This blog is coming to you from two agency newbies, Saskia and Fraser. At the tender ages of 23 and 22, we’ve broken onto the business-to-business (B2B) content marketing scene as grads at Isoline, and we’re here to share what we’ve learned so far.
Starting any new role involves taking on new skills, adapting to new situations, and bringing a fresh perspective to your new team, whether it’s learning to brew coffee at a cafe or learning how to write great copy at a marketing agency.
If you’re a grad or a veteran interested in what stands out to a newbie, here are six marketing essentials we’ve learned about agency work so far.
1. Don’t waffle
This may be the shortest section in this whole blog, but for a good reason. Clear and concise content performs better than waffle.
The attention span of the average reader is 8 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to capture attention. Many people skim read content when deciding on whether they want to read it or not, before going back to the top. Most people don’t have that much time on their hands, so you must create desirable and succinct content.
2. Provoke emotion with your content
Prospects need to relate to your content and experience an emotive response to the story you’re telling. This doesn’t mean leaving your reader in floods of tears, but it means keeping your audience interested until the end.
This is especially important when it comes to long-form mediums such as whitepapers or reports, where one of the biggest risks is the prospect becoming uninterested. This can mean a potential purchase is missed.
The art of storytelling can be surprisingly hard to master, especially when you’re transitioning from academic writing to professional writing. But when people are 22 times more likely to remember stories than facts and figures, storytelling is a useful skill.
The key is to loosen up your writing to become more conversational with your reader. Like a story has a beginning, a conflict, and a resolution, your writing should move seamlessly between the challenge, the solution, and the results.
Don’t get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of techno-speak, but instead allow the positive attributes of the solution to shine. Read it aloud to yourself. If you’re bored, they’ll be bored too!
3. Know what you’re selling
Research is important when it comes to understanding your field and the products and services you are marketing. The end goal: creating added value; what information can we present that you cannot receive anywhere else?
We have signed up for newsletters, read numerous articles, followed industry experts on social channels, and most importantly, asked a ridiculous amount of questions to our team who are veterans in this space and know their stuff.
4. Collaboration is key – in more ways than you’d expect
Starting a new job requires a great deal of communicative and team-building skills to create trust between yourself and your new coworkers.
However, working in a marketing agency takes this to a whole new level. It requires trust-building with not only your team but also with your clients and external partners. Here’s some essential advice:
- Be kind, but be unafraid to speak your mind – Honesty is a valuable trait in marketing. It shows you to be trustworthy and allows you to bring your own ideas into the mix.
- Speak up when something is unclear to you – Shying away from admitting you don’t understand something will only make things harder in the long run.
- Don’t drop the ball, even when the project is out of your hands – Your team are human beings, and just like you, they can be forgetful, or a task can get swept under the carpet when things are busy. Keep tabs on internal tasks and ask for updates when you feel it’s needed. Project management software such as Teamwork or Trello can be really helpful with this. These tools become even more important if you’re working remotely.
- Volunteer yourself for things that you have spotted or support team members who may be snowed under – Initiative, problem-solving, and creative thinking are championed traits in marketing. Plus, busy team members will be endlessly grateful for your support.
- Be clear when briefing external teams – They are also human beings, and just like you, they can misunderstand the brief. This can result in increased time spent on back-and-forths that can halt a campaign’s progression. Having well thought out and communicated standard operating procedures (SOPs) can save a lot of headaches and time here.
5. Be meticulous
Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay. The feedback from those mistakes is the best way to learn. Make those mistakes early so that you have them out of the way.
Every mistake lengthens the turnover time on revenue, so ensuring the highest quality and minimising mistakes is vital for business growth.
Tips that we have picked up from our time here so far are:
- Read your work out loud. You may think it sounds dumb, but you are likely to pick up on your mistakes with this method and pick up on the irregular flow of sentences.
- Spelling and grammar tools are a lifesaver. Grammarly is a tool that we use to help us correct our grammar, punctuation, tenses and structure.
- Ask a colleague to review your work. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. If you’ve been staring at the same content for too long, then it’s time to get someone else to come in and check it.
6. For goodness sake, don’t buy new business wear
If you’re anything like us, you’re a stress-head about making the right impression at a new job. But trust us, if the dress code is stated as casual, then it’s casual.
You may be tempted to buy new clothes to match the new role, and for the first day, it’s good to overestimate. But you don’t need a new wardrobe! Isoline’s dress-code typically entails inoffensive t-shirts, jeans, and clean trainers. Of course, this can vary between different places, so make sure to ask if you’re unsure. Overall, devote your creative energy to your writing and design, not to your fits.
Our key takeaways as graduates in a marketing agency are:
- Communication is key
- Ask lots of questions
- Make connections
- Learn from your mistakes early
Collaboratively to prepare this blog, we have looked at 15 online articles, asked dozens of questions and had our blog reviewed by several people. As previously mentioned, communication is the glue for collaborative content. Whether you are just starting your career in tech B2B marketing or in the process of hiring graduates, drop us a line at [email protected]
Saskia Davis and Fraser McCallum