Nobody lives and dies by their calendar like Jess Ostroff. She’s the founder of Don’t Panic Management, an agency for virtual assistants that does everything from manage clients’ calendars to help execute entire content marketing strategies.
As the business has grown, Jess has learned volumes about how to organize marketing departments. She recently joined us on The Everything Email Podcast to share the following tips for rethinking your content marketing process and strategy next year.
1. Stop and think
If there’s one thing modern marketers rarely do, it’s pause for long enough to contemplate their existence. They’re so busy hitting deadlines, executing campaigns, launching new tools, and fending off distractions that planning often comes last. “End of year is a great time to reflect,” says Jess. “Audit your work. Take a week and literally write down, every hour, what you’re doing.”
You’re bound to find yourself spending time in places that simply aren’t productive. Ask yourself, “What are things I can get rid of?” or “What are things I can automate or delegate?” If you find tasks that aren’t critical, cut them out or hand them off.
2. Create better content, not more content
This year, 70% of businesses planned to create more content, but according to Jess, few allocated more resources to it. The “do more with less” drumbeat will likely be just as loud next year and so, even with automation, how on earth are you supposed to achieve this? According to Jess, you need to reevaluate the underlying assumption that more equals better.
“One piece of content that’s great is better than 10 pieces that aren’t,” says Jess. That’s because, with lower barriers than ever to content creation, everybody is doing it. You can spin-up a website, a blog, or a podcast all for free. But, that doesn’t mean that you’re creating more of what audiences want. According to Jess, the pressure to create more content is so great that marketers don’t do any more content planning than to ask, “What do I feel like writing today?”
Content written under pressure is rarely written with audiences in mind. It performs poorly and creating it is wasteful. Next year, repurpose your time to create fewer, better pieces. “It’s not worth it to create something unless you think it’s the best thing you ever created,” says Jess.
3. Focus on your most personal channels
Finally, audit your channels and tools. Good marketers should always be testing and reinvesting in areas where they see the greatest ROI. For many, that’s email. It’s more personal and, when properly managed, it offers a very direct line to your audience.
“On your blog or podcast, you don’t know who you’re reaching. But with email, it’s your list, and so you do” says Jess. Email audiences are more engaged because they must have jumped several hurdles to be there: They’ve visited your website, signed up to receive content, and verified their address. Next year, when you’re searching for the best channels to spend your time on and places to publish fewer but better pieces of content, email is a great place to start.
Want to hear the top mistakes Jess sees marketers making? Listen to the latest episode of The Everything Email Podcast here on the blog and available on Soundcloud and other podcast friendly platforms.