You know the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side”? It’s usually applied to tangible, more personal things like homes, cars, clothes or even salaries. But I’d argue that the same could be said about more intrinsic and professional issues, such as creativity, organizational skills, analytical capabilities, among others.
Not surprisingly, these are all things we constantly grapple with as marketers. I know I have my days when I feel like I can’t eloquently string together a sentence or I’m making the silliest mistakes while reviewing a project. Heck, sometimes it even comes down to making the best decisions for our content marketing initiatives — whether it’s ideation, messaging development or even our content format choices. So for this week, I wanted to spotlight a few quick-hitting pieces that will offer substantial advice on improving your creative processes and your content marketing execution. Even the smallest changes can make a difference:
- Skills all effective marketers should have: The content marketing practice is constantly evolving. Necessary skills and best practices from five years ago have either changed slightly or are no longer relevant. What I love most about this Search Engine Journal article is that it doesn’t throw around unreachable, pie-in-the-sky skills and characteristics. It acknowledges that as marketers, we don’t know it all. (I’d even argue that most of us still work day in and day out to figure this whole content marketing thing out.) While some of us have natural abilities, we still have to conduct in-depth research to understand our respective industries and continuously hone our craft, which includes writing, planning and strategizing.
- Flex your creative muscles: There are some days when being creative is incredibly easy. The amazing ideas and compelling prose flow fluidly from your brain to the page (er, computer). Other days, not so much. What if I told you, though, that there were some quick tricks to help you flex your creative muscles and make content ideation, planning or even writing far easier. One best practice outlined in this article is to understand your body. If you’re a morning person, you’re actually more creative at night. And if you’re a night person, it’s the opposite. Pretty cool, huh?
- Take risks (while playing it safe): Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Not so, according to this Marketing Land article, which uncovers ways brands can start taking more risks with their marketing campaigns and content creation. The article not only explains why controversial content is impactful (hello, clicks and social shares), but walks through the process for getting executive buy-in and crafting a strategy. I think the most important thing to recognize is not all brands can create crazy viral campaigns that get covered on the morning news. There are different levels of risk-taking and brands need to understand what their own unique limits are.
- Your web site is worth 1,000 words: And you don’t want any of those words to be “I can’t find what I’m looking for” or “Ugh, what an ugly web site. It hurts my eyes.” I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of beautifully designed web sites — whether they’re from your competitors, solution provider partners, agencies or even your favorite retailers. Take notes on what you like most about your experiences on these sites. Then, turn to this article for more in-depth best practices, including having clear brand messaging and conversion opportunities. We’ve also been seeing a lot of B2B brands restructuring their web sites to focus on specific roles, industries and pain points, rather than their specific solutions. Taking this buyer-first approach helps brands show that they care about their customers — not pushing products.
These are only four of many articles that offer quick and tactical tips for improving your creative process and your marketing results. Hopefully, with these resources, you’ll no longer try to keep up with the Joneses and will be creating masterful campaigns.