Uninspired Marketing? Resources to Reboot.
Have you ever felt like you just cannot catch up?
Regardless of how much careful thought and planning is put into building and executing campaigns, modern marketing can often feel like a constant fire drill. Marketing in an era where “set it and forget it” is simply not an option, where we must constantly adapt to shifting prospect needs, where there is more data than ever to analyze and act upon, does not leave very much room for error—let alone room to take a breath.
It’s easy to feel like you should be doing something with every minute, and to feel like you haven’t done enough.
Modern marketing can often feel like a constant fire drill.
It’s also easy to become distracted or knocked off course. We get asked for extra, unplanned reports from higher-ups. We have to pen a timely blog post, press release, or other response to sudden or big industry news. We have to drop what we’re doing and create an extra special piece of content to help sales close a big deal. There’s this really hilarious post on Buzzfeed about cats dressed as dogs.
All of these things and more can interrupt a routine, and add many extra hours onto a week. They can make a marketer feel like he or she just can’t keep up.
I’m in one of those zones right now. Typically a Spartan when it comes to Inbox Zero each day, I’m at over 100 unread emails and counting. My LinkedIn inbox is almost as bad. My Kapost dashboard is flooded with “item overdue” reminders. I’m behind on replying to every single member of my team on something they’ve asked of me. I don’t even know where to start in handling my “Action Pending” Evernote notebook. I mean, I did book a super awesome group of musicians this week for my wedding, but I’m not sure there’s a way to graph that in my monthly reporting.
Something’s been off. Have I just had stout-brain from too many visits to the Mountain Sun? Not enough sleep or exercise? Those may be contributing factors, but they’re not the core.
I decided to see if I could trace back when I first fell behind. What happened that paused my forward progress, and where did I first fall behind because of it? I filtered through the mountain of emails and outstanding tasks, and realized more that once I had pushed back a deadline on my next blog post. My outstanding Sr. Managing Editor Anne Murphy was understanding, and our awesome content team fortunately had churned out some great pieces to fill the gaps, but by not submitting a post on time, it did throw my progress a little out of whack. The issue wasn’t that I didn’t have a post ready for publishing. The issue was that I did have a completed post ready to go, but Buffer got there first.
Now, I admire Belle Beth Cooper and the Buffer team for the quality content they churn out. We even named them part of the Kapost 50 for their excellent content marketing efforts. But lately seeing “Joel from Buffer” in my inbox has made my gut churn, as I find myself cautiously checking the topic to see if Buffer wrote about something I wanted to write about, too. I don’t want to seem like I’m copying them in my writing. Then, the other morning I came across a statement that shook me:
“Everything is a derivative, and that’s OK.”
In the containing post 5 Ways To Find Truly Unique Blog Ideas, Julie Neidlinger lays out some excellent advice that helped me break through what I felt to be a lull in creativity. I had found myself in a place where I was allowing myself to get sidetracked because I needed to create something, and didn’t know what to create.
But as Julie says in her post, “Waiting for inspiration to happen, like writer’s block, is more an excuse to avoid the unpleasant work of producing something when it doesn’t come easy.” That statement echoes a post by Heidi Grant Halvorson called How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To where she outlines three major reasons for procrastinating and how to break down those specific mindsets that become barriers to productivity.
Those two posts are excellent and I highly suggest you read them if you feel like you’re overwhelmed. I realized my breakthrough came from reading other people’s takes on things. Sometimes when you can’t figure out what’s happening on your own, you absolutely need to see what other people think. I decided to compile a list of resources that might be useful to other struggling marketers trying to stay ahead or stay inspired. Each of these articles either talks about productivity techniques or contains advice that can be used to keep content fresh and content creation rolling.
Vanessa Martinez, The Content Marketeer
Takeaway: Vanessa lays out a practical, 4-step plan for finding new ways to use old content. Stuck on an idea for a blog post? Go back a year and see if one of those posts can be updated or rewritten with a new point of view.
Anna Ritchie, Content Marketing Institute
Takeaway: This post coincides with a free eBook that features some wonderful examples of content marketing, with background information on how the content was created as well. Scan through and look for ideas you can reuse for your brand.
Drew Hendricks, Forbes
Takeaway: Planning and strategy are still the best ways to ensure marketing success. Review yours. Is there room for improvement? Any tweaks you could make to ensure better success with a bit less stress?
Takeaway: Wait, how’d this one get in here? Darn distractions! Ooh! A video with Ellen, she’s hilarious…
Pamela Vaughn, Hubspot
Takeaway: This is a list of “work hacks”. Some items on this list are outdated, and a few others silly, but as a whole, this list has some phenomenal tips to boost your daily productivity and feel like you can get more completed. I’m a big fan of the email and meeting hacks.
Takeaway: These “hacks” focus more on content marketing specifically – suggesting simple, but dynamic ways to stay current in your content marketing.
Belle Beth Cooper, Buffer
Takeaway: Yeah, of course Belle Beth Cooper wrote something useful and awesome that I wanted to include. Of course she did. In all seriousness, she lays out grew tips to avoid “always working,”and replace that with working smart and fitting in time for ourselves.
Some Guy, The Content Marketeer
Takeaway: This post (which wasn’t at all picked because I really like the author) serves as a good reminder to connect with other marketers—both for ideas and to decompress or de-stress.
Takeaway: If you have time for some longer-form reading, view this list of books every marketer should read on SlideShare, hand-picked by the Kapost content team as sources of continual inspiration
All of these posts offer advice to marketers seeking to make the “fire drills” less frequent, or at least easier to deal with. I find reading what other marketers write to be one of the most effective ways to break through a rut. We try to provide that content for you daily here at The Content Marketeer. If you’re not already a subscriber, be sure to sign up now for regular inspiration.