Where do other internet marketing people hang out online? I’ve asked myself that question on multiple occasions. I want to learn from others and I also want to contribute to the community, but it’s not always easy to know where the best of them hang out online.
So I’ve gathered together what some would consider the top 5 online communities for internet marketing professionals.
Whether the goal is to network, attract followers, engage customers or run a campaign of any kind, all great marketing journeys start with the single step of creating something of value for the intended audience. Fortunately, industry experts have come together to create online marketing communities as a testing ground for adding value. For just about anything a company wants to accomplish in the marketing sphere, someone somewhere has already been there and found ways to add value. These ideas can be adapted and built on for the next attempt.
For professionals of all experience levels, these communities help people consolidate their knowledge by teaching others what they have learned. Helping others first pays for itself in the long run many times over as these exchanges serve as the basis for growing a business network, strengthening contacts with industry influencers and investigating new pathways to motivate customers.
Here are 5 online marketing destinations that make time spent online more productive:
1. Moz Community Pages
Although Moz is primarily a SaaS company specializing in analytics and SEO, the Moz community forum pages has grown to be a gathering place for over a million online marketing professionals. There is something for every learning style, including Q&As, recorded webinars and links to podcasts. The highlight of this site is the chance to jump straight into the stream of conversation on virtually any issue. Conversations go far beyond just rankings and metrics, down to the minutia of email drip campaigns. There’s also built-in gamification, awarding prizes for levels of comments and posting blogs in the space.
2. Marketing Subreddits
Sometimes it’s better to start at the very beginning. The top-level marketing community on Reddit is a perfect place for asking questions and establishing the basics of Internet marketing. It is also the first place to go to question old assumptions and get fresh takes on a campaign from thousands of marketers who prize originality. One of the main reasons that marketers continue to come back as they gain experience are to dig deeper into the specialized subReddits in the field. A few of the most useful include:
3. The Comments Section on the Occam’s Razor Blog
Metrics may not be everything, but learning depends on measuring. Avinash Kaushik is an author and expert in Google’s digital marketing tools. His blogs are dense but fun, with step-by-step walkthroughs of complex topics complete with charts, graphs and illustrations to help others get the most out of marketing metrics. Even more valuable than the blogs, though, is the comments section on each blog, where leading thinkers come together or argue their points. Just lurking and learning here is one of the fastest pathways to becoming a data mining guru.
4. Specialty Groups at Inbound.org
Rand Fishkin, the mind behind Moz, also helped launch this community in association with HubSpot. In 2017, the Inbound.org community is on track to host 400,000 marketing experts, especially those using the HubSpot CRM and publishing platform. Marketers vote on what articles and media have been the most useful for them. Like Reddit, they host AMAs (Ask Me Anything interviews) where anyone can get answers from the best and the brightest, such as the Buffer team or Ann Headley, Head of Content for Marketing Profs. Like LinkedIn, they also have Groups, like Women in Tech, foreign language groups and critique circles for brutally honest evaluations of potential campaigns.
5. The Online Geniuses Slack Channel
Although much smaller than the others above, this is one of the fastest growing communities for new marketers, with around 5,000 very active users at present. Inside the main channel, there are 80+ channels devoted to niche groups and marketers within specific geographic regions. The best part about the smaller size is that the community affords more time for building stronger connections and offering more personal attention from colleagues. Yet, its reputation is strong enough to attract big names to their AMAs, including marketing experts Emily Kramer, former Head of Marketing at Asana, celebrity entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and Crazy Egg Co-Founder Neil Patel.
Eyes on the Wheel and Minds on the Horizon
There are countless online marketing communities, and it will certainly take time to find the right one. Just like all other online communities, these typically include a small percentage of people who are pushing black hat techniques like click fraud, unreliable metrics and paid review sites. Be aware and investigate before you follow any community down a rabbit hole.
Even after finding the best community for the moment, many marketers find that their needs change dramatically in a short space of time. It pays to stay prepared. Set aside time to regularly review and explore new online marketing communities. The answers to nearly everything a marketer needs to know are out there waiting. All it takes is the patience and the persistence to keep looking until the answer reveals itself.
I’d love to know what communities you find helpful so I can expand this list…