Without content marketing most B2B marketing plans would fail miserably, yet so many marketing teams fail to produce the amount of content they think they require. Why is this?
It’s because these B2B marketing teams haven’t successfully made a habit of producing content.
So, how do you make producing content a habit?
In the previous post, “How to Start Building a Continuous Content Pipeline,” I explained that the first step in producing a consistent flow of content is simply to get started. Buyer’s journey maps, an audit list of your content, personas, content calendars and most content marketing consultants aren’t going to jump on that keyboard and start typing for you. The first step to improve your content marketing is to put down whatever you’re doing and start writing.
The next step for building a continuous pipeline of content is to find your rhythm. Your content marketing rhythm is the cadence at which you will be producing content. By syncing to a rhythm you begin to form a habit of your content production. The tempo or frequency at which you produce content depends on several factors such as willpower, content type, production process and goals.
I will go into each of the factors that influence tempo in greater detail in future posts; for now I will simply touch on all but one of these factors. If your goal is to produce nurture emails, you will most likely need far less content than if your goal is to continually improve SEO. As for the production process, if your organization has extensive review cycles that cause missed deadlines, you should create extra pieces to offset the risk of having just enough content to meet your goal and then missing that goal because of review cycles. Similar to your goals, how often you will need to produce different types of content varies greatly; you will most likely update a blog more often then you will publish eBooks.
Will power is a bit more important to consider at this point in the process. In the first post I used an exercise analogy to highlight that the hardest part of writing content isn’t having the best strategies; the hardest part for most people is simply starting to write. Once you have written something, the next hardest part is doing it again. How many times have you started an exercise program and found that you stopped going after just a few weeks? The trick is to make it a habit.
When was the last time you forgot to brush your teeth for a day? You’re probably thinking that the question is ridiculous because we all brush our teeth every day. Now think about the last time you forgot to floss for a week. This question probably doesn’t seem so ridiculous; lots of people regularly forget to floss. We all take the hygiene of our teeth very seriously; we brush everyday but nevertheless most of us would probably say we wish we flossed more often.
So, why do we remember to brush but not floss?
First, we were raised to brush daily without question, so it became a habit. You brush your teeth every morning when you wake up and again at night before bed. If you forget, it feels pretty obvious and nags at you until you brush again. On the other hand, flossing is something that can be done less regularly and so we sometimes push it off and forget about it. Exercising suffers from similar forgetability. Most of us make excuses such as, “oh I have to do ___ tonight, but I’ll go tomorrow.” On the other hand, we all know people who have made running after work such a habit that it is as natural as brushing their teeth; if they forget, it drives them crazy and thus they do it regularly.
Producing content is no different. If we plan to write one piece each week, we will often push it off until the end of the week, then to the weekend, and then we will forget it altogether. When we are first starting to improve the consistency of our content production, it is critical to develop a habit of producing content at a regular tempo. For most of us, this requires writing content daily.
If you buy into the reasons why we should write daily, you may be thinking that despite agreeing that it would be beneficial, there is just no way you could do it. You may be thinking that you don’t have the time or enough to write about, or maybe you thinking that your writing isn’t good enough at that tempo, that you have to spend a lot of time tweaking and editing your content. While all of those challenges are valid, none is actually a reason not to write every day.
Notice the nuance of what I’m saying, how I shifted from using the word producing to the word writing. I’m not suggesting that you produce a self-contained masterpiece each day. I’m suggesting that you set aside some time each day to write. Each day, at the same time, sit down and try to write for an hour. At first, you may have a hard time, your writing may stink, and you might not complete very much, but as time progresses, so will you. Perfection comes with practice. You will find your writing improving, that you can write more per hour, and that you will be spotting more topics about which to write.
In the previous post, “How to Start Building a Continuous Content Pipeline,” I explained that the first step to producing a consistent flow of content was simply to get started. The second step in meeting your content goals is to sit down and start writing each day. I don’t care who you are: CEO, CMO, designer or content specialist. If you are concerned about your content pipeline, then commit to making it a daily priority—do something about it.
If you don’t, who else will?