It’s a difficult time for entrepreneurs. Daily appears to convey information of layoffs from one other notable tech firm.
I do know a number of individuals who’ve been laid off from content material jobs not too long ago. I additionally understand how discouraging and anxious that feels.
In November 2008, I learn a weblog publish from David Meerman Scott known as Downsized? Fired? Here Are the New Rules of Finding a Job. A month later, I used to be laid off f(together with greater than 10% of the corporate) on account of the 2008 monetary disaster.
Once I acquired residence that day, I instantly reread David’s publish.
I can distill the takeaway into two sentences:
Need to discover a new job? Cease considering like a product advertiser and begin considering like a writer.
David relayed the story of Heather Hamilton, then a recruiting government at Microsoft. She didn’t use standard strategies for sourcing and hiring candidates. As a substitute, she searched the online for potential staff. As David concluded, “So in case you’re not publishing, you received’t be discovered by Microsoft.”
Thus, I started to show my job loss right into a content material advertising journey to create a private model.
Launching a weblog
Previous to the layoff, I helped to plan and execute digital occasions for the tech sector. I labored with purchasers like HP, Oracle, and CA Applied sciences on large-scale occasions that attracted 1000’s of attendees. These corporations noticed digital occasions as the subsequent period of on-line lead technology.
The day after my layoff, I created a weblog on WordPress – It’s All Virtual. My first publish was 2009: The 12 months We Go Digital.
As luck would have it, I discovered a brand new job immediately. A vendor of my earlier employer employed me as a consumer providers government to work on their purchasers’ digital occasions and function an trade evangelist.
Making an impression
I emailed my new boss a hyperlink to that first publish. He replied, “Dennis, I shared this with our crew. We knew you had expertise with digital occasions, however we had no concept you knew this a lot. We’re so impressed.”
I saved running a blog. Throughout the first months, a reader requested to talk. Within the name, he mentioned, “You realize, in final week’s publish, you shared some concepts about digital occasions that basically acquired me considering.”
My inside voice mentioned, “Wow! Not solely did he learn my publish, but it surely’s serving to him plan digital occasions at his firm.”
The constructive reinforcement gave me the inspiration and want to proceed writing.
I discovered a constant publishing schedule for my weblog was important. I revealed one publish per week from 2009 to 2012. I wrote the publish in a Microsoft Phrase doc, staged it in WordPress, and scheduled it to be revealed the subsequent morning. In parallel, I wrote weblog articles about digital occasions on my employer’s web site.
The weekly cadence of publishing helped me set up myself as an skilled on digital occasions. I used to be invited to writer visitor articles and converse at trade conferences. I assembled posts into PDF guides and even self-published a e book, Generate Gross sales Leads With Digital Occasions.
I might see the fruit of David Meerman Scott’s recommendation to be a “writer of data.”
What I might have completed in another way once I began the private weblog:
Taking to social media
Throughout my time as a digital occasions blogger, I found a neighborhood of occasion planners and assembly professionals on Twitter. We adopted one another and used Twitter to share concepts and content material.
Twitter was as soon as a very powerful social community for my private model. I used to converse about advertising there frequently, and the conversations with different entrepreneurs elevated my private model.
Since Twitter’s administration modified in late 2022, I tweet a lot much less. My account stays energetic, however I plan to spend extra time on LinkedIn. (I’m additionally prioritizing old school social media – assembly folks for in-person chats over espresso).
However you may adapt the method I adopted to construct my Twitter model to different platforms.
Begin with a mission assertion
I developed a mission assertion for my Twitter presence:
I wish to share fascinating content material about advertising whereas exhibiting those who I don’t take life too significantly. I need folks to think about me as helpful and partaking. My final objective is to meet new folks and discover fascinating content material.
Right here’s a template I developed from that mission assertion:
I wish to [ACTIVITY] whereas [BALANCED BY]. I need folks to think about me as [ADJECTIVE] and [ADJECTIVE]. My final objective is to [GOAL].
Be a part of the dialog
Within the early days, I considered Twitter as a distribution channel, a spot to share my newest weblog publish.
I developed my method to deal with Twitter as an always-on, world dialog – it’s extra rewarding to work together with others on social than to easily share hyperlinks.
I additionally avoided overpromoting my firm and content material. You acquire extra respect and appreciation by generously sharing different folks’s content material.
I additionally participated in Twitter chats – a scheduled time when an viewers gathers and follows the identical hashtag. Some have visitor audio system. Others have a subject or query round which the chat is constructed. Both manner, they provide you a chance to share your experience in entrance of a captive viewers.
What I might have completed in another way in my early Twitter days:
- Adopted others extra as they adopted me
- Targeted much less on sharing hyperlinks to content material
- Engaged extra with customers
- Obsessed much less over the sequence of tweets in my profile
- Had extra enjoyable
Beginning a advertising meetup
In 2015, I launched a advertising meetup. My objective was easy – to convey collectively entrepreneurs to be taught from one another. I went to Meetup.com and created the San Mateo B2B Bloggers Meetup.
Right now, I used to be working for a B2B software program firm, and my boss let me use the workplace after hours to host the gathering.
Primarily based on enter from members, I broadened our mission, altering the identify to Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup. In-person gatherings observe the identical format: half-hour of networking and pizza, adopted by a 60-minute skilled presentation.
In March 2020, we shifted to 30-minute on-line meetups over Zoom (co-organizer Wealthy Schwerin named these “Zooms at Midday”). We’ve held greater than 90 on-line conferences since then, attracting attendees from everywhere in the world.
We’ve featured in-person presenters from Marketo, Demandbase, VMware, SiriusDecisions, and Flipboard. We’ve had particular visits from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Content material Advertising Institute founder Joe Pulizzi.
Whereas our members benefit from the studying alternatives, the connections and neighborhood are what they cherish probably the most. I’ve seen folks discover new jobs, land new purchasers, and develop shut friendships. And I attribute 9 of my 20 consulting purchasers to the meetup.
What I want I had completed once I began a meetup:
- Requested for assist earlier – I did all the pieces on my own at first
- Requested presenters to advertise the meetup to their networks
- Experimented extra with paid promoting
- Gained extra monetary flexibility by promoting extra sponsorships
Sending an electronic mail publication
Once I thought I would expertise a second layoff, I launched an electronic mail publication. I appreciated the thought of constructing an electronic mail listing, an viewers with whom I might share my ideas and experience.
I additionally needed to advertise our upcoming meetups additional. The Meetup platform permits me to ship a message to the group; nonetheless, the system doesn’t present me with electronic mail addresses. I created a free account on Mailchimp and known as my publication Content material Nook. I requested meetup members in the event that they needed to subscribe and manually added them to the listing.
The publication comes out each different Friday and consists of these sections:
- Across the Nook (curated content material)
- Subsequent Meetup
- Twitter Nook (one Twitter consumer function)
- Podcast Nook
- In Your Nook (an fascinating article not associated to advertising)
I take nice pleasure in uncovering fascinating articles that others would discover beneficial. I’ve change into fairly selective. As a substitute of publishing a laundry listing of content material, Across the Nook has just one or two alternatives. For every choose, I write a number of paragraphs to convey why I included it.
Whereas designed to tell, educate, and typically entertain my subscribers, the Content material Nook publication additionally options many points of my model, from my writing and perspective to my style and experience.
It’s a wonderful automobile for amplifying my private model. When one consumer was considering of hiring me, this electronic mail publication clinched the deal. I’ve helped a couple of purchasers create electronic mail newsletters. Seeing my private publication in motion helped them perceive how I would assist.
What I might have completed in another way once I began the publication:
- Targeted on high quality over amount with curated content material
- Employed a graphic designer to assist with the brand and HTML template
- Discovered extra methods to develop my subscriber listing
It’s time to work in your private model
Within the 14 years since, I’ve actively and purposefully managed my private model. It’s not a one-time, spring-cleaning kind of factor. For me, it’s ingrained in nearly all the pieces I do on-line: publishing articles, organizing meetups, tweeting with others, sending my electronic mail publication, and so forth.
In my full-time roles, my private model gave me extra visibility in my trade and made me simpler at my job. Now that I’m a advertising advisor, my private model makes it simple for brand spanking new purchasers to search out me. It’s content material advertising for me, and it really works.
Up to date Jan. 23, 2023
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute