“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.
But you don’t want to be busy. You want to be productive.
The difference between the two? Results.
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When you’re productive, you take 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 followers. You’ll share content that’s designed to collect Instagram hearts rather than created to tell your story. You’ll build an audience of followers who aren’t truly interested in your school. And one day, you’ll be asked to show results and you won’t know where to begin.
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.
Too often, marketers think they don’t need a written strategy. Why? Because they already have a plan, and they just need help on execution (i.e., they want to write something fast, share something fast, and grow their audience — you guessed it — fast).
The problem? The “plan” often exists only inside the heads of the marketing team. They have an idea about what they want to achieve, and how they want to achieve it, but the actual strategy has never been put on paper. Which also often means it hasn’t been fully thought through, or agreed upon by all stakeholders (which is another reason why writing it down is so important).
Research shows that documenting your content marketing strategy makes an impact on your outcomes. In fact, 60% of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared with 32% of those who have a verbal strategy.
Content Marketing Institute’s B2C 2020 survey revealed that busy content marketing and social media marketing are all too common: only 33% of respondents had a documented content strategy. Once you know that, are you surprised to hear that 71% consider their efforts moderately, minimally, or not at all successful?
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.
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