7 Essential Tips for Media Managers to Achieve Professional Success

The modern day media manager has the best and worst position. How? The good news is, she is learning valuable skills regarding how shoppers are consuming media, an ever-evolving, always-moving target. The bad news? She’s probably too busy to harness this knowledge into a bigger, better, higher paying gig.

So we at Adknowledge are going to do a bit of the heavy lifting for you. Over the next four weeks, we will be bringing you weekly updates on how you can get better at career advancement, but still stay ahead of deadline.

This week, here are 7 tips every junior-to-mid level manager should consider using to improve their personal brands and set themselves up for success.

1 Avoid the biggest mistake in personal branding

oneThe last thing on your to-do list is probably “pursue professional networking opportunities.” The reality is, however, you are constantly networking—between sales calls, evening events and customer conversations, you’re talking to folks who can (and will) help you in your career.

Too often, we assume that other people will intuitively understand our career path—where we’re going, and what our past experiences have helped teach us. But others usually aren’t paying that close attention, which is why it’s necessary to proactively create a narrative that describes your professional arc. If you don’t do it, others will guess or make their own (often incorrect) assumptions, and you risk being misunderstood or overlooked.

Know your story. Cold.

Take 15 minutes to see if you can jot down “your story.” It can be daunting, but it is better to know this before you need it. Try out your “story” with a trusted friend or colleague. That person will give you honest feedback and let you know if your pitch is compelling and most important—authentic.

2 Immediately start building your personal brand

twoHere are three things you can do right away: when you go to a networking event or conference, link up with what personal branding expert Dorie Clark calls a “wingman” (a trusted colleague) beforehand and make a pledge to talk each other up. It’s a lot easier to brag about someone else, and you know they have your back, as well. Second, if you haven’t done so already, get involved on Twitter. It’s not as broad-based as Facebook, but Twitter users are disproportionately influential—it’s real-life opinion leaders. You can maintain a decent Twitter presence in five minutes a day while you’re waiting in line at the store. Finally, ask five friends or trusted colleagues, “If you only had three words to be able to describe me, what would they be?” Odds are, after a few people you’ll start to see patterns and probably learn something illuminating about how you’re coming across to others.

3 Become a LinkedIn powerhouse

threeWe will spend more on this topic next week, but suffice it to say, LinkedIn is the most successful professional social media channel for networking with like-minded people and it’s important that you take advantage of its helpful features. Once you’ve set up your LinkedIn profile and filled it out to its fullest, start connecting with other professionals of interest. A key to getting your LinkedIn invitations accepted is to personalize the message you’re sending. This is obviously time consuming, but it’s more effective and personal to the connection you’re making. Taking the extra few seconds will go a long way towards building a relationship with your new connection. Introduce yourself in the note, explain how you’re connected, what you have in common, what you’d like to achieve from connecting and any questions you might have for your new contact.

4 Effective networkers know the “economy of favors” is endless

fourWhen networking, it’s always best to give more than you receive. You’ll feel better about yourself, see better results and build stronger relationships over time since you aren’t always looking for something immediate in return. Perform favors in various forms to offer value to your existing network, as well as new connections. Here are some examples of good favors:

  • Introduce members of your network to one another via email or Twitter
  • Recommend your connections on LinkedIn, don’t just use endorsements
  • Re-tweet and tweet the original content of others in your network, mentioning them
  • Feature members of your community as guest bloggers on your blog
  • Send a thank you note in the mail to stand out as truly appreciative
  • Share the content of others across LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and elsewhere
  • Interview members of your community and feature them on your blog or other publications
  • Invite members of your network to be guests on your Twitter chat, Google+ Hangout, etc.

5 Blogging is critical to your craft

fiveBlogging is important because if you want to be known for your ideas—and most high-level professionals do—it’s the most powerful way to demonstrate your insight. How does anyone know if you’re a good marketer? Unless people know you personally or talk to your references, they have no idea. But if you blog thoughtfully about the industry and share your perspective, people are going to have a good sense of where you’re coming from and what you can contribute.

Before you start, think about your intended audience. Seth Godin, in his book All Marketers are Liars, talks about writing for the “edge of the audience” rather than the “vanilla middle.” You can’t be all things to all people. Have a specific person in mind when you are writing. Write about something you care about. If you’re passionate about the topic, it will show. If you decide to phone it in, that will be evident also. Additionally, write as if you are talking to someone in a coffee shop, not behind a lectern in a college classroom. Make sure your blogs sound like you—your humor, personality and sensibility. The author is as important as the content.

A lot of people hesitate to blog because they don’t like writing or aren’t sure what to say. Follow the lead of Gary Vaynerchuk, the well-known social media consultant, who speaks into his smartphone and has it transcribed using a service like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. If the thought of writing is stressful, just talk and let the ideas flow.

6 Get smart—invert your mentoring

sixThe benefits of mentoring are well understood. At a minimum, you should seek help for career navigation, hold yourself accountable to clearly defined goals, be open to feedback and constantly look for new knowledge.

But the paradigm that you can only learn from people who are more senior and presumably, older, is now being turned on its head. Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company introduces a new term: reverse mentoring: “It’s a situation where the old fogies in an organization realize that by the time you’re in your 40s and 50s, you’re not in touch with the future the same way as the young 20-somethings. They come with fresh eyes, open minds, and instant links to the technology of our future.”

You are presumably a digital native and can teach those in their 40s and 50s how to spruce up Twitter pages, how to research new mobile trends on social media, and how to find the best Chinese food in Toronto before you even get to your hotel.

Start with finding professionals on LinkedIn or Twitter and offer suggestions for free. They‘ll be impressed! Who knows where the conversation might lead?

7 Get outside your organization

sevenOne of the most common pitfalls of career pathing for media managers is this: often, networks only extend to their employer or a small group of sales reps. You must broaden this circle.

How? Consider sitting on an advisory board of one of the 100 ad tech companies trying to talk with you. The advantage here is you will meet with like-minded advertising execs as well as stay abreast of changes in the industry. Another strategy is to join an advisory board of a startup. New companies live and die by their ability to acquire customers; your understanding of how to find and gain their attention is startup gold. In the process, you’ll learn new skills and set your self apart from the thousand other media managers vying for the next position.

About the Author

Anita Newton

Anita Newton is the VP of corporate marketing at Adknowledge. She led marketing at P&G, Sprint and AMC Theatres, as well startups including Zave Networks (acquired by Google). Anita continues her entrepreneurial work by advising startups like Trellie and Mighty Green Solutions. She is based at Adknowledge's Kansas City headquarters.

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