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SEO is not enough in the age of voice


With so many technological innovations now transforming our lives, it should be noted that the ideas for these innovations have existed for decades in science fiction novels and television. The capacity to talk to a computer (and have it talk back) was a staple of Gene Roddenberry’s, Star Trek, where the Starfleet computer was voiced by Roddenberry’s wife, Majel. The 1970 movie, Colossus: The Forbin Project, featured a supercomputer that was intended to prevent war and proclaimed itself “the voice of World Control.” And before Google’s self-driving cars, the 1980s brought us KITT, an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware, and nearly indestructible car from the TV show, Knight Rider.

Today’s voice applications may not have quite this level of panache and power, but there is no doubt they are transforming aspects of our daily lives and quickly making their way toward widespread, mainstream adoption. According to Location World, 40% of adults now use voice search once per day, and 60% of these people started using voice search in the last year. Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. And a survey from Stone Temple Consulting found that over 60% of people use voice search at home, and 58% use voice search to look something up on their smartphone.

A major driver of this growth is the fact that Google Home, Alexa, Siri, and Cortana come within 8% accuracy in understanding the human voice. Voice search has become a convenient, user-friendly, effective experience and consumers are embracing it. In 2016, Amazon’s Echo became its most popular product during the holidays. Voice search is one of the most important technology/computing trends of this year and next.

We are finally getting into semantic search capabilities – and this has profound implications for brands, which need to adapt beyond SEO to participate in (and reap the benefits of) this emerging voice-powered landscape.

Seamless, fast, and convenient

The rules and possibilities of SEO were created for the method of a user typing a query into a browser-based search engine. Voice search is a different animal – people often use voice search while they are in the midst of doing an activity, like driving or carrying a load of groceries.

For example, if someone needs a locksmith and uses voice search to find a nearby business. If the voice query is, “I need a locksmith to get into my house,” a brand like HomeAdvisor could present two highly rated locksmiths within two miles of their house. The most helpful response is the response that knows the location of the request, recommends a service provider rated highly by a neighbor then goes even further by automatically offering to call the business and even set up an appointment.

The Stone Temple survey found that the top three rationales behind voice query usage were, “it’s fast,” “the answer is read out loud back to me,” and “I don’t have to type.” Furthermore, 60% of voice search users want more answers and fewer search result options. When typing something into Google, it may not present an obstacle if dozens of options show up in the results. However, with voice search, people don’t want multiple results – they want one or two quick answers. Understanding these use cases and behavior preferences is key to succeeding at voice search optimization.

Conversational long tail keywords

Another factor brands need to consider is the nature of the search queries themselves. Voice search usually involves long-tail search terms of five words or more, instead of one or two or three typed words. Voice search users conduct semantic searches in full sentences and this makes it possible to create more specialized content. Marketers need to consider that apps, landing pages, or strategic content should be more conversational and anticipate what type of sentences people may ask within a context of a topic. It’s important to understand the natural, colloquial language people use around a keyword or search term and optimize around those words.

For example, someone may say, “I want to order kung pao chicken delivery.” There is a full story in that request, including where the person is located, a specific menu item, the ratings of nearby restaurants, if the user has ordered from there before, and if the restaurant offers delivery. Another example is if someone asks, “Tell me how much a Tesla S costs?” The search response is a price. If the user’s next question is, “What colors are available?” or “Where can I buy one near me?” the voice search browser understands that the subject is still a Tesla.

Adapting beyond SEO means accounting for this back-and-forth question and answer process. Marketers need to understand the entire conversation around a keyword or search term so they can determine the best search results messaging. Brands can get a sense for conversational long-tail keywords through focus groups where they ask participants how they would inquire about their brand or product. The more contextual information gained from these focus groups, the better the brand can optimize the search results.

Personalized messaging

Because voice search provides so much rich context, brands have the opportunity to create various tailored advertising tactics. One method is to create specific landing pages for a search result, which is much easier to do today through platforms like JSON, which also allow for data-driven personalization of the landing page. Another tactic, requiring the brand to have a voice query customer’s IP address, is to use past purchasing or browsing history to create personalized search result messaging.

Accuracy is important. AI can seem like a sentient being, which makes it startling if it doesn’t come back with the right response. Voice search is the wave of the future and no longer just a far-off concept dreamt up by science fiction writers. In today’s highly competitive market, brands need to set themselves up for success by understanding changing consumer behaviors around search and the unique aspects of voice-enabled technology. SEO alone is not enough.

Good marketers understand the climate, environmental analysis, demographics, and primary, secondary, and tertiary targets and evolve their advertising methods to make maximum impact with their campaigns.

John Francis is the director of digital strategy of Hawthorne, an award-winning, technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years.

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7 Tips for Building a Career in Marketing (Advice and Insights From Top Founders and Investors)

“How did you get into marketing?”

At Buffer, members of our marketing team are often asked this question. And the truth is, the path looks different for each of us:

  • Alfred was in the army
  • Arielle was a health coach
  • Kevan, our Marketing Director, was a sports reporter

But for those of you out there who want to start a career in marketing or maybe build from where you are in 2018, we’d love to help you figure out:

  • How can you transition from your current role into marketing?
  • What should you focus on learning?
  • What skills do you need?

To help answer these questions (and more!), we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt, who recently published their first book on careers. The book highlights the best insights from top founders and investors on mentorship, overcoming challenges, and the best and worst career advice they’ve received.

In this post, we’ll share some of the insights from Product Hunt’s book – including lessons from Tim Ferriss and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian- as well as some advice on building a career in marketing from the Buffer marketing team.

Ready to jump in?

7 Tips for building a career in marketing

1. Form habits around your strengths

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Also, you don’t need to get much right to be and feel successful. Just form habits around one or two strengths.

Tim Ferriss

In Product Hunt’s book, Tim Ferriss’ #1 piece of advice for anyone looking to kickstart their career is to “Form habits around a few strengths.”

And at Buffer, we’ve built our marketing team around our individual, core strengths. For example, as an Editor, I focus mainly on my strengths in content marketing and SEO:

As Kevan explains in our t-shaped marketer post:

Generally-speaking, everyone on the Buffer marketing team will have all the base knowledge and marketing foundation skills; plus, each teammate will have chosen at least one main channel in which they are an expert.

Try to form habits around whatever discipline of marketing you’re most excited about:

  • If you’re into video, download some stock footage and start editing it
  • If you want to become an SEO master, try reading as much content as possible from places like Moz, Ahrefs and Backlinko
  • If writing is your thing, set aside time in your calendar each day to sit and write

It can be daunting to look at marketing and think you need to fully master: analytics, data, CRO, SEM, advertising, copywriting, SEO, community and more.

But in reality, to be a successful marketer, you don’t need to be an expert in every channel: one or two areas of expertise will be enough.

However, before diving right in and choosing an area or two to focus on, experiment with a bunch of different skills to see what’s the best fit for you.

2. “No” is just a starting point

The best piece of advice I ever received was that “No” is often just the starting point, and most careers worth having involve a fair amount of determination, grit, and just general “try, try again”-ing.

Kathryn Minshewf, Founder of The Muse

When it comes to kickstarting a career in marketing-or even climbing the ladder, you’ll likely hear “No” and a lot more than “Yes”.

From pitching editors content ideas to applying for various roles and freelance gigs, throughout my career, I’ve been told “No” plenty of times.

But what I learned along the way was that each “No” was bringing me a step closer to a “Yes”. For example, each article pitch I had rejected helped me to eventually land my first paid writing gig with Crew.

And When I landed my role at Buffer, it was actually the second time I applied – Kevan, who’s now our Marketing Director, was also unsuccessful in his first Buffer application

Kevan used the above note as motivation and failing to land his dream job helped him to realize where he could focus his energy to improve.

Treat each “No” as an opportunity to learn and refine your skills.

3. Focus on timeless skills

Write every day. Even if you’re not a writer, I find this practice to be clarifying for many things.

MG Siegler, Partner at Google Ventures

There are certain skills that will never become outdated in marketing. To name a few:

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Storytelling

These skills will always be valuable.

For example, whether it’s a blog post, copy for a landing page or captions for a video, writing will always be a key skill for marketers to have.

And before joining Buffer, Kevan used to write 2,000 words minimum every day to help improve his craft. Alfred also challenged himself to write every day before he worked at Buffer and again when he first transitioned into a content-focused role.

Try to find opportunities in everyday life where you can practice these timeless skills.

For instance:

  • Treat every tweet or email you send as a chance to improve your writing skills
  • Next time you’re speaking with a customer service agent, think about how you can make your communication really clear and easy to understand
  • The next time you compose a Facebook status, think about how you can effectively tell the story you’re looking to share (these storytelling formulas may help)

4. Pursue side hustles

If you’ve got things you want to build, just build them for the sake of learning a new thing.

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit

At Buffer, we love side projects.

And when it comes to marketing, side projects can be a great way to learn new skills and embrace areas you’re passionate about.

For example, when our content crafter, Alfred, was keen to learn more about design and coding websites, he set out on a mission to redesign his personal site and code the changes himself.

7 Tips for Building a Career in Marketing (Advice and Insights From Top Founders and Investors)

“How did you get into marketing?”

At Buffer, members of our marketing team are often asked this question. And the truth is, the path looks different for each of us:

  • Alfred was in the army
  • Arielle was a health coach
  • Kevan, our Marketing Director, was a sports reporter

But for those of you out there who want to start a career in marketing or maybe build from where you are in 2018, we’d love to help you figure out:

  • How can you transition from your current role into marketing?
  • What should you focus on learning?
  • What skills do you need?

To help answer these questions (and more!), we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt, who recently published their first book on careers. The book highlights the best insights from top founders and investors on mentorship, overcoming challenges, and the best and worst career advice they’ve received.

In this post, we’ll share some of the insights from Product Hunt’s book – including lessons from Tim Ferriss and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian- as well as some advice on building a career in marketing from the Buffer marketing team.

Ready to jump in?

7 Tips for building a career in marketing

1. Form habits around your strengths

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Also, you don’t need to get much right to be and feel successful. Just form habits around one or two strengths.

Tim Ferriss

In Product Hunt’s book, Tim Ferriss’ #1 piece of advice for anyone looking to kickstart their career is to “Form habits around a few strengths.”

And at Buffer, we’ve built our marketing team around our individual, core strengths. For example, as an Editor, I focus mainly on my strengths in content marketing and SEO:

As Kevan explains in our t-shaped marketer post:

Generally-speaking, everyone on the Buffer marketing team will have all the base knowledge and marketing foundation skills; plus, each teammate will have chosen at least one main channel in which they are an expert.

Try to form habits around whatever discipline of marketing you’re most excited about:

  • If you’re into video, download some stock footage and start editing it
  • If you want to become an SEO master, try reading as much content as possible from places like Moz, Ahrefs and Backlinko
  • If writing is your thing, set aside time in your calendar each day to sit and write

It can be daunting to look at marketing and think you need to fully master: analytics, data, CRO, SEM, advertising, copywriting, SEO, community and more.

But in reality, to be a successful marketer, you don’t need to be an expert in every channel: one or two areas of expertise will be enough.

However, before diving right in and choosing an area or two to focus on, experiment with a bunch of different skills to see what’s the best fit for you.

2. “No” is just a starting point

The best piece of advice I ever received was that “No” is often just the starting point, and most careers worth having involve a fair amount of determination, grit, and just general “try, try again”-ing.

Kathryn Minshewf, Founder of The Muse

When it comes to kickstarting a career in marketing-or even climbing the ladder, you’ll likely hear “No” and a lot more than “Yes”.

From pitching editors content ideas to applying for various roles and freelance gigs, throughout my career, I’ve been told “No” plenty of times.

But what I learned along the way was that each “No” was bringing me a step closer to a “Yes”. For example, each article pitch I had rejected helped me to eventually land my first paid writing gig with Crew.

And When I landed my role at Buffer, it was actually the second time I applied – Kevan, who’s now our Marketing Director, was also unsuccessful in his first Buffer application

Kevan used the above note as motivation and failing to land his dream job helped him to realize where he could focus his energy to improve.

Treat each “No” as an opportunity to learn and refine your skills.

3. Focus on timeless skills

Write every day. Even if you’re not a writer, I find this practice to be clarifying for many things.

MG Siegler, Partner at Google Ventures

There are certain skills that will never become outdated in marketing. To name a few:

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Storytelling

These skills will always be valuable.

For example, whether it’s a blog post, copy for a landing page or captions for a video, writing will always be a key skill for marketers to have.

And before joining Buffer, Kevan used to write 2,000 words minimum every day to help improve his craft. Alfred also challenged himself to write every day before he worked at Buffer and again when he first transitioned into a content-focused role.

Try to find opportunities in everyday life where you can practice these timeless skills.

For instance:

  • Treat every tweet or email you send as a chance to improve your writing skills
  • Next time you’re speaking with a customer service agent, think about how you can make your communication really clear and easy to understand
  • The next time you compose a Facebook status, think about how you can effectively tell the story you’re looking to share (these storytelling formulas may help)

4. Pursue side hustles

If you’ve got things you want to build, just build them for the sake of learning a new thing.

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit

At Buffer, we love side projects.

And when it comes to marketing, side projects can be a great way to learn new skills and embrace areas you’re passionate about.

For example, when our content crafter, Alfred, was keen to learn more about design and coding websites, he set out on a mission to redesign his personal site and code the changes himself.

6 areas where artificial neural networks outperform humans


Five years ago, researchers made an abrupt and rather large leap in the accuracy of software that can interpret images. The artificial neural networks behind it underpin the recent boom we are now seeing in the AI industry. We are, however, still nowhere near achieving a reality similar to those in The Terminator or The Matrix.

Currently, researchers are trying to focus on teaching machines how to do one thing extremely well. Unlike a human’s brain, which processes multiple things at once, robots must “think” in a linear way. Regardless, in some fields, AI beats humans. Deep neural networks have learned to converse, drive cars, beat video games and Go champions, paint pictures, and help make scientific discoveries.

Here are six areas where artificial neural networks prove they can surpass human intelligence.

1. Image and object recognition

Machines have a strong record of besting humans in image and object recognition. Сapsule networks invented by Geoff Hinton almost halved the best previous error rate on a test that challenges software to recognize toys. Using an increased amount of these capsules over various scans allows the system to better identify an object, even if the view is different than those analyzed prior.

Another example comes from a state-of-the-art network that was trained on a database of labeled images and was able to classify objects better than a Ph.D. student, who trained on the same task for over 100 hours.

2. Video games

Google’s DeepMind uses a deep learning technique referred to as deep reinforcement learning. Researchers used this method to teach a computer to play the Atari game Breakout. The computer wasn’t taught or programmed in any specific way to play the game. Instead, it was given control of the keyboard while watching the score, and its goal was to maximize the score. After two hours of playing, the computer became an expert at the game.

The deep learning community is in a race to train computers to beat people at almost every game you can think of, including Space Invaders, Doom, Pong, and World of Warcraft. In the majority of these games, deep learning networks already outperform experienced players. The computers were not programmed to play the games; they just learned by playing.

3. Voice generation and recognition

Last year, Google released WaveNet and Baidu released Deep Speech. Both are deep learning networks that generate a voice automatically. The systems learn to mimic human voices by themselves and improve over time. Differentiating their speech from that of a real human is much harder to do than one might imagine.

A deep network created by Oxford and Google DeepMind scientists, LipNet, reached a 93 percent success score in reading people’s lips, where an average human lip reader only succeeds 52 percent of the time. A group from the University of Washington used lip syncing to create a system that sets synthesized audio to existing video.

4. Art and style imitation

A neural network can study the patterns in the strokes, colors, and shading of a particular piece of art. From there, it can transfer the style from the original artwork into a new image based on the analysis.

An example of this is DeepArt.io, a company that creates apps that use deep learning to learn hundreds of different styles which you can apply to your photos. Artist and programmer Gene Kogan also applied style transfer to modify the Mona Lisa based on styles the algorithm learned from Egyptian hieroglyphs.

5. Predictions

Stanford researcher Timnit Gebru took 50 million Google Street View images and explored what a deep learning network can do with them. The computer learned to localize and recognize cars. It detected over 22 million cars, including their makes, models, body types, and years. One example of insights the system gained included indications of where voter lines start and stop. Based on the analysis, “if the number of sedans encountered during a 15-minute drive through a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, the city is likely to vote for a Democrat during the next Presidential election (88% chance),” Gebru and coauthors wrote.

Another example of a machine providing more accurate predictions than a human comes from Google Sunroof. The technology uses aerial photos from Google Earth to create a 3D model of your roof to separate it from surrounding trees and shadows. It then uses the sun’s trajectory to predict how much energy solar panels could produce from your roof according to the location specs.

6. Website design modifications

AI integration in website builders can help update and make useful modifications to sites more quickly and potentially with more accuracy than humans. The underlying technology of systems like this provides an average-user opinion about site appearance, which tells designers whether the site design is bad or good. Today, website builders are either using deep networks to modify designs now or plan to use them in the near future. The technology can analyze different patterns and create better results based on previous conversion rates and other important indicators.

While we may still be far away from achieving Matrix-level AI, companies are working to improve the intelligence of neural networks at a rapid pace. The projects mentioned above are only scraping the surface of the technology’s capabilities. New ideas and improvements pop up constantly to prove machines are able to surpass human performance, task by task.

Roman Steinberg is head of data science at uKit AI, an AI-based platform that makes websites more profitable and user-friendly.

7 Tips for Building a Career in Marketing (Advice and Insights From Top Founders and Investors)

“How did you get into marketing?”

At Buffer, members of our marketing team are often asked this question. And the truth is, the path looks different for each of us:

  • Alfred was in the army
  • Arielle was a health coach
  • Kevan, our Marketing Director, was a sports reporter

But for those of you out there who want to start a career in marketing or maybe build from where you are in 2018, we’d love to help you figure out:

  • How can you transition from your current role into marketing?
  • What should you focus on learning?
  • What skills do you need?

To help answer these questions (and more!), we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt, who recently published their first book on careers. The book highlights the best insights from top founders and investors on mentorship, overcoming challenges, and the best and worst career advice they’ve received.

In this post, we’ll share some of the insights from Product Hunt’s book – including lessons from Tim Ferriss and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian- as well as some advice on building a career in marketing from the Buffer marketing team.

Ready to jump in?

7 Tips for building a career in marketing

1. Form habits around your strengths

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Also, you don’t need to get much right to be and feel successful. Just form habits around one or two strengths.

Tim Ferriss

In Product Hunt’s book, Tim Ferriss’ #1 piece of advice for anyone looking to kickstart their career is to “Form habits around a few strengths.”

And at Buffer, we’ve built our marketing team around our individual, core strengths. For example, as an Editor, I focus mainly on my strengths in content marketing and SEO:

As Kevan explains in our t-shaped marketer post:

Generally-speaking, everyone on the Buffer marketing team will have all the base knowledge and marketing foundation skills; plus, each teammate will have chosen at least one main channel in which they are an expert.

Try to form habits around whatever discipline of marketing you’re most excited about:

  • If you’re into video, download some stock footage and start editing it
  • If you want to become an SEO master, try reading as much content as possible from places like Moz, Ahrefs and Backlinko
  • If writing is your thing, set aside time in your calendar each day to sit and write

It can be daunting to look at marketing and think you need to fully master: analytics, data, CRO, SEM, advertising, copywriting, SEO, community and more.

But in reality, to be a successful marketer, you don’t need to be an expert in every channel: one or two areas of expertise will be enough.

However, before diving right in and choosing an area or two to focus on, experiment with a bunch of different skills to see what’s the best fit for you.

2. “No” is just a starting point

The best piece of advice I ever received was that “No” is often just the starting point, and most careers worth having involve a fair amount of determination, grit, and just general “try, try again”-ing.

Kathryn Minshewf, Founder of The Muse

When it comes to kickstarting a career in marketing-or even climbing the ladder, you’ll likely hear “No” and a lot more than “Yes”.

From pitching editors content ideas to applying for various roles and freelance gigs, throughout my career, I’ve been told “No” plenty of times.

But what I learned along the way was that each “No” was bringing me a step closer to a “Yes”. For example, each article pitch I had rejected helped me to eventually land my first paid writing gig with Crew.

And When I landed my role at Buffer, it was actually the second time I applied – Kevan, who’s now our Marketing Director, was also unsuccessful in his first Buffer application

Kevan used the above note as motivation and failing to land his dream job helped him to realize where he could focus his energy to improve.

Treat each “No” as an opportunity to learn and refine your skills.

3. Focus on timeless skills

Write every day. Even if you’re not a writer, I find this practice to be clarifying for many things.

MG Siegler, Partner at Google Ventures

There are certain skills that will never become outdated in marketing. To name a few:

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Storytelling

These skills will always be valuable.

For example, whether it’s a blog post, copy for a landing page or captions for a video, writing will always be a key skill for marketers to have.

And before joining Buffer, Kevan used to write 2,000 words minimum every day to help improve his craft. Alfred also challenged himself to write every day before he worked at Buffer and again when he first transitioned into a content-focused role.

Try to find opportunities in everyday life where you can practice these timeless skills.

For instance:

  • Treat every tweet or email you send as a chance to improve your writing skills
  • Next time you’re speaking with a customer service agent, think about how you can make your communication really clear and easy to understand
  • The next time you compose a Facebook status, think about how you can effectively tell the story you’re looking to share (these storytelling formulas may help)

4. Pursue side hustles

If you’ve got things you want to build, just build them for the sake of learning a new thing.

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit

At Buffer, we love side projects.

And when it comes to marketing, side projects can be a great way to learn new skills and embrace areas you’re passionate about.

For example, when our content crafter, Alfred, was keen to learn more about design and coding websites, he set out on a mission to redesign his personal site and code the changes himself.

What Shonda Rhimes Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Writing Their Own Stories

How to Tell Your StoryA few weeks ago I told you about all the innovations introduced by Intuit at its QuickBooks Connect conference. In addition to showcasing new programs, the conference featured several celebrity guests, including TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes is an entrepreneur in her own right. She rules Shondaland, her production company, which has produced some of the most popular and buzzed about TV series of all time, including the long-running (14 years on the air) Grey’s Anatomy. Rhimes is also the author of her memoir, “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.”

She had a lot of advice for the entrepreneurs in the crowd. Naturally, as a writer Rhimes put it in terms of having to write – and deliver – your own story.

How to Tell Your Story

Rhimes offered her 5-step plan for framing your own success story:

1. Deliver

You are responsible for telling your story. You have to show up and deliver. Your story is how you’re seen. Be compelling when telling it.

2. Be Courageous

Don’t take the safe route. Take a risk.

3. Know You Belong in the Room

Never wait for anyone to tell you you belong. If you question your right to be in the room, other people will start to question it too. Don’t squander the opportunity. Just do the work.

4. Speak Up

Hold your audience’s attention. Tell people what you’re going to do so it’s not a surprise when you do it. And then work hard. Be ambitious and audacious when telling the world your goals

5. Like Your Audience

Get inside their shoes and understand them. Are you your audience?

Rhimes added, the key to keeping your key employees is making them feel appreciated.

Like many entrepreneurs, Rhimes needs to be stimulated to work best. She said, “The minute I find I can do something easily, I start looking for something else to do. I love doing something I’ve never done before.”

She also suggested you check in with yourself, “Is the flame that used to light you up inside still there?”

After her talk, Rhimes had a conversation with journalist Lisa Ling. You can watch it here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Shonda Rhimes Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Writing Their Own Stories” was first published on Small Business Trends

7 Tips for Building a Career in Marketing (Advice and Insights From Top Founders and Investors)

“How did you get into marketing?”

At Buffer, members of our marketing team are often asked this question. And the truth is, the path looks different for each of us:

  • Alfred was in the army
  • Arielle was a health coach
  • Kevan, our Marketing Director, was a sports reporter

But for those of you out there who want to start a career in marketing or maybe build from where you are in 2018, we’d love to help you figure out:

  • How can you transition from your current role into marketing?
  • What should you focus on learning?
  • What skills do you need?

To help answer these questions (and more!), we’ve teamed up with Product Hunt, who recently published their first book on careers. The book highlights the best insights from top founders and investors on mentorship, overcoming challenges, and the best and worst career advice they’ve received.

In this post, we’ll share some of the insights from Product Hunt’s book – including lessons from Tim Ferriss and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian- as well as some advice on building a career in marketing from the Buffer marketing team.

Ready to jump in?

7 Tips for building a career in marketing

1. Form habits around your strengths

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Also, you don’t need to get much right to be and feel successful. Just form habits around one or two strengths.

Tim Ferriss

In Product Hunt’s book, Tim Ferriss’ #1 piece of advice for anyone looking to kickstart their career is to “Form habits around a few strengths.”

And at Buffer, we’ve built our marketing team around our individual, core strengths. For example, as an Editor, I focus mainly on my strengths in content marketing and SEO:

As Kevan explains in our t-shaped marketer post:

Generally-speaking, everyone on the Buffer marketing team will have all the base knowledge and marketing foundation skills; plus, each teammate will have chosen at least one main channel in which they are an expert.

Try to form habits around whatever discipline of marketing you’re most excited about:

  • If you’re into video, download some stock footage and start editing it
  • If you want to become an SEO master, try reading as much content as possible from places like Moz, Ahrefs and Backlinko
  • If writing is your thing, set aside time in your calendar each day to sit and write

It can be daunting to look at marketing and think you need to fully master: analytics, data, CRO, SEM, advertising, copywriting, SEO, community and more.

But in reality, to be a successful marketer, you don’t need to be an expert in every channel: one or two areas of expertise will be enough.

However, before diving right in and choosing an area or two to focus on, experiment with a bunch of different skills to see what’s the best fit for you.

2. “No” is just a starting point

The best piece of advice I ever received was that “No” is often just the starting point, and most careers worth having involve a fair amount of determination, grit, and just general “try, try again”-ing.

Kathryn Minshewf, Founder of The Muse

When it comes to kickstarting a career in marketing-or even climbing the ladder, you’ll likely hear “No” and a lot more than “Yes”.

From pitching editors content ideas to applying for various roles and freelance gigs, throughout my career, I’ve been told “No” plenty of times.

But what I learned along the way was that each “No” was bringing me a step closer to a “Yes”. For example, each article pitch I had rejected helped me to eventually land my first paid writing gig with Crew.

And When I landed my role at Buffer, it was actually the second time I applied – Kevan, who’s now our Marketing Director, was also unsuccessful in his first Buffer application

Kevan used the above note as motivation and failing to land his dream job helped him to realize where he could focus his energy to improve.

Treat each “No” as an opportunity to learn and refine your skills.

3. Focus on timeless skills

Write every day. Even if you’re not a writer, I find this practice to be clarifying for many things.

MG Siegler, Partner at Google Ventures

There are certain skills that will never become outdated in marketing. To name a few:

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Storytelling

These skills will always be valuable.

For example, whether it’s a blog post, copy for a landing page or captions for a video, writing will always be a key skill for marketers to have.

And before joining Buffer, Kevan used to write 2,000 words minimum every day to help improve his craft. Alfred also challenged himself to write every day before he worked at Buffer and again when he first transitioned into a content-focused role.

Try to find opportunities in everyday life where you can practice these timeless skills.

For instance:

  • Treat every tweet or email you send as a chance to improve your writing skills
  • Next time you’re speaking with a customer service agent, think about how you can make your communication really clear and easy to understand
  • The next time you compose a Facebook status, think about how you can effectively tell the story you’re looking to share (these storytelling formulas may help)

4. Pursue side hustles

If you’ve got things you want to build, just build them for the sake of learning a new thing.

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit

At Buffer, we love side projects.

And when it comes to marketing, side projects can be a great way to learn new skills and embrace areas you’re passionate about.

For example, when our content crafter, Alfred, was keen to learn more about design and coding websites, he set out on a mission to redesign his personal site and code the changes himself.