The Art of Learning
Mike McGrail joins the Content Pros today all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland. Having recently put his own Digital Marketing Consultancy on hold, he is the new Marketing Director at Administrate. This shift has resulted in a specificity of focus that is new for Mike: after working on ten different strategies for ten different businesses at once, he is now only working on one.
Mike is bringing something new to the table for his five-member team at Administrate: an education system. This is fitting as Administrate develops software for training providers and their students. The educational system includes required reading on everything from marketing psychology to content to social, one-on-one discussion sessions, and weekly team member-led group discussions on various current events.
Mike shares his thoughts on the age-old debate of quantity vs. quality, erring pretty solidly on the side of quality. He even goes so far as to say that the quality of our own consumption is directly connected to our productivity as a marketer. He speaks to best blogging practices, growing a team’s potential, and how to stay on trend to be the best marketer and teacher that you can be.
In This Episode:
- How to encourage a corporate learning environment
- How to invest in on-trend learning sources
- The significance of keeping your team current
- Developing a T-shaped marketer
- How to instill confidence in your team members and grow their potential
- How to resist content shock
Quotes From This Episode:
“In order to cut through that noise, you’ve got to be very, very special with your content, and everything you put out has got to be remarkable. You just can’t be lazy.” —@mike_mcgrail
“I think sometimes people are guilty of reading too much, doing too many online courses, reading too many blogs, getting involved in listening to five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 different podcasts every week, and they think that’s enough. And if we strip it back, for example, to SEO, they can tell you what Google wants to hear, but they’re then not actually going to put that into practice.” —@mike_mcgrail
“Quality is more important than quantity. I think with content production, that has not always been the case. Strip it back to Twitter, for example. A lot of advice used to be, ‘Oh, if you’re a brand, you need to be popping out 15 to 20 tweets a day just to be seen.’ Now, I’ve worked with brands who we’ve removed that thinking entirely. We’ve cut it down to two or three pieces of great Twitter content in a day, and it’s 10x the results from that.” —@mike_mcgrail
“I think there’s a real issue with when things become very trendy in marketing—people grab onto those and think that that’s the career path they need to go down. And it can be a real problem. I think in the UK, there’s a severe lack of digital marketing talent, and I think a big part of that comes from the fact that too many people just try and specialize in one area.” —@mike_mcgrail
- Mike’s Velocity Blog
- Mike’s Velocity Podcast
- Mike’s LinkedIn
- Mike’s Twitter
- Mike’s Website
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Mike’s first aspirations included firefighter, astronaut, and soldier. “It’s pretty crazy how I’ve probably gone so far away from that, actually, in reality of what I’ve done over the years.”
With a degree in marketing, he actually found his niche while starting his own blog, outside of his traditional job. “I was working at an agency, and I was in charge of a pretty massive Google AdWords campaign. And I started catching wind of social media, and I thought, what’s the best way for me to learn about this, and hopefully get to a point in time where I can make this a part of my career? So I started something called the Social Penguin blog, and at one point, I had 10 people writing on that blog for me. We were doing really well, and it led to me getting asked to speak at conferences. And this was all on the side of a 9-to-5.”
He advocates for diving in even when you may not be the foremost expert. “One of the biggest personal learning tools is to start a blog about something you don’t know much about, because you can document your path—what you’re learning. And then I got to a stage where I had an opinion on social media that people put some validity behind, and I started getting asked to guest blog, and so on and so forth. So I’ve kind of really made sure that I’ve taken my career learning really under my own strain, and just made it happen.”
Mike also commented on his boxing career and the value it brings to his work. “The fact of the matter is I’m just not tough enough to be a real boxer. I’m a little bit soft, I think. But the discipline that something like that teaches you in terms of keeping fit and learning a new skill is huge. And I would love to be able to ensure that any business I’m a part of has that kind of angle on things.”
New required curriculum for Mike’s team: Creed.