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How To Write And Distribute Press Releases

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How To Write And Distribute Press Releases

Are you looking to build a stronger brand and acquire more backlinks to boost your authority?

Of course you are!

A well-defined press release strategy is exactly what you need!

What is a press release?

A press release is traditionally a way to communicate essential news about a company to journalists or media publishers.

In the digital world, press releases have gained a pretty poor reputation, because lots of SEOs started using press releases to build cheap links via online press release distribution services.

As a result, Google had to make it clear that links in press releases should be nofollow, and later began to ignore those links.

Yet, press releases were never meant to be a cheap link building tactic. In fact, when done right, they can boost your brand’s recognizability and authority.

Here’s how to do press releases in 2022 and beyond…

How to write a press release

Get inspired by looking at your competitors or peers

What have your competitors or peers been doing, and did any of your press releases work really well?

This kind of data will help you make more informed decisions and find inspiration.

BuzzSumo has a helpful filter allowing you to research successful press releases in your niche.

Using the Content Analyzer, type your keyword, click “More Filters” and there select “Press releases” option:

The results are going to be sorted by the total engagement, which is a great metric to quickly evaluate the virality of each press release:

Scroll down and scan the headlines to get a better feel of which types of topics seem to resonate in your niche.

It is also a good idea to play with date range filters to review older or more recent content:

7 easy steps to perfect your press release format

Whether you’re doing a press release to acquire organic links from journalists, or to solidify your online reputation (or both), you need to follow a well-defined press release format.

This will make it easy for journalists to quickly grasp its contents.

And that includes…

1. A title that gives promise but doesn’t oversell

Create a title that attracts attention (without being click-baity). Here’s what you need to write the best headlines.

2. High volume keywords

Using searchable keywords to get that PR page additional exposure from Google’s organic results, Top Stories and Google News.

3. A clearly visible CTA

Remember the goal is not just to inform, but to encourage action. Include your CTA high up in your press release to make sure the reader doesn’t miss it.

4. A quote from a VIP

Include quotes from the key people – ie. your company’s CEO, the influencer you are hiring, etc.

5. Bullet pointed highlights and takeaways for easy reading

Make your press release scannable for readers that are time-poor and want the TL;DR version.

6. An “About” section that reinforces authority

Include “About the company” section to give journalists and media publishers some information for news coverage.

7. A media contact

Don’t forget to add your links, press contacts, and other CTAs enticing media publishers to reach out.

Here are many more press release examples to use for inspiration!

Take your press release copy seriously

Obviously, take your copy very seriously:

Text Optimizer can help you create a relevant and engaging copy by suggesting you use semantic context for your target keyword. It is a nice way to optimize your content as well as get some inspiration:

On the other hand, you should make sure your copy is not over-optimized (it’s easy to get carried away while adding all relevant keyword variations). To make sure you’ve no keyword stuffing issues (keeping all important page elements optimized), you may use a tool like WebSite Auditor.

Press release distribution done right

Publishing your press release through a press release distribution service like PRweb or a similar one is no longer enough (if it ever was). 

Although it’s likely to bring in additional exposure through syndicating your update through a few well-known news outlets, it’s unlikely to help you get noticed by high-profile journalists or bloggers.

Plan your outreach strategy

What you need is a well-planned outreach strategy to bring your update to key media publishers in your niche and outside of it:

Use BuzzSumo to identify journalists and bloggers in your niche, find their social media accounts, and identify the best way to personalize your message.

BuzzSumo’s Journalist Profile tool shows you a list of articles written by a journalist, ordered by engagement – alongside the topics they most commonly write about.

Mentioning one of these articles and/or topics in your email outreach will help you create a hyper personalized message

Once you’ve got the ball rolling, and done a good amount of outreach , you’ll soon be able to tell which of your email templates worked best.

Additionally, Email Hunter is a cool tool that will help you find contacts of those journalists as well as alternative contacts. Their Email Verifier feature is really a time saver!

Take advantage of social media

Don’t forget to incorporate social media in the process. For example, a quick message on Twitter notifying a journalist you sent an email can do wonders for your response rate.

In PR, social has become an important tool for crisis management, journalist outreach, and larger brand accessibility.

But another huge consideration is social media influencers. 

With Twitter and Instagram running at fire speed, you can now have direct links to media contacts to promote your press release.

When used properly, social channels offer more tactical starting points for developing deeper influencer relationships.

Spend some time identifying social media influencers, creating detailed profiles of those influential accounts, and building out lists.

Read BuzzSumo’s 4 steps for finding influencers here.

Don’t forget that you will be able to revisit these contacts for future PR campaigns.

Build stronger relationships: Promote your promoters

Once you have a journalist or a blogger cover your story, don’t forget to do your best to promote the piece.

Everyone loves being mentioned, so your effort will be much appreciated.

Always tag the author and the publication thanking them for the coverage. This will notify your media contact of your social media efforts and will engage them even further.

Curate your own press releases

Every piece of important news builds your company’s reputation and demonstrates your growing authority. 

Moreover, your story and press coverage makes your brand more interesting for journalists and bloggers, meaning they’ll be more willing to tell your story. 

This is why creating a standalone press page is such a good idea: A detailed press page is your journalistic outreach landing page. 

Make sure to keep it updated, promote it on social media and link to it in your emails:

  • Link to your past press releases on that page
  • Add “Featured in” section linking to the previous journalistic coverage. Pick a plugin to show these in a slider.
  • Include your press contacts (make sure to give several options, like email, phone, and personal social media accounts of your press reps)
  • Add testimonials or reviews from bloggers and journalists. Here are a few plugins to easily do that.
  • Include your high-resolution logo and some product images for media publishers to use if they choose to write about you. In essence, the more optimized images you make freely available to your publishers, the better you will be able to control the visual context around your brand (and those image carousels that show up for your branded searches)

Your press page should make it clear enough why your company is interesting enough to be covered.

Monitor and analyze

Keeping an eye on your progress and collecting your own data is important for making your PR strategy more effective.

Keep a close eye on your progress

To succeed you ultimately need to know your goals, and do your best to monitor them. 

As I mentioned above, my two biggest goals behind creating press releases (or including them in clients’ roadmaps) is to:

  • Build a stronger brand
  • Generate some organic links from media publishers

Monitor your mentions

BuzzSumo offers a flexible brand monitoring solution alerting you to new brand mentions, and organizing these references for easy access and analysis:

Monitor your links

BuzzSumo also offers a backlink monitoring feature, which will help you catch those new links your PR campaign will be bringing in.

You can set-up email alerts whenever you land a new link – or, if your brand is a big deal and gets a bunch of links every day – you can set up a daily round-up digest.

WebCEO’s backlink checker is another useful tool to keep an eye on your backlinks. Not only will it discover your new backlinks for you, it will also keep a detailed record of each one allowing you to go back in time and compare your campaign performance:

Don’t forget to thank your promoters for each new link!

Organize your most valuable links

Keeping things organized is a good idea for your future campaigns. Grab your most valuable mentions and set-up tracking to always keep them handy.

Link Checker will keep a close eye on all your acquired links and alert you of any changes:

Keep an eye on your competitors’ press releases

Monitoring your competitors’ brand mentions is important for understanding what they are doing and if they are going to outperform you in the near future.

But it is also a good idea for inspiration.

BuzzSumo’s brand monitoring suite will alert you to competitors’ new mentions, so don’t forget to add your competitors there, along with your own brand.

For more focused monitoring, consider setting up tracking of your competitors’ Press page. Visualping will alert you the moment there’s a new press release added to that page for you to always be on top of your competitors’ PR tactics:

Most importantly, use press releases only when you have real news to share

One of the biggest problems with press releases is that lots of brands were using them to announce just about anything.

Did your company build 1000 followers on Twitter? That may be an important milestone for your in-house social media team but it is hardly a story worth announcing to the public.

Did you acquire a pretty well-known niche startup (and have huge plans for it) or hire a niche influencer? This is something worth bringing a journalists’ attention to.

Any time you are considering announcing anything via a press release distribution service, think about that update this way:

  • Would journalists and bloggers find it interesting enough to cover and why? Would it bring links and brand mentions?
  • Would this story help you better manage your online reputation by associating your brand with well-known entities?

If you answer “yes” to one or both of these questions, that press release may be worth doing.

Press releases are good for SEO for many important reasons, including building brand awareness, creating niche associations with other entities (which will help Google recognize you as a brand and create your own knowledge panel) and, yes, links.

But those links should not be coming from press release syndication networks but from real journalists who’ll find your story interesting enough to cover.

Both PR and SEO professionals should no longer value quantity over quality.

Google has shown itself to be in favor of shareable content—things real people care about, things that can’t be gained with just having some good keywords in the right places.

In the PR placement hierarchy, a dozen cheap, low level clips hold no weight against a single New York Times feature.

To achieve the latter, both the press release and the pitch must be newsworthy, and so must an outreach email.

While there’s no true formula for creating popular content, there are important factors to use in a quality litmus test – the same factors journalists ask themselves when taking on a story:

  1. Is it original and newsworthy?
  2. Does it include solid research?
  3. Does it approach a problem in a unique way, offering a real solution?
  4. Do I or anyone else care?

Press releases can still be an effective marketing tactic, but only if you put some time and effort into planning, writing, and distributing your company’s press release.

Create more effective copy, build long-lasting relationships with media publishers and journalists, and aim to build brand awareness if you want your press release strategy to succeed.

If you like want to check out any of the BuzzSumo tools and features showcased in this blog, sign up for a 30-day free trial for no-holds-barred access to the platform.

Already signed up? Find out how to use BuzzSumo in 30 days, and get the most out of your trial.

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Surena Chande On How To Rebuild Your Confidence At Work

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Surena Chande On How To Rebuild Your Confidence At Work

Louise: Do you ever have those days where you can’t quite make out of your pajamas? Or the ones where you mark your entire inbox as read? Even the ones where you find yourself Googling, how do you do marketing? I’m Louise Content Manager at BuzzSumo, the world’s best content marketing tool, and this is Marketing IRL, where we peel away the glossy veneer and chat about the realities of working in marketing.

This podcast is an extension of a project we started recently at BuzzSumo called The Wellbeing Hub. It’s a place for you to go for advice, real life experience, and lessons learned by marketers throughout their career. Check it out at buzzsumo.com/wellbeing-hub.

So today we’re talking about how to build your confidence at work.

And I’m super excited to be joined by Surena Chande. Hi, Surena. Welcome to the podcast.

Surena: Hello, thank you for having me!

Louise: How are you?

Surena: I’m good thanks! How are you doing?

Louise: Yeah. Great. Thank you. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Surena is the SEO editor at The Mirror and The Daily Star. She’s also worked as a freelance journalist, a Digital PR for SEO agencies, Verve Search, and Re:Signal. And on top of all of that, she’s written and edited for some big publications, including BBC Good Food Middle East, and Okay! Magazine. Got to take a breath. That’s an impressive resume.

So, Surena is going to be talking about her experience with building her self confidence in the workplace, which I think is something we’ve all struggled with to some extent. And the term that comes to mind when you’re talking about self-confidence is “imposter syndrome”. It’s something we’ve all been talking about recently.

And in fact, I did a bit digging into BuzzSumo around the term “imposter syndrome’ and found that engagement around the topic has grown, from December 2016 to December 2021 today, by a thousand percent and that is mind blowing. So there’s definitely a clear need for support and Frank discussion around this topic.

So Surena, can you tell us a bit more about your own experience and what made you want to talk about this topic today?

Surena: So there’s so many things through my career that I’ve sort of made me now feel quite passionate about improving confidence in the workplace and building your confidence. I have been a journalist for, coming up to 10 years, and it’s quite a tough industry. It was a notoriously tough industry. The devil wears Prada isn’t too much of an exaggeration. Um, and over the years, I think I’ve experienced a lot of highs and lows. And with those, my confidence gradually got quite eroded, as brutal and cutthroat as journalism sometimes can be. I’ve now returned to the industry and things have changed significantly from my experiences, but it has taken a long time for me to rebuild my own confidence. And I think only now after a lot of hard work I’ve put into myself, and that other managers have put into me and other people I’ve worked with have put into me, I feel like I’m now in a place to talk about it and to maybe help other people who are struggling. So yeah, it’s something I’m really passionate about .

Louise: I mean, I think we’ve all kind of struggled to some extent with self-confidence in the workplace. Unless you think you’re like the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And I just don’t think anyone’s going to feel like that, to be honest.

When it came to addressing your own confidence, was it a breakthrough realization you had, or did you gradually come to understand why you were feeling the way you were?

Surena: It was quite bleak in all honesty. I had been in journalism since gosh, 2012. Over the years, I’d had editors who had just sort of lashed out at me, who had been quite abrupt and rude with feedback, rather than constructive and helpful. And I was working on an online publication, and I had an editor who didn’t mince their words. Now I’d just moved back from Dubai, with my family. I was not in the best place, mental health wise, and thought this job was everything I dreamed off. Like I was so excited to be doing this job. And gradually as the feedback got harsher and, every day you were sort of living in fear of what sort of outburst you were going to be on the receiving end off, that combined with other factors that I was going through at the time, I just realized I can’t do this to myself anymore.

Eventually got to the point where I was like, I will do any job for any industry, but this, I cannot keep going through this.

It’s not healthy. And I probably can’t do it for much longer, like without having a break down or something. So I eventually built up the courage to resign. And that was terrifying because when you are in a place where you think you’ve ticked every box – you’re working in London, you’re working for a big publication, you think?

“Right. Well, things can’t get in any better.” The reality was so different, so yeah. Decided to resign and change industries. And I think the moment where I truly realized that this was something that I desperately needed to work on, was when I actually started working in digital PR, under a supportive manager.

And he would just sometimes praise my work. And that was the most baffling thing to me. I just couldn’t fathom it. And I felt so grateful and it just meant so much. I’m not a person who needs praise all the time, but it’d been so long that I had experienced someone saying something positive about my work, that I was like, oh my God. Okay. Right. This isn’t normal. I shouldn’t be so surprised by positive feedback, or so taken aback by it. And just slowly started working from there, and I think he sort of let me know as well, you know, you’re really putting yourself down or you’re really doubting yourself. And you’re good at what you do.

You’re a smart person. So I think that’s where the journey sort of began for me in 2017.

Louise: Yeah, I think the point that you made there about getting positive feedback and like any form of positivity. I think sometimes you can kind of get it into your own head as well that you shouldn’t seek that out. For me, I’m like, oh God, I probably seem so needy right now.

But I think it is really important. You do need it. Everyone needs it to some extent, maybe some people more than others, but I thrive off compliments. But yeah, I think it is so important and I’ve been in similar situation to you before.

And just that small bit of positivity every day, it can do wonders for your confidence.

Surena: So true. You just want to work so – I worked so hard for that agency. I loved coming into work everyday. I never had the feeling where I woke up in the morning and I was like, oh, I don’t want to go to work. I was like, oh, I can’t wait to speak to everyone, oh, I can’t wait to do well. Like doing well for the agency became something I became passionate about and something I enjoyed because I knew it was a supportive environment and everyone was kind, so why wouldn’t I want to do well for them?

Louise: Yeah, exactly.

And Where did it go from there? in relation to your self-confidence?

Surena: When I started working for another agency I’d left Verve Search and I sort of landed in the deep end. I was brought in to sort of implement a whole digital PR structure. I hadn’t done my research and I didn’t know what I was walking into.

And. That’s quite heavily my fault, I suppose, but I just didn’t realize, I thought it’s an established agency. I’ll just be tweaking bits or adding my touch. And I was terrified. I was like, oh my God, how am I about to do this? And basically implement an entire digital PR strategy. Um, Quickly realized because it was also when the pandemic started and we all suddenly started working from home.

So I had to hit the ground running and do it from my bedroom and, um, I also had been suffering with and have always had anxiety from as far back as I can remember. So I started getting therapy, but, my work confidence with beginning to deteriorate and after Verve Search where I’d spent so long having it nurtured, building it up myself, growing, putting myself forward for new opportunities and stuff.

I think I was just so scared to lose all of that and end up back feeling like I wasn’t good at anything, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was going to be a failure and whatever. And therapy really, really helps me. Like I was constantly starting to put myself down and be like, you don’t know what you’re doing.

You’re going to make them lose clients. You’re are gonna, you know, you’re gonna let everyone down. I was so scared of letting everyone down, not realizing that I’ve been brought in because the boss who hired me, had faith in me to do well. And oh, by the way, we were all starting from scratch. It was, yeah, of course I was brought in to bring in results, but we were all starting from the ground up.

There was one other person on the team and I was gradually learning through my therapist, you know? You wouldn’t ever treat someone else the way you’re treating yourself in your head at the time. You wouldn’t ever speak to a new colleague and be like, why haven’t you achieved this? Why haven’t you achieved that already?

The amount of pressure I put on myself within a month was terrifying. And, um, I have been doing that in my new role that I’m doing now, but I’m learning to sort of shut those voices down and be like, you’re learning. It’s going to take a bit of time. Not everything can be done instantly, because I’m quite a perfectionist as well so when I have my mind to something I’m like, it has to be perfect now – I want it to look like this. Whereas in my head, what this is would probably take six to 12 months. I’ve learned to sort of have patience with myself. My therapist told me to be nicer to myself. She also forced me to recognize the things I’d done well. There were things that I was so stuck on in months one to three. And, you know, I was really putting myself down for it, and she was right look back to that thing that happened last month that you were worrying about, she was like, look at that, you overcame it. It went better than you thought. Now it’s about retraining your mind and like not constantly expecting the worst possible outcome.

Because that’s what my mind would instantly go to. It would be like, this is going to fail. You’re going to get no coverage. The client’s going to leave and they’re going to want X thousand pounds a month refunded to them.

Louise: Once you get into the pattern of thinking like that, it’s so easy to just go down that slippery slope and then repeat and repeat those kinds of mantras in your head. But also they’re not necessarily even conscious thoughts. You’re not thinking about thinking them, but they’re, so cyclical, and if you’ve already been in that pattern for so long, you just instantly go straight back into that kind of mentality. So it is so hard getting distance from your own thoughts.

Surena: It really is like, that’s where a lot of the inspiration from my post came from, because I was like well, at Verve, I was constantly battling myself and going to my boss. And saying, you know, am I okay? I’m I haven’t hit my coverage target yet. Am I going to be fine? Whatever. And it was like, well look at all these other things that you have achieved in that time and all the other things you’re doing day to day and the ways you’re helping other teams. So, I had to create that Trello board for myself, where I had to write down all the things I was achieving, whenever I was doing them, because otherwise the voice, the little cyclical voices that keep going round would have just carried on. So this was my one way of sort of shielding myself from being like, look, no there’s factual evidence there that I did this, that I helped come up with this concept, that this helped.

And it’s things like that, that are the only sort of ways I could really factually tell my mind, look, you are actually lying to me right now, and I’m doing ok. Stop sending me spiraling, because it’s not going to happen.

Louise: Yeah, it kind of reminds me of, I listened to the podcast, I think his name is Mo Gowdat. I’m not a hundred percent sure. And I know that he’s got a name for his brain and then he has conversations with it. Like, is that true, John?

Is that really true? What you’re saying? Which sounds kind of unusual to do, but it is a good way of kind of questioning your own thoughts and questioning yourself.

Surena: My therapist taught me as well. She was like, yeah. You’ve got to learn to separate those thoughts from reality. So sometimes when I am being silly, like say a messaging, friends about something really trivial or like worrying and overthinking, I’ll be, I’ve now learned to say like, oh my brains, just being silly and telling me X, Y, Z.

Whereas before I’d be like, oh, I’m just being an idiot and blah, blah, blah, and be really nasty about myself. So I’ve just learned to separate. No, it’s actually my brain, which is coming up with these thoughts. And they’re obviously not true. So I’m going to separate the two right now. And I think, yeah, I think maybe I need to give it a name.

Louise: Yeah. I wonder what mine could be? That’s a fun exercise!

Surena: This evening’s gone!

Louise: Cool.

So, if there was another realization you had about your confidence. What would you say that would be? Is it a result of therapy, or is it something else that you’ve kind of explored?

Surena: I think going freelance was a major moment for me in that you’re telling someone who has notoriously told themselves they’re not good enough that they now suddenly are good enough and have to go out there and survive on their own without a safety net and hope that people come to me. To what, for me and vice or like want to work with me independently. And the week before I went, freelance probably had the biggest meltdown. It was November, 2020, obviously we’re in the pandemic. And, um, I’d quit this job where I was getting a really decent salary.

And I was like, okay, Nope, don’t want to go freelance. I’m not enjoying digital PR anymore. My brain says I want it to, right. So it did. And I had this melt down the week before. And I was like, I’m absolutely gonna fall flat on my face. Like this is going to be really embarrassing, but I will say after I go freelance, I get my first client really well paying and it just sparked from there, like there was three weeks.

Where I didn’t have work. And in those three weeks, I tweeted about it once and asked people what their suggestions were for freelancers, because it’s so easy to compare self-worth with a quiet period. So am I no good because I’m not getting work at the moment, Todd, over in hindsight, um, And from that tweet, I ended up getting this job because this girl messaged me and she was like, there were shifts on SEO desks that there is places if you need help.

Um, but I think going freelance improved my confidence more than so many things in my entire career, I realized people the way this thing was, people came to. I didn’t pitch for work once, weirdly in that year. And I think from what I’ve been told, that is quite rare for a freelancer, but finds to be unintentional work I’d done on Twitter and just networking with people.

But without realizing it, just having nice chats with people, I think I was like, well, Yeah. Okay. You could be a laugh on Twitter or you could get on well with people, but it’s a whole different story when people are trusting you with X thousand pounds a month of budget. So you’re obviously good at what you do.

And yes, again, brain, this is something you can’t argue with. And can’t try, maybe me feel rubbish about because otherwise, why am I getting retained clients and why are people coming to me? So that really, really helped with improving my confidence. Um, and I think. Yeah. Also getting this job. It’s something I’ve, I’ve dreamt of a role like this for such a long time.

And there were times in the past where I thought, well, for various reasons, um, I wouldn’t get a job like this because journalism, you know, there is a heavy leaning towards. White journalists. And there’s a real lack of people of color within the industry. There’s also so much competition and the fear was in me still that, you know, am I good enough as a journalist?

Cause the last time I was in journalism, I had a rough ride and was told I was rubbish. Um, at times find my old editors and stuff. So I think challenging myself to do it and to actually put myself through this again. Has really been what has been tough and already, I still feel like I’m healing from some of the things I was told in the past.

And I’m so lucky that I’ve got an editor currently, who is so supportive and he reminds me, he’s like, I don’t know who you’ve worked with before, but. Honestly, you need to have faith in yourself. You need to trust yourself and just remember that. Not everyone’s like that. Like you’re going to be fine. No, one’s going to kill you. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s fine. Mistakes will be made like it happens across all news desks. Um, it’s just something you’ve got to fix, but it’s not the end of the world. And I’ve also taken it as a chances. When I was in the early stages of journalism, I always said to myself, when I was being treated badly, that I never ever wanted to treat junior journalists that way. And it’s something I’m able to implement every day now. And even if I have got feedback for the journalists, I’ll never do it, that the I manage. I’ll never do it in a way that makes them feel the way I was made to feel about myself. And it’s amazing that I’ve got myself to that position when 18, 19, 25 year old me would have just looked at that and been like, what, you’re your sat with that title?

Like. Impossible. Isn’t it? So I think now hopefully my confidence learning continue to grow because it is terrifying. I am working with a living moving beast. News is always happening and it’s about making those calls and getting those page views and hitting those targets. I’ve got to just, I’m forcing myself to trust myself every step of the way and be like, you’ve got this.

You were hired for a reason, and you’re a smart cookie. Like you are, you’ll know what to do in the moment. Stop panicking before every terrible outcome. You know, like the chances are things could go, right? Because you have been hired for that reason. If that makes sense?

Louise: Yeah, no, definitely. I was going to say, do you think you find yourself putting yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit more to try and test your confidence and those kinds of like confidence boundaries, because it sounds like you’re doing so much and you have done so much.

Um, I’m kind of sitting here, like in awe. I mean, no one can see me at the moment, but I’m bright red just from talking on this podcast. So, yeah it sounds like you were definitely testing your own abilities and things like that.

Surena: Yeah,

I’m definitely pushing myself. I think, I think to be honest, Initially sticking out each, each day in this job was pushing myself out of my comfort. So my frame was like, you can’t do this. You’re not going to do well. There are targets. There are things you need to hit. Um, you know, there are people you need to impress, you can’t do it.

And, uh, combined measure. I’m doing the best I can. That’s one really important thing. I think we need to keep telling ourselves daily as well, you did the best you could in a day. And there are days where you’re not going to be the best you, you could have been for whatever reason, whether you’re ill or you’re just exhausted or something like, you know, you’ve got things going on behind the scenes that are affecting you.

You’ve still got like on the days where you feel like you have done your best, give yourself a pat on the back for it because. Yeah. Sometimes your bosses will tell you, but in things like me’s environment, you boss, doesn’t always have time to be like, oh, good job on this day. Good job on that today. I’m very lucky in that.

My boss tries to tell us that a lot of the time, but I think, yeah, just getting through the first month, which I have now was the biggest push out of my comfort zone that I’ve dealt with in a long time. Has helped me to grow in confidence because from the sheer fact that I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it a few years ago with where my confidence was that I would have run them all and I would have constantly more comfortable or I would have said no to the job because I didn’t think I was capable of it.

Like in the past I’ve turned down, talks that I’ve literally been contacted to do because I’ve gone and told myself nothing I have to say is important or interesting. So yeah, it’s, it’s a slow process, but I feel like I’m getting there!

Louise: Yeah, no, definitely. You definitely are. I was gonna ask one last thing. If you had just one tip, it could be something you’ve already said or something completely different, to give somebody who’s really struggling with their confidence in their job. What would you say to

Surena: Oh, so hard! Um, I would say keep note of all the things that you’re achieving. Day-to-day whether it’s writing it down on a post-it note, if your days are as crazy as mine. I know it’s hard to get anything down on like a note pad, even like it to do less, but try and write down like, uh, I don’t know whether you finished an article that you didn’t think you were going to finish on time, or if you’re in PR like you, um, got a piece of coverage or whatever, like write these things down as you go along and keep screenshot or take note of all the praise you get as well.

And look back on that when you’re starting to really doubt yourself, because you’ve got to fight. Sort of what are they? I don’t want to say unreasonable thoughts, but those intrusive thoughts in the most factual way possible. Um, it’s so easy to be like, read those inspirational things when you’re like, look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re amazing.

And it’s like, yeah, my brain’s not listening to that at the moment. So back your. Like negative thoughts up and your like low self-confidence up with fact that you are good because it’s the proof is there from yourself, your results of your work under the people.

Louise: Yeah, that’s a really good tip. I need to go and start that Trello board. Cool. Thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been really, really great. And if we wanted to find you online, where can we go and how do we get in touch?

Surena: Well, yeah, thank you for having me. And, um, yeah, I think Twitter’s probably the best place. So that’s @surenachande. Alternatively I’m on LinkedIn and yeah, those are probably the best places you’ll find me.

Louise: Thanks for listening to Marketing IRL brought to you by BuzzSumo. You can share your own experiences with us on Twitter, just tweet @buzzsumo, and you can find us on our website buzzsumo.com. Bye!

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Ryan Jones On How To Cope With Redundancy

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Ryan Jones On How To Cope With Redundancy

Louise: Do you ever have those days where you can’t quite make it out of your pajamas? Or the ones where you mark your entire inbox as “Read”. Even the ones where you find yourself Googling, “How do you DO marketing?” I’m Louise, Content Manager at BuzzSumo – the world’s best content marketing tool – and this is Marketing IRL, where we peel away the glossy veneer and chat about the realities of working in marketing. This podcast is an extension of a project we started recently at BuzzSumo called the Wellbeing Hub.

It’s a place for you to go for advice, real life experience, and lessons learned by marketers throughout their career. Check it out at buzzsumo.com/wellbeing-hub/.

Today, we’re talking about dealing with redundancies and I’m super excited to be joined by Ryan Jones. Hi Ryan. How’s it going?

Ryan: Yeah, it’s not too bad. Still just prepping for Christmas really. I work in e-commerce so we just have Black Friday, it’s a massive time of year for us.

Louise: So for those of you who don’t know, Ryan’s an SEO specialist at Land Of Rugs, and that’s a UK based e-commerce rug specialist. He’s been working in digital since 2015. Earlier this year, he spoke at the world’s largest search marketing conference, Brighton SEO, and he’s also contributed to BuzzSumo’s Wellbeing Hub with some very sage advice on coping with burnout.

Right. So we’re talking about a topic that will resonate with many of you and that’s redundancies. According to the mental health charity Mind, redundancy can cause huge uncertainty, stress, and anxiety. So, Ryan, can you tell us a bit more about your own experience and what made you want to talk about it today?

Ryan: Yeah. So in terms of my own experience, before I started at Land of Rugs, we had the lockdown in March 2020, and pretty much from that point I was furloughed. There was still little bits of back and forth about changing the job role, or maybe reducing it to part-time, to try and fit into the business’s needs. But September 2020 rolled around, and it was a joint decision to eliminate my position, and obviously from that point I was made redundant. It’s not a rare scenario. I think a lot of people, whether they’re working in marketing or not, went through similar things. I mean, revenue from my last company was, I think, nearly halved, thanks to COVID and the lockdown. Obviously a lot of businesses need to save costs and unfortunately, personnel is almost the first thing to go. In terms of wanting to come on and do the podcast, I want to open the conversation about how being made redundant doesn’t have to be the end of anything. I mean, if anything, I’ve gone on to even bigger and better things since being made redundant. So I want to open up the conversation to not look at it as the end of something, but rather look at it as the start of something new.

Louise: Yeah, definitely. Can you tell us what was the first thing that helped you deal with your redundancy, and the first realization you had that it was actually maybe a positive? Or that you could make a positive out of a situation like that?

Ryan: I decided when I was made redundant to sort of take a week, two weeks, to kind of do nothing almost, and just sit and take everything in because, even though I’d been furloughed, I wasn’t really taking time out to sit and evaluate the stuff that was going on in my life personally and professionally.

So I had a two week break where I just didn’t do anything at all, really. And then started obviously looking and applying for jobs, and whether you work in marketing or not, you need to be able to market yourself, especially with so many more people being made redundant.

So, if you were going into an interview where, previously to COVID, you would be maybe interviewing with four or five other people, that could easily stretch to 10, 20, 30 people who are going for the same position. So it was really taking time out to sit and look at my resume. I mean my resume is quite weird, in the sense that for the last two years prior to COVID I worked two jobs simultaneously. So I was SEO at an agency, but I also worked a sales role as well at one of the agency’s clients. It was kind of a weird setup. So to try and write that down on a resume is a bit strange, especially when you’re going for SEO roles, and you have to explain why a lot of your job was also sales rather than an SEO.

So, I had to sit down and tell a story around that, about how my sales experience has helped with my SEO and that kind of thing. And really just make sure my resume tells a story of me rather than someone who is half-assed, if you like, or half in SEO and half in sales.

Louise: Yeah. So it ended up being an opportunity for you to sort of take stock and think about what the next steps were for you, and what direction you wanted to go in.

Ryan: For sure. It was really just about making a decision of “Right. Is SEO where I want to be? Or do I really want to pursue another sales role? I don’t really want to sit in both camps anymore.” And SEO was obviously the right choice for the kind of character that I am. And that decision was made pretty quickly after that two week stint of not doing anything. And from there, it was pretty much just applying to SEO roles.

Louise: Was there anything that you would pass on as sage advice or tips to anyone else who was in the situation where they’d been made redundant?

Ryan: Yeah, so I mean, bar what I said first about looking at it as the start of something, rather than the end of something, obviously there’s a lot of stress that comes with it. I live at home, but I still have a car to pay for, I still have bills to pay. So the first step is to kind of eliminate that panic almost and stop needlessly applying to everything. Because I found when I was applying for new roles, I had a lot more success at getting to interview stages and getting further in the interview process when I was applying for jobs that I really cared about. Because that comes across in interviews, even over zoom, even if you’re doing virtual interviews. If you’re really passionate about something, especially in SEO, then you can generally make it work. It’s all well and good for me to kind of sit here and explain how I make websites rank higher in search results. But if it’s, if it’s a company that I don’t really care about, then it comes across that way, and hiring managers can definitely tell that. So you’ve got to link that in with your story, and where you want to get to with your career, and link that into the job roles that you’re going for.

Like, when I was working agency side, I was always happiest working on the smaller e-commerce clients, because I mean, when you can see how ranking changes affect a business that deeply and how, when revenue increases, even if it’s only a small amount, how happy that makes everyone. That makes me feel happy.

And therefore, that makes me want to do even better. So a small e-commerce company is where I really wanted to go. And that was when I really started to hone in on applying to those sorts of roles.

Louise: I might be preempting what you’re about to say, but I know when I’ve landed a new job, I kind of think to myself, why didn’t I do this sooner? Why didn’t I put myself in that potentially riskier situation to apply for another job? Because in previous companies I’ve been there for years and probably just been a bit afraid of the unknown. And I just wondered if that’s something that you experienced when you were made redundant. Is that something that you found?

Ryan: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I started at Land of Rugs in December 2020, and within the first two weeks, I was kind of sat there, like – why didn’t I apply to these kinds of roles before? Because I could already tell I was much happier in this role, than the roles I’d been doing previously. But I think we all have that sort of situation where you feel like you could be doing better things, or maybe you want to go for a pay rise or something like that, or whatever your motivation for moving on is. I think everyone can be stuck in that kind of cycle of, well, what happens if I apply, and then I hand my notice in, and then the job offer falls through – then I’m kind of left in limbo?

So, I think everyone can be struck by that fear. But I think the kind of conversation I want to open up is: is it better to be afraid for a short period of time, and then go on to bigger and better and happier things? For me a personal example is speaking at Brighton SEO. That’s the kind of thing I want to take to the next level.

And I wouldn’t have had that opportunity in previous roles. So the kind of three months of constant stress and verging on panic almost, of trying to find a role that pales to insignificance now because I’m much happier where I am. I think that the conversation people need to have with themselves is, is the short-term worry worth it in the long term? Or do you really just want to stick where you are for the minute?

And then obviously if you’ve been made redundant as well, it’s easy to get wrapped up in that panic. But I think the important thing is to just stay calm, realize, especially in SEO and marketing, that you will find another role.

Companies, especially nowadays – maybe when the pandemic first hit, it was a bit different – but now they really realize that they need to start investing in their marketing.

So you’re never short of a job role as a marketer. If you are unhappy where you are, or if you are in a situation where you’ve been made redundant, don’t fret about it because a job role will come and bigger and better things will come.

Louise: Yeah, it’s interesting what you said a minute ago about when you applied to speak at Brighton SEO. That made me think with the upheaval of redundancy, and the fact it was a risky situation. Do you think that’s making you more open to taking risks? And put yourself out there more than perhaps you would have done if you hadn’t been made redundant?

Ryan: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean I went to my first Brighton SEO in 2017, 2018. And I was listening to all these amazing speakers talk and thinking, yeah I really want to be able to do that someday. Yeah. Public speaking is probably the number one thing I’m afraid of in life.

And then after being afraid of obviously finding a new job role, I then realized that if I can go three months without a wage and still end up really happy, and in a job role that’s safe and secure, in a company that’s growing well.

If I can get through that stage of not having a wage for three months, and relying on savings and still paying all my bills, then I can definitely manage speaking in a room full of 70 to 100 people. If I can manage three months of pure panic, I can definitely manage that for 20 minutes.

So it’s definitely made me more open to applying to more speaking roles in the future, and hopefully in bigger rooms of people speaking about broader topics as well as my talk, which was about growing your in-house career.

Louise: If you were to sum up everything that you’ve just said, and you had to give one tip to somebody who was going through redundancy at the moment, or one bit of advice, what would it be?

Ryan: I think my biggest piece of advice would be don’t let the fear in.

I mean, it seems very easy to say as someone who isn’t redundant anymore, but it definitely hit me and you can definitely start to spiral. And then once that spiral hits, you start applying to anything, and you think, I’ll just get something temporary now, and then I’ll keep applying.

But then if you find another job, even if it’s supposedly a temporary job, it then becomes a long process to get back to what you really want to be doing. It becomes a lot more difficult. So try not to let that cycle of fear hit you, and just realize that something will come along. Even if it seems very far off, it definitely will come along and then you’ll be much, much happier.

Louise: Yep. Totally agree. Ryan, thank you so much for joining me.

Ryan: No problem.

Louise: And if we wanted to find you online, where can we go or how would we get in touch?

Ryan: Yeah, so the best place to find me on is on Twitter @RyanJonesSEO. You can also find me on LinkedIn and ryan@landofrugs.com is my email. I’m always happy to chat about anything SEO or career related. So hit me up there.

Thanks for listening to Marketing IRL, brought to you by BuzzSumo. You can share your experiences about redundancy with us on Twitter. Just tweet @BuzzSumo. And you can find us on our website buzzsumo.com. Bye!

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Christina Pashialis On How To Set Boundaries To Prevent Burnout

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Christina Pashialis On How To Set Boundaries To Prevent Burnout

Louise: Do you ever have those days where you can’t quite make it out of your pajamas? Or the ones where you mark your entire inbox as read? Even the ones where you find yourself Googling “How do you DO marketing?” I’m Louise, Content Manager at BuzzSumo – the world’s best content marketing tool – and this is Marketing IRL, where we peel away the glossy veneer, and chat about the realities of working in marketing. This podcast is an extension of a project we started recently at BuzzSumo called The Wellbeing Hub. It’s a place for you to go for advice, real life experience, and lessons learned by marketers throughout their career. Check it out at buzzsumo.com/wellbeing-hub.

So today we’re talking about how to set boundaries when you’re feeling overwhelmed and I’m super excited to be joined by Christina Pashialis.

Christina is the founder of ContentUK, a community of UK based content professionals, supporting each other with marketing advice, Q and A’s webinars, and workshops, amongst many other cool things. I, for one I’m here for it. In fact, I met Christina in person this year at Brighton SEO, where she organized an awesome ContentUK meet up. Christina has worked in content marketing herself for eight years across companies like Soldo, Grizzle, and Geckoboard. You might also know her from the BuzzSumo Wellbeing Hub, where she’s written an awesome piece on using communities to supercharge your content career.

Louise: Hi Christina!

Christina: Hey Louise!

Louise: Welcome to the podcast, how are you?

Christina: I’m good. You’ve got a very professional looking mic there. Like a proper podcaster.

Louise: Oh yeah. I know. I’m a real streamer now. Yeah. I went out and got this. I thought, you know, all the gear, no idea, but I’ll go with it.

So welcome to the podcast. Just to let you know, I’ve had to move rooms this morning because I’m at home, working from home, and today was obviously a perfect day for them to clean the tennis courts opposite my flat, which is so unbelievably loud!

So now I’m in my housemates room at the back of the flat. So fingers crossed there won’t be any roaring in the background.

Christina: Well, my grandparents have just come over from Cyprus and they’re downstairs to visit and I’ve had to be like “Hi, but just be quiet for an hour, sorry!”

Louise: Yeah. Me too with my housemate as well. Just please don’t put the washing machine on! Well, how is it going? How are you?

Christina: Yeah, I’m very good. Thank you.

Louise: So Christina, can you tell us a bit more about your own experience? And what made you want to talk about this topic today?

Christina: Yeah. So I worked in content for nearly eight years and really early in my career, I’ve always experienced bouts and cycles of feeling burnt out and, speaking with a lot of other content marketers, it seems quite common. So I just wanted to talk about some of the things that I, I’m not an expert, but just some of the things that I found useful for helping me manage with overwhelm, and hopefully that can help some others who are experiencing it as well.

Louise: Yeah, definitely. Do you think you had a breakthrough kind of realization, or was it something you gradually came to understand about how you felt and how you dealt with things?

Christina: I’ve probably always experienced burnout, and been quite a perfectionist, and always sacrificed my own wellbeing in order to make sure I looked efficient at work, and meet deadlines and stuff.

But probably the biggest experience of feeling really burnt out was during the pandemic period, when I was working as a full-time content manager in-house, which is stressful in and of itself. And then I wanted to set up my ContentUK business. So I started working before work on my business, full-time job, after work, weekends, because I was just so determined to launch this. And I was just running off adrenaline really. And then it just really hit in one big bulk, where I just felt like I could barely operate. I couldn’t sleep. I was just constantly in this anxious state, and that’s when I was like. Oh. I’m overwhelmed. This isn’t good. Let’s research as to what I can do to make this a bit better, and have better habits because it’s not sustainable. So that’s probably when I first started properly looking into different techniques to help with that.

Louise: Yeah, so it was kind of an active research process?

Christina: It was yeah. An active research process. I probably could have dealt with having better tactics over the years before, but I hadn’t properly dived into it.

Louise: It’s hard though because, like I’m sure everyone, I also feel overwhelmed every now and again, and sometimes you don’t even realize when it’s happening. You just kind of realize when it comes to a head and you’re like “Oh. What happened there?”

Christina: Yeah, it can be very gradual and there are probably signs early on that you feel a bit of anxiousness in your chest, and you just ignore it and ignore it. But then it really builds up.

So in terms of in the moment, if you’re feeling in that phase of, you’re going through your, to do list. Everything seems important. You feel really stressed. You don’t know what to do. Just shut your laptop. Even if it’s for 10 minutes. Put your phone away and, if you can, do a 20 minute walk. I think that’s helped a lot. If it’s stretching or going for a walk. If you don’t have that big stretch of time, even just for a few minutes, taking 10 deep breaths, 10 active breaths and doing gratitude. That really helps. Or getting a piece of paper – I use Evernote online – and just journaling to yourself, everything that’s in your head, just really get it all out onto a piece of paper. And then think “What’s one thing I can do in the next 10 minutes?” And break it down.

Louise: Yeah. I haven’t done that before, but I think I’ll be taking that advice myself.

Christina: It does help. So that’s more like in the moment of overwhelm, and then in terms of better routines that you can do, the biggest one for me is going onto plane mode, and just turning off social media from 8:00 PM to 11:00 AM. But that’s probably the single biggest thing that makes a difference to me personally.

Louise: Yeah, I am so not good at that. I am the doom scroller of 2021. It is definitely a good piece of advice. I just need to make myself act upon it.

Christina: Yeah . There’s such a difference from the phases when I have that routine and flow, and when it’s not happening. Then it’s like, oh no, it’s 1:00 AM, and I’m still on here. And I feel rubbish. I wonder why.

Louise: Yeah, definitely. So, what do you think has been the best thing for your wellbeing and preventing that feeling of being overwhelmed or burnt out?

Christina: It’s been learning to say no to prioritize my wellbeing, to prevent overwhelm in its tracks. Because before, if I’d finished work at 8:00 PM, and I had a deadline on that Friday, I’d work until midnight burning myself out in order to get it in on the day I said, to be like “Ok. I’m efficient. I can’t possibly be seen as anything other than efficient.” But now, this year, for example, I had a big project that I was going to take on, but that week I’d taken on other client work, and I was running my business and I could tell, as it was leading up this big project, that I was feeling it was going to be very stressful.

So I just had a conversation with the client being like, really sorry, but for these reasons, I’m going to have to decline doing this project. And he was very, very understanding and it just felt like a big relief to remove that off of my plate. And I was in a position where I could take that pay cut, whereas before I would have just gone ahead with it, because I would have thought, oh my God, that’s so unprofessional to cancel the contract. And even a small thing like this podcast, I asked to move it by week because I was having a busy week, whereas before I would’ve wanted to stick to all the deadlines perfectly. So that’s been a change.

Louise: Which was absolutely fine by the way, so don’t worry about it!

Christina: It’s such a small thing, but if you’re in an overwhelmed, perfectionist state, it feels really hard to just ask for an extension or take something off your plate.

Louise: Yeah. I think it’s easy to take a lot of things on yourself and kind of not question it, but see it as a failing in yourself when you can’t actually live up to that. But when you take a step back and think about it, you realize that actually no one can do all of the things that you’re trying to do. And if there’s so many moving parts, then maybe you do need to just simplify and prioritize. And, I mean, I’m cranking out all the cliches now, but you can’t be everything to everyone, so you kind of have to just manage expectations. But I’m so guilty of that as well. Trying to do everything on an ever-growing to do list.

Christina: It’s very common for marketers, definitely. And another good way of framing it as well is, if somebody says to you “Oh, do you mind if I put this back by week?” You’re like “Yeah. That’s totally okay, and fine.” But when it’s talking to yourself, it feels harder to see it in that light.

Louise: I think saying no, and accepting that saying no isn’t an issue is definitely important when you’re feeling like that.

Christina: Yeah, and when you are feeling overwhelmed, allow yourself to speak to somebody about it. That can make a really big difference. Whether that’s a friend, or colleague, or anyone. When I was early on in my career, and feeling very stressed, I spoke to my boss at the time about feeling like I couldn’t do the things on my to-do list, and he was really nice. Took me for a coffee. And for two hours, he sat with me. Literally just went through everything on my to do list. And was like “Oh, it’s okay. I’ll take that off your plate. We can eliminate that.” And it was really nice. Obviously not everyone’s going to have a boss that’s as understanding. So I was quite lucky. But I think that’s also a point in terms of what managers can do to help marketers who might be feeling overwhelmed. Because I think just saying “Oh, let me know if you’re feeling stressed at any point. If you’ve got too much, just let me know.”

That’s often not enough, because people want to seem really good at their jobs. So I think managers can do a lot more in terms of putting in things like monthly or fortnightly meetings with their employees. Not to be talking about the tactics of work, but just how they’re feeling and their workload. That can really help employees not be overwhelmed.

Louise: I totally agree with that. It made me think of something I have kind of got into the habit of doing when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve gotten a bit better at tricking myself into doing things. So I kind of have a “Screw it” mentality. I’m like “Screw it. I’m going to do the bare minimum on this blog today. I’m going to write one paragraph and that’s it. I’m not doing any more.” I have an internal monologue. And then as soon as I get into it, obviously I end up writing more than a paragraph and sometimes I even… I even finished the article! Can you believe it?!

Christina: That’s such a good mantra “Oh screw it! I’m just going to do a paragraph.” just to get you going. I always have a sticky note. Oh you can’t see it. It’s on the camera. But I just have this in front of me, which says “Done over perfect.” I have just always got to tell myself that.

Louise: That is so true! I sometimes have to have a word with myself and go “Look. You just need to stop catastrophizing about this thing and just get it done.” Because, I think when you’re working on something day in, day out, you take it very seriously. But it’s not the end of the world if an email doesn’t go out. So you have to sometimes be a bit strict with yourself and think “Stop, panicking! Just do it.”

Christina: Little mantras help!

Louise: Actually, my old manager in my last company used to work for a well-known British shoe retailer, and her boss used to say “We’re only selling shoes. We’re not saving lives.”, which I always think about now.

Christina: Yeah, exactly! And just zooming out. Because it can seem so important, like you say, when you’re in the marketing world and all of these deadlines. But in the whole scheme of things, it’s not.

Louise: Yeah, definitely. So, if you had one piece of advice to give somebody who was feeling overwhelmed at the moment and putting a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver on X, Y, and Z. What would you say to them?

Christina: Oh, I would probably say to them: Remember, you’re not alone in feeling this way. You’re really not alone. It’s really, really common. And just, don’t beat yourself up about feeling that way. And talk to somebody that you trust about how you’re feeling. I think that if you’re in that state, that’s a really good thing that you can do. And go and walk for an hour first!

Louise: Definitely. Yeah. Get away! Just get away.

Christina, thank you so much for joining Marketing IRL. If we want to find you online, where can we go to look for you?

Christina: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been really fun! To find me online, I’m @Christina_P on Twitter, or christina-pashialis.com, or find out more about ContentUK at contentuk.co

Louise: Thanks everybody for listening to Marketing IRL, brought to you by BuzzSumo. You can share your own experiences with us on Twitter. Just tweet @BuzzSumo, and you can find us on our website BuzzSumo.com. Bye!

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A Day In The Life Of Beth Watson: Digital Marketing and Product Officer

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A Day In The Life Of Beth Watson: Digital Marketing and Product Officer

Read the transcript 📜

Beth: Hello, my name is Beth and I am a Digital Marketing and Product Officer for a grief charity, and I do a mix of product and project management and content marketing. And this is my day in the life of a marketer! Okay. So on a good day – I don’t do this every day – I start the day off with a walk around Clissold Park, which is my nearest park in Hackney, where I live, and it’s just it’s just great because I love seeing everybody get up and walk their dogs and stuff like that.

And then, because I’m working from home, it’s nice to feel like I’m part of a community, you know? Also I am a full on podcast addict, so I need to walk as much as possible to make sure that I listen to as many podcasts as I can, because they are a huge part of my self-care and a huge part of my life, basically.

So today, as I walk, as soon as I finished this video, I’m going to put on “Maintenance Phase”, which is one of my favorite podcasts. It’s kind of like a science debunking podcast and today they’re talking about sleep. So exciting! Once I get back from my little walk, I get a pot of coffee on. Very, very important for anyone who works in marketing or content marketing. Coffee must come first!

Okay, now we’re ready to start the day properly. Okay, so I am fairly lucky in that I have a little office space in my flat in London, and I know that’s a massive privilege because not everyone in London has room to put their laptop permanently. So, yeah. Then I’ll start work and something I’m currently working on is we, so we launched our brand new website in September, and that involved also launching a whole lot of brand new content.

So something I do is monitor the progress of all this content using ahrefs every week. And to kind of provide myself with a little bit of a summary of how that content is doing, I will also then take a look at our website form entries, and analyze how our new content plan is having an effect on conversions.

Also, a unique problem we face in the charity sector is that – it’s not like being in e-commerce or being in all kinds of other content marketing games, like where the end goal is always traffic and conversions, traffic conversions, traffic conversions – in the charity sector, when we make new content, we want it to inform the user. But we have one eye on the fact that we are a charity.

The charity I work for provides services, provides free counseling, and the demand for those services actually really outweighs the supply. We don’t have enough counselors to provide everybody who wants it with counseling all the time. So when I’m creating new content for the website, I have to have in mind: what’s my call-to-action? Where am I signposting? If I’m going to create a really popular piece of content that I know is going to work really well, which you know, of course I do all the time because I’m excellent. But if I’m going to create a really popular piece of content, I have to have in mind, well, where am I directing this user to get the help they need? If I direct them to our helpline services, but it’s out of hours, are they going to get the support they need at that moment?

If I direct them to local support in the area, how can I guarantee that that area hasn’t got a massive wait list? So it’s, it’s less about driving conversions all the time, and it’s more about thinking where are the call-to-actions sending this user? So what we tend to do is we end our kind of content, our self-help content with multiple calls-to-action.

So that could be call the helpline, or keep reading more about this kind of grief support, self-help stuff that we offer. It kind of, it’s almost like you’re deliberately breaking some of the golden rules of content marketing, golden rules of SEO, so that you can ensure that the person who’s reading this content is going to get the help they need.

Obviously it’s been a really long time, the pandemic working from home, et cetera, et cetera. And it is hard to stay motivated during that time. One thing that I keep in mind, at all times, is the service user. In this case, working for a charity, that’s really easy. You can think, oh, actually the thing I’m writing, the content that I’m creating, the website that I’m improving, the H tags, I’m optimizing, whatever.

These things are directly leading people to get the support they need with grief. And grief is such a time when everyone thinks they know what it’s about. They think they know seven stages of grief. I’m in denial, I’m angry, et cetera. But what professional grief counselors know, and what people who’ve been through

it know is that it’s a lot more messy and a lot more complicated than that. And so when I’m writing content for my organization, I’m thinking all the time, this is going to be read by someone in need. And that keeps me motivated every single time. And so when I’m writing new content, which is, I generally try and get two to three new ideas every month – during our website redesign, that was like 100 new ideas,

because we wanted to launch with as much new content as possible – but yeah, two to three new ideas a month is really, really good, I think. So my process generally starts by analyzing competitors. So I will plug some competitor websites into our SEO keyword analysis tool. Find out if there’s any words they are ranking for that we are not. You know, copying is the best form of flattery.

And then I’ll have a look and see if there’s any gaps in that content, and see if there’s anything that is missing that we could possibly produce. Another place that I look for ideas is talking to our volunteers about the things that they find really helpful in session. For example, there are a number of different grief models that they use in session.

For example, the idea of “Growing around your grief” is a really big thing among grief counselors. This is the idea that you’re never going to get over the fact that you’ve lost somebody. That’s not really a thing. But you’re instead going to fill your life with different things. So this is a common concept that I heard all the time when I first started working here, “Growing around grief”, “Growing around grief”.

And I was like, okay, we need information, because the general public don’t know about this. So, then I put this idea to paper, found out some Frequently Asked Questions, used some keyword research, and now it’s a really, really popular page on the website. Okay, so once I’ve done the morning, done some content analysis, had a look at website conversion through our web form, I will obviously stop for lunch.

Right now I’m eating some leftover pizza for my lunch. So as the day gets on, I generally start to feel, you know, a bit more tired, a bit more like I need to get some exercise. So I generally finish the day with a swim! So swimming is something that I do a lot throughout the week.

I either go Monday lunchtime, or I do after work on a Wednesday or a Friday. And I’m really, really lucky because the pool is just the other side of the park from my house. And so I can just pop there whenever I like, when I’m working from home. And I’m just getting my swim bag ready right now! Okay. So I’ve got the Speedo swimming costume, the goggles, the wash bag, the bag, the Goggle case, which I’m very proud of, and a jumper for the way home.

So I hope you enjoyed my day in the life of a Content Marketer! It’s time for me to sign off now, go and have a swim, get some exercise, and then chill out. So, thanks so much! Bye!

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A Day In The Life Of Cory Huff: Head Of Marketing

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A Day In The Life Of Cory Huff: Head Of Marketing

Read the transcript 📜

Cory: Hey everybody. Good morning. My name is Cory Huff, and I am the head of marketing at a company called Productive Flourishing. Also, because I know a bunch of people are going to ask, I work from home. Productive Flourishing as an all remote company, has been from the beginning. I live in Portland, Oregon, and we have employees in six different states.

So, we are lucky that we work for an organization that allows us the flexibility and freedom to work from wherever. I know that’s becoming more and more common, but I’ve been doing that for about nine years. I’ve been working remotely. I’m gonna walk you through my day. Hopefully some of you will find this interesting!

This is my calendar, but you’ll see for the beginning of my day today here in about 15 minutes, I’m going to be onboarding a new employee and then I’ve got a quick check-in with my doctor. It looks like I have a meeting that was moved from, later in the day to nine 30. So I’ve got a conflict I need to resolve, but this is an important meeting.

So I’m going to go to the. And we’ll just move this. This is another project, and I will just move this. Oh goodness. Later today, sometime. And for those who want to see it, this is my home office. And then this is my desk. You can see I’ve got a ton of stuff on my desk. I am not a terribly organized person.

I’m very cluttered, but my desk has all the things I need on it. You can see my laptop, my external monitor. A couple of external hard drives for something else that I’m working on, a switch over there for breaks and, some donut holes, and my ADHD medication, and some tissues, and some business cards.

And deodorant. A bunch of other random crap. So I know that one of the things that we were talking about in this day in the life of is about wellness and,I have ADHD and I take Adderall by prescription. It’s a relatively low dose, and I just started taking it this year.

And it’s been a really, really fascinating journey to see my performance. Before learning about ADHD and after. And I’m really grateful that I work in a place where they are open. Our company has, does a great job of putting people in roles where their, their core strengths can be taken advantage of and their weaknesses can be minimized or taken over by other people on the team.

And productive. Flourishing is a run by Charlie who is a, um, former army logistics officer. So he’s like a logistics and operations genius. And, he’s hired a bunch of people who are also very, very good at project management and logistics. And that is not my area of core strength. I think there are some marketers out there who are very good at all of the moving pieces and all the coordination, and, you know, bless those marketers.

And I am somebody who leans much more on the creative side. I can come up with, you know, five crazy ideas for whatever thing is trying, we’re trying to do. So it’s, it’s really important, I think for marketers to find a team where the things you are good at are needed by the team that you’re working on.

So I’m really glad that I have. I’m lucky that I’m in a place where I can openly talk about ADHD and some of the challenges I have, not everybody is safe. Not every team member feels like they can talk to their boss about it, or even be open about it with their coworkers. I don’t have guidance on when you shouldn’t disclose or anything like that.

But I think if you feel safe with your boss, being able to talk to them even just one-on-one and say, you know, I have these challenges and rather than saying, I have ADHD and expecting them to know what that means. It’s more about, I’m good at this thing, and I’m not good at this. So how can we make my job more about the things that I’m good at?

I’m less about the things that I’m not good at and that’s what I would encourage people to do with their, their marketing careers. All right. So I’m just gonna draft from blank here and say,

Product Flourishing is launching a crowdfunding campaign. If you’ve been a reader or a planner customer for more than a few months, you know we’re working on launching a digital version of Momentum Planner.

So random part of my day. About a few weeks ago, I helped an accompany who needed help figuring out how to hire some marketers. I helped them figure out like how to write their job descriptions and how to work with marketers to make things more effective. So they sent me some packages and I thought this would be fun to see.

This is just another random part of my day. This kind of stuff happens all the time, where I’ll help people and they send me stuff. That’s one of the fun parts of working in marketing. Okay. It is 11:06 and, I have been on calls all morning, but it’s been a really good, really productive call. Quick check in with my doctor about my ADHD medication.

My weight’s down, my blood pressure is. So we’re playing around with my ADHD medication to fine tune that. And then had a great long call with our dev team that is building the momentum app. The personal planner app that we’re building that comes out in Q2 of 2020. And we got to see a demo.

We got to see the first look at the weekly view of the planner. So you can see all your projects together in one place and how they all relate to each other. Super excited about it. We also got into like the backend piece on how we’re going to do transactional emails, for all you marketing ops nerds out there, we had a transactional email conversation. We even got into some O Ops. Uh, around registration flows. And then I just had a great conversation with one of my contractors who is doing influencer outreach for us. We’ve identified a handful of specific YouTube channels that we want to work with, so that we can send them some planner bundles to give away to their audience.

And I get them on Instagram live to talk about their creative process, so that we can grow our audiences together. Okay. Now I’ve checked emails and slack and stuff,before my lunch break. So I’m going to go take a good 40 minute lunch. That usually involves me eating some leftovers because I look cooking at home and then maybe taking a short walk around the block or, chilling on the couch and playing Switch for a little bit.

So I am microwaving some leftover, lamb and lentil stew that I made for last Fridays. We’ll have time premiere. We had a big party, had a bunch of people over to watch the premiere of the Wheel Of Time. It was super fun. It is now 3:30 and I had an hour with my content marketing specialist to talk about a big blog post that we’re going to be publishing in December, as well as a sales page that she’s writing for us.

And also another big blog post that will be published next week. So it was a long, I involved detailed discussion talking about SEO, talking about, you know, the right title for SEO versus the right title for general readability and how we balance the two. Sothese are very common discussions that I have with my team on the regular.

And because I work from home,I am now going to do laundry. I’m just gonna go throw a little laundry in, and then I’m going to come back and finish a couple of things up. And then I’m going to talk with the founder at the end of the day, because we have some priority conflict around some content pieces that are coming out, but I need him to resolve.

So, that is where I’m at right now. I know there’s our laundry for the day or for the week rather. So my wife sorts the laundry and my job is to take it downstairs to the coin-op machines in our basement and wash these down there.

All right. It is evening and I’m wrapping up my day. As I mentioned earlier, I spoke to our founder about some content questions, and the blog posting question turned into two blog posts – one of which will be significantly longer, and it’s gonna take us a little while longer to write, but the shorter one I’m excited about. After the blog post conversation, I wrapped up some emails and made dinner for me and my wife.

We had fried eggs and bacon for dinner, just simple and easy for the night. And then I worked on a side project this evening. Overall it was a pretty good day. There was a lot of work today. This is a typical Tuesday for me. But now that I am done working on work stuff and side project stuff, I am getting ready for bed and I will watch a sitcom probably Schitt’s Creek before I go to sleep and maybe play on my switch a little bit.

So good night everybody. I hope this was an interesting or insightful day look into the day of a Marketer. Have a great day!

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