So you have heard of this emerging term within the digital marketing arena referred to as “inbound marketing”. You have been told it is the direction online marketing has been going in lately, and your peers may even be talking about how they are being found by their prospects online by simply producing their own, remarkable content. Yet the reality of making investments of time and commitment to learning these strategies may be the only barrier holding you back.
Being online marketers, we all understand that it is vital to always be on the cusp of the newest trends and technologies in digital media, but where is the best place to start your journey to becoming an inbound marketer? How can we transform our online marketing efforts to meet the demands of today’s information-hungry consumers?
Learning a new subject can be a completely daunting task. I know I have spent countless hours in the past blankly staring at reading material, outlines, and notes before starting new projects, in the sheer disarray that occurs before making any tangible progress. Please, take it from me. There are definitely better resources than others when it comes to inbound marketing self-instruction. Here is how I would begin:
1. Start with the basics.
The book Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan should be every inbound marketer’s bible and entry point into the field. While much the book may seem like common sense, the overarching theme of using new channels such as social media and blogging to get found by your customers online is crucial to understanding the future of marketing.
2. Read blogs everyday.
To touch on my last point, it is also important to remember that marketing is constantly evolving. What might work today, may not work in a few years… or even tomorrow, as Google is always changing the game with updates to their algorithm. One of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve and evolve as a marketing professional as quickly as the field itself changes is by reading fresh content, everyday. Skimming several blogs every morning is a fantastic way to start your day. Here are a few of the blogs I read almost every morning:
- Search Engine Watch
- Social Media Examiner
- Tech Crunch
To take your reading a step further, consider using Google Reader to pull RSS feeds from several blogs such as the ones listed above. Utilizing an RSS ready will make digesting daily content much more time efficient. Additionally, while reading every morning, consider the following: How can I implement what I am reading about at my company?
3. Take advantage of downloadable content.
Webinars are fantastic learning tools to use in your downtime. If your work schedule allows it, take 30 minutes out of your day to devote to pre-recorded webinars covering specific components of the digital marking mix such as landing page development, search engine optimization, or marketing with Pinterest. Think of them as crash courses on given subjects; while webinars won’t make you the industry expert, they will definitely teach you enough to be dangerous. Marketing software providers are great places to look for these webinars. Check out SEOMoz, and Content Marketing Institute to start with.
Other great resources that should be worthy of your time are eBooks. HubSpot has put together a wealth of these little gems, and even AdVision provides a great guide to creating a killer inbound marketing campaign.
What resources have you found to be particularly helpful? Do you know of another great digital marketing blog not listed in my list above? Please let me know in the comments below.