“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” — Henry David Thoreau
Busy is a tricky thief. It can disguise itself as productive; take up all your time, energy and resources; and leave you with nothing except overwhelm.
We don’t like busy. We like productive.
The difference between the two? Results.
When you’re productive, you’re taking actions that get you closer to meeting a defined goal. Your time, energy and resources are well spent. You get something meaningful in return.
If you allow it, busy will take over your efforts. You’ll get consumed by likes and retweets and friends and followers. You’ll share content that’s aimed for +1s rather than created to tell your story. You’ll build an audience of followers who aren’t interested in you, your brand or your end goals. And one day, you’ll be asked to show results and you won’t know where to begin.
So how do you keep busy from sabotaging your content marketing?
Strategy is productive’s best friend. She’s the planner who sets the path for productive to follow. She knows the steps you need to take to reach those goals, to build that audience, to show your results.
Without strategy, busy will always beat out productive.
If I was a numbers gal (and I’m not), I would estimate that within the first 90 seconds of a call with a new client, 90% tell me they don’t need a content marketing strategy. Why? Because they already have a plan, and they just need help on execution (i.e., they want me to write something fast, share something fast, and grow their audience — you guessed it — fast).
Which is all good and awesome and fantastic. I like plans, and I like fast.
Except that, for 90% of those 90%, this strategy only exists in their heads. They have an idea about what they want to achieve, and how they want to achieve it, but the strategy has never been developed.
And that’s when I get nervous. Because, as I said, I want to be productive, not busy. Especially when I’m on someone else’s time.
The point: Research shows that documenting your content marketing strategy makes an impact on your outcomes. In fact, 60% of businesses who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared with 32% of those who have a verbal strategy.
Research also shows that busy content marketing and social media marketing are all too common:
So how do you begin to turn these stats around and replace the busy work with the productive work?
Write it down. Print it out. Learn it. Share it. Love it. Work toward it, and you’ll be productive.
And poor busy? Drop her off in email land.
Do you have any tips for keeping your content marketing and social media marketing productive and on task? Share in the comments below!