Let me start by saying I tried really hard to avoid any Valentine’s Day imagery or references in this post.

I truly did.

I told myself you’re probably getting enough posts about “loving your content” or “content marketing we heart” this week, so I’ll abstain and just talk about something else.

Then, I went through my LinkedIn inbox, and decided to write about relationships. (Sorry.)

Content marketers love (sorry) talking about relationships. We’re no exception at Kapost. We have a wonderful eBook called “Committing to Content: A Modern Marketer’s Guide to Building Successful Buyer Relationships,” and our Sr. Director of Content Marketing Jesse Noyes has spoken widely about how marketing can be “a better date.”

It’s not just an easy metaphor. The heart (sorry) of content marketing is providing a potential buyer with relevant content at relevant stages of their journey, and in order to do that you need to know who they are and what they care about.

That idea of building relationships with prospects and customers is great, and something that any good content marketer obsesses over daily.

But what about you, the marketer? Where do you go when you need to focus on your interests, challenges, and career?

In order to stay fresh, one needs to connect with others who share similar interests and burdens, and to feed off of each other’s energy and knowledge. This post is about ways to do just that—to connect with like minds and problem solve or just decompress.

Because even though we spend most of our time focusing on the buyer, marketers need a little “me time,” too.

Content Marketing Academy

When I talk about “me time” I’m not talking about communicating with potential buyers or customers. I’m talking about communicating with other marketers. Just like it’s good to have “girls or guys night out,” connecting with others who “get it” can be a rewarding and valuable experience. The Content Marketing Academy was created for that reason.

While many marketing LinkedIn groups struggle with marketers not being able to “turn off” and stop promoting things, the CMA has become a place for actual, interesting dialogue about topics ranging from developing lead scoring models to “which industry buzzword needs to die?”

The group grew to over 8,000 members in just 7 months of existence and currently averages about 14 comments per discussion topic. The messages I was filtering though in my LinkedIn inbox—the ones that inspired this post—were primarily from members praising the group’s interactivity. It’s a perfect example of marketers feeding off of each others’ knowledge and energy.

Inside a Rapidly Growing LinkedIn Group [Infographic] from kapostcontentmarketing

The Comments Section of Your Favorite Blog

This one might get some chuckles or smirks. Online comment sections are notoriously the home of trolls and people who have way too much time to explain to me how many punctuation mistakes my comments have.

Punctuation Mistakes

Thanks, Jean.

While trolls can quickly damper a conversation, many of the more well-known and respected marketing blogs regularly feature interesting dialogue. Buffer’s blog is a standout, which is partially a testament to the regular engagement of Buffer’s employees on the threads.

If you enjoyed reading a great content marketing article and you notice it has quite a few comments, take a few minutes to skim. You might find a healthy conversation happening. This is a great place to glean information or jump in to further your expertise or thought leadership.

Product User Groups

Modern marketing involves the use of a variety of tools. These technologies can often be complex and involve a learning curve, especially when trying to get multiple pieces to play together nicely. Software companies understand this, and many develop and curate communities of users to help fill gaps where they don’t have the bandwidth to help.

Adobe and Salesforce have hundreds of groups to join, segmented by topic and locale. Eloqua has a vibrant community called Topliners where fellow users of their marketing automation software can connect and troubleshoot with each other as well as dream up big ideas together. These groups often exist in multiple spots beyond the company websites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ giving you multiple places to find answers or initiate discussions of your own.

Coate Pee Wee Herman

I’m sure there’s a professional reason for this to exist.

In Real Life

Sometimes you want to put a real, live face to a Twitter handle. Or maybe an online conversation could be fleshed out over a pint or two. Meeting face to face with other marketers is a fantastic way to refresh or re-energize. Attending marketing conferences allows you to meet new people, discuss challenges, learn and also to loosen up a little—all in good company.

On a smaller scale, many companies like Marketo help organize events where users or customers can meet face-to-face in various regions around the world. Meetup.com is a dynamic site for finding live events based on your interests.

Kapost recently hosted an “Eloqua Users Group” made up of Colorado-based Eloqua clients who get together on their own every few months to chat about issues they’re having and share cool ideas, followed by food and drinks.

Regardless of the method or niche, give yourself some “me time” as a marketer to be among other marketers. Strengthening those relationships can only help you strengthen your relationship with best practices, your career, and ultimately prospects and customers.

Share in the comments your favorite way to connect with other marketers.