Saturday, 16 April 2016

7 Productivity Hacks for Smart B2B Content Marketers

Title Image and illustration: Productivity Hacks for B2B Marketers


It seems like our marketing “to do” list gets longer every day. The more projects and meetings on your list, the harder it is to get everything done. Here are seven tips that will boost your content marketing productivity …
Every day, I speak with B2B marketing professionals who struggle with their workload.

It’s no surprise …
According to research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, B2B marketers are producing more content than ever. In fact, 76% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did last year. They now use an average of 13 content marketing tactics – from blogging to white papers to webinars.
Many B2B marketers produce record-breaking amounts of content without a large enough team to support them.
And they’re doing it on top of meetings, phone calls, and their other daily tasks.
One of my clients told me that he spends all day in meetings and has to give up time with his family at night, so he can finally get his work done.
This is a sad reality for many B2B marketers.
However, there are a few things you can do to keep the content machine rolling while you free up some of your valuable time.
Here are my top seven productivity tips for B2B content marketers:

1. Block out the first hour of your workday for your most important project.


Block out the first hour of your workday for important projects: Image of a watch

One of my clients recently used my online calendar to schedule a call with me. He joked that he didn’t see any appointments before 10 AM, so I must not start work until mid-morning.
I do start work earlier, but I just don’t take calls before 10 AM. This gives me time to get some copywriting done before calls and emails interrupt my train of thought.
Doing this sets me up for a productive day, because I get important work done first thing in the morning.
If you can manage it, cut out all of your early morning distractions. Say no to meetings. Turn off your ringer. Don’t check your email.
Your co-workers will initially try to distract you in the morning, but over time, they will learn not to interrupt you during your productivity hour.

Try this for a week and see if you notice any improvements in your productivity – as well as a reduction in your stress levels.

2. Ban distracting websites.


Ban Distracting Websites: Image of Computer and Facebook

I recently had to take drastic measures with Facebook.
I was spending too much time on the site, scrolling through my feed and checking out links that my friends posted. Soon, a “quick look” at my messages would turn into 15 minutes of reading articles and commenting on posts.
Plus, a lot of the content that I see on Facebook is very political. While it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, I felt like I was being bombarded with heavy issues all the time. This affected my mood and productivity.
So, I started to block myself out of Facebook during my workday. As soon as I sit down in the morning, I open the Self Control app and set a timer for how long I want to block myself out of Facebook and other distracting websites.
Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve noticed an improvement in my mood and my productivity. I even check Facebook much less during the evenings and weekends, when I don’t limit my access to the site.

3. Roll up your email subscriptions.


Roll up your email subscriptions: Illustration of email inbox

Email is a huge time suck.
According to an Atlassian infographic, employees check their email an average of 36 times per hour. Then, it takes them 16 minutes to refocus after responding to emails.
At this rate, it’s impossible to focus on producing great content.
I’ve been using Unroll.me to manage my inbox. The app takes all of my email subscriptions and rolls them into one daily email. So, instead of getting promotional messages in my inbox every minute, I now get them once a day.
Whenever a new subscription appears in my inbox, Unroll.me gives me the option to add it to my daily roll up, keep it in my inbox, or unsubscribe from it.
Since I’ve started using this service, my inbox has been clean. It’s easier for me to see important emails since my inbox is no longer full of clutter. I spend much less time managing my emails.

4. Play.


Play can make you more creative: Image of a cafe setting

At Content Marketing World, John Cleese talked about the importance of play. He recommended that content marketers take time out to play. For example, go to a park. Paint. Build a fort. Have fun.
Playing makes you more creative, which in turn can positively impact your content marketing.

5. Meditate.


Meditation increases focus: image of man meditating

We live in a world with a million distractions – from email to social media to click bait.
All of these distractions make it hard to stay focused.
This is where meditation can help.
As marketers, it can be hard for us to sit still and calm our minds. However, studies have shown that just 10-20 minutes of daily meditation can help us stay focused and perform better when faced with tight deadlines.
University of Washington and University of Arizona study found that employees who practiced meditation had lower levels of stress and better memory when multitasking. They also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.

6. Break your content development into chunks.


Break your content development into chunks: Image of graph

It never fails …
I’m writing a piece of content, and the ideas are flowing. Then, my typing slows, and it takes me twenty minutes to write a sentence.
This is when I know that I need to take a break.
Stepping away from your content – whether it’s to play, exercise, or work on something else – is key to improving your productivity.
When you return to your content at a later time, your mind will be fresh, and your ideas will flow.
I’ve accounted for the ups and downs in my creativity by breaking my content development into stages:
a. Planning: Get together with your team and plan your editorial calendar for the next month or quarter.
During this time, you can also plan how you will repurpose your new content. For example, what other pieces of content do you need to support your white paper? What other channels do you want to target? Should you put a different spin on your blog post and publish it on LinkedIn? Will you create a content upgrade or opt-in offer to go with your next blog post?
b. Research: Select a topic and research it. Gather background info and statistics on the topic. Interview your subject matter experts.
c. Outline: Make an outline of your content, as this will help you organize your thoughts, so your content development process goes faster.
d. Development: Draft your content – including the design and writing.
e. Editing: Share your content with others on your team and make any necessary edits.
f. Upload: Queue your content for publication. Also, queue your related posts on your social networks.
g. Promote: Promote your content.
Having a repeatable process in place will allow you to produce more high-quality content. Plus, you’ll avoid sitting at your laptop wondering what you should publish next.

7. Don’t Do it All Yourself.


Outsource you content creation: Image of computer and web communications

Outsourcing your content creation can free up a lot of your time while allowing you to produce more high-quality content.
Look for partners who have the skills that you are missing in-house. For example, your product team may have amazing technical knowledge. But do they have the time to put their expertise on paper in your blog posts and white papers? You might benefit from working with a freelance copywriter who can translate their technical knowledge into compelling content.
Try some of these tips to improve your content marketing productivity. Just putting a few of these in place can help you save your sanity, free up your evenings and weekends, and allow you to focus on the big marketing picture.
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