Want to become a good marketer? Want to become a great marketer? How about simply becoming a better marketer with small steps that will inspire and keep you on track. As each new year comes upon us, people everywhere focus their intentions on resolutions instead of inspirations. As an inbound marketer, you need to stay inspired in order to continue tapping into your creativity. Here’s some unique ways to do that.
Many marketers, myself included, have gone through a stage of thinking that is focused on receiving, receiving, receiving. We have goals to meet, bosses or clients to please, and we put pressure on ourselves. This pressure can intensify our need to receive…receive higher search rankings, receive even more newsletter emails, receive even more conversions, etc. Eventually, we realize that this attitude doesn’t get us where we had hoped. Alternatively, we should focus on a central law of the universe (the Law of Attraction) in order to receive the reciprocation we desire. Like attracts like. We can get ahead of our goals instead of stressing to reach them each month. How you do that is simple…give.
When it comes to relationship building (previously known as “link building” …haha!), I’ve always been inspired by the following Beatles lyric, written by Paul McCartney for the song, “The End.”
And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. -Paul McCartney
The lyric was actually misquoted by John Lennon in a Playboy interview as, “And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give.” Either way, the message is the same. The more you give, the more you receive. Let’s put this in the context of content promotion. When you link to high-quality content within your own article, and then thank them on social media, over email, etc…you are giving. What do you think you’ll receive in return? Well, I experienced this first hand when I wrote Expanding the Horizons of eCommerce Content Strategy for our company blog. At the end, I thanked the authors of other related articles that inspired portions of my own, and what happened? Well, I got some social shares and a submission to Inbound.org (from Jason Acidre, one of authors) which resulted in links down the road. This was just one part of the promotion strategy, and as we all know…marketing, and especially SEO, is a sum of parts. The more seeds we plant, the more relationships we cultivate, the more we will receive in the end (without even asking for it).
Be More Mindful.
If you happened to watch the 60 minutes report by Anderson Cooper on mindfulness, then you might have felt like he was talking to you. I know I did. As inbound marketers, our daily lives are inundated with emails, tweets, retweets, algorithm updates, ranking shifts, 404 errors, link requests, guest posts, content strategies, tech audits, text messages, voicemails, impromptu meetings and dozens more activities that can attack our mindfulness at any given time. Our only answer is to take control of the current moment. That is all we can control, and it is hard…very hard. Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-trained scientist, trains business leaders from Google, Facebook, Instagram and other large companies in the practice of mindfulness and teaches them mindfulness through meditation. The practice has had such a profound impact on people that industry leaders like Google Vice President, Karen May, are taking mindfulness practices into the office space. For example, Karen holds a minute of silence before every meeting in order to allow everyone to clear their minds and become fully present in the meeting. How can mindfulness help you become a better marketer? It might mean turning off TweetDeck and checking your email a little less than 20 times an hour. Are you prepared for that? (I’m also talking to myself here, by the way.) It’s not easy letting go, but our work will be much better (and we’ll be happier). Here’s some more reading about mindfulness, some of which was shared with me by my co-workers Everett and Rick at Inflow.
- TIME article, The Mindful Revolution
- The Mind’s Own Physician (book, authored by Jon Kabat Zinn)
- Vipassana Meditation Courses
- The Mindful.com Newsletter – Sign up and let mindfulness come to you.
Take Walks During Lunch.
Getting outside and walking in a nearby park will increase your circulation, release stress and stimulate the body so the mind can be rejuvenated. This can help you be more creative and solve problems more effectively, making you better at doing what you do well: marketing.
…Spend time in nature. This is to help our brains switch off—an experiment found that even going for a walk on a city street didn’t let the brain switch off enough to fully recover its focus, whereas walking in a park offered far fewer things for the brain to pay attention and respond to.
So, perhaps taking walks during lunch can help with the whole mindfulness thing too, eh? I personally have be doing this for years now, as have many of my co-workers, and I get some of my best ideas when taking walks around the park or local neighborhood during our lunch hour. I’ve even called and emailed clients with Eureka! moments, the moment they struck me. It can be hard to carve out the time, but take a break by taking a walk…in nature (if possible).
Exit The Echo Chamber…Socially, Visually.
Follow non-SEOs and anything inspirational on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social networks. You’ll find that unique ideas will present themselves as a result of viewing other unrelated topics and visual messages. Images are powerful and can mean different things to different people, but sometimes they are just what we need to get over an obstacle on a project or find inspiration for that next content marketing campaign.
Here are some recommended social profiles to follow for social and/or visual inspiration:
- TED – Pushing the limits of possibility with innovation.
- Ogilvy & Mather – Visual marketing inspirations from the legendary ad agency.
- Humans of NY – Micro-storytelling of real people in the big apple.
- Happsters – Happy, inspirational quotes presented visually.
- Junanto Herdiawan – People levitating. How is that not inspirational?
- TrendHunter’s Marketing Ideas Board – Curating the best marketing in the real world.
- Jane Wang’s Ideas Board – Ideas to spark your imagination and innovation.
- “Awesome Office” Board – Work is a lot cooler when it looks cooler.
- Autumn Spicer’s “Inspire Me to Inspire You” Board – Quotes that hit home.
Micro & Macro Changes.
Many of us are aware of Matt Cutts’ fascination with 30 day challenges, but how many of us have done one ourselves? Would one of the world’s most influential search marketing figures be so passionate about something if it wasn’t worth it? Imagine how much we can all expand our skill set and knowledge if we focus our attention on a new challenge each month. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be for 30 days, but instead for 2 weeks. Why not? Then, take a 2 week break to give yourself some time off. The point is to identify things you want to get better at and then make sustainable efforts (and sometimes…changes) to achieve them. On a similar note, there was an excellent article from James Clear about the “aggregation of marginal gains,” which tells the story of the British cycling coach who won back-to-back world titles by implementing small improvements to the training and lifestyle of his cyclists. “His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement,” says James. They improved everything from their bike seats, to weight of the tires, to the cyclists’ nutrition…you name it. What if you found small ways to improve your marketing efforts each day, or even each week? For example, try ActiveInbox to clean up your email and be more mindful, or subscribe to Lynda.com to help you improve your HTML and CSS coding, or what about reviewing a new page on your website each day and fixing grammatical and usability errors? The possibilities are endless.
As we continue through our careers, building businesses in one way or another, it’s important to stay inspired. We can tap into our own marketing creativity if we allow it to surface. We’re sort of like artists. Marketers need to be inspired too! Have unconventional ways of your own to be a better marketer? Leave it in the comments below and let’s continue the conversation. Thanks for reading.