We’re well into Q2 2019 and how are your New Year’s resolutions faring?
If, like me, you forgot about some of them and are either very off track or haven’t started at all, let’s take this opportunity to dive into one of these 30-day challenges and get a head start on our goals for the rest of the year.
General Digital Marketing
1. Listen in on Sales or Customer Service Calls
Spend 15 minutes every day listening to your sales or customer service/customer success phone calls.
- What are the top issues people are having that your problem solves?
- What type of language do they use when they talk about those issues?
- Where can you address those issues on your digital properties to help sales and customer success teams?
Every good marketer will tell you the importance of listening, and this is one of the most accessible ways to do it.
2. Test an Experimental Ad Platform
All the paid search people I know are always testing, but this idea is to experiment with something outside your normal testing regime.
- Maybe adjust your targeting toward something only tangentially related to your typical target audience.
- Test sending people to a blog post with a form as opposed to a traditional landing page.
- Try a 30-day test on a platform you haven’t made the jump to yet (LinkedIn? Pinterest? YouTube?).
You don’t have to blow up your budget, but see where a little bit can get you in 30 days.
3. Host a 15-Minute AMA for Other Departments to Ask Marketing Questions
Invite your whole company to join you either in-person over lunch or in Slack for a marketing Q&A for 15 minutes every day.
Sit in a central location and have an AMA where people from other areas of the business can come talk about what you do, how it relates to what they do, and how you can work together better.
This setting may also encourage people who have always wanted to learn more, but didn’t want to seem “dumb” to ask their burning marketing questions.
4. Join a Twitter Chat
Twitter chats are centered around hashtags. A host will usually take an hour out of the day to ask industry experts fun and interesting questions about the latest industry news, topics of interest, and discussion starters.
Everyone is welcome to participate, and it’s a great way to learn new topics, have deeper discussions with people in your industry, and make new friends across the world.
Here’s a great list of Twitter chats, weekly times, and their hashtags.
5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is a popular time management strategy. It’s a fun and interesting take on breaking up the workday.
Try it for 30 days and compare your productivity and work happiness to your work style before: “You break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks.
These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.” Learn more here.
Search Engine Optimization
6. Perform 30 Minutes of Keyword Research
A 2017 report from AWR found that SEO professionals think keyword research is one of the top three most difficult SEO tasks.
As such, we typically only perform it in huge chunks at regular intervals – either at the beginning of a big project or annually/quarterly. What if we broke it down into smaller, daily chunks?
My theory is that if you perform 30 minutes of focused keyword research every day, we can get rid of the impending doom feeling that keyword research invokes.
When we break it into bite-size chunks and do it more frequently, we’re more in the habit of doing it and when we do the research, it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming huge production.
7. Fix a Technical SEO Issue
Similarly, oftentimes technical SEO issues are taken care of in large chunks.
But what if we took a list we had and worked on technical SEO for 5-10 minutes every day, instead of spending whole days getting everything done at once?
See how it feels (maybe less overwhelming?) and how your sites are performing when you split your technical SEO tasks into daily tasks instead of giant chunks of your week or month.
Doing this also means you have the opportunity to teach someone else on your team the basics of technical SEO for that 10 minutes a day. 😉
8. Teach Someone in Your Department an SEO Best Practice
Jono Anderson gave a presentation at MozCon on The Democratization of SEO.
He talked about how SEO can often be the bottleneck when it comes to projects getting done because we want everything to “go through us” because, duh, we’re the experts.
Alderson’s main idea was that – if we give everyone some SEO knowledge, we don’t have to spend our time fixing the same mistakes over and over, but can actually work on more next-level SEO stuff.
This challenge is about spending 30 days teaching SEO best practices to the people of your department so you can spend more time doing the cool stuff and less time writing meta descriptions and alt tags.
9. Spend 20 Minutes a Day Learning PPC
If you’ve been on the organic or unpaid side of search for most of your career, it might be worth spending 20 minutes a day to learn about the paid side of things.
There’s a lot that SEO and PPC can learn from each other, and a comprehensive marketing strategy takes advantage of both.
If you don’t have an in-house PPC expert to learn from, read an article every day or find YouTube videos from experts. Then maybe the next 30 days you can spend testing what you learned about PPC. 🙂
10. Try to ‘SEO’ Something You Normally Don’t
Have you ever worked in podcast SEO? YouTube SEO? Amazon SEO?
If not, find an outlet to learn how to do it and try it for 30 days.
Many SEO pros are often focused on optimizing websites for traditional search engines (Google, mostly, as evidenced by the mass freakout when they accidentally deindexed a bunch of sites).
If you’ve never worked on app store or video SEO, encourage your department to go into that new area so you can test your SEO skills.
Now’s a great time to try podcasting – not only for the traffic but so you can learn podcast SEO. (Or other types of optimization!)
11. Write 700 words a day
If you’ve ever heard of NaNoWriMo, this is the same idea – only marketing focused. NaNoWriMo helps writers commit to writing a novel in a single month by writing a little bit every day.
Whether your goal is to write a blog daily, compile enough material for a whitepaper or ebook, or just to get your ideas out of your head and down in writing – commit to writing 700 words a day for 30 days.
Try a tool or app like ZenPen or CalmlyWriter for distraction-free writing, so you can get all your ideas down first and edit later.
12. Research a New Content Topic Daily
Make a goal of finding a new content topic every day. Search in places you may not normally be looking for content ideas: Reddit, Pinterest, your competitors, etc.
Create a spreadsheet where you keep track of each idea you come up with and think about how it will benefit your target audience.
Take it to the next level and include columns for each topic on which of your personas it will benefit most, wherein the funnel they’d be when they consumed it, and what the CTA would be to the next stage of the funnel.
By the end of the month, you’ll have a whole content calendar for half the year.
13. Record a Daily Podcast
Always wanted to get into the podcast biz, but didn’t know where to start?
Well, download Audacity and commit to recording a 5-minute podcast snippet every day. Try answering a single question about your industry once a day.
Invite other people in your company to be “guests” for that 5-minute Q&A. By the end of 30 days, you’ll have 60 minutes of content to edit and publish as your first podcast episode!
14. Experiment with video
If you haven’t tried video, a 30-day challenge is a perfect time to do it.
Set a goal to run a 10-minute Instagram Live video every day for 30 days, record daily short videos to put on your company’s YouTube channel, create and edit short testimonial videos for Facebook, etc.
If you have a Mac, you can use iMovie to clip and edit for free. Get recording!
15. Run an A/B Test on Your Homepage
Formulate a hypothesis about how changing one element of your home page would change your conversions (newsletter sign-ups, free trial sign-ups, or other micro-conversions).
Create an A/B test with a hero, the main CTA, the overall look, or another element of your homepage. Run a redirect test in Google Optimize (it’s free!) and wait 30 days to look at the data.
- Was there a significant change in conversions for the goal you set?
- How did your hypothesis fare?
- Would you test something else for another 30 days?
16. Post Something Useful to Your Facebook Followers
We all know there’s a golden ratio of content sources for social media, and that it’s crucial to not just post your own content.
Including third party content in your social media strategy makes you more trustworthy to your followers and helps you seem like you’re into more than just self-promotion.
In this challenge, try to find something useful to your audience every single day – that isn’t from your website alone – to post to your social accounts.
Encourage conversation on these pieces and see how your engagement rates fluctuate.
17. Run an Experimental Social Ad
I know that all paid advertisers are always testing – but oftentimes we find what works best and stick to it.
Try a new social ad format that you’ve never experimented with or find one you have used before then try a completely new type of campaign. Ask for the input of non-marketing employees.
Look at fun ads you’ve seen on your own social accounts.
Experiment with video, long-form ad copy, a different type of imagery, etc.
Run it for 30 days and see what happens.
- Does it inspire more new ad types?
- Did you get more engagement than you anticipated?
- Was it a bust that you learned something from?
18. Have a Different Employee Guest-Host Your Company’s Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a fun way to show the “inner workings” of your company.
Choose a company representative from each department (customer service/success, administration, sales, leadership, etc.) to lead a “day in the life” of Instagram stories. It can show how your company works for clients and centers around client needs.
Plus, it’s fun and gets engagement from employees who will share and promote their own stories.
19. Host a Social Media Game/Giveaway/Sweepstakes
Social media accounts used to do this all the time, but it seems to have faded away. Bring them back by running a fun game or giveaway for your social audience.
Think about what you can give away to your social audience. Based on your previous comments and likes, what matters to them?
- Is it a free consultation?
- A chance to win your new e-course for free?
- A book your company loves?
It’ll help garner more followers and shares, and obviously more engagement. Just make sure you follow the rules of social media sweepstakes and competitions.
20. Comment on Other Companies’/Industry Leaders’ Social Posts
We often spend a lot of time on social planning our own feeds and social calendars. But I don’t think brands spend enough time looking for places to comment.
Some brands are really into it. See Wendy’s snarky Twitter comments.
You don’t have to be snarky, but it could benefit your social presence to find relevant business social media accounts to comment or like from your brand account.
Obviously stay away from comments on competitors’ social, unless you want a feud.
But brainstorm tangential industry partners who are putting out great social content that aligns with your brand’s messaging and overarching goals and find ways to support them online, too. They just might return the favor.
21. Read a Career-Related Book for 30 Minutes
It’s hard to set aside time to read nowadays. I get it.
But there are so many useful career-related books out there that can help you level-up.
Try to spend 30 minutes a day reading (or, heck, listening to an audiobook). Here are some great reads I’ve really enjoyed recently:
- “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work” by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
- “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber
- “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky
22. Post an Industry-Related Piece to LinkedIn
This challenge is two-fold.
First, you have to research and find some industry-related article that you read and understand and feel strongly about.
And second, post that piece to LinkedIn for your network to read and share.
Not only can this help you keep up to date about what’s happening in your industry, but it will keep your name on the top of people’s feeds for more visibility.
23. Find a Way to Outsource Tasks You’re Not Good at or Don’t Like
This is hard to do every day, but we all have those tasks that we hate or that take us forever to complete. This one challenges you to find a way to outsource these tasks every day.
Barter them with a coworker (this is a great opportunity to learn something new!), find a virtual assistant to take them on, hire an intern, etc. Then spend your new free time getting even better at your job.
24. Spend 1 Hour a Day Shadowing Someone Else at Your Office
Marketers can easily get caught up in our product or service and think that what we do is the end-all, be-all.
Get a dose of perspective by sitting with someone else in your office for an hour each day and learning about their daily work.
Listen to the jargon they use. Ask questions. Sit in on meetings. Try a few of their (most basic) tasks.
Do this with everyone from the CEO to help desk, your manager’s manager to the intern (yep, I said it, sometimes the student can be the teacher).
Not only will you get a dose of perspective, I almost guarantee you’ll get an idea on how to do your job better, more effectively, or with more enthusiasm.
25. Set Designated Times to Check Your Email
Yeah, that’s right. Stop reading your email as soon as you see the little mail notification.
Instead, set an auto-responder with your designated email-checking times:
“Hey, y’all, thanks for reaching out. I check my email at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm. If you don’t hear back from me right away, that’s why. I’m much more productive this way, and do better work for everyone!”
Marketing isn’t emergency brain surgery. It’s likely that absolutely no one will die if you don’t see a notification for a few hours.
I think we set the precedent that being super busy means we’re important at work. But I want to challenge that.
Being too busy means you don’t know how to manage your time well or delegate effectively. Hopefully, this will help your peace of mind and workflow. Maybe you’ll keep it long past the 30 days.
26. Meditate for 15 Minutes
Meditation apps can help with this one, or you can find a good meditation video on YouTube. Find 15 minutes a day to quiet your mind.
You’ll find that when you’re being conscious of what’s going on in your head, you’ll be able to handle stress more easily, get less angry or excitable, listen to others’ perspectives more readily, and more.
For me, I found that meditation helps me figure out what emotion I’m actually feeling because I can sit for a second and really sort it out.
Am I angry that my job sucks or just embarrassed that my presentation didn’t go well?
Another good way to meditate regularly is to keep a daily gratitude journal where you write down one thing you’re grateful for before bed each night.
27. Complete a Daily Puzzle
Whether it’s Sudoku, a crossword puzzle, the newspaper’s daily jumble, or another brainteaser, completing a puzzle helps keep your perspectives fresh and in a problem-solving frame of mind.
Plus, if you find a puzzle type you really like, it can be a fun break throughout your day.
My mom gets the local daily newspaper so she can work on the crossword puzzle and word jumble throughout the day when she has breaks and when she gets home from work.
She completes it before bed every day. And, who knows, maybe you’ll use the vocabulary you learn there during everyday life, too.
28. Move Your Body for 30 Minutes
Digital marketers often have stationary jobs.
We get into the office and then sit for 8+ hours straight. We all know that our bodies weren’t made to sit that long, but it’s hard to force ourselves up when there’s so much to do.
But there are easy ways to get 30 minutes of movement a day:
- Turn all your meetings into walking meetings.
- Walk to your lunch destination.
- Get a group together that takes two 15-minute walking breaks together a day.
- Have a push-up, squat, steps, etc. competition with another department.
If you make it a priority, it can be something fun and easy for your team to accomplish together.
29. Drink ~100 Ounces of Water a Day
I saw a meme the other day that said something like:
“When I was 5 I thought coffee was the ‘adult’ beverage. When I was 15, I thought alcohol was the ‘adult’ beverage. But when I hit 25 I realized WATER is the real ‘adult’ beverage.”
The Mayo Clinic reports that “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.” So, skip that second coffee and try drinking a glass of water instead.
When I notice that I’m feeling more thirsty but feel like I can’t drink one more glass of water, I try mixing half water with half lemonade.
Or I mix something like Propel in my water to give it a little flavor and encourage myself to reach the ounce goal.
See how you feel after 30 days of super-hydration. Maybe you’ll keep the water as your mainstay.
30. Commit a Daily Random Act of Kindness
Go out of your way to do something nice and to not get caught. That’s right, try to do it for no audience except the recipient, no applause!
Your random act of kindness can be big or small – hold the elevator door, compliment someone on something other than his/her appearance, buy someone’s coffee in the drive-thru, Marie Kondo your closet and donate your clothes to a local women’s shelter, etc.
Try to cross off your act of kindness before noon each day, and see if you can do it for 30 days straight. Be purposeful. And watch the joy you spread into the world.
See how these 30-day challenges feel.
Do they help you feel like a better person? A calmer person? A more productive person?
Do they get you closer to your personal or professional goals?
What 30-day challenges would you add?