Marketing is becoming more multi-faceted than any other department in a business, and no one knows this better than marketing executives who manage these teams. This is particularly true for those who work with not only an in-house team, but with freelancers who work in marketing departments remotely (something that is becoming more and more common in the industry). To put it bluntly, collaboration is crucial to overall success.
I spoke with six experts I knew in the marketing industry to see what their one-tip would be for successful collaboration. As it turns out, fancy tools were not mentioned nearly as often as one might assume. Their answers below may surprise you.
1. Make communication easy.
Adam Heitzman, managing partner of HigherVisibility
We strive to make communication between teams as easy as possible. Utilizing Slack reduces our email and the time used up in meetings where all of our communication can be stored in a set channel.
We realize that silos can disrupt a business. If a particular department or set of individuals don’t want to share information with others in your organization it reduces the efficiency for everyone and the morale plummets. So we try to keep this in mind when developing the business to avoid silos as much as possible.
2. Use Google office apps.
Larry Kim, founder and CEO of Wordstream
We use Google office extensively. For example, say we’re trying to outline a webinar or content marketing project — a few of us will just jump in a document and edit/comment on ideas on the spot. It’s so great because it (a) eliminates countless emails going back and forth (b) results in a better-finished product.
Bonus Tip: I use the Google office apps to view and edit these collaborative documents on my phone.
3. Always meet in person.
Kelsey Jones, executive editor of Search Engine Journal and founder of StoryShout
One of the best things I’ve done in terms of collaboration is to meet my team and clients in person. Since we all can work virtually, it makes it so easy to get clients and employees all over the world, but I never really have felt truly connected to these people that I work with until I meet them in person. Once you’ve spent a few days together, your communication and time in virtual meetings once you go back home becomes much easier and more fun.
If meeting in person isn’t a possibility right away, do regular video calls so you can see your colleagues and clients’ mannerisms, which help you better interpret their emails, project requests, and feedback. I’m an introvert, but sharing a meal or a good video chat with my clients and colleagues has lead to working longer together, as we known one another better. Interfacing in person builds trust.
4. Create a slack channel just for brainstorming.
A.J. Ghergich, founder of Ghergich & Co.
Slack is amazing, but it can get noisy. Create a brainstorming channel where everyone on your team can drop ideas as they come in — this helps make things less chaotic. Depending on the size of your team (or the number of ideas), go through the channel on a regular basis and formalize all the ideas from the brainstorming channel. Then share them in a concise format with your team.
5. Adapt processes quickly and step in.
Tara Clapper, content development specialist at Express Writers
A truly agile and collaborative business (which isn’t necessarily using Agile systems) can make changes on the fly. I’m constantly impressed by how the small team here at Express Writers can adapt processes or documentations immediately to ensure the best outcome for the customer and the most efficient workflow for us. Lots of businesses lose that in scaling, so it’s important to be smart about what software you implement and whether it applies to every role or department.
We also keep the work hard/ play hard mentality in our mindset. Most of us are creatives, and we know how important it is to step in and work so one of our teammates can write that blog post while the muse is with them.
6. Create relationships before you need help.
Kristi Hines, freelance writer
If you want to grow a strong network in your niche that will ultimately be able to help you promote your content, promotions, and your business as a whole, you need to start building relationships long before you need help from someone. Choose the right people and connect with them on social media, leave blog comments on sites where the authors are actively engaged in discussion, purchase products or consulting that allow you to communicate directly with them and, if possible, attend the some of events they attend so you can meet face to face. Over time, building genuine relationships with people will lead to mutually beneficial networks.