content, marketing, organisation, desk, laptop, content strategy, plan, content calendars, scheduling, repurpose, analytics, templates
Content marketing means keeping on top of a lot of responsibilities. Of course there’s the job of actually producing content every week, but you also need to be constantly generating ideas for your next piece, monitoring your analytics, strategizing ways to improve, identifying leads that need following-up, watching industry trends, curating supplementary content, liaising with your team and contributors... and so on.
It’s easy for some things to slip through the cracks. After all, you’re only human. (At least… if you’re still reading this before the A.I. bots have taken over…)
With this in mind,
1. Create a weekly plan
The first step to getting your strategy organised is to get yourself organised. That means finding a system that helps you to stay on track with your day-to-day tasks.
Trello is a particularly useful tool for this. It allows you to log your tasks on lists, which can then be dragged and dropped between different categories and arranged into separate ‘boards’ to keep things tidy. You can keep things as simple as a ‘to do’ and a ‘done’ list to shift tasks between, or create a board tailored to your unique working process.
It may also be worth considering your method of working. Strategies such as the Pomodoro technique, for example, can help you stay away from distractions by encouraging work in short bursts with regular breaks. There are even timer apps you can download to help you put this method into practice.
Of course, you could also just use a good old fashioned whiteboard if that feels more your style. My parents, who run a small business, cite that the best piece of organisational advice they were ever given was to draw up a simple weekly plan on their office whiteboard with tasks for each day to keep them on track.
Find whatever works for you - and don’t be afraid to spending a week trying out a new method to see if it sticks.
2. Work in bulk: Content Calendars & Scheduling
Planning out your content far ahead of time will not only give you peace of mind, but also make the process much more efficient. A content calendar simply refers to a system you can use to do this in bulk.
For us, spreadsheets work best for this. We can separate blocks of a sheet into separate days of the week and use the columns to fill out information such as when the content will be posted, what type of content it should be, what will be written in the post, and any links or images that need to be attached.
You can then also use scheduling software such as Hootsuite or Buffer to transfer that content over into individual posts for your social channels, which will be ready and waiting to publish whenever you choose.
The added bonus of this method is that it forces you to look at your content in an overview, helping you to ensure that it’s varied and that key messages are being pushed consistently. The process of copying the content over into your scheduling software also means it gets an extra proofread - always handy!
3. Create a pool for ideas
Remember that great idea you had for an article two weeks ago? Probably not, because you forgot to write it down… or the post-it note that you did write it down on got crumpled up and tossed away somewhere.
It’s an easy mistake to make, but the solution is to have a good system in place for storing your ideas. As soon as one pops into your head - don’t push it aside. Take the few minutes to jot it down and you’ll thank yourself for it later. Try to keep it structured: create a table where you’re prompted to fill in what the title would be, its purpose, a rough outline, and paste in a link to anything that inspired the idea.
Google Docs is a great tool for this. You can use it to create an online document that you can access anywhere - whether it’s from your laptop at home, your work computer, or your phone - and quickly add in whatever that thought was. You can also share the document with your colleagues so that you can all contribute to it, creating a pool of inspiration for you to use whenever you need a new idea.
I’d also recommend Feedly. It allows you to compile all your favourite blogs or news sites together so that you can see all their recent posts in one streamlined list - perfect for keeping on top of industry trends and sparking inspiration.
4. Split tasks up
If procrastination or boredom are things that tend to slow down your productivity, this one’s for you.
When you know you’ve got a big job on your hands, such as writing a large piece of content like an e-book, it can be difficult to feel motivated. The amount you have to do feels overwhelming, so you procrastinate.
The simple trick of splitting up these big tasks can help make any job feel much more conquerable, and will also help you zero in on what you actually need to get done. After all, you wouldn’t make a shopping list by writing “buy food” - you’d itemise everything so you know what you actually need to get.
Break your e-book job into little bits: “create deadline schedule”, “determine distribution plan,” “broadly research topic,” “write chapter outline,” and so on. Then spread these tasks out, even if it’s just by slotting one other job in between. Set specific times with automated reminders if it helps.
This will help keep things varied so you don’t feel bored, and stop you from feeling like the project is dominating all your time. Not to mention, checking all those little items off your to-do list can be a nice boost of accomplishment, which will help you stay motivated to keep going.
5. Repurpose content
If you’re not already doing this, you need to be. Repurposing your content isn’t about cutting corners or duplicating your old posts - it’s about finding new ways to utilise your work. Not only will it improve your efficiency by getting the most out of everything you create, but it will also free up extra time for you to focus on other tasks.
Here’s our full guide to content repurposing, including eight specific ways you can give it a go.
6. Focus your analytics
New technology has now given us an almost unending amount of ways to analyse the performance of our content, but that’s not always a good thing.
Google Analytics is an oft-cited tool for monitoring traffic and audience information for your website, and it’s definitely a fantastic (and free!) asset to have in your repertoire. This being said, be careful not to get bogged down by the enormous amount of information there is to look through. The insights it provides can be fascinating, but that’s why it can also be a notorious time-suck.
Try to decide which 3-5 figures are the most significant indicators of performance to you, and then focus your attention on tracking only those. And if you find yourself wandering over to your analytics section out of curiosity a little too often, it may be helpful to assign a specific time of the week or month when you allow yourself to browse.
7. Create graphic templates
You don’t have to have an in-depth understanding the Adobe Suite to make professional, branded graphics. Canva is a great tool that comes with a huge array of smart templates where you can simply add the information you need in, drag and drop your elements around, and go.
If you have a regular need to make graphics, such as title cards for articles or quote cards for your blogs, creating a simple Canva template can really boost your efficiency. It’ll be there waiting for you to fill in whenever you need a new image, and after a few alterations you’ll be able to download a professional looking graphic in just a few minutes.
8. Be forgiving with yourself
Finally, remember to cut yourself some slack now and again. This list isn’t a declaration that you should be perfect and never let anything slip. No one person is a machine, and it’s inevitable that you’ll probably forget the odd thing here and there. In fact, when you have enough exciting stuff going on that this starts to happen, it’s probably a sign that you’re doing a good job of challenging yourself. As Sonia Simone of CopyBlogger puts it:
Hopefully these tips and tools will help make that mess a little more manageable, and your content all the stronger for it.