This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Boston, a yearly conference all about WordPress held locally. As you’d imagine, it was a weekend filled with talks and presentations, tutorials and ideas. But the greatest part for me was getting a chance to meet and hang out with some great local people from Maine who work using WordPress every day.
One of the greatest tools you can have is a strong community around you. You’ll not only gain the insight of new perspectives, but you also gain the insight of new experiences. We obviously use WordPress to build websites for our clients, but I had a chance this weekend to talk with people who make themes and plugins for WordPress, as well as building the software itself. That kind of diversity in experience leads to an entirely new perspective and set of resources for bouncing ideas and questions off of what would otherwise be unattainable.
Whether your community is a group of people within your company or a mix of marketing vendors, coworkers and friends, they are immensely important to your success. You may not even notice if you’re under-utilizing your community, because in most cases cases the value it brings is in providing perspective on things you would never have noticed on your own.
The key is to first build a community of people around you with the experience and skill set you need to succeed. If you don’t know these people yet, that’s okay. Find some blogs that you really enjoy and try emailing the authors and see if you get a response. Talk to your marketing agency and ask them what new things they’re interested in and working on with other clients. Seek out people within your own company who may have a lot to contribute to the Marketing strategy but maybe were never in a position to be able to contribute.
The value you will gain from surrounding yourself with these people will be a constant source of growth for you if you can pull together the right people and continually invest in sustaining and growing your community over time – but that’s a talk for another time.