Whether rushing to get sales in the door during the holiday season or making sure throughout the year that they stay on track to meet goals, or tweaking strategies on the go or looking at next year's marketing budget... hoping it hasn't been slashed (again!), senior marketers are trying to maintain or expand influence inside and outside their organization.

Fortunately, some handy strategies can help.

Everybody has heard of growth hacks... I've outlined five marketing hacks to help get your marketing team up to speed and on track. They don't take a ton of your budget, but they have huge impact on your content creation, customer relations, and sales tactics.

1. Help your sales team

Find out who your top customers' biggest competitors are, do some competitive analysis, and let your sales team know what their customers' competition is up to so the team can sell more effectively.

Note any new legislation or product or service features have just come out, and whether products or services have consolidated or moved to the cloud. Monitor whether or when a more traditional industry starts using similar products or services.

All of those otherwise subtle occurrences can be industry game-changers. Have your team of marketers help the sales team stay on top of critical market updates through competitive monitoring.

2. Do a content inventory

Do you have a content library? If so, you're already ahead of the game. But is it categorized correctly?

Over time, things change and even the most organized marketer can lose track of his or her content. Making sure your content is organized and categorized correctly may not seem like the last priority because it's not incredibly time-sensitive, but losing track of content is a slippery slope.

Make the time to locate and re-categorize content assets correctly, or add additional categories, as needed, so the inability to find content doesn't hold up your social media strategy, website messaging, or email campaigns.

On that note, review older content. Even if you find a piece is a few years old, the takeaways might still be relevant. Repackage old content with your recent branding as well as new graphics, charts, and statistics, and add it to your newly organized inventory.

Also review older content that is already public for expired calls to action and update them. Do a website-wide link-check and update broken links; many content management systems have automated ways of doing this, or you can run a report on brokenlinkcheck.com to find your broken links.

3. Grow your email newsletter list

Speaking of email... you should maintain a regular cadence of useful updates to your subscribers to ensure they not only stick around but also help you expand your reach.

You don't have to recreate the wheel—just take an e-books or a video series, freshen them up, and include them in your newsletter. This way, your newsletter not only provides updates but also adds educational value to your subscribers.

In addition, include social share and newsletter forward buttons as well as links to lead-generation landing pages—a great way to help your current subscribers become advocates when they share your content with their social networks or via email.

You can then capture new contacts' data in return for a free content download, for example, and add them to your subscriber list.

4. Start a new channel and map out the next 90 days of content

Been thinking about doing a podcast, a video series, or an expert interview? Don't wait. Map out the next 90 days of content for it, put it on your calendar, and get started creating that content right away.

Even if you can't find the time to execute everything you put on the calendar, just receiving the weekly reminders will help get the initiative moving.

This type of project is usually pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, but the new stream of content could be just what you need to boost your website visits and increase conversions. It's also a great way to re-invigorate a marketing and social media program.

5. Expand your audience

Reach out to your 10 favorite thought leaders in your industry and ask for their thoughts on a topic. People love to share what they know, and if you make it simple for them to respond (1-3 questions over email allowing quick, bulleted responses), you're likely to see positive feedback.

To promote that new content, create an e-book, a blog post, and an article for your email newsletter. Then schedule out tweets that mention and thank these folks, as well as tag them in a few posts on your company LinkedIn and Facebook pages, and anywhere else as appropriate.

Harness the influence and mindshare of the thought leaders to educate your customers and simultaneously expand your audience.

* * *

Those are just a few of the ways you can expand your marketing influence. They're low-cost and effective, but if they're to work you've got to get started. What other approaches would you add to the list to grow your marketing influence?

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image of Phil Gerbyshak

Phil Gerbyshak is director of social strategy at Actiance, a provider of solutions for communication, collaboration, and social media governance for enterprises.

LinkedIn: Phil Gerbyshak