For many content marketers, including myself, routine can be a lifesaver.
Case in point: this morning, I am writing this blog post, which will be published this evening. Because I’ve done this hundreds of times before, I have a mental template in my head for this post.
Creating a template, or routine, for your content marketing plan is vital, and you can check out our tips for building a plan here.
Also based on my experience and familiarity, I know that this endeavor will likely take about 1.5 hours of my day. This means I can finish it before lunch, with plenty of time left in the day for my blog manager to proofread, format, and set it to publish.
Routine is a Necessity
Most importantly, because of this familiarity, I don’t have to consciously work through any of this. I know it instinctively. I also know that all of my processes are built around these assumptions. This allows me to spend less time figuring out how to get things done and with little to no stress.
Do I, as a content marketer, love routine? Yes, I do.
When you are overseeing dozens of pieces of content—blog posts, contributed articles, ebooks, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.—in a given quarter, your sanity depends on your familiarity with what you’re going to produce and how to produce it as efficiently as possible.
This familiarity can make all the difference between survival and an extended vacation to rethink your career choices.
Innovation is a Necessity
But then, as if designed specifically to disrupt our idyllic existence, comes calls to action like this one from Workfront CMO Joe Staples:
“Always experiment. That’s not to say that every single content piece has to push boundaries. In fact, the vast majority of your work should follow strategies that you’ve already found to be successful — through past experimentation.
But if you want to stay fresh and relevant, an ongoing percentage of your time and budget must be devoted to trying new things.”
Of course, you know he’s right. We all know he’s right. If we don’t take a step into the darkness every now and then, our content will inevitably stagnate, fall behind the pack, and fall into obscurity and general suckiness.
But this acknowledgement doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
You see, the problem with trying new stuff is that it is, inherently, a wildcard. You don’t know how long or how many people it will take to create a new type of content. All the pieces involved are a mystery. You probably don’t know how to promote it or how it will be received.
And all this mystery disrupts our secure little content management worlds. Along comes a new idea and, suddenly, we have to figure things out all over again.
Routine + Innovation = Content Marketers' Superpower
But I didn’t write this piece to excuse content marketers from taking those innovative leaps. (I repeat, I am a fan of trying new things.) No, I wrote this piece to say that:
We are absolutely obligated to experiment, to branch out, to be constantly seeking new content weapons to add to our marketing arsenals.
We can beat this challenge the same way that we beat the challenge of creating a blog post: by making it routine.
Is this not, after all, the superpower of all great content marketers: the ability to make the daunting routine? We often forget that while we fire out blog posts with ease, the rest of the populace is actually terrified by the challenge of writing a blog post.
It follows, then, that we should be able to apply this superpower to build the same familiarity around innovation and experimentation.
Great companies have already found brilliant ways to add experimentation and innovation right into their processes, making them something routine, almost mundane. So why not us content managers, the masters of the power of routine?
See our infographic, here, for ways you can bring creativity to your marketing and content marketing teams.
About the Author
Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.Follow on Twitter More Content by Marcus Varner