By Michele Linn published May 23, 2012

How to Make Content Marketing A Habit

Recently, I had my second child, and I’m now on a quest to lose the “baby weight” (Ah, if it were only weight from the baby, I would not be in this predicament!). While there are a myriad of suggestions and programs out there to help people lose weight, there are a few widely accepted principles: You need to incorporate lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean protien in your diet while removing sugar and make time for regular exercise.

But knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are two different things. It takes discipline and willpower to achieve your goal, even when you don’t see results at first. In essence, you need to make sticking to a healthy diet and exercising into a habit; part of your regular routine. The same holds true for your content marketing efforts. 

Like having a good diet or exercise regimine, content marketing is not something you can “set and forget;” rather, you need to be consistent. But how can you make content marketing a habit when you have so much else going on? Here are a few ideas:

Put yourself on a 30-day boot camp

I often hear it takes 3 to 4 weeks to make something a habit. Figure out where your gap is with content marketing (planning? writing?), and be diligent about doing something EVERY day (or every work day) to further your goal. Try the Pomodoro technique, which is a fancy way of saying turn off everything else and focus on the task for 25 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Have a place to store all ideas

Once you get stared with content marketing, I’ll guarantee you that ideas will crop up at the oddest times — and you want to capture those thoughts. While there are a lot of ways to do this, I use Evernote, which is something I can access on my laptop, iPad, or phone.

Break bad habits

Unless you simply want to be working more, you need to “steal” time from somewhere else to make time for content marketing. What activities in your schedule might be taking more time than necessary? Here are a few things I have done to remove unwanted delays and distractions:

  • I shut off email and only check it a few times a day.
  • I have unsubscribed from many emails so there is less clutter in my inbox.
  • I  filter messages I want to read but that aren’t urgent into a folder so I focus on business-related emails.
  • I set up “listening posts” on my laptop and iPad so I can quickly find the most relevant info to read and share on social channels.
  • I only check social media once or twice per day.

Make a plan

Instead of asking yourself “What do I need to do?“, get a plan together. For instance, I’m a proponent of weekly menu planning. What’s the equivalent of a menu plan for the content marketer? The editorial calendar. I’m obessessed with mine, and I can’t be effective without it.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Just as when you are trying to lose weight or start an exercise program, it’s a good idea to find someone who is working on the same goals so you can be accountable to someone else and bounce ideas off of one another. Do you have any colleagues you can join forces with? Alternatively, start following people who inspire you. If you are looking for some content marketers, check out this list from Joe Chernov, 20 Women Who Rock Content Marketing.

Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint

We all know of people who yo-yo diet or who take on the latest trend, only to abandon it soon after. Sure, they lose a few pounds, but then it often comes right back on. Same with content marketing: you can’t jump on any fad and expect long-term results. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see them right away.

What other tips do you to make content marketing part of your daily routine?

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute. She is one of those people who truly loves what she does and who she works with. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

Other posts by Michele Linn

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  • Elizabeth Joss

    Hi Michelle, my problem is that I tend to get so distracted by all these inspiring and motivating articles on content marketing I find on a handful of sites that I don’t focus on my work! I now save all these articles for when I’m relaxed at home so I can go through them and read them thoroughly instead of when at work when I don’t absorb them as much as when I do at home and relaxed. This has definitely helped me get my act together!

    • Michele Linn

      I agree, Elizabeth. I can so easily get distracted by reading other’s ideas, that I have to set aside to do this instead of integrating it into my work day. As I mentioned in a different post this week, when I see something I want to read but I don’t have time, I send it to Evernote. Some things I read and delete, some things I file without reading (knowing I’ll come back to them when I have a need), and other things I read and file. What system do you use for saving all of the articles you want to read later?