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Jun

15

2017

How to Avoid Burnout at Work: 7 Strategies from HubSpot’s Manager of Culture

Published by in category Daily, Office Life, Professional Development | Comments are closed

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Doesn’t it seem like we don’t go a day without hearing about employee burnout — mostly what a problem it is?

In a survey conducted last year by Morar Consulting, 95% of human resources professionals blamed the loss of good employees on job burnout. Headlines call it a “crisis.” Type the words “employee burnout” into the Google search bar, and one of the autocomplete phrases likely ends with, “is becoming a huge problem.” And yet, despite all the research pointing to how bad it is — for reasons ranging from physical health to how much employers lose on turnover because of it — it continues to be a huge problem.

But what are you supposed to do about it?

Many of us recognize these patterns in friends and family, but rarely ask that question of ourselves or, sometimes, our employees. So many people are afraid to take time for themselves until it’s too late and we reach — you guessed it — burnout status. Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

That’s why I decided to enlist the help of an expert: HubSpot’s Manager of Culture and Experience, Tamara Lilian. I asked her about the many ways her team goes above and beyond to prevent employee burnout here — and, perhaps even more important, how employees and employers everywhere can put them into practice in their own environments.

So, what did we learn? Read on to find out — or listen to our interview with Lilian by pressing “play” below.

How to Avoid Burnout at Work

For Employers and Managers

1) Learn how to recognize signs of burnout.

This tip applies more to individual managers than it does to employers as a whole. When workloads are at a peak for everyone, and there’s plenty of stress to go around, it can be difficult to remember to observe what — and how — others around us are doing. And when it comes to signs of burnout, it’s often difficult for people to recognize them even within themselves.

That’s why it’s so important for managers to be able to recognize them — and take the necessary actions to address and resolve them. And while that can be tough for new managers, Lilian says, with some knowledge and information, it’s certainly not impossible.

“We’re stepping up our manager training, and we’re working on trainings to support them with their teams,” she explains. That includes things like knowing how to manage workloads in a way that mitigates burnout before it even happens, as well as supporting employees during their time off.

Actionably, what does that mean? To start, if you have people on your team who are particularly overeager to tackle things, recognize that it’s a great attitude to have, but check in regularly to make sure that person isn’t biting off more than she can chew. That way, you’re working to manage her workload in a way that prevents burnout.

And while employees should also be encouraged to take time off when they need it, make sure they know that they should truly be offline during their times out of the office. For that reason, it’s fair to request as much advanced notice as necessary, so you can work together to make sure there’s a support system in place at the office that can allow that person to fully disconnect.

2) Set the tone with a company (or team) culture code.

Here at HubSpot, we have a Culture Code, a document created to represent our people, culture, and values. It was written by CTO and Co-founder Dharmesh Shah with the mentality that, to build the best company, he would build it much like an engineer builds a product with code.

But the keys here are the three aforementioned things that the Culture Code was built to support: people, culture, and values. And no matter how big or small your team or company, you can still build a “code” guide the way your team operates. In fact, there are a few things from HubSpot’s own that can be applied to a number of environments, says Lilian. These are things like:

Transparency

“We share everything internally, from executive leadership meeting decks, to finances, to board meetings,” Lilian explains. “That creates trust, which in turn makes people feel valued.”

One easy way to add more transparency to your team or company culture is to always add context to major changes or decisions, especially when they impact the things your employees work on. If there’s a sudden pivot, explain why, and acknowledge that it’s sudden.

Trust

“Speaking of trust,” says Lilian, “in the Culture Code, we have a three-word policy: use good judgment. There’s no employee handbook you receive on Day One, because we put an enormous amount of trust in our employees.”

Showing that you trust your employees can manifest itself in a number of ways, but a big one is to stop micromanaging. Autonomy is also a big part of our culture here at HubSpot — which means that while managers are encouraged to maintain strong communication and be available for help whenever it’s needed, they trust us to get our work done on time, ask for help when we need it, and keep them updated on projects.

In other words, employees are given a large degree of control over their own work, which has been shown to correlate with both higher productivity and overall wellness. It also allows employees the freedom to independently discover the ways in which their work contributes to an organization’s overall success, which can lead to a greater willingness to ask questions — instead of being afraid of looking like they don’t know something. Being able to obtain that information without being judged for it can encourage creativity, too, as transparent, comprehensive answers can encourage new ideas.

People > Perks

“Sure, the free beer, being able to bring your dog to work, and having a gym on-site are cool,” says Lilian. “But that’s not what keeps people here. Keeping people motivated, challenged, and welcomed with an inclusive work environment is what keeps people here.”

That said, as you begin to build your team, remember that perks don’t go unappreciated. Free coffee is great for most of us, let alone free beer. But also think about the things for which the novelty isn’t quite as likely to wear off — things like the engaging work that Lilian referred to. If your team isn’t producing quality work, don’t assume that it’s due to laziness. The issue could just be a lack of interest. Have a conversation with employees about that to find out what’s making them lose interest, and together, figure out how to make it more engaging.

3) Lead by example.

Riddle me this: If you never see your boss take a vacation, how good are you going to feel about taking one? Probably not great — you wouldn’t be mirroring the example set by your manager to never take time off.

“You have to lead by example,” says Lilian. “For example, our CEO, Brian Halligan, just took his one-month sabbatical. If he can take that time off, then others definitely can.”

In the end, leading by the example of taking time off when you need it ends up benefitting everyone. Not only will it permit you the time you need to disconnect and recharge — which boosts productivity — but also, you’re showing your team that it’s an important thing to do.

They say that actions speak louder than words, but this tip partially goes back to the idea of knowing when to recognize burnout. Don’t just take time off — encourage it, too. If you’re planning to take some time off and realize that it’s been a while since your employees have, bring that up in your next conversation. Even if that person responds that she’s too busy to take time off, discuss the importance of breaks and that you’re ready to work with her to make sure all bases are covered while she’s out.

For Employees

4) Use the resources made available to you.

And while we’re on the topic of the old “I don’t have time” excuse, when it comes to taking care of yourself, “you need to make the time,” says Lilian.

She points to the the Healthy@HubSpot program, which includes things like on-site fitness classes, a kitchen full of healthy snacks — including fresh fruit and vegetables — and standing desks. And while not every workplace will have the budget for these types of resources, it’s important to take advantage of those that are available.

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For example, maybe your workplace has a nice outdoor area. Weather permitting, don’t let it go to waste — eat lunch there, or sit there for five minutes when you’re feeling particularly stressed (more on that later).

Sometimes, though, taking advantage of what’s made available to you comes down to your colleagues. “It sound so simple, but just grabbing coffee with someone you work with can have an impact,” says Lilian, “or turning a meeting into a ‘walking meeting’ outside.”

She also encourages making time to do these things with people who you don’t necessarily work with regularly. “Getting to know folks from other parts of the business can benefit the quality of your work,” she explains, by gaining more neutral and fresh insights or ideas.

5) Get away from your desk.

I’ll never forget a quote I once read from Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport in the article “25 Ways to Practice Self-Care”:

I know what you’re thinking. The time to take care of yourself is when you have time to take care of yourself. Bright-and-early Saturday morning yoga. Sunday afternoon hike. But that’s not where my head’s at. I’m talking 3:18 p.m. on a Tuesday. When you’re sitting at your desk, ready to throttle your boss. Or quietly seething that your colleague got credit for something that your colleague totally didn’t do. That’s when you need to get up and walk away. And go do something. Anything. On such days, I head out for a coffee. Not because I need a coffee, but because I need to get out. I wander down to this little joint in a giant office complex on the Hudson River. And, then, instead of walking back to the office, I park it on a bench. And I just sit there. Breathing actual nonrecycled office-building air. Watching the ferries pull up to the dock. Because sometimes doing a better job means not doing your job at all.”

In other words, when you’re starting to feel like you might lose it — whether it’s the result of a frustrating project or a co-worker’s annoying whistling — step away. Now.

Lilian emphasizes the importance of getting away from your desk — even if it means doing your work somewhere else. “Results matter more than hours, or where we produce them. You can actually see this in the HubSpot offices, as we create ‘nomad desks’ where folks can work from in addition to their main desk,” she explains. “But we have plenty of collaborative workspaces to grab a seat at any time, if you need a change of environment or feel more creative or inspired in a different area.”

6) Take the time you need — with good judgment.

This practice falls along the lines of taking advantages of the resources made available to you. If you have paid time off — use it!

According to Project: Time Off’s 2016 State of American Vacation, the use of paid vacation has been dwindling among U.S.employees since 2000. In fact, last year, 55% of them didn’t even use all of their vacation days, with an average of .2 days taken off per employee.

I don’t know about you, but those numbers make me sad. If you’ve read the text leading up to this point, then you already know that taking time off can aid productivity. But if the refresh-and-renew benefit isn’t your thing, think of it this way: “By giving up this time off, Americans are effectively volunteering hundreds of millions of days of free work for their employers,” writes the Project: Time Off report, “which results in $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits.”

Okay, so maybe you’re worried about leaving your team in a lurch by taking time off. You’re in luck — there’s a fairly simple solution for that. “This goes back to using good judgment,” Lilian explains. “If you’re looking to take a week’s vacation with your family, make sure your team is set up for success while you are gone.”

Not sure how to start? Here are two key points:

  • Let your team know when you’ll be out of the office as far in advance as possible. My colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, uses the rule of one week notice for every day that you’ll be out of the office — so if you’ll be off for ten business days, let your colleagues and manager know about it ten weeks before you leave.
  • Be prepared to hustle before you leave in order to get ahead on the time you’ll be out. Not only will you be minimizing the amount of extra work your colleagues have to share in your absence, but also, you’ll (hopefully) be returning to that much less to catch up on when you return.
  • Make sure which regularly-occurring tasks you’ll be out for. For example, let’s say you and a colleague take turns doing something each month, like compiling a monthly performance report. If you’re going to be away during the time when it’s normally your turn, work with a colleague to rearrange the schedule so that she doesn’t have to unexpectedly take it on.

7) Don’t check in during your time off — and don’t feel bad about it.

Part of the point of working so hard before you leave for your vacation is to make sure you can completely step away during your time off. And yes — a lot of people “do a significant amount of work while on vacation,” Robert Blendon, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professor told NPR. “So they’re taking their stress along with them wherever they go.”

The point of a vacation is to leave your stress behind, or at least to try your best to detach from it, so you can feel rested when you get back to work. Keeping that source of stress present during your time off is like going to the dentist with one cavity and leaving with four. It defeats the purpose of why you went there.

So please — don’t come back to work with four cavities. Disconnect when you’re away, and get the rest you need.

They Say It Takes a Village

Remember, preventing job burnout requires efforts from both managers and employees. The latter can’t be afraid to ask for the things they need to be well and do the best work they can — but their supervisors also have to create an environment where it’s not discouraged. Start making some of these incremental changes, and you’ll be well on your way to your own healthy workplace.

How does your team prevent job burnout? Let us know in the comments.

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Jun

6

2017

How to Get Promoted: Impress Your Boss by Doing These 7 Things

Published by in category Daily, Management, Professional Development | Comments are closed

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I once made a really big hiring mistake.

After a series of promising interviews, I took on an intern whose level of professionalism, performance, and overall demeanor quickly took a turn for the worse. I discussed it with my supervisor, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interests not to move forward with the internship.

However, when we sat her down to talk, she countered our concerns about her performance by saying, “But … I was driving all the way from [insert desolate location here] to get here every day.”

I recall staring at her blankly. Since when does the length of your commute warrant special praise? Boost your resume and join 30,000 marketers by getting inbound  marketing-certified for free from HubSpot. Get started here. 

We all wake up every morning, brush our teeth (hopefully), and make our way to work. However, the simple truth is that the act of “showing up” isn’t enough to propel career advancement. The most successful people earn the attention and respect of their bosses by proving they’re an asset to the team. So if you’ve ever entertained the thought of how to get promoted — or, at least, how to impress your boss — we’ve identified a few things every boss would love to see you doing.

How to Get Promoted With 7 Great Behaviors

1) Take ownership.

At HubSpot, we’ve been known to “fire” our best people.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

Here’s how it works: If you have a great idea — and you can prove that it actually delivers — you will be fired from your day job to own and grow that idea. After all, that’s what happened to HubSpot’s former VP of Sales, Pete Caputa. The story goes, according to CEO Brian Halligan speaking to Inc:

In 2008, one of our sales reps came to me with an idea that he believed could revolutionize HubSpot. At the time, we sold our software directly to consumers. But the rep, Pete Caputa, thought HubSpot should have a reseller channel in order to expand the business model. Basically, he wanted to sell our core product to third parties, who would then turn around and sell the product to their customers.”

Halligan was far from sold on the idea, but he decided to give Caputa an opportunity to prove himself. “If you want to do it so bad, start doing it nights and weekends and show us this will work,” he said.

Not long after accepting the challenge, Caputa was, in fact, encouraged to leave his day job here to grow what is now HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program.

Our point: Don’t be afraid to bring big ideas to the table. That’s the type of behavior that good bosses love to see because it illustrates your ability to solve problems for the business (and customers) on a high level. And while it’s easy to solve problems that specifically pertain to you and your reports, the goal is to identify and solve problems that influence the grand scheme of things. Think like a founder, and your boss will take note.

2) Support your colleagues.

Depending on your industry, getting ahead at work might sometimes feel like a dog-eat-dog type of situation. And while the old saying goes, “Nice guys finish last,” there is actually an opportunity for self-advancement through the act of helping others. Not to mention, if your boss catches you in the act, it can highlight your ability to be remarkably helpful: a trait almost every good boss cares about.

But don’t just take it from me. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, also has something to say about it:

The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.”

In this book, Grant dives into the idea that in the workplace, people can be divided into three categories: takers, matchers, and givers.

  • Takers are known to, well, take from other people.
  • Matchers are more apt to make even exchanges.
  • Givers separate themselves from the rest by doing good without expectations for reciprocation.

Grant goes on to provide examples of successful givers throughout history, such as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, venture capitalist David Hornik, and businessman Jon Huntsman, Sr. So do yourself a favor and dig into their accomplishments a bit — we have a hunch that it’ll inspire you to rethink the potential benefits of lending a helping hand.

3) Measure and report.

Not long ago, I swore I saw a notable actor from the TV show “Lost” on my flight.

I excitedly texted my friend to tell him, to which he replied, “Send pictures, or it didn’t happen.”

That request got me thinking about our innate desire to “see it to believe it.” If my own friend wouldn’t believe my claims without photo evidence, why would my boss simply take my word for it when it comes time to talk about my performance?

The simple truth: Most bosses are busy, leaving little time for them to investigate whether or not you’re accomplishing what you’re supposed to be accomplishing. If you’re not vocal (and visual) about your performance, you run the risk of going unnoticed. That’s why supervisors love to see employees who not only measure their efforts but also report on them. Clear, specific, goal-oriented reports serve as one of the most effective ways to communicate your progress and prove to your boss that you’re capable of taking on more.

In terms of what to include in these reports, focus on ROI. While vanity metrics like social media views might be worth noting for yourself, your boss wants to see how your efforts are specifically influencing the bottom line.

“Don’t just report on what you crossed off your to-do list, report on what those activities achieved. So often, young staff want to prove that they’re working,” explains HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, Meghan Keaney Anderson. “We know you’re working. We see it and are proud of you for it. Prove not that you’re working, but that what you are doing is working.”

4) Be proactive, not reactive.

“My kids will have chocolate dripping from their mouths, and I’ll say, ‘Did you just eat chocolate?'” Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds, once recounted for HBR’s IdeaCast. “And they’ll be like, ‘No, I didn’t just eat chocolate.'”

What in the world does that have to do with impressing your boss? Well, it’s a silly, yet accurate example of how you sound when you’re being reactive — and maybe even a little defensive — rather than proactive. Not a situation you’d want to be caught in with your boss, right?

From a psychological perspective, we react to avoid punishment. It’s a direct result of the stimulation that our amygdala — a subcortical brain structure that is linked to both fear responses and pleasure — experiences when we’re caught off-guard. And while it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll never be faced with a quick decision in front of your boss, proactive employees aim to control situations by causing things to happen, rather than waiting to respond after things happen.

What does that look like, though? Well, aside from taking steps to plan ahead and anticipate “what-ifs,” Bregman encourages people to pause for four seconds before responding to something. That way, you’re allowing yourself a moment to process the situation you’ve been faced with, which can help you strategically and intentionally choose the words that you’re going to say — instead of instinctively saying something that you don’t mean.

5) Make more with less.

Part of being a noteworthy employee is being able to adapt to the industry and company changes that, eventually, will come your way. Let’s say, for example, that your company runs into an unplanned expense, or an important member of the team unexpectedly gives her two weeks notice. That could certainly throw a wrench in your budget and bandwidth, couldn’t it?

Some employees might see these events as a huge setback — one that serves as an excuse for falling short on goals. But the most successful people find a way to do more with less — and the really successful people find a way to do better with less.

Take that hypothetical budgeting issue. If it forces you to reduce or reallocate funds for freelancers, don’t use it as an excuse to allow content production to come to a halt. Instead, consider what you can do to turn the situation around. Maybe you work toward creating one strong piece of content on your own, like an ebook, that can be repurposed as separate blog articles to fill your editorial calendar until the budget gets back to a healthy level. Or, what about reaching out to a co-marketing partner to join forces on a piece of content that benefits you both?

Another great way to demonstrate your ability to do more with less would be to scale back the average time of your meetings. According to the book Time Talent Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, “the average organization spends 15% of its collective time in meetings.” That plays into the belief that simply working longer hours is comparable to doing more with less when really, it’s all about making better use of your time. Cutting your meeting time in half will force you to get to the point quicker — and leave you with extra time to allocate toward other projects and tasks.

Remember: Excuses don’t promote career advancement. Solutions do.

6) Welcome feedback.

I have a confession to make. I hate it when I don’t have the answer for something. I want to think I know everything — so when I’m faced with the reality that I don’t, admitting so is a bitter pill to swallow. But being able to do so is a big part of getting ahead.

That’s one reason why it can be so helpful to welcome third-party feedback when we need to know what we’re missing — like when you’ve worked on a long-term project, and you start to see any progress through rose-colored glasses. At that stage, it’s most helpful to invite an outsider in to poke holes in your approach. What’s working? What’s missing? What is needed to take this project from good to great?

According to Gallup, the most engaged employees are the ones who meet with their managers at least once a week — which suggests that both positive and negative feedback, as well as overall effective communication, plays an instrumental role in the way we perceive goals. Asking for that kind of time with your manager is a reasonable request, if you make it count. Make sure that you’re prepared to handle whatever feedback comes your way. While positive feedback is often pretty easy to accept, negative feedback can come as a challenge for many but is often the most valuable.

To ensure that you make the most out of constructive criticism, take note of the following tips:

  • Listen. Sure, it’s easy to tune someone out when you’re not particularly thrilled with what they are saying, but that doesn’t make it right. Give the person the respect she deserves by listening to what she has to say, before you interject.
  • Ask clarifying questions. If you don’t understand the point someone is trying to make, don’t hesitate to ask him to elaborate. Following up with questions will help to ensure that you both walk away on the same page.
  • Consider the source. All feedback is not created equal. While getting some honest feedback from a co-worker who knows little about your project may help you to identify weak spots, it’s important that you focus on the feedback coming from those to whom you report. In other words, give attention and energy where they’re due most.

7) Smile.

We hate to sound like a bunch of “Pollyannas,” but trust us: No supervisor wants to walk into an office and see a team of people that look like they are suffering through a dental appointment. Not only is it detrimental to company morale, but it also sends a signal that there’s something wrong with his management. If there is, that’s an important conversation to have — but not by going around looking like someone just asked you to spend the day watching paint dry.

At work (and at home), it’s important to try to focus on the positive, no matter what’s on your plate. According to a 2010 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, it pays to be positive — literally. Not only did it find that optimistically inclined MBA students have an easier time finding jobs compared to their peers, but also, they saw a 5-10% increase in the probability of being promoted over their pessimistic peers.

Note to Self: Keep On and Smile On

Research like the study cited above taps into the idea that success can correlate with an ability to stay positive, even when completing overwhelming tasks.

And really, those findings align with many of the behaviors we’ve covered here. Even when something happens at work to upset us, proactively addressing it is more likely to be productive than reactively sulking and wallowing in it.

It may sound cliche, but beneath most of these tips is the foundation of a good attitude. So the next time something at the office bums you out — or you’re searching for the best way to progress in your career — revisit this list to see what you can actively do about it.

What are your best tips on how to get promoted? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Jun

2

2017

10 Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Replace (and 10 That Are Safe)

Published by in category Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

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The other day at work, my colleague, HubSpot Marketing Director Ryan Bonnici, sent around a link on Slack — to a website called “Will Robots Take My Job?”

We were thrilled to learn marketing managers had only a 1.4% chance of our jobs being automated or replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. And although I breathed a sigh of relief that writing has only a 3.8% chance of being automated, it made me think about job roles that weren’t so lucky.

If you think job disruption by AI is limited to the assembly lines, think again: AI is doing a better job than humans at some aspects of sales and marketing, too.

Artificial Intelligence Disruption is Already Happening

AI can analyze sales calls far faster than any sales manager could — in fact, it would take 9 years of nonstop sales call analysis for a human being to compete, and that’s if they didn’t take vacation or sleep. And AI is already being used to develop marketers’ content strategies and email marketing playbooks — it’s only a matter of time before it plays a bigger role in the process.

HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah has a more positive outlook on the future of AI — in fact, he thinks bots and AI will make us better at our jobs and more secure in our careers, not the other way around.

The truth probably lies halfway between these camps — in many cases, AI will serve to make our jobs easier and will make us more effective and data-driven. But the fact remains that some jobs will be replaced by machines — it’s the essence of any industrial or technological revolution. The good news is; some jobs won’t be strictly replaced — they just might be adjusted to account for new technologies’ “careers.”

Based on the landmark 2013 study that inspired “Will Robots Take My Job?” we’ve rounded up some of the marketing and sales roles most likely to be replaced by robots, bots, and AI in the next few years. This study analyzes the likely probability that a job will be replaced by automation and computerization — based primarily on the level of routine a job has and the specialized training and social intelligence required to complete it. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what your life could look like in a few years.

10 Careers AI Will Replace (and 10 That Are Safe)

Most Likely to Be Replaced

1) Telemarketers

Likelihood: 99%

Why: You probably already receive robo-calls on behalf of various products and services, and career growth in the telemarketing space is expected to decline by 3% by the year 2024. This is largely in part because of the requirements to be successful: Unlike other sales roles, telemarketers don’t require a high level of social, or emotional, intelligence to be successful. Think about it — are you likely to purchase from a telemarketer? Conversion rates for direct telephone sales are typically less than 10%, making this role a ripe opportunity to be automated.

2) Bookkeeping clerks

Likelihood: 98%

Why: Jobs in this role are expected to decline 8% by 2024, and it’s no surprise why — most bookkeeping is becoming automated, if it hasn’t been already. QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Microsoft Office already offer software that does the bookkeeping for you that’s much more affordable than a person’s salary, so it’s no surprise this job has such a high probability.

3) Compensation and Benefits Managers

Likelihood: 96%

Why: This one is surprising because the job growth is supposed to increase 7% by 2024. But just because there’s demand doesn’t make you safe from automation. As companies grow in size — especially across multinational markets — a human and paper-based system can present more hurdles, time delays, and costs. Automated benefits systems can save time and effort for providing benefits to large numbers of employees, and companies like Ultipro and Workday are already being widely adopted.

4) Receptionists

Likelihood: 96%

Why: Pam predicted this back on The Office, but in case you’re not a fan, automated phone and scheduling systems can replace a lot of the traditional receptionist role — especially at modern technology companies that don’t have office-wide phone systems or multinational corporations.

5) Couriers

Likelihood: 94%

Why: Couriers and delivery people are already being replaced by drones and robots, so it’s only a matter of time until this space is dominated by automation altogether. At the same time, this space is expected to grow by 5% by 2024, so it might not happen as quickly as you think.

6) Proofreaders

Likelihood: 84%

Why: Proofreading software is everywhere — and we use it a lot here at HubSpot. From Microsoft Word’s simple spelling and grammar check to Grammarly and Hemingway App, there are a lot of technologies out there that make it easy to self-check your own writing.

7) Computer Support Specialists

Likelihood: 65%

Why: The field is projected to grow 12% by 2024, but with so much content on the internet with instructions, step-by-step guides, and hacks out there, it’s no surprise companies will rely more heavily on bots and automation to answer support questions from employees and customers in the future.

8) Market Research Analysts

Likelihood: 61%

Why: Market research analysts play an incredibly important role in the development of messaging, content, and products, but automated AI and surveys can compile this information more and more easily. GrowthBot, for example, can conduct market research on nearby businesses and competitors with a simple Slack command.

9) Advertising Salespeople

Likelihood: 54%

Why: As advertising shifts away from print and TV and towards web and social media landscapes, people simply don’t need to be managing those sales for marketers who want to buy ad space. More social media platforms are making it easy for people to buy space through free application program interfaces (APIs) and self-serve ad marketplaces to remove the salesperson and make it faster and easier for users to make money — and that’s reflected in the projected 3% decline in the industry.

10) Retail Salespeople

Likelihood: 92%

Why: If you’ve visited a mall, car dealership, or furniture store lately, you might not have been assisted by a salesperson at all from start to finish. Companies are democratizing the shopping experience with features like self-checkout, and the modern buyer is much more internet-savvy and more likely to do internet research and make a buying decision on their own.

Most Likely to Be Safe (For Now)

1) Human Resources Managers

Likelihood: 0.55%

Why Not: It’s kind of in the name — but your company’s Human Resources department will likely always need a human at the helm to manage interpersonal conflict with the help of non-cognitive and reasoning skills. The field is projected to grow 9% by 2024 as companies grow and need more robust structures for supporting and helping employees.

2) Sales Managers

Likelihood: 1.3%

Why Not: Sales managers need a high level of emotional intelligence to hit their quotas each month, network and collaborate with customers, and motivate and encourage the larger sales team. Managers also have to analyze data and interpret trends, and the high levels of intelligence required — plus the constant need to adapt to new situations — makes this role safe from automation.

3) Marketing Managers

Likelihood: 1.4%

Why Not: Marketing managers have to interpret data, monitor trends, oversee campaigns, and create content. They also have to nimbly adapt and respond to changes and feedback from the rest of the company and customers, making this another human-forward career AI isn’t quite ready to replicate.

4) Public Relations Managers

Likelihood: 1.5%

Why Not: Successful PR managers rely on a network of relationships and contacts to procure press placements and buzz for the companies they represent, making this another completely safe role. PR managers who have to raise awareness around an issue or mission need a particularly human touch to raise funds or get people to participate in a campaign, too — and jobs are expected to grow 7% by 2024.

5) Chief Executives

Likelihood: 1.5%

Why Not: It’s nearly impossible to automate leadership — after all, it’s hard enough to teach it. Chief executives have to inform broad strategy, represent companies’ missions and objectives, and motivate huge teams of people working for them. Companies may answer to stakeholders and boards of directors, who likely wouldn’t want a robot giving them an earnings report, either.

6) Event Planners

Likelihood: 3.7%

Why Not: Event planning is a growing field, and if you ask anyone on our events team here at HubSpot, whether you’re planning an event for employees, customers, or an industry event with tens of thousands of attendees, the planning process has many, many moving parts involved. Planners have to coordinate and negotiate with vendors, contractors, and freelancers to make things come together, and the organizational and people skills involved will make this another near-impossible role to automate.

7) Writers

Likelihood: 3.8%

Why Not: (I breathed a sigh of relief on this one.) Writers have to ideate, create, and produce original written material. AIs can do some of this with title suggestions, writing prompts, and automated social media messages, but blog posts, books, movies, and plays will likely be written by humans for the foreseeable future.

8) Software Developers

Likelihood: 4.2%

Why Not: Software engineering and development is hard enough for human beings to do, and the time and skill investment needed to create applications, software, and websites will be tough to replicate — especially since developers need to execute perfectly to create great products for customers. The field is expected to grow by 19% by 2024, so if you’re a software developer, you’re sitting pretty for now.

9) Editors

Likelihood: 5.5%

Why Not: While some of the load can be lifted from editors with the automated proofreading technology mentioned previously, editors have to review writers’ submission for clarity, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and originality. While there is some software that can spot-check for clarity and scan for plagiarism, the editor role must be carried out by a human in order to read work as another human would.

10) Graphic Designers

Likelihood: 8.2%

Why Not: Although there are some AIs taking small (and somewhat creepy) steps in the graphic design space, graphic design is both artistic and technical, making it an ideal role for a human being to carry out. Like writing, all work needs to be original and created to the client’s wishes, so graphic design needs to be created with a human artist and editor all-in-one.

To learn more about how you can keep working with AI to improve your work and optimize efficiency, read our research report here.

What jobs do you think will be replaced by AI? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

27

2017

8 of the Top Marketing Challenges Marketers Face Today [New Data]

Published by in category Daily, Inbound Marketing, marketing data, Professional Development | Comments are closed

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Every marketer faces different challenges. Although we typically share similar goals, some teams are stuck on hiring top talent, while others are having trouble finding the right technology for their needs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s always at least one area that you can stand to improve. In other words, there’s always room to optimize the various components of your strategy and turn your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator.

Curious about what kinds of obstacles other marketers are up against?

soi-anchor-cta-2017

We polled thousands of marketers on the challenges they face, as well as the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on. Here are some of the most common challenges marketers reported struggling with … and their solutions.

The Most Common Marketing Problems We Face, According to the 2017 State of Inbound Report

According to our report, generating traffic and leads and proving ROI are the leading challenges marketers face. Here’s a look at this year’s data:

top-marketing-challenges-blog copy.png

Image Credit: The 2017 State of Inbound Report

Let’s go through each of these top challenges and how marketers can address them.

1) Generating Traffic and Leads

Why It’s a Challenge

Generating enough traffic and leads was the top marketing challenge, according to the 2017 State of Inbound report. We started asking this question with this answer as a new option last year — and we’re glad we did.

Clearly, marketers are struggling with producing enough demand for their content. And as the years progress and competition stiffens, this will only become truer. With so many options of platforms for marketers to publish their content and even more ways to promote it, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to creating content that produces enough traffic and leads, marketers should ask themselves two questions: Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?

For example, HubSpot Research has found that 43% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future, while only 29% want to see more blog posts. To learn more about how the way people are reading and interacting with content is changing, check out this HubSpot Research report.

Once you know you’re creating the type of content your audience wants, the focus shifts to promoting it in a way that makes your audience take notice. More than ever before, people are being flooded with content. Consumers don’t have to use a search engine to find answers. Instead, articles fill their news feed or buzz in their pocket via mobile notification.

Needless to say, the content promotion playbook is not the same as it was five years ago. To make sure your traffic and lead numbers continue to rise, check out this comprehensive guide to content promotion.

2) Providing the ROI of Your Marketing Activities

Why It’s a Challenge

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge year-over-year. But, it also continues to be a vital way for marketers to understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign, piece of content, etc.

Plus, proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget.

But tracking the ROI of every single marketing activity isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales reports.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to providing ROI, there’s a strong case to be made for dedicating time and resources to establishing links between marketing activities and sales results. This means using both marketing software (like HubSpot) and a CRM solution (like HubSpot’s free CRM), and then tying them together to close the loop between your marketing and sales efforts with a service-level agreement (SLA). That way, you can directly see how many leads and customers are generated through your marketing activities.

We’ve found there’s no better combination than having an SLA and doing inbound marketing. According to this year’s report, inbound organizations with SLAs are 3X more likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective compared to outbound organizations with misaligned marketing and sales teams.

(Use this ROI calculator to simulate the potential ROI you could realize by conducting inbound marketing.)

3) Securing Enough Budget

Why It’s a Challenge

Securing more budget is a pressing challenge for marketing globally. And often, getting more budget is easier said than done — especially for smaller organizations that aren’t working with sizable nor flexible marketing spend.

But the key to securing more money for your team might not be that complex. Here’s what you can do.

What Can You Do?

The key to unlocking budget lies in being able to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. According to our report, organizations that can calculate ROI are more likely to receive higher budgets.

Again, success with inbound marketing also plays a large role in driving higher budgets. Effective strategies obviously produce results, and our data shows those who feel confident in their marketing strategy are more than 2X as likely to get higher budgets for their marketing teams. But remember, inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off — in fact, you might consider doubling down.

4) Managing Your Website

Why It’s a Challenge

Managing a website was the fourth biggest challenge for marketers in 2017. And chances are, your website’s performance is high on your list of priorities. It’s an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals, after all.

Issues with website management include a variety of different factors, from writing and optimizing the content to designing beautiful webpages. Here are a few things marketers can do to deal with this challenge.

What Can You Do?

First, read this report to see how your website stacks up against over 1 million other websites. It also includes a deep analysis on the four most critical elements of website performance and design, from average load time and website securityww to mobile friendliness and SEO.

If your primary challenge with managing a website has to do with the skills and resources you have available, you aren’t alone. This is especially true for small companies who don’t have all the talent in-house required to cover content, optimization, design, and back-end website management.

One solution? Hire freelancers and agency partners. To find freelancers, we recommend:

  • Tapping into your personal and professional network by posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks with a description of what you’re looking for.
  • Browsing freelance writers and designers based on their portfolios and areas of interest. For writers, check out Zerys and Contently. For designers, check out Behance & Elance.
  • Browsing HubSpot’s Services Marketplace, which lists a wide variety of designers from partner companies and agencies we’ve deemed credible.

Overall, you can make website management easier on your team by hosting your website on a platform that integrates all your marketing channels like HubSpot’s COS.

Finally, for the projects you want to keep in-house, here is a list of ebooks and guides that might be helpful to your team:

5) Identifying the Right Technologies for Your Needs

Why It’s a Challenge

Finding the right technologies was the fifth biggest concern for marketers this year. Oftentimes, this is because feedback on technology is scattered. Marketers might turn to colleagues, friends in the industry, and/or analyst reports to figure out which technologies best fit their needs — only to find that feedback is spread across emails, social media, and so on from people of varied reputability.

When you’re looking for a tool, software, or piece of technology to solve a specific marketing problem, where do you go to find it?

What Can You Do?

For those of you looking for a tool, software, or piece of technology to solve a specific marketing problem, we recommend taking a look at Growthverse: a free, interactive, online visualization of the marketing technology landscape that focuses on the business problems marketers are trying to solve, and leads them to specific pieces of marketing technology that aim to solve those problems. We’ve found it to be a really well-visualized map of carefully curated marketing technology resources.

growthverse-2017.png

It’s worth noting that the main tool in top marketers’ arsenals is a platform for automating their team’s marketing efforts. We found that although our respondents indicated using an array of specific products, the larger trend was telling: The top marketers use marketing automation software in some form or another. Meanwhile, 40% of marketers cite marketing automation as a top priority for the next year.

6) Targeting Content for an International Audience

Why It’s a Challenge

Targeting is a key component of all aspects of marketing. To be more effective at targeting, one of the first things any marketer needs do is identify their buyer personas to determine who it is they should be marketing to. If you’re expanding internationally, it can be a big challenge not only to figure out the best ways to market to an international audience but also to organize and optimize your site for different countries.

What Can You Do?

Download our free ebook, The Global Marketing Playbook. There are some really helpful tips in there that’ll help give you some direction on global marketing, including how to identify your top three growth markets, how to explore local trends, and tips on choosing the best localization providers.

Remember, your website visitors might speak a plethora of different languages and live in totally different time zones. To make your content appealing to a wide audience, you’ll need to keep your global visitors top-of-mind when creating all your content. This means being aware of seasonal references, translating units of measure and monetary references, and giving translators the tools and permissions to customize and adapt content for a specific audience when they need to.

Finally, be sure you’re optimizing your website for international visitors, too. For more tips and resources on global marketing expansion, browse our international inbound marketing hub.

7) Training Your Team

Why It’s a Challenge

As companies scale and technologies continue to evolve, training your team will become a greater challenge for marketers. Whether it’s training them on the concepts and tools they’ll be using every day or making sure they’re achieving their full potential, the struggle is real across the board.

To combat this, I’ll share some tips I’ve used during my trainings to make sure the concepts and tool tips stick and have a lasting effect on your team and your marketing.

What Can You Do?

To get an overall idea of where your team stands, take a few minutes to assess each of your team members’ marketing strengths and weaknesses, levels of expertise, and passion/commitment to your company. Then, objectively rate the priority (or level of importance) of their expertise and their contribution to bottom line objectives (ROI) to date. Here’s a simple assessment tool from Lean Labs to help you evaluate your team so you can figure out who needs recognition and who needs coaching.

Next, check out this awesome resource from HubSpot Academy, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Training. It’s a guide that’ll help you navigate all the marketing training options you have, from quick daily habits to more rigorous, career-launching investments.

You also might consider requiring your team members to rack up some online marketing certification. HubSpot Academy, for example, offers certifications, documentation, and training programs to help people master the basics of inbound marketing. Google also offers training and certifications on analytics with their online Analytics Academy.

What about new hire training, specifically? We recommend creating a training plan for new team members. Here at HubSpot, each new marketer is given a 100-day plan like this one to lay out specific goals and help new hires demonstrate their effectiveness.

8) Hiring Top Talent

Why It’s a Challenge

Hiring top talent was the eighth biggest challenge marketers reported experiencing this year. Why? Many companies are shifting more resources to inbound marketing, which means higher and higher demand for top marketing talent. But supply simply isn’t keeping up. From sourcing the right candidates to evaluating for the right skills, finding the perfect person could take months … or more.

What’s more, the type of marketing talent companies are looking for is changing, too. In Moz and Fractl’s analysis of thousands of job postings on Indeed.com, they concluded that employers are seeking marketers with technical and creative skill sets. And the quick rate at which the demand for these jobs are rising has caused a marketing skills gap, “making it difficult to find candidates with the technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing.”

What Can You Do?

Employers are looking for marketers with a diverse skill set that includes digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing. To find the best inbound marketer for your team, the first thing you should do is decide what that person needs to be able to achieve for your business.

Ask yourself: What will the new marketer’s tasks and duties include? What skills do those tasks and duties require? What goals or challenges will the new marketer face? Use your answers to these questions to write a compelling job description. (Here are 37 pre-written marketing job descriptions to help you get started.)

Next, post your jobs where talented inbound marketers will find them. While traditional job sites like Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, or LinkedIn will help you cast a wide net, we recommend checking out Inbound.org, which is the only job listing service in the world that’s exclusively focused on inbound marketing and sales jobs.

Finally, focus your job description and new hire 100-day plan what people value most in their careers. This year, the data shows that 58% of people consider opportunities for growth when looking for a new job, while 50% are looking for a good work/life balance.

Does Your Company Face Any of These Marketing Issues?

A thorough analysis of your marketing strategy and its current performance will help you discover where your biggest marketing opportunity lies. This will allow you to focus on improving the areas that need the most attention, so you can start making your marketing far more effective.

If you’re faced with a challenge and want ideas on how to best tackle it, you can always consider getting some help by any of the various types of marketing training that are available. Learn more about what other organizations are prioritizing and tackling in the 2017 State of Inbound report.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

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Apr

28

2017

5 Essential Skills Marketers Need to Succeed This Year [Infographic]

Published by in category Daily, IGSS, Professional Development | Comments are closed

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The marketing landscape evolves at what often seems like a bewildering pace. There are changes in consumer preferences. There are updates to search algorithms. And, we can’t forget the frequent updates and features added to various social media channels.

For that reason, being a successful marketer today might appear to require a never-ending list of skills. Where do you need to excel — content creation, social media, web analytics, or all of the above … and more?

Relax. In a perfect world, it would be possible to constantly maintain all of these skills at an expert level. But in reality, it’s okay — and helpful — to prioritize. The question remains, however: What skills do marketers need the most to both keep up with the industry, and be good at their jobs?

Luckily, the infographic below from TEKsystems outlines five crucial skills — largely digital ones — that marketers need to succeed this year:

  • Digital Advertising
  • Social Marketing
  • Website Design/Development
  • Content Development
  • Mobile Marketing

It’s a helpful guideline for marketers who want to help their brands stay up to speed, as well as job seekers and recruiters who want to know which knowledge is the most valuable in today’s landscape. We’ve elaborated a bit on each one below the image — so read on, and learn more about the skills you need to start, continue, or foster a lucrative marketing career.


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5 Essential Marketing Skills to Succeed in 2017

1) Digital Advertising

Many marketers are trained to draw a bold line between marketing and advertising. But the latter, in its digital and analytical form, has become the work of the savviest marketers. That includes things like creating strategic ads on different social media channels, as well as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. According to TEK systems, some of the other specific skills that fall under this umbrella are:

  • Search engine optimization/marketing (SEO/SEM)
  • Digital business analytics — data like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights
  • Digital project management

2) Social Marketing

Long gone are the days of simply posting the occasional photo or update on social media. Social marketing has become far, far more complex — so much so that many brands dedicate full-time roles to it. Within this realm, you might see many overlapping skills with digital advertising, like understanding the same analytics and managing PPC campaigns.

While there’s a detailed subset of skills required in social marketing, the major ones fall under strategizing and managing social media posts and presence, according to each channel. That’s one form of content strategy, which we’ll get to.

3) Website Design/Development

As the infographic puts it, “The website is the face of your brand.” It’s often the first line of interaction that a customer will have with your company — that’s why an optimal user experience is imperative. After all, that’s one of the core principles of inbound marketing: Create the content that’s going to draw and benefit your buyer personas.

For that reason, here’s yet another area where — like most of these five skills — understanding content strategy is going to be important. But that’s not the only knowledge required here. TEKsystems also identifies the following top skills sought after by marketing hiring managers:

  • UX design
  • Front-end development
  • Web development
  • Consumer and behavioral analytics
  • Product management

4) Content Development

Finally — content gets its own category. Of course, understanding how to develop the best content for your various distribution channels is important. But then, there’s understanding how to develop consumable content that doesn’t necessarily reside on your social networks or website copy, like reports, or other downloadable items. And in addition to being well-produced and informative, it should be sharable, and a content developer needs to understand how to create something of that nature. Related skills, therefore, include:

  • Analytics
  • Project Management
  • SEO/SEM

5) Mobile Marketing

Mobile is gradually becoming the primary way we consume online content — 48% of consumers, for example,  start mobile research with a search engine, while 26% start with a branded app. That’s why mobile marketing has become such a valuable skill, from understanding how customers use mobile, to how a brand’s digital presence and content can be optimized for that platform.

And while mobile marketing might be a bit different from mobile development — the latter is a bit more technical — it doesn’t hurt to at least understand how that (and app development) contrasts from traditional web development. Additionally, valuable skills here include:

  • Mobile traffic analytics
  • E-commerce analytics
  • Mobile design

The More You Know

We’re not suggesting that marketers need to become experts in every single one of these areas. However, if there’s a specific area of marketing that interests you the most, or into which you’d like to move, understanding where you’ll need to excel can help you get there that much faster.

Plus, as your brand and the landscape continue to evolve, this list can serve as a good reference when you feel like you might need to brush up on certain skills, or at least become more aware of them when it’s necessary. That way, in addition to honing your own skills, you can understand where you might need to focus team-building efforts.

What are your most sought-after marketing skills? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Apr

28

2017

6 Cover Letter Examples That Got Something Right

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

Let’s face it: A job search is, typically, anything but fun.

It’s almost as if it carries its own stages of grief. At first, there’s denial of its demoralizing nature. Then comes the anger over either radio silence or rejection from prospective employers. Of course, there’s bargaining — “I promise to never complain about work again, if I can find a new job!” That’s often followed by depression, and the idea that one is simply just unhireable. Then, there’s acceptance: “This is awful, but I have to keep trying, anyway.”

But we have good news. It is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process. The magic, it turns out, could be in your cover letter.

It may be true that 63% of recruiters have deemed cover letters “unimportant,” but that doesn’t mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here’s an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process. Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters. Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

What does that look like in practice, and how can you make your cover letter stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these contain NSFW language.

6 Cover Letter Examples That Nailed It

1) The Short-and-Sweet Model

In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:

short-and-sweet.pngSource: Harvard Business Review

One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.

“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”

When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:

  1. Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.
  2. Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.

The key here is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for her. Not sure how to learn more about a leader’s personality? Check out any content she shares on social media, or use Growthbot’s Personality Profile feature.

2) The Brutally Honest Approach

Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “the best cover letter” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):

Brutally honest.pngSource: Title Needed

As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.

“Remember that I’m reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”

3) The One That Says “Why,” Not Just “How”

We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse, a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

Why Example.pngSource: The Muse

Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview. Make sure your story is nonfiction, and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.

If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.

4) The Straw (Wo)man

When I was in the throes of my own job search and reached one of the later stages, a friend said to me, “For the next job you apply for, you should just submit a picture of yourself a stick figure that somehow represents you working there.”

Et voilà:

AZWstrawCoverLetter.jpg

I never did end up working for the recipient of this particular piece of art, but it did result in an interview. Again, be careful where you send a cover letter like this one — if it doesn’t match the company’s culture, it might be interpreted as you not taking the opportunity seriously. Be sure to pair it with a little bit of explanatory text, too. For example, when I submitted this picture-as-a-cover letter, I also wrote, “Perhaps I took the ‘sense of humor’ alluded to in your job description a bit too seriously.”

5) The Exercise in Overconfidence

I’ll admit that I considered leaving out this example. It’s rife with profanity, vanity, and arrogance. But maybe, in some settings, that’s the right way to do a cover letter.

A few years ago, Huffington Post published this note as an example of how to “get noticed” and “get hired for your dream job”:

THE-EPIC-COVER-LETTER.jpgSource: Huffington Post

Here’s the thing — if the Aviary cited in this letter is the same Aviary I researched upon discovering it, then, well, I’m not sure this tone was the best approach. I read the company’s blog and looked at the careers site, and neither one indicates that the culture encourages … this.

However, Aviary was acquired by Adobe in 2014, and this letter was written in 2011. So while it’s possible that the brand was a bit more relaxed at that time, we wouldn’t suggest submitting a letter with that tone to the company today. That’s not to say it would go unappreciated elsewhere — Doug Kessler frequently discusses the marketers and brands that value colorful language, for example.

The point is, this example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.

6) The Interactive Cover Letter

When designer Rachel McBee applied for a job with the Denver Broncos, she didn’t just write a personalized cover letter — she designed an entire digital, interactive microsite:

Source: Rachel McBee

This cover letter — if you can even call it that — checks off all of the boxes we’ve discussed here, in a remarkably unique way. It concisely addresses and organizes what many hiring managers hope to see in any cover letter: how her skills lend themselves to the role, why she wants the job, and how to contact her. She even includes a “traditional” body of text at the bottom, with a form that allows the reader to easily get in touch with her.

Take Cover

We’d like to add a sixth stage to the job search: Experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples. That defeats the purpose of personalization.

So get creative. And, by the way — we’re hiring.

What are some of the best cover letters you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.

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Apr

25

2017

Is an MBA Worth the Money?

Published by in category Daily, Professional Development, Tactical | Comments are closed

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Here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog, I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I went to business school. It was an experience that provided two years’ worth of fodder, lessons learned, and other actionables that I like to share here.

But there’s one question I have yet to answer, at least in this venue, about the time spent earning my MBA: Was it worth it?

It’s a question I considered even before I began applying to different business schools, and one in which I’m certainly not alone. When I asked my colleagues if any of them had experienced the great “Should I get my MBA?” debate, there was a clamor of responses. Many of us — all marketing professionals — had experienced the same decision-making process, which made us realize how many other marketers out there must be going through the same thing. Download our free SEO ebook here for more tips from experts on increasing  your search rankings. 

While the topic seems to be eternally up for debate, we agree that there are instances when people should, in fact, go for an MBA — but it’s important to have a clear idea of what those circumstances are, and if they really apply to you. And if they don’t, fear not: There are alternatives. We’ve outlined the factors that do make an MBA worth the investment — and the other things you can do until that day arrives.

When an MBA Is Worth the Money

1) When you know exactly what you want out of it.

Before I began studying for the GMAT — the required admission exam for most MBA programs — I spent about five years deciding whether or not to apply to business school. I had a lot of questions, many of which were shared by my colleague, Mimi An, when she was faced with the same decision. For her, she told me:

The biggest things to consider were if I was at a place where I couldn’t progress further in my career, if I wanted to change function or industry, if I wanted to move, and what exactly I wanted out of the degree. I couldn’t answer the last question. In fact, the answer was ‘no’ to most of my questions. I could still progress. I did not want to change function. I did not want to move. I didn’t know what I expected to get out of it.”

According to Investopedia, the average cost of an MBA is $140,000 — and $260,000 if you’re not working or earning any income while you’re in school. Think of it this way: Would you spend that much on a luxury car or new condo if you weren’t sure why you were buying it? That’s a big chunk of change to spend on something that you aren’t certain is going to benefit you in some way.

Of course, for many people, the answer to those questions is overwhelmingly “yes” — in fact, they were for me. At the time, I wasn’t progressing in my career and I wanted to move, which are two fundamental reasons why I ultimately made the decision to go to business school. But not everyone will have the same responses to those important questions, nor do they come easily to anyone — so be sure to put sufficient time into them.

2) When your work isn’t teaching you what you need to grow.

There’s an important point that An made in her quote above — how much room for growth you have in your current career trajectory, whether that means you’re able to progress in your current job, or do it elsewhere.

If you’re not getting the right learning opportunities in your current workplace, but you’re also short on some of the skills to progress in another role or company, it might be time to think about getting an advanced degree. It’s what Jim O’Neill, HubSpot’s chief information officer, realized early in his career here, when he was also considering leaving to pursue an MBA.

“I couldn’t get it out of my head that I’d be giving up more by leaving the company at that stage than I’d ever be able to learn in business school,” he said. “And while I still might want a graduate degree someday, I was lucky to stay, learn, and grow over the following six years.”

But again — everyone’s experience is different. When O’Neill was contemplating this decision, HubSpot happened to be scaling up, which forced him to learn a lot of crucial business lessons as a byproduct of being in the throes of a company’s earliest stages. Not everyone will be in that same position, and some people will have to seek the lessons O’Neill learned elsewhere.

Depending on the program you choose, an MBA could be the best place to gain this knowledge. So when you’re making this decision, carefully evaluate where you are in your career, and how much you can learn on your current trajectory without an advanced degree.

3) When you actually have the time to dedicate to it.

During my first semester of business school, I was working full-time while also completing my coursework. Granted, most of my classes were at night, which on the surface seems like a convenient arrangement. But as any student will tell you, your academic work extends far beyond the hours you spend in the classroom. There are exams to study for, papers to write, and group projects to complete.

In other words, if you add that to your current professional workload — your nights and weekends are pretty much toast. At least, that was my experience.

That may seem like a sacrifice you’re willing to make, but think about it, in the context of the previous points. Even if you’re certain of your reasons for pursuing an MBA, do you really have the time to dedicate to it? Will you also be able to sufficiently take care of yourself, and spend enough time with loved ones to maintain a measurable level of mental health?

It’s easy to think that the answers to those questions are “yes” — in fact, I told myself that I would have plenty of time to work out between classes or before work in the morning, and to cook healthy meals ahead of time on the weekends. And while that was sometimes true, it required extremely strict time management, and left precious little time to actually relax.

My colleague, Karla Cook — who’s working full-time while pursuing her master’s degree — agrees. “I tell people the only reason they should work full-time while pursuing a graduate degree is if they get offered an opportunity that falls in the ‘dream job’ category,” she explains. “If that’s not the case, then it’s probably not worth completely killing yourself over, because you will have no free time.”

But the good news is, it’s temporary. Business school doesn’t last forever — though it might seem like that while you’re going through it. But before you seriously consider going through this kind of program, have a clear idea of what’s going to make it “worth it” to you. Having that goal in mind gives you something tangible to keep you motivated during these stressful periods.

4) … And when you have the money saved.

They say that “time is money” — and just as you must be sure you’re willing to sacrifice the former, you also have to make certain that you have the latter. Remember those aforementioned dollar figures we cited about the true cost of an MBA? File this point under deciding what will make the degree “worth it,” with “it” being the hundreds of thousands of dollars that your degree will likely cost.

When you’re deciding whether or not to go to business school, ask yourself if you can afford to take on student loan debt. If you’ve just bought a house, paid for a wedding, expanded your family, or bought a car — the answer might be “no,” unless you happen to have a lot of liquid funds at your disposal.

That said, loans aren’t the only answer. You should also see what other resources might be available to you, like scholarships or fellowships, some of which might even be available through the school you end up attending.

When you begin selecting which programs you’ll apply to, explore their respective policies on merit-based financial aid — that’s the kind that you don’t usually have to repay. There are several guides to external merit scholarships available to MBA students, as well, like this one from GoGrad.org.

5) When the program’s career resources will actually help you.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, this point also speaks to the idea of what will make an MBA program “worth it.” Again, everyone’s priorities are different, but if you’re going to business school with the hope of advancing your career with a new employer, make sure the school you choose has the right resources to support your job search.

This factor is one that institutions know prospective students take seriously. In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Alumni Perspectives Survey Report 2017, 91% of respondents indicated that they found their MBAs to be “professionally rewarding,” and many schools feel a lot of pressure to uphold that significant figure for their own students. For that reason, many graduate students have found advertised career services to sometimes be a bit embellished. Cook echoes that sentiment, and says she’s come across many graduate programs that lack “any useful career benefits,” despite what they claim.

In my own MBA experience, those services weren’t exactly embellished, but they were removed from the university’s budget after I had committed to the program. That wasn’t entirely negative — experiences like those can teach some students crucial lessons on networking and other valuable job search skills. Evaluate the resources available to you through a very fine lens, and consider how much of a priority they are in selecting a business school.

6) When your employer will cover your tuition.

This one seems a bit obvious, but it requires some reading between the lines, so to speak. If your employer will reimburse your MBA tuition, it might seem like a proverbial no-brainer to take advantage of that benefit. But understand what will be required if you do.

First, understand that you’ll most likely have to pay taxes on any amount of reimbursement you receive over $5,250. Also, some employers require you to stay with the company for a certain amount of time upon completion of your degree as a condition of receiving this benefit. Once again — ask yourself what your reasons are for pursuing an MBA. If they include progressing your career in a new work environment, taking a route that requires you to stay with the same employer for at least two years after you graduate might not be the most optimal one.

You might notice that many of these considerations work in tandem. For example, the point above about tuition reimbursement from your employer could be countered by having enough money saved to invest in the degree yourself, or being in a position to use student loans. That’s why we encourage you to spend ample time thinking about all of these factors — getting an MBA isn’t a minor decision.

When an MBA Is Not Worth the Money

1) When you should get a different degree.

Maybe — just maybe — you’ve decided against getting an MBA because it’s simply not the right degree for your career trajectory, or for what you’re hoping to do. If you’re looking to specialize in corporate communications, for example, it might be worthwhile to look into graduate programs that specialize in it, and have the catered career resources to support it.

That idea re-emphasizes the importance of knowing exactly what you’re hoping to gain from an MBA. When you outline your goals, compare them to the standard coursework required of an MBA, and see if they align. If not, it might be time to look into a different academic concentration.

2) When you can work for an emerging or early-stage business.

Remember O’Neill’s great story of how much he learned from sticking with a company that was scaling up — in lieu of pursuing an MBA? As we mentioned earlier, working with a company in its earliest stages often forces its employees, whether they like it or not, to learn a ton of business fundamentals.

In a valuable MBA program, you should learn such fundamentals as managing budgets, personnel, projects, and — when the company really begins to take off — scaling it to keep up with that growth. Sounds a lot like the type of thing that managers have to learn with a new, emerging business, doesn’t it? If that’s the type of work and knowledge you crave, it could be time to look for job opportunities with a company in these early stages.

3) When you can use individual courses to gain the skills you’re missing.

When I was in business school, I was fortunate enough to have some truly great professors. But I also learned something else — without naming names, I realized that while many academic instructors are experts in their respective fields, that doesn’t mean they excel when it comes to teaching.

That meant, for certain subjects, I sometimes had to seek outside resources to supplement classroom teachings — most notably, Khan Academy, an online provider of free classes and courses. I found out about it through a classmate in a particularly difficult class, and once I started using it for that particular topic, I saw how much knowledge the site has to offer.

And while I wasn’t about to abandon my MBA to self-teach via this resource alone, it did make me realize that, for individual areas and skills, sites like these can be a tremendous help to those who aren’t ready to pursue a full degree, but want to improve their professional credentials. And Khan Academy — despite offering a plethora of courses on subjects ranging from economics to art history — is hardly the only resource of this kind. Our favorites include Coursera, edX, HubSpot AcademyLynda, and Udemy. Even better, some of these sites, like Coursera, actually offer classes taught by faculty of some top-tier schools, including Stanford.

To B-School, or Not to B-School

Deciding whether or not to pursue your MBA is a pretty big decision — it can be a significant investment of both time and money. But, for many, it’s worth it. And now, you have a checklist to help make that decision just a little bit easier.

And as for me — the verdict is in. My MBA was worth it. In the thick of my coursework, I did sometimes question, “Why am I doing this?” Plus, I agree that there are many times when the investment just isn’t necessary. But in the end, I remain very happy with my decision to go to business school. I got to experience living in a new city, gain new skills, and figure out what I don’t want to do, which, to me, is a milestone in one’s career progression.

All in all, I think of it as a very productive use of my time — and I want it to be for you, too. You’ll make the right decision. But please, don’t make it in a hurry.

What are your thoughts on pursuing an MBA? Let us know in the comments.

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Apr

19

2017

How to Make a Good First Impression: 11 Tips to Try

Published by in category Business, Daily, Professional Development, Tactical | Comments are closed

good_first_impression_compressed.jpg

Did you know that it only takes a tenth of a second to make a first impression?

In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, you need to be on your game from the very beginning. This includes being aware of everything from the words you choose to the body language you convey.

Whether you’re meeting new connections, team members, potential employers, or customers, I’ve put together a list of tips designed to help you put your best foot forward and make a killer first impression.

11 Tips for Making a Good First Impression

1) Be mindful of your body language and posture.

Effective body language goes beyond simply standing up straight and having a firm handshake — although those things are definitely important, too. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, keep your posture open — don’t tightly cross your arms or legs, don’t ball your hands into fists, and don’t hunch over in your seat. Lean in when you talk to show you’re actively listening and engaged in the conversation. And don’t be afraid to take up some space at the table, either. If you normally use hand gestures or move around to communicate, don’t hold back. These nonverbal cues can make a powerful subconscious impact, so be aware of your body language and posture during meetings in general, but particularly initial pitches or interviews.

What behaviors should you aim to avoid? It’s smart to refrain from tapping, touching your face too often, placing objects in front of yourself, blinking excessively, and sitting or standing too close to others (respect the bubble, people). Some body language habits can suggest dishonesty, so be mindful to avoid those tics — avoiding eye contact, touching your mouth, and others — too.

2) Modulate your pitch and tone of voice.

A high-pitched tone of voice can make you seem childish or nervous — especially if you tend to “uptalk” or use a rising inflection at the end of your sentences. In fact, it has been shown that people perceive those who have a rising intonation as less knowledgeable, no matter what they are actually saying.

Not sure if you’re guilty of this? Try practicing your presentations or recording yourself reading aloud. You’d be surprised at how different you sound to others versus in your own head.

On the other hand, faster speakers are considered to be more confident, according to a study performed at Brigham Young University. However, even if you’re talking fast, be sure to avoid using filler words such as “um,” “ah,” “like,” and other similar phrases whenever possible, as it shows hesitation. Try practicing not relying on those filler words in front of a camera to train yourself.

3) Choose your words wisely.

Words matter even more than you think. Positive and persuasive words and phrases will often open doors and make people feel comfortable in your presence, which can ultimately make them more willing to work with you.

For instance, let’s take a look at many marketers’ favorite show: Mad Men. Some of Don Draper’s best pitches (e.g., Carousel & Lucky Strike) were full of positive language. That said, positive language doesn’t need to be cheesy or new-agey as Draper illustrates. Instead, positive language can be used to uplift your audience by simply being clear and simple.

This point is especially valuable if you’re making a first impression in a job interview. You want potential employers to find you positive, flexible, and capable, so use language that reflects optimism and agency instead of negativity.

4) Dress the part.

Regardless of how little you personally care about fashion or style, what you wear matters. While you want to look clean and neat, it’s also important to match or slightly exceed the relative level of formality of the person or business you are meeting with — whether that is business formal, highly casual, or something in between.

“You are your brand, especially if you are a business owner, so making sure that your look communicates your best self is important,” explains Laurel Mintz, CEO of Elevate My Brand.

If you want to show off your personality, try including one accessory that could be considered a memorable item or even a conversation piece. This could be anything from a unique piece of jewelry to a fancy tie to a pair of fun socks.

5) Make eye contact.

Focus on the person or people you are speaking with. It’s hard to get to know someone when you’re looking down at a screen, so make an effort to make some eye contact with everyone in the room.

However, keep in mind that eye contact can also backfire, according to a study by the University of British Columbia. If people aren’t already persuaded or inclined to be on your side, they may focus more on your mouth or any presentation materials you’re showcasing instead of your eyes, making attempts at eye contact a challenge.

6) Know your audience.

Do your research. If your meeting is planned in advance, you should know plenty about the person or business that you’re meeting with before you arrive. This might mean that you Google the people you’ll be meeting with, the company founders/co-founders, their history, their competition, their main products, and any other relevant info before you walk into the room.

Looking for a helpful tool to help you gather some background information? Check out Charlie App. This app scans hundreds of sources to uncover information about the person you’re meeting with and sends you a one-pager with all the details. Pretty cool, right? LinkedIn is also a good place to check out who you’re meeting with and learn more about them.

7) Come prepared.

There’s nothing worse than an unproductive meeting. To make a great first impression, be sure that you’re respectful of everyone’s time. If you’re meeting with someone working remotely, plan accordingly. That said, if you’re being productive and everyone has the bandwidth, it might be okay if the meeting runs long — just make sure you check in with the group before making the call.

Meeting time management is a key aspect of building an engaged group of clients or colleagues. Plus, it shows respect for their schedules.

8) Be authentic.

When you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you don’t know the answer to something they ask, don’t fake it. The ability to lean into your weaknesses shows that you are self-aware.

However, be sure not to over emphasize your shortcomings. It might seem shockingly simple, but avoiding the “report card problem” or highlighting weaknesses and how you might fix them could cause you to only showcase the negatives, or at least make them the biggest part of your overall impression. While you don’t want to hide any weaknesses (people will likely figure it out anyways), you do want to be honest and move on to the good stuff — especially at the beginning of a business relationship.

9) Put your phone away.

That goes for tablets, laptops, and other electronics, too.

If you need to use technology to deliver a presentation, that’s one thing. But unless you’re projecting your computer or tablet screen to present to the entire room, turn off sounds and vibrations on your mobile devices, and put your screens away. Give your complete and undivided attention to the people you’re meeting for the first time to convey your commitment, focus, and let’s face it, your good manners.

10) Make a connection.

Pay close attention to who you’re meeting with for the first time and try to forge a connection based on what they share with you. Whether it’s their alma mater or their hometown, forging a connection outside of the professional conversation can be a great way to strike up a rapport.

That being said, don’t be too creepy. Avoid making comments about their appearance that could be perceived as inappropriate and stick to connections you might have in common. Those are more genuine than compliments anyway.

11) Don’t forget to follow up.

After an initial meeting, don’t forget to follow up by sending any necessary information — notes, presentation docs, next steps, and so on — or sending a thank you note.

These small gestures will help prove that you’re on the ball, and that you’re making them a priority, rather than just another task to check off your to-do list.

Sending out updated information after a meeting can also be a way to get a second chance at a first impression. How so? It helps to show another side of you or your business — perhaps a more responsible side. In fact, a Stanford study revealed that adding more external factors can actually mitigate the effect of a negative first impression.

Don’t let a negative first impression get in the way of your ability to get to know someone. Follow these nine tips to ensure that the first time you meet with someone won’t be the last.

What are your best tips for making a great first impression? Share them below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Apr

11

2017

6 Phrases to Demonstrate Active Listening — at Work, or Elsewhere

Published by in category Daily, Professional Development, Tactical | Comments are closed

A few weeks ago, I had an alarming revelation: I’m a crappy listener.

That came to light when someone important to me pointed out that I don’t seem to have any interest in what he does for work. “Your eyes just glaze over whenever I talk about my job,” he told me.

I couldn’t deny that. And it wasn’t limited to him — whenever someone spoke to me about something that I found less than fascinating, I had a tendency to tune it out. In reality, I could learn to appreciate my friend’s line of work, for example, if I learned to listen actively.

It’s an imperative skill — at work, and in your personal life. After all, if you’re never paying attention to what your boss, your significant other, or your kids are saying to you, how are they supposed to take you seriously? How can you expect them to come to you for advice, or with important information? When you don’t listen, you set the precedent that you can’t be trusted to absorb what matters to other people. Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

That’s why it’s imperative to learn how to listen actively. It’s one thing to sit and make eye contact with the person speaking to you. But are you really absorbing what they’re saying? And moreover, are you responding in a way that communicates that you’re actually listening — and that you have something worthwhile to say in return? 

There are a few key phrases out there to demonstrate that you’re listening actively. And it’s true — you’re not going to care about every conversation that someone initiates with you. But even if the topic isn’t important to you, the person sharing it might be. Read on to learn how to pay better attention, and how to show that you’re doing so.

How We Listen

The Process

To listen, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true.”

It’s that second part of the definition that stands out to me — especially when it comes to active listening. It’s the genuine absorption of what someone is saying to us that reinforces and communicates how seriously we’re taking it, or appreciate its importance.

Of course, there are many reasons to listen. It helps us to satisfy different physiological goals. We listen to alter our moods, stay alert, and figure stuff out — in humans, that’s been the case for pretty much as long as we’ve existed. The process starts when we receive auditory stimuli. Then, our brains have to interpret that stimulus. That’s enhanced by other senses — like sight — which help us better interpret what we’re hearing. That’s important. When someone is sharing information with us, our non-verbal reaction also communicates to that person how actively we’re listening.

Once we receive and interpret auditory signals, we follow a series of steps that consist of recalling, evaluating, and responding to the information we consume:

Hurier_Listening_Process.png

Source: Matthew Edward Dyson

All three of those steps are imperative to active listening. Numerous studies have discovered how listening triggers a widespread network of activity throughout the entire brain — and it’s why auditory stimuli is often strongly linked to memory.

When We Don’t Listen

Of course, we have to be paying attention in order to be able to recall, evaluate, and respond to what someone tells us. And even if we are, how we respond can send a variety of signals back to our conversational counterpart. Statements like, “I see,” or, “Cool,” for example, aren’t exactly active phrases. Rather, they exhibit a state of passive listening that communicates we hear the person, but probably don’t care.

And that’s not how anyone — let alone important people in your life, like your family or your boss — wants to be treated. Even if your significant other is telling you about his day, responding with something like, “Mm-hmm” doesn’t exactly send the message that you have great concern for what’s being said.

And even then, our intentions might be good. According to a coaching presentation created by Viorica Milea, there are many non-malicious explanations behind why we don’t listen. These are things like distractions, which abound in today’s device-centric world, and our tendency to start thinking ahead while the person is still talking — what Milea calls “judging,” which happens when we’ve preemptively “made assumptions” about what the person is going to say.

The Mutual Benefit of Active Listening

That’s why active listening is good for both parties in a conversation. It benefits the person speaking by helping to insure that she’s actually being heard. But it also benefits the listener — learning to put distractions and preemptive judgments (well-intended or not) aside will not only prevent you from missing important details, but also, can help teach you how to tune out unnecessary interruptions while focusing on other important tasks.

Practicing the incorporation of these phrases into conversations is a great way to get started. When someone is speaking to you, keep these in mind — if you feel your attention start to drift, or a notification appears on your phone, or you begin thinking ahead, come back to your mental inventory of these phrases to demonstrate and execute active listening.

6 Phrases to Demonstrate Active Listening

1) “Do you mean … ?”

Why

Sometimes, it seems like life is one long game of Telephone. Even if we interpreted something one way, the person who said it may have meant it completely differently.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting the full story from the person you’re listening to, and understanding it correctly. By asking for clarification, you’re not only encouraging more details from someone who might be timid about bringing something up, but also, you’re making sure you actually heard a statement as it was intended.

Alternatives

  • “I’m not sure I understand.”
  • “Could you tell me a bit more about that?”

2) “It sounds like … ”

Why

This phrase is another one that helps to provide clarification by demonstrating your empathy. But be careful with this one, and make sure you’re not telling your counterpart how she feels, but rather, phrasing it as an expression of how you interpret her emotions.

I have a tough time admitting when I’m upset about something, especially in a professional setting. But my manager happens to excel at active listening, and is very good at reading what I’m not saying in a conversation — and responding in kind. When I was disappointed about the outcome of a project, for example, I didn’t exactly say so, but she said, “It sounds like you’re feeling a little defeated.” I was, and having her say that to me out loud helped me take a proactive approach to the project moving forward.

Alternatives

  • “What I’m hearing is … “
  • “You seem a bit … ”

3) “Really?”

Why

This phrase is one that Milea helps to demonstrate encouragement during a conversation. It reminds the person speaking that you’re paying attention by encouraging them to elaborate on something they’ve said to you.

Alternatives

  • “When?”
  • “How?”
  • “You’re kidding.”

4) “I’ve noticed that … ”

Why

Here’s another term that shows how much attention you’re paying. By pointing out your observations about someone’s behavior or tendencies while she’s speaking, you’re not only fully absorbing her words — you’re also taking the non-verbal communication into consideration.

Instructors at the University of Central Florida use the example of, “I’ve just been noticing that when you talk about your conclusions, you smile. That makes me think you’re comfortable with the direction.” Making sure you know what someone means isn’t limited to the spoken word — you want to clarify what nonverbal behavior could indicate, too.

5) “Let me make sure I’ve got this right.”

Why

Another method of active listening is checking in with your counterpart to summarize what you’ve heard them say thus far. By repeating back something to the person you’re listening to, you’re not only demonstrating that you’ve been paying attention, but also, you’re further ensuring that you understand what the person actually means, and that you heard her correctly.

Alternatives

  • “These are the main points I’ve heard you make so far.”
  • “Let’s make sure I’m hearing you correctly.”
  • “Let’s pause to make sure we’re on the same page.”

6) “I’m sorry. That really sucks.”

Why

I joke about this one with my colleagues a lot. It goes back to the big idea of empathy and those occasions when, for just a moment, you want to have a pity party, rather than receiving proactive advice. Of course, you’re ready for that advice eventually, but not right away.

That’s why, when someone is sharing his frustrations with you, one of the most impactful things you can do is verbally acknowledge how crummy the situation is. Rather than invalidating the person’s emotions by immediately launching into suggestions for what she should do, you’re pausing to provide empathy, and to allow the person to work through what’s bothering him.

Alternatives

  • “I’m sorry you’re going through that.”
  • “What a crappy situation to be in. I’m sorry.”
  • “That’s rough. How can I help?”

Listen Carefully

We get it. You’ve got enough on your plate. There’s always a deadline, and there’s always somewhere you need to be. It can be hard to genuinely pay attention, especially when you’ve got a long to-do list that’s occupying your mental energy.

But as we’ve mentioned, active listening doesn’t just benefit your conversational counterpart — you also stand to gain from it. From making sure you don’t miss important details, to exercising focus for any important task, putting these phrases into practice can help you become a proactive, empathetic listener.

What are your go-to phrases to demonstrate active listening? Let us know in the comments.

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Apr

6

2017

The Emotional Intelligence Test: What's Your Emotional IQ? [Quiz]

Published by in category Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

emotional intelligence test blog (1).pngThere’s been a lot of chatter lately about the power of emotional intelligence. And it’s not undeserved — multiple studies have shown there’s a significant correlation between emotional intelligence and workplace success.

People with high emotional intelligence levels are even more likely to succeed than those with higher IQs or more work experience.

So what exactly is emotional intelligence? And, more importantly, how can you measure it?

Click here to take The Emotional Intelligence Test →

What is Emotional Intelligence?

In short, people with high emotional intelligence have an deep awareness of their own emotions — and the emotions of others — and they can use this information to guide their thinking and actions.

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are five main components of emotional intelligence, these are:

1) Self-awareness

Self-awareness is understanding yourself and your effect on others. Self-aware individuals know their abilities and play to their strengths, can admit to their mistakes, and can laugh at themselves when they make a mistake.

2) Self-management

Self-management is controlling disruptive impulses and thinking before acting. People who have good self-management are able to take a step back when they feel they are becoming overwhelmed with emotion. This prevents them from doing or saying things they might regret later.

3) Motivation

Emotionally intelligent people are constantly challenging themselves, and are driven by their passion, rather than status or money. They also remain optimistic about their future, even when their situation can sometimes be tough.

4) Empathy

Empathetic people don’t just listen to what people say, they try to understand more about what’s being said. Empathic people consider other people’s feelings when making decisions. Empathic people can gain knowledge through body language and other nonverbal cues.

5) Social Communication

People who have well-developed social communication skills can express their emotions to others appropriately and really listen to other people when they express theirs. They also seek feedback and give constructive feedback to others when needed. People with strong social communication skills are valuable because they are able to manage relationships effectively to move people forward towards a common goal.

The Emotional Intelligence Test: Take the Quiz

Emotional intelligence isn’t a fixed trait — it’s something everyone can improve with time and perseverance.

If you’re interested in developing your emotional intelligence, take our short emotional intelligence test below, which will show you how emotionally intelligent you are, and give you five actionable strategies you can use improve it.

Disclaimer: Bare in mind that this test isn’t a comprehensive scientific assessment — it’s just a fun way to get a gauge of your emotional intelligence levels and start becomming more emotionally intelligent. 

Are you on mobile? Click here to take the Emotional Intelligence Test →
 

 

What do you think: Does emotional intelligence play a part in success? What other skills do you think help with business success? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Mar

30

2017

About the Author: How to Write a Quality Author Bio

Published by in category Blog, Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

How-to-write-a-bio

If contributing guest posts is part of your content distribution and promotion strategy, you’re probably familiar with the following scenario: You write a great article for a guest publication, and at the end, you’re compensated with a teeny, tiny paragraph about yourself.

Unless you wrote the article for purely altruistic reasons, this paragraph, though short, is quite critical. Not only does it connect you to the article on a level beyond your byline, but also, it provides space for links back to your website or social profiles. And who wouldn’t want even that little bit of glory?

But what are you supposed to write in that brief paragraph, anyway? How do you make your author bio compelling, powerful, and effective — without a whole lot of space?

Download our free guide to copywriting here to learn how to be a better  copywriter yourself. 

As it turns out, there are quite a few seemingly small ways to approach your author bio that can help it have a much bigger impact. But what do they look like, exactly? Read on — you’re about to find out.

How to Write an Author Bio

How to Write a Quality Author Bio

1) Write in the third person.

Different publications will have different standards — Forbes, for example, seems to encourage guest contributors to write in the first person, as per below:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 8.42.08 AM.pngSource: Forbes

However, the general practice is to write your bio in the third person. If it feels a bit self-congratulatory, that’s okay — you can even turn it into a joke, like Mark John Hiemstra did in his bio for a post on the Unbounce blog

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 8.38.54 AM.pngSource: Unbounce

Once you’ve written the bio, be sure to re-read it to make sure you’re not overusing “he” or “she.” And if you are, try replacing some instances of these pronouns with your name to improve the flow.

2) Remember: It’s not really about you.

Even though this paragraph is allegedly about the author, it’s not actually about you. It’s about your reader, and what that person is looking to learn or gain from your article. It helps to think of this setup as a well-composed sentence — you’re the object, and the reader is the subject.

That concept can be a bit confusing without context, so have a look at how Matt Southern pulled that off below:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 8.38.54 AM.pngSource: Search Engine Journal

Notice how Southern’s bio focuses on both himself and the reader. By explaining that his real passion is to help marketers, it serves as a nod to his readership — after all, your readers are the ones who ultimately decide if your piece is worth sticking around until the end, sharing, or discussing. Write for them.

3) Establish credibility — truthfully.

As the digital landscape only becomes increasingly crowded, it’s important to have a prepared, accurate way to answer the masses asking, “Why should I listen to you?”

Readers are right to ask that question, especially with many now questioning the accuracy and reliability of news. So, in your bio, establish your credibility, and be honest. Why are you qualified to write on this subject? Why should readers believe you?

If you write about conversion optimization, for example, explain what kind of experience you have with it. If you have academic degrees, list them — but only if they’re relevant to the publication or article. A bachelor’s degree might not be considered outstanding enough to warrant a mention in your bio, though there are exceptions to that rule. Let’s say you’re writing about women’s issues. If you attended a women’s college, it might be worth mentioning in that particular instance. 

Let’s have a look at how this concept looks “in the wild.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 9.36.03 AM.pngSource: Forbes

When Forbes contributor Ian Morris wrote the above article on a mobile device, he used his one-line bio to explain why he’s qualified to write on that subject. “I cover mobile,” he explains, as well as “internet services and the good and bad of tech.” And in his full bio, he expanded even further on that:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 9.21.12 AM.png

4) And while you’re at it, explain what you do.

It’s the inevitable — and often dreaded — question of any social or networking gathering. “What do you do?”

Chances are, someone reading your work will have the same question — it goes along the same lines of explaining why you’re credible enough to be writing about a certain topic. So think of your bio as an opportunity to answer it — after all, it’s a meaningful fact about you, and it deserves a line.

Notice how Yvette Tan immediately addresses that question in the first sentence of both her author and Twitter bio, highlighting the importance of keeping information consistent across different channels: 

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.07.12 AM.pngSource: Forbes
YtanTwitter.png

And Kiel Berry does the same thing for his contribution to the Harvard Business Review:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.13.33 AM.pngSource: Harvard Business Review

5) Be (appropriately) personal.

 

You’ve probably come across the occasional author bio that features a personal tidbit thrown in, like “cat lover” or “coffee addict.” But when is that okay or smart — or even more important, appropriate?

To answer that question, you need to think about where your article is appearing, and who’s likely reading it. Not every publication, for instance, is going to be the best fit for a quip about your affinity for craft beer. That said, it’s also good to remind readers that you’re human, especially among your professional credentials. Still, keep it to a minimum — readers are only marginally interested in your personal life, so your bio isn’t the place to divulge a lot of those details.

Buffer’s Alfred Lua uses his bio to share his hobbies like swimming. But by keeping it short, and sandwiching his personal interests between his job title and his personal one, he’s able to show personality, while maintaining his credibility: 

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.26.55 AM.pngSource: Buffer

6) Focus on value.

It can be tempting to turn your bio into a celebratory display of your interests and accomplishments — you’ve won awards, started a billion companies, and have been published in top journals. But readers, more often than not, might be responding with, “Who cares?”

That’s because they want to know what’s in it for them. By putting content out there, you’re essentially asking readers to borrow their time for what you’ve written. Sure, your status might be impressive, but they don’t really care unless they have something to gain from it. That’s where the idea of value comes in.

Use your bio to communicate that bio, and what you can do for your readers. Danny Wong does that well in his guest bio on ConversionXL’s blog: 

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.35.44 AM.pngSource: ConversionXL

Notice the key word in the second sentence: “Teach.” That’s the kind of value that might help Wong connect in a meaningful way — by telling them, “I teach people, and I can teach you, too.”

7) Don’t be afraid to brag.

Let’s have one more look at Wong’s bio:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.35.44 AM.pngSource: ConversionXL

After he explains the value he can provide to readers, he uses the opportunity to mention a pretty big accomplishment: Founding what sounds like a highly profitable business.

When done correctly — like Wong did above, by combining it with a value proposition — bragging can be both effective and appropriate. But it might be easier to do so in the third person. “She co-founded a multi-million dollar company” sounds a bit more humble than, “I co-founded a multi-million dollar company.”

Don’t be afraid to toss out a few awards that make you the proudest — just make sure that they’re relevant to the subject matter and the publication.

8) Avoid writing something obnoxiously long.

Just as you want to avoid bragging too much, you should probably avoid saying too much in general. Writing a super long bio might make you seem less than humble — if all the other authors on the site have three lines and you have thirty, it only emphasizes your sense of self-importance, even if that’s not what you intended.

Author Richard Ridley recommends that authors “keep it brief.” Here’s how he explains it:

Brevity is the soul of wit. Even if you’re William Shakespeare, you don’t want to write an author bio that fills up the entire back cover. In an odd twist of logic, the more accomplished you are as an author, the shorter your author bio can be.”

It’s okay — we all have an ego. We just have to keep it in check sometimes. Here’s a great example of a short-and-sweet bio from Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.07.45 AM.pngSource: Orbit Media

9) Customize it.

If the publication allows you to occasionally update your bio according to the season, take advantage of the ability to customize it. A universal bio that you copy/paste everywhere is okay, but tailoring it to a specific scenario can help enhance it for a particular outlet.

Here’s how HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich does that with her bio:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.16.53 AM.png

By fine-tuning it to resonate with the season, your bio stands out against some generic messaging you might be used to seeing.

10) Add a CTA.

Ah, the call to action, or CTA. It’s a powerful force in the marketing world, and it’s no different in your bio.

After your audience reads about you, they should take further action — but what action do you want them to take? Most often, it’s reading more of your material, or following you on social media.

In those cases, common CTAs would be to follow you on Twitter, or visit your blog. And while these options are effective, make sure the CTA is strategic within the given context.

For example, when Heather Hummel’s work is syndicated by Huffington Post, her author bio contains a CTA to check out her books, creating a source of possible sales:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.21.19 AM.pngSource: Huffington Post

Of course, some outlets might not have the bandwidth or allow such a full-scale dedication to this kind of CTA within an author bio. But if the opportunity is available, use it to your advantage.

11) Steer clear of the word “freelance.”

Freelance writers are an exceptional group of people who are skillful, qualified, and expertly positioned to write great content. But there’s something about the word “freelance” that, for whatever reason, can chip away at credibility. It suggests that you might be more of a generalist, and less of an expert — which, while not necessarily true, has grown to connote that while you might be good at writing, you might not excel at a particular subject.

If you’re a freelance writer, we tip our hats to you. But in your bio, there are ways to replace the word “freelance,” for the reasons above. Here are some examples:

  • “Fred is a conversion optimization writer, specializing in split testing best practices and cognitive biases.”
  • “Angie, a Portland-based author, helps people unleash their inner interior designer.”
  • “As a marketing writer, Todd’s favorite place to publish uncensored marketing content is his own blog.”

Ready to Write?

The best way to create a meaningful bio is to write it with care and intention. Think about your readers, establish your credibility, and make it memorable. But go ahead and have some fun with it — you want to prove that you’re human, too.

At the end of the day, your little bio matters. People care. They’re going to read it. Make it count.

And please — don’t judge me by my bio.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Mar

29

2017

How to Get Better Marketing Talent

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

BestMarketingTalent-compressor.jpg

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Sure, I knew that I wanted, you know, to be employed. I knew I wanted to put my English degree to good use. And I knew I wanted some aspect of the written word to be involved. But what did that look like?

“I dunno,” would’ve been my honest answer.

It’s not that I received anything less than a great education. In fact, I have almost nothing but good things to say about my undergrad alma mater. It’s just that the school had fallen into the same problem that most universities do — the coursework, while excellent, didn’t address what has turned into a pandemic marketing and sales skills gap.

Granted, that was more years ago than I’d like to admit, before much of the technology essential to marketing and sales jobs was as prevalent as it is today. But according to research conducted by Boston Consulting Group, companies still continue to fall short on the level of digital skills on their marketing teams. And as the consumption of products, services, and information continues to rely more on technology — that’s not good.  Learn how to succeed in your new inbound marketing job with the help of this  free guide.

But what are you supposed to do about it? You’re busy enough trying to do what you can to make up for this skills gap. How could you possibly also resolve how to actually fill it? Well, as it turns out, you have two major options: To build talent, and to buy it. Don’t worry — neither option is as overwhelming or as expensive as it sounds. In fact, both really boil down to providing the right resources for both your current and incoming employees. What do those look like? We’ve got a few ideas.

How to Get Better Marketing Talent

When You’re Buying

Bringing in new hires is not a simple process. There are the measurable variables, like the cost of onboarding — an average of over $4,000 per new employee, for most companies — and expensive employee turnover in a number of industries. So when you’re looking to add someone new to your team, you want to make sure it’s a good decision.

Part of feeling certain of a new hire is understanding what kind of training and experience that person has received, especially when it comes to new graduates. A shortage of internships available undergraduates limits their opportunities for experience. So, how can you be certain that a candidate can fill your marketing team’s needs — especially if the right skills aren’t being taught in the classroom?

That’s where you come in. See, the recruiting process goes both ways — just as you want to make sure a candidate is the right fit, you want to do everything you can to look attractive as an employer. And those efforts could include providing learning resources to prospective employees.

For example, when I was looking for opportunities in business school, I would come across many hiring pages from companies that listed the many reasons why I should work there — great benefits, great culture, and opportunities for growth, to name a few. But there was something missing. Nowhere on these hiring sites were there tips for what I could do to strengthen my candidacy for that particular environment.

So if you really want to attract the best talent, follow the mantra, “Help me help you.” It only requires a few steps.

1) Make a list of desired attributes — beyond the job description.

When I first began to look into working for HubSpot, one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that the company has a Culture Code. It didn’t just teach me about how I would be valued as an employee, but it also illustrated the must-have qualities of people who get hired here. That immediately made me realize how much I wanted to work for a company like this one.

When you begin recruiting talent, ask yourself what your company’s own Culture Code would look like. It might not be for everyone, and that’s okay — you’re trying to get candidates who are the best fit to stick around. Give them the right information to help them know who they are.

2) Collaborate with educational institutions.

This step goes beyond simply signing up for a booth at a career fair. I wouldn’t know anything about planning a higher education curriculum, but I get the impression that it’s not easy — which is why these skills gaps might still exist. However, as a marketer, I have a better idea of what kind of knowledge my own team might be seeking, and I’m happy to share it.

If you’re in the same boat, it could be worthwhile to reach out to the career development departments of nearby colleges and universities to find out what you can do to help bring some of that knowledge to the student body. Mind you, we’re not suggesting that you ask for a teaching position or request to be paid for a special lecture.

Rather, work with the school’s administration to see if you can offer a complimentary workshop on the skills that you’re seeking the most. While you might have them, you’re only one person — so see what you can do to share them. It’s an investment of time and resources, but it doesn’t come without a return. If you brand the opportunity properly, it’s a way to stand out in the minds of future job applicants, who might ultimately apply for work with you, therefore filling those gaps. Plus, it reinforces your own reputation as an expert in that particular area, and now that you’ve helped others build those skills, you’ll be able to recruit the talent necessary to meet resulting demand.

3) Share learning resources with applicants — and educators.

While you might not have the bandwidth to undertake something like teaching a workshop, there are still ways to help bring skills and knowledge to your future hiring pool. That’s why your hiring site should be built with two audiences in mind: The applicants themselves, and the people who will be teaching them.

For applicants

In addition to listing the general skills and characteristics that you seek in your new hires, it might be helpful to direct them to the resources that can help them gain that knowledge and become better candidates.

Free online courses are a great place to begin. Do some research on the ones available for the skill gaps you need to fill the most — for example, this EdX course in Digital Branding and Engagement, or this one on High Level Digital Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses from Udemy. Plus, a pre-existing knowledge of inbound marketing is always helpful, and getting inbound certified is free with HubSpot Academy.

For educators

When it comes to providing resources to educators, sometimes identifying the skills gaps is a big first step. Understanding what your strongest candidates need to know in order to succeed in the digital marketing landscape can help develop the tools for teaching the accompanying skills. Outline what they are, and give examples of the type of job titles and responsibilities that require them.

And just as there are online learning resources for applicants — there are actually some for educators, too, like HubSpot Academy’s Education Partner Program. Its mission is to help educators teach inbound marketing, and to connect their students with opportunities to apply both in the real world. Plus, the criteria for becoming an Education Partner doesn’t really go beyond the scope of what’s already required of most institutions — it’s a college, university, or institute that teaches Inbound with HubSpot Academy’s resources, or uses HubSpot software in their classes.

When You’re Building

Please forgive the cop out, but we’ll tell you right now — the efforts for building the right kind of talent within your current team isn’t really all that different than buying it.

There are many situations when one option might be better than the other one — that all depends on your budget, your scope of work, or your current client and customer demands. But when it comes to the latest and greatest skills in cultivating your current employees, all you really have to do is provide the same resources for them that you would for external applicants.

It won’t look identical. But when you go about building or revamping a hiring page like we described above, look into building an intranet or wiki that provides many of the same learning resources that can help employees build their skills and progress in their careers — without leaving your company. After all, we’ve already gone over the high cost of employee turnover. Helping to build the right internal growth opportunities for your current team can prevent those costs from becoming necessary.

Create a place where your employees can see the types of roles or skills gaps you’re trying to fill, and let them know where they can learn how to fill them. Just as you might provide a list of these resources for external applicants or lead workshops for them, do the same for your current staff. Even if someone isn’t looking into changing roles, digital marketing knowledge can be applied to a broad range of projects.

And if they do progress — well, now you know how to attract the best people to replace them in their former positions.

Talent Show

Trying to ensure that you’ve got the best people to meet your company’s demands is never an easy process. There’s so much to consider, from culture fit to necessary skills. As we said — you want to be certain, and for good reason.

But with the above-outlined steps, it doesn’t have to be quite as daunting as you might think. You can proactively take measures to attract the best talent — whether that’s coming from a pool of recent grads, or from your current team.

What are your preferred ways getting the best marketing talent? Let us know in the comments.

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Mar

18

2017

The Best 2017 Networking Events for Marketers

Published by in category event marketing, Professional Development, Tactical | Comments are closed

Best2017NetworkingEventsMarketers-compressor.jpg

At some point in one’s life and career, it seems that networking events have earned a bit of a shabby image. They seem to conjure images of awkward handshakes, bad wine and, if you’re lucky, a stale cheese plate. And where’s the appeal of that?

The truth is, not all events fit that stereotype. Some draw people from around the globe and provide content that makes the journey worthwhile. They’re tremendously informative. They’re wildly entertaining. And they’re listed below.

The thing is, we’ve been to enough — to put it kindly — less-than-stellar events to know what a remarkable one looks like. And to help you avoid the trouble of canvassing the web to find the best ones, we compiled this list for you. Get 32 examples of enviable inbound marketing campaigns here.

Whether you’re a content marketer looking to enhance what you’re creating, or want to learn SEO on a borderline-obsessive level, there’s an event out there for you. By no means do we suggest you attend all 25 of the events listed below — rather, we recommend taking inventory of what sort of engagements are available to help you become a better marketer, depending on your specialty or where you’d like to improve. So look no further — we’ve got you covered.

15 Networking Events for Marketers in 2017

1) Adobe Summit

March 19-23, 2017 | Las Vegas, NV | Pricing Info

AdobeSummitFront

Adobe Summit boasts being one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the U.S. It largely centers around Adobe’s technology, and how marketers can make the most of its Marketing Cloud platform. But it’s more than just a multi-day advertisement for Adobe’s software. Rather, it’s a collection of keynotes and breakout sessions that help marketers keep their projects up-to-date with the constantly and rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to know the latest and most sustainable ways to reach a target audience
  • Are juggling several campaigns and want to know how cloud technology can help you more seamlessly manage them
  • Like big names — speakers include actor Kate McKinnon and the CMO of the National Basketball Association

2) Social Media Marketing World

March 22-24, 2017 | San Diego, CA | Pricing Info

Source: Social Media Examiner

While we can’t corroborate Social Media Marketing World’s claims of being the “world’s largest social media marketing conference” off-hand, the fact that it’s hosted by the online publication Social Media Examiner makes us inclined to agree. But despite its name and description, the event is hardly one-size-fits-all. Rather, the agenda seems to contain a little bit of something for everyone, whether you’re looking to polish your knowledge of social media basics, or an expert looking to learn about the latest and most advanced best practices in this realm.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to become a thought leader or otherwise build your following on social media
  • Are looking to use social media to build customer loyalty and ambassadorship
  • Would like to meet like-minded peers at any social media knowledge level

3) Digiday Publishing Summit

March 29-31, 2017 | Vail, CO | Pricing Info

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.24.38 PM.png

Digiday hosts quite a few marketing-centric events throughout the year, which is why you’ll see its name quite a bit throughout this list. Each event, however, focuses on a specific marketing practice and caters its content according to that audience.

For its Publishing Summit, Digiday places a large amount of focus on digital distribution — that is, online publishing in a variety of formats and outlets. The event description summarizes it nicely: Platforms “like Snapchat have become media outlets of their own,” and marketers need to figure out how to leverage them accordingly.

4) Next10x

April 5, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 7.49.09 AM.png

There’s digital marketing — and then, there’s mobile digital marketing. That’s the focus of the Next10x event, hosted by digital marketing firm Stone Temple Consulting.

With mobile usage now surpassing that of desktop, learning how to best use that medium for marketing is no longer just nice-to-have. Mobile marketing is necessary, especially for SEO — just look at this recent announcement from Google about how a poor mobile user experience will negatively impact rankings. For that reason, it makes sense to have an expert from Google at an event like this one — that could be why Gary Illyes, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, is one of the featured speakers.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think you might be a little behind the curve on mobile marketing — or think you could be doing a little better.
  • Want to learn how mobile marketing aligns with social and SEO efforts
  • Aren’t entirely sure where content marketing and mobile intersect

5) Content Marketing Conference

April 11-13, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

There may have once been a time — a simpler time — when content marketing was such a new concept that it seemed pretty singularly-faceted. Create good content and the search traffic will come. But today, things look a lot different. Good content marketing can require a multi-pronged approach, and even has different sub-categories. There’s the creation of good content — be that words, audio, or visual. Then, there’s the distribution. And what’s more, there’s content created specifically for or on a given platform.

Overwhelmed? Don’t worry. That’s why these events exist, especially the Content Marketing Conference. In fact, its hosts have so much faith in the expertise of the event’s speakers and workshop leaders, they’re assigned the label of “superheroes” — they’re here to save the day for many smart marketers who simply aren’t sure how to manage the many pieces of content marketing.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to learn about a specific side of content marketing — this conference allows attendees to choose tracks that focus on one area
  • Are also into comedy — there’s an entire portion of the conference dedicated to comedy for marketers
  • Like comics — this event’s superhero theme seems to permeate almost every element of it.

6) Experiential Marketing Summit

May 3-5, 2017 | Chicago, IL | Pricing Info

We’re not bashful about our love of creating good experiences around here. We love the idea of marketers creating a good story — not just through their digital content, but through real-life opportunities for the public to interact and engage with their specific brands. And while we’ve written about the way that can be accomplished, it can help to have it explained and carried out in front of you.

That’s why the Experiential Marketing Summit is so helpful. It not only celebrates remarkable work done within the category, but helps marketers learn how to do it themselves.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think experiential marketing is really cool, but you’re not sure you have the knowledge to pull it off independently
  • Have heard of experiential marketing, but have yet to actually experience it yourself — no pun intended
  • You want to learn from the masters, and gain one-on-one insights from experts from major brands who have accomplished remarkable experiential marketing

7) SEJ Summit

May 11, 2017 | Chicago, IL | Pricing Info

One of our favorite resources for the SEO-specific news outlets is the Search Engine Journal, which provides the “latest search news, the best guides and how-tos for the SEO and marketer community.” So when a publication like this one hosts an event dedicated entirely to what it knows best, chances are the attendees are going to come away with a great deal of knowledge.

The headline for the event is “Actionable Marketing Education.” That’s our favorite kind — the education that gives people something tangible to implement after walking away from a teachable moment. And while SEJ hasn’t yet announced its 2017 speaker lineup (as of the publication of this post), some of the experts from previous years, who you can see in the video above, leave us confident about this year’s roster.

Attend this event if you:

  • Prefer events of a smaller scale — this one tends to cap at 200 people
  • Learn best from keynotes, since they make up the majority of this event’s content
  • Stand to gain from SEO-specific education, whether you want to learn the basics or want to enhance your current knowledge level

8) Digiday Video Anywhere Summit

May 17-19, 2017 | New Orleans, LA | Pricing Info

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 7.58.10 AM.png

By now, there should be zero doubt among marketers of the importance of video. After all, 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and 43% of people want to see more content in this format from marketers. So if you haven’t figured out how to incorporate video into your overall content strategy — get on it.

We get it, though. As a marketer, you’ve got a lot to do, and sometimes, something like video might not seem like it should take priority. But if those statistics have convinced you to get the ball rolling and you’re not sure where to begin, it might be a good idea to check out an event dedicated to this type of marketing — like Digiday’s Video Anywhere Summit, which takes many of those most perplexing video-related questions faced by marketers and addresses them head-on with keynotes and workshops.

Attend this event if you:

  • Are good at making video content, but aren’t sure how to monetize it.
  • Want to learn how outlets like Refinery29 and POPSUGAR approach content marketing
  • Don’t have anyone to go with — this particular event has agenda items like “dinner with strangers” for attendees who are flying solo

9) C2

May 24-26, 2017 | Montréal, QC | Pricing Info

We don’t always get “event envy” around here, but if we did, it would probably be the result of C2: The self-described “three-day immersive event that will transform the way you do business.” Have you ever wondered what the most absurd yet effective brainstorming environment would be for you? We haven’t either. But the minds behind C2 have, which is why each year they have a new “experimental brainstorming” setting, to help attendees become their most creative in the most unusual of surroundings, like in a row of chairs suspended 18 feet off the ground.

Even we can’t make that up. And that example is highly illustrative of C2’s unconventional nature, which is what we love most about it. It’s a great opportunity to learn — after all the agenda includes master classes and workshops — but it’s also been known to include an enormous playground-like setting with a ferris wheel and other attractions for attendees to experience.

Attend this event if you:

  • Really don’t like networking events, as this one pushes every boundary it can
  • Enjoy the intersection of marketing and pop culture, and think you could learn something from leaders at brands like Apple and Cirque du Soleil
  • Like an event with a theme — C2 has a different one each year, and the 2017 theme is “ecosystems”

10) Savage Marketing

June 13-14, 2017 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Pricing Info

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.03.13 AM.png

Here’s the thing about marketing: As we mentioned before, there’s no one single type. There’s marketing for different industries, business sizes, formats, and media. There are so many different levels of marketing expertise, how could you possibly expect to fit them all into one event? It’s an effort that some people might even call — wait for it — “savage.”

That’s why the name of this event is so fitting. It examines the marketing best practices for a number of different industries — like sports — and concentrations, like SEO, data-driven, and customer experience. They’re the important pieces of marketing that, when you’ve got an overflowing plate, can be easy to overlook.

Attend this event if you:

  • Are so caught up in your day-to-day responsibilities as a marketer, that you forget about some of the sub-topics listed above
  • Work in advertising — this event has an AdTech track
  • Are especially curious about the overall role of tech in marketing

11) MozCon

July 17-19, 2017 | Seattle, WA | Pricing Info

Source: Moz

SEO, like many other pieces of marketing, is one of those things that can seem really tricky. Just look at how many changes have been made to Google’s algorithm since 2000.

Now, have another look — and note who compiled that timeline. Why, it’s the good people of Moz: The providers of endless SEO learning resources. So when this brand hosts a three-day event dedicated to SEO, we think everyone stands to benefit from it.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to learn anything and everything about SEO
  • Like plenty of socialization built into your networking events — this one has plenty of end-of-the day activities
  • Are curious where and how SEO fits into any marketing role

13) INBOUND

September 25-28, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

Here at HubSpot, INBOUND season practically has us singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” An entire multi-day event dedicated to inbound marketing? Sign us up.

Last year, the event boasted over 19,000 attendees, and for good reason — it’s not just a networking event. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with like-minded marketing professionals, but INBOUND offers a plethora of learning opportunities from interviews with some of notable, knowledgeable figures, like Alec Baldwin.

Attend this event if you:

  • Enjoy a side of “party” with your networking event — this one offers plenty of opportunities to kick back, as well as learn
  • Want to gain unexpected knowledge in unconventional parts of marketing that can actually be applied to your work
  • Like some entertainment — like live music and standup comedy — mixed with your networking

14) MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum

October 3-6, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

As many marketing events as there are, it seems like those dedicated to B2B are few and far between. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and MarketingProfs is doing its part to make sure that’s no longer the case with its B2B Marketing Forum. “This is your event,” the homepage reads. And it’s true — how many times have you come across a marketing resource with a plethora of consumer-centric learnings and takeaways only to think, “But what about me?” MarketingProfs has heard you, and has built a rather impressive event presence to address your needs.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think that B2B marketing is capable of being just as sexy as the B2C kind, and want to hear more people talking about it
  • Like examples of good B2C marketing in practice, but want to know how you can apply it to your B2B brand
  • Want to hear about more than just the good stuff, and learn how to address and resolve the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers

15) Growth Marketing Conference

2017 date not yet scheduled | Silicon Valley, CA | Reserve your seat

Source: Growth Marketing Conference

Growth: It’s one of the most important things that, as a marketer, you need to make sure your brand experiences. That’s why we think of HubSpot as a growth stack — it’s a collection of Marketing, Sales, and CRM software that all combine to help you, above all else, grow.

So when we heard about an entire event dedicated to growth marketing, naturally, our interest was piqued. And while no date has been set for the 2017 edition of this conference, there is an option to “reserve your seat” for it on the homepage, suggesting that it will most likely take place late in the year.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to hear inspiring stories from organizations that have started small, but experienced measurable, sustainable growth
  • Also want to hear how they did it, and how you can accomplish the same
  • Can’t make it to MozCon — you’re likely to hear similar content here

Conclusion

No offense to the cheese plate, but most of these event features are much more our style. Of course, we won’t dismiss free snacks and the ability to exchange a handshake, but now you see — it doesn’t have to be stuffy or awkward.

Go forth, and network. We hope to see you there.

Which marketing networking events will you attend this year? Let us know in the comments.

get a free 30-day trial of HubSpot's Marketing Platform

 
free event planning resources

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Dec

2

2016

How to Build a Memorable Personal Brand on Twitter

Memorable-Twitter-Presence-compressor.jpg

Imagine that you’re within 140 characters of connecting with a customer, prospect, or influencer. How can you afford not to reach out?

We’re talking Twitter, of course: the 300-million strong whirlpool of information that has emerged as a personal branding, relationship-building nirvana.

Twitter pros have found ways to use the platform to score business and media deals — they’ve even built relationships through developing successful Twitter personal brands. Yet, too many people have joined the community simply because they know they should be there, not because they’re strategic or focused.

When it comes to those that have managed to scale their following and build a reputable brand on Twitter, there’s a lot we can learn. To do this, I decided to go straight to the source, interviewing some well-known names with as many as hundreds of thousands of followers.

Thanks to their insights and generosity, I put together a eight-step road map for developing your personal brand on Twitter. Check it out below.

How to Build a Memorable Personal Brand on Twitter

Step #1: Follow the leaders.

Cheryl Burgess, author and CEO of Blue Focus Marketing, said she started off as a listener on Twitter, following people she admired like Kent Huffman, Tom Peters, and David Edelman, among others.

You see, the beauty of Twitter is that you don’t have to go far to discover a successful marketing playbook. The platform gives you free reign to observe how the pros do it.

Similarly, Neal Schaffer, CEO of Maximize Your Social and cofounder of The Social Tools Summit, says to follow people who are sharing a lot of content and who are omnipresent on Twitter. For Schaffer, that’s folks like Jeff Bullas, Mark Schaefer, Pam Moore, Lilach Bullock, Marsha Collier, and Glen Gilmore.

Over time, in addition to observing Twitter luminaries at work, start to engage them. Influencers, like anyone, appreciate praise. But don’t expect an immediate home run. If the influencer eventually follows you — or even better mentions you — you’ve scored a coup.

If you do directly reach out, see what you can offer in return – a mention in a blog post or article for instance. Burgess said she developed a relationship with Tom Peters by following him on Twitter and also recognizing him as part of a Twitter awards program she was running.

If you’re wondering what impact influencers can have, consider this: Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Create Twitter lists of your mentors whom you can then easily monitor. Think of it as having a front row seat to your favorite performers. “Grouping my audience into categories, I see what’s happening across the world quickly and seek opportunities to help and respond,” says Mark Schaefer.
  2. Visualize your Twitter ecosystem using a tool like Mentionmapp.Mentionmapp helps me decide whom to follow and the conversations I need to be part of,” says Burgess.

Step #2: Define your brand.

Clarify the type of person you want to be on Twitter. Think of this as an opportunity to showcase your capabilities, passions, and interests.

Peg Fitzpatrick, social media speaker, trainer, and author, refers to this exercise as “defining the seeds of your brand.” Fitzpatrick advises selecting two or three main topics for your brand content — for her personal brand, she zeroes in on media, her role as author (and speaker), and marketing.

Peg Fitzpatrick Twitter.png

Mari Smith, social media speaker, trainer, consultant, and author, has done this beautifully, explaining that she shares “quality, cherry-picked content pertaining to social media, business development, and time and life hacks with a sprinkling of spiritual uplift and a daily dose of motivational quotes.”

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Focus on three seeds, or go super-niche with one main focus. Do this and “you’ll build a solid Twitter following that will love your content,” says Fitzpatrick.

Step #3: Sharpen your profile.

Don’t leave your Twitter profile to chance or whim. It’s your face to the world on Twitter. While most people will find you through your content, they’ll then check out your Twitter profile.

Ensure that it defines your brand. Dump the default Twitter egg and use an image that highlights your brand, advises Burgess.

Burgess’ own profile leaves no doubts about her accomplishments and her focus:

Cheryl Burgess Twitter.png

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Avoid the pet photos. “Unless you’re a veterinarian or your social media goals aren’t especially business related,” says Burgess, “it’s probably better to go with something else.”

Step #4: Create and curate great content. Repeat.

Tweet negative things and you’ll be seen as a naysayer. Tweet helpful, insightful content and you’ll grow your reputation. If there’s a common thread among those with impressive Twitter brands, it’s that they all post a steady stream of valuable content.

“You can’t tweet enough,” urges Schaffer. This doesn’t mean that you should aim for 100 tweets a day, but if you’re seeing positive engagement, keep it going.

The lesson? Find your rhythm. For example, Michael Brenner, author and CEO of Marketing Insider, says he tweets every hour typically from his smart phone while reading. “I’m a big fan of email newsletters,” he says. “I scan the headlines and if I read the article, I share it.”

While it’s tempting to rely solely on curated content, if you’re serious about building your personal brand, try to post some original content. “The fuel of social media is content,” says Schaefer. “I devote an enormous amount of time to creating original content on my blog which then becomes something I can deliver on Twitter that is helpful and unique.”

Smith says she likes to spotlight up-and-coming bloggers and experts that not many people are tweeting about. “I want to give people a leg up and not just share the same super popular blog posts others were sharing,” she says.

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Don’t share content without identifying the source or the author, says Schaffer. Don’t simply say via @HubSpot or @HuffingtonPost. Take the trouble to also identify the author, who will appreciate the mention.
  2. Tweet with an image whenever possible. Posts with images on social media are 40X more likely to get shared. “I tweet 100% of my tweets with images,” says Schaffer.

Step #5: Engage.

Twitter is a two-way street: If you reach out, people are likely to engage with you.

“Put aside some time to reach out and engage with the tweets of your followers as well as influencers you would like to build a relationship with,” says Melonie Dodaro, a social selling speaker and trainer and author.

Smith says she “takes a quick peek at someone’s bio and recent tweets to find something to compliment or talk about to create a connection.”

Don’t expect, however, that you can outsource your engagement and be effective. All of the experts I spoke to, despite having massive number of followers, handle responses themselves.

Keep this in mind: “The heart of the brand is you,” says Schaffer, “and your engagements are you.”

Brenner calls relating in social “Give to Get (G2G)”: “Karma works in the social world,” he says. “Share the work of people you admire and they will take a second look at your own work. Over time, you will become an authority yourself.”

“Be yourself. It’s okay to mix business and personal,” adds Gini Dietrich, author and CEO of Arment Dietrich. “People want to know the person behind the brains. And you have to just do it. So many people overanalyze it and overthink it. Just jump in and start tweeting.”

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Avoid tactics that look like spam on Twitter. “At first I thanked every single person who retweeted my content,” says Brenner. “But then I just felt like a robot, blindly sending ‘thanks for the RT’ messages. Now I focus on those people who really seem interested in connecting.”
  2. Don’t automate direct messages. Dietrich’s pet peeve is the auto direct message that encourages you to buy something from the person you just followed.
  3. Don’t be blatantly promotional. Don’t say something like “buy my stuff,” says Brenner. “That’s the quickest way to lose followers and anger people.”

Step #6: Test and analyze.

Twitter gives you practically instant feedback. Almost as soon as you post something, you can see how it performs.

“Twitter is my number one platform where I share the most content and also the platform where I test content,” says Schaffer. “When I see what resonates, I know what to share on my other platforms, for my newsletter, blog posts, books, and other projects.”

Schaffer says he aggressively uses hashtags on Twitter so he can be found and manage his content, and also so he can compare how tweets with a certain hashtag perform against other hashtags.

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Take time to find the right tool for measuring and analyzing. “Find the one that makes sense to you and you’re comfortable with,” says Burgess, who uses Triberr for posting, RiteTag for finding the best hashtags, as well as several analytic tools.

Step #7: Outsource strategically, if at all.

According to Schaffer, you don’t need to outsource any of your Twitter efforts in the beginning. But once you start to scale your followers, consider outsourcing some of the administrative work.

“Outsourcing content curation is one of the first areas busy business owners ought to consider. It’s highly worthwhile and ensures your Twitter presence stays active and relevant,” says Smith. “I’m the only one that replies and engages, though,” she adds, “as I never actually delegate my conversations. I also live tweet events.”

At the same time, don’t outsource so much that your authenticity is lost, says Burgess. “To those that are considering outsourcing, first I’d recommend simplifying. You don’t need to tweet every five minutes and you don’t need to reply to every mention.”

Schaefer says, “I do 100% of my own tweets. I feel strongly that I don’t want to disappoint anybody. I never want to be in a position where somebody is engaging with me and then they discover that it’s not really me.” Schaefer says the only thing he outsources is some of the administration on his account, like managing followers.

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Find a system to help you find, curate and share content, says Neal Schaffer, who personally uses Sprout Social. Schaeffer says you don’t need a monitoring tool unless you’re a well-established brand. “The @ mentions of your name are enough for most people.”

Step #8: Commit.

Now that you know what to do, you need to devote time each day to just doing it.

Brenner’s advice? “You have to find the time to make small investments in social every day,” he says.

“Tweet once a day. Blog once a week (if that’s all you have time to do). Do whatever works for you and be realistic. It’s amazing what happens after a year. You’ll have sent hundreds of tweets, created dozens of blog posts, connected with lots of great people and learned more than you would have ever imagined.”

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Find your focus by following one course until successful and stick to it, says Smith. “Publish daily tweets around your chosen focus. But don’t forget to engage, too.”

Building Your Brand

These Twitter brand experts have cracked the code. And so can you if you follow these seven steps. Remember the adage: Success is no accident. You have to work at it.

What are your best tips for building a memorable brand presence? Share them below.

free guide: how to get twitter followers

Nov

29

2016

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

open letter.jpg

Growing up, I was fascinated by my mom’s shorthand notes. The cryptic symbols she’d write blindly while listening through our 1980s-era phone with a 12-foot cord were a different language — vestiges of a different time. 

“You’ll never need to learn shorthand because you’ll type all your notes,” she explained.

And as it turns out, she was right. These days, many of us have traded in our mechanical pencils and fancy notebooks in favor of laptops to ensure that our every word is perfectly spelled and neatly tucked away in “the cloud.”

It wasn’t until I attended a Bold Talk at INBOUND 2014 about note-taking that I put much thought into the difference between writing and typing notes. In his session — “The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think” — New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson explained why handwriting is better for taking notes and remembering big-picture thinking, while typing is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others.

Ever since I attended that session, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was he right? Were we doing this all wrong? To get some answers, I dug into some research on handwritten notes versus typed notes. 

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

TL;DR: As it turns out, understanding how your mind captures, retains, and recalls information can help you become more productive. Writing notes by hand in long-form will force you to synthesize the information, which helps you remember and recall it. So next time you head to a meeting, consider just a notepad and pen.

When we take notes by hand, we typically can’t keep pace with the information being presented to us. As a result, our brains are forced to quickly synthesize the information into two categories: “important: write this down” and “not important: don’t write this down.”

That simple neurological process is valuable to us, as it begins to stamp those important notes in our memory. In other words, when we’re forced to mentally prioritize information, it becomes a little bit stickier in our mind.

In his Bold Talk, Thompson described a series of experiments conducted by researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer that demonstrated the benefits of handwritten notes:

A couple of scientists decided to test this. They set up an auditorium of people. Half of them took notes on keyboard and half of them took notes handwriting while someone spoke. They wanted to figure out who would remember the most, who would retain the most. They tested them afterwards. It turns out that handwriting won, hands down, pun intended. Handwriting completely won out. People understood more, they retained more, they remembered more when they wrote by hand.”

There are times when typing is optimal, however. Thompson goes on to explain that typing is better suited for communicating information to other people. (Think: Handwriting is for input, while typing is for output.)

Fast-typing, referred to as transcription fluency in this context, correlates to better writing skills because there is less interruption between your thoughts and the composition. Stephen Graham, a scholar of literacy, described this phenomenon as follows:

You can think of the ideas in your head as rushing along and you’re trying to transcribe them onto the page. The faster you can do that when you’re in the act of writing, the less likely it is that words and ideas will escape and get away from you.”

7 Handy Tips for Taking Better Notes:

At the end of the day — with all research aside — the most productive way to take notes will ultimately boil down to what works best for you. But whether you’re typing away or jotting things down by hand, we put together some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind that’ll help you stayed organized. 

  1. Know the purpose of your notes. Do you just need to remember a few key things to follow up on from a meeting? Or are you preparing for an exam that will test you on the details? Knowing your purpose will help you craft the right amount of detail.
  2. Use a lined notebook and *try* to use good penmanship. The extra time you put into your handwriting will save you time later when you’re searching through your notes.
  3. Underline, embolden, italicize, and highlight. Introduce some textual hierarchy into your notes so that you can decipher them more easily later on. Need help mastering italic handwriting? Check out this self-instructional course.
  4. Get the big ideas down on paper. Trying to keep up with a fast-talker? Try just recording any numbers and facts that you know you won’t be able to recall. As soon as you get the chance (as in directly after the lecture) fill out your notes with everything you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  5. Try a tablet and stylus. Want the memory benefits of handwriting, with the collaborative benefits of digital? A tablet and stylus — like Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil — can help you speed up the note-taking process.
  6. Learn the ins and outs of bullet journaling. According to the website, bullet journaling is best described as a “customizable and forgiving organization system.” You can learn more about this approach (and other helpful strategies) here.
  7. For meeting notes, record the initials of the person who made the noteworthy comment. This makes it easier for you to follow up with them. Date, time, who’s in attendance, meeting topic, and project are all housekeeping items that add context to your notes for a future — possibly more forgetful — version of yourself.

Ready to Improve Your Skills?

If note-taking is not your strong suit, consider it a skill worth developing that will have compounding effects on your productivity throughout your career. Remember: Typing is best for getting your thoughts on [digital] paper, with as little interference between idea and text as possible. And for content creators, learning how to type quickly will allow you to get your point across with less edits later on.

Want to work on developing your content skills even further? Check out HubSpot Academy’s first-ever Content Marketing Certification here.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

Nov

29

2016

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

open letter.jpg

Growing up, I was fascinated by my mom’s shorthand notes. The cryptic symbols she’d write blindly while listening through our 1980s-era phone with a 12-foot cord were a different language — vestiges of a different time. 

“You’ll never need to learn shorthand because you’ll type all your notes,” she explained.

And as it turns out, she was right. These days, many of us have traded in our mechanical pencils and fancy notebooks in favor of laptops to ensure that our every word is perfectly spelled and neatly tucked away in “the cloud.”

It wasn’t until I attended a Bold Talk at INBOUND 2014 about note-taking that I put much thought into the difference between writing and typing notes. In his session — “The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think” — New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson explained why handwriting is better for taking notes and remembering big-picture thinking, while typing is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others.

Ever since I attended that session, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was he right? Were we doing this all wrong? To get some answers, I dug into some research on handwritten notes versus typed notes. 

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

TL;DR: As it turns out, understanding how your mind captures, retains, and recalls information can help you become more productive. Writing notes by hand in long-form will force you to synthesize the information, which helps you remember and recall it. So next time you head to a meeting, consider just a notepad and pen.

When we take notes by hand, we typically can’t keep pace with the information being presented to us. As a result, our brains are forced to quickly synthesize the information into two categories: “important: write this down” and “not important: don’t write this down.”

That simple neurological process is valuable to us, as it begins to stamp those important notes in our memory. In other words, when we’re forced to mentally prioritize information, it becomes a little bit stickier in our mind.

In his Bold Talk, Thompson described a series of experiments conducted by researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer that demonstrated the benefits of handwritten notes:

A couple of scientists decided to test this. They set up an auditorium of people. Half of them took notes on keyboard and half of them took notes handwriting while someone spoke. They wanted to figure out who would remember the most, who would retain the most. They tested them afterwards. It turns out that handwriting won, hands down, pun intended. Handwriting completely won out. People understood more, they retained more, they remembered more when they wrote by hand.”

There are times when typing is optimal, however. Thompson goes on to explain that typing is better suited for communicating information to other people. (Think: Handwriting is for input, while typing is for output.)

Fast-typing, referred to as transcription fluency in this context, correlates to better writing skills because there is less interruption between your thoughts and the composition. Stephen Graham, a scholar of literacy, described this phenomenon as follows:

You can think of the ideas in your head as rushing along and you’re trying to transcribe them onto the page. The faster you can do that when you’re in the act of writing, the less likely it is that words and ideas will escape and get away from you.”

7 Handy Tips for Taking Better Notes:

At the end of the day — with all research aside — the most productive way to take notes will ultimately boil down to what works best for you. But whether you’re typing away or jotting things down by hand, we put together some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind that’ll help you stayed organized. 

  1. Know the purpose of your notes. Do you just need to remember a few key things to follow up on from a meeting? Or are you preparing for an exam that will test you on the details? Knowing your purpose will help you craft the right amount of detail.
  2. Use a lined notebook and *try* to use good penmanship. The extra time you put into your handwriting will save you time later when you’re searching through your notes.
  3. Underline, embolden, italicize, and highlight. Introduce some textual hierarchy into your notes so that you can decipher them more easily later on. Need help mastering italic handwriting? Check out this self-instructional course.
  4. Get the big ideas down on paper. Trying to keep up with a fast-talker? Try just recording any numbers and facts that you know you won’t be able to recall. As soon as you get the chance (as in directly after the lecture) fill out your notes with everything you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  5. Try a tablet and stylus. Want the memory benefits of handwriting, with the collaborative benefits of digital? A tablet and stylus — like Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil — can help you speed up the note-taking process.
  6. Learn the ins and outs of bullet journaling. According to the website, bullet journaling is best described as a “customizable and forgiving organization system.” You can learn more about this approach (and other helpful strategies) here.
  7. For meeting notes, record the initials of the person who made the noteworthy comment. This makes it easier for you to follow up with them. Date, time, who’s in attendance, meeting topic, and project are all housekeeping items that add context to your notes for a future — possibly more forgetful — version of yourself.

Ready to Improve Your Skills?

If note-taking is not your strong suit, consider it a skill worth developing that will have compounding effects on your productivity throughout your career. Remember: Typing is best for getting your thoughts on [digital] paper, with as little interference between idea and text as possible. And for content creators, learning how to type quickly will allow you to get your point across with less edits later on.

Want to work on developing your content skills even further? Check out HubSpot Academy’s first-ever Content Marketing Certification here.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

Nov

10

2016

The Free Growth Tools I Recommend For Modern Businesses to Grow & Scale

growth-tools.jpg

If you’re growing a company, chances are you’re challenged with choosing the right tools to help you grow.

Both at HubSpot and at other businesses I’ve helped advise, I’ve seen marketing and sales teams experiment with all sorts of different tools they’ve hoped would drive growth. Some of these tools did help the team grow. Others slowed growth down or blocked it altogether. At HubSpot, we’ve seen opportunities to build new growth tools for marketing and sales teams and we’ve worked hard to fill those gaps.

One of the most important lessons I’ve taken away from growing businesses is that most growth problems come not from ideas, but from execution. You might have a growth-driven team, a great vision, and the dedication to achieve your lofty goals. But having those things isn’t enough to actually grow.

To execute on your strategy, you’re going to need a powerful set of tools that leverage every stage of the customer experience, from the first point of contact, through the sales and marketing process, and over the lifetime of the customer.

The foundation of a strong growth stack starts with the following:

  • A CRM system that serves as the foundation for all the other growth tools you’re using, which is where all of your customer data is stored.
  • A marketing platform to attract the right people, convert them as leads, and communicate with them through the purchase process and once they’re a customer.
  • A sales platform that helps your sales team identify the right people, connect with them, and close them as customers.

Some companies are in the position to implement a growth stack right off the bat and then enhance and customize it with the right collection of integrated tools. Others need to start with free tools and build to a full growth stack over time. (Note: There is a free version of the HubSpot Growth Stack.)

For those companies just getting started, here is my shortlist of the best free growth tools for modern businesses. The list comprises a blend of free HubSpot tools and those from other companies that we’ve used and recommend.

The 11 Free Growth Tools I Recommend

A Free CRM

1) HubSpot CRM

You can’t build a skyscraper without a solid foundation. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool) is just that — it acts as the base layer of growth where all your business functions’ information is organized and can be easily analyzed. In all honesty, it’s impossible to grow and scale your business without a CRM.

Your CRM is the software that sits at the core of your digital system. It tracks every interaction your sales team has, stores all your marketing leads and customer data, and improves communication across your organization. The more you grow, the more important this becomes.

The problem is, most traditional CRM systems are hard to implement and use — especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited time and resources. Sales teams have trouble adopting them internally, and you can bet that doesn’t help your business grow whatsoever. If you’re looking for a clean and intuitive CRM that’ll make your sales reps more efficient — regardless of their experience levels — I’m very proud of the free CRM our team at HubSpot has built.

hubspot-crm-screenshot.png

Free Growth Tools for Marketing

2) Trello

I’m a big fan of visualizing progress. Growth teams tend to have a lot of ideas, a lot of projects, and a lot of experiments going on at the same time. We’ve found Trello to be the best tool for tracking that progress. Each idea, project, and experiment can live on its own card, which teams can use to take notes, assign tasks, set due dates, and so on.

Here’s a real example: Our VP of Marketing Kieran Flanagan uses it to track, from start to finish, all the experiments his growth team runs. What’s especially remarkable is that his team members are located in various parts of the US and Europe, but with Trello they’re able to stay organized and effective, and make a big impact on business growth.

trello-sample-promo-board.png

3) Hotjar Heat Maps & Visitor Recordings

Data beats intuition. You can’t really know what your audience wants without getting inside the heads of the people who already regularly visit your site to find out why they visit your site, and Hotjar’s tools are perfect for just that.

These guys are on the cutting edge of helping people figure out what drives people to different parts of their website. They’re making it possible for people to build and grow their website in a way that actually resonates with people. We actually just launched an integration with Hotjar that shows Hotjar poll responses in HubSpot users’ contact timelines.

The Heat Maps and Visitor Recordings are my favorite parts of the tool, though, and here’s why: They visualize what people are doing when they get to your site by showing clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior. This is so important for a business because each of these actions shows what people do and care about on your site. It’ll also help you find the biggest opportunities for improvement and testing. (And you should always be testing.)

hotjar-heatmaps.jpg

Image Credit: Hotjar

4) Google Keyword Planner

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to growing traffic, which is a big driver of business growth in the online age. Simply put, you need to do it, and you need to do it well. If you want more people to find you on Google, you’ll need a keyword tool to help you prioritize which keywords to focus on.

There are a few good keyword tools out there, but Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point for narrowing down the right keywords, gauging competition around each one, and learning how many people are searching for them.

google-keywords-planner-1.png

5) GrowthBot

Bots are pretty freaking cool, and there’s business value to them too — they can make simple processes more efficient, giving your team time back in your day and helping you intelligently answer questions around your business. I could not be more excited about bots. That’s why I spent a lot of time this year building a chatbot for growth professionals called GrowthBot. I originally started building it because I wanted it myself, but others have told me they find it helpful, too.

So how does it work? By connecting to a variety of marketing systems (like HubSpot, Google Analytics, and more), GrowthBot is able to give you more convenient access to information you already otherwise have, and give you access to information you didn’t know you had. In the first case, you could ask it the question, “How was organic traffic last month?” and it’ll tell you. In the second case, you might ask it, “Which public SaaS companies are using HubSpot?” or “Which PPC keywords is uber.com buying?” and it’ll spit back the answer in just a few seconds.

growthbot-examples.png

6) HubSpot Marketing Free’s Lead Flows

A big mistake I see growing marketing teams making is spending all their time driving traffic to their website, but not turning that traffic into leads. Problem is, if you’re not learning about the people who are showing interest in your business, you’re leaving critical lead and sales numbers on the table.

To help you take a page that gets a good amount of traffic and turn that traffic into leads, some really smart folks created a feature within HubSpot’s new free marketing tool called Lead Flows. Lead Flows are unobtrusive widgets — pop-ups, dropdown banners, slide-ins — that you can add to any of your website pages. Best part is that they involve no technical setup or coding whatsoever, so you can set them up in minutes (seriously, minutes) without having to make changes to your existing site. Let us know what you think of Lead Flows on Product Hunt.

hubspot-marketing-free.gif

7) Buffer

There’s a lot you can do with social without spending any money. Social media is an amplifier. It takes time, but if you build a following, it is a great way to take that awesome content you’re producing and spreading it further and wider.

For social media marketing on all the major networks, Buffer is a great place to start. It connects your business’ Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+ accounts in a single platform and lets you share text, links, photos, and videos, either immediately or to schedule for later.

buffer-schedule-posts.png

Image Credit: Buffer

8) Canva

Tools that make creating visual content easier are important for growth, especially for a business with limited design resources. Being able to create great images in a short amount of time will help make your website, your emails, your social media posts, and every other marketing asset more engaging and attractive to your audience. Simply put, better visuals = more engagement = more traffic = business growth.

Canva makes it easy and fast for people who aren’t designers by trade (like me, as my team knows well) to create visual content quickly.

canva-example-1.png

Image Credit: Entrepreneur’s Organization

Free Growth Tools for Sales

9) join.me Free Conference Calls & Screen Sharing

The easier you make it for your sales team to interact with leads and prospects, the better they’ll be at closing customers, which you most definitely need if you want to grow your business. join.me isn’t software — all your reps have to do to start a call is open up the desktop or mobile app or log in online.

There are a lot of meetings tools out there, but this one is one of the fastest, most reliable, most intuitive, and easiest to use. And if you use HubSpot’s free CRM, you can start a join.me meeting directly from your contact timeline.

hubspot-join-me-integration.png

Image Credit: join.me

10) HubSpot Sales Templates

Your sales reps are probably wasting a lot of time writing the same emails over, and over, and over again. There’s a lot of value in streamlining the emailing process while still making sure sales reps are sending high-quality emails. If your sales reps can get their hands on personalized email templates, that’ll save hundreds of hours over the long term. Templates, a feature of HubSpot Sales, lets you access personalized email templates for free from within your inbox.

What makes this tool particularly powerful for sales teams is that you can build a shared library of templates everyone can use. You can also aggregate data on how often emails with certain templates get opened or clicked, which helps you hone in on the approaches worth sharing.

HubSpot-Sales-Email-Templates.png

11) HubSpot Sales Email Open Tracking & Notifications

This is one of my favorite email tools, not just for sales teams, but for personal use. It sends instant desktop notifications when the emails you send get opened. You’ll see who opened the email, at what time, on which device, and where they were located when they opened it. If you want to look at all your notifications, or all your notifications on a specific email, then you can view the full history in a stream.

hubspot-email-activity-stream.jpg

This list of free tools is a starting point for those looking to grow from startup into sustainable. Down the road, you’ll want to integrate your growth tools together into a true growth stack. For those looking to take the next step, we’ve mapped out our version of a complete growth stack over on Product Hunt. Take a look and let our engineers know what you think.

hubspot-growth-stack

Nov

10

2016

The Free Growth Tools I Recommend For Modern Businesses to Grow & Scale

growth-tools.jpg

If you’re growing a company, chances are you’re challenged with choosing the right tools to help you grow.

Both at HubSpot and at other businesses I’ve helped advise, I’ve seen marketing and sales teams experiment with all sorts of different tools they’ve hoped would drive growth. Some of these tools did help the team grow. Others slowed growth down or blocked it altogether. At HubSpot, we’ve seen opportunities to build new growth tools for marketing and sales teams and we’ve worked hard to fill those gaps.

One of the most important lessons I’ve taken away from growing businesses is that most growth problems come not from ideas, but from execution. You might have a growth-driven team, a great vision, and the dedication to achieve your lofty goals. But having those things isn’t enough to actually grow.

To execute on your strategy, you’re going to need a powerful set of tools that leverage every stage of the customer experience, from the first point of contact, through the sales and marketing process, and over the lifetime of the customer.

The foundation of a strong growth stack starts with the following:

  • A CRM system that serves as the foundation for all the other growth tools you’re using, which is where all of your customer data is stored.
  • A marketing platform to attract the right people, convert them as leads, and communicate with them through the purchase process and once they’re a customer.
  • A sales platform that helps your sales team identify the right people, connect with them, and close them as customers.

Some companies are in the position to implement a growth stack right off the bat and then enhance and customize it with the right collection of integrated tools. Others need to start with free tools and build to a full growth stack over time. (Note: There is a free version of the HubSpot Growth Stack.)

For those companies just getting started, here is my shortlist of the best free growth tools for modern businesses. The list comprises a blend of free HubSpot tools and those from other companies that we’ve used and recommend.

The 11 Free Growth Tools I Recommend

A Free CRM

1) HubSpot CRM

You can’t build a skyscraper without a solid foundation. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool) is just that — it acts as the base layer of growth where all your business functions’ information is organized and can be easily analyzed. In all honesty, it’s impossible to grow and scale your business without a CRM.

Your CRM is the software that sits at the core of your digital system. It tracks every interaction your sales team has, stores all your marketing leads and customer data, and improves communication across your organization. The more you grow, the more important this becomes.

The problem is, most traditional CRM systems are hard to implement and use — especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited time and resources. Sales teams have trouble adopting them internally, and you can bet that doesn’t help your business grow whatsoever. If you’re looking for a clean and intuitive CRM that’ll make your sales reps more efficient — regardless of their experience levels — I’m very proud of the free CRM our team at HubSpot has built.

hubspot-crm-screenshot.png

Free Growth Tools for Marketing

2) Trello

I’m a big fan of visualizing progress. Growth teams tend to have a lot of ideas, a lot of projects, and a lot of experiments going on at the same time. We’ve found Trello to be the best tool for tracking that progress. Each idea, project, and experiment can live on its own card, which teams can use to take notes, assign tasks, set due dates, and so on.

Here’s a real example: Our VP of Marketing Kieran Flanagan uses it to track, from start to finish, all the experiments his growth team runs. What’s especially remarkable is that his team members are located in various parts of the US and Europe, but with Trello they’re able to stay organized and effective, and make a big impact on business growth.

trello-sample-promo-board.png

The folks at Trello put together their own list of business growth apps, inspired by ours. Check it out here.

3) Hotjar Heat Maps & Visitor Recordings

Data beats intuition. You can’t really know what your audience wants without getting inside the heads of the people who already regularly visit your site to find out why they visit your site, and Hotjar’s tools are perfect for just that.

These guys are on the cutting edge of helping people figure out what drives people to different parts of their website. They’re making it possible for people to build and grow their website in a way that actually resonates with people. We actually just launched an integration with Hotjar that shows Hotjar poll responses in HubSpot users’ contact timelines.

The Heat Maps and Visitor Recordings are my favorite parts of the tool, though, and here’s why: They visualize what people are doing when they get to your site by showing clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior. This is so important for a business because each of these actions shows what people do and care about on your site. It’ll also help you find the biggest opportunities for improvement and testing. (And you should always be testing.)

hotjar-heatmaps.jpg

Image Credit: Hotjar

4) Google Keyword Planner

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to growing traffic, which is a big driver of business growth in the online age. Simply put, you need to do it, and you need to do it well. If you want more people to find you on Google, you’ll need a keyword tool to help you prioritize which keywords to focus on.

There are a few good keyword tools out there, but Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point for narrowing down the right keywords, gauging competition around each one, and learning how many people are searching for them.

google-keywords-planner-1.png

5) GrowthBot

Bots are pretty freaking cool, and there’s business value to them too — they can make simple processes more efficient, giving your team time back in your day and helping you intelligently answer questions around your business. I could not be more excited about bots. That’s why I spent a lot of time this year building a chatbot for growth professionals called GrowthBot. I originally started building it because I wanted it myself, but others have told me they find it helpful, too.

So how does it work? By connecting to a variety of marketing systems (like HubSpot, Google Analytics, and more), GrowthBot is able to give you more convenient access to information you already otherwise have, and give you access to information you didn’t know you had. In the first case, you could ask it the question, “How was organic traffic last month?” and it’ll tell you. In the second case, you might ask it, “Which public SaaS companies are using HubSpot?” or “Which PPC keywords is uber.com buying?” and it’ll spit back the answer in just a few seconds.

growthbot-examples.png

6) HubSpot Marketing Free’s Lead Flows

A big mistake I see growing marketing teams making is spending all their time driving traffic to their website, but not turning that traffic into leads. Problem is, if you’re not learning about the people who are showing interest in your business, you’re leaving critical lead and sales numbers on the table.

To help you take a page that gets a good amount of traffic and turn that traffic into leads, some really smart folks created a feature within HubSpot’s new free marketing tool called Lead Flows. Lead Flows are unobtrusive widgets — pop-ups, dropdown banners, slide-ins — that you can add to any of your website pages. Best part is that they involve no technical setup or coding whatsoever, so you can set them up in minutes (seriously, minutes) without having to make changes to your existing site. Let us know what you think of Lead Flows on Product Hunt.

hubspot-marketing-free.gif

7) Buffer

There’s a lot you can do with social without spending any money. Social media is an amplifier. It takes time, but if you build a following, it is a great way to take that awesome content you’re producing and spreading it further and wider.

For social media marketing on all the major networks, Buffer is a great place to start. It connects your business’ Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+ accounts in a single platform and lets you share text, links, photos, and videos, either immediately or to schedule for later.

buffer-schedule-posts.png

Image Credit: Buffer

8) Canva

Tools that make creating visual content easier are important for growth, especially for a business with limited design resources. Being able to create great images in a short amount of time will help make your website, your emails, your social media posts, and every other marketing asset more engaging and attractive to your audience. Simply put, better visuals = more engagement = more traffic = business growth.

Canva makes it easy and fast for people who aren’t designers by trade (like me, as my team knows well) to create visual content quickly.

canva-example-1.png

Image Credit: Entrepreneur’s Organization

Free Growth Tools for Sales

9) join.me Free Conference Calls & Screen Sharing

The easier you make it for your sales team to interact with leads and prospects, the better they’ll be at closing customers, which you most definitely need if you want to grow your business. join.me isn’t software — all your reps have to do to start a call is open up the desktop or mobile app or log in online.

There are a lot of meetings tools out there, but this one is one of the fastest, most reliable, most intuitive, and easiest to use. And if you use HubSpot’s free CRM, you can start a join.me meeting directly from your contact timeline.

hubspot-join-me-integration.png

Image Credit: join.me

10) HubSpot Sales Templates

Your sales reps are probably wasting a lot of time writing the same emails over, and over, and over again. There’s a lot of value in streamlining the emailing process while still making sure sales reps are sending high-quality emails. If your sales reps can get their hands on personalized email templates, that’ll save hundreds of hours over the long term. Templates, a feature of HubSpot Sales, lets you access personalized email templates for free from within your inbox.

What makes this tool particularly powerful for sales teams is that you can build a shared library of templates everyone can use. You can also aggregate data on how often emails with certain templates get opened or clicked, which helps you hone in on the approaches worth sharing.

HubSpot-Sales-Email-Templates.png

11) HubSpot Sales Email Open Tracking & Notifications

This is one of my favorite email tools, not just for sales teams, but for personal use. It sends instant desktop notifications when the emails you send get opened. You’ll see who opened the email, at what time, on which device, and where they were located when they opened it. If you want to look at all your notifications, or all your notifications on a specific email, then you can view the full history in a stream.

hubspot-email-activity-stream.jpg

This list of free tools is a starting point for those looking to grow from startup into sustainable. Down the road, you’ll want to integrate your growth tools together into a true growth stack. For those looking to take the next step, we’ve mapped out our version of a complete growth stack over on Product Hunt. Take a look and let our engineers know what you think.

hubspot-growth-stack

Nov

3

2016

10 of the Best Podcasts About Business and Management

management podcasts.png

Today’s workforce is always on the go and multitasking. We’re busy, we’re distracted, we’re ambitious, and we’re always on the hunt for new sources of inspiration. That’s why business management-oriented podcasts are so perfect for today’s professionals.

A recent comScore survey found that 22% of U.S. internet users listen to podcasts at least once a week. It makes sense. Whether commuting to our offices, schvitzing at the gym, or sitting at our desks, podcasts provide hands-free enrichment. Enthusiasts listen in order to strengthen and freshen skills, to learn about new business success models, and to explore new perspectives on leadership and management – all while going about our regular routines.

Let’s be frank. Who has the time to keep up with all our favorite blogs and social feeds nowadays? Since the majority of podcasts are light in tone and conversational in structure, they make it easy to explore business challenges and trends from multiple perspectives. Listening in on these discussions can feel like having coffee with a group of expert colleagues, deliberating the latest trends in a freeform conversation.

Here are some highly recommended management and leadership podcasts.

10 of the Best Podcasts About Business and Management

1) For social media and the entrepreneurial grind: Gary Vaynerchuk

AskGaryVee Podcast

Source: her heartland soul

Outspoken thought leader Gary Vaynerchuk has taken his colorful personal brand to new heights with his hit podcast, The #AskGaryVee Show. Vaynerchuk delves into a variety of topics such as business management, entrepreneurship, millennialism, social media, ethics, leadership, and self-starting.

In episode 192, Vaynerchuk reveals that he’s finally starting to think about having a different perspective on work, perhaps recognizing that there are important things in life beyond the non-stop hustle that makes him famous. On the other hand, this man has taken just three vacations over the course of his life. (And he’s not alone — 53% of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in the past year.) So, if you have thick skin and you’re looking to get both practical and inspirational information on how to create the career you were meant to have, Vaynerchuk is your man.

Wildly entertaining, crass and impassioned, Vaynerchuk’s podcast will have you hooked. New episodes go up sporadically, but there are typically several uploaded each week.

2) For perspectives from the top: Jill Geisler

What great bosses know Podcast

Source: Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know

What Great Bosses Know is hosted by Jill Geisler — a leadership, management, and news media expert who teaches at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication. In this podcast, Geisler shares practical lessons for managers who want to be great bosses.

In “How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge,” for example, Geisler gives an overview of her tips for getting recognized as management material, even when serving in a junior role. People who emerge as rising stars in organizations, Geisler says, consistently offer constructive solutions to problems – and take the lead on implementing them. They constantly learn, grow and connect what they’re doing to overall organizational strategies. They stay calm under pressure, and they’re generous with resources and information, but always in a way that doesn’t detract from their own productivity. And there are fewer of them out there than you might think — 51% of managers say they’re not even engaged at work.

If you’re looking to build the essential skills that inspire others to perform at their best, this engaging and practical podcast is likely to give you plenty to chew on. Geisler posts two episodes each month.

3) For getting your leadership development fix: Richard Rierson

Dose of Leadership Podcast

Source: Dose of Leadership

Former U.S. Marine Richard Rierson’s Dose of Leadership Podcast is a fantastic place to find educational and inspiring interviews with dozens leaders from a wide swath of industries. The podcast focuses on leadership development and ethics, featuring influencers of all types, from entrepreneurs, to authors, to military heroes, to faith-based leaders.

“Fear and uncertainty are never going to go away,” said Rierson in a rare solo episode in which he explored the importance of confidence. Along with being calm, consistent, and courageous, Rierson explained that being confident is one of the “Four Cs” that form the core of a leader’s personal charisma.

Interviewing some of the bigger names in business — such as Barbara Corcoran, Steve Forbes, Fred Smith, and Bob Burg — Rierson’s podcast is a must if you’re working on leadership development. His episodes don’t air on a regular schedule, but two to six episodes come out over the course of most months.

4) For exploring the success mindset: Nathalie Lussier

off the charts business podcast

Source: Nathalie Lussier Media

Digital strategist and entrepreneur Nathalie Lussier’s podcast, Off the Charts Business, is packed with short, actionable advice to move your business forward. In iTunes, it’s listed under a section for “Inspiring Women’s Voices”, thanks in part to Lussier’s interviews with women entrepreneurs and business experts across the globe. The guests provide a diverse range of perspectives on professional success, management, and work-life balance.

In one episode, Australian coach Leonie Dawson — who runs the Shining Biz + Life Academy — discussed the importance of documenting goals for the purpose of business planning. That’s huge — 82% small business owners say that envisioning their goals have helped to actually accomplish them.

“The more that you’re in tune with where you’re going,” she said, “you will very, very naturally see what it is that you need to start doing and what you need to stop doing, in order to make sure that your business and life goals come true.”

Airing bi-weekly, Lussier’s episodes discuss what it takes to run a growing business — like productivity skills and the right mindset. This thought leader provides loads of inspirational and actionable advice on email marketing, digital product development, website creation, business management, and more of the best business resources.

5) For freelance development: Daniel DiPiazza

Rich20Something podcast

Source: Daniel DiPiazza

Rich20Something host Daniel DiPiazza is a self-taught millennial entrepreneur. DiPiazza is an advocate for being your own boss, and takes a friendly approach to professional self-discovery, freelancing, leadership, and business organization. Freelance advice is a hot space to be in, too — the rise of the gig economy seems to have inspired a new generation of side-hustlers and aspiring “solopreneurs.” But it can be scary to get started, which might be why DiPiazza welcomed guest Mark Dhamma, a performance coach for entrepreneurs, to talk about facing one’s fears.

DiPiazza’s podcast has yet to settle into a set schedule, but there are typically four to five episodes each month. You can access them via YouTube or iTunes.

6) For faith and communication: Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley Leadership podcast

Source: Stitcher

The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast takes a faith-infused approach to leadership, efficiency, communication, and lifestyle. An author of dozens of books, Stanley is a big believer in character, clarity, courage, and competency as the pillars of leadership.

In one episode, guest Glen Jackson — co-founder of brand communications agency Jackson Spalding — explains the first three of his “seven pillars of preeminence.” To build a truly exceptional organization, Jackson believes, leaders must build trust, strong relationships, and a focused marketing communications program. And, he discusses how you know when you’ve achieved preeminence.

Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and founder of the North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia. His podcast has a lot to offer business professionals of all backgrounds — episodes are posted on a monthly basis.

7) For team building and success stories: Jesse Lahey

Engaging Leader podcast

Source: Engaging Leader

The Engaging Leader podcast, hosted by author and HR consultant Jesse Lahey, is dedicated to discourse about leadership and communication principles. Knowing that meetings are a point of contention — 33.4% of their participants say it’s not a productive use of time — consultant Karin Hurt came on the show to talk about “How to Lead Meetings That Get Results (and That People Want to Attend).” Her advice was to overtly state the objective of every meeting, and to invite only the people who truly must attend if those objectives are to be met.   

Lahey conveys key business lessons through storytelling and humor, often sharing engaging stories as springboards for giving over valuable advice about work-life balance, teamwork, and leadership development. Episodes are published on the 1st and 15th of each month and last 30 minutes.

8) For book-driven business insights: Jeff Brown

Read to Lead Podcast

Source: Read to Lead Podcast

Hosted by seasoned broadcaster Jeff Brown, each Read to Lead episode examines a different business book. Brown drills down to talk about each book’s take on personal development, leadership, business, productivity, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

At one point, Brown was joined by management coach and author Michael Bungay Stanier to discuss his latest book, The Coaching Habit. Among other topics, Stanier explained what he sees as the three most common and potent self-perpetuating obstacles to professional achievement: overdependence, overwhelm, and disconnect.

This podcast could be especially valuable If you love reading, but don’t have the time to pick up every business book you’re interested in. It’s a great opportunity to get an inside look. Although Brown doesn’t air on a set schedule, you can access all of his episodes on iTunes and his website.

9) For learning to lead and live intentionally: Michael Hyatt

This is your life Podcast

Source: Michael Hyatt

Publishing executive Michael Hyatt co-hosts his weekly This Is Your Life podcast with emcee-for-hire Michele Cushatt. Some recent episodes have covered things like charisma, handling critics, software recommendations, and getting the most out of vacations.

Hyatt and Cushatt once took on topic of “the cult of busy” in the “6 Ways to Reclaim Your Free Time” episode. With some sobering tough love, they made a compelling argument for individuals to take responsibility for their own busyness levels. After all, 61% of U.S. professionals say they’re too busy to do the things they want, and that’s a problem. That means smart time management requires sometimes saying no.

“It may be that you have a fear of missing an important opportunity. It may be that you have a fear of disappointing other people. It may be that you have some other kind of fear

that keeps you stuck in this area,” said Hyatt, “but the real problem is us.”

Hyatt strives to help each of his listeners “live with more passion, work with greater focus, and lead with extraordinary influence.” With recurring themes including the importance of life planning, writing, healthy lifestyle, and influence, Hyatt’s podcast delivers well-rounded inspiration. New episodes go up every Monday morning on his website.

10) For growing and marketing brass: HubSpot

The Growth Show Podcast

Source: Stitcher

Hosted by HubSpot’s VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson and CMO Kipp Bodnar, The Growth Show is an exploration of all things relating to business growth. Anderson and Bodnar take turns at the helm, welcoming expert guests to talk about growth: organizational, cultural, conceptual, and team.

In one episode, Bodnar welcomed Candor, Inc.’s Kim Scott, whose “radical candor” framework has transformed the way companies like Apple, Google, Twitter, and Dropbox handle team management. Encouraging us all to unlearn the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” Scott championed an approach to feedback whereby managers maximize their abilities to “challenge directly” and “care personally.” The most effective and revered managers, Scott said, are invested in their team relationships enough to give honest feedback, even when it’s negative.

Can’t Hurt to Download

If you’re looking for an easy way to learn about taking your career to new heights, management podcasts are a great solution. Always available with new and engaging insights, this could be the connection between you, greater skills, and stronger leadership. Plus, they’re a great way to add a productive edge to what might otherwise be “time-sucks,” like your commute, cleaning, or getting from point A to B.

What are your favorite management podcasts? Let us know in the comments.

free guide to podcasting

Nov

1

2016

How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads [Free Two-Week Planner]

LinkedIn Sponsored Content.png

LinkedIn is the #1 social media platform for B2B content distribution. That makes it a key platform to generate leads, build professional relationships, and drive leads.

But it’s not enough to use LinkedIn just to build an organic following. If you want to effectively expand your content’s reach and get it in front of the right eyes, you should be using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content feature.

Even if you’ve used Sponsored Content before, you may not have mastered all of the steps it takes to make sure you’re getting the most ROI from your campaigns. Luckily, HubSpot teamed up with LinkedIn to bring you How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads — a two-week guide on running successful LinkedIn Sponsored Content campaigns.

More specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Build an organic audience on LinkedIn.
  • Select the right pieces of content.
  • Identify the best target audience.
  • Build an effective editorial calendar.
  • Implement conversion tracking to prove ROI.
  • Develop an effective targeting and A/B testing strategy.
  • Monitor, report on, and optimize your sponsored content campaigns over time.

Download your copy of How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads here.

free planner: how to run successful LinkedIn ads


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