As marketers, our job is outward-facing. We’re constantly thinking about our customers and how we can reach them with our product and message. But we may be forgetting the other side of the coin: to communicate with our internal team. To market our own work and ourselves.
Today I want to talk about building your ta-da moments. Tooting your own horn.
Why share your work with your team?
First, why bother? I realize that you are busy and that it is extra work – and extra time – to explain to colleagues what you are working on. But there are many positives to telling your colleagues what you’re up to:
Visibility and awareness
Raising awareness of yourself – and what you’re working on – is the most obvious benefit. When you talk about your projects, you reinforce that you’re a contributor. You are creating, innovating, busy. Your job needs to stay on the staff budget line. I’m not promising job security, but it can’t hurt to show your boss your value.
If you need to raise capital or funding approval for a project, you need to do a bit of song and dance. Create a proposal, or at least share your vision for how your project could help the company’s bottom line. And, let’s face it, sometimes the one who speaks the loudest is the one whose project is the most on their boss’s radar. And the boss is the one who signs the check for projects. You do that math.
Polish and precision – i.e., better work
The above positives are the low-hanging fruit. But there are deeper benefits to sharing your work with your colleagues. Beyond the back-patting and check-signing, you also elevate your work to a new level. When you know someone (a boss, or a boss’s boss) is going to see your work, you button up a bit more. It forces you to polish and push a little harder than you might if the work were just for you.The same holds true for peer review, too. We want the approval of those who we sit by day after day. We want them to respect us. When we know they’re going to be scrutinizing what we do, we inevitably try a bit harder.Both of these can mean you’re together with your punctuation and more polished with your design. It can also ripple bigger – like causing you to refine your strategy or campaign concept.
Bottom line: If you can poke holes in your work, you can be sure your peers will. When you share your work early and often, you can help plug those holes early on.
Another benefit to telling your colleagues what you’re up to is you may just save yourself – and others – some time. How often have you worked on something only to find out that another group is also working on a similar project? It’s irritating to think of that time wasted – and dream about how you could have collaborated, divided, conquered …I call this Silo Syndrome, and it’s rampant in companies everywhere. We get so laser-focused on what we’re doing, we forget to look up and around.When you and your colleagues regularly share what you’re working on, you get sucked out of that vacuum.
Sharing your work with your team – and across teams – can also help you secure needed alignment and make sure everyone’s on the same page. For example, if you sit on the marketing team, does the sales team have visibility into what you’re up to? What about product development or engineering? Likewise, do you know what they’re working on? It helps to talk about it and get everything out on the table so you can see overlaps and gaps.
When to share your work
Let’s say all is said and done on a project: You’ve launched a new product, created a killer campaign, and you’re seeing nice returns in the form of your KPIs. Now it’s time to tell your team about it.
Actually, scratch that.
They should already know what you’re working on. In fact, your sharing job starts long before you finish.
It may even start before you start. In an ideal world, you’ll bring ideas to the table when they’re still in infancy. This way you can vet your concepts, gauge interest, and possibly even secure a cohort or two to help you get to the finish line.
Getting tactical: How do you share your work?
So how do you share your work? You tell me. You’re a marketer!
Kidding. Kind of. I bet you can come up with some great ways to market yourself. But in case you need a bit of nudging, here are some considerations.
Know your audience
In this case, your audience is your internal team. What do you know about them? It’s likely you know the most about this particular audience – their intricacies, who likes email vs. who prefers meetings, and so on. You know them so well that you could individually tailor a presentation just for them. But that’s not realistic, time-wise. I’d advise you not to try to please everyone all the time, but instead to find a medium and method that works for you and the bulk of the team.
Determine your message
What do you want to say? Think about your messaging – the status of your project, your highs (and lows), where you need help, etc. What is your request, or call to action (CTA) for this audience? Make sure you have a clear agenda.
Craft a communication plan
Once you know who you are talking to and what you want to say, it’s time to put your plan into action. Here are some examples of ways to get the word out:
Written communication channels
Sending an email to your colleagues is probably the easiest way to spread the word. You can write it on your own time, and, likewise, they can read it when they’ve got a moment.If you have bandwidth, I highly recommend you start these emails long before you launch, such as providing a short weekly status update of your project. To create interest you can include highlights from your research, fun findings, and the like.If you don’t have time for pre-work, at minimum you should craft a launch email to announce your project once it’s complete. Cover the basic what, when, why, where, and who of your project – i.e., what was the project, when did it start and finish, why you created it, where to see it, and who helped you get to the finish line.
Once that that is written, you can revise it into a quick report for your company’s internal newsletter.
In all of these channels, remember to show, not tell: included success metrics, testimonials/feedback, and screenshots.
Meetings and brown-bags
Another way to get the word out is face to face. Yes, you can grab colleagues in the hallway and chat over lunch about what you’re working on. Do this. But also make it more formalized with an official meeting … a grown-up show and tell of sorts.It’s true that people don’t love more meetings added to their calendars, but hear me out. You can do this quickly and efficiently, and receive little grumbling.There are a couple key groups to gather frequently to talk about projects.
The first is your immediate team. I recommend putting together a standing meeting with your direct colleagues. It doesn’t have to be fancy, nor long. Give each person two to three minutes, and/or two to three slides, tops – just enough time to spit out the project basics. Go round-robin, rapid-fire style. You can host these weekly or biweekly.
You also want to reach across teams to your colleagues in other departments. For this meeting, you may be able to get by with convening monthly – especially if you augment the face-to-face meetings with a weekly email status check in. This gathering may require a bit more time and planning – especially if you need to ask other teams for buy-in or signoff. But cap it at 30 minutes max.
In both cases, keep the agenda and the ship tight. Don’t get off on tangents. Just share your status, make eye contact with people you need to sync with, and let everyone have time to speak.
If you want to go more in-depth – perhaps after a project has wrapped – you can host a brownbag “lunch and learn” meeting where you share more details about the project and give your colleagues time to ask questions.
Send it up the chain
All done with your work? Great job. Now, don’t forget to tell your boss. And I don’t mean wait until your annual review. Bring it up in your regular 1:1.It’s common to use 1:1s to discuss the status of a project – and specially to kvetch when things aren’t going right or when you need some extra muscle help. But when you’re all done, and the project has landed, don’t forget to wrap it in a tidy package with a bow and tell your boss.You can also keep supervisors updated by forwarding to them the positive feedback and kudos you receive from clients, as well as sharing positive metrics and when you’ve achieved goals.
All of this can also help you prepare for that annual review. Instead of scrambling to curate your achievements once a year, stash your success all year long. Create a folder on your desk (or desktop) where you collect good news, reviews, and kudos. Make it a goal to put at least three or four things in that folder each year. Then, when it’s time for your employee review, open the folder.
Use internal tools
Does your company run its own intranet with profiles of employees and projects? Hit up your HR or employee relations team to get your work featured. While you’re at it, ask them about being included in any external client-facing collateral, too. You can also post to your company’s internally used social media tools, such as its Facebook page or Slack channel.
Enter contests and win awards
A cool way to share your work and get something in return is to submit to contests. These can be internal or external.For example, many companies have kudos programs or regular awards recognition processes and ceremonies. Nominate yourself if you can – or ask a colleague to submit your work for consideration.Industry contests, such as annual marketing and ad awards, are another good method of spreading the word about your successes. Many of these allow you to pitch your own work, so you don’t have to hit up any colleagues for help.
There’s a potential bonus in this, too. If you win, you get extra kudos and pats on the back – and a new credential to add to your portfolio and CV.
Let’s hear from you
These are just some ideas for marketing your own marketing – I’m sure there are many more. I’d love to hear from you: How do you share your work?