In the first post I ever wrote for the TopRank Marketing Blog, I reflected on the marketing lessons I’d picked up through my baseball blogging hobby. Helping build an online community at Twins Daily has instilled many important fundamentals that, I feel, make me better at my day job. I’m always fascinated by this interplay. We spend so much of our time each week alongside our coworkers, but are often unaware of the interests and side hustles that drive them outside of the office. Those very passions can be such integral parts of who we are and how we operate. More recently, this has been a topic of focus for our friends at LinkedIn*. In April, Jason Miller wrote a piece about following your dreams while staying committed to your career, and in June, Sean Callahan profiled a LinkedIn marketer who moonlights as a DJ. The subject of Sean’s piece was Ish Verduzco (aka DJ Ishh), who says that spinning the turntables on weekends has helped him learn how to get in tune with online audiences as a social media marketer. Incidentally, Jason and Sean themselves are great examples of this dynamic — Jason is a rock-and-roll photographer whose creativity and energy infuse the content he produces, while Sean is the author of several children’s books with a knack for conveying information clearly and understandably. These posts from LinkedIn inspired me to learn more about my own colleagues here at the TopRank Marketing office, and how their outside hobbies or passions help shape them professionally. So I asked around: What activities occupy your time when you’re not at the office, and how do they help make you a more clever, curious, and courageous marketer? Hopefully their answers will inspire other marketers to fully embrace their own passions, and think about ways in which their personal pursuits can fuel their professional success — or vice versa.
The After-Hours Passions that Elevate Our Team Members’ Marketing Skills
Improving Through Improv
Josh Nite, Senior Content Marketing Manager His jokes and puns are cherished staples during the workday, and Josh puts his sharp wit to good use after it ends by participating in improv shows and competitions. He believes that these comedy performances make him a better marketer for two primary reasons. “First, they force me to carefully consider words, how they have an effect on people, how powerful they can be. Second, they’re performed live in front of an audience, so I can see whether or not I’m making a connection. It really helps me have a mental image of the reader in mind when I’m writing content.”
Making a Habit of Being Helpful
Debbie Friez, Influencer Marketing Strategist Debbie is very active at her church, Spirit Garage, where she applies her professional skills to help out with marketing functions. “I serve on the marketing committee, so that has me looking for new ideas,” she says. “I subscribe to a few newsletters and I’m active in Social Media Shepherds, a group of church communicators.” In turn, Debbie’s community work through church and other endeavors — she picks up garbage at local parks on Earth Day, participates in a book club, and serves cotton candy during street festivals, for example — helps her develop rock-solid relationships with influencers and clients.
Finding Focus on the Fairway
Anne Leuman, Content Strategist As someone who regularly covers SEO-related topics on the TopRank Marketing Blog, Anne understands the importance of links (she recently wrote about examples of link-worthy content). And on the weekend, she likes to unwind by hitting the links. “My No. 1 hobby outside of work is golf,” Anne says. “Golf, believe it or not, requires a great amount of imagination. If you can see a shot, you can make the shot. Playing the sport allows me to hone my imagination skills, leading to more creativity and well-thought-out content strategy.” She also adds that the sport’s individualistic nature helps her focus on self-improvement. Bolstering your score on the golf course is all about looking inward and making the right personal tweaks, which is also true of content creation. “Similar to working on my golf game,” she starts. “I’ll take lessons, ask for advice, or spend hours writing each day to ensure I’m above par.”
Managing to Make a Difference
Elizabeth Williams, Account Manager As a mother raising two young children of mixed race, Elizabeth feels strongly about doing her part to create a more accepting and fair environment for individuals of all ethnicities and backgrounds. “As a marketer sometimes it’s hard to see that direct impact on ‘making a the world a better place’ in your day-to-day. But, it’s something I crave. Having that reason behind what we do inspires us to keep going when we’re feeling frustrated or overloaded.” She continues: “My ‘making the world a better place’ is working toward MLK’s dream — for a world where people will not be judged by the color of their skin. In my family, we experience racism nearly every time we’re in public, whether it’s big or small.” And so she commits much of her energy outside of work to advocating for the cause of social justice. A marketer’s understanding of how to engage and influence proves helpful in this regard. “I love applying my knowledge of digital marketing to my activist communications,” she says.
Making Creativity is the Name of the Game
Patrick Pineda, Motion Designer If you watched any of the awesome 8-bit videos he whipped up for our Content Marketing Combos series, you might peg Patrick as an avid video game enthusiast. But his real passion is for tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Darkness. Earlier this year, he collaborated with Anne to create a blog post around content marketing lessons from the realm of D&D, such as the value of originality, the pitfalls of corralling an audience, and the importance of customization — something that is incredibly important and top-of-mind for marketers today. “The best Dungeon Master doesn’t just create a good story, but they also help players reach their goals,” Patrick noted.
The Rabid Researcher
Lane Ellis, Social & Content Marketing Manager Working remotely from northern Minnesota, Lane conducts plenty of helpful research for the team at TopRank Marketing, and his proclivities in this area are deeply ingrained. “Since 1994 I’ve been doing family history research, including several years as one of Duluth’s few professional genealogists, which has taught me many research-related lessons that I try to apply to my social media and marketing career,” he explains. As someone who was using the internet for research before many of us were using it at all, he’s very adept at quickly finding what he’s looking for.
Harnessing Healthy Results Like a Boss
Lee Odden, CEO Employees at TopRank Marketing are accustomed to the occasional week or two where Lee isn’t in the office, given the amount of traveling he does for speaking engagements around the world, but recently we’ve noticed that we’re seeing less of him — literally. The agency cofounder has been on a major health kick over the past several months, and the impact has been visibly evident in his physique. “I’ve found diet, cardio and other exercise have direct correlations to goal-setting, discipline, quality of effort, time management, and optimization of marketing performance,” Lee explains. In particular, he’s sees parallels in the ways success is measured for fitness and marketing. In neither case should vanity be the name of the game. “I found it interesting not to focus on weight loss, but clothing size, energy level, and quality of life improvements since those are the real goals,” he says. “I think there are lessons there as a marketer in measuring performance. Views, shares and impressions are like sugary candy metrics that give spikes of endorphins, but don’t really reflect the real goals of leads, deals, and revenue.”
What Drives You?
At TopRank Marketing, we’re lucky to have a team with diverse interests and hobbies. Working with these folks on a daily basis, it’s easy to see they are keeping their marketing skills sharp through after-hours activities, even if that’s not necessarily the inherent rationale. Meanwhile, staying busy and focused on other things outside of work helps us stay refreshed and rejuvenated once we arrive each morning. So, I ask you, too: What passions outside of work make you better at your job? Let us know in the comments section below. Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.
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