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Activity can feel like productivity. Unfortunately. That’s true for content marketing and of course other projects as well.
But there is such an abundance of unnecessary tasks that content marketing teams have to do for one reason or another that it’s definitely worth addressing in any kind of content marketing strategy. Some examples that come to mind:
- Finding a gazillion reasons not to publish.
- Over planing content to the degree that it doesn’t get you to the publishing line.
- Replanning. This is the unfortunate act and often acts where people plan and one system and they don’t like that system and they do it again another system and then somebody else doesn’t like that system and we create the same thing over and over and over and over which just adds task time. Example: A team has four different versions of basically the same calendar.
- When politicing takes longer than the actual work. I get it. Office politics and organizational politics do need to be played. And I’ve played them. But some content marketing projects are so plaque with office politics that they fall into the unnecessary task category.
- Not spending your distribution funds wisely. Don’t just throw more money at a problem but figure out who you’re trying to target and how are you can reach them.
- Everyone owns everything. There is a fine line between collaboration and everyone owning everything which can turn into nobody owning anything.
- Accessive workflows of any kind.
- The use of outdated systems. Folders and sub folders on some lettered drive is what we did in 2005. There are more efficient systems!
So is there a way to get rid of some of those unnecessary tasks? Yes, of course. But here are the things to keep in mind as you are eliminating useless tasks:
- Who is your executive sponsor and/or supporter? The only way to get rid of mandated tasks is to have somebody at the executive level give you cover. I was working with an organization that was continuing to make people follow a very time in-efficient workflow. When I brought it up to the CEO, the CEO explained to me why that was important to him but that he didn’t actually realize how much extra work that was. Once that was explained the waste of time overruled his initial reason for the requirement. The task was out of here.
- Empower team members to actually feel like that they can bring up when tasks are a waste of time.
- Act on items brought up.
- Question workflows constantly. Why are we doing this? What’s the goal of it? How does this help us?
- Make updates. Make them now. Don’t wait two months to put them into affect. Because if you change it now you can change it again to something else or maybe even back in the next two months.
Really, I see content marketing strategies working when they publish unique and useful content regularly and on all the relevant channels. And then the best content marketers evaluate results-short term and long term-constantly. Based on the data they update and refine their content and distribution strategies going forward.
So if a task doesn’t fit into that strategy it needs to go. Or at the very least it needs to be adjusted.
It’s much easier said than done because some of these task do make us feel very productive and sometimes we don’t have the authority – perceived or real- to actually cut a task. And then sometimes outside of our control other people add tasks because they have different objectives and that task actually helps their objectives but not necessarily ours.
But of course figuring out what the unnecessary task is and then determining how to eliminate them or adjust them is a necessary step in an ever-evolving digital marketing and content marketing landscape.