Staying on top of the latest marketing trends can feel like a full-time job in itself. Just when you started to get the hang of the newest social media platform, creating cool geofilters for Snapchat, or tweaking your newsletter design to reflect the latest trends you read about, it can seem like you're falling behind on five more marketing approaches your competitors just mastered.

The predictions are out: 2019 is going to be a huge year for digital marketers and savvy business owners. And you need to be aware of the next-gen platforms that will reach your audience.

Here are some quick and easy ways to stay on top of the latest marketing initiatives--so you can determine if they're a good fit for your small business (or if you should spend your focus and dollars elsewhere).

Get them in your inbox

I like reading the Content Marketing Institute's free print magazine Chief Content Officer while commuting, but in between quarterly issues, I sign up for their daily e-newsletter to read blogs, research and infographics. I also find that it's a worthwhile expense to subscribe to Digiday to stay on top of industry trends.  Other free newsletters I skim weekly include those from SmallBusinessTrends.com, Inc.com (of course), Mediabistro.com, and SocialMedia.org. Sign up for Masthead Media's email newsletter where we'll send you our take on the latest marketing trends.

Follow the right people on social

Could your Twitter feed be working harder for you? Create a list with the best online marketers relevant to your business and set it up as a stream you scroll in Hootsuite, TweetDeck or whatever social networking platform you use to schedule posts and track social media trends. Some of my favorite Twitter feeds to follow for marketing know-how include: @SMExaminer, @techcrunch, @digiday, @CMO_com ‏@adage @adweek, and more. People I love to follow include @jamioetting, @sminero @marketingprofs @jaybaer (Follow me @AmandaPressner to see which marketing news and trends I'm sharing).

Search social using the right hashtags

While you're building your ultimate Twitter list, search your favorite social media platforms with a few key hashtags so you'll see the latest news and trends on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. My favorites to use in social and conduct searches include: #content marketing, #marketing, #socialmedia, #content, #digitalmarketing, and #smallbusiness.

Sign up for Google's news alerts. Make your Google news feed work harder for you by following certain topics. My favorites include: "marketing" "content marketing" "marketing strategy" "freelancer" and "small business."

Rely on an outsourced marketing expert or team

If you don't feel like your time is best spent searching the latest content marketing news or engaging in social media chats, you could hire a third-party team or individual to stay on top of the trends that would be most useful for your business.

An external marketing company stays ahead of the latest trends and can offer strategic insights as to how your company should implement some of them. Outsourcing your marketing can also save you the stress and headaches of hiring an individual specifically for that role in your company, particularly if you aren't sure it warrants a full-time position.

Consider hiring a virtual assistant that specializes in marketing to get your feet wet and see if you might want to look into hiring a larger marketing team in the future.

The bottom line? As co-founder of Masthead Media, I need to be aware of marketing initiatives and industry trends but can't block out an entire day of work each week to read up on them. That's why I rely on these practices to stay in the know.

Published on: Mar 19, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.