A lot goes into successful content marketing. Meticulous planning, creativity, timing and an intimate knowledge of your brand message are all critical ingredients that together help marketers create engaging, effective content.
One concept marketers—me included—often overlook, however, is the importance of staying present and connected to the moment and task immediately ahead. Although it may seem like a wacky, Zen-like precept, staying firmly in the moment can mean the difference between success and failure.
To illustrate that point, let’s use a scenario we’ve all experienced. You’re sitting in a team meeting laying out the next month’s editorial calendar with your co-workers but half of your brain is totally focused on the important call you have scheduled with a client later that afternoon. When the team meeting finally ends, you realize you didn’t contribute much to the planning or brainstorming process because your attention was partly somewhere else. Of course, thinking about the call with so much else going on around you wasn’t particularly productive either, so in essence you’ve just wasted the entire meeting time.
Getting caught up looking ahead is completely natural for a marketer because we are constantly pulled in a dozen different directions and seem to always have time slipping away from us. On the bright side, looking ahead at an important meeting or task probably means you are passionate about doing your job well. Unfortunately, letting your mind wander into the future won’t help you achieve that goal—but here are a few tips that might:
Don’t Touch That Email!
When the little email indicator pops up on the bottom of your screen to alert you to an inbox arrival, it’s tempting to stop what you are doing and immediately take a look. But if you’re on a roll writing a stellar blog post, looking at your inbox may disrupt your flow. If you are expecting a message you know needs to be addressed immediately, you should of course respond accordingly. But otherwise—hands off!
Write out a Detailed Calendar
Sometimes, so much is squeezed into one work day that it becomes difficult to keep things from blurring together. In that case it may be helpful to write a schedule that breaks down the day into small chunks and hang it up somewhere you can’t miss it. If every 30 minutes has a designated purpose it will be more difficult to let your mind wander. And if your brain should start to stray, seeing the calendar you created should snap you back on course.
Pull in a Teammate
If you feel yourself starting to get scattered, ping a co-worker and ask for input on the task at hand. Once you get into a brainstorming session, whatever had you distracted before will likely fade away. You don’t have to monopolize a huge chunk of your peer’s time either—sometimes just a five minute discussion does the trick.
So, were you able to make it through this piece without thinking about 10 other things? If so, I offer my sincere congratulations. If not, it may be worth reading just one more time.