Content marketing is an essential part of any company's marketing arsenal. Nearly 90 percent of B2B marketers utilize content marketing these days, while 60 percent of all marketers create at least one piece of content every single day.
But this doesn't mean content marketing always comes easy.
If teams aren't careful, the relentless demand for content marketing can lead to burnout. (In fact, one study found more than half of all participating marketers struggle to create effective content marketing on a regular basis.) When burnout happens, it can degrade the quality of your company's marketing campaigns, motivate costly employee turnover, and minimize the chances that your team will continue to develop creative content ideas.
So what's the antidote to the content marketing crash? Start by keeping your team motivated, inspired, and refreshed with the following seven strategies.
Fund professional development opportunities
Encouraging your team members to participate in professional development opportunities (and providing them with the resources to do so) serves multiple purposes.
First, it communicates to your employees that you're invested in their professional wellbeing. This can boost morale, which helps keep the team engaged in the day-to-day work of content marketing.
Additionally, it provides an opportunity for team members to be exposed to new ideas for and approaches to content marketing. This can reawaken their creativity and excitement about your company's content.
Cultivate a sense of purpose
Research from Gallup suggests a shared sense of purpose is essential for keeping any team motivated. Their research studied more than 192 organizations from 49 industries and 34 countries. What they found is that mission-driven companies enjoy the following benefits:
- A more loyal workforce and less employee turnover
Greater strategic alignment throughout the company
Enhanced customer engagement
Significantly enhanced employee engagement
In order to develop a mission-driven team, spend time thinking about the "why" behind what you do. Brainstorm together as a team to come up with a set of shared values that inspires team members to rally around the cause. Make that mission front and center in your team culture in order to motivate ongoing engagement.
Make it personal
One easy way to drive home the purpose (or "why") behind content marketing is to make it personal by connecting the team's work with the people/customers for whom they're producing that content.
You could accomplish this in several ways. For example:
You might invite your content team to pick your sales team's brain.
You could get the content team involved in conducting customer surveys or other customer research.
You could encourage team members to read what customers are saying on social media and via reviews and testimonials.
All of this helps drive home the point that the content your team creates goes on to reach real human beings, which can help team members stay connected to the value of their work. This sense of meaning, in turn, helps fuel engagement and mitigate burnout.
Facilitate work-life balance
Study after study shows that over-work leads to burnout, and that burnout kills creative thinking and engagement at work. Rest is essential both for staying energized at work and also for processing and internalizing new information, all of which is critical for sustaining an effective content marketing machine.
To stave off the content killer of over-work, be sure to prioritize your team's work-life balance. That could look like any or all of the following:
Discouraging work on evenings and weekends
Offering plenty of paid time off
Encouraging employees to use their paid time off
Setting healthy examples at every level of the company
Stressing the importance of adequate sleep
At first glance, these strategies may not seem relevant to a company's bottom line. But a growing body of research affirms that a company's capacity to produce quality content on a regular basis is intimately linked to its employees' wellbeing.
Make it easy to complete tasks
By reducing task-related friction as much as possible, you can avoid draining team members' energy with menial tasks and reduce the risk of team members becoming resentful about their workflow.
To that end, make sure to assign everyone clearly defined roles, ensure everyone is utilizing consistent workflow processes, and invest in effective tools for task management, collaborative communication, and so on.
Some of the best tools for collaborative projects right now include:
Whenever you adopt new project management tools, make sure to get buy-in from your team. There's no sense investing in tools that don't actually make team members' lives easier. Just as important? Make sure everyone on the team knows how to use the tools they do select.
Find inspiration from different sources
Drawing content inspiration from a diverse array of sources helps fuel creativity and reduce boredom and burnout.
For example, you might encourage your team to look for inspiration in sources ranging from the news cycle to competitor research, topical holidays and other cultural events, keyword research, analytics, customer surveys, professional conferences, collaborative brainstorming sessions, an archival swipe file, and so on.
Pulling from a diverse pool of possible inspiration sources helps ensure you don't suck any single creative well dry.
It also enables your team to create content that is optimized for a variety of different platforms. Research suggests the top 10 types of content marketing are:
Social media content
Illustrations / photos
In order to create these types of content, it's essential that your team regularly consumes content from each of these categories. This will help inspire new ideas for a diversity of platforms and devices.
Because the demand for content is insatiable, it's easy to finish one project only to dive right into the next one. But if this happens over and over again, it's liable to lead to burnout.
Team members need time to reflect on their successes, learn from their fumbles, and affirm the hard work that goes into producing every single piece of content. This will help ensure team members begin the next project feeling appreciated, refreshed, and reinvigorated.
Celebrations could take different forms , from an individual or team sharing the story of their success to social events, bonuses, or small gifts of appreciation. It doesn't matter how you celebrate; the most important thing is that you do.
Companies that dominate the content marketing game enjoy nearly eight times the year-over-year growth in unique traffic relative to companies that fail to produce stellar content on a regular basis. This speaks to the irrefutable importance of keeping your team engaged in developing stellar content marketing.
The tips outlined above will help you do just that. In addition, make sure to keep your focus on quality over quantity. That will help establish clear priorities, ensure your team's morale doesn't deteriorate, and increase the chances that your team continues to produce high-quality content marketing for years to come.