I do quite a bit of chatting with the fellow content marketers I meet during my out-and-aboutings, and one thing I always like to ask is “What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to content marketing?”
The biggest offender by far? Not enough time.
Hey, I get it. I’ve been there. Hell, I am there more often than I care to admit.
First, the bad news: We all have 24 hours in a day. No exceptions. If you figure out a way to crowbar an extra hour or two in there, call me.
Now, the good news: I’ve got some proven strategies for making the most out of those hours we do have available to us, and I’ll be sharing those with you all month long.
First and foremost, we always need to be aware of time sucks … and know how to avoid them.
Time Suck #1. Running down social media rabbit holes
You log on to Twitter to get a tweet posted or to “check on something real quick” and before you know it, you’re following a 128-tweet thread on this week’s Game of Thrones episode. (Oh, and two hours have gone by.)
How to Steer Clear: Set the timer on your phone or computer for 15 minutes before you log on to any given social network. Once your time is up, you must log off — no exceptions. Knowing you have a time limit will help you stay focused on the task at hand, get it done promptly, and get on with the rest of your to-do list.
Time Suck #2: Checking social media every 5 minutes
You let your little piece of Facebook brilliance fly at 8:00 a.m., and you check to see how many Likes have flooded in as of 8:15 … 8:30 … 9:00 … 9:05 … while your inbox stacks up and nothing else gets done.
How to Steer Clear: Set aside certain times of the day for checking your social sites, and abide by a strict “hands off” policy the rest of the day.
Time Suck #3. Too many cooks in the kitchen
Ever head the expression “A camel is a horse designed by a committee?”
If you have too many contributors, reviewers and approvers in your content marketing process, it’s far too easy to spend half a day or more tracking those folks down to get what you need from them … or explaining why you can’t implement the change(s) they requested.
How to Steer Clear: Streamline your core content team down to the most essential players, keeping in mind which ones are the most responsive and cooperative. It might be a good idea to go up a level or two and get some executive support for your decision, which will give you something to fall back on if you encounter pushback.
Time Suck #4. Chasing perfection
One of my husband’s favorite expressions is “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
This is especially true in the fast-paced world of content marketing and social media. Yes, we need to make sure our work is accurate and engaging, but it’s far too easy to obsess over one or two words — and to let that obsession rob you of precious time that you don’t have to spare.
How to Steer Clear: By all means, give your work a thorough editing and proofreading, but once it’s good enough, resist the temptation to go through it “just o-o-o-onnnne more time” and just get it posted.
Time Suck #5. Whack-A-Mole, content marketing style
Ever have one of those days that was super-busy … then when your significant other asked what you did all day, you can’t recall a single thing? That’s probably because you were playing Content Marketing Whack-A-Mole: reacting to situations as they came about rather than taking control over your schedule.
How to Steer Clear: Focus on one thing at a time. For all those issues that come up needing your attention while you’re working on something else, keep a on your desk (I prefer this to the electronic alternative, but whatever floats your boat), and jot those issues down as a reminder to tackle them later. Rinse and repeat.
OK, your turn: Which content marketing “time sucks” do you deal with on a daily basis — and how do you and your team steer clear of them?