4 For 4: Four Takeaways After Four Years At Creagent Marketing

I walked into the Creagent Marketing office for my first day of work as a Social Media & Public Relations Specialist on June 15, 2015. For nearly four years, I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some of the region’s most dedicated nonprofits, exciting small businesses, and world-renowned tourism partners, alongside two of the most forward-thinking digital marketing professionals I’ve ever met.

Creagent wasn’t my first job – I had spent the previous year working as a Marketing & Communications Specialist for a small nonprofit – but it was definitely the one that’s shaped me the most as a young professional and pointed me in the direction I’ve always wanted my career to take. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, filled with both personal and professional success.

Each coworker and intern I’ve worked alongside has been an invaluable source of information, and the experience of working with various clients has taught me many different things about the marketing industry as a whole. Although some of what I’ve learned can only be applied to specific situations, a few key themes were always present. They are what I will take with me as I continue my journey as a marketing professional.

Here are four of those takeaways:

Data Is King

The most important aspect of any kind of marketing is evaluation. I’ve know this in theory since I was a freshmen at Susquehanna University, but thanks to the resources made available to me at Creagent I was able to really put this theory to work.

With certain software, I was able to dig deeply into my clients’s digital footprints. I was able to quickly determine who were were talking to on their behalf, and why those people mattered to their businesses. This data influenced everything – and I literally mean everything – we did for our clients, from their social media management, to ad buying, to influencer relations. Additionally, having high quality data to back us up allowed us to effectively convey to our clients why the strategies we suggested for them were in their best interests. Numbers don’t lie, after all.

Less Is More

Quality over quantity can sometimes sound like a cliché, but when it comes to social media marketing it’s absolute fact.

This was sometimes difficult to convey to clients who, with the best of intentions in mind, wanted to see daily Facebook or Instagram posts. Algorithms are scary, and as major social media platforms seemingly altered theirs daily, some clients were nervous that if they weren’t posting a lot of content, that they simply weren’t going to succeed online. We knew this not to be true. It sometimes took a little trial and error, but with the above-mentioned data in mind, we always found just the right amount of social media content to post each week.

What I came to realize was that small amounts of high quality, highly engaging, and highly relevant information was much more effective on social media than posts that were unauthentic and “posted just to be posted.” Less content always netted more reach, fans, and engagement in the end.

Take A Hands On Approach

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of clients across a variety of industries, each with various wants and needs. As Creagent’s primary social media manager, I’ve directly managed each of our clients’ social media channels in one way or another, spending hours each day on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

As a small agency, it might have been more efficient to plan and schedule posts ahead of time, allowing me to put time and energy into other tasks at hand, but I definitely wouldn’t have learned as much about each client’s brand if I had done so. By taking a hands on approach and spending time manually crafting posts, engaging with their followers, and actively contributing to their industries’ conversations, I learned much more about who our clients and their ideal customers were, and better understood their role within their respective industries.

Learn From Your Coworkers

The Creagent Marketing office is an extremely collaborative environment. Collaborating with my coworkers allowed me to develop new skills and ultimately made me a more well-rounded marketing professional.

Perhaps it was a lack of that collaboration in my previous working environment that led me to believe I would only stick to what I was good at – social media management and public relations – while my coworkers focused on their own unique sets of skills. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I did spend the majority of my time managing social media and interfacing with influencers and the media, but I was also writing blog posts, helping on video shoots, and lending a hand on website rebuilds almost as soon as I stepped foot in the Creagent office. After time, I wasn’t just helping with these projects, I was leading some of them. Thanks to those opportunities, the videos I’ve directed and the websites I’ve redesigned have become some of the pieces in my portfolio that I’m most proud of.

Looking back, the last four years have been truly transformative. I’m incredibly appreciative of the experience that I’ve gained and the skills that I’ve honed, and I’ll be forever thankful of the people I’ve met along the way who’ve taught me, encouraged me, and most importantly, become my friends and family.

Thank you for everything, Sean and Dave!

Becoming My Own Web Design Client

You’re reading this on the latest version of the Creagent Marketing website, which means we’ve gone through another internal update. Just like moving into a new home or apartment, designing a new website is an opportunity to de-clutter and focus on only the best stuff. As a website design agency, this is a secondary benefit to our services.

I focus on designing websites for other businesses all the time. So being my own client is an opportunity to assess the approach and process. And ideally make it even better for future clients.

Here are a few things I learned:

Identifying model websites is a MUST.

I always ask my clients to dig up a few designs they really love or specific elements that stand out. The process helps me understand their aesthetic, but it can also be a tool for becoming un-stuck. As I worked on the new Creagent Marketing site, there were times when I was at a loss for how to lay out certain sections. Reviewing other agency sites served as an inspiration. It also provided specific ideas that led me down the right creative path.

Photography is the number one asset.

There was a noticeable difference from the last time I re-designed our website because we had fewer photos to use back then. This time, it was luxurious to be able to dig through several years of pictures. For those businesses who don’t have an extensive library of photos, I suggest budgeting for a photographer as part of a website redesign moving forward. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it makes a huge difference.

One piece of “pillar content” is a great launchpad.

Search engine compatibility and optimization is one of the most important features of any website. An emerging trend is for businesses to generate “content clusters,” or a series of pages and posts around one primary topic. In 2018, I worked on an ebook about travel consumer segments, which became a central piece of content for our new website. In blog and social media posts moving forward, we’ll be able to reference this ebook to increase visitors and leads. This is something I will encourage businesses to attempt in the future. Having a central piece of content helps visitors find and navigate the site. It also establishes a strong, authoritative voice around a specific topic. The benefits are endless.

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about my work. This process revealed more tools that can be used for future projects and clients. As always, I look forward to implementing these – and many other – lessons into our upcoming website designs.