The intrinsically motivated don't settle for average. Characterized by Type A personalities, there is always room for edits and improvements. We look to dazzle and fascinate when we write. But, the reality: most marketers are too busy and strapped for time.
Forces outside our control, and beyond our capacity, often lead to stress-induced, inefficient writing. The 2014 CMI Benchmark Report (B2C) found “lack of time” to be marketers’ biggest challenge this year (57%), followed closely by “producing the kind of content that engages” (51%). “Producing enough content” ranked fourth (45%).
Luckily, there are ways to refocus content efforts across your team, relieve all three of these challenges, and perform at optimal efficiencies company-wide.
Below are three tips to make the most of your content productivity.
3 Tips to Make the Most of Content Marketing Resources
1. Build a Solid Foundation.
Do your background work. If you’re writing about an industry outside of your expertise (for example, with a new client, new tech or a new trend), allocate time to doing your research. Become familiar with industry trends, pain points and influencers, and document your findings along the way. It might seem tedious, but will allow for more intelligent, accurate and evergreen content creation. Plus, doing research prior to writing allows for more organized thinking. Googling while writing is never a productive tactic (or hasn’t been in my experience).
Aside from the industry, know your buyer persona, as well as buying stage. Who will read your content? Will they find it useful, or valuable enough to share with their networks? Persona interests, pain points and cycle stages should be mirrored within a content calendar. Insightful, tactical planning will result in more strategic content pieces or topics, and will minimize wasted time in the long run.
These steps might seem high level, but sometimes you need to go back to basics to excel beyond current performance.
2. Nurture Your Creativity.
When it comes to content, it’s not about producing more in less time—likely why “producing the kind of content that engages” came in a close second for marketers’ biggest challenges. If the end product isn’t going to break through the clutter, or improve the customer experience in some way, it’s time well wasted.
But, how can we feel focused and creative when we approach a new project? Inspiration likely will not hit each and every time you write, but it might happen more often if you take the time to nurture and grow personal creativity.
This process is unique to the individual, so be observant and sensitive to your creative tendencies. When do you do your best work? Where were you when a great idea hit you? How can you cultivate your thinking patterns, and encourage moments of innovation? Sometimes, simple observance is key. Other times, you might need a little push to find your inner innovator.
Fast Company suggests you can “enhance their brain’s ability to innovate” by doing the following four things: challenge yourself, increase your knowledge, engage with “stimulating” people and brainstorm new ideas.
Below are a few creative rituals we like to mix in to our daily routine at PR 20/20:
- Observe time management blocks (take a break or take a walk between productivity blocks).
- Switch up your environment—Armed with laptops, we can work at our desk, in the lounge or a conference room.
- Disconnect from your devices (that means phone, email, IM, etc.).
- Dim the lights or dim your screen.
- Play classical music, or drown out noise with relaxing sounds. Try Calm or Coffitivity.
- Read your co-workers’ pieces, popular trade blogs or pieces from authors you admire.
3. Use the Right Productivity Tools.
The right tools can change and advance the content production process, and lead to better time management. Every content marketer needs a free note-taking tool. If you’re easily distracted by fleeting ideas, Evernote is an effective solution. You can create notebooks, set reminders and sync your account with your phone. Sticky notes or Post-It Notes are also a good item to keep on your desktop.
Or, tackle time management issues with free mobile apps like 30/30, which segments time into 30-minute productivity blocks.
Another time consuming task is daily monitoring. Quality content marketers need to stay in the loop on industry trends and news. Below are a few essential tools we like. These tools curate select content (by publication, social network or keyword) and will help you to stay current with daily topics.
Streamline easy tasks like these when you can, and allocate saved time to more productive activities (like drafting).
Break out of your comfort zone and experiment with new creativity boosters or free tools. The key to content confidence is adefined content production process. It’s the first and most critical stepping stone to producing strategic, standout content.
Related resources we like:
- 5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long
- Top 20 Android and iOS Productivity Apps for 2014
- Productivity Hacks From 60 LinkedIn Influencers
- 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal
- The Daily Routine of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How To Design Your Own Master Routine
What content processes or tools do you use to operate more efficiently? Please feel free to share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!