Become a Content Marketing Productivity Master: 21 Tips from the #CMWorld Community

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  • Become a Content MarketingPRODUCTIVITY MASTER:


  • We cant stop time. But we can learn to use it more effectively.

    Are you feeling overwhelmed? Tired of never getting through your todo list? If so... youre in the same boat as practically every content marketer we talk to.

    Fundamentally, the secret to feeling more productive is to have a plan for what you need to accomplish and stick to it. Its easier said than done, for sure; but by implementing efficiency

    techniques, streamlining certain processes, and taking advantage of a few time-tested tricks, content marketers can increase their output while reducing the frustration, stress, and misdirected efforts that can often take them off track.

    Take a look at 21 of the most helpful tips the #CMWorld community had to offer during

    our recent Twitter chat on productivity.


  • 33

    Its counterproductive to waste time on content that isnt going to help your business achieve its goals. To maximize productivity, start with a strategic analysis of how relevant and valuable the effort is likely to be for both your brand and your audience.

    Mike Myers says he uses a simple flow chart to determine where content marketing will be helpful (and where it wont) because, like with dessert, it can be hard to know when to say no.

    I start by asking: How relevant is the project to my market i.e., clients and prospects? Roger C. Parker

    Make strategic decisions. Know when something requested wont add enough value. Prioritize, and suggest alternatives when possible. Danalynne Wheeler


  • 4FOLLOW YOUR STRATEGY WITH A PROACTIVE PLAN2Every strategic idea needs a plan to bring it to life. With advanced preparation, you can take some of the guesswork out of the content creation process, making it easier to stay focused and productive.

    Successful content marketers choose topics in advance. They identify themes they can create content on in the upcoming months. Planning is key. Roger C. Parker

    Plan what to say & how. Create a title optimized to catch readers & search engines. Joanie Eppinga

  • 55

    Content creation is as much an art as a science. Though you should definitely have a plan, its also helpful to be flexible and leave room in your process to take advantage of inspiration when it strikes.

    Make notes all the time. Theyre the seeds of content to come. You cant harvest tomorrow unless you plant today. George Stenitzer

    Balance sticking with strategy (and saying no to what doesnt fit) with the potential to explore new possibilities. Always keep the learning mindset. Anne Janzer


  • 6FOCUS ON AUDIENCE NEEDS4Content is created to spur an audience to action, so your productivity ultimately depends on how well your efforts are is suited to meeting that goal. Keep this in mind and you will never waste valuable time on efforts that miss the mark.

    First, you have to understand your market and their needs. This provides focus. Roger C. Parker

    Its all about knowing your audience. Knowing whom to talk to directs your decisions about what you do and dont need to say. Adam P. Newton

    Outsider, a New York agency, suggests that content creators ask questions like, Does this provide value to my audience? Would they share it? Viewing your content from the audiences perspective will help you figure out which projects may not work even if they seemed like a good idea to you at first.

  • 77

    Its hard to be productive if our minds are being pulled in a million different directions. Even small side projects can wind up derailing productivity in a major way, so its helpful to determine right from the outset whats worth your immediate attention, what can be put on the back burner for a while, and what can be indefinitely postponed.

    Roger C. Parker recommends starting out by asking, How urgently do my customers or prospects need the information? Then ask, Is the project practical for me at the present time? After that, if a client asks me to do a different task, I ask: Which of our current tasks do you want me to put aside?

    Ronda Bowen says that looking at past performance of content helps, too. If you know a certain topic tanks in terms of page views, theres no reason to continue to create content on that topic.


  • 8BUDGET YOUR TIME AND USE IT EFFECTIVELY6Effective time management means devoting adequate attention to your content without allowing your efforts to take over your entire working life.

    Successful content marketers run marathons, not races. Time management is essential. Manage your time as carefully as you would manage your money. Roger C. Parker

    Set aside blocks of time to draft your content without being interrupted by meetings or chats. Sarah A. Parker

    While planning is important, Mael Roth advises that sometimes you need to set yourself on get it done mode: At some point its learn by doing.

  • 99

    Just as deadlines can create a sense of urgency for specific content projects, keeping a calendar of those projects can help you mentally plan and prioritize your day-to-day efforts and hold yourself accountable for their completion.

    Scheduling is key for productivity. Cara Shannon

    Lisa Masiello recommends being methodical and keeping a calendar, as she feels its easy to become distracted without a schedule.

    Social media analytics vendor Union Metrics suggests drawing up a quarterly content calendar and working backwards from the deadlines you set in order to ensure time for drafts/your approval process.


  • 10

    KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO8No one likes to have to turn down a content request from a client or supervisor, but sometimes its a necessary evil in order to make good progress on current priorities, continually deliver on your contents promises, and maintain your sanity.

    Strategy is key. If a project doesnt align, its not worth your time. Angela Hursh

    I cringe when clients try to pump out as much content as possible and skimp on quality. A content effort should be more than a checklist item. Brandon Seymour

    Many times marketing should say no to change. Dont let your boredom of a tagline/ topic divert the oil tanker. Nick Kellet

    If there isnt a compelling story [in a particular content idea], I find the exit. Kip Meacham

  • 1111

    One of the easiest ways to become more productive is to get rid of repetitive or unnecessarily time-consuming tasks that are bogging down your efforts and replace them with more efficient techniques. Even if it takes some extra time to implement and adjust to the change, streamlining your processes often pays dividends in terms of productivity over the long-term.

    I implemented a written request form for content projects. [This] creates accountability & saves me from 20 [rounds of] revisions. Danielle Poupore

    I use Mindjets MindManager to organize ideas, keep track of projects, and easily track influencers and ideas. And every content marketer needs a graphics program to create images for blog posts and social media. Roger C. Parker

    We use a lot of distraction-free writing tools to encourage the process, as well as an editorial calendar to plan it all out. ClearVoice

    Erika Heald asserts that collaboration tools like RedboothHQ, Kapost, Evernote, and Google Drive are key to her daily productivity.


  • 12

    FREE YOUR MIND10Productivity isnt always about going heads down into a project. Instead, experiment to discover what ideas and processes work best for you.

    Stay curious and open to new innovations and marketing concepts. Set aside time to study those who are doing it right. Crowd Content

    A large part of marketing productivity comes from understanding the machine of the internet and the psychology of people Nick Kellet

    We write down all of our ideas before dismissing any. Kitterman Marketing

  • 1313

    Good writing is just as much nurture as it is nature. Set good habits right from the start of your content creation efforts and youre practically guaranteed to become more productive as you progress.

    Cultivate the habit of short, frequent working sessions rather than long, tiring sessions. Roger C. Parker

    Our best productivity tips are early mornings, strong coffee, and a separate window for social media, to avoid distraction. Outsider (a NYC agency)

    Try working at times when there will be fewer distractions. For example, @SparkerWorks has considered getting started earlier in the day: Nobody bothers you in the early morning! Sarah A. Parker


  • 14


    Deadlines help you set clear parameters for your content efforts, and can create a sense of urgency that keeps you focused and on-task during the content creation process.

    Deadlines definitely help with productivity! Sometimes its hard to get started if there is no goal in sight. Wyzowl

    Consider creating mini-deadlines for the various tasks required for each project. This can help you create a sense of urgency and pace your progress. Roger C. Parker

  • 1515

    Content creation takes dedication. If you want to earn the loyalty of your audience, you must hold yourself accountable for delivering on what you promise even when the process gets challenging or you run into a stumbling block.

    To be a productive writer, make yourself write. Good ideas often come after youve gotten started. Anne Janzer

    Every successful content marketer I know reads and writes daily. Patrick Hayslett


  • 16

    AVOID BEATING YOURSELF UP OR GETTING FRUSTRATED 14Its not easy for writers to create something thats just right, so its natural to stumble with phrasing or get stuck on an idea once in a while. When the words just arent flowing, dont be afraid to take your time and clear your mind and know that you can always make changes down the line.

    Give yourself permission for that bad first draft. Dont edit as you write it will only slow you down. Ronda Bowen

    If somethings really not working, give yourself permission to step away. Come back to it tomorrow. Work on something else. Sarah A. Parker

  • 1717

    A trick some writers use to structure a content effort is to write the ending first, then craft the rest of the story so that it leads to the intended conclusion. Starting each project with your desired results in mind can reduce the need for time consuming revisions and rewrites throughout the process.

    Develop your positioning first so that the content will communicate the desired marketing messages. Samuel J. Scott

    Ive begun asking project requesters to tell me how they plan to use content. No sense making something to sit in a drawer. Danielle Poupore


  • 18

    MAKE CONTENT CREATION PART OF YOUR ROUTINE16Just like good habits make good writers, regular routines can help those writers mentally prepare for creating quality contentand for staying the course, even when other priorities start to compete for their time and attention.

    Show up. Turning up at your computer consistently is the best way to be successful. Ronda Bowen

    Brainstorm, outline, write, write, write, proof, have someone else proof, edit, & promote! If you get stuck, take a break, and then go back. Aya Fawzy

    I look for easy parts of the post to write such as lists or easy topics to build momentum. Roger C. Parker

  • 1919

    If you find yourself working on a complex topic with a lot of ground to cover, or are struggling to find the right flow for your discussion, try creating a simple outline first. Organizing your thoughts in this way can help you see which points are essential and which ones can be left out, as well as how to structure the conversation in the most logical way.

    Map the journey. Know where youre starting, ending and [where] youll stop at along the way. Jeremy Bednarski

    First, I take notes by hand & organize a rough structure. Last thing is proofreading. Then proofreading again. Danielle Poupore

    Start your writing with an outline. Then write everything down as quickly as you can. Lastly, edit, edit, edit. Heidi Cohen

    After outlining what you are going to write and why, just get words on paper/screen. Dont edit, just do a brain dump. Traci Browne


  • 20

    USE THEMES TO BUILD A SERIES OF RELATED CONTENT18Another way to handle complex topics is to break them up into small, manageable bites. Start by coming up with a list of relevant themes, and then create a series of related content pieces that you can that you can distribute on a regular basis.

    Series are about brevity. Series turn complex ideas into snacks. Series also multiply the SEO value of one big idea. Nick Kellet

    A series can be a great way to get started. It gives you a theme and a goal to build off of. Feels less daunting every week. Kitterman Marketing

    A blog series can help with productivity in that (hopefully) you can map it all out ahead of time. Jeremy Bednarski

    In terms of productivity, having an established series is really helpful to me. Its great for when Im stumped on topics. Christina Grieves

  • 2121

    Content doesnt always have to be original to be powerful. At times, its more productive to use the content youve painstakingly created and focus your time on ways to repackage it in a new way, or for a new platform.

    @crestodina writes, You need to view content as atoms you can recycle & rearrange in different ways. Roger C. Parker

    Its just so easy to do. So many resources and potential for data and info overload. Curate, collate, focus. Jacob Henenberg

    Break up mega-topics into edible chunks. Use customer questions to guide series topics. George Stenitzer


  • 22


    If an idea starts to lead you in a different direction, dont switch gears right away. Instead, tuck it away it somewhere safe, and then come back to it after youve finished the content effort you are currently working on. If the new concept still seems valid when you revisit it, you now have a ready-made topic on hand for your next content effort.

    Im a narrow-minded content creator. If anything remotely veers from my main idea, it goes in queue to become its own piece. Patrick Hayslett

  • 2323

    When all else fails... you are probably working too hard. Sometimes its best to just step away and take some time to clear your mind before returning to your content creation. You may even come up with a new idea or two when you give yourself a break, rather than trying to force creativity when you just arent feeling it.

    When Im finished, I put the post aside overnight. I need to proof it from a fresh perspective. Roger C. Parker

    Even a 5-minute break can he...