HOW TO TOUGHEN UP YOUR CONTENT MARKETING?
Market resilience means being effective and focussing your activities in the right place.
So how does this apply to content marketing?
Content marketing is centred around creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. So, resilient content marketing is about reinvention, reimagination, and renewed insight despite the challenges. This is because, content marketing requires you to be fresh, unique, and inspired so that your audience continues to read your content.
Because of this, you will consistently need to find new ways of understanding your audience. Or, you will need to create a new type of content after senior management complains that your content isn’t driving results. That’s resilience!
To create truly resilient content marketing, content leaders must be able to revitalize, recreate, and be innovative despite the most arduous circumstances.
Now I guess you’re wondering, “How can I become more resilient within my own content marketing?”
Well, that’s simple! It takes personal accountability, investment, and time. However, it is also goes beyond the individual. Your whole organization must be willing to contribute.
Ultimately, creating resilient processes, frameworks, and ensuring clear communication are absolutely critical. But they’re not enough! Truly resilient content marketing requires a combination of strategic and political proficiency, humanness, endurance, and grit. As well as the ability to have courage and strength of character.
Within this article, I will break down a content marketing resilience model which can help build and sustain your content marketing programs and teams.
Are you ready to toughen up? Well, here we go!
CONTENT MARKETING RESILIENCE MODEL
Content Marketing resilience is made up of five pillars:
Create the right structures or frameworks like LEGO blocks to support interconnectivity, collaboration, and support. Allow these to be adapted, moved, and repurposed in order to reach relevant goals. However, you need to keep your team focused on the central piece.
Essentially, you are creating a strong foundation for your team.
Think of your leaders as conductors, not commanders. You act as a guide for your team. So, work with what you already know, what needs to be fixed now, and figure out the best move together. Then lead your team in the right direction.
It is important to realize that your framework has elements of flexibility and even ambiguity. However, you need to ensure that you are keeping your team empowered and trust them to serve their role when the time comes.
Help your team members adjust without changing everything. Don’t ask them to drive a new car on the wrong side of the road, teach them how to drive the same car in a different environment instead.
For instance, if there is a drastic change in the market then you need to do help your team ease into the change. Instead of jumping in head first.
Always put your customer’s needs first!
Overall, this model sets the framework which helps create resilient organizations over time. Regardless of this, while this process is being built you should think about:
“How do content marketers carry on creating brilliant content day after day?”
Well, keep reading below and you’ll find out!
DAY TO DAY RESILIENCY
I chose five challenges that content marketing teams often face: Executive Pressure, Turbulence, Losing a project, Criticism, and the Creative Doldrums. These have been developed further to help you prepare for resilience within your own business.
There has definitely been a day when your executives have said to you, “you didn’t hit your numbers”. Sometimes being a content marketing leader is a great deal of stress. You need to always ensure that you are defending your team, your work, and potentially even your profession.
It often helps to deal with this kind of frustration by taking deep breaths in the moment. This can be done by naming the emotion that this confrontation evokes within you. Then, getting an external, trustworthy perspective on the next steps. This will allow you to compose yourself, and keep your thoughts constructively focussed on content marketing.
- Be aware of the human, technological, environmental, and political elements
These elements all interact to create a bigger picture. This situation might not be about you, your work, or your team. In fact, the pressure you’re facing may simply be the executives passing on their disappointment in the financial results that may come from market factors or elements beyond anyone’s control.
So, remember to always keep this in mind. It will help to reel in any anger you’re feeling!
- You don’t need to know all the answers and solutions
Even if you don’t have the answers, you probably have a good idea about where to start looking for them. You just need to give yourself time to reflect and investigate.
- Have a flexible mindset
Mindset is everything! So, when you are faced with difficulties you need to know how to manage your emotions. Instead of breaking under pressure.
- Use the tools at your disposal to your best advantage
Use every method, tool, and tactic at your disposal to help people understand why you’re facing these challenges. How can they help you overcome them?
Remember, it’s OK to communicate that you need help too!
TURBULENCE AND TEAM DISCONNECT
Over time content marketing teams may change, and team members may lose focus. Or, they may choose to go in a different direction. Potentially, you may have to deal with a horizontal team structure. This is where it was once vertical in order to adapt to account-based marketing, and the challenges it entails.
Alternatively, team members may just lose their way. It’s understandable as we all get tired, cranky, and frustrated. Particularly when the content we’ve fallen in love with doesn’t seem to be supported by the rest of the business, or we just run out of ideas.
So, how do we adapt? Here are some resilience lessons:
- Focus people on solving the right things at the right time
The greatest idea may not be suitable at one time, but perfect on another occasion. Help team members understand this.
- Keep elements in your core content processes which provides familiarity and consistency
Create touchpoints which people can refer to when they feel like things are going astray. Remind them what they need to do to keep customers happy, who’s doing it, and why everyone is in it together. If in doubt, dig out your content strategy or refer to your company mission and vision.
- Your team aren’t just content creators
They’re people. Building strong and deep connections throughout the organization can help bring the right people together to address an issue. Siloed organizations are not beneficial to long-term resilience. Nonetheless, when they work well cross-organizational teams can provide brilliant support to one another. Particularly during times of stress which can affect one division more than another.
LOSING A PROJECT
Occasionally, as content marketing leaders you’ll have to say to your team members, “This is a great idea, but we have to pull it.” This can be hard when your team has invested deeply in a project for it to be taken away from them.
Frankly, not being able to pursue something they were excited about can be a severe blow. In fact, the more invested an individual or team is in a project, the harder it is to get over. It may seem extreme, but recovering from a loss like this can take people through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, until they finally reach acceptance.
So, here’s how to get this under control:
- Adaptability takes personal accountability, investment, and time
Be empathetic! If your team member puts in a lot of work into a project, then it’s going to take a great deal of time for them to get over it. So, be understanding and mindful of their state of mind.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or explain why things have changed
When people ask you questions, they aren’t necessarily challenging you or being aggressive. They’re simply trying to understand what has happened.
- Don’t make people responsible for activities that they don’t understand or can’t do
This is just unnecessary pressure and stress on your team member. Instead, allow others who can help to step in. Sometimes this means admitting that you can’t do it all yourself and need to get extra help in the form of contractors, outsiders, or even agencies to support you.
Being proud of the work you’ve done is wonderful! Regardless of this, just because you think it’s fantastic, sadly that doesn’t always mean it will be liked or accepted by other stakeholders or senior executives.
So how can you teach your team members, and yourself how to handle criticism?
All you need to do is follow these simple tips:
- Accept your emotions
It’s ok to be angry, sad, disappointed, or hurt. However, don’t let them over-consume you. You will have another opportunity to show off work which will be liked.
According to Harvard brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, 90 seconds is all it takes to identify an emotion and allow it to dissipate. So, give yourself 90 seconds to rant, compose yourself, and then let it go.
- Reflect honestly
What I mean by this is that you have to think about whether or not their criticism was right or wrong. Unfortunately, sometimes it stings more when you come to the conclusion that the criticism was very much accurate.
But should you let this demotivate and dishearten you?
NO WAY! Instead you have to shift your thinking. You have to view your critiques as constructive, as a way of helping you improve. If you think of it like that then you will always remain motivated and happy.
Likewise, if you are the leader of your team then consider how you can give constructive criticism instead of potentially hurting someone’s feelings.
- Get an outsider’s perspective
If you have that one person you go to rant and rave to, then this is the person who can give you a more objective opinion to your situation.
This person will also be to find something positive in the situation.
- Use what you’ve learned to do something different in the future
Address the real issue behind the criticism, and let that be a guide to how you can develop yourself.
Writers’ block is the condition where you are unable to think of what to write, or how to continue with your writing. It has even been referred to as work fatigue. It’s that feeling which the Mayo Clinic explains as: “unrelenting exhaustion that isn’t relieved by rest, a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time, reducing your energy, motivation, and concentration.” It is something which will most likely happen to any of you Digital Marketers.
So how do you cope with it?
If you are personally feeling creatively clogged and need a flow of ideas, then it’s time to find new and resilient ways of coping with this challenge. Here’s how:
- Get out of your rut:
Do something different! Go somewhere different! Maybe there’s a lovely café that you wanted to go to, or you could try a new cuisine! Take the time to remove yourself from your familiar routine, and discover new experiences.
- Take care of yourself:
It’s very hard to be creative when you’re exhausted. So, it’s important to indulge yourself with some “me time”. Take more time than you think you need, and allow yourself to be blissfully unproductive for a while. At the end of the day your brain needs a break, just like you do.
Now sit back, relax and watch your ideas come flooding back!
- Ask for help:
Turn to your team or even people from outside your team for their advice, recommendations, or suggestions.
- Ask for ideas:
This is the research stage where you need to talk to your customers and find out what they want/need. Once you are aware of their wants and needs, then you need to manifest your research into your content so that it solves their problems.
- Revisit your old content, but view it from a different perspective:
This is the thinking stage. For this step you need to think about your best content in the past, and how you can reinvent it. For example, Direct mail (aka snail mail) is making a comeback in several industries.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN
At the end of the day, being a communicator who leads other communicators is hard. We have to be creative yet efficient, empathetic yet focused, and brave yet able to take the knocks. So, I’ll leave you with a motivational poem by Gina Balarin which is inspiring and emotive.
Even rock erodes
Patiently: water, wind, sun, cold, pressure breaks it down.
But, having weathered, beauty remains.
Pink, orange, black sandstone
And marble-like surfaces
As white, smooth, and tiered
As a wedding cake.
Nature is a patient teacher.
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Even a pearl is just a slimy sea creature in a shell without grit.
By Gina Balarin
This poem was inspired by the beauty of the rock formations in the Royal National Park, Sydney, Australia.
Congratulations! You have just been taught detailed Byter tips on how to toughen up your content marketing. Now it’s time to lead your team and content to ultimate success. Don’t forget to let your family and friends know about your newfound skills from a London Digital Marketing Agency. Also, be sure to let us know how you do on your Content Marketing path. We’d love to hear about it!
If you want to strengthen your content marketing skills, then explore more of our detailed articles! We want you to be the best you can be!