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With the global quarantine upon us, more and more marketing teams have found themselves working from home, away from a well-structured office working environment.
Digital marketing is hard to organize, even in perfect conditions. There are hundreds of micro-tasks involved which are hard to report and account for.
It is incredibly hard to handle it all from home, where there are dozens of distractions to deal with.
How to keep your marketing teams productive in the remote working environment? Here’s what we are doing:
Your team’s working routine is going to be different. Many of your co-workers are locked at home with kids. There’s no way they will be able to work 3-4 hours straight, without an interruption.
Try not to force your office working routine on them, or yourself for that matter.
Working from home will take some time adjusting. So take some time. It is a stressful time for everyone, don’t take extra stress by trying to be as productive as you used to be when working from home.
Accepting change makes it easier to create a new normal.
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is social isolation which is also reinforced by the perceived absence of management. Your team may feel isolated and lost, so we made solving this issue a priority from the very start.
With all of us having moved to working from home, we now have more meetings than we used to in the office. Those meetings can be very fast (10-15 minutes) but they are incredibly helpful for fighting loneliness and keeping the team in the loop.
I used to treat meetings differently. I’d always make sure to have an agenda and keep things timed.
Nowadays, we make those meetings as relaxed and quick as possible. They are more for emotional sanity than productivity. Emails and tools help get things organized. But those quick meetings are for keeping the team together.
We keep a separate virtual room created for each team where we hold daily meetings, every day at the same time. I find that this daily schedule helps me personally to keep my day organized. At least I know that I have to wake up, dress up and be ready for my meeting every day at the same time.
This is my new normal, something to build my day around.
We would occasionally use UberConference for informal meetings and virtual parties to celebrate each other’s birthdays, get together for live game nights, etc.
Obviously, Uberconference is not your only option. There are several great platforms that are building enhanced remote working features to help businesses through the pandemic.
These include Nextiva’s “Cospace” and ClickMeeting’s 90-day trial extension. You will need to pick your own solution based on your budget and needs.
From experience, in-house teams are operational even if there’s no effective communication channels in place. Somehow information gets through around one office making news and opportunities known across the teams.
When most or all team members move to work from home, communication becomes a real issue. This is especially crucial for marketing teams which should be deeply integrated into other departments.
Your marketing teams should be aware of cross-team operations and teams to be able to timely publicize the news or prepare for a looming reputation crisis. They need to have time to create content assets, schedule social media updates, prepare blogger outreach, etc.
With your marketing team operating from home, you need to make sure news gets timely to them. And not just big company news. Your marketing teams needs to be aware of new leads coming in, clients leaving, unhappy customers, new partnerships, etc.
A single tool may not be enough. You may want to create several communication channels making it harder to miss anything:
That’s a lot to handle but if you make your whole company aware of the need to help your marketing efforts, you’ll find that it is quite doable.
Here we are facing an interesting dilemma. You do want to make sure your marketing teams will continue working hard once they are free from your micro-management routine. But you also don’t want them to waste time creating detailed reports explaining what it is they were doing the whole day or week.
Coming up with new ways to measure quality and new goals may help you solve the dilemma. Make these metrics tangible enough, yet avoid setting too simplistic or basic goals. For example, word or follower count as the measures of content creation or social media marketing success won’t do.
Instead, try to set smarter goals.
For content creation, this could be TextOptimizer’s score that reflects semantic relevance and depth of content:
[Text Optimizer score combines lots of metrics, from word count to vocabulary diversity and semantic relevance of content to the target topic.]
For reputation management, this could be a notable daily brand mention. For a long time now we have been encouraging meaningful outbound marketing tactics by rewarding mentions and interactions instead of clicks or follower numbers.
Did your reputation or community team manage to hear back from a niche influencer or got a retweet from a micro-celebrity? This is enough of a success for us to celebrate.
For social media marketing, daily interactions are a good goal to set. Agorapulse is the social media management tool that makes tracking and reporting on interactions much easier with their Social Inbox tool:
[Agorapulse’s Social Inbox feature combines messages and mentions from across many brand-owned channels allowing you to interact back, label any mentions for further action and assign to different team members. Striving social inbox zero is a worthy daily goal for your team too!]
We are all going through weird and tough times now. Keeping sanity is key to surviving this global crisis and keeping your business afloat. The above tips come from personal experience. I am sure you have some advice to share too! Please post your tips in the comments or tweet them to @seosmarty.
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