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Patrick Lynch Featured In Guest Blog - How To Grow Your Marketing Career

Depositphotos_52455453_xs_1.jpgThe good friends of mine at Hire Profile, a first rate staffing firm speciallizing in advertising and marketing staffing and recruiting, asked me to do a guest blog. 

I decided to write about the value of being a life long learner (How To Develop and Nuture Your Marketing Career).

The central message that I wanted to pass along is that successful marketing careers (and any career actually) are built on always being curious, always being open to learn new things and look far and wide for ideas and inspiration.  Here is the guest blog.

At The Frontier Group, I help professionals manage their careers for a living. I work with people who are in transition, people who are looking to change careers, and people who are looking to develop their skill set to enable them to advance within their organization. It is great work because I get to work with smart people and provide them with the help they need to get their careers on track and maximize their potential.

Before leading The Frontier Group, I had a 25-year career in marketing. I have to admit that marketing is my true love, and it is central to everything I still do today.

When Nancy and Leslie at Hire Profile asked me to write a guest blog, I jumped at the chance because I knew what I would like to talk about. My message here today is my advice, from the perspective of a career consultant, on how to develop and nurture your marketing career by leveraging all of the great, and free, content that is available.

Before we start I should preface the following information by saying that to be effective and relevant in marketing today requires an insatiable curiosity to learn. The marketing landscape, driven by technology, consumer fragmentation, media proliferation, and content development, is making learning and development a priority.

If you stop learning – you will stop growing.

I attended a CMO breakfast run by Agency Spotter where Tom Daly, Group Director of Global Connections for The Coca–Cola Company, talked about the never-ending need to constantly be learning, especially when you move into management positions where you become further removed from the actual work. Tom is responsible for mobile marketing. His mission is to do everything he can to enable Coke to connect with their consumers via mobile. He talked about how important it is for him to understand the nuts and bolts of mobile, not just the strategic and conceptual. This need for learning gives him the added insights to be able to better identify opportunities and coach and manage his global team.

The good news is there has never been a better time to advance your professional development due to the proliferation of free content available. Here are some suggestions I would recommend based upon my marketing journey towards developing an enhanced set of learning skills in the digital marketing space.

Take Advantage of Free Learning Tools

HubSpot – HubSpot is the leading marketing automation software tool for small- and medium-sized businesses.HubSpot Academy, which is free to everyone, is a great resource for smart video content on inbound marketing. They provide a number of online certifications, which allow marketers to learn the key concepts of inbound marketing, social selling, blogging and content development. Two great certifications are their Inbound Marketing Certification and Sales Certification. I should also point out that these certifications are great resume and LinkedIn profile enhancements.

digitalmarketer.com – This is a very impressive online marketing education community that provides a tremendous amount of free articles, case studies, and videos to help sharpen your digital marketing skills.

Lynda.com – This online tool, now available on LinkedIn, provides a broad spectrum of content covering everything from SEO to social media. The video content is all exceptionally well produced and relevant.

Subscribe to Blogs That Can Help Drive Learning and Creativity

Blogs can be a great free resource for learning and development. The following list was compiled by Luke O’Kelly, Content Marketing Specialist at MLT Creative. I have added all of these blogs to my weekly feed and have been able to get a tremendous amount of value, creative input and ideas.

General Marketing Focused

Convince and Convert – Led by marketing wise man and master of content Jay Baer, the Convince and Convert team produces an incredibly high quality blog. Check out Jay Baer’s books and podcasts as well.

Econsultancy – Similar to HubSpot, Econsultancy covers a large range of subjects and features a lot of different contributors. It’s usually pretty research focused.

Duct Tape Marketing – Great marketing advice from John Jantsch for small businesses.

Ideas @ Work – This is the blog that Luke O’Kelly writes for MLT Creative. Luke unselfishly provides a lot of great training tips and other information aimed at helping people become better B2B marketers. Luke and his MLT Creative team are also the Community Leaders for the Atlanta HubSpot Users Group (HUG), a monthly meeting that is always informative.

{Grow} – Probably the most community oriented blog out there, Mark Schaefer and his team never cease to make you think with his posts on all things marketing. He was one of the first experts on content marketing and social media. He’s written books and has a great podcast as well.

MarketingProfs – Headed up by Ann Handley, MarketingProfs is a hub for marketing wisdom of all kinds.

Brandsavant – The thoughts and musings of market researcher and head of Edison Research Tom Webster. Tom also happens to be the cohost of {Grow}’s podcast: The Marketing Companion. Tom’s skill at interpreting statistics is matched only by his abilities as a writer and storyteller.

Seth Godin – This blog isn’t going to give you tips on how to implement your daily marketing tasks, but it does feature short inspiring posts that will make you think. Seth has written countless bestsellers.

The Sales Lion – is headed up by the ever innovating Marcus Sheridan. Marcus rose to fame as one of the first HubSpot partners and has sense become an expert on inbound and content marketing. His blog features lots of helpful tips and tricks. He also has multiple podcasts.

TopRank – A digital marketing agency led by Lee Odden, TopRank pumps out content at a rate only topped by blogs like HubSpot. TopRank likes to keep its posts short and practical.

(Somewhat) Content Marketing Focused

QuickSprout – Only one of Neil Patel’s many companies (others include CrazyEgg and Kissmetrics), QuickSprout’s blog is the poster child for (very) long-form content. Each post goes into incredible depth on some aspect of content marketing with a healthy dose of social media and SEO.

Content Marketing Institute – One of the first companies solely focused on content marketing, CMI’s blog gives you tons of great insights on how to do content marketing more effectively. They also publish yearly research reports on content marketing that are definitely worth checking out.

Copyblogger – Another oldie and goodie, Copyblogger is chock full of great advice on blogging and content marketing. Check out their podcast as well.

Contently Content Strategist – A content marketing platform that also happens to have a killer blog on content marketing. Go give it a read.

SEO/SEM Focused

Moz – Headed up by Rand Fishkin, Moz has become one of the dominant voices in SEO/SEM. Their blog is a great place dive into the world of search engine marketing and optimization. Also, check out Rand’s Whiteboard Friday. It’s a great way to stay up to date with today’s best practices.

Search Engine Land – The sibling of Marketing Land, SEL is right up there with Moz as an authority on SEO/SEM.

Search Engine Journal – primarily focused on SEO/SEM, but also featuring content on social media marketing and content marketing. A great place to go to see how SEO/SEM relates to other marketing disciplines.

HubSpot – HubSpot has a great blog where they post marketing, sales, and agency blogs multiple times a day. They are also very prolific generators of e-books and white papers that can provide some real great ideas.

Social Media Marketing Focused

RazorSocial – Led by Ian Cleary, it’s primarily known as a social media blog, but it also has incredibly helpful information on all aspects of marketing.

Buffer – One of the best social publishing platforms, and also has an incredible blog. These guys never post anything that’s not great.

Social Media Examiner – This is a great place to stay up to date on the ins and outs of social media marketing.

Other Information Sources

Unbounce – THE authority on conversion optimization. Their blog never strays from this topic, but somehow never gets boring or repetitive.

Vero – One of the most important, but least blogged about marketing topics: email marketing. Vero is a great place to build or hone your email marketing skills.

Kissmetrics – While it leans more B2C, Kissmetrics still has a lot of application for B2B. It’s a blog mostly about marketing measurement and metrics. This is a great place to hone your data analyzation skills.

Wrapping up, I believe we are entering the golden age of marketing.

Smart marketing people will recognize that they have to be active learners in order to stay current with what will make them relevant, productive and successful.

The great news is that there is a wealth of free online material available to help the motivated marketer learn and grow.