Whether you’re part of an agency or an in-house team, if you are doing inbound marketing it's likely you have a particular role. Perhaps you are a strategist, a writer or content editor, a designer or an inbound consultant.
However, while it is important that your focus is predominantly on your particular element, don't underestimate the value of gaining a deep appreciation of the whole inbound marketing process.
At school and university, we’re told about the importance of engaging in extra-curricular activities. In the workplace, it’s a good idea to learn new skills outside of your specified job title too.
Of course, it’s not a case of neglecting your own work, but of not being afraid to try new things; of working laterally. In doing this, you will understand better how you and your team members fit cohesively together.
1. New perspectives
It’s easy to become blind to innovative approaches when you’re used to a particular way of doing things - especially if you’re usually achieving good results.
Writing on 99U, Shane Snow says: "One of the reasons innovation often happens when outsiders enter a new industry, or when disparate groups bump into one another, is because fresh perspective[s] are convention-ignorant. To kickstart lateral thinking, you might do well to pretend you were someone else trying to solve the problem."
Cross-team communication is bound to reap rewards for your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re a writer you may usually pass on the completed text for an eBook to the designer and leave it at that.
However, if you take some time to learn about design - its interplay with the text; how vital it is to attract readers to your content - then the two of you can work closely together to create something that makes a strong visual impact - and is an accurate reflection of the words it frames.
As a writer, you still need the designer to make this vision a reality, but you are more aware of what this process entails in practice.
2. Learn invaluable skills
There was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to excel in one area in the workplace. But that’s all changed. With the rise of technology, employees are expected to have more strings to their bow and be increasingly adaptable.
Writing on HubSpot, Jonathan Pavoni suggests there are three essential skills that all marketers would be "wise" to learn. They are:
- Video production
These are all core elements in the way that the audiences we want to reach interact with us: online, with a strong emphasis on the visual.
But you can only be proficient in multiple areas if you step out of your comfort zone. You might not shine in all of them, but you can certainly give each one a good shot.
And, as I mentioned in the previous point, by having a deeper understanding of the whole inbound marketing process, you are far more likely to produce high-quality and valuable content.
3. Become an invaluable resource
The more skills you have, the more instrumental you become to your inbound marketing team.
Writing on LinkedIn, Ryan Holmes says: "People who learn to perform multiple roles within a company - and do them well - quickly become invaluable. They amass a skill set that a) practically no one else possesses and b) has real value to the business."
Think about it: if someone goes on holiday or has to take a leave of absence due to personal circumstances you can step up to the plate. This is especially important if you’re part of a small team.
By adopting this approach, you can ensure that during periods where you’re pushed up against the wall, you still meet deadlines - whether they’re in-house or for a client. And you can also speak knowledgeably to clients if, for example, you have to take a phone call while the relevant person is in a meeting.
As you can see, there's a lot to be said for being a B2B inbound marketing all-rounder. You can gain fresh viewpoints, master skills that will help to improve your content output and become someone your whole team simply can't do without.
Taking on other roles doesn't mean literally juggling multiple positions, but having a keen awareness of how all the individuals on an inbound marketing team fit together, in order to create content that reaches more of the right people.