become a content marketing productivity master: 21 tips from the #cmworld community
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Become a Content MarketingPRODUCTIVITY MASTER:
21 TIPS FROM THE #CMWORLD COMMUNIT Y
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.
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
LEAD WITH YOUR STRENGTHS AND YOUR STRATEGY1
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
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
LEAVE ROOM FOR THE SPARK OF CREATIVITY3
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.
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.
SET PRIORITIES, AND DONT GET SIDETRACKED5
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.
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.
KEEP A CONTENT CALENDAR7
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
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.
CREATE EFFICIENCIES WITH NEW TOOLS AND STREAMLINED PRODUCTION PROCESSES 9
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
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
CULTIVATE EFFICIENT WORKING AND WRITING HABITS11
HOLD YOURSELF TO DEADLINES12
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
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