Reclaim Your Time With These Productivity Tips, Tools, and Templates


We’ve bought a lot time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”

This (barely revised) quote from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory properly captures my mind-set – about content material advertising and, to be sincere, all the opposite frenzied actions occurring this time of yr. It simply looks like there’s by no means sufficient time to get every thing accomplished.

At a time when the colder, darker days of winter are urging us to decelerate, curl up someplace heat, and take pleasure in our well-deserved vacation breaks, the burden of looming duties after we return makes it even tougher to justify taking time to totally chill out and recharge.

As a present to my tribe of weary content material advertising warriors, I’ve compiled a number of of my favourite time-saving suggestions, productiveness checklists, and helpful templates from this yr’s weblog posts. I hope they’ll energy your resolutions to get extra accomplished in 2020, make it easier to handle all of your duties extra effectively and successfully, and begin your new yr energized and properly ready to overcome your content material objectives.

Turn technique growth into a bunch exercise

There ought to be no additional query in regards to the worth of getting a documented content material advertising technique to information your initiatives and efforts. But constructing one … properly, that’s a course of certain to lift loads of questions and require many conversations, together with with exterior groups and departments which have a stake within the content material program’s success.

Rather than considering of technique growth as a solo effort and later opening it up for enterprise-wide debate and deconstruction, why not attempt making it a collaborative affair from the beginning? Why not invite key gamers throughout the enterprise to take part in a content material advertising workshop?

Don’t make #contentmarketing technique a solo effort. Open it up for enterprise-wide debate, advises @joderama by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

As Marketing Insider Group’s Michael Brenner factors out, a workshop setting empowers everybody concerned in your group’s content material to weigh in and really feel extra invested within the strategic content material choices executed down the street.

It can also present added flexibility ought to you need to change course in occasions of disaster or alternative. In his article on how you can run a strategy-focused workshop, Michael walks by every step of constructing an actionable technique – from setting enterprise objectives and planning your model’s distinctive method to crafting the tactical blueprints governing your content material creation (just like the one proven within the picture under), distribution, and measurement choices.

A #content material workshop can make clear targets, give constant voice, & enhance buyer expertise, says @BrennerMichael by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Image supply

Illustrate your intentions to safe government help

Developing your technique is a crucial first step; however you additionally have to get government buy-in to safe the required sources and help to see your plans by.

The secret is speaking with the decision-makers in the best approach – utilizing phrases that enterprise leaders perceive and relate to only as you do with the content material you create on your prospects. If you end up struggling to translate the artwork and beliefs of viewers engagement into phrases that convey its enterprise worth, Venngage’s Nadya Khoja suggests taking a visible method to the dialog.

Using #visuals to speak your #contentmarketing technique is the easiest way ahead, says @NadyaKhoja by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

She shares an instance of the crew communication technique graphic. This visible illustration notes the important thing strategic touchpoints, together with urged instruments, how you can define objectives, and how you can conduct efficient conferences. It offers stakeholders a transparent street map of what to anticipate and how you can proceed – with out you delivering a prolonged presentation on the topic.

Adopt a development mindset

Almost as vital as growing an preliminary content material advertising technique is having a plan for enterprise development so your groups are ready to take the subsequent steps as soon as your content material begins doing its job.

Almost as vital as an preliminary #contentmarketing technique is a plan for enterprise development, says @joderama by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Your firm might have a development crew or devoted software program to assist with this. If you don’t have these sources, you’ll be able to take the DIY development administration method Emilia Chagas outlines intimately – beginning with this downloadable spreadsheet for content material brainstorming:

How do #content material groups combine a development mindset? It begins with experimentation. @emilia_chagas by way of @cmicontent Click To Tweet

Jump on a contemporary advertising life cycle

Of course, any dialogue on development ought to contain fascinated with how your prospects’ wants shift as they progress alongside their purchaser’s journey. But, as Julia McCoy factors out, the usual gross sales funnel entrepreneurs generally depend on not does justice to the unpredictable approach folks store and purchase today.

Why are you counting on a century-old gross sales mannequin in a post-internet world? @JuliaEMcCoy by way of @cmicontent Click To Tweet

To account for this, Julia outlines a extra fluid method to planning your content material – one which’s mapped to the cyclical decision-making path as we speak’s audiences are more likely to observe as they transfer towards conversion.

In her article, Julia additionally discusses how you can tie your content material advertising life cycle collectively together with your purchaser’s journey and shares an inventory of the simplest content material codecs and issues at every section of engagement. For simpler reference, we’ve captured her options and turned them into the useful chart under:

Invite thrilling voices to contribute to your content material

One sizzling content material format that ought to be in your radar is podcasting. Not solely can serial audio storytelling hold the viewers engaged and linked together with your model over an extended time – and achieve this in a extremely accessible and mobile-friendly approach – it might probably assist set up your model’s subject material experience on a platform the place there’s probably much less competitors from different manufacturers.

For instance, this yr CMI added a daily podcast – The Weekly Wrap – to our e-mail e-newsletter content material. In these exhibits, host Robert Rose interviews friends who’ve modern concepts, novel strategies, or intriguing tales that our viewers of content material entrepreneurs may profit from listening to about.

If you take into account incorporating an interview phase into your podcast (or another sort of content material), your greatest problem might lie in orchestrating these conversations successfully – together with figuring out the best friends and setting the stage for his or her keen participation.

Resist the urge to contact dozens to visitor in your first #podcasts. Focus on three to five, says @mjbecker_ by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Fortunately, Michael Becker has accomplished among the legwork for you and shares a number of of his templates for compelling podcast visitor invites – by way of e-mail, in addition to on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Here’s only one instance, which you’ll be able to customise and ship to present contacts:

Set the stage for simpler editorial administration

No matter how you propose to contain exterior subject material specialists – written, audio, or in any other case – you’ll wish to set the stage for his or her success proper off the bat. There’s nothing worse for a content material supervisor than receiving a submission on the deadline and realizing the author misunderstood the project, lacked a working data of your editorial focus or high quality requirements, or had little of worth so as to add to your model’s content material conversations.

Creating a transparent, well-detailed inventive transient which you could share with exterior contributors (and even your inner content material creators) will help you reduce content material conundrums like these, in addition to make it easier to keep a constant voice and worth proposition throughout all of your model’s content material choices.

Creating a transparent, well-detailed inventive transient which you could share with exterior contributors will help keep a constant voice on your model, says @joderama by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

According to Daniel Hatch, creating an actionable content material transient begins with outlining essentially the most pertinent particulars. Here are a number of of his top-line options:

  • Title: What will this challenge be known as?
  • Deadline: When is the ultimate content material due?
  • Messaging standards: What is the angle/message/goal for this content material? What viewers ought to it interact, and what data will they anticipate to obtain out of your model?
  • Technical specs: Is there a goal phrase depend? What format ought to they write for? What are your necessities for together with photographs, references, or different ancillary belongings?
  • Submission course of: How and the place ought to the content material be filed? Who ought to they contact if they’ve questions?
  • Resources: Are there type guides they’ll reference? Are there templates they need to use? Will they want entry to password-protected asset libraries, firm file-sharing directories, or different proprietary techniques to ship in your expectations?

Put examples in inventive #content material briefs so writers/designers see what you wish to accomplish. @daniel_hatch by way of @cmicontent Click To Tweet

The extra element you place in your content material transient, the better it’s for writers to ship in your expectations. For instance, the template under relies on the one I take advantage of to assign articles to CMI’s digital journal (CCO) contributors. Working with a structured format like this permits me to stipulate the story we wish them to inform, the method we advocate taking, and the voice and type that may make their work a superb match for the viewers. I may also add personalized fields when an article has distinctive necessities.

Outsource to broaden your protection capabilities

At occasions, chances are you’ll not have entry to the best author for a content material asset or produce other causes to achieve exterior your pool of trusted content material contributors.

First step to outsourcing? Accept you don’t have capability to supply high quality #content material at scale , says @joderama by way of @cmicontent Click To Tweet

If the scenario calls so that you can discover contemporary expertise, the easiest way to start out is with a focused interview course of – one which helps you determine and vet candidates who’ve the requisite abilities and expertise you want. You can try my publish on outsourcing content material creation for particulars on one method to method the method – together with the useful guidelines (under) to get began on the best foot.

Open new doorways with visitor running a blog

If, then again, you’re trying to push your model’s thought management past your owned channels, your content material objectives could be higher served by pursuing visitor running a blog alternatives.

Ann Gynn shares her step-by-step information to getting a visitor publish revealed. Start the method, she advises, by exhibiting up with a pleasant “host gift” – i.e., a pitch that follows the outlet’s acknowledged submission tips and a narrative thought personalized for the viewers it serves.

Accomplishing this includes doing a little bit hands-on analysis – to pursue the best alternatives, in addition to to familiarize your self with the sorts of content material the outlet may settle for for publication. Ann’s publish affords useful course of helpers for each objectives, together with recommendations on how you can determine beneficial websites, pattern copy for delivering a related pitch, and a spreadsheet template for maintaining observe of all your outreach.

If the location has a weblog, look to see if it revealed #guestblogging tips, says @anngynn by way of @cmicontent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 17+ Guest Blogging Rules All Blog Managers Wish You Knew

Remember to provide if you need your content material to attain

No matter the place you plan your content material to look, your efforts probably gained’t additional your advertising objectives until they provide one thing your supposed viewers wants and desires.

In a latest replace to one in every of CMI’s hottest posts, Ahava Liebtag outlines the benchmarks that distinguish the sorts of content material experiences that buyers crave from pitchy prose that solely serves your model’s pursuits.

Great #contentstrategy is taking the guesswork out of execution so inventive content material can flourish, says @ahaval by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Content Creation: The Essential Guide

Put your model’s character on show

One of the very best issues about content material advertising is that any model can do it – and most may even do it properly. Yet, that is additionally one of many worst issues in regards to the self-discipline: So a lot nice content material competes for audiences’ consideration that entrepreneurs now need to go the additional mile for his or her choices to face out.

Fortunately, a little bit character can go a good distance in relation to turning a mean content material piece into one which sparks a significant connection and establishes the model values that resonate together with your viewers.

When you write utilizing the identical language as your prospects, you construct rapport, says @ConquerContent by way of @cmicontent. #writingtips Click To Tweet

In her article, Sarah Rickerd affords 13 useful suggestions for infusing your content material with private touches that may elevate common content material into an suave dialog.

Pair content material with the best distribution channel

No matter how skillfully, artfully, and strategically you’ve crafted your content material, it gained’t drive your advertising objectives until you’ve given the identical cautious consideration to the way you share it together with your viewers.

Any content material you publish – regardless of the place you select to place it – has the potential to seek out favor together with your model’s followers and followers. Why not stack the percentages in your favor and strengthen its skill to carry out to your expectations by asking two easy questions earlier than you distribute content material on any platform?

  • Will our target market discover and interact with it right here?
  • Can we obtain our particular objectives utilizing this platform?

To assist make the neatest decisions when sending out your belongings to the plenty, try Aaron Agius’ transient tutorial on the content material advertising objectives to pursue on a number of of the most well-liked distribution platforms. He additionally affords options on the content material codecs most related to the audiences you’ll discover on every platform.

If you don’t distribute your #content material neatly, you’ll by no means obtain your model’s #contentmarketing objectives, says @IamAaronAgius by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Build a sound plan to measure for that means

Speaking of objectives, you gained’t know for those who’re hitting them until you are ready to trace and measure your content material’s efficiency – each by way of quantitative information and extra qualitative indicators, corresponding to viewers sentiment.

To present a normal sense of essentially the most beneficial metrics for gauging frequent content material advertising objectives, CMI’s Vice President of Marketing Cathy McPhillips created this beneficial chart:


Alternately, you’ll be able to base your measurement plan on monitoring the important thing efficiency indicators (KPIs) for every sort of content material (e.g., e-mail newsletters, weblog/web site articles, social media posts, movies). The chart under outlines among the most informative information factors:

When placing a #measurement program in place, begin by deciding how regularly you’ll gather information. @cmcphillips by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

For a extra complete view of how your content material initiatives are performing, chances are you’ll wish to set up a proper measurement dashboard. It can account for the micro and macro objectives established throughout every distribution platform and linked to a scoring system that facilitates apples-to-apples qualitative comparisons.

A #content material scorecard marries qualitative and quantitative assessments, says @lindroux by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

You’ll discover a number of instruments and suggestions for constructing that dashboard in my measurement starter equipment publish, in addition to templates (just like the one under, for monitoring social media conversations) that may hold you from ranging from scratch.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Want to Prove Content’s Success? Stop Measuring It

Audit and optimize your content material for search

Once you have got the best analytics, you’ll be able to consider particular person components impacting your content material’s success and optimize those that aren’t performing to expectations.

However, some efficiency points are extra difficult to gauge than others – website positioning chief amongst them. Because search rankings are contingent on myriad algorithmic components – together with ones engines like google don’t make clear – tightening up your content material’s search method usually requires a devoted course of: particularly, the website positioning audit.

As an article by Keith Hodges factors out, a superb website positioning audit ought to cowl on-page, off-site, and technical components.

An excellent #website positioning audit covers on-page, off-site, and technical components, says @seokeith by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

But since on-page website positioning is the issue content material entrepreneurs have essentially the most management over, it’s crucial to grasp how properly strategic elements like your touchdown web page URL, metadata, headlines, and inner hyperlinks stack up. Follow Keith’s course of for conducting a fast on-page website positioning audit to collect these insights – beginning with filling within the desk, under:

Make associates with failure

No content material marketer likes to just accept that failure is an possibility, however for those who reframe the narrative round these inevitable missteps as a possibility to enhance, the proposition may really feel extra palatable.

While chances are you’ll not salvage each content material piece that struck out, CMI’s Vice President of Editorial Kim Moutsos affords nice options to take inventory of what might need gone mistaken, consider the potential to shift gears, and spice issues up with assist from new headlines and ledes, optimized calls to motion, and a renewed concentrate on the candy spot between your areas of authority and your viewers’s ache factors.

#Content usually underperforms if it’s lacking a tilt, says @OkMoutsos by way of @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

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What will you do with all the additional time in your arms?

I hope the following tips, tips, and templates will make your content material advertising duties simpler, more practical, and extra satisfying. But don’t neglect to reinvest a little bit of your newly reclaimed time by studying about all of the strategies and business views we’ll be sharing in 2020 – and by letting us know within the feedback what different subjects you’d wish to see us cowl.

Subscribe to CMI’s free e-newsletter and uncover traits, insights, and sensible tricks to develop your content material advertising abilities. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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