Keeping Up With the Coworkers: 4 Easy Ways to Stay Updated On Your Industry

Jessicas Learning Post
Jessica Barrett
April 12, 2016

If you are looking to improve your search engine rankings or website traffic, do not hire me. (But do hire my awesome team!) As the Manager of Employee Engagement, my clients are internal—they’re my teammates—and my role revolves around making their day-to-day lives better by doing things like planning company events, finding kick-ass interns, and even picking up their birthday treats. (Usually ice cream cake. I’m on a first-name basis with the Cold Stone manager down the street.)

Regardless of the fact that I never use AdWords or Moz, and that I couldn’t think of a third, relevant program to add to that list, I make a deliberate effort to maintain my familiarity with the digital marketing field and to stay up-to-date with industry changes. Without an understanding of the work my team does, I would not be able to do my job well. After all, how could I be an ambassador of Perfect Search without an understanding of the services that we offer and the work that the team does? 

If you’re in a similar position, no worries. Getting familiar with the technical skills of your coworkers can feel daunting—but it’s really not. Luckily for you, I’ve itemized the ways I approach learning about digital marketing even though I don’t work directly with the subject. Check them out below and try incorporating these strategies into your own workflow.


1) Read your company’s blog (and other relevant industry blogs!)

A few months ago, I was sitting in our Traffic Team Meeting, where analysts discuss industry changes and client updates. The team was discussing changes they’ve noticed since Google started the SERPocalypse. I was singled out as the only non-technical team member and asked if I knew what they were talking about.  

Fortunately, our copywriter, Kayla, had already published a blog post discussing this Google SERP update so I wasn’t caught off-guard. Thanks to the great content that our team generates on a regular basis, I’m able to keep track of industry changes and the ins-and-outs that our analysts have to deal with each day.  

When articles are shared on our team’s Slack account, I am always sure to read them as well. Reading a new blog post here and there is a super-quick way to keep up with pertinent changes to the industry you work in. Plus, it’s also a great reason to check out your co-workers’ incredible content.


2) Sit in on training for new hires

At Perfect Search, all new employees–no matter what position they’re in–receive digital marketing training. Even our business development team and our operations team are well-enough versed in digital marketing from the get-go to speak about the work we do. This is obviously an important ability to have if you’re trying to sell your company’s services to prospective clients or to prospective hires.

Additionally, anyone is welcome to sit in on the training for new hires. That way anyone can get a refresher on the skills that they might not use often or at all. With a lot of skills falling under the technical purview of “use it or lose it,” going to training every so often can keep you from forgetting the specifics of the work your team does.  

As an added bonus, this is a great way to get to know your new coworkers better–or to be the know-it-all who answers all the questions. Make sure to take it easy, though; there’s no participation grade.


3) Ask questions

Let’s go back to the Google SERP example again. Yes, again! Not that I have a grudge from being asked about an update that affects my online shopping habits more than my professional role. It’s just that I’m proud that I was on top of industry changes, and, more importantly, I’m really glad to have a team that cares enough to make sure I wasn’t lost during their meeting.

I’d like to imagine, though, that in an alternate universe where I don’t religiously read the Perfect Search blog, I would speak up and ask about unfamiliar topics. Asking questions when you don’t understand something is so important to keeping up with your team. Whenever you’re not in the know, don’t be embarrassed!  Ask your expert team for help and you’ll be A-O.K.  


4) Go to team meetings–even if you’re not on the team 

While you might not be a fan of sitting in on someone else’s seemingly irrelevant meeting, you’ll quickly find that you can learn a lot more about your industry, your clients, and your team if you are there. You might feel like a fly on a wall at times, but always participate when you can!

Like I said before, ask questions when you’re not following the topic at hand. Also, don’t be afraid to offer up your opinion when the team is struggling to take a step back and look at problems from an outsider’s point of view.

Do not treat these meetings as a time to zone out. They can be helpful for so many roles. If you don’t directly work with clients, you will learn more about specific clients and gain a better understanding of the business your company pursues. Furthermore, you can learn more about your team’s communication styles, bandwidth, and hiring needs.  


Keeping up with the coworkers, recapped

These four steps are an insanely easy way to keep up with what your organization does. Not only will following them allow you to learn more about your industry, but they will help you get closer to your team, especially if you don’t work very closely with people on a day-to-day basis.  

You’ll be up-to-date on important trends and industry changes, and you’ll be able to have informed discussions with your coworkers. Even if it means it took you way too many months to learn what SERP stood for…but that’ll just be our little secret.


Do you have other tips for staying updated on your industry? How do you familiarize yourself with the duties of your coworkers? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search.

Want more expert advice from Jessica? We don’t blame you. Check out her 5 onboarding tips for successfully welcoming new hires 

Jessica Barrett

Jessica Barrett is a passionate soup enthusiast who loves reading about Chicago. In her spare time she enjoys biking around the city, and sincerely wishes that she and Leslie Knope could be friends.

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