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:

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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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How To Network Like a Pro at Live Events

The New Motivational Speaker www.jeffkorhan.com

One of the seemingly improbable outcomes of digital social networking is the increased interest in live events for building relationships to further to accomplish practical business objectives.

To do this well, while also maximizing your return on what is likely to be a significant investment, thorough preparation is essential.

This is something I’ve been working on for weeks to get ready for attending Social Media Marketing World, the worlds largest social media marketing event. I’ll have several responsibilities, including leading a small business interest group.

Am I anxious? Of course, but when I get on that airplane and look over my plan I’ll have the confidence that comes from planning for success. The following steps and ideas will help you to do the same.

#1 – Focus Your Attention on Possible Outcomes

My belief is many people think of networking as showing up, randomly interacting, and hoping something good will happen.

You have to be crystal clear about what you want so you can communicate it to others, and to recognize it when you see or hear it.

Here are possible outcomes to plan for when attending live events.

  • Learning Useful ideas
  • Discovering Opportunities for Partnering
  • Finding a Mentor or Coach
  • Forming Alliances
  • Nurturing current relationships
  • Connecting with Influencers
  • Launching a New Product or Service

When others are clear about what you want they can more easily help you. This is why your desired business outcomes should also be listed in your LinkedIn profile.

#2 – Articulate How Your Business Can Help Others

Everyone is looking for ways to grow their business. So, if you can clearly articulate how you help other businesses, you will much more readily achieve alignment for accomplishing your goals.

This basically comes down to crafting a statement that describes two things: We do this. You get this. If you wish, you can think of this as your “elevator speech.”

To then get that conversation going, consider some of the following practices.

  • Be aware – Pay attention to eye contact to know who does and doesn’t want to connect with you.
  • Do your research – Knowing something specific about others always makes for interesting conversation.
  • Bring a “gift” – This can be as simple as a compliment about someone’s recent blog post.
  • Buy a stranger a cup of coffee – Just walk up to a friendly person in the coffee line and buy their coffee. It’s a great ice breaker.
  • Think big – The best opportunities are often squandered because someone is not ready. What would you know to do if Oprah called? That’s the idea.

#3 – Increase the Probability of Favorable Outcomes

One of my habits at live events is writing out my daily schedule, starting with when I arise, meditate, exercise, have breakfast, etc. I used to think this was an odd practice until recently discovering others do this to budget their time and maximize potential opportunities.

A powerful tip for making the most of of live networking is showing up early for the event, as well as every day during the event. Go-getters tend to show up early, making this a great time to make invaluable connections.

Smart networkers always plan for serendipity at live events. Tweet this

In addition to being where you expect others to be, consider also being where it is easier to make connections, such as in the hallways while educational sessions are going on. When you avoid the crowds you can often have more relaxed and personal conversations.

Bonus: Debrief Throughout the Event

An invaluable practice for avoiding networking overwhelm is to digest everything on a daily basis. This captures what is relevant and builds your plan for what’s next. Here are some ideas for doing this well.

  • Always carry a notepad – always.
  • Use an App to quickly grab contact information.
  • Connect with everyone on LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter
  • Schedule tweets for the following week to reconnect
  • Make a list of promises and next actions

When you digest live events on a daily basis you are effectively doing your homework before going home. This is a trick I learned back in grade school so that I could get right down to having fun when I got home!

Live events are fun, but even better is being ready to enhance your business when you return with the help of your new relationships and ideas that give you a fresh perspective for accomplishing your business goals.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

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

Photo Credit

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