“Content marketing—we’ve been told over and over again—is a long game, and so is nurturing your network. It’s not something that you can all of a sudden snap on. When you get laid off or when you need a new job, you need to [have] put a lot of work and effort into [your network], to make sure that you’ve built these relationships to where when you do need them, you’re able to leverage them and not randomly ping some manager that you haven’t talked to in eight years.” – Amy Fair
It’s understandable that marketers often prioritize work needs over personal networking, but building an engaged network and consistently marketing yourself will greatly help when job hunting and establishing your personal profile. To help you do this well, in this #ContentChat recap, Erika joins Amy Fair (@AmyLonghorn) to discuss how content marketers can market themselves.
Read through a few highlights from the conversation below, and listen to the full audio recording here. If you’re looking to learn more about the topic, don’t miss Amy’s Content Marketing World 2023 session on Nurture Your Network: How Content Marketers Market Themselves!
Q1: What are some signs that it’s time to find a new content marketing role, whether internally, or with a new company?
In the audio recording, Amy explains that marketing roles are often seen as an “easy target” for company layoffs or reductions, especially during a merger or acquisition. Marketers also experience high levels of burnout if they do not receive the support they need to thrive in their roles. If you feel like you may be at risk of losing your job or that your current work situation is not healthy, Amy recommends you put feelers out for or actively pursue new roles.
“We really need to take care of ourselves, because we can be in situations that can just really have negative impacts on [our] mental and emotional health. It’s important for us to be aware of that and take the necessary steps to find a better place because—I promise you—they are out there.” – Amy Fair
“If you’re working in a big company, one of the other signs it’s time to go—and this is a reason I left a position—[is if you have] things on the roadmap that need funding from corporate and [you don’t] get the funding because they put all their eggs in one big technology project’s basket [year after year].” – Erika Heald
Further, you may find that your company does not have the potential for upward mobility you need.
“There may not be an opportunity for the growth that you’re looking for where you’re at. If you’re in a smaller organization, there might only be opportunities for content marketing roles in one specific area, or there is only one specific content marketing role. If you have aspirations to manage a team or grow in different areas like SEO or analytics, that may not necessarily be a focus for where you’re at in that role, and that might be another time where it could behoove you to start seeing what other opportunities may be out there.” – Amy Fair
A1: Signs of the times:
1️⃣ The role doesn’t match your expectations for career growth.
2️⃣ Few or no opportunities to work with a variety of clients.
Make sure that your jobs are always increasing your knowledge and expanding your networking opportunities ♡ #ContentChat
— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) June 12, 2023
As Shruti shared on Twitter, if you lose motivation to create new content, it could be time to explore a new role.
A1. I think when you start lacking motivation to create new content it’s time to jump ship. You need to be creative and motivated to put out relevant nurturing content and when that’s not happening…may be it’s time to go! #ContentChat
— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) June 12, 2023
Q2: How should marketers plan their next career move? What should they consider to keep their search productive and focused?
Search for content marketing roles that help you achieve your 5- or 10-year goal.
“What you need to consider when you’re looking at your next move is that bigger picture of where you want to go in 5-10 years. When you’re in a situation where you’re looking for a new job, sometimes it might seem easier to apply for all these different roles that you think you’re probably qualified for. You spend cycles applying and going through the whole rigamarole of that application and interview process, and it can add pressure and stress if it’s not super focused. I encourage folks to be really focused about what they want that next step to be as it aligns to their five year goals or ten year goals.” – Amy Fair
Apply for positions that genuinely interest you.
“If you get an interview, one of the questions you can absolutely count on being asked is what interested you about this job. As somebody who has interviewed hundreds of people for a dozenish roles, if I’m hiring somebody to join my content team and I asked them that question and I get a generic answer, I won’t hire them. I’ve never hired anybody who didn’t have an actual good response to that, because I want to hire people who either the role is part of their career trajectory or because the industry we’re in or the topic is personally of interest to them. You’ve got to be able to sell me on the idea that you’re going to be psyched about creating content in our space. If you can’t sell me on it, how on Earth are you going to be able to connect with our customers?” – Erika Heald
Shruti reinforces Amy and Erika’s point that you should be passionate about your next career move.
A2. What excites you? What is it that you love and would like to take up even if it is challenging? That’s where your answer often lies. About staying focused, look out for campaigns that inspire you, research marketing by companies that inspire you! #ContentChat
— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) June 12, 2023
Q3: What are the must-have assets before you start your job search?
When preparing for a job search, quantify your past results and explain them on the assets we list below.
“I really want to hone in on how you use those assets. It’s one thing to have a resume, but it’s another thing if it’s just a laundry list of all the activities or all the things that you can do. When you have your resume, you really want to make sure that you’re showing the results of those activities. Make sure that you’re able to incorporate metrics, because anyone can say they wrote content marketing blogs or planned content marketing programs. To really have that finite metric associated with things will set people apart.” – Amy Fair
Amy and Erika recommend marketers prepare the following assets before a job search:
- LinkedIn profile (check out this past #ContentChat recap for tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile setup)
- Online portfolio
“Turn on Creator mode on your LinkedIn. That way, on each and every job that you have listed on your profile you can also add in some of those portfolio samples, some links to things or upload files. That way, you know when you are getting back in touch with folks that maybe you haven’t talked to in a year or two, that when they click through to see what you’re up to they can also see some of those key projects that you’ve worked on recently—and maybe some of the projects that you worked on together. It can jog their memory about how much they loved working with you, just by seeing that big study, research report, or blog post, or whatever it is.” – Erika Heald
Andi and Shruti add to the list below:
A couple of years ago, I started a list of all the places people can find me online. Podcasts I have been a guest on, bios from speaking engagements, and blog posts I have been featured in. If given the opportunity, I will submit this to an application. #ContentChat
— Andi Robinson (@hijinxmarketing) June 12, 2023
A3. Somethings you need are;
– Online bios in order
– Appropriate CV
– Few versions of cover letter, to suit different job descriptions
– Portfolio with examples, videos etc. of previous work. #ContentChat
— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) June 12, 2023
Q4: How do you recommend marketers distill their story and experience to engage prospective new connections or companies that are hiring?
“To hearken to the genius Robert Rose: It’s your story, tell it well. That is something that throughout the interview process you’re going to need to be able to do. Having confidence in what you do and how you do it and why you do it will resonate throughout an interview. Also, tailor your conversation to the particular organization that you might be trying to get into.” – Amy Fair
Amy shares her advice for differentiating yourself through cover letters:
“I have a template for cover letters where I have my intro paragraph, and then I have a table where I align specific qualifications or requirements from the job posting. In the next column I explain my direct experience as related to that particular bullet point. So it’s literally copying and pasting bullets from the job posts into this table. I don’t know if it worked or not, but it was quite the valiant effort.” – Amy Fair
Q5: How can social media help with networking and finding job opportunities?
LinkedIn is a natural place to post if you are looking for a job, but Amy encourages you to consider Facebook or other channels. In the audio recording, she shares how posting on Facebook about her job hunt led to support and opportunities from unexpected people.
“When it comes to social media and your job search, you just really never know where that next opportunity might come. If you’re comfortable sharing it out there, then do it, especially for folks who might have a vested interest in you or your family. If you’re in a tough situation like a layoff, there might be some unturned stones that could turn into opportunities for you.” – Amy Fair
“I used to keep things very, you know, the peas did not touch the mashed potatoes when it came to my social networks being all very separate. But then Facebook ended up being more of the fantastic friends I made who did similar work to me, in addition to all of those high school and college friends. So it has been interesting to see how things have changed and how it’s not just LinkedIn that’s the only place where we can talk about what we do.” – Erika Heald
Q6: How can marketers build meaningful connections when attending an industry conference or event?
Amy encourages you to get out there and do all the things at conferences—attend the sessions and keynotes, participate in networking breakouts sitting next to people you don’t know, and join in on extracurricular opportunities like parties or running clubs. Resist the urge to focus on work or hang out in your hotel room all night. She also recommends trying to build a core group of friends and using conference hashtags to make connections:
“With these industry conferences, they are so big and it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Even [to] the most extroverted person it can seem like a lot. I think it’s helpful for you to make the event smaller in the sense of creating a core small group of people. For example, the first year I went to Content Marketing World I was there by myself, literally nobody else from my company attended. So when I was scrolling through #CMworld on Twitter… I saw a tweet from somebody who asked if anyone wanted to be [their] friend, and I’m like, absolutely!” – Amy Fair
Keep connected with the event community throughout the year.
“Staying engaged with the community throughout the year versus just at that one event is so important. You can build connections there in person that you can then take with you throughout the year. Whether you’re participating in a Twitter Chat or Slack groups, there are so many opportunities for us to remain connected. And I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of these industry events—organizations want to create that sense of community, and they also want you to foster it outside of the convention itself.” – Amy Fair
“As an introvert, the fact that before I went to my first Content Marketing World I was actively attending the chat every week made it feel like I already knew people when I got there. I didn’t feel afraid to walk up and introduce myself to folks. That’s what’s so cool is that by building those relationships before you go to these events, it makes it less scary and you have more to talk to people about because you’ve already been talking to them and getting to know them for months.” – Erika Heald
Q7: What examples can you share that demonstrate the power of having a robust and engaged network when job hunting?
Amy shares her examples in the audio recording starting at 37:39—including when a manager who laid off Amy then approached her with a new job one year later.
“I could have said forget you, you laid me off, screw that. But I continued to communicate with her and even have her on my family Christmas card list. But, if I had cut off that relationship, the whole trajectory of my career could have been different.” – Amy Fair
“A lot of people feel like if they’ve been laid off or they’ve lost a job—or even because they voluntarily left a job—they feel like that avenue, that company is closed off forever. Just because you leave a company and a job, because at the time it’s not right for you, doesn’t mean that it might not be a great place for you to go back to later. You’ve got to leave places well and you have to make an effort to stay in touch with people.” – Erika Heald