6 Career Tips to Live by for Today and Tomorrow

6 Career Tips to Live by for Today and Tomorrow

Author: Amy Guarino

The transition from graduating college to working full-time is not an easy one. Your time is no longer your own to manage. You have to get used to going to bed early and waking up early. You have to learn a lot about business and working with people of all different ages. Welcome to adulthood!

As a mother of two sons who are in the early stages of their careers, I’ve seen this firsthand and wanted to pass along some of my learnings. Even as a seasoned professional, all of these lessons still ring true. Follow these six tips for short-and long-term career success:

1. Do Your Job Well

This goes without saying, but what some people may not realize is that it’s important to not only meet expectations but exceed them. Understand your role and responsibilities and do more than what is expected.  Not all roles, entry-level or not, are thrilling every day and most people are anxious to get that promotion, but first you need to master the basics and demonstrate your willingness to work hard and show results in your current role.

2. Develop a Specialty

Know your strengths and weaknesses, and identify a need in your business or industry that can leverage those strengths. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, use an assessment like StrengthsFinder 2.0 to discover them. This specialty should become a part of your brand. It will help you identify opportunities down the road as well as make you stand out to be identified for opportunities.

Early in my career at IBM, I was transferred to an indirect sales organization. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I ended up not only enjoying the challenge of figuring out how to motivate people who did not work for me, but also realized that there were far fewer people who were good at it. As a result, it became part of my brand and it’s the main reason that a former CEO I worked for suggested my name to Phil Fernandez, Founder of Marketo, when he said he was looking for someone to lead an indirect sales effort at Marketo.

3. Let People Know What You’re Doing

You may think that if you do a good job, you’ll get the recognition and support you deserve. Unfortunately, that is typically not the case. Perception is reality, so you need to have a communication plan that helps people understand the impact you’re making. Update your manager regularly, and present your accomplishments in a way that tie into your manager’s objectives or your overall organization’s objectives. That context will help people understand the impact that you’re making.

I once led a sales team that had responsibility for K-12 sales. It was a group that didn’t have as much sales experience as the other teams, but we worked together to create a thoughtful plan that included a thorough review of available opportunities using sales data and mapped out an execution plan. We specifically asked to review our plan with the leader of the K-12 segment and got his input, which we incorporated into our plan.

We executed the plan effectively and ended up leading the U.S. in this segment. In our follow-up meeting with the segment leader, he recognized the team because he knew the effort we expended to plan the work and work the plan. The team could have done the work and gotten the same results without the additional reviews, but by engaging our leadership and making him aware of what we were doing, he realized that the achievement was the result of a deliberate work effort. The team was proud of their effort and results, and the rest of the organization recognized the impact.

4. Network

Take the time to build your network. You will always be learning as you expand your career, so you need to have people that you know and trust who can help you. Build your own “board of advisors” inside and outside your company. They can provide you with helpful feedback about how you’re doing and also provide unique insights on business issues. As you build your board of advisors, be sure you understand what you can do to give back to them so that it’s not a one-sided relationship.

At a busy, fast growing company like Marketo, it’s sometimes hard to pick up your head and look ahead to the long-term. However, I have counseled a few of our young managers to invest their time in building their own board–both inside Marketo and outside.  You need to have a trusted set of advisors who can fill in the gaps in your experience and share their feedback and ideas when you are faced with a new challenge or opportunity. Consistently, these managers have come back to me and reiterated the impact that these advisory boards have had on their careers.

5. Take Hold of Your Career

The only person who truly cares about your career is you. Own it. Have a plan in place that outlines your goals and objectives for the short-term (12 months) and long-term (2-3 years) and highlights what skills/experiences you need to develop in order to achieve that plan. Share the plan with your manager or board of advisors to get their feedback, then work the plan.

6. Say Thank You

Last but not least, show your gratitude. When your coworker helps you out, show your appreciation and find a way to reciprocate the favor. When get you that opportunity, raise, or promotion, thank your manager and your manager’s manager (in most cases, your manager needs to get sign off for a raise or promotion). Be sure that share your appreciation goes to the right folks.

Take these six tips to heart and practice them every day—it will pay off. Work hard, enjoy yourself, and make the most of every day and opportunity.

Do you have any other career tips that you live by? Share them in the comments below.

 


6 Career Tips to Live by for Today and Tomorrow was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post 6 Career Tips to Live by for Today and Tomorrow appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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Warning: Are You Suffocating Your Blog by Needlessly Neglecting Newbies?

Editor’s note: You’ll certainly have heard the following advice, commonly given to bloggers — “write for your ideal reader.” But the truth is, your most valuable readers won’t have identical needs. And if you ignore one important group, your blog growth could stall. Pamela Wilson’s new book is not just a must-read for content marketers; it’s invaluable for bloggers too. In this extract, taken from “Chapter 4: Matching Your Content to Your Customer’s Journey”, she explains how to pitch your content at different experience levels to attract a healthy mix of readers and avoid depriving your blog of the “oxygen” it needs to grow — new fans.

Prospects and customers go through a process of getting to know your business until they feel comfortable opening their wallets and doing business with you.

It’s called a “customer journey.” Although many have tried to map it out and identify key steps along the way, the reality is that the journey taken will look a little different for each person.

Customer journeys are as different as the people who take them.

Content marketing is designed to facilitate this journey — no matter what it looks like — by offering up the right information every step of the way.

I want to share a way of thinking about the customer journey that the Copyblogger editorial team has developed as we work together to produce the Copyblogger blog. We took a step back and looked at how we could best serve our entire audience: the ones who were just finding Copyblogger and the ones who’d been reading for years.

We developed a technique for classifying the content we create, and it has been enormously helpful in guiding our topic choices and developing an editorial calendar that meets the needs of the people who come to our site.

This classification system will ensure that you deliver the content your prospects need to understand your topic, develop trust in your business, and feel comfortable entering into a business relationship.

Identify and Write to Your Customer’s Experience Level

The editorial team identified three labels we use to pinpoint who we’re writing for when we create specific content on our site. Pay close attention to the questions associated with each label. That’s where the magic happens!

Beginner, or What is ___?

Your beginning readers comprise a vast audience, and it’s important to serve them well.

I’ve seen it many times: a content creator picks a topic and begins writing about it consistently over time. Researching, writing, and teaching a topic inevitably leads to a more in-depth understanding of it. As their knowledge deepens, their content becomes richer. But they “forget” what beginners want and need.

This is a mistake. Many of your prospects will find your site because they do a web search for something they’d like to know. They find your content because it answers their question. And they stick around because they see that your information is consistently helpful.

These beginning readers are ripe prospects who you can move along a customer journey using your content. To write content that helps them, think about your main topic and all the related subtopics. Here’s an example:

You write about learning to run for an audience of readers who’ve never run before. Many of the people who come to your site will be complete beginners — people who need to know the basics. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the What is ___? Question:

  • What could running do for me?
  • Do I have to run fast to be considered a runner?
  • What is the difference between a regular sneaker and a running shoe?
  • Why is proper training necessary?
  • What is a realistic schedule I can use to go from no activity to running a 5k race?
  • What are warm ups, cool downs, and sprints, and why should I do them?

Beginners have questions — lots of them. And some of them are so basic they might be embarrassed to ask them if they were standing right in front of you. Guess what? That’s why they’re doing a web search!

So make sure you provide plenty of content that answers the “What is ___?” fundamental questions that are running through your beginning readers’ minds.

Intermediate, or How Do I Do ___?

Your intermediate readers have gone beyond the basics. They’ve found answers to their “embarrassing” questions. Now they’re working to achieve mastery. They have a vision, they’re working toward it, and they’re looking to your content for help.

Intermediate readers are voracious consumers of “how-to” style content. They want tips, checklists, “ultimate guides” and step-by-step tutorials. And when you deliver this kind of content to them, they’ll save it, re-visit it, and share it with their friends because they found it useful.

Let’s take another look at our website about helping non-runners learn to run. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the How do I do ___? question:

  • What kind of shoe offers the best support for running hills?
  • How can I find running buddies in my community?
  • What should I do about dogs that approach me while I’m running?
  • What are the best apps for mapping my run?
  • How can I stay hydrated when I run in the heat?
  • What’s the best way to control my body temperature when running in the cold?

Advanced, or How Do I Get Better at ___?

Advanced readers have the basics down pat. They’ve also mastered intermediate-level questions and know “how to” do most activities and tasks associated with your topic.

When they get to this point, they morph into advanced readers. And they’re still looking to you and your content to guide them on their journeys. After all, you’re the authoritative voice who got them to this point, right? Your site is their preferred place to learn.

Advanced readers want to improve their performance. They know how to do the basics. Now they want to get better, faster, and more efficient. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the How do I get better at ___? question:

  • How can I increase my stamina so I can run longer distances?
  • What’s a good strategy for winning a 5k race?
  • How can I keep running even in my 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond?
  • What’s a reliable training regimen to increase speed?
  • How can I adopt a winning mindset on race day?
  • Where can I find safe and fun running routes while traveling?

What Percentage of Your Content Should You Write for Each Group?

Oh, I’d love to give you a formula here. I really would! But this is something you’re going to have to figure out for your own website and audience. A few guidelines:

Write mostly for beginners. The beginner audience is massive, and reaching out to them will help you bring in a steady stream of prospects who will be forever grateful you were there for them when they were asking their newbie questions.

Listen carefully, and note what people are asking about. If you notice lots of comments on your site or on social media platforms that feature intermediate and advanced questions, write content to answer those.

Notice objections and write answers to them. Any time you make an offer, people will find all sorts of reasons not to buy. When you’re writing a sales page, for example, you’ll want to be sure you’re answering those objections and providing reassurance in your copy.

But your regular content can answer objections, too. As a matter of fact, using content this way makes it much easier to sell something once you’re ready because you’ve responded to questions and met objections slowly and naturally with the information you’ve shared over time.

Using our example above, a few objections — and the content that will answer them — might be:

Objection: I’ll never be a runner: I’m too out of shape.

Content: 5 Inspiring Examples of Great Runners Who Don’t Look Like Typical Athletes

Objection: I don’t have time to run.

Content: A Simple Way to Run Daily and Still Have All the Time You Need

Objection: Others can run but I’ve tried, and I know I can’t do it.

Content: 3 Surefire Ways to Ease Into Becoming a Runner — Even if You’ve Failed Before

This approach to content — thinking in terms of beginner, intermediate, and advanced — will influence the topics you cover and how you deliver your information.

Matching Your Content to Your Customer’s Journey: A Checklist

  • Serve up content for every step of your prospect’s journey. Make sure you have plenty of content for beginners and ample content for those who are at an intermediate or advanced level.
  • For beginning readers, answer What is ___? Beginning content defines a topic and helps web searchers expand their understanding of the basics.
  • For intermediate readers, answer How Do I Do ___? Intermediate readers want to know how to apply what they’re learning to their lives and situations. “How-to” content fits perfectly into this category.
  • For advanced readers, answer How Do I Get Better at ___? Advanced readers crave mastery. What content can you create that will help them get really good at your topic?
About the Author: Pamela Wilson, author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience, is Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.