Maybe you’ve heard me say that I try to blog every single week. Without exception. Ever.
Why? Because I live by the flywheel effect, that inertial force of momentum that’s fed by the consistent application of force. Here, consistency and predictability matter more than the degree of energy expended. A slow trickle counts more than the occasional burst in the service of such things.
The moment an exception creeps in is the moment the flywheel stops spinning. It’s the moment that a writing habit becomes as compromised and discretionary as that forgotten gym membership.
But I have to be honest: it’s not always easy. Some weeks are just blindingly busy, deprived of the space and time to think reflectively on ideas for feeding this content-hungry beast. This week, for example.
Of course, this is a challenge that’s hardly unique to me. It’s perhaps the challenge for content marketers. How do you, against the competing demands of all else, sustain a healthy content supply chain?
Here are eight tips to consider when you’re searching for ways to feed the beast:
Carve out space—I often rise with the roosters to capitalize on the quiet moments before dawn. Interestingly, since creativity comes from what might be best described as “dream space,” this can be a disproportionately productive time. For me, at least. It precedes the frenetic hurry of the day and taps into unfiltered thinking. Find your creative moments and build them into your daily discipline.
Cast a wider net—Look beyond your core team to contribute content. Find the guest contributors and natural evangelists hiding in plain sight. The best content marketing programs are supporting by a community of occasional contributors, a roving band of stringers. Find them. Put them on assignment.
Make lists—Do as I’m doing now: Take a topic—any topic—and distill it down to the key dos or don’ts. Everyone loves a list—it’s spoon-fed insight, which is nourishment for the frazzled soul.
Flip the argument—The most interesting perspective is often the other side of the conventional argument. Flip the conversation and see what it yields. Probably something pretty darn interesting.
Phone a friend—When my thoughts flow like mud, I call on one of my many whip-smart colleagues (holler, Julie Hopkins). When you’re on the edge of an insight, it often takes the exercise of talking it through to push it over the edge. Sometimes it’s a new perspective. Sometimes it’s just the act itself.
Curate—Find, filter and annotate third party content and lend perspective to the conversation. Think like an editor as you organize and add value to other people’s content. Make it accretive, not recycled. And, of course, never, ever plagiarize. Contrary to Picasso’s view, great artists do not steal.
Reuse—Design content artifacts from the inside out with an architecture for reuse. Every asset should have a plan for subsequent use. Take a page from Martha Stewart’s book: Artfully recycle.
Revisit—Don’t be afraid to return to topics that may benefit from fresh perspective—or just because. Don’t forget that nobody is watching as closely as you. What feels, to you, like old hat is often fresh insight to the next guy. And brand experts understand that influence campaigns are about frequency and reach. Never one and done. But don’t be boring—tell your story in new ways. How do you do that? See tips 1-7.