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I’ve always been an avid reader. Since I can remember, grabbing a book, hunkering down on the couch, and falling into a bestseller has been my favorite pastime. As an entrepreneur, that habit stuck.

But over the last couple of years, with business booming, a heavy travel schedule, and normal everyday life, I found my time spent reading was falling off.

Oh sure, I’m a podcastaholic and news junkie, but it’s not the same as reading a book cover to cover.

So I made a commitment for the new year. I’d read a book a week. Problem was, I had a bookshelf in overload and a calendar I needed to hack. Why couldn’t I find an extra hour in each day? And that’s when it hit me.

As a cyclist, I ride 5-6 mornings per week. What if I switched from physical books to audio books? I wondered how many books I could get through if I used that hour as my personal learning time. Turns out, that was a game changer.

That one decision made a complete shift in how I start my day. Instead of running into it, allowing the day to control me, I hacked my own life and habits.

With audio books as my new riding companion, I was able to “read” 61 books this year. That number amazed me!

Now some of the books listed below are new, some are oldies but goodies, but all are the best (and my personal favorite) books for entrepreneurs.

No matter what stage of business you’re in, there’s something to learn from these books. Oh and one important note: none are filled with fluff, theory, or high-level mumbo jumbo. Nope.

To become a great business book, my definition is this:

  • Actionable
  • Tangible
  • Relatable
  • Doable

But with thousands of books written and published every year, sorting through business books for entrepreneurs can be daunting. After all, who has time to waste on a less than stellar book?

That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 21 best books for entrepreneurs and an Infographic at the end – don’t forget to grab that too.

Enjoy!

21 of the Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs

For those with a limited attention span, here’s the TL;DR version. Below is a quick review and why I’ve added each book to the list.

  1. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
  2. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
  3. Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
  4. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  5. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
  6. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  7. The Lean Startup:How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  8. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson
  9. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  10. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown
  11. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  12. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
  13. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  14. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  15. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  16. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
  17. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
  18. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
  19. The E-Myth Revisited:Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
  20. Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham
  21. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Book Review for the Top 21 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read   1. The 5 Second Rule

Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

Seth Godin says he reads for a specific amount of time before he gets the gist. The gist of the 5 Second Rule is simple and one.

Use the 5 second rule to get out of your own way and get stuff done.

Now while I don’t have much of an issue with self-motivation,  this book connected with me on a very deep level. No matter the habit or fear holding you back, the beauty of this book is in its simplicity to push you through it. As Mel explains,

“The moment you feel a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.”

When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. – The 5 Second Rule @melrobbins
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  2. Radical Candor

Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

I first became aware of Kim Scott after reading her article on First Round, “The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss,” (and subsequent video) After her book came out, it became a staple among our team.

It changed our culture, communication, and mindset.

The results of how it impacted our team were mind-blowing. I wrote about it here if you want additional context.

As Kim explains, the idea behind Radical Candor is this:

“We believe that the relationships you have with your team are at the center of being a great boss, helping the people on your team achieve their fullest potential, and drive results collaboratively.” 

At the heart of team relationships is Radical Candor, the ability to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. – Radical Candor @kimballscott
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  3. Finish

Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff

Every once in a while, a book comes along at the exact right moment. There I was, working on a new project and finding everything difficult. The ideation, development, and content writing felt heavy and overwhelming.

Even though I’d been through this process many times before, I was dragging my feet and couldn’t figure out why. Then along came Jon with the words I needed to hear and the formula to get it done and to the “Finish” line.

“The world is littered with half-finished books, almost started businesses and nearly done diets. Who knew the secret was to have more fun, kill the hidden rules you live by and embrace imperfection? Jon Acuff did, and you’re about to as well.” – Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art

Perfectionism makes things harder. Finishers make things easier and simpler. The next time you work on a goal, ask during the middle of the project: Could things be easier? Could things be simpler? – Finish @JonAcuff
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  4. Atomic Habits

An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

I’m a big fan of Charles Duhigg and, “The Power of Habit.” So when James Clear came along with a book complementary to Charles, I gobbled it up.

What he’s provided is an easy to follow approach to incorporating positive habits and eliminating those that don’t serve us. Too often I find myself laying the shame on thick when I can’t overcome a bad habit that’s cropped up. 

James Clear says no to that. He offers very practical steps to let go of the guilt and instead embrace your own habit-building system.

If you’re struggling to change habits, the problem isn’t you, it’s your system. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. – Atomic Habits @JamesClear
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  5. When

The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

This was one of my favorite reads of the year. We make critical decisions every day, within our lives and businesses.

But what if those decisions require more than careful consideration? What if when we decide impacts how we decide?

Science and Daniel Pinks research says it does. If you enjoy data and the science behind why we do what we do, this book is for you!

I used to believe that timing is everything. Now I believe that everything is timing. – When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing @DanielPink
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  6. Deep Work

Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

As someone that works in the online world, distraction is easy to come by. Guarding our time and our minds is essential to getting things done.

In his book, “Deep Work,” Cal explains that getting into a deep work zone isn’t as hard as many would have you believe. It’s a skill anyone can develop and one that’s critical to your success.

It impacts how you work, the results you produce, and how quickly you can move from one task to the next.

Deep Work is the professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push cognitive capabilities to their limit. It creates new value, improves skill, and are hard to replicate. – Deep Work, Cal Newport
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  7. Lean Startup

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries 

According to a Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years is over 50%, and skyrockets to 70% at 10 years.

I’ve read all or portions of this book a dozen times over the years and with good reason. There’s gold in every chapter that shares how to avoid failure.

The Lean Startup will radically change how you run your business, work with your team, innovate, and how to smartly navigate your market. this is a methodology and a movement your business needs to implement.

The goal of every startup experiment is to discover how to build a sustainable business around the vision. – The Lean Startup @ericries
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  8. Crucial Conversations

Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson

Crucial conversations are all around us. But are we really prepared when they come along? Think about your last crucial conversation where:

  • Opinions varied
  • Stakes were high
  • Parties involved had strong emotions

How did the conversation go? Was it heated, argumentative, and left all parties feeling frustrated or angry? You can avoid that by staying in conversation (promoting positive dialogue) to get the results you want.

At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information. – Crucial Conversations, Kerry Patterson
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  9. The Compound Effect

Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy

Are you an entrepreneur or creative that gets excited about a project, partnership or “big idea” only to lose steam in a short amount of time? This book will get you out of that cycle, giving you step-by-step actions to multiply your success.

The concept of, “The Compound Effect,” is simple, reap rewards when you take small, consistent action. It has far bigger rewards than taking big steps over a short period of time.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. – The Compund Effect @DarrenHardy
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  10. Dare to Lead 

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown

After barely getting through Dare Greatly, Rise Strong, and Brave the Wilderness, I hesitated to purchase this book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Brene and her work, but her books aren’t my typical style.

I immediately found myself identifying and relating on a very deep level to this book. Brene’s easy style, sense of humor, and incredible storytelling, you’ll learn what it takes (and what the data says) about being a braver, more daring leader.

“One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of 4 skill sets that are 100% teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No.” 

Choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here. – Dare to Lead @BreneBrown
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  11. The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is a technology engineer and the cofounder/general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. If you think this might only be for startups, specifically SaaS based, you’d be wrong.

This book applies to anyone building a business and eager to circumvent the biggest challenges any business owner or leader faces. From hiring to pricing, communication and company culture, it sheds light on topics (the hard things) other books don’t.

Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle. – The Hard Thing About Hard Things @bhorowitz
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  2. The Obstacle Is the Way

The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

No matter the struggle or personal tragedy, we all have mishaps, unfortunate events, and roadblocks that come up within our business and life. Too often though, we allow those obstacles to derail us instead of learning how to turn that obstacle into an advantage.

As Ryan explains, flipping an obstacle on its head isn’t the solution. Pushing through that obstacle is where greatness is born. The obstacle standing in your way can (and will) become your way.

Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well. – The Obstacle is the Way @RyanHoliday
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  13. Good to Great

Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

What does it take to make anything great and what separates the good from the great? As another classic on my list of business books, “Good to Great” focuses on what it takes to create explosive results in your business.

If you’re looking for a baseline and want to better understand what makes great companies truly great, start with, “Good to Great.”

Through data, interviews, and analysis, you’ll learn the 7 key principles successful companies adhere to without fail.

Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline. – Good to Great @level5leaders
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  14. Smarter Faster Better

The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of Duhigg. Any time I can build a better mousetrap and increase productivity, I’m all in.

The trick to motivating ourselves and improving productivity? It turns out it’s as simple as believing that we have authority over our actions. As humans, we crave control and understanding how that motivates us, changes everything.

When people believe they are in control, they tend to work harder and push themselves more. They are, on average, more confident and overcome setbacks faster. – Smarter Faster Better @cduhigg

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It’s no secret that managing social media is overwhelming. From platform changes to updated features, even the most seasoned social media manager can feel the pressure to keep up.

So how can you navigate the anxiety and manage social media without losing your mind? 

The answers aren’t as hard as you think.

In this episode of the Brand Authority Podcast, I share how to grow your social media presence in a focused, effective, and productive way. 

Tune in!

Subscribe to Brand Authority Podcast in iTunes

The Secret To Managing Social Media Without Losing Your Mind Highlights From Episode 27 Be Strategic

If you’ve ever hopped onto social media and found that you’ve wasted an hour to Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, you need a strategy.

Not only will a social media strategy guard your time, but will also help bring clarity and focus to the reason behind your why…

  • Why you’re using social media
  • Why it supports the growth of your company
  • Why it’s the best place to find and connect with your audience

With it you can act on purpose, stay clear of time-wasting activities, and instead – focus on the money-making tasks pushing you towards your goals.

Source: Blurbpoint

To create your strategy, answer the following questions:
  1. How does social media work in harmony with each of your off-line and online efforts?
  2. What does social media success within your business look like?
  3. What social networks support your business growth?
  4. Where are your customers spending their time?
  5. What are your customers talking about and how can you become a valuable resource for them?

Once you’re clear about social media’s purpose in your business, it’s time to put your plan in place.

Daily Social Media Media Plan

To create your daily social media plan, write down the what, where, when, and how.

  • WHAT action are you taking (e.g. posting, commenting, sharing)?
  • WHERE is this action taking place – on what social channels?
  • WHEN are you performing this action and how long will it take?
  • HOW are you going to manage this and how will you track your results?

Begin by identifying the most important aspects of your social media plan.

A well-built plan should include:

  • A clear list of goals and objectives
  • An audit of your existing social media presence
  • Competitive analysis
  • A basic social media content strategy 
  • A social media calendar
  • Established methods for measurement and analysis

Not sure where to start? Go here to grab my social media planner.

Social Media Checklist

Your checklist will allow you to be consistent and strategic while doing the same things day in and day out.

Think about what social networks you use, and what actions you need to take every day.

Now write those down.

If you’re not sure what these actions are, download my daily social media checklist.

Delegate

Finding the right people and delegating tasks to them may be a struggle at first, but it will free you up to focus on the more important things.

To get the most out of delegation, surround yourself with people who have a gift in areas that complement your strengths.

Sit down and think about what you can delegate to free up a few hours of your time.

Now write down your 3 areas of genius – the three things only you can do, and the ones that brought you to where you are.

These should be tasks that when you focus more time on them, they’ll radically transform your business.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to manage your social media presence without getting overwhelmed. All you need is a strategy and plan that supports your mission, vision, and values.

Once you have your strategy in place, commit to working on it every day. With that, you’ll begin to build momentum and that gives you the freedom to track, measure, revise, and review.

Never stop learning!

Subscribe to the Brand Authority Podcast

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People, Brands and Resources Mentioned:

Smart Ways to Manage Time on Social Media

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My Instagram

Daily Social Media ChecklistB

True Social Metrics

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[PODCAST] The Secret To Managing Social Media Without Losing Your Mind - YouTube

The post How to Manage Social Media Without Losing Your Mind appeared first on Rebekah Radice.

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Leading a high-performance marketing team is harder than ever. Between systems, processes, and proving ROI, teams and their leaders struggle to meet expectations, hit objectives, and stay focused in an ever-changing online world.

But there’s also never been a more dynamic and exciting time to lead a marketing team.

As a CMO who values radical transparency across the organization, I’m always in search of a better way to wrangle efficiency and ensure success.

That’s where actionable insights, a synced team working in flow, and a clear view of the future come in to play.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to lead a team to greatness.

How To Lead A Successful Marketing Team   1. Move Out of a Manager Mindset

A couple of years ago, I had the chance to meet fellow speaker, Kim Scott at Hubspot’s massive Inbound Marketing event.

As a fan of Kim’s, I was quick to introduce myself and share what an impact her article on First Round, “The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss,” (and subsequent video) made on me, my team, and the company.

She made “radical candor” a frequently used term and one that we’ve wholeheartedly embraced.

Problem was, not everyone in leadership initially jumped onboard. It quickly became apparent why: the difference was the manager vs. leader mindset.

Those comfortable with radical candor were leading, inspiring, and encouraging their team. Those uneasy about too much transparency and unfiltered feedback were the managers. They were the ones creating plans, objectives, and strategies to manage the outcome.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a manager. I think back to one of my first jobs as a kid at Baskin Robbins here in Southern California. My manager was awesome. She was funny, easy to get along with, and worked hard to build the team.

But did she inspire me to follow her vision? Did she make me want to start my own successful ice cream business? Nope.

Let me explain why with a quick definition of a manager vs. a leader.

Halelly Azulay, founder and CEO of TalentGrow LLC and author of Employee Development on a Shoestring, puts it this way:

Leaders attract a following who believe in their vision, while managers have people who do work for them without necessarily any intrinsic buy-in to a particular vision.

As a marketing leader, you want buy-in. You want your marketing team to feel connected on a deeply personal level to what you’re building, creating, and putting out into the world.

Because the alternative creates a situation we’ve all been in.

A manager who barks orders without clearly set expectations, and refuses to walk alongside the team, doing the actual work.

As someone leading a marketing team, if you don’t have the back of your team, you will have unease within the ranks. And where there’s unease, there’s tension that eventually translates into a breakdown of trust.

Losing that is a nail in the coffin of your marketing team.

Not only will it kill your effectiveness as a team, but the congruency in how you work together.

That’s where balance comes in. As a leader, you must keep your team future-focused, customer-centric, and with a finger on the pulse of your ever-changing industry.

So before you brazenly embrace radical candor, first embrace a mindset shift. Move from manager to leader. Your team will thank you for it.

  2. Create a Clear Path of Communication

Great marketing teams have open lines of communication. That’s because great leaders connect on an emotional level.

By doing this, they’re able to better navigate  “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” as outlined by Patrick Lencioni.

  1. Inattention to results
  2. Avoidance of accountability
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Fear of conflict
  5. Absence of trust

Each one of those leads back to one key leadership area: how you communicate.

But as someone who oversees a team in 9 different countries, I know firsthand that communication, especially face to face is a challenge.

That’s where a clear path of communication that offers insight without ambiguity is critical.

A few years ago, we made the transition out of Skype (yikes!) and into Slack. It wasn’t an easy uproot, but an extremely necessary one. 

Skype was no way to communicate efficiently and led to a lot of confusion, broken processes, and missed deadlines.

To eliminate these challenges, we formed Slack channels specific to each aspect of the company, including ongoing functions. This in and of itself creates all new challenges, like how to manage an onslaught of chatter.

That’s why it’s so important to keep everyone in the appropriate channels. For example, if you’re working on a campaign that doesn’t need your design team involved from beginning to end, keep them out of the channel.

Communicating with Channels - YouTube

Now while I’d like to believe that everyone can manage their day, Slack puts even the most productive of people to the test. Those shiny notifications that scream, “look at me now,” can be a major distraction.

This moves me into the next required tool: a project manager. 

Atlassian’s JIRA is our system of choice for project management and daily accountability. We follow a lean approach and work in weekly Sprints. Not familiar with it? It’s an easier way to plan, develop, and deliver your marketing campaigns.

It took some thoughtful reverse-engineering of our product Sprints, but once we found our groove, the marketing team was able to move fast and in tandem.

To get started with each aspect of this communication process, identify:

  • Your daily communication workflow: Get out of your antiquated system (or worse… email) and create an interactive online environment. Whether you have a remote team or one sitting within a brick and mortar, congregating in offices and around the water cooler is a waste of time and resources.
  • Your project management process: Wrap your arms around every moving piece within your marketing department. Begin with high-level buckets and then outline what falls within those buckets. For example, one bucket might be content marketing. List everything your team does that would fall under that topic. It’s a time-consuming project initially, but this will give you the ability to break each aspect down into weekly Sprints. 

One last thought on how you handle internal communication:

If you have a product that’s managed by an engineer team, an improved communication and management process will flow into your product or feature announcements. No more last minute launches!

Better communication equals happier customers and team members.

  3. Embrace Accountability

Accountability is a critical aspect to any successful marketing team. Think about it…

When accountability is allowed to deteriorate or is non-existent, clarity is lost and bad habits creep in.

When you consider that it takes up to 2 months to form a new habit, allowing bad habits to take root is like chucking time and money out the window.

That’s why we implemented the people, performance, potential model. The beauty is in its simplicity. You’re working together as a team to hold everyone within the organization accountable.

During the review process, you’ll identify the:

  • Backbones of your organization (high performers but typically not your innovators)
  • Superstars (high performers looking to excel)
  • Icebergs (low performers and often stuck in their old ways)
  • Problem children (low performers with high potential)

Since the entire team is involved in this type of a performance assessment, be prepared to manage emotions.

I remember our first “no holds barred” marketing team performance reviews. I worried that there would be a lot of finger pointing and blaming. Instead, after a full day of “People, Performance, Potential Reviews,” the feedback was unanimous.

The team found that the radical candor test we’d run (the one I mentioned above) was a roaring success. They’d learned how to communicate openly in a transparent and compassionate way.

Sure, I could huff and puff that it was successful because each leader had proven they truly cared about the team, but it was more than that.

Our performance model was a success because the team had embraced the mission, vision, and values of the company.

They’d learned how to take each one and incorporate it into every interaction. As a leader, your goal is to do the same. Help them support, promote, and rally around each other. 

A team with healthy communication skills fosters a happy work environment.

  4. Focus on the Metrics that Matter

Think about the last time you took part in a marketing meeting that quickly devolved into a never-ending debate. Those meetings have no place in today’s fast-paced online world.

Today, you must be able to organize efficient meetings, track your KPI’s, and stay focused on the metrics that matter most.

Without it, you have a team chasing targets they don’t understand and a goal line that’s out of everyone’s reach. In general, your team is one hot mess.

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.

McKinsey

Now consider the upside to clearly aligned goals.

Your team is documenting as you go, making iterative adjustments, following a defined plan, and staying the course without getting caught up in wild or broad assumptions.

Marketers who document strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t.
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So what are those metrics? That will depend on your company and goal. It could be everything from customer acquisition cost (CAC) to sales qualified leads (SQL), customer value, and/or sales revenue.

For our team, we track all of the above and then some.

An example of marketing goals could look like this. You’ll start with a high level objective and then follow it with key results.

If you’re not familiar with OKR’s, I talked about it in this post.

OBJECTIVE: Improve CTA conversion on Activation Stage Blog Posts 

Now add your key results. They’d look something like this:

Increase addition of new contacts into marketing campaigns in Q1 by 35%.
Increase social engagement by 20% across all social channels.

What you’ll learn through this process is the who, what, and why of each metric you’re tracking.

For your team, determining what those metrics are will make you proactive instead of reactive. You’ll track what matters, including analysis, events, and real-time data. This avoids the disconnect I see among teams all too often.

It also gives you clarity. As opposed to perception or gut reactions, you’re making decisions grounded in data and mapping your collective performance.

This facilitates honest conversations to ensure everyone understands their role and value within the company and team.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been struggling to align and lead your marketing team, take a deep breath. The leader within you is ready to emerge, but the process takes time.

When you commit to testing and implementing a few of the ideas above, you’ll not only grow as a leader, but as a team.

And as you build confidence, so will your team. Confidence breeds trust and trust is the deciding factor between a team that sticks together and one that ultimately falls apart.

Keep pushing, keep doing, keep learning, stay the course.

The post How To Lead A Successful Marketing Team appeared first on Rebekah Radice.

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Content marketing has evolved. Not long ago, companies got ahead creating as much content as possible. It was a “who can pump out content faster” game.

Then algorithms, audience appetite, and content marketing as a whole began to change.

Today, if you want to win attention and traffic, you need to get strategic. That’s where a content marketing plan gives you the edge.

It allows you to gauge, control, and iterate upon what’s working, and do away with what’s not.

In this episode of the Brand Authority Podcast, learn how to create a content strategy in 6 easy steps.

Subscribe to Brand Authority Podcast in iTunes

How to Create a Content Strategy in 6 Easy Steps Highlights From Episode 24   1. Define Your Objectives

When was the last time you took a trip without looking at your itinerary? My guess is… never. It’s difficult to get from where you are to where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going.

The same holds true for your content marketing strategy. Before you get started, identify goals and objectives.

  1. What do you want to achieve?
  2. What do you want to gain?
  3. Where will content marketing take your company in the coming months?

Knowing what you want to achieve gives you the ability to set specific, achievable goals.

For example, let’s say you want to raise awareness around your brand. Instead of stating the obvious (I want to be known), this step lets you outline exactly what you want to achieve.

Here’s a few questions you can answer to clarify how you’ll increase brand awareness.

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What does success look like?
  • What will you have achieved through brand awareness?
  • What impact will this have on your audience and your business?

The key is to claim what I call, your “I gotta’s.” They’re the non-negotiables that drive your content strategy.  Here’s what that might look like for you.

I gotta:

  • Attract 100 new leads every month
  • Create 5 new pieces of solution-based content every month
  • Turn 10 leads into new customers every month

Not only does this define what absolutely has to happen, but also what you must achieve to arrive at success.

  2. Do Your Research

The company that controls the sale using content marketing isn’t the person pumping out content for the sake of it. It’s the company that’s actively listening, producing real world answers, and solving customers biggest pain points.

To move people from conversation to conversion, make research your biggest competitive advantage. Learn what makes your audience tick, how they interact with your competitors, and what content they’re already consuming.

To learn what potential leads and customers are looking for, head over to Facebook Audience Insights, Buzzsumo, SEMRush and Social Bakers.

You’re researching:
  • What type of offers, sales, products, and services your competition is sharing? (what’s their top trafficked content)
  • What their interaction or engagement level is / what’s working and what’s not?
  • What’s their style? (long vs. short form content, well documented vs. hypothetical or theoretical)
  3. Brainstorm Resources

Think about what content you’ve already created and what you still need to create. Then consider the events (monthly and annual) that are important to your company and customer.

Here are some things to consider:

Important dates

Brainstorm important dates and events to add to your calendar. (We’ll talk more about how to put this together below)

This can be:

  • Birthdays
  • Events
  • Holidays
  • Company-related dates and anniversaries
  • Fun holidays

Source: Eva’s Test Blog

Each one will create an emotional appeal, share a human side of your company, and help build a community.

Evergreen Content

What top performing content have you created over the years that continues to perform well? This may be blog posts, training guides, case studies, interview, ebooks, etc.

Find content that was relevant before and is still relevant today.

Upcoming Events

Think of all the things that are going to happen in the next few months, that you’ll have to stay on top off and create content for ahead of time. This can be a:

  • A product launch
  • Upcoming promotion
  • New campaign
  • Announcements within your company
User-Generated Content

Your customers are talking about you. Shouldn’t you pay attention, show up, and engage with that content? You can also share that content to build community rapport and awareness around your product.

User-generated content allows you to do that while using word of mouth and testimonials from a third party.

Keep an ear out for what your customers are saying about you. The positive feedback acts as a credibility booster and helps to build authority within your space.

Source: Tint

  4. Create a Daily Posting Schedule

The days of pushing out more content to more people are over. Today it’s about creating relationships by sharing the right content, at the the right time and with the right people in a permission based environment.

To begin the creation of your daily posting schedule, begin by looking at your analytics. What content is performing best and at what time? While there’s plenty of posts telling you the “best time to post on social media,” they’re all generalizations.

Your best time to post is when your audience is online and engaged and the best type of content to create is the content your audience enthusiastically connects with, shares, and promotes.

  5. Outline a Weekly Content Calendar

Once you decide on your daily posting schedule, it’s time to get that content into a calendar.

There are 2 ways to build a social media calendar. One is with a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets will work), and the other is with an app like CoSchedule. I prefer an app that allows me to see everything at a glance and ensure everything has a place (and is in its place!)

With it you can:
  • Save time by planning ahead.
  • Maintain a consistent flow of content across each platform.
  • Ensure messages are appropriately timed throughout each day.
  • Make content creation and management more collaborative.
  6. Identify Processes, Systems, and Tools

There are dozens of tools that can help you earn back in your day. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Be Focused – will help you manage your tasks, track tour progress, your goals, and more.
  • Commun.it – great for listening, sharing, and responding to mentions of your brand.
  • Drop.lr – allows you to easily screenshot and create an instructional video.

Source: Commun.it

Last Piece: Track Results and Deadlines

Deadlines become milestones that let you track, measure, and analyze your progress.

Make sure to add each objective and key result to your calendar on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Do the same for everything you’ve brainstormed. That way you’re always staying focused and aligned with company goals.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is so much more than just publishing engaging content your audience will love.

The key is to create a content strategy into a plan that’s sustainable and supports your business.

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People, Brands and Resources Mentioned:

Social Media Calendar Template

How to Fill Up Your Social Media Calendar

Goal Setting Guide

Want to View on YouTube Instead?
[PODCAST] How to Easily Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy - YouTube

The post How to Create a Content Strategy in 6 Easy Steps appeared first on Rebekah Radice.

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