Career Crashers: Custom Project Ideas for Digital Marketing with Brad Matthews

This week on Career Crashers, Joel is joined by Brad Matthews to talk about creating great marketing projects. Brad is a growth marketer at Go Digital China and a Crash user.

This week on Career Crashers, Joel is joined by Brad Matthews to talk about creating great marketing projects. Brad is a growth marketer at Go Digital China and a Crash user.

If you can bring projects to them rather than them bringing projects to you, they will love you for it.

If you got that insight and ability to spot gaps that are needed, and you have the ability to fill those gaps, definitely include those. It will be greatly appreciated!

Brad shares his experience of successfully using Crash video pitches to find opportunities and breaks down how to come up with project ideas to use as part of a pitch.

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Show notes

  • How Brad relaunched his career, making the switch from school teacher to marketing.
  • Learning marketing by being thrown in the deep end, being put in charge of a huge project.
  • How Brad ran his job hunt: finding companies and getting noticed.
  • The two routes you can take to find job opportunities.
  • Why companies love it when you bring your own projects.
  • Projects Brad suggest for digital marketing.
  • Why going custom is key.
  • How to deal with stuff you can’t reliably know as an outsider.

Connect with Brad

Full Transcript:

Welcome to Career Crashers, where we tell the stories of those who are not content to wait around following rules and hoping for good things to happen. Great careers are found. They’re forged.

It’s time to crash the party.

Excited to be joined by Brad Matthews, who is growth marketer at Go Digital China, he’s coming to us right now actually from Australia, making time in the wee hours of the morning.

And Brad is actually is also a Crash user. He’s been a Crash user. And it’s an alum of the Praxis program. So he is super versed in this pitching mindset, his portfolio mindset mindset. And we’re going to riff on some ideas and ways to break into digital marketing in particular.

So welcome, Brad. And we’d love to just start off with hearing a bit about your backstory and how you launched your professional career. I know you started in the traditional school system, and then eventually moved to Praxis. Tell us how that sort of got started for you.

Well, thanks for having me, Joel. Yes. So I was originally a primary school teacher, but did that for about a year and a half, couldn’t see myself doing that. And I realized that after uni, I didn’t really have any practical skills, it was all kind of just nonsense, what I learnt through the teaching degree and what I had.

Yeah, I just didn’t have any practical skills that were valuable in the workplace. So I started looking around, and I discovered Praxis. And I thought, I’m outside the US, but maybe I can apply and maybe they’ll take me and turns out, they did. So that was brilliant.

And so I worked with my business partner, and that was in the digital marketing space. And I was thrown in the deep end on that. So to start, my first project was to, to basically make a program that taught accountants, everything from strategy, presence, online, publishing, converting, attracting, automating, nurturing, selling and onboarding new clients. So it was a huge project.

And I didn’t have any marketing background. So I was just learning a lot, writing a lot. And it gave me the the initial, I guess, the fundamentals to then launch into, you know, start putting those into practice that into practice with that business.

Oh, yeah, it’s amazing how learning by doing what learning to the task, right? Not the test is actually highly efficient. And you, you were, through necessity needed to learn. And that’s how you learn from curious how you got started in digital marketing. In particular, I mean, in Praxis, and by the way, for any of our new Crash listeners, Praxis is sort of our sister company, which is a year long apprenticeship, slash boot camp program as a alternative to college.

And so you’ve got paired up with in your apprenticeship, with his digital marketing in this digital marketing role. But how did you find that out? or How did you figure out that you wanted that particular niche in terms of marketing, just curious about the self knowledge that you sort of developed in that that can be really key when someone’s at the beginning of their career trying to figure out what to get into?

It wasn’t so much self knowledge is that was a fight I think, or something similar, because there was the the boss’s wife at that company practice paradox. She was very into Praxis and knew Isaac and TK and followed them. And so it kind of worked out that way that there was a connection there. And I spoke to MC, who was the boss at practice paradox.

And we just connected, we both had similar goals around education and improving that, but also just talking about what the role involved, I felt like with my tech savviness that it would be would be a suitable fit. But I didn’t really know about marketing. I didn’t know about sales. I didn’t know about any of the roles in a typical company in much detail.

Yeah. And so you have the open mindedness you knew you wanted to, you know, relaunch your career.


And you kind of have that open mindedness of let’s go ahead and play around let’s go 100% in, even if you weren’t necessarily sure that you were going to do marketing for the long term, you had a mindset of Let’s learn, learn, learn, learn. Then that’s gonna you’re gonna be able to take from there, you know?

100%, that was exactly right.

So flash forward, you kind of got some more experience under your belt couple years. And then you were on the job hunt again, trying to get a new role and you use Crash. Just curious to hear about your experience in general, you were one of the first users of Crash, I believe in 2019.

And curious to hear about what your system was for your job hunt. I know you you pitched, I believe dozens of companies, and how you went about finding those companies? What was your approach to the video or the projects you might make? or just general approach and successes and failures in your first time as a job hunt, Crash user and your job hunt?

Yeah, well, there was there was quite a lot to it. So I started with the Praxis blog. Because, you know, when I was first looking around, before I even joined Praxis, I think that was one of the most valuable resources on the internet for finding jobs, getting jobs, approaching places, doing projects that convince people to hire you, or make them want to hire you, because you just deliver so much value.

So I started there. And throughout my time at paradox in the first company that I was with, I did a few things for people not looking for a job, but just trying to put that Praxis mindset into action. So I made designs and infographics for a sales trainer that we worked with one day, and I just sent them over to her wasn’t looking for a job wasn’t looking for anything, but I just wanted to build the habit of being able to rapidly create those to a decent quality.

And I think she still uses them to this day. So that’s really cool. But then starting the job hunt again. So I started pitching with slide decks and Google Slides for a while, because that was you know, the original vision and model for it. Then I built a custom website and coated that and it presented really nicely. And then just a couple of weeks later, Crash came along, and just totally made all my efforts obsolete, because it was such a wonderful tool to use.

I, I really love just how easy it was. Because often when you have a website like that, that starts up, it’s very clunky. And at least from my perspective, it was not at all clunky, it was very well laid out and easy to use. So that was awesome. And yeah, I applied, I think I sent out 44 applications, and most of those are pitches, but not all of them.

Because you know, some of them make it a little bit hard to to send pitches on an application. But yeah, it took me about four months to get hired, I stopped, I stopped applying after the third month, because I was just quite sure that I was going to get this role. So that was fine. But yeah, in terms of sourcing places, you know, I would look on remote work job boards primarily.

So there’s there’s kind of two routes that you can take, you can look for jobs that are already being advertised. Or you can pitch companies that you find it just really cool and try and create your own role. I definitely took the first approach, the second, the first approach, but I would highly recommend the second going forward actually.

Because you’re more likely to find a really great ideal fit. And, you know, work at a company that inspires the crap out of you rather than a company that you feel great about. But it’s not like tied in with your mission, your purpose, your passion.

So if you can pick one of those two, you probably want the mission purpose, passion. So I would definitely recommend going for not necessarily just open roles, but places that you want to, to apply for. But yeah, so I would find places on there, I would create my, my pitch. I wouldn’t always do a video. Again, I would recommend always doing a video now, but I’m just so much more comfortable doing video at the time. I was not.

I remember in Praxis in the first couple of months, I was asked to do a video by Cameron. And I sent one of the craziest emails I’ve ever written in my entire life because I just could not do it. It absolutely created so much frustration in me.

So I think if you’re in that situation, just practice, practice, practice because there is a few skills as valuable as being able to talk to a camera to create videos, create courses to create a wealth of different things, webinars and so on. But I feel I feel like I might be drifting a little bit so if you want to bring me back…

Yeah you’re doing great. Yeah, I mean I think that’s an underrated sort of element of taking on this Crash approach is that it takes practice in times, you know, first, remember the first time for me ever shooting a pitch video, I probably put just hours and hours into it and multiple takes and sending it to people for feedback. And, you know, that’s this the nature of the learning process, right?

The first time you do something, it’s not going to be the best. And so I encourage people just just start and get those first few reps in, because that’s going to be an investment in your learning process. And then by the time you get to pitch eight, you’re going to be, you know, in stride and feel comfortable in front of that camera.

So I was curious about as well, the slide decks, you mentioned, this is an option that some Crash users have have employed, which is kind of instead of just doing that small, little bubble intro video that we have on the platform, it’s just your face, you could do a large video, that’s your face, and a slide deck, but basically like a loom video that you would upload.

And I’m curious what you what your approach was with the slide deck and what types of slides are on there? And how long did that take you? And what advice do you have for that process?

Yeah, that was quite rapid and easy to create, and it gives you something to talk to. So if you are a bit nervous talking off the cuff, I highly, highly recommend that I would still do that, actually. But yeah, so just a basic intro slide who you are, your skills, you what you can bring to the company a little bit about your history, it doesn’t need to be you know, like a resume.

But if you’ve got a few core projects under your belt, include those talk about those. Again, this is just a two three minute max video, at least from my standpoint. So it’s not about your life story. It’s just about a few key elements. And I think the most important slide is what I put as the last slide.

Perhaps you could put this as you know the second slide, because it’s kind of the most important, but what you want to achieve in the first 60 days, first 90 days working at that company, the projects that you have in mind, the more I work and gain knowledge and understanding about how companies work, if you can bring your projects to them, rather than them bringing projects to you.

They will love you for it. So if you’ve got that insight in that ability to spot gaps that are needed, and you can fill those gaps, definitely include those on the on the pitch somewhere. Because I think there’s definitely a place for it, and you’ll be greatly appreciated.

Yeah, and the very fact that you would create a project or a 60, 90 day action plan is going to be huge, even if it’s not spot on about what they need, or what’s ideal, you are signaling to them that you are thinking about your 60 day plan, or you’re thinking about their perspective and what pain points they might have.

And so you’re showing, hey, when I’m in this role, I will be this type of person, on a consistent basis, I will be continually looking at the next 60 days continually self starting, and trying to find ways to create value without someone telling me do this task.

So it’s just signaling If nothing else, even if the project is actually off 100% as long as you put some solid work into it, you’re signaling, hey, I don’t need to be told what to do. I’m a self starter, I’m creative, all that good, soft skills. So you really can’t go wrong with it. Because it just let go of all perfection and just, you know, boost up all boldness, and you’re going to be in the right spot, right?

For sure. And just to clarify a bit more about my job hunt, you know, 44 applications in three months. That’s only kind of like 15 applications a month. That’s less than four a week. So if you’ve got nothing going on, you can do probably two maybe even three a day, complete with the projects that go alongside those pitches. If you do that every day for a month, you are going to get employed 100% or you’re going to ask someone for feedback, learn the mistakes you’re making and just get employed the next month.

There’s this kind of No. And if so, buts about that. I was just gonna say a little bit more that. Yeah, as I said, more than half of those were Crash pitches. But if I was to give advice to my past self, I would say skip pitching places that make it so hard for you to find an email address on, or rocket reach, or one of those.

If they say that they really love your Crash profile, but we’d love you to submit an application into the same pool, then I wouldn’t bother because you know, these fuddy duddy crumpled suit wearing tick all the boxes, organizations probably aren’t the places that you necessarily want to work for.

Yeah, 100% if if you pitch a company, and they’re offended that you didn’t go the regular application process, that’s just a self selection mechanism, you can go find a new company. Yeah, good stuff. Yeah, just just go for it and get in that mindset of shipping, as you said. And if you maybe make that metric, additive, I’m going to ship two pitches a day, or create two videos a day or four pitches a week, something like that.

And you just have this sort of deadline created for yourself, and you just focused on Completion, Completion, Completion, rather than perfection, then you’re naturally going to improve, you’re going to get better, you’re gonna have opportunities, you know, balls in the air, it’s a great, it’s a great piece of advice.

So you wrote this awesome blog post for the Crash website. And it’s about specific advice for pitching digital marketing roles. And this is a gold we’re going to link this in the show notes is a golden article with a large list of really specific custom projects that you might want to create for a particular company.

And, and you also emphasize at the beginning of the article, the bar is still quite low. And so again, just just ship one of these projects, and it doesn’t need to be perfect, and you’re going to have potentially a lot of success.

So let’s talk about some of the potential projects you have listed here. And first of all, you talk you talk about customization is key. Right? So what are some of the tips you have for sort of researching digital marketing in general, the digital marketing practices, the analytics or whatnot, at a company in order to make a custom project?

I guess you start with their website, for sure. So start with a particular company’s website, and you can learn things about how they do marketing that will apply to other companies. So it’s very leveraged in that sense. For me personally, just being in a marketing role myself really helped.

There’s so many options, like you can make lead magnets for companies to attach to their blog posts, like, you know, ebooks, checklists, summaries, infographics, you can write the blog posts themselves, you can create educational videos, you can plan out and pitch webinar ideas, email sequences to move people along the pipeline, you can do email list segmentation, because you don’t want to be sending the same content to everyone on your email list.

You want to be sending more specific things to particular people. There’s, there’s a great deal of potential projects and opportunities out there. But yeah, I would say start with a website look for look for what’s missing. But you don’t know what’s missing until you’ve looked at a few websites and can kind of see what the overall playing field looks like.

So yeah, I guess when I say look at websites, I would say look at, you know, look at the hub spots, look at appsumo look at just really big sites that have their shit together, Salesforce. Plenty more. But yeah, look at those websites, look at their marketing, look at what they do. Look at how they price and package their services to because depending on the company that you’re looking at, you can find optimize optimizations there as well.

But that’s getting a little bit off track from the marketing side of things. But yeah, see if the company has things that they can leverage. So if they’ve got you could do a net promoter score campaign, for example, and see their email list who are those raving fans, so whether nine and 10, out of 10s, for recommending that company to other people.

And then you can reach out to them and see if they’d like to do an interview. And you can make case studies out of that, which will further be able to sell the company and act as social proof for potential buyers. And then you can use those to even define ideal buyer personas. And so, you know, this is the anatomy of a really great customer. Let’s create more content that attracts these ideally suited prospects.

Yeah, so I’m just starting looking at the website, figuring out okay, what’s the copy on this website? Is there a blog on this website? Is it confusing the amount of words on the page? How does this compare to a top notch website, you know, like you said, like HubSpot, or figuring out discrepancies in what’s good versus what’s not good.

And just making suggestions make any mock ups making landing page of here’s, here’s how I would make this how it works page instead. You know, and again, if it doesn’t be perfect, but just thinking along those lines, you mentioned, you know, other other ideas in this marketing realm of lead magnets or email sequences, let’s like drill down or just like really spell it out.

Because I think when you I know for me, like when I was brand new to this pitching mindset, this project mindset, it was like, Well, that sounds great. But how do I how do I even really do that?

It just, it just needed more, more encouragement and clarity about maybe some of the nuts and bolts of really figuring out who’s like, how do you figure out who the customer segments are, you know, so let’s talk about that.

Like, if you were going to look for a copywriting position, and plan out an email nurture sequence, for particular segments of their audience, like how do you figure out what their audiences? How do you? How do you go about starting that project?

Well, I’m glad you brought that up. And this is something that Isaac says a lot too, the CEO of Crash. There is a gap between what you can know from the outside versus what you know, on the inside, and that’s okay. You can use a few little placeholders, I just put them in brackets.

If you’re not 100%, sure about something, you can just put it in a bracket. But even if you even if you get it wrong, the fact that you put something down, it speaks volumes about you and your ability to think and create something. So I wouldn’t focus too much on getting it right. But if you do want to get it right, again, it’s pay attention to the website, look at their social medias, look at who they’re who they’re targeting.

And if they are shooting quite broadly, then maybe you have to think and feel out that yourself, rather than have a very clear idea of you know, who the particular segments are. But yeah, I think if you spend a few moments on their website, on their social media or on their other platforms online, watch a few videos on YouTube, if they’ve got a YouTube channel, you should be able to get an idea, you should be able to go down the right track, maybe you don’t completely nail the buyer persona.

But you’ll get it close enough that it won’t feel like your email sequence is, you know, talking to totally the wrong person or anything like that. So then when it comes to creating the email sequence, say you you choose three different categories to split it out into more or less, it’s the same bones, the same structure of the email. So maybe you want to, to do something like say you’ve read Invisible Selling Machine by Ryan Deiss, founder of

And he has this really cool sequence where he talks about the first email is logic. Second email is benefits. Third, email is intrigue. And optional fourth email is like FOMO. fear of missing out. And basically, it’s trying to sell. So you can write the first email about the logic of why the product is valuable. And you just tweak that slightly for each audience.

But that slight tweaking, even though it seems quite slight, and quite minimal, it makes a huge difference to the person who’s receiving it and reading it, because it connects with them with their values with their pain points, and so on. So you tap into that in those emails, and you write those sequences for each now that would be quite a huge project. And maybe you chose to do that.

And maybe you chose to do something a little bit smaller, maybe you just outline those emails, that would take half an hour or so. And you don’t have to actually write all of those. Say it was, Logic, Benefits, Intrigue, FOMO multiplied by three different segments, that’s 12 emails, you don’t need to write all those, you just need to plan them out. And that can be done quite quickly with just a couple of bullet points, stop points. And you send those through and if they like it, then that’s your first project sorted.

Definitely, and, you know, when it comes to email sequences we could also do is become a lead. If it’s a you know, it’s a B2C SaaS product, and you can become a lead and sign up for their email list and go through their own drip campaign. And then that’s it.

Those are those emails and put in a Google doc and say, Hey, this is how I might, how I might tweak this or here’s my comment here. And here’s the philosophy based on this book I read and how, why I would change it and boom, boom, boom.

Yes, that is really good auditing. So you can audit the website for issues, maybe there’s load speed issues, they’re typically quite easy to fix, or extremely hard to fix, depending on what the issue is.

You can audit the email, onboarding sequence. And, yeah, I would find those really good companies and sign up to a few of those and just pay attention to what their sequence is, genuinely, genuinely, generally, you’re going to want to find companies that are similar to the one that you’re pitching, see what their onboarding sequence looks like, and see how that differs from the company that you’re pitching.

And I think it’ll reveal quite a lot of opportunity for improvement. And you can pitch that for them for sure.

Yeah, so you have tons of good recommendations here on this blog post, and a lot of links to specific tools that can help with this process.

For instance, you mentioned the Page Speed Loading Time, you have a link to the different tools, plugins on WordPress, Hummingbird, and smush WordPress plugins that can just help you figure out different different hangups that could be happening in their in their load time that could be affecting their SEO and all these different little kind of details that could be could be valuable in your value proposition.

You could also do really low hanging fruit stuff, like you mentioned, finding broken links on their website right through their blog, super low hanging fruit. I mean, the thing is, the reality is companies, especially smaller companies, they’re filled with human beings who are imperfect, right, there’s going to be there’s going to be loose ends that need to be tied.

So if you’re trying to get that job you have that, you know, you have that lower opportunity cost, you have more time in your hands to go do some of that grunt work, and that can make a great first impression. So this has been really good quality information for our job hunters in the audience.

Brad, really appreciate you taking the time. How can people find you? How can they get in touch with you potentially, we’d love to hear it

Where you can find me at I think that’s probably the best way.

Rock on.

Well, again, really appreciate it making the time and sharing this wisdom. We will link to this blog post in the show notes and correct Crash listeners. Definitely check it out and start making a project even if it’s not perfect.

Thanks again, Brad.

Thanks, Joel.

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