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It’s Great to Be a Follower!
While researching for this article, I found a lot of Simantelites like baseball, animals, food and music (of varying styles and genres). But, beyond our favorite sports teams, friends and casual interests, I also discovered we follow a diverse set of industry blogs and news sources.
Looking through Simantelites’ responses to the blogs they follow, the diversity made sense. Our Creative Directors follow a number of creative leaders and inspirational sites, while our Account Directors follow more sales professionals. No matter the response, one thing stands out for sure; we’re all trying to gather inspiration to stay ahead of the latest curve and continue working toward marketing greatness.
Following blogs or writers who are publishing new ideas, processes and research regularly helps us grow as individuals in our field. By providing a new take on an old method or details on an industry change, blogs provide quick and easy access to vital information and insight. Information and insight which shouldn’t be ignored, but analyzed and adopted when relevant and useful to what you’re doing.
Being a follower doesn’t mean you’re looking to steal the work of others, but rather we should use what others are doing and talking about to push ourselves and our work to new heights. You can use new media research to refine your marketing strategy, or a cutting-edge, award-winning video to inspire ideas about color or graphic usage in your own work.
Following isn’t about doing the same thing others are, it’s about having data ready and staying on your creative toes to make your campaigns exceptional.
Find the Leader
And while it seems like a no brainer to follow industry content, there are a ton of blogs that merely repeat what’s being said elsewhere. These aren’t the ones you want to be following. The key to finding a true thought leader is to seek out those who cover unique information or relevant news in a manner that brings it to life or highlights what is going to make a difference to you. Being a good follower makes you a better leader.
And, if you find a blog that you think will be great, but turns out to not be good fit, unfollow it. Clogging up your inbox or newsfeed with something you aren’t likely to read is going to be counterproductive. You’ll most likely lose interest before you get to the good articles.
So, who are we following?
First and foremost, our teams follow us. This may seem silly, as we obviously know what’s going on within our own company. But, following our own blog and social feeds helps our teams know what the company is posting and when. This way they can share it and promote themselves and their company as a thought leader in the industry. It also serves as a source of pride for our teams when they see a video or campaign they’ve worked long and hard on come up on our feeds.
Some of the blogs and sites we follow the most are:
- Nearly everyone in marketing and advertising follows these two giants, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. Many companies give exclusive information to these two publishers and they have a huge number of reliable sources across the marketing and advertising industry. Just remember, there can be subscription fees with the big guys or you might only be able to view a limited number of articles per month. If you aren’t sure whether or not to invest in the service just yet, follow them on social media first to get a feel for the type of information they’re publishing (a good practice for any subscription-based site or publication).
- Large publications like this also tend to have a secondary brand, allowing you to only receive the information that pertains to your goals. You can subscribe to individual tracks about things like just sales or just agency news.
- With inspiration and resources for web designers and graphic artists, many members of our creative team follow this site or their social media channels. Not only is there news on current trends, but helpful articles with tips and tricks for technology, design, writing and resource selection.
- This blog specializes in posts relevant to digital media. Many of our media and client services team members use information found here to stay on top of quick-changing trends and industry news. The digital media landscape can shift greatly from day-to-day, so having a couple of reliable sources ensures you aren’t missing news of the latest research findings, search algorithm changes or company mergers.
- While not a blog, eMarketer puts out a daily newsletter that highlights the latest trends and research in media. Their work covers everything from digital, to print, to television and can help immensely with strategy planning or data to back up your sales pitch.
- Many know eMarketer as a subscription site, but there is still plenty of information and research studies available for those who subscribe but aren’t necessarily a member.
- While these Twitter and Instagram feeds are more news than anything else, the content can provide wonderful insight and inspiration to photographers, journalists and designers. And, if you want more technical or industry-based news, they also have a pressroom.
- Whether or not you use HubSpot’s platform, the content they publish can be helpful on many fronts. While other platforms tend to publish content that is product specific, HubSpot’s blog remains an industry leader in topics like lead generation, customer service tips, agency news and sales trends.
- These are blogs by our work partners. The key here is that we pay attention to what is going on with those we are connected to.
- Some we acquire ad services through, like Google, Facebook, Oracle and SharpSpring.
- Others are our partner agencies through the Advertising and Marketing Independent Network (AMIN). These include the companies we work with on international campaigns for our clients, such as Wordsmith in Turkey, Bintang in China and Thinking Juice in the UK.
- Anyone who can help you better understand or promote your industry or the industry of your client should be on your radar.
- Randall Reilly – Using marketing data in heavy industries like construction and agriculture.
- Construction Today – A source for guiding companies that build North America.
- Construction Marketing Association – Construction marketing tips, news and events.
- (MM&M) Medical Marketing and Media – Editorial content for leaders and thinkers in healthcare marketing.
- Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News – Latest news, tips and tactics for communicators to promote and publicize their hospitals, experts and patients through storytelling, brand journalism and technology.
- This is partly to keep up on what others are doing, which helps to stay at the front of the pack, and partly because competitors are usually great marketers as well. Keeping an eye on what your competition is posting keeps your finger on the pulse of marketing while acknowledging you can learn from those you want to beat.
While this list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blogs and publishers, it’s a good, high-level representation of what to look for when searching for valuable content. Start with a couple who sound good, and keep refining as you find relevant articles, posts and authors you like.
Keep on top of the news and stay inspired. Don’t be afraid to be a follower. Which is why I will leave you with this leadership lesson from a dancing guy:
“Being the first follower is an underappreciated form of leadership.”