite periods in our lives. Things like Facebook IDs, though, will never change. You’re always going to be you. Messenger Marketing means you can engage with someone throughout their life.
Okay, not as many as Homer. But you get the idea.
Over time, you’ll learn more about prospects that you can use to personalize how you engage them. It’s a best practice across platforms. Messenger has a secret sauce in this camp, though, that many marketers don’t realize. You can personalize in real-time on Messenger. Every word they say or button they click can steer them into a hyper-targeted experience. You’ll capture their intent and delight right away, without having to wait until the next email goes out.
Let your audience set the tone for where they want to engage with you. It’ll add value across all your channels in both the short and long-term. There’s some group of your email audience that wants to hear from you, but not in their email inbox. Give those people another option for staying in touch, like Messenger.
Once you do that, there’s a good chance that you see an improvement in both open and click-through rates. Every message going out the door is only to people who want to hear from you on that channel. This can help your deliverability score in the long-term, too.
That’s not to say it’s an absolute one or the other. Be tasteful and use both together. We have a lot of people who prefer to download e-books on Messenger. But after talking with them, we learned that many of them still read it on desktop. We started emailing them a copy of their e-book, too, to provide a better experience. Think back to the differences between email and Messenger we discussed in this post. Use both channels together in tandem when you see value.
There are few times in life where 1+1=3. Marketing through email and Messenger in tandem is one of them. The behemoth channels of today and tomorrow have their differences. It’s not about how you use one, though, it’s about how you use both. Great marketers will use context to have their cake and eat it, too.
Here’s a hypothetical for you: Let’s say your company has decided to invest in a website redesign so you can improve lead generation, and you’re responsible for managing the project. Naturally, one of the first questions you have is, “How much is this website redesign going to cost?”
The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Are you simply switching to a new template and adding some new CTAs, or are you migrating your entire website to a new platform?
If only there were a way to organize your answers to all of these questions — a place where you could enter in estimated costs for all of your line items, and then compare your projected marketing budget to what you actually end up spending …
Good news! Our latest offer, 8 Free Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend, has got you covered. Included in our eight budget templates bundle is a template to manage your website redesign … as well as templates for both Excel and Google Sheets to help you track your content budget, paid advertising budget, event budget, and more.
Here’s a peek:
Aligning Your Budget With Your Marketing Goals
What you spend and where you spend it will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. This is especially true when it comes to paid advertising like search and display ads, social media ads, and so on.
HubSpot’s former Demand Generation Marketer and Trello’s current Product Marketing Manager, Jessica Webb, says this about how your costs can change when focusing on lead generation vs. lead conversion: “The majority of money you spend on paid efforts is usually calculated based on volume of clicks or impressions. Because of this, you’ll often want to put more budget toward campaigns with higher-volume offers and audiences.”
“An example, a tweet or Facebook ad promoting a lead generation offer that leans more top of the funnel will likely receive more clicks than something that falls more toward the middle or bottom of the funnel,” she explains.
Your paid advertising costs will also change depending on how wide of an audience you are attempting to reach. “You can look at Twitter advertising as an example,” Webb explains. “You have to option to target your campaigns based on users’ interests or keywords searched for. Interests are a much broader category, whereas smaller pockets of users are searching for any given keyword, therefore your interests-based audience is going to be much larger and require a larger budget.”
To keep better track of your paid advertising efforts,download the Paid Advertising Budget Template (included in the8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
Beware Hidden Costs
One of the great advantages to having and maintaining a budget spreadsheet is that it helps you avoid those end-of-the-quarter or end-of-the-year freak outs when you realize, “Whoa … what did I spend all that money on?”
In many cases, unanticipated costs can force marketers to fork over cash that they didn’t plan on spending. Product marketing offers a perfect example. According HubSpot’s VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson, it’s easy to forget that successfully marketing your products and services requires more than just promotion.
“When people allocate budget for product marketing, they tend to think in terms of product launches and promotional activities,” Anderson explains. “That’s certainly an important part of it, but another area of focus to remember is setting aside resources to conduct research and message testing long before the product ever goes to market. Having conversations with customers about the pain points your product will ultimately address is critical to shaping the messaging and having a successful launch.”
To better manage your product marketing efforts, download the Product Marketing Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
Remember Where Your Priorities Lie
Marketing is overflowing with add-ons and extras, upsells, and “premium” versions. One of the best ways to assess what’s nice to have versus what’s absolutely necessary is to (you guessed it) organize all of your expenses. By keeping tabs on where your budget is being allocated, and cross-checking that spending with the results you’re getting, it will be much easier to figure out what should keep getting budget and what should get kicked to the curb.
For example, let’s look to the world of public relations. In PR, there are countless tools to which you can allocate budget, which could leave you overspending where it doesn’t matter — and underspending where it does.
“Tools abound to help PR practitioners not only create and distribute great content and find and target key stakeholders, but to ultimately measure reach and effectiveness,” says Nathaniel Eberle, HubSpot’s former Director of PR & Brand and LogMeIn’s current Director of Global Brand Management. “The key is making sure you’re laser-focused on who you’re setting out to reach and influence, then ensuring that your budget supports how they’ll most likely want to receive (and share) your key messages.
“As the media and digital landscape evolves at breakneck speed, continually reassessing the tools, services, and programs you’re employing is a great way to determine real-time ROI of your overall spend. Today’s measurement tool may be worthless to you tomorrow.”
To get better at prioritizing your PR line items, download the PR Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).
It’s Not All About the Benjamins
When you open up these budget templates and check out all the various expenses detailed in them, don’t fret if you can’t tick every box. I’m not advocating for an “always spend more” approach to marketing. I’m advocating for an “always spend smart” approach. The expenses listed out aren’t mandatory — they’re just meant to guide your thinking and to help ensure that you haven’t overlooked any hidden costs.
With that in mind, here’s the full list of budget templates included in the bundle.
The 8 Marketing Budget Templates You Need to Manage Your Marketing Spend
With the 8 Free Budget Planner Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend, you’ll be able to manage all of the moving pieces of your budget at a monthly and quarterly level. Use the Excel version of the templates to keep all of your budgets in one place. When you download the zip file, you’ll find a separate file for each marketing team, as well as a Master Budget Template to maintain a high-level view of your overall expenses.
Interested in sharing your marketing budget across a larger team? Try the Google Sheets version of the same eight templates to share access with other Gmail users. For the Google Sheets templates, each team budget is found in a separate tab of the same Google Sheet. No matter which version you choose, each budget is optimized with the same line items, tips, and graphs. Read on to learn how to use each budget template.
1. Master Marketing Budget Template
While it’s helpful to have individual budget templates for specific marketing departments and activities, it’s also nice to be able to take a step back and see the bigger picture. The Master Marketing Budget Template let’s you do just that: It’s the place where you can collect the totals from the other seven templates in the bundle and see all of your expenses in one place.
2. Product Marketing Budget Template
This template will guide you step-by-step through the process of budgeting for a product launch. From determining product/market fit, to running user testing sessions, to promoting your finished product, our Product Marketing Budget Template will help ensure you don’t overlook any important expenses.
3. Content Budget Template
The budget required for creating and promoting content can vary greatly from organization to organization. For example, while some organizations keep most of their content operations in-house, others rely more heavily on freelancers and contractors. And while some use many different software products, publishing tools, and services, others take a much simpler approach.
Our Content Budget Template is designed to cover as many content-related bases as possible. So, if you see any expenses listed that don’t apply to your organization, go ahead and delete them. (That’s the beauty of Excel spreadsheets: You can customize them to your specific needs.)
4. Paid Advertising Budget Template
Paid advertising: Does it really qualify as an inbound marketing tactic/channel? That is a loaded question, my friends, and one that I don’t have room to answer in-depth in this post. What I can tell you for sure is that you can do paid advertising in an “inboundy” way — i.e. by targeting specific buyer personas and using paid advertising as a supplement to your organic efforts to help drive awareness and conversion opportunities.
Measuring the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaigns is also paramount to doing things the inbound way. Using our Paid Advertising Budget Template, you can keep tabs on your monthly (and quarterly) ad spending, and then cross-reference the amounts with your lead-generation metrics to determine your cost-per-lead.
5. Public Relations Budget Template
Public relations expenses amount to more than just paying for press releases. From reputation monitoring software, to traveling (e.g., to events and tradeshows), to applying for awards, there are many PR costs that can be all too easy to overlook.
To ensure you’re accounting for all of your organization’s PR-related expenses, check out our Public Relations Budget Template.
6. Branding & Creative Budget Template
In order to produce high-quality, innovative graphics, videos, and other content, the branding and creative teams of today need more than just Photoshop … a lot more. One of the largest — and often most overlooked — expenses is storage.
If your organization is producing a lot of video, storage is especially important. Because as it turns out, when budgeting for video storage, you shouldn’t be thinking on a megabyte (MB) or even a gigabyte (GB) scale, but on a terabyte (TB) scale. FYI: 1 terabyte = 1 trillion bytes. You can keep track of all your storage costs (and other branding and creative costs) using our free template.
7. Website Redesign Budget Template
Budgeting for a website redesign can be seriously tricky. With so many moving pieces to consider, there is a lot of room for underestimating or miscalculating costs. We created our Website Redesign Budget Template so you can keep all of your redesign-related expenses in one convenient location.
Unsure if your current website is right for a redesign? Check out this HubSpot research report: Does Your Website Make the Grade? Chances Are, It’s Barely Passing.
8. Event Budget Template
When planning an event, the associated costs can seem obvious at first. There’s the venue to consider, of course. And the P.A. system and microphones. And then the costs associated with booking and bringing in presenters/performers. That’s pretty much it, right?
For example, does the venue come with tables/chairs, or will you have to rent those separately? Do you want your attendees to wear name tags, and if so, will you be printing out the name tags ahead of time or will attendees be writing their own names on blank tags? If the latter, have you factored in the pens or markers you’ll need to accommodate that? As you can see, planning for an event can lead you down many rabbit holes.
Use our Event Budget Template to stay organized.
Twitter announced today that it will impose major restrictions on the use of automation and bulk-tweeting tools.
It’s the latest in a series of moves by Twitter to combat the spread of spam, false information, or bots on its network.
The motivation behind these new restrictions is to significantly limit the amount of identical information — like that containing false information or propaganda — being tweeted out by multiple accounts.
Why Twitter Has Imposed These Restrictions
That sort of activity is often conducted on platforms designed for Twitter automation and what’s also known as “bulk tweeting,” in which identical tweets are scheduled in advance to be sent out by multiple accounts, or sent by one and retweeted by several others.
In fact, according to the official announcement — penned by Twitter’s Manager of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth — Twitter has even incorporated changes to its own platform of this kind, TweetDeck, to reflect these new rules.
“Users of TweetDeck,” wrote Roth on the Twitter Developer Blog, “will no longer be able to select multiple accounts through which to perform an action such as Tweeting, Retweeting, liking, or following.”
Twitter is among many online communities that are continuously working to make improvements to the way they’re used and can be manipulated, as the investigation into the weaponization of such networks to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election proceeds. Medium also announced policy changes today, and Facebook recently introduced a pen-and-paper authentication method for candidates looking to run political campaign ads on its own platform.
“A stunning amount of information has come to the light about the magnitude of disinformation spread on social media, as well as the extent to which these platforms let it happen,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s Social Media Campaign Associate. “This looks like part of a push from within these companies to reduce the ease with which bad actors can reach such a wide audience.”
What This Means for Social Marketers
While banning such activity could curb the presence of widespread misinformation on Twitter, there’s a catch: Many marketers use these tools for similar purposes to share promotional information and links.
So what does this new policy mean for the marketers for whom such automation was the holy grail of Twitter efficiency?
First, it’s important to note that these new rules won’t impose a blanket restriction. The posting of such information as real-time updates pertaining to natural disasters or other widespread emergencies, as well as RSS feeds, will still be permitted through the use of automation. However, it can only be shared through a single account.
But Franco advises social marketers to take a step back to examine the work they’ve already done, and where they’ve seen success — pointing primarily to the chances that they’ve already weathered numerous algorithm updates from more than one channel.
“As always, social media managers will need to closely monitor algorithm changes in order to be successful on any platform,” he advises. “While automation is no longer an option, marketers have always been able to find innovative and effective ways to manage communications on these channels.”
It points to the age-old rule of inbound marketing: Quality content, on any platform, is going ultimately going to be the most successful. And while marketers might manage multiple accounts under a single brand, diversifying the content shared on them provides a better user experience — especially since users might be following these account to seek different types of information from each one.
Where Automation Stands Now
That doesn’t mean that automation can’t still be used. It appears that tweets can still be scheduled in advance from a single account — though we advise exercising caution in doing so and making sure inappropriate tweets aren’t sent out in the event of a major global event.
Those tweets also can’t be duplicated or retweeted by other accounts that you run, “regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication,” reads the official statement.
And just as Twitter has already rolled out modifications to TweetDeck functionalities, it strongly encourages developers of similar applications to do the same. These changes must go into force and comply with the new policies by March 23, 2018.
HubSpot is also making updates to its own product to honor the new policies.
“Twitter has made it clear that it’s changing its own TweetDeck product to meet the new guidelines,” says Jeffrey Vocell, HubSpot’s senior product marketing manager. “Here at HubSpot, we are also evaluating these new guidelines, and will make applicable changes to our social product as necessary.”
There are some weird job titles cropping up across the globe, and I bet you’ll never guess what the most popular one was in the U.S. last year for that category.
It was “rockstar” — followed closely by “guru” and “ninja.” You read that right. Ninja.
Contrary to the images they conjure, these titles weren’t written to attract musicians and covert assassins. They were intended to appeal to experts in their respective industries. A “customer experience ninja,” for example, finds ways to improve how clients engage with the brand. S/he’s just so good at it, you don’t even know s/he’s there, “killing” it at every point in the buyer’s journey.
An “SEO guru” might own all tasks related to search engine optimization, and, as a callback to the teacher origins of “guru,” educate the marketing department on the latest Google best practices.
This doesn’t mean you need to (or should) fill your careers page with flashy marketing job titles to reach the talent you want. It does, however, show how quickly the naming conventions are changing along with the practices that help a business grow. You need to compete for talented marketers’ attention, and they’re looking for job titles in marketing that denote their specific value to the market, and help their careers grow, too.
“Marketing coordinator,” “digital specialist,” and similarly generic terms often don’t encompass the responsibilities of today’s marketer — even those who might be coming to your company right from college.
And many marketing leaders are feeling the effects of this shift — 95% of them say their organizations are struggling in some way because they aren’t reaching the right candidates, according to a TEKsystems survey.
It’s hard to know exactly what title your ideal employee expects when researching new opportunities, especially if you’re hiring a certain role for the first time. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. The list below contains some of the most important job titles with which to populate your marketing team this year.
The marketing job titles to consider this year:
- Content Creator
- Content Strategist
- Content Marketing Manager
- Creative Assistant
- Digital Brand Manager
- Creative Director
- Marketing Data Analyst
- Marketing Technologist
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Social Media Coordinator
- Social Media Strategist
- Community Manager
- SEO Specialist
- SEO Strategist
- SEO/Marketing Manager
But how do you know which title to use for a given role? We can help there, too.
These titles mean nothing if you don’t know how they support the initiatives your company wants to tackle. With that in mind, here are five types of people whose skillsets are critical to marketing today, and how their talents map to the titles above.
5 Critical Skills and the Marketing Job Titles They’re Perfect For
1. The Blogger
Opening a job requisition under the title “blogger” seems logical — this person’s primary duty will be to write for the company blog, after all. Keep in mind that anyone can launch a blog, though, and not just for business reasons. It’s important that your title conveys the more technical, brand-oriented skills you require.
Instead of blogger, try one of these on for size, in order of experience level:
- Content Creator (entry-level)
Content Strategist (mid-level)
Content Marketing Manager (management)
What They Do
“Content” is the operative word here. “Content creation/management” is the #3 digital marketing skill of 2018, according to a survey of 250 marketing leaders by IT solutions provider TEKsystems.
Image via TEKsystems
Content marketing encompasses all the consumable media you publish to drive the conversation in your industry — often including but not limited to blog posts. Your content team enforces your blog and offers’ tone, topic selection, editorial calendar, email campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy — all of which ensure you’re connecting with the right type of readers whom you can convert into customers.
Does this seem like a lot of varied skills that might be hard to find in one person? It’s up to you how you’d like to spread out these duties across the team’s hierarchy. While the content creator might be your chief writer, for example, you might put the content strategist in charge of determining core editorial themes and devising how to approach SEO in each post (we’ll talk more about SEO jobs in a couple of minutes).
The content marketing manager can then oversee the editorial calendar and package content into newsletters to subscribers, helping you grow your contact list and generate leads from all your content creator’s hard work.
2. The Multimedia Person
This role can be tougher to define, but it’s just as important to your content strategy. Although “videographer” and “graphic designer” can suffice for freelancers and those who specialize in a certain medium, these titles don’t hold much weight for full-time candidates who are increasingly “doing it all.”
Here are some suggestions:
Creative Assistant (entry-level)
Digital Brand Manager (mid-level)
Creative Director (management)
What They Do
You’ve likely noticed a pattern forming: Just as writers associate with “content,” your visual content and multimedia folks are fond of marketing job titles rooted in “creative” and “brand.” These keywords help bundle the many types of marketing collateral your creatives may tackle under one umbrella.
Breaking down the specific tasks associated with each role, creative assistants and digital brand managers produce photos, videos, logos, infographics, and similar visual content that give your brand style and storytelling power. Creative directors, on the other hand, “work with designers, artists, copywriters, sales teams and marketers to create a vision for products sold,” according to Snagajob. Further, “they invent new ideas for branding, advertising campaigns, and marketing messages.”
After you determine what level of expertise you need, be sure to research the design and editing software that best fits your company’s needs and include it in the job description. This ensures you’re reaching candidates who depend on the same equipment you do to be successful.
3. The Audience-Reacher
How do you know if your marketing efforts are producing a return on investment (ROI), or even being seen by the right people? Information related to page views, how users found your content, how long they stayed, and other consumption metrics can help you determine value and discover opportunities for optimization, but the roles that manage this data are a bit more complicated than the above two.
Here are three great titles for your more analytical marketers:
Marketing Data Analyst (entry-level)
Marketing Technologist (mid-level)
Digital Marketing Manager (management)
What They Do
Although each of these people should be well-versed in content analytics, they actually specialize in different things. While marketing data analysts study industry conditions to refine product positioning, marketing technologists develop an operational strategy for executing on these conditions — and pursue the necessary technology to support it. Digital marketing managers oversee the analytics related to your content so you can optimize your existing assets and create smarter campaigns in the future.
This personnel is very helpful to companies that outsource their writing needs to freelancers and need to analyze the ROI on their content spend. Or maybe they have a less-technical content team in-house, and prefer to hire a designated analytics team to work alongside them.
If you don’t have the budget or inclination to hire two separate teams, however, it’s common to build analytics into the daily duties of the content strategist or content marketing manager.
Keep in mind not every data-focused job title relates to marketing, so be careful when recruiting an analytics buff. A broad title like “data analyst,” for example, may attract operations generalists who design systems to help the business itself become more efficient, instead of your marketing campaigns specifically.
4. The Handler of Facebook and Twitter
For starters, “Facebook Manager” is not your best bet here. Similar to how “blogger” is often too narrow for your content folks, this type of employee merits a title that reflects how they’re using this medium — not just what specific channel they’re using. Here’s a hint: TEKsystems ranked “social media management” the #10 digital marketing skill of 2018.
And without further ado:
Social Media Coordinator (entry-level)
Social Media Strategist (mid-level)
Community Manager (management)
What They Do
Social media coordinators often handle the day-to-day posting responsibilities on various social networks, including management of a posting schedule similar to the content creator’s editorial calendar. Social media strategists help you decide which social networks to keep accounts on, which content to post, and where, for maximum reach and ROI.
Strategies for each network can vary wildly depending on where your audience hangs out and what content they consume — insights your marketing data analyst may help you uncover.
So, what the heck is a community manager? While you may hire for a social media manager in addition, the community manager has a special focus on the public that’s worth investing in as your social media presence grows. This employee usually performs one or both of two overarching responsibilities:
First is helping your social media team manage its relationship with current and future followers of the brand, especially if these followers are highly responsive to your posts. It’s the community manager’s job to engage these people and ensure the brand is responding to its most vocal listeners.
Other community managers, however, are moderators,governing social platforms where your followers speak up regularly. This could be Facebook, but it could also be your blog’s comment section or community forum websites run by your company. These community managers answer queries, promote compliments and other valuable audience contributions, and mitigate negative commentary.
5. The One Who Gets You on Google
This is where SEO gets its purpose. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! don’t publish a formula for what gets content to rank highly in their results (if only!), and any marketer can tell you how important it is to show up on the first page. Their ranking algorithms also change regularly, making your Google guru (don’t make that your job listing) an incredibly valuable individual.
Here are three marketing job titles that’ll resonate with the search crowd:
SEO Specialist (entry-level)
SEO Strategist (mid-level)
SEO/Marketing Manager (management)
What They Do
As you can see, there’s a pretty obvious pattern here. And just like your social media team, the difference between each role is in strategy versus execution.
SEO specialists coordinate with content creators to ensure the SEO tactics you’ve agreed to are being practiced in your content. Strategists work with your analytics buffs to refine your approach to SEO as Google’s algorithm, or your own content strategy, changes.
SEO/marketing managers are the most common SEO job title out there, according to content optimization service Conductor, and are particularly helpful if you’re tracking the SEO performance — also known as “organic” performance — of more than one blog or website page.
Keep in mind not every marketing position you see here is critical to an effective growth strategy. Some titles may be most useful to incorporate in the job description of another role you’re hiring for, rather than its own position (for example, putting “coordinates social media” in the description for a “content marketing manager” title).
Use these as opportunities to define the titles and marketing job descriptions of the positions that are critical to your growth, and you may well find the content strategist who also fancies him or herself an SEO ninja (hey, maybe post it and see what you get).
Photographs are emotional time machines: they transport us to places of which we’ve only dreamed, remind us of past experiences we long to recreate, and spark inspiration for future adventures.
It is not the photographs themselves that stir up these emotions, but rather the memories and aspirations we associate with them.
Instagram is a visual platform, so the best brands on Instagram understand the images they share are essential components to building their brands.
But beautiful images of their products aren’t enough.
Instead, great brands use Instagram to share images that create genuine connections between their products, and the hopes and ambitions of their followers.
Tell a Captivating Story
Instagram is the perfect tool to create an emotional connection to your brand.
Instead of posting images that merely showcase your products, share images to evoke the feelings, dreams, and ideals you want associated with your brand.
Today, it’s fairly easy to compose and post beautiful images, but unfortunately, aesthetic beauty is not enough to be successfully marketable on Instagram.
The key to establishing a loyal and enthusiastic following is to use your Instagram images to tell a story that captivates and engages your followers and allows them to be part of the adventure.
Achieving both of these goals — composing beautiful images and sharing them in an engaging and emotional way —takes some work. But with preparation and attention, you have the potential to curate a dazzling feed that will keep your followers scrolling.
Preparing Your Images for Instagram
There are four main ways your images can help or engage your followers. They can:
- Educate your followers
- Entertain your followers
- Assist your followers in solving a problem
- Motivate or inspire your followers
To attract attention, make sure your images tick at least one of the five categories below:
- Timely or topical: post about an upcoming event or festival that connects to your following
- Trending: post the type of content that is currently hot and trending on Instagram
- Original: post unique and imaginative content to set yourself apart
- Snackable: post content that is easily digestable while your followers scroll their feeds
- Actionable: include a call-to-action in your post, directing your followers to like, share, or comment on your image
To curate an appealing, cohesive feed, it’s important to select a consistent style for your posts. From crisp minimalism to bold and colorful, there are thousands of accounts you can draw inspiration from.
Here are some examples:
Black and white
Staging and Composing Your Images
Now that you’ve decided on the style and emotion of your images, it’s time to introduce some basic photography tips to help you compose visually-appealing images that fit the tone of your account.
Instagram images are 1080 x 1080 pixels. Instagram then resizes the images to 612 x 612 pixels, which display in users’ feeds as 510 x 510 pixels. On Instagram, quality beats quantity, so you should post photos that are at least 1080 x 1080 pixels. If you’re tempted to share smaller pictures, it’s better to do so on other social media platforms.
When choosing a color palette, keep it simple. Share photos that use only a few main colors. These colors should remain consistent throughout your feed.
The best photos are taken in bright and natural light. If you’re outside, avoid shooting in direct sunlight. The best lighting conditions exist in early morning, early evening, and overcast days.
Image by Felix Russell Saw
Image by Chirobocea Nicu
The rule of simplicity also applies when choosing a subject. Some of the best shots feature a single, appealing subject. Because your photo will feature just one subject, it’s worth spending extra time to stage and restage the shot to ensure that you capture your subject from the most interesting perspective.
Image by Kelly Sikkema
Image by Ronald Cuyan
Many skilled photographers follow the rule-of-thirds when shooting their subjects, meaning they dedicate one-third of the frame to the subject and two-thirds of the frame to negative space. This helps draw attention to your subject.
Utilize the grid feature on your phone or camera to better understand the space within your frame and balance the space between your subject and background.
Image by Trey Ratcliff
As you can see from the photo above, the photographer used the grid lines to divide the photo into nine equal parts, placing the subject of the photo on an intersection of four grid lines. These intersections are naturally the most appealing focal points within a photo.
Your use of negative space can transform a good photo into an excellent one. Consider restaging the same photo a few times, to play with negative space, as well as different angles and different depths.
Optical Illusions and Shapes
Take advantage of natural illusions like reflections to attract your viewer and create a sense of marvel and curiosity.
Image by David Marcu
Image by Ng
You can use leading lines to focus your viewer’s attention on a specific part of an image. These lines can be straight, wavy, or circular. Great examples of this principle in action are railroad tracks, spiral staircases, or forest trails.
Image by Sam Poullain
Image by Tobias Van Schneider
Creating symmetry in your photos is another way to draw attention to your images. Symmetrical images are people-pleasers, and very simple to compose.
Image by Steve Harley
Image by Vincent van Zalinge
Repetitive patterns, geometrical shapes, and abstract textures are visually appealing effects you should use in your images. Consider mosaic tabletops, building facades, or fraying fabrics. Naturally-occurring patterns and symmetry are also very photogenic: think about the veins on leaves or a spider web.
Image by Andrew Ridley
Image by thr3 eyes
Begin paying attention to the photogenic details of your everyday life. With the appropriate use of lighting and negative space, you have the capacity to transform an intricate detail into a very powerful image.
Image by Pawel Blazewicz
Image by Darren Nunis
Now that you’ve staged and shot your image, it’s time to discuss the best way to apply Instagram’s filters. To create consistency within your feed, you should stick to using the same few filters for all of your posts.
Check out this video for a helpful tutorial on editing photos directly from your phone:
Using filters will help distinguish and draw attention to your Instagram photos. Take a look at these examples of types of filters:
Image by Kyler Nixon
Bright and Minimalistic
Image by Bench Accounting
Balancing Your Feed
Once you’ve chosen your filters and edited your photos, you’ll want to look at your feed in its entirety to be sure that, as a whole, it looks uniform and balanced.
Instagram is less about creating individual images, and more about curating a complete, coordinated, and consistent feed that captures the emotions you hope to communicate.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your feed has a uniform feel and flow is to consider each new image you post in the context of the images surrounding it within your feed.
By focusing your attention on your previous photos, you will relieve yourself of the burden of considering whether each new photo you post matches the style of your entire feed.
Another way to create a good balance within your feed is to look at the level of detail in your previous images when you post a new image. If the previous photos are less detailed, consider posting a “busier” photo next.
You can draw more attention to your images by adding graphic elements that overlay your photo:
If you choose to overlay your image with text graphics, limit yourself to one or two fonts, and make sure the font styles complement the feel and tone of your account.
In today’s world of high-quality smartphone cameras and dozens of photo-editing apps, it is becoming easier to create visually-pleasing images to share on Instagram.
But to sell your product and attract new followers, it is imperative that you compose and share photos that create emotional associations with your brand.
This requires both preparation and creative execution, but by following the simple tips above, you’ll have new followers scrolling and day-dreaming in no time.
In the fifth season of Mad Men, Ken Cosgrove, an account-executive at Sterling Cooper Draper Price, is called into Roger Sterling’s office, a founding partner of the agency.
Roger tells Ken that he knows his secret: Ken’s an accomplished fiction author who writes under a pen name, so no one at the office will find out about his side job. Roger then tells Ken he has to stop writing immediately. He shouldn’t focus any attention away from his high-paying, full-time job.
Ken is initially devastated, but he relents and adopts a new pen name to continue his pursuit of of fiction writing, risking his employment and financial stability for the fulfilment his passion gives him. He could never abandon his stories.
Fortunately, the Mad Men work culture doesn’t really fly in today’s world, but the story of Ken Cosgrove’s secret side gig still resonates with people today. It’s incredibly nerve-racking to talk to your boss about your side hustle. What if she thinks you care about your side projects more than your regular job? And what if she thinks it will hinder your performance at work?
Side hustles are not only beneficial to you, but they can also bring perks to your boss, team, and company. And we recommend spotlighting these benefits to get your boss on board with your own side hustle.
But before we dive in …
Eddie Shleyner, who runs a successful side hustle called VeryGoodCopy.com, knows how exciting it is to build something successful by yourself. But he warns against letting it become your first priority. “If you’re employed full-time, your side hustle must be your second priority. As soon as you start giving more time and brain power to your side hustle, you’re in the wrong with your full-time manager.”
So make sure you hit all your deadlines and your work keeps improving. Once you’ve put in the required time and effort to excel at your regular job, you can then focus on your side hustle.
With this in order, let’s get back on track and go over the seven speaking points you can highlight when bringing up your side hustle to your boss.
How to Explain Your Side Hustle to Your Boss
1. Your side hustle will make you more adaptable.
If you only work one job, you usually use the same thought processes and skills to do the same tasks over and over again. But when you start a side hustle, you’re essentially running an entire business. You’ll have to expose yourself to loads of novel strategies, concepts, and responsibilities to be successful, and you’ll build new skill sets and improve your adaptability along the way.
When you’re more adaptable and well-rounded, you’ll be able to tackle problems from different angles at your regular job, enhancing your team’s overall creativity and effectiveness. You’ll also be more willing to take on new challenges because you already know how to study completely foreign concepts. Learning won’t intimidate you. And this mentality will drive innovation within your team.
2. Your side hustle will boost your confidence.
If you can build something from scratch, then you can definitely help a resource-heavy company grow bigger and better. Starting a successful side hustle will boost your confidence, improving your performance and ability to handle setbacks and disappointments at work.
3. Your side hustle will teach you how to handle big decisions.
When you start a side hustle, you risk losing your money, time, and reputation. That’s a high-stakes decision. Similarly, when you’re growing your side hustle, you have to make quick yet critical decisions that will either build or dismantle your business. Making these pivotal decisions for your side hustle and learning from both the good and bad outcomes will refine your decisiveness and help you make the right decisions at your regular job.
4. Your side hustle will improve your communication skills.
Expanding your network is essential for growing your side hustle. And as you network at industry events, meet connections for coffee, or pitch a guest blog post through email, your communications skills will skyrocket compared to only slacking or chatting with your colleagues. Growing your network and meeting all types of personalities will make you a better communicator at your regular job, helping you give engaging presentations, make articulate points at meetings, and collaborate well with colleagues.
5. Your side hustle will make you feel more fulfilled and happy, leading to higher productivity at your regular job.
You may really enjoy work, but if it’s not your true passion, it can be a grind sometimes. And although dropping a stable job to pursue your passion could be a solution for this, it isn’t ideal for your wallet. Side hustles are unique because they offer the best of both of these worlds. Pursuing your passion, without having to sacrifice the financial stability your regular job provides, makes you feel more fulfilled, happy, and productive.
6. Your side hustle will teach you how to manage your time and take on big responsibilities.
When you work a full-time job and run a side-hustle, time is your most precious asset. You can’t afford to waste it. To take advantage of the limited amount of time you have after work, you need to learn how to prioritize your most important tasks, exercise discipline to actually do them over the many little, unimportant tasks that are time sucks, and take on the responsibility of not only building a top-notch product, but also crafting a compelling brand experience.
These are the requirements for starting a successful side hustle, and if you can follow them, you’ll hone your time-management skills and be able to leverage them at your regular job.
7. If your side hustle is successful, you can help your colleagues get better at their jobs.
Whether you become a star at marketing your personal brand, developing partnerships, or selling your product or service, your can make your colleagues better by teaching them your new skills. For example, if you have a newfound talent of selling, but you work in marketing, you can still teach your colleagues some sales skills to improve their blog post pitches at team brainstorms.
Tell someone to write a poem, and chances are, they’ll freeze up. Tell someone to write a haiku, however, and we bet they’ll bang one out in less than 10 minutes.
The reason: constraints unleash our creativity. But how can you translate that to the complex world of content marketing? The below diagram will help you do just that.
The Story Funnel-Matrix
The funnel-matrix has two dimensions. The first maps loosely to the stages of a typical marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and acquisition.
What stories you tell will depend on your current relationship with your audience –where you are as a couple, to use the obligatory marketing-dating analogy.
When you first meet someone, your conversations tend to be around things that you have in common — your shared interests and values. This is why so many people make small talk about the weather. It affects everyone, so it’s something we all have in common.
You probably won’t dive into your health problems the first time you meet someone. You probably won’t share intimate details about the people in your life.
But after you meet, you might start sharing some of those things, especially if the first date goes well. You might start to paint a picture of your dream life: where you want to live, your ideal career, where you want to travel. Though you shouldn’t hit them with a marriage proposal at this point, you’ll start to share more about yourself — what you care about and what you want.
By the third or fourth date, you’ll naturally be sharing more personal stories than before. This is the way a relationship progresses. (Notice how storytelling is such a big part of what we do when we’re dating. It’s good for more than just marketing and publishing!)
This brings us back to our storytelling funnel-matrix. In the beginning of a relationship, you should tell stories about shared interests and values. As things progress, you can tell stories about the people in your life (like your customers or employees). Finally, as things start getting more serious, you tell stories about your products and services themselves.
The second dimension of the funnel-matrix adds an extra bit of planning help to your content creation strategy. This comes straight from the playbook of newsrooms.
The idea is to divide the stories you tell into three more categories based on time: timely stories that are pertinent based on news or current events; seasonal stories that are relevant because of the time of year; and evergreen stories that will be valuable no matter when the audience sees or hears them.
Take our client American Express, for example. Amex’s OPEN line of credit cards wants small business owners to know that they care about them. Building that trust is a key element of their B2B branding, so they tell stories in various places, most notably on OPEN Forum, a content hub and newsletter that attracts millions of small business owners each month. They’re mostly interested in staying top of mind, not driving conversions or talking about Amex’s products.
Instead, they tell stories about how small business owners handle challenges like hiring and growth. These are examples of evergreen stories.
Sometimes Amex OPEN Forum spots something relevant that happens in the news and writes stories about how it affects small business owners, like new overtime laws and tax policies. These are timely + top-funnel stories.
And one day a year, American Express sponsors a holiday called Small Business Saturday, where it encourages consumers to shop at local businesses instead of big ones. To promote the upcoming holiday, Amex creates videos about small businesses around the country that are making a difference in their communities. These are seasonal stories.
Shinola’s stories of its factory workers and their mission to transform Detroit are about both values (saving American jobs) and its company/people. So they are evergreen + top/mid- funnel.
GE Reports, which tells stories of how GE invents really cool products (but doesn’t try to get you to buy those products), are mid-funnel and often timely—as the company reports on new innovations—but also evergreen because many of the stories are still interesting after the news is over.
The Groupon stories we talked about fit into the category of timely + bottom-funnel. They’re stories about product deals Groupon wants you to buy on one specific day.
Zady’s stories about the Indigo Skinny Jeans are evergreen + bottom-funnel. They’ll be around whenever you are ready for them.
The smartest brand storytellers are constantly on the lookout for data to tell them what their audiences are interested in during each stage of the funnel and each segment of the Bullseye. They obsess over it. And that’s because they know it’s their secret advantage.
This is an excerpt from the Amazon #1 New Release, The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming Into the Void, and Make People Love You” by Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, available today.
Wouldn’t it be great if creating infographics was as simple as writing regular ol’ text-based blog posts? Unfortunately, the reality is that making visual content like this usually takes a lot more time, effort, and let’s face it — skill — than the written word. Usually.
But considering the popularity and effectiveness of visual content in marketing today, you can’t just afford to throw in the towel.
That’s why we decided to take all the pain and suffering out of infographic creation. Seriously — don’t give up just yet. You, too, can create infographics that are totally free, professional-looking, high-quality, and completed in under an hour. I’m going to prove it. First things first:
Then, all you have to do is provide the content to use inside them. Easy as that! In fact, I’m going to show you just how easy it is by taking one of our 15 infographic templates in PowerPoint (pictured above) and creating my own, customized infographic with it. Then, I’ll explain exactly what I did so you get a sense of how easy it really is.
Would you rather watch this tutorial instead of read it? Check out the video below:
How to Create Infographics for Free in Under an Hour
Step 1: Collect Your Data/Content, and Choose Your Desired Template
Your first step is to collect the data/content you’ll be using to populate your infographic, and choose an infographic template appropriate for representing that data. The important thing is to choose a template that specifically works for the type of data set/content you want to present. As you saw pictured above, you can download our 15 infographic templates in PowerPoint and choose whichever template you’d like. Some of your template options here include a timeline, flowchart, side-by-side comparison, and a data-driven infographic.
You can either collect third-party data or use your own original data. If you use third-party data, just be sure you properly cite your sources — just like in any other good piece of content.
To keep your infographic uncluttered by a ton of different source URLs, a great way to cite your sources is to include a simple URL at the bottom of your infographic that links to a page on your site. It can also list the individual stats used in your infographic, and their sources — such as the landing page to the full offer on which you’re basing this free infographic.
That way, your infographic looks clean and professional, yet people will still be able to access the sources no matter where the infographic gets shared or embedded. It may also even drive visitors back to your site.
For the sake of time (remember, our mission is to create an infographic in under an hour), I’m going to create an infographic based on a compilation of steps and best practices we’ve put together in our new guide, How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign in 2018. For this, I’m going to pick the “World’s Greatest Timeline” infographic template from our collection of infographic templates, which is helpful for my data set since it outlines each step of the campaign creation process in order.
This template is pictured below, and full of opportunities to customize:
Step 2: Customize Your Infographic
Obviously, this is the most time-consuming part — but it’s also the most fun! Simply come up with a catchy title, plug in your data/content, and adjust your font sizes and formatting. Feel free to switch up the graphics and colors, too, so they’re relevant to your brand and the data you’re providing. For other templates, you can use the simple graphs and charts provided by PowerPoint to create things like the bar graph or the pie chart. (Note: Download our free infographic templates for a cheat sheet for using PowerPoint’s various features and tools.)
To customize the look of the infographic even more, you might add or change up the colors or font styles.
Finally, I included a link to my source (which can be found here), as well as the HubSpot logo so people know who created the infographic if it gets shared in social media or embedded on other websites — which is definitely something you want, since one of the main benefits of creating infographics is their shareability.
That’s it! This whole thing took me under an hour to put together — much shorter than it would’ve taken me if I’d started from scratch (not to mention more professional looking … and less expensive than hiring a designer). Here it is:
Share This Image On Your Site
<p><strong>Please include attribution to blog.hubspot.com with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’http://ift.tt/2Hw9RZq src=’http://ift.tt/2GtOx5v’ alt=’free-infographic-template-custom’ width=’660′ border=’0′ /></a></p>
Step 3: Add an Embed Code and Pinterest Button, and Publish It
The only thing left to do is to publish and promote your awesome new infographic. As I mentioned earlier, we recommend using your blog to publish it (including your list of sources), including a Pinterest button for visitors to easily “pin” your infographic on Pinterest, and create and add an embed code for visitors to share it on their own websites and blogs, as we did above.