If there is one thing that all of us can agree upon, it is that marketing is evolving faster now than it ever has in the past. The constant digital innovations and creative new techniques make being a marketing professional today exciting – and head-spinning!
The obvious riddle today’s marketers are trying to solve is – how to keep up with marketing trends?
From the unstoppable revolution of content marketing, which is set to generate $300 billion by 2019, to the rapid emergence of digital video, what steps can you take to make sure you are getting the most out of your inbound marketing campaigns?
Follow these tips so you can capture all the benefits – as well as the great return-on-investment – of the current trends in marketing.
Read the Professional Blogs that Have Their Finger on the Pulse
Grab a cup of coffee and turn on your tablet to start reading. Top marketers stay abreast of the current trends in marketing by following the blogs that are covering industry news and offering valuable insights and analysis for anyone who needs to know what’s going on in marketing.
The following blogs should be on every marketing professional’s reading list:
Search Engine Land – Covers news with a focus on the latest updates in SEO, SEM and mobile search.
Marketing Nation – An inbound marketing blog for business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn, grow and crush it.
Search Engine Journal – An SEO news blog that includes great tutorials and tips on social media marketing and paid search.
Marketing Land – A comprehensive digital marketing blog with everything from SEO and SEM to analytics and strategy tips for CMOs.
Backlinko – One of the best blogs out there for in-depth overviews and actionable tips on the latest SEO techniques.
Reading dedicated digital marketing blogs won’t just keep you informed, it will also help you to stay inspired. You can use what you learn to improve your own marketing campaigns.
The key to becoming a better marketer in a climate where there are so many tools to choose from, is to know how to be effective, without putting in more time and resources than you can afford. These blogs will help you to refine your strategies and unleash campaigns that will make a big impact on potential leads.
Leverage Facebook Industry Resources
With 1.86 billion monthly active users, Facebook continues to be the juggernaut of social media marketing. Which means it pays as a marketer to stay on top of the latest insights for developers.
Follow expert blogs like Jon Loomer For Advanced Facebook Marketers. This guy does an excellent job of covering the hard core tips that help marketers and entrepreneurs excel on this platform through his blog and podcast.
Another way to stay ahead of your competitors with your Facebook strategies is to:
Register as a Facebook developer and subscribe to Facebook’s Ads News blog.
This is where you’ll find out what updates and features are in the works as well as what has just been released. If you want to be in-the-know, definitely pay attention to this site.
For example, want to know how to win over your leads with Offers on Facebook? Find out everything you need to know about this feature, including a helpful code example to help you create your own.
Want to dig even deeper with Facebook?
Join a Facebook Group where you can connect with other like-minded marketers, as well as marketing savvy business owners and see what other professionals are saying about current trends. Take a peek at what’s being talked about on the Social Media Today Group:
Listen to Top Marketing Podcasts
Today, there are some exceptional marketing blogs out there that you should be taking advantage of to help stay on top of the marketing trends – and ahead of your competition.
The GarVee Audio Experience, created by marketing and business guru, Gary Vaynerchuk, is a rich source of insights you won’t find anywhere else, including interviews and fireside chats where you’ll hear some great pearls of wisdom in marketing.
Another top choice for getting in-depth information about what’s hot in the technology side of marketing as well as general industry insights is Marketing Over Coffee, which is done by John Wall, the VP of Marketing at Event Hero, and Christopher Penn, the VP of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications. For instance, where else can you learn about AI for academic search, eBooks, and Google Data Studio all in one, engaging podcast!
Research on Twitter
Twitter is excellent for engaging with your customers but you can also create a Twitter stream to help learn about what’s trending in digital marketing.
Want to know what’s being discussed in social media marketing right now?
Search for keywords like #socialmedia and see what you find. For instance, this interesting report can certainly serve as food for thought for your next marketing campaign.
Twitter is also an influencer gold mine. You can easily find out who the major voices are in digital marketing, as well as the influencers for the niche-industries of the brands you are marketing for. Add them to your Twitter feed to help you keep your eye on what’s going on now.
Connect with Marketing Leaders with LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups is a hot spot for professionals of any industry who like to stay in the know – and stay connected with one another. It has become a hub for marketers who want to discuss what’s going on in marketing. You'll find digital marketing agency heads, CMOs, and small business owners and entrepreneurs who are doing their branding on their own.
There are dozens of worthwhile Groups to choose from. Opt for one to three that cater to what aspects of marketing that you are interested in.
For example, if you’ve been working for – or running – a marketing agency for years and want to learn more about inbound marketing, look no further than Inbound Marketers, a professional group headed by Dharmesh Shah, the Founder and CTO of HubSpot.
Interested in tech-driven, cutting-edge B2B techniques?
Holger Schulze’s B2B Technology Marketing Community is the group to join. It’s loaded with group discussions so you’ll be able to see what other marketers are talking about and have your own questions answered by B2B specialists.
Engage in Industry Forums
Want to catch a few digital marketing secrets that your competitors may have no idea about?
A great place to dig for your treasure is on online marketing forums like Warrior Forum, a beginner to mid-level internet marketing forum, and SEO Chat Forum, which covers the world of search engine optimisation from end to end. You’ll uncover gems on Google optimisation, including discussions on the latest algorithm updates, and plenty of talk on SEO and proper keyword usage. SEO Chat even offers a set of amazing tools to help you improve your websites and online content for SEO.
Pick one or two that you feel are the most relevant to your marketing efforts, become a member, and post your questions. You’ll be amazed at all the great free advice that you will get. Don’t forget to give back and answer questions or engage in discussions with other members from time to time!
Track Trends in Your Own Business
Part of keeping up with marketing trends involves tracking industry trends for the business you are branding. This is an excellent way to learn about what other brands are doing and to stay on top of specific issues that are current in your industry.
Use what you learn to help fine-tune your own marketing. You can infuse recent business news within next month’s social media campaign or partner with influencers you discover to one-up your competitors' marketing.
Want to learn more about what’s going on:
Read trade journals – you’ll uncover invaluable information about evolving trends, who matters, and concerns within your brand’s business.
Subscribe to consumer magazines – this will help to give you a better view of your audience’s perspective.
Read the newspaper – The best marketers know what is going on in marketing, their brand’s industry, and related industries. Open up today’s issue of The Sydney Morning Herald or The Canberra Times, bite into your croissant and get your daily dose of market knowledge.
Organise All Your Subscriptions
Wow – from marketing forums to SEO blogs, you’ve got a lot of research on your plate! The best way to keep up with marketing trends is to manage your subscriptions so you can ingest all this great info seamlessly.
Don’t waste time digging for that article you meant to bookmark – organise with a tool like Use Panda.
You can access the information you want, streamline your workflow, and keep tabs on the sites you want to read, when you want to visit them.
You can literally plan out your research each week while avoiding all the clutter and distractions, honing in on the info and research you want to check out.
If you find yourself opting for a number of podcasts, opt for Pocket Casts to help keep your podcasts in order and to find the shows you want with a simple swipe of your smartphone or tablet. Bloglovin’ is useful if you want a separate app just to manage your marketing blogs. It will let you follow your favourite blogs, save posts, and organise by subject.
Put Your Research into Action
What use is knowledge if you don’t apply it! Use the information and insights, tips and tutorials that you get from all of these marketing resources and implement them into your own strategies. This doesn’t mean throw everything in at once – this will result in soup, not effective marketing. What you should do is keep track of the trends that you believe are useful and apply them, one or two at a time.
Next, look at your data and determine if what you have learned is working for your brand or not. Then, master and refine what works, discard what doesn’t.
Personal organising apps like Evernote can help. Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way and keep a notebook to keep track of your ideas and the marketing trends that you want to try. Over time, as you develop your rhythm and identify your most useful resources, you’ll notice a huge difference in your marketing – and you’ll never feel like you’re trying to catch up with the trends again!
Want to learn more about how to improve your marketing?
Download our free guide, “Building Brand Awareness: The Ultimate Guide for 2017.”