It’s a difficult time for entrepreneurs. Each day appears to convey information of layoffs from one other notable tech firm.
I do know a number of individuals who’ve been laid off from content material jobs lately. I additionally know the way discouraging and irritating that feels.
In November 2008, I learn a weblog submit from David Meerman Scott referred to as Downsized? Fired? Here Are the New Rules of Finding a Job. A month later, I used to be laid off f(together with greater than 10% of the corporate) because of the 2008 monetary disaster.
After I acquired house that day, I instantly reread David’s submit.
I can distill the takeaway into two sentences:
Need to discover a new job? Cease considering like a product advertiser and begin considering like a writer.
David relayed the story of Heather Hamilton, then a recruiting govt at Microsoft. She didn’t use standard strategies for sourcing and hiring candidates. As a substitute, she searched the online for potential workers. As David concluded, “So if you happen to’re not publishing, you gained’t be discovered by Microsoft.”
Thus, I started to show my job loss right into a content material advertising journey to create a private model.
Launching a weblog
Previous to the layoff, I helped to plan and execute digital occasions for the tech sector. I labored with purchasers like HP, Oracle, and CA Applied sciences on large-scale occasions that attracted 1000’s of attendees. These corporations noticed digital occasions as the subsequent period of on-line lead era.
The day after my layoff, I created a weblog on WordPress – It’s All Virtual. My first submit was 2009: The Yr We Go Digital.
As luck would have it, I discovered a brand new job immediately. A vendor of my earlier employer employed me as a consumer companies govt to work on their purchasers’ digital occasions and function an trade evangelist.
Making an affect
I emailed my new boss a hyperlink to that first submit. He replied, “Dennis, I shared this with our group. We knew you had expertise with digital occasions, however we had no concept you knew this a lot. We’re so impressed.”
I saved running a blog. Throughout the first months, a reader requested to speak. Within the name, he stated, “You realize, in final week’s submit, you shared some concepts about digital occasions that basically acquired me considering.”
My inside voice stated, “Wow! Not solely did he learn my submit, nevertheless it’s serving to him plan digital occasions at his firm.”
The optimistic reinforcement gave me the inspiration and need to proceed writing.
I discovered a constant publishing schedule for my weblog was important. I printed one submit per week from 2009 to 2012. I wrote the submit in a Microsoft Phrase doc, staged it in WordPress, and scheduled it to be printed the subsequent morning. In parallel, I wrote weblog articles about digital occasions on my employer’s web site.
The weekly cadence of publishing helped me set up myself as an professional on digital occasions. I used to be invited to creator visitor articles and communicate at trade conferences. I assembled posts into PDF guides and even self-published a guide, Generate Gross sales Leads With Digital Occasions.
I may see the fruit of David Meerman Scott’s recommendation to be a “writer of knowledge.”
What I might have achieved in a different way after I began the non-public weblog:
Taking to social media
Throughout my time as a digital occasions blogger, I found a group of occasion planners and assembly professionals on Twitter. We adopted one another and used Twitter to share concepts and content material.
Twitter was as soon as crucial social community for my private model. I used to converse about advertising there frequently, and the conversations with different entrepreneurs elevated my private model.
Since Twitter’s administration modified in late 2022, I tweet a lot much less. My account stays energetic, however I plan to spend extra time on LinkedIn. (I’m additionally prioritizing old school social media – assembly individuals for in-person chats over espresso).
However you’ll be able to adapt the method I adopted to construct my Twitter model to different platforms.
Begin with a mission assertion
I developed a mission assertion for my Twitter presence:
I wish to share attention-grabbing content material about advertising whereas exhibiting folks that I don’t take life too severely. I need individuals to consider me as helpful and partaking. My final purpose is to meet new individuals and discover attention-grabbing content material.
Right here’s a template I developed from that mission assertion:
I wish to [ACTIVITY] whereas [BALANCED BY]. I need individuals to consider me as [ADJECTIVE] and [ADJECTIVE]. My final purpose is to [GOAL].
Be a part of the dialog
Within the early days, I considered Twitter as a distribution channel, a spot to share my newest weblog submit.
I developed my method to deal with Twitter as an always-on, international dialog – it’s extra rewarding to work together with others on social than to easily share hyperlinks.
I additionally avoided overpromoting my firm and content material. You achieve extra respect and appreciation by generously sharing different individuals’s content material.
I additionally participated in Twitter chats – a scheduled time when an viewers gathers and follows the identical hashtag. Some have visitor audio system. Others have a subject or query round which the chat is constructed. Both manner, they provide you a chance to share your experience in entrance of a captive viewers.
What I might have achieved in a different way in my early Twitter days:
- Adopted others extra as they adopted me
- Centered much less on sharing hyperlinks to content material
- Engaged extra with customers
- Obsessed much less over the sequence of tweets in my profile
- Had extra enjoyable
Beginning a advertising meetup
In 2015, I launched a advertising meetup. My purpose was easy – to convey collectively entrepreneurs to be taught from one another. I went to Meetup.com and created the San Mateo B2B Bloggers Meetup.
Right now, I used to be working for a B2B software program firm, and my boss let me use the workplace after hours to host the gathering.
Primarily based on enter from members, I broadened our mission, altering the title to Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup. In-person gatherings comply with the identical format: half-hour of networking and pizza, adopted by a 60-minute professional presentation.
In March 2020, we shifted to 30-minute on-line meetups over Zoom (co-organizer Wealthy Schwerin named these “Zooms at Midday”). We’ve held greater than 90 on-line conferences since then, attracting attendees from everywhere in the world.
We’ve featured in-person presenters from Marketo, Demandbase, VMware, SiriusDecisions, and Flipboard. We’ve had particular visits from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Content material Advertising and marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi.
Whereas our members benefit from the studying alternatives, the connections and group are what they cherish probably the most. I’ve seen individuals discover new jobs, land new purchasers, and develop shut friendships. And I attribute 9 of my 20 consulting purchasers to the meetup.
What I want I had achieved after I began a meetup:
- Requested for assist earlier – I did all the things on my own at first
- Requested presenters to advertise the meetup to their networks
- Experimented extra with paid promoting
- Gained extra monetary flexibility by promoting extra sponsorships
Sending an electronic mail publication
After I thought I would expertise a second layoff, I launched an electronic mail publication. I appreciated the concept of constructing an electronic mail checklist, an viewers with whom I may share my ideas and experience.
I additionally needed to advertise our upcoming meetups additional. The Meetup platform permits me to ship a message to the group; nevertheless, the system doesn’t present me with electronic mail addresses. I created a free account on Mailchimp and referred to as my publication Content material Nook. I requested meetup members in the event that they needed to subscribe and manually added them to the checklist.
The publication comes out each different Friday and contains these sections:
- Across the Nook (curated content material)
- Subsequent Meetup
- Twitter Nook (one Twitter consumer function)
- Podcast Nook
- In Your Nook (an attention-grabbing article not associated to advertising)
I take nice pleasure in uncovering attention-grabbing articles that others would discover priceless. I’ve change into fairly selective. As a substitute of publishing a laundry checklist of content material, Across the Nook has just one or two alternatives. For every decide, I write a number of paragraphs to convey why I included it.
Whereas designed to tell, educate, and typically entertain my subscribers, the Content material Nook publication additionally options many points of my model, from my writing and perspective to my style and experience.
It’s a wonderful car for amplifying my private model. When one consumer was considering of hiring me, this electronic mail publication clinched the deal. I’ve helped a couple of purchasers create electronic mail newsletters. Seeing my private publication in motion helped them perceive how I would assist.
What I might have achieved in a different way after I began the publication:
- Centered on high quality over amount with curated content material
- Employed a graphic designer to assist with the brand and HTML template
- Discovered extra methods to develop my subscriber checklist
It’s time to work in your private model
Within the 14 years since, I’ve actively and purposefully managed my private model. It’s not a one-time, spring-cleaning type of factor. For me, it’s ingrained in virtually all the things I do on-line: publishing articles, organizing meetups, tweeting with others, sending my electronic mail publication, and so on.
In my full-time roles, my private model gave me extra visibility in my trade and made me more practical at my job. Now that I’m a advertising advisor, my private model makes it simple for brand spanking new purchasers to seek out me. It’s content material advertising for me, and it really works.
Up to date Jan. 23, 2023
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute