In the world of marketing, deadlines are everyone’s focus, but trends are key to staying relevant. So how do you keep up with both?
With the constant algorithm changes and new tools coming out regularly (not to mention your company’s ever-changing industry trends), it’s vital that you keep up-to-date on the latest trends to ensure your business stays relevant. But we also know that every marketer has deadlines and it can be difficult to stay relevant when you’re trying to keep your head above water every day.
Here at Spitfire Inbound, we work hard to ensure we’re keeping up-to-date with (and in some cases making our own) trends, not only in the world of Inbound, sales, social media, and HubSpot, but also the trends in our clients’ industries. We also have over 20 clients, which means we all have daily deadlines that need to be met. So, how do we do both?
1. To keep up with deadlines, we use the right technology (for us)
The beauty of technology is that with the right tools you can do almost anything. For us, having the right project management tool for our needs was a must. We explored all our options and compared the features of each one until we settled on the right one for us - Teamwork, which not only gives us everything we need to manage our projects, but also allows us to give our customers access to their projects so we have full transparency across the business. But remember, as our Commercial Director, Trevor Van Rensburg, likes to say, “a fool with a tool is still a fool”. Which is why we built an internal process for using the tool, with rules on how deadlines should be set and maintained. This means that we have an easy way to keep up to date with our deadlines.
As part of our process, we also utilised the “start date” option on the tool. This was a key feature for us. The biggest problem many people have with deadline keeping is that they only start the task on the day the project is due, purely because it only appears on their list on that day. Having a tool that highlights the day the project should start, allows those “looming” deadlines to “loom” a bit less.
We also use HubSpot to its fullest. When HubSpot released its service hub and the ticketing pipeline became available, we looked at the functionality of this and thought “how can we use this tool in our business?”. What we ended up doing was using the ticketing system to create a robust content pipeline which allowed us to not only keep a handle on our deadlines, but task people and use automation to send reminders.
2. We make the internet come to us
The internet is full of amazing information, but who has the time to spend all day online searching for trends? We certainly don’t, so what do we do? We let the information come to us! Many people may see email subscriptions as spam, but in reality they can be your best friend. Subscribing to blogs and other updates lets the info come to you. It’s also a good way to keep up to date with what your competitors are doing.
Another great tool to take advantage of is Google Alerts. All you have to do is add keywords you want to stay on top of and Google will alert you when there is any mention of that word on the internet. It’s ridiculously easy to set one up , and they’re pretty easy to edit and delete too.
They’re an extremely useful tool and a great way to see if your clients are getting traction, but also a good way to stay on the ball about any topics that are relevant to you.
3. We share resources
The world is full of resources, not just online, but every piece of content shared by people within your industry is a way to stay in the know. When we find a resource that gives insights into either our business or our clients, we share among the team to keep everyone relevant.
Part of this is staying alert to what is worth sharing, and to (as we said earlier) subscribe to relevant blogs, as well as downloading and reading the pamphlets, brochures, and articles provided by brands and industry experts you might think are out of your niche. Not everyone on your team will be subscribed to or aware of the same resources – or have the same interests – so this is a great way to get peer-reviewed content that you know will be relevant to you.
This also means it’s a good idea to find sites that offer useful information – sometimes a blog by a founder of useful software and other times it’s a niche business with interests that overlap yours.
You can also check out the useful Chrome extension, Pocket app, which suggests three new articles every time you open up a tab. You’ll be amazed at the random articles that filter into your feed that prove to be really useful!
4. We take advantage of the time we have
Taking advantage of the time you have means allocating your time based on when you’re most alert and being aware of your high focus times. We recommend finding a podcast or YouTube channel that offers you industry insights and use these to get your high thinking work done.
They’re also a great way to fill the time on a commute, and provide interesting and useful information and debates on topics relevant to you. What I love to do is plug into the HubSpot Academy and listen to some of their classes (audio only) while plugging away at some of my more perfunctory work.
Some podcasts our team loves:
- The Learning Leader Show: With a popular book alongside it, this podcast focuses on growing leadership abilities.
- The Growth Show: This podcast is developed by HubSpot and focuses on success. As they explain, “Each episode of The Growth Show explores the inspiring stories behind how people grow a business, an idea, or a movement.”
- Marketing Over Coffee: Recorded in a coffee shop every week, this podcast discusses both new and classic marketing.
- Copyblogger FM: Covering everything from copywriting to social media and conversion optimisation, this short form podcast alternates experts each episode.
5. We social network
Another powerful resource is accessing the community that gathers over niche interests online. At Spitfire, we’ve joined the HubSpot Solutions Partners group on Facebook, which is a great way to crowdsource creative solutions from across the world from people with similar challenges. We also find LinkedIn extremely useful and enjoy using LinkedIn Groups to network, crowdsource, and participate in an inbound community. Seeing the interests, solutions, article, and post shares from people in your own industry really helps keep you on your toes and has the added benefit of keeping you in the loop about what your peers are reading and interested in.
Here’s a quick infographic to help you remember these key steps:
Click here to download a copy of this infographic
In our industry, deadlines and trends actually go hand-in-hand. Master the one, and you’ll be able to keep up with the other. Get started by subscribing to our exclusive monthly newsletter or take a look at our resources page for more insightful content.