4 Helpful Slices of Startup Marketing Advice

startup marketing advice

I'm like a miniature Buddah.

I have drafts and drafts of unpublished posts reflecting on lessons learned. After oneforty, then HubSpot and now being at Shareaholic, I’ve definitely come out with some new wisdom that has made me happier and more productive. Some posts explaining this learning process ramble off topic and become too personal. Those posts get retired to the WordPress trash bin. Others haven’t been thought out enough. But these tips have been consistent from draft to draft, and I didn’t want to wait on sharing them any longer.

1. Blog First

When you’re starting a marketing plan from absolute scratch, it’s tough to know where you should invest your time in social media. Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Figuring out where your audience is why monitoring and listening is so important. No matter what platform you focus on, a great blog will give you content to share on that platform and will give people a reason to follow you. It also has the most clear business benefit from an SEO, brand messaging and conversion standpoint. So when it comes to prioritizing marketing tasks, think about your own content first.

2. Remember to Play

I crank out a ton of content each week between blog posts and newsletters. Writing compelling Tweets and Facebook posts to optimize for engagement is also a form of content creation. With so much to create, it’s tough to also consume content. This may sound silly, but I try to take time to just look at other brands’ Facebook pages, other Twitter accounts and other blogs to get inspiration.  I even look at ones that have nothing to do with Shareaholic. More than any blog or conference I’ve attended (although Unconference was pretty sweet), there is nothing like taking time to “play” to rejuvenate my love for marketing and make me excited to create content.

3. It’s Not a Matter of Just One Thing

In marketing it can be easy to get stressed out about one campaign. However, it’s not one article, event or blog post that makes or breaks your entire marketing plan. It’s the culmination of ongoing content, PR and engagement that gets the message out there and draws signups for a product. Don’t be short-sighted. I’ve had to learn to look at the big picture things, like how we’ll engage attendees from an event rather than fret about the number of drink tickets we sponsor. Looking at each project as one piece of a big puzzle is helping me make decisions faster. (And this is coming from someone who took three months to pick out a duvet cover.)

4. Timebox Your Ish

This one is my favorite because it had the most influence on me. It’s not just for marketers, but for employees in general.

Learning to timebox my projects better is something I’ve worked hard on over the past year. I used to work crazy hours during the week and then try to work all day Saturday and Sunday too. Then I realized something: I’m not actually getting anything done. I’m falling asleep. I would be trying to read a blog post as part of research to write a blog post, and it’d take me forever. I couldn’t focus. What I accomplished over seven days could easily have been produced Monday through Friday, leaving me my weekends to either get more done or spend time with friends.

A ton has been discussed about work/life balance in startupland. I’m trying to timebox things Monday-Friday, take Saturdays off and then get ahead on Sundays. It is very very difficult for me to discipline myself to put a hard stop to things on Friday. However, I try to do it so I can take Saturdays off.

At some point I decided that Saturdays were friend days. I check email but don’t touch the computer. I walk around Newbury St. Sometimes I drink bloodys at brunch, go to yoga and coffee, nap, tan and get ready to go out for the night. They are my favorite days and these days with my friends have enriched my life with interesting conversations, laughs and memories.

(I love you people.)

The time I spent away from work over the past year or so helped me grow into the best employee I’ve ever been. These relationships helped me become a calmer, more confident and actually more productive person. I’m not so paralyzed by my own edginess.

We all have our thresholds and each startup employee has to discover hers. Having my Saturdays was key for me.

What little nuggets of wisdom do you have to share with the class? Let me know in the comments.

8 comments
caseycamilleri
caseycamilleri

I'm learning it's best to really focus on your main purpose for what you are trying to achieve and not just focus on little goals. Instead of constantly looking for what to read/so next think of what has helped you the most through the trial an error that others would easily absorb in a blog post.

SZinsmeister
SZinsmeister

I'm a big fan of "timeboxing"  it goes along with a writing practice of incubating - being able to walk away form your writing and let your subconscious catch up with you. Our brains are always on hyperdrive at a startup, in a way our minds operate like a computer always hustling to catch up with processes. Sometimes we have to give ourselves time to catchup, let things soak in (better understanding what we just digested) and get back to kicking ass better.

 

Cheers, 

 

SZ

KristinEDziadul
KristinEDziadul

This is SUCH a spot on post! (and you caught me with the first sentence "I'm like a miniature Buddah." #janetism. I'm working on the same 'timebox' method and it's helped hugely. It can get so overwhelming with so many projects going on, but setting priorities and specific times to do each project is critical. Startups are definitely the best place to both get to know yourself and find the best ways to be an effective and efficient employer.

ZachACole
ZachACole

Ah yes, that work/life balance thing. Still working on that one over here. :)

JanetAronica
JanetAronica moderator

@ZachACole It's not easy! I'm telling ya... I get a lot more done in 6 days with a very calculated to do list and set of metrics than I did before...