3 Content Marketing Planning and Productivity Tips

Content Marketing Planning and Productivity

As we cross the annual midpoint, many businesses experience a transition period, making this an ideal time to assess marketing effectiveness to make the necessary adjustments for finishing the year strong.

However, unlike the obvious transition to a new calendar year, this yearly midpoint often passes by with the lazy summer that accompanies it (here in the northern hemisphere).

That is unfortunate, because now is the time for ramping up to still accomplish annual objectives, or even raise targets if everything is working out well.

Planning and productivity is always relevant, because time is the one obstacle small businesses most frequently give for failing to consistently build their content marketing assets.

So, let’s take a closer look.

#1 – Plan Your Timelines

Planning gets a bad rap for being a time consuming activity. The truth is planning gives back time.

When you plan ahead you are investing in your future accomplishments; and just a few focused minutes every day will pay huge dividends well into the future.

Many of us are guilty of underestimating the time necessary for getting things done. The solution is to write out a timeline for each and every day, thereby giving you and your team checkpoints for staying on schedule.

This is as simple as jotting down the time you plan to awake, depart for work, arrive at work, start the first project, finish it, and so on. The idea is that having a planned timeline that can be modified at any moment gives you a sense of control.

Priorities often do require change, such as the need for setting aside a project to work on one that is more urgent. However, planning for interruption makes it just another ordinary occurrence.

Also, the sense of accomplishment for completing that important project will often give you a mental lift that makes everything else work out more smoothly.

#2 – Finish What You Start

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”  Tweet this

When Eisenhower said planning is everything he was acknowledging that plans often change. So, don’t get married to them. It’s the thought process that goes into the planning that makes it invaluable for adapting to unforeseen conditions.

One application of this is planning to finish what you start. The mental and physical mobilization required for virtually any activity is at least partially lost when it fails to go to completion.

For example, as a content creator you understand it is best to get the first version of your writing, audio, or video completed in one take to capture the initial flow of thoughts and energy. After that, the editing process naturally shifts to a new mindset, one with more emphasis on curation than creation.

Plan to finish and you will. Anything finished is usually better than unfinished, especially if it can be upgraded later.

#3 – Save Time on Transitions

Following a daily timeline will not only build the habit of focusing on key activities, it will also make you more aware of the hidden pockets of time between them.

For example, as we transitioned to a new month I simply pulled up my editorial calendar to be reminded of the topic for July.

The planning for it was completed long ago, thereby making the transition seamless. That initial investment in time is recovered today as I work on implementation only, without the need to revert back to planning mode.

Most small businesses know to focus on their core activities. The smart ones also study the gaps between activities where valuable time is needlessly leaking through.

Construction companies appropriately refer to transition time as downtime, because it is costly.

If you put your attention to applying some of these practices, you will regain control of your day, your content marketing, and your business.

Looking for more? Then have a look at these recent and related articles:

The Planning Paradox: How to Create Higher Value Content in Less Time

27 Writing Productivity Tools, Techniques, and Resources

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Business Planning is Overrated

If you noticed a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk would you ignore it because its discovery was unexpected?

It seems crazy, but that is what many of us do because we are too attached to our plans. As a result, we miss the easiest opportunities of all – those right front of us.

Last week I opened an email, viewed the short video within it, and then picked up the phone to call the sender who had previously hired me. We had an interesting discussion that led to a referral and another discussion, and that led to another.

The result was a renewed friendship, a new connection, and the opening of a door to a business opportunity.

Business Happens in Real Time

The time invested in that series of events effectively killed my plan for the morning. Yet, it also produced a productive and potentially profitable result.

Do you believe in karma, destiny, and synchronicity?  How about  good luck?  The truth is every day we are greeted with opportunities that we ignore. Why?

Our plans, systems, and engrained processes blind us to them. Building systems and setting agendas can be productive, but they also limit our ability to discover new possibilities that are quietly bubbling up right before our eyes.

Robert Frost suggested we take the road less traveled. Paradoxically, that road is the obvious one that most people ignore because they are looking for the secret pathway that is hidden in woods.

An example of this is chasing the big opportunity that everyone else is chasing. It’s the one you are sure will finally put your business on the map and earn the respect of your colleagues. Sadly, it’s probably driven by your ego that wants to show off.

Action Opens Doors to Opportunities

Is showing off (maybe) part of your plan, or would you rather accomplish practical business objectives, such as making a profit.

The more reliable path to accomplishing your business objectives is to focus on the obvious – the client or customer that today happens to be right in front of you, and probably wants to do more business with you.

Connect the dots – be aware of looking for these opportunities and you will more readily notice them.

Plans are necessary, but they can be inherently vague. Opportunities are specific, evident, and inherently viable.

Forget the plan. Keep it in the background and take action on what may be a nice little success, one that leads to future successes.

Have the intention of being open to any opportunity that comes your way.  Look for them, and be willing to go with the unexpected. It works, at least that has been my experience.

Success in life and business is seldom a linear process.

So, why are you rigidly following one? Give yourself permission to go forward with opportunities as they present themselves.

What do you really want to accomplish?  

Leave a comment below – and please feel free to use these ideas as you wish. 

Until next time,  Jeff

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