You know how we sometimes underestimate a particular task, labeling it to be “quite easy” or “not rocket science” and all. Then co-incidentally a day comes, and you get the honor of actually performing the said task.
Let us say this exemplary task is of managing your house. You might scoff at your wife when she tells you that it’s hard and think to yourself, “How tough can it be?”, “All she does is cook and clean. Anyone can do that!” Then comes that one day when she is sick or has to go somewhere, leaving you to attend to all the work. And you, though starting confidently, slowly realize that the impossible amount of work just won’t end! That is the first day it dawns upon you that things might be more complicated than they appear to be.
This also applies to content marketing. As marketers, we gladly employ the products and brands of content marketing without really comprehending the complex and intricate work involved with the creation. Even those involved in the few steps fail to view the whole end-to-end game comprehensively.
And while we go on underestimating the entire process at our own expense, we fail to invest in the process. This basically means that without fully grasping the method, you can’t expect to create accordingly, leaving your content to be dull and bringing your product marketing rates at stake.
How to work on this problem now?
You see in the earlier days of content marketing; things were still new. There were only a few content creators, little to no competition, and a vast learning space. And with the majority experiencing trial and error, haphazardly approached content was the norm. Now with experienced creators and the production of professional and high-quality content, it’s time for us to invest more and more on innovative and impressive methods of creation and the expected outputs and outcomes.
Why investing in the process matters
It is funny how the partial value of content creation has always been in front of us and we never paid enough attention to it. You see in a research conducted by CMI, of the regularly cited value of one documented content strategy, the content marketers with a documented content strategy:
- Are way more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing.
- Find every phase of content marketing to be less challenging.
- Feel more effective in utilizing all content marketing tactics, as well as social media platforms.
- Can rationalize a higher content marketing budget.
But this all will only count as the strategy, which is only one-half of the equation. The other more important one is the execution of the crafted strategy. This will determine the actions you have to carry out after you nail the design. Good implementation of an idea will not only sell your product but bring your brand to life!
And an effective way to do that is by documenting your procedure.
But what good will those do?
According to a discovery made by CoSchedule, marketers who religiously document their processes become 466% more successful than those who do not.
So when your process is still in order, it is actually in line to unlock the magical results. As it all starts, work begins to flow smoothly from beginning to end; with every item, you sell the process gets better.
With time your speed increases, and work gets done faster and faster, and with you taking care of the quality and staying loyal to the marketing objectives, there is little a customer is left wishing for!
If we are honest here, those are things most of us could stand to do better.
Sharp and swift approach to the C-marketing route.
While documenting your procedures provides you a higher chance at success and is a straightforward and easy place to start, you are familiar with the objectives. What happens is, during documenting, you most probably will be struck with thoughts of improving and optimizing your execution-al tactics. And after all with the high competition and excellent content around, it is very natural for one to give second thoughts to his ideas and these ‘second thoughts’ can be scary but will push you to want to create the best of the best.
But becoming the best or just being better at content marketing execution is really an empty and pointless goal. What you really need is a clearly marked pathway to glide upon.
Following are some important areas to know of while you begin walking on this path. These areas express the qualities of visibility, experimentation, iteration, collaboration, and most important of them all- efficiency.
Making it known
Get the stuff out in the open and see the magic. This obviously does not mean you literally bring all the stuff out but it means to let the things and problems etc be known.
This means to simply start making lists of everything, whether it is something in progress or planned by your content team for next month, the feedback, the response, the shortcomings- everything!
You can also move a step ahead and document it all in a digital management tool as a bonus if you feel the need to, but nonetheless, even sticky notes and neat lists on a whiteboard will serve the same cause.
This small effort will ultimately result in you gaining your audience’s trust and better engagement with them. When people making content requests see how their requests impact the progress, they will trust you and a sense of personalization will develop, giving them a satisfying experience.
This transparency will also show your efforts and the true scope they possess, impressing your target audience and of course, represent the real state of your content marketing process. It may not magically solve all your problems, but it’s a fruit-bearing first step.
Experimenting with trial and error.
Now once you start visualizing your plan you will probably think that a lot is going on which in turn will give rise to questions like, “Which is the most important task?”, “What we can drop for a while?” and other questions, questioning the importance and impact of various tasks. Even if it is for a while, dropping things may seem like missing opportunities or worse- giving up.
So to find a way out of this dilemma, what you can instead do is experiment with different tasks to find and implement the relevant ones (for your plan) and eliminate the rest. Much like a contest!
To give their best results, these experiments are formulated to be:
- Safe towards failure and designed in a manner so as to not damage the brand considering things don’t work out.
- They should be short-term so as to be executable within two to three weeks.
- Well designed with documented results, metrics, and parameters for both success and failure.
- Frequentative experiments to promise success in future efforts
Tell me honestly here, which is better? Spending weeks and months crafting foolproof and seemingly perfect annual plans, or embracing repeated short-term experiments that can promise efficiency and success to your future content and save your precious time? I think we have a winner here.
Be Frequentative and Don’t be afraid to try again
Now you have started experimenting with your ideas and good news! They start showing promise! Now it is time you move forward with the third quality of content marketing- iteration. Simply saying this means to be repetitive with your actions.
When you grasp this quality, it helps you expand your proven ideas over time by adding worth, beauty and functionality.
For example, you created this straightforward list-based content which elicited a great audience response and social shares. Now what you can do is turn this simple content into the vigorous multimedia piece. And if that iteration performs well, you repurpose the basic idea into interactive content like a webinar. If strong performance persists, expand on the topic through a series of professionally produced videos.
This is an iterative process in which you moved from one design to another based on your audience’s feedback.
Teamwork to produce cream work
Like every other thing, the above-given values would give better results when provided with a wide range of perspectives. After all the people closest to the work and the audience consuming it should get to decide when and how that work gets done.
In a nutshell, collaborating with others to improve your brand for a team of people will help create greater and audience-centric content than a content creator alone in his home office.
While collaborating, you can stimulate your minds with daily standup meetings (15- 20 minute strategy sessions at the beginning of each day), formalized reviews, and show-and-tell sessions. Through and through you will find that collaborating never fails to improve the content creation process.
Efficiency over everything
With other attributes having their own benefits, speed and productivity remain the ones most important to a content creator.
There is nothing as skillful as simplicity and the art of maximizing the amount of unfinished work. In other terms, a content creator must work hard to do less.
If you successfully maximize the amount of work you intentionally choose NOT to do, you are actually rewarded with an increase in the quantity of work you can get done.
That remains one of the most counterintuitive things about the procedure, but it is nevertheless true.
So work on less to achieve more. To explain this in content marketing terms, let us say you need to complete 15 pieces of content; you can complete them faster by working on two to three at a time instead of jumping back and forth among the 15.
Possess the creative potential needed
A content marketing process possessing the attributes as mentioned earlier unlocks more than speed, productivity, and efficiency. Not only does it deliver employee satisfaction but creates room for honest creativity.
Aside from all the characteristics mentioned above, if there is one thing content creators need to possess, it is the potential to be creative. Your audience will define you by your creations. So be innovative, and don’t shy away from trying new things. Obviously, keep on experimenting, but if a new idea deems itself to be valuable, don’t be afraid to introduce it. After all you never know which idea of yours can define your brand and change your marketing game. So stay positive.
Everyone loves a good laugh.
People love being entertained and the things attached to entertainment. Now, if you fit your brand in the equation, it is a win-win for all! From your marketing team to your audience, Everyone will love this tactic. Sharpen your content process with some mental relaxation and laughter. Just stay humorous and introduce pieces of jest to your respective content. But not too much, be serious where you have to and don’t overdo it.
Sharpening skills with witty lines. Helpful and fruitful!
Hone your grammar skills
Documenting, making lists, staying transparent and competing etc are all aside, but what good will they do if your written skills lack perfection? Sharpening your language skills is just as essential and is a part of the entire sharpening process.
Instead of being insecure or, worse, ignorant towards it, work on it. Check your mistakes from grammar checking apps like Grammarly etc, and correct them.
If this is not enough, then consider taking a few classes to improve your language skills. No one likes to see content with spelling and grammatical errors. It can arouse judgments from your audience and mockery from competitors.
I have tried my best to tell you of various ways you can sharpen out your content marketing process. Though marketing values are important to remember once in a while, try to make things vibrant with a little bit of educational fun. Take breaks and learn relevant stuff. Collaborate and make friends. Don’t worry if your language skills are sad; keep trying. It’s trial and error, remember. Don’t get discouraged while experimenting if your chosen idea fails. Just keep your head up and keep going.
Remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with falling down if you know how to get back up!