Digital Strategies

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revamp their creative director roles such as: Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies Why the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|

The Best Lead Generation Channels for Agencies with Alex Berman

Agencies should get 70%+ of their new net revenue from referrals but that does not mean you shouldn’t have a concerted new business effort as well. When you count on referrals and referrals alone, you are beholden to accept whatever client walks in the door. They might be too small, too big, out of your industry expertise or a jerk. You need to be cultivating targeted leads and opportunities so you can be choosy on the referral side. My podcast guest Alex Berman believes that he and his team at Experiment27 have cracked the code for agency biz dev efforts. They’ve experimented with many different lead generation channels (cold calling/emailing, directories and sponsorships, agency partnerships, meet-ups and in-person events) to help put more wins in the agency’s new business column. Hear what Alex and his team are doing for their clients and explore if you think the tactics might work for you as well. The massive opportunity outbound marketing provides for agencies How to know if your marketing strategy is the right marketing strategy What to measure with your tracking software to make sure your leads are working The best lead generation channels for capturing leads Tailoring cold calls to the target Why cold emails need to be short and to the point Partnering with other agencies to take on overflow work/give away your overflow work How to capture leads at meetups/in-person events Making yourself memorable by connecting people How to do the follow-up right (it differs if you’ve actually met them or not) Why you need to set a KPI Alex Berman is the founder and SVP of Operations of a marketing and lead generation firm Experiment27. Alex is responsible for generating over $2.5 [...]

By |June 16th, 2017|

How to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader with Content Marketing with Aaron Agius

Think back to the first year or two of your agency’s existence. Odds are, it was pretty hand to mouth. You survived but you weren’t eating ribeye every night. That’s where my podcast guest started too. Today, Aaron Agius is the CEO of Louder Online, one of the world’s leading digital agencies. He has used his aggressive style of thought leadership to help him pursue and land clients like Salesforce, IBM, Coca-Cola and Intel. But he still remembers the days when he charged his first client $200 and was grateful for the income. In our conversation Aaron talks about how he learned to invest in himself, build his credibility and how making a name for himself became a priority.  It’s all in here including:   Why you absolutely must work on and invest in the business (no excuses!) How Aaron established himself as a thought leader through guest blogging and what he would recommend doing today Why you need high-quality proposal documents Why you need to be cooperative rather than competitive with agencies that you share a client with Why Aaron has created smaller sister agencies in other countries instead of using freelancers Aaron’s genius strategy for leveraging LinkedIn How to prove the ROI of your work to a client Why it’s the CEO’s job to stay on top of what’s coming next Resources that Aaron himself uses to stay current How continually writing blogs, being on podcasts, hosting webinars, etc. helps you keep the clients you have Why you have to write for readers, not search engines Aaron Agius is one of the world’s leading digital marketers according to Forbes. He is CEO of Louder Online, one of the world’s leading digital agencies with [...]

By |April 14th, 2017|

How to Fill Your Sales Pipeline with High Quality Leads with Dan Englander

You hustle hard to get business, win a big account, spend the next three months up to your ears in work, and then it's all over and your pipeline is empty again. Sound familiar? It’s the feast or famine cycle of agency new business. It seems that we can counsel our clients about the importance of new business sales and the whole lead gen thing but somehow we can’t seem to get around to doing it for ourselves. My podcast guest Dan Englander and his team at Sales Schema are the experts at solving the agency sales, lead gen, and new business problem.  Dan and his team have a systemized process that they believe can put prospects into your pipeline and money into your pocket. Dan and I will walk you through the important steps he takes when counseling agencies including: How Dan helps agencies fill their sales pipelines Why you can’t rely on referrals from your network for sales Why creating content is not a sales strategy Why you need to systematize pipeline work and why you need to allot daily time for working on your pipeline Honing in on a particular niche when generating quality leads Why driving prospects to your website is not what you want to be doing Why you need to have a follow-up plan in place for your cold emails Why you need to get on the phone with a lead as soon as possible How to word cold emails so they actually resonate with cold leads How Dan’s company helps agencies hone in on their niche Why cold emails have to come from a real person (and which person inside an agency they should come from) Why you [...]

By |March 24th, 2017|

How to Work with and Manage a Network of Freelancers with Bram Warshafsky

If you were going to build an agency from the ground up today, what would it look like?  For my guest Bram Warshafsky, it was an agency with a lot of technology and a workforce that was almost all contract labor. Bram and his team at 5Crowd don’t concern themselves too much with driving big brand strategy. They use their team of freelancers to take the brand strategy that already exists and find the best way to execute it. Most agencies have augmented their team with some freelancers but many struggle with managing those resources and vetting the potential partners to find the right ones. In this podcast episode, Bram shares his experiences, the trial and errors and his eventual successes and insights that makes it work so well today. Find the best freelance fit for you as Bram and I discuss: Why Bram started his agency, and why he went with the freelancer model What Bram’s internal team is like and how to work with freelancers to offset those positions Why 5Crowd focuses on production rather than strategy What a strong freelancer vetting process looks like Why 5Crowd needed to build their own software How being a production based agency has led to high client retention for 5Crowd What good marketing looks like Why you need to tell the story of how you save your clients money The three questions 5Crowd asks to figure out if they will take on a project Why 5Crowd has freelancers set the price How 5Crowd picks what freelancer to use for the right project Why you need to fully embrace technology to succeed How to get started with freelancers Recently named one of the Top 30 Under 30 [...]

By |January 27th, 2017|