Are you keen to use content marketing to generate leads, drive sales and increase brand awareness?
If you do, there is one thing you must do regularly. Maybe even daily.
And that is to write, shoot, draw, edit and produce content.
Now I can hear your loud groans and protests.
“I’ve got a full-time job to do!”
“I need to tutor my kids in their school work!”
“I’ve got two elderly parents to take care of!”
“Writing is so hard!”
Wait a minute. I am not advocating that you give up your family, quit your day job, or become a literary genius to become a content marketer.
On the contrary, these very things which you do can enrich and flavour the content which you create.
As for your objection about the difficulty of writing, note that content marketing isn’t quite the same as writing a book. While it would be awesome if you can eventually become a published book author (reminder to myself), it isn’t a prerequisite to succeed in this space.
So how can you overcome these obstacles in your journey towards becoming a well known, highly respected and influential content marketer?
#1 Find Time by Substituting Habits
The first thing you need to is to change your habits. Take a leaf from Charles Duhigg (read my post Mastering the Power of Habits), and substitute wasteful habits with fruitful ones.
What are some of the nefarious “time wasters” that you can replace? Here are three for a start…
- Watching television serials: Don’t live the dramas of others – create your own happy endings.
- Mindless gaming: Turn your energies spent leveling up towards your content game.
- Whatsapp gossiping: Learn to draw the line between building relationships and laughing with glee at another’s misfortune.
- Facebook zombiefying: Transform time spent consuming cute kitty videos into producing your own content marketing videos!
Using Duhigg’s method, here’s how you can change your habits with the Golden Rule of Habit Change:
- Identify cue (eg getting a seat on the train);
- Identify reward that you crave for (eg satisfaction from completing a stage in the game);
- Identify routine that you perform to get the reward (eg play mobile game) ; and
- Change routine when cue appears so that you get the same reward (eg new routine: draft blog post; reward: satisfaction from completing a stage in the content “game”).
#2 Convert Commuting to Cash
As a public transport apologist (regular readers would be familiar with my car-free escapades here), I travel regularly on buses and trains. Some of my journeys may take as long as an hour or longer.
Instead of watching the latest Korean soap, or slaying virtual enemies, I use my time to do any of the following:
- Write down ideas and thoughts which are later expanded to become full-fledged articles.
- Read a non-fiction book or novel which expands my mind.
- Draft and reply emails, phone calls, or messages to customers, partners or friends.
- Listen to an enriching podcast which becomes fodder for my content. If I am energetic enough, I may even jot down notes on my smartphone as I listen.
#3 Answer Nagging Customer Problems
Do you know that your customer complaints and issues are extremely valuable?
You are literally leaving wads of cash on the table by not responding to them.
Instead of merely filing away your responses or ignoring it altogether, do the following the next time you provide a solution to your customer problem:
- Jot down the question or complaint. Be as specific as possible.
- Write down how you have solved it for the customer. Break it down into your individual steps.
- Include an appropriate photo (you can find some royalty free ones from sources like these).
- Publish it on your website, blog or LinkedIn profile.
N.B. – Do remember to ask for permission from your boss or HR if you need to. Chances are that they’ll accede if it showcases your organisation in a brilliant light.
#4 Turn Personal Incidents into Professional Insights
Have you ever experienced an “Aha!” moment when an event in life triggered an insight?
Perhaps it was something which your kid said that demonstrated the importance of imagination. Or how resolving a quarrel with your spouse illustrated a point about managing workplace conflicts.
Instead of just allowing that moment of truth to be “set adrift on memory bliss”, jot down your thoughts, feelings and experiences thereafter.
Relate that encounter to an activity or event which you encounter in your business or your workplace. Narrate how applying life’s simple lessons have helped to ease a professional pain or magnified joy.
#5 Make a Public Commitment
One of the things which keep me blogging despite having an increasingly unwieldy schedule is this:
I am committed to it. Mostly because of you, my dear readers.
Likewise, you can turn your desire into action by holding yourself publicly accountable for producing content on your digital platforms.
Write a “I will do….” post on Facebook or LinkedIn and tag your closest friends or family members on it. Give them the power and responsibility to whip you into action if you fail to live up to your promise.
Beyond that, you may wish to start an “accountability” group (or join one) where fellow content marketing wannabes struggling with keeping up can nudge and cajole each other to keep going.
Remember that success doesn’t come over night. It’s a long road, but one which is worth every single step that you take.
#6 Celebrate Content Milestones
The truth is that no matter what you do, content marketing is hard work. It requires discipline, determination and a steely resolve to keep going come hell or high water.
To keep yourself going during those dry and arduous days, give yourself a treat. Remember our first point about habit forming?
Associate positive outcomes and rewards with completing various content marketing tasks. From a delicious ice cream or froyo when you finished a blog post, to more substantial rewards (eg a staycation) when you finish a bigger block of content like an eBook, training video or template.
Are there other strategies which you can adopt to increase your content production capacity?