As a speaker, author, and consultant, I am constantly pulled in a million different directions. With so much on my plate on any given day, it would be easy to get caught up in the minutia of running a business, which makes it difficult to remain a leader.
It’s important to note the distinction. There is a difference between running a company and being a leader.
Running a company is tactical; do X, and Y will result. Being a successful leader requires you to juggle all the demands of business, while also finding a way to stay inspired and educate yourself on everything happening in the industry.
For those of us that work in the marketing, content, and social media world, that is a nonstop churn. Our industry is constantly changing as thousands of people publish content that predicts, documents, and commentates on things that matter to our companies and our clients. Undoubtedly this conundrum also exists for every industry in some fashion.
With new trends, apps, tools, technology, best practices and case studies popping up daily, the marketing industry begins to feel a bit like a fire hose someone left running, and the flood of information can easily drown you.
My worst fear is walking into a meeting and having the client inform me about the latest and greatest tool, tactic, or report, which means I have to constantly seek out ways to filter out the noise and distill down the details that really matter. Not only do we need to stay on top of new ideas to remain knowledgeable, but we also need to stay on top of information in order to continually be inspired and achieve progress. So how can we digest what’s most important, relevant, and timely?
I have assembled an amazing team at my social media and content marketing consultancy, Convince & Convert. At our office, every day is show-and-tell. We feed each other interesting tidbits and ideas in real-time, using the Addvocate content sharing software. After all, no one can be expected to find all the inspiring content by himself or herself!
From “must-read” articles to case studies to insights, using content sharing software simplifies our internal communication process and prevents the need to send yet another team email that will more than likely get buried in the sea of unreads. I use these internal exchanges of ideas to pepper speeches, educate corporate clients, explore new ideas and help set editorial direction for our own blog.
I don’t have time to scour the Internet on a daily basis, but I do read a ton of email newsletters–especially those that aggregate interesting news and trends from a variety of sources. The publishers do the scouting and sorting for me, creating a knowledge multiplier effect that saves me time and energy. Some of my go-to sources of aggregated content are SmartBrief, MediaPost, One Thing, and LinkedIn Pulse.
I’m also a fan of Swayy.co, software that monitors the conversations my social media contacts are having and gives me a snapshot of what they are sharing in the social space. This data is invaluable when it comes to flagging and predicting hot topics and trends.
Perhaps most importantly, I create and listen to lots of podcasts. And according to the research, I’m not alone. Edison Research recently found that podcast listening in the U.S. increased 25% between 2013 and 2014, with 15% of all Americans 12 years or older listening to at least one podcast in the past month.
With the rise of smartphones, 4G/LTE, and easy-to-use apps like Stitcher, I can multitask and listen to podcasts while commuting, exercising and traveling. While podcasts are undeniably entertaining, their value goes far beyond that. Many podcasts have proven to be a form of continuing education for business leaders within the industry. A few of my personal favorites include This Old Marketing, The Beancast, Marketing Over Coffee, and Six Pixels of Separation.
Staying informed and inspired doesn’t just build great companies, it grows great leaders. Tapping into the wisdom and insights of others in my industry through news, blogs, social media, podcasts, etc. is helping to shape the way I think and lead.
—Jay Baer is the creator of www.MarketingPodcast.com and president and founder at Convince & Convert, a digital marketing and social media consultancy with the world’s No. 1 content marketing blog. Jay is an avid podcaster, and is the host of Jay Today and cohost of Social Pros. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller Youtility.