General knowledge

Now that our revised social media strategy has been rolled out across the company it's time to ensure regular measurement! With planning tools in place, and clear guidance to contributors, it's essential to see if our recommended strategy works in practice.

But with digital now just another part of the marketing mix shouldn't all marketing contributors be able to do the basic of reporting on their work themselves?

Given my role as the in-house digital marketing lead I've always thought of myself as a generalist. By having an understanding of other channels it allows me to grasp a whole marketing strategy and know what we're working towards. There's no way one person could master all 50+ channels anyway! I've been responsible for telling my colleagues or manager how a piece of content written a month ago is performing. That's why in this case I have been responsible for setting clear objectives and then creating/populating a regular dashboard for the team to monitor progress.

The danger of this all sitting as my sole responsibility is it doesn't give my colleagues the power to truly demonstrate their value to the role/company. If others can't, or don't want to provide analysis on the performance on the success of their work how can they show they're contributing to the most basic of marketing and business goals?

Whether a content writer, copywriter, SEO copywriter, or a blogger if you're not reporting on the content you have created you're not fully understanding its success or impact. Therefore, you're also probably not improving and could potentially be held hostage by a single person’s (the reporter's) absence. This is a dangerous place to be in an industry that is becoming increasingly demanding.

In fact, with the majority of jobs piling on the stress most companies are now expecting more from their applicants. They want someone who has the ability to cover when another person is on holiday, or ill, someone who is willing to learn if they don't know. Everyone in this industry must be able to do at least some basic reporting, to show how their content has performed, otherwise they will never stand out from the other hundreds of applicants.

As a generalist, where I need to improve is to not only have a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, but a deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few). It is natural to crave mastery in the workplace so if I find myself constantly shifting gears between surface-level tasks in multiple practices I will never have the chance to develop the mastery of one particular area.

It might also mean I don't earn respect from experts, leading to a lack of support and push back on initiatives. The level below this being those who have a very deep understanding of one thing (i.e graphic design) and haven't built a basic competence across disciplines. These people then have a hard time building value in a team environment.

The best team members are those who can tackle diverse projects with creativity and agility while maintaining high effectiveness. Only they know enough to implement the knowledge of experts and when to bring them to the table. This is an area I particularly need to work on.

Coming off the back of two big projects (website and a social media review),  has allowed me to begin to recognise when and where deeper expertise is needed and the wherewithal to bring it to bear on my projects. All digital marketers stand on the shoulders of giants.

The web is a vast library of knowledge and tools, instantly accessible, served up by people who dive deep into topics, build solutions and share them with the world (often free of charge). Having the ability to adapt and adopt where I can't build is key. Being an in-house digital marketer without a lot of internal support, I need to focus on cultivating a network of specialists I can turn to when a project fits.
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