How to Find Top-Level Freelancers to Help You Grow Your Business with Nathan Hirsch

One of the most common challenges agencies of all sizes are facing right now is finding the right people to add to the team, especially as it relates to learning how to find freelancers who are capable of doing the great work that agencies require. Client budgets and programs are growing, agency new business is getting a little easier and so everything should be rosy. But when you don’t have the right team to get the work done – it’s frustrating and frightening.   Ten to fifteen years ago, the prevailing attitude was that agencies needed everyone under one roof. After all, the work is so collaborative. But when the recession hit and people had to reduce fixed expenses to survive, many agencies who swore they would never try to manage a network of freelancers or hire someone virtual crossed over and did just that. Not only did they survive it – but it opened up many opportunities to serve clients in new ways.  Fast forward to today – whether you are in a big market with lots of talent (and lots of competitors for that talent) or in a smaller market that just doesn’t have enough qualified bodies – finding and keeping the right team is a serious struggle. Most AMI agencies have a pretty robust freelance pool and are versed in knowing how to find freelancers. 75% have some sort of flex hours where people either come in early/leave early, come in late/leave late or have some sort of non-traditional work week, be it fewer than five days a week or a full work week but they work from home one or more days. In terms of remote employees, I would say that [...]

By |February 8th, 2018|

Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Podcast in 2018

I’ve become a morning walking companion to people I may never meet. How is this possible? They take me along in their earbuds as they stream my podcast, Build a Better Agency It’s a wonderful sign of things to come for marketers willing to venture into the podcasting universe. Once a fringe platform, podcasts are now surprisingly mainstream. According to Nielsen, six out of 10 people understand what they are, and 112 million Americans -- 40 percent of the nation’s population -- have listened to at least one. Though podcast listeners lean male, it isn’t by much: 56 percent are men, while 44 percent are women. Discover instructions on how to get a podcast up and running. Marketing professionals must not only be aware of these statistics, but they must also leverage them in their own campaigns. When 67 million men and women are monthly podcast consumers, it’s a niche that deserves serious contemplation. Add to that fact the amazing statistic that 63 percent of podcast listeners made a purchase based on something the host recommended, and you have yourself a veritable gold mine. Of course, you have to crawl, then walk, then break into a steady trot to glean the benefits. A no-nonsense primer from a podcast experimenter. In my case, I’d written blog posts, conducted webinars, and published articles in places like Forbes and Fast Company for some time. These content producers worked, but I felt a different portal would help connect with more agencies and leaders in an accessible, easy to find, on-demand format. As a longtime podcast listener myself, I recognized that the podcasting platform was the next logical step for me -- especially if I wanted to reach a narrow [...]

By |January 10th, 2018|

Six Simple Steps To Mastering Marketing Automation

Marketing automation isn’t a passing fad. The technology has completely transformed the worlds of marketing and advertising and will continue to do so in the coming years. While big names like Marketo, Oracle Eloqua and Pardot tend to dominate the conversation, there are countless other players in the marketing automation space, and the market is projected to reach $7.63 billion by 2025. For marketers and agency leaders who want to stay ahead of the competition, the evolution of marketing automation technology will present opportunities that were unimaginable just a few year ago. But diving into it without a plan isn’t smart — it'll lead to more headaches than marketing miracles. Instead, start with a strategy. The Tool Is Not The Strategy Lead generation is the top priority for most CMOs that I talk to, so it’s not surprising that marketing automation software has gained such traction within the industry. It has the potential to make lead generation easier and more efficient than ever. But the success of any lead generation tactic has always depended upon the effectiveness of the strategy behind it. That’s still the case. In fact, strategy may even be more important now that a sizable part of the marketing process can be automated. Yet many of the clients I work with tend to focus (sometimes obsessively) on specific tools or features they’re missing rather than on how their marketing automation platforms fit within their marketing strategies. I’ve had an agency client try out three different platforms before deciding that each was insufficient when the reality is that any of them would have been fine. Rather than looking at marketing automation software as a comprehensive marketing solution, we have to view it as just one mechanism [...]

By |December 13th, 2017|

Growth-Driven Design: A Smarter Approach to Profitable Web Development with Luke Summerfield

Web development seems to be a constant conundrum for most agency owners. It’s hard to hire and it’s even tougher to make money on web projects these days. On top of the profitability issue, there’s the scope creep and timeline challenges. Many agencies have actually gotten out of the web dev side of the business. But is that the right choice? My podcast guest Luke Summerfield would say no. He’s got a different way of looking at building out websites and other digital assets. He calls it Growth-Driven Design, a smarter approach to web design. It’s a methodology that puts a whole new perspective on web dev both for your shop and your clients. Rather than a one and done product as most agencies view websites, Luke and his team take an iterative approach to making their websites an ongoing project with stages and continuous improvement. Join Luke and I as he walks you through this new way of selling and creating websites that deliver for both your clients and your agency. Growth-driven design: what this “smarter way to do web design” is all about Why the platform you use for your website doesn’t matter with growth-driven design How growth-driven design was born out of the pain both agencies and clients felt around web development and why this system is so much better than previous ways of doing web dev Step 1: getting an empathetic understanding of your client’s audience’s world Step 2: building a “launch pad” website -- something that looks and performs better than what the client already has but is not the final product Step 3: continually improving websites How to sell and price growth-driven design to clients Why you should always [...]

By |October 26th, 2017|

How the Creative Director Role is Changing in the Digital Age

Our industry isn’t just changing, it’s evolving. What we offer clients, how we’re measuring success and the tools we use are all constantly changing. While the changes are helping us grow our agencies and future proof our businesses – it also means some painful changes to how we’re structured. The biggest change I am seeing within agencies is the shift in how we use the creative director role. I’m seeing more and more agencies realigning their agencies to meet the current demands of today and more often than not, that doesn’t include a traditional creative director.   Creative directors have played a significant role in agencies since their inception but now, out of necessity, they are morphing into all sorts of new roles. Join me as I detail out the changes that agencies are making to revamp their creative director roles such as: Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies Why the creative director role isn’t in that high of demand anymore, and what traditional creative directors look like in the agencies that have them Administrative, account service, and creative services: the three departments that make up most agencies today The triad of leadership - a writer, art director, and digital producer form to lead the creative services department in lieu of a creative director Why you don’t usually even need to produce spec creative for a pitch anymore Figuring out which roles inside your agency you still need Allocating funds from cut positions elsewhere to serve your clients better Drew [...]

By |October 12th, 2017|

How to Develop a Thought Leadership Content Strategy with John Hall

Now more than ever before, you have to differentiate yourself as an agency but with so many channels out there to consume content and distribute it in, how do you do it?  Two words - thought leadership. Agency owners talk about the idea of thought leadership and the importance of it but never seem to get off the dime. They just don’t know how. My podcast guest John Hall has thought leadership down cold. As the the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co, he spends his time advising agencies on how to differentiate themselves with thought leadership and leverage the content they are creating. John and his team have helped agencies position themselves as leaders by creating content that is helpful, unique and truly their own. Join John and I as we lay out a blueprint for you to finally get that thought leadership done: Thought leadership: why it’s something you have to do Creating a thought leadership content marketing blueprint Why your blogs should have the author’s name for a byline -- not the agency’s name Strategies for creating content that isn’t generic How to build thought leadership into your schedule so that you actually spend time on it -- and what to do if you can’t Finding the ideal mix for publishing content on your own site vs. externally Big mistakes agencies make with their content Why thought leadership content marketing is here for the long haul John Hall is co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps companies and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to their key audiences. In five years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|

Podcasting 101: The Ultimate Podcasting How-To Guide with Rob Walch

2000 to 1. That’s the ratio of bloggers to podcasters. If you’re blogging and not podcasting, you should keep that ratio in mind.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a blogger from way back and I will always blog. But we should not ignore the competitive advantage that podcasting offers. Podcasting has become very mainstream now that technology makes it so easy to access, listen and share the content.  The ability to multitask (treadmill, dog walking, driving, train commuting, etc.) makes a podcast easier to consume than a blog or video. I’ve seen how agencies have leveraged a podcast to create a position of thought leadership which has led to some amazing new business opportunities. If you’re ready to start podcasting, are just dipping your toes in or have been doing it for a while, my guest Rob Walch is your go-to guy. He lives, eats and breathes podcasting. He’s been doing it for over 10 years and has consulted with Jack Welch, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok (Stitcher), Tim Ferriss and Dr. Mark Hyman just to name a few. He is the VP of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn (one of the largest podcast publishing tools) and has his own award-winning podcast, podCast411. We packed a lot into this one conversation and there’s something for everyone no matter where you are on your podcasting journey. Check out everything we covered: How Rob moved podcasting from his hobby to his career The biggest and most important trends in podcasting Why you should record a couple podcasts before you release your first one -- but not so many that you never release one Podcasting 101 The importance of having a way for your podcast listeners to contact you [...]

By |August 17th, 2017|

How to Utilize A/B Testing and Conversion Optimization to Drive Sales and Leads with Justin Christianson

“It doesn't really matter what you're selling because, at the end of the day, we're dealing with people.” But people can be tricky – why do they do what they do? Most of us have figured out that we do things for one of two reasons, to avoid pain or to gain pleasure and our customers are no different. So how can you use that information to drive leads and sales? According to my podcast guest Justin Christianson, it’s by utilizing split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization. Justin’s vast knowledge of split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization borders on the fanatical. So fanatical, he wrote a book about it, “Conversion Fanatic: How to double your customers, sales and profits with A/B testing”. Join Justin and I and see how split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization can get people to take the desired action that you want them to take by learning: How Conversion Fanatics was born Why you have to track and learn why people do what they do The basics of conversions Big mistakes people make when attempting to get people to convert How to start testing for conversions How to get your clients to actually do case studies Some of the most surprising things Justin has learned from conversion testing What makes an employee good for conversion work Why split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization are two very different things Why you must approach working with other agencies for a client with no ego VR and video: why these two technologies are only going to grow in the future How Justin stays on the cutting edge How to pick the clients that are right for your agency Justin Christianson is a 15-year digital [...]

By |August 10th, 2017|

How to Create Content that Plays to Your Unique Strengths with C.C. Chapman

“They've got to feel like they're getting something out of it so they keep coming back.” “If you give them something on a regular basis, create something to give back to them, that's when a community starts building.” “You've got to make me feel welcome, give me a reason to come in and sit down, and then give me a reason to stick around.” Do you sense a theme?  My podcast guest C.C. Chapman is all about giving and building community. He firmly believes that when we give, we can build something great. C.C. is the co-author of the International bestseller “Content Rules” and is also the author of “Amazing Things Will Happen.”  He travels the world teaching companies how to understand content marketing with the goal of creating tribes of people with a shared vision and goals.  He has worked his magic with companies like Nike, HBO, American Eagle Outfitters, ONE, Verizon FiOS, and Coca-Cola. It doesn't matter what kind of community you're looking to build, C.C. and I will show you how to do it through:   Social Good: giving your employees an opportunity to make a difference How to pick the right cause for your agency to support Don’t be too humble: why you need to talk about the non-profit work that you do The International bestseller “Content Rules” C.C. co-authored Speak Human: the most violated rule from “Content Rules” Differentiation: what makes your agency different? Creating content that plays to your strengths Why you can’t afford not to create content for yourself (and how to get it produced if you honestly don’t have the time to do it personally) Building trust by giving away at least pieces of what you do [...]

By |July 6th, 2017|

How to Use Content to Position Your Agency as a Thought Leader with Simon Thompson

We all know how important content is for our own agencies and for our clients. And yet, most agencies struggle to actually get it done and done well. We know how to do it in theory.  We understand the audience and the key messaging we need to deliver.  But somehow there is a huge chasm between what we know and what we consistently get done. My podcast guest Simon Thompson, founder of Content Kite, packed our conversation with concrete examples and advice on how to get it done.  He argues that we often write about the wrong things.  We write about us/our clients. Instead, we should be writing about the problems the audience is having first. We shouldn’t fret about how it connects to what you sell. At least not yet. Because if you can’t get their attention the rest is just noise. Simon has decades of experience at major global brands such as L'Oreal, Nissan, BMW, Adidas, Disney, and Mondelez and is now leveraging that experience into great content marketing lessons not just for your clients but for your agency as well. Join Simon and I as we re-examine your content strategy and give you the framework to get it all done by: Keeping your content interesting and on topic for the problems your customers need solving Focusing all your content so it moves toward the same goal Optimizing your content to collect email addresses and then regularly engaging with those people How to effectively repurpose content across multiple mediums The frequency which you must create content How to use content to position your agency as a thought leader in the industry Why you need to spend as much time promoting a piece of [...]

By |June 23rd, 2017|