Meet content marketing creative Todd Stewart, marketing manager at HourlyNerd and adjunct public speaking professor at Bryant University, his alma mater. Stewart previously served in content and communications roles at Advanstar Communications and BoldrDash. A dog lover and marathon runner, Stewart explains how he brings his passion for efficient communication to content marketing.
Mary Austin Williams: What does your role as content marketing manager at HourlyNerd involve, and what does your typical day look like?
Todd Stewart: Being part of the HourlyNerd marketing team is a blast. I’m constantly growing, I’m always adapting and I’m in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged. Everyone here has their own skills in marketing, which is why I’m honored to be a part of it. Being the marketing manager focusing on content means I am responsible for social media, blogging, creative materials, the HourlyNerd Webinar Series, content partnerships, events and all future content creation.
To break some of that down:
- I create, manage and execute all social media actions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
We’ve gathered 43 bloggers from our database of 10,000 business experts. Each blogger has his or her own expertise and produces a minimum of one blog post per month related to his or her industry of expertise. I edit and optimize each article for SEO and publish one post a day. I’m continuing to evaluate and accept more bloggers on the platform as our B2B blogging outreach grows.
I distribute our content on all social media platforms and disseminate it to all our content partners who repurpose it.
I also write various articles for our own blog, as well as try to get posts published on other blogs that adhere to specific standards.
- We try for anywhere between three to four events per quarter. I handle logistics (event coordination – in person or remote) and creative (banners, flyers, giveaways, or panel creation).
For marketing, I design and create all printed and digital material, whether that be flyers, promos, marketing email banners or ads for all digital advertisements.
We have a handful of relationships with other blogs where we either send them our already published content or unpublished content.
When it comes to partnerships, I implement the “2/3 rule” – the partner must have two out of these three rules to be worthy for partnering:
The HourlyNerd Webinar Series:
This is my baby! I love these. I recruit “nerds” on the platform to host webinars. Consultants send me the content they want to present and I turn it into a well-designed deck. From there, I market the webinar to all our social networks, database and content partner databases. I then guide the presenters through the entire presentation process.
I also manage the partnerships we have with other companies who co-sponsor the webinars with us.
You’re an adjunct professor of public speaking. How do you tie your knowledge of effective communication back to your role in content marketing?
Communication is everything, and everything is communication. I’m a firm believer that when it comes to effective content marketing, being able to tell a story (whether it’s through social media, podcasts, blogging, webinars or any other form of content) is one of the most important keys of success. No matter how complex the content is, making it informative, relatable and entertaining to our audience is key to our growth. And being a professor allows for me to fine-tune those skills. I figure that a good challenge for me is making my three-hour class enjoyable and informative. I take those preparation skills and apply them to all of HourlyNerd’s content creation.
You’ve written before about the dangers of the Ringelmann Effect. What is it, and how can marketers be cognizant of it in a way that maximizes their productivity and output?
I find this so fascinating. The Ringelmann Effect states that, as team size increases, performance and productivity decreases. This is because, as individuals, we tend to exert more individual force and effort when working alone than when in groups. In teams of two to three people, performance drops slightly. As the fourth, fifth and sixth team member are added, individual effort significantly drops, resulting in a curvilinear effect.
As business teams form, individuals feel less responsible for the overall output, which leads to reduced individual effort. As teams get bigger, people think, “If I don’t pull as hard on the rope, no one will really notice. Right?” This is a common mentality. As marketing managers — or any manager for that matter — being aware this occurs is essential to understanding how group dynamics work.
Here’s how to avoid it:
1. Skip the All-Star Team
- Research suggests people tend to work harder in groups if they expect others to work poorly.
- If everyone is an all-star, people expect other members to pull the bulk of the work, producing low individual effort.
2. Make Work Identifiable
- As groups get larger, individual identities tend to disappear. It shifts from multiple singular identities to one large group identity.
- Group members tend to feel anonymous. Therefore, if they slack, the "slacker" identity gets put on the group and not the individual.
3. Change How Work is Presented
Slice the work into manageable, bite-sized bits each team member is held accountable for. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify and course-correct the slackers.
What’s your favorite hobby outside of work?
Running! I’m a frequent marathoner who loves trying to beat my personal record. Even on training runs, I’m constantly looking down at my watch to see if I’m on pace. I guess you can say I’m pretty competitive with myself. Everyday I try to improve in something, whether large or small.
What inspires you?
My family. I know it’s generic and somewhat cliché, but my family is honestly my inspiration for everything. I hit the lottery with them. My parents are my role models, my brothers- and sisters-in-law are my best friends and my dog is my ultimate wrestling buddy. How could you ever go wrong? I like to call them my “dream team alliance,” because they’re always supporting me no matter what. With them in my corner, I feel like I can accomplish anything.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
"Compare yourself to no one other than who you were yesterday."
In this incredibly connected digital world, it’s easy to always be looking at successful people and saying to yourself, “Why can’t I be as successful as them?” I see many fundamental flaws with always comparing yourself to others. The only person I compare myself to is the person I was yesterday.
Every day, I strive to be better in some way, shape or form. (Keyword: Strive. You don’t have to always be better; you just need to strive to be better. That’s what character is. It’s in the striving.) That can be with my family, my relationships, my work, my health, my finances or any other form that has a direct correlation with who I am as an individual.