5 Essential Content Marketing Habits

Content marketing is one of the move valuable tools at your disposal to add value to your marketing strategy. Good content educates your audience, prospects potential clients, and when done correctly does a powerful job of advertising your brand message.

However, if you're managing multiple accounts at once and want to stay as organized and focused as possible, it's necessary to start developing the right habits as early as possible. Below are a few key things that I've learned which have helped me save my sanity, and be better at what I do.

1. Track Your To-Dos

I've mentioned my daily checklist in a previous post, but having a concrete, written plan for what you need to do each day/week/month/etc is unbelievably helpful. This is especially true when you're working on a project which requires a team effort, and a bit of project management.

My favourite tool for this purpose is Trello because it's super-easy to learn to use, has a simple design based on columns and checklists, and allows you to drag specific tasks "bubbles" around between columns, so everyone can see where you are on a specific project.

Here's an example via a quick Google Image search to give you an idea of what it looks like:

Having tools like Trello (or Asana, or Slack, whatever your preference) helps with communication in teams who may not be in the same office, or even the same country, and allows you to easily keep track of who is working on which portion of the project, and where they're at. Being able to access this stuff at-a-glance is super easy, and saves a ton of time.

2. Establish Milestone and Conversion Goals

Before you sit down and start tweeting or posting, establish what your definition of "successful" looks like. Is it 2,000 newsletter subscribers by Thanksgiving? To speak at a nationwide conference next year? Maybe hit a million visitors to your website this month?

Whatever the case, by developing a clear vision of success and what it looks like not only helps you plan how you will achieve those goals, but also helps you have a clear game plan which can be adapted to deal with any unexpected changes.

Conversions are the best way to measure the success of your campaign (think bread-crumb trail) and anything that you do which leads a user down your breadcrumb trail is worth tracking.

3. Analyze Behaviours and Achievements

Behaviours are the actions that visitors take once they arrive at your website, and achievements are when they behave based on the breadcrumbs that you left for them to follow.

By keeping track of how people move through your (or a client's) website, you can gain valuable information as to how people are getting there, and how they're moving around. Ideally, they'll follow a set of pre-defined steps that you've put in place in order to get them to visit a particular page, or buy a product.

So whenever you identify a new measurable behaviour (maybe your traffic goes up, your website's ranking increases, your click-through rate increases, etc) you can analyze the behaviours that led to the increase, and refine and revise when necessary to make sure things keep going well.

4. Get In the Cloud

This took me longer to get into the habit of doing than I'd like to admit, but saving all your documents, contracts, photos, and work in the cloud (I use Google Drive) is the only way to be truly effective wherever you are, and saves a ton of headache down the road.

Here's an example: I invoiced a client before I went out of town, but they sent me an email a few days later and said that they needed me to re-submit it. So instead of having to worry about re-creating an invoice from scratch because my original document was on my iMac back in Winnipeg, I opened the Google Drive app on my phone, found the invoice (I also have all of my invoice templates saved there, just in case) and re-shared it within the span of a few minutes.

It saved me a ton of time time and and I was able to avoid the headache and stress of re-creating an invoice to make sure I got paid when I was expecting to.

There is literally no excuse for you to not be using a cloud-based sharing service, so get on it!

5. Report & Tweak

Though many people are starting to see the value of of it, a lot of people still view content marketing and social media as a wishy-washy thing to spend money on, so us content marketers need to be able to prove our worth.

The best way to show value is through reporting - showing successes, areas of improvement, engagement levels, and providing recommendations on how to move forward. It also helps with long-term planning, as reports can indicate shifts in behaviour and engagement over time, which allows you to identify things that succeeded, and things that didn't.

Reporting can be (okay, almost always is) a chore. It's boring, but by taking the time to put together a comprehensive report you can effectively demonstrate your value, as well as open up lines of communication with your clients. Reporting builds trust and helps clients feel like they've got a good grasp of what's happening, even if they're totally hands-off day-to-day.

Developing the right habits from the get-go allows you to not only feel more organized, but it actually makes you better at your job, which is good news for both you and your clients.

Did I miss anything from this list? Do you have anything you'd like to add? If so, leave a comment, shoot me an email, or tweet at me on Twitter!