By Juli Durante
As an inbound marketer, when someone asks me what my typical workday is like, I usually have one reply: busy. When you're working on inbound marketing campaigns, there's just a lot to do, from blogging to social media management, eBook writing, sales support, and beyond. There's always a large volume of work, but there are also many ways to streamline your processes and make the most of your time - and budget. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
Essential Productivity Tips
1. Get Organized and Stay that Way.
When there's a lot to do, it's easy to let your basic organizational instincts slip... and stay that way. If you're not able to quickly move from one task to another or find yourself spending a lot of time just looking for things, you can use an organization reboot. Here's a strategy for getting organized and staying on top of everything long term:
- Your to do list:
- Create a list of everything you need to do for the foreseeable future.
- Prioritize that list first by deadline and then by how long it will take you to complete.
- For larger projects, "chunk" them by creating smaller tasks you can finish more quickly.
- Knock off small tasks that are due right away first - you'll feel accomplished and ready to move on to bigger things.
- Your Computer:
- Clean off your desktop. If it's a dumping ground for every file on your computer, you need a system.
- Make folders and sub folders to keep it together.
- Invent a naming convention that you can apply across projects, for example "Project Type - Title - Revision # - Due Date", which might be come "Blog - How to Be an Awesome Inbound Marketer - Revision 2 - August 2015"
2. Don't Multitask.
While multitasking sounds like a great way to do more, it's actually a solution for disaster. Countless studies have shown that we can't actually do multiple things at once, and every time we switch between tasks, we waste time. If you want to squeeze some more minutes out of your workday, give yourself time to really focus. That might mean shutting off your email and IM for an hour, and as long as it complies with company policies, that's OK. If it means closing extra browser tabs and using a distraction-free writing program, do it.
When I need to write, I can't do it sitting at my desk. It's too distracting and too boring. It can take me twice as long to get the work done! Instead of sitting at my desk, I relocate. It doesn't matter where, a different room, a coffee shop, a quiet conference room, I just need different scenery to get my writing done.
4. Don't Try to Remember.
When it comes to remembering tasks, most of us can only juggle a finite number at a time. Instead of trying to remember everything, write it down. Or, better yet, use software. A project management system can remember a lot of your brain for you, while keeping you on task.
Tips for More Inbound Marketing Content
5. Think in Terms of Campaigns.
If you are hyper focused on one projects instead of the big picture - you can't see the blogging strategy forest for the word-choice trees, so to speak - you aren't likely omake a lot of headway. While it is important to be detail oriented when publishing content, you can't get so wrapped up in a single initiative that you forget about building campaigns that meet specific strategies. You're also at risk for getting pulled in the wrong direction and implementing programs or processes that cost money unnecessarily.
6. Take the Time to Plan
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Now, I wasn't around to hear him say that, but I've seen those words come true often. If you don't have a long-term plan, backed by data and supportive of your goals, actually delivering successful inbound marketing content is difficult. And worse, if you do succeed, it's not because you thought about what you were doing, it was by chance - and that means it's not repeatable. When you take the time to plan, you're able to create content more quickly, more closely align your the time you spend with organizational goals, and have a concrete beginning and end.
7. Always Think, "How Can I Reuse this Content?"
So, you created a great eBook. You launched it on your website and promoted it through social media and the form submissions are rolling in. If you're not thinking, "What can I do with this content next?" you're wasting time and money. For example, you can repurpose an ebook into:
- A series of blog posts with a CTA to download the full eBook
- An infographic
- An instructional video
- A Webinar or in-person seminar
Similarly, you can also content your blogs into eBooks, your webinars into white papers, and more. Always push yourself to see the next step of what you're creating.
8. Know When to Outsource
Everyone has areas where they feel strong and comfortable working - and others where they know their skills are somewhat lacking. While learning new things is always a plus, it can also be time consuming to teach yourself every detail of every project. You have to know when something is over your head - when you should outsource. For example, if you're a great writer but have no idea where to start with making an infographic, it's time to work with a partner who can get you started. If your core competency is in event planning and you've been tasked with inbound marketing, it might be good idea to seek advice from an inbound marketing agency.
9. Know When to Insource
Sometimes, even when working with specific partners or vendors, you need expertise that comes from your internal team. While sales and marketing are often engaged in healthy competition, they are also great allies for each other. A busy marketer who needs 10 new blog titles for the next month can ask the sales team, "What are the top three questions you're hearing from prospects this month?" and have a slew of new blog topics in minutes.
10. Take a Break
Most importantly, don't burn yourself out. When you have that feeling of "There's so much to do that I don't even know what to do," that's a sign you're spread just a little too thin. In that case, give yourself a little break. Reevaluate your deadlines - were you too ambitions when setting them? Has a new project come up that takes priority over something else? Walk away from everything for five minutes or an hour or a weekend, and you'll come back with a better idea of what you can accomplish, when.
To Save Time and Money with Inbound Marketing, Efficiency Wins.
If I had to give you one big takeaway for this post, it would be that working more efficiently is a key to success. Be smart about how you spend your time. Plan properly. Focus. These tips aren't a magic solution, but a careful approach to making the most of your time.