By Michele Linn published January 28, 2011

7 Things to Cross Off Your Content Marketing To-Do List

There’s one universal thing shared by all content marketers: We don’t have enough time to get everything done, though I’m sure many of us try daily.

One solution, of course, is to work more. Lots of people are doing this. I routinely trade emails with my colleagues at 10:00 at night or 6:00 in the morning. This works to a point or until my office is littered with Starbucks.

You can also prioritize what you need to do. I’m a big fan of focus, but oftentimes my to-do list is still overflowing, and I begin feeling the anxious consequences of drinking too much caffeine. Trust me, I don’t recommend this option.

Here’s a better idea: Get some help. Hey, now and then even Superman needed help.

If you are in a mid-to-large company, this help can come from an intern or an administrative assistant. If you’re in a small company, you may want to consider a virtual assistant.

You may be wondering what kind of work you can offload. Here’s the question I ask myself, “Is this something where I can add value?”

If yes, these are the things I want to focus on such as developing strategy and creating content. However, a lot of tasks take time and are important, but they aren’t specific to my skill set.  These are great things to hand off to someone else. Here are some examples from my experience with the Content Marketing Institute as well as my days in product marketing a few years ago.

Web updates

One of the first reasons I hired my assistant was to get her help with web updates when we were redesigning the site. Having someone enter blog posts and make other updates has saved me hours of time. Additionally, it’s been very useful to have another set of eyes for everything we are doing to catch mistakes and test.

Data maintenance

I’m sure we have all been to those websites where they have an announcement for an “upcoming” event  that happened weeks or months ago. If you have time-sensitive data on your website, work with your assistant to send you reminders to update the data as appropriate.  Better yet, assign the task to that person!



I’m a huge fan of including transcripts for all audio and video.  Transcripts are also nice when more than one person in the organization can benefit from a conversation, such as a user story interview. Transcribing can be time-consuming, and it is a task that is very easy to hand off.

Email alerts

Do you monitor your name and other keywords via Google Alerts or Social Mention?  Or maybe you have signed up for HARO to see what kinds of questions journalists and other writers are asking? If you are like me, you have the best intentions but not always the time. This is a great  task for your assistant.


I think everyone can benefit from having a proofreader. Some assistants can help with this as well. As a note, this is different from copy editing, which review sentence structure, logic/flow, etc.

Data collection

When we were updating the website, I worked with my assistant to help me inventory all of our blog posts for some content we are working on. This kind of data is invaluable, but it’s time consuming to collect so it’s a perfect task to hand off.

Twitter comments

Hat tip to Joe Chernov for this idea: He has his intern collect and enter into a spreadsheet all of the Twitter comments they receive. Now he can re-engage with people who have commented on their content.

Finding the right person to help can be a huge time-saver. (And, a huge thanks to to Crystal Berg, our editorial assistant, who saves my time and sanity every day.)

Share your ideas on how you’ve recruited administrative assistants and interns to help you cross off tasks on your long to do list. And, don’t forget to dump that extra cup of coffee.

Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

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  • Debbie

    Great post Michele! We have an intern who has helped us tremendously with some of the research and administrative tasks that were taking up too much time. Question – how did you find a qualified virtual assistant? thanks!

    • Michele Linn


      This is a great question (that I thought someone may ask). Truthfully, I found my virtual assistant purely by serendipity. One of my friends who also consults mentioned how she started using a virtual assistant. I asked to learn more, I connected with Crystal and we started working together. It was fantastic timing as I was working on a bunch of projects where she could help. Besides asking other people for referrals, I don’t have any direct experience of what works/what doesn’t.

      If anyone else has good suggestions, let me know!

  • globalcopywrite


    As the recipient of many of your late night/early morning emails, I’m so grateful for this list. I’ve long felt I could use a virtual assistant but wasn’t sure where. I’m forwarding this post to her and asking which of them she can start doing for me.

    The one thing I’ve been thinking about offloading is invoicing. I would love to put my details in a spreadsheet and let someone else deal with creating, saving, printing, adding cover letters, emailing and chasing the odd unpaid bill. That would save me a couple hours every month which I could use to spend more time blogging.

    Thanks so much.

    • Michele Linn

      I know *so many* people who are work insanely hard, including you. I think we can all benefit from a bit of balance.

      Great idea about offloading your invoicing. That was never a task I enjoyed, but it’s time-consuming! A couple of hours a month really adds up!

  • Scott Frangos

    Hi Michel –

    Your point is well taken. I am always trying to do too much, and if you’re old enough to remember “desktop publishing” you’ll recall that then, as now, because of software tools and promotion we get told “you can do it all.” The truth is it takes a lot of skills, and left and right brain rigors to pull it all together. The wise Content Marketer will learn to focus on their strengths and delegate other tasks appropriately and your tips on that are very helpful. Quoting Clint Eastwood, “A good man always knows his limitations.”

    • Michele Linn

      Like anything, this is always a balancing act for me – trying to figure out what I have time to do vs. what would be best to delegate. As much as I would like to do everything, I know I have limitations!

  • Anonymous

    Some good tips there. I also like to go the other way …

    Everyone thinks there job or email is important and should be addressed ASAP and we certainly can work in a way that means we are very “reactive” to emails coming in.

    A nice little trick I use when my to do list is getting out of control is to take it to the boss and say “Let me know what you think is a priority, what can wait til next week and what can be done if/when I get time”

    Often what you think was super important and pressing isn’t what the boss thinks should be focussed on.

    The other advantage is that your boss has vision of how much stuff you have going on and is confident that you are focussing on the important things.

    • Michele Linn

      Daniel – This is a great tip and something I think is really effective. I know it takes time to make the list, but I love being able to focus on what’s most important – and getting consensus. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

    • Scott Frangos

      Hi Daniel – that’s good advice for how to prioritize and get your Boss’ buy-in during this crazy busy time for marketers.

  • Brandon Cox

    I’ve found that outsourcing my sleep helps me to get more done, and in my waking hours I try to outsource all of my outsourcing.

    Excellent thoughts! Now if I could justify having an intern…

    • Michele Linn

      Ha! Good luck getting an intern!

    • Michele Linn

      Ha! Good luck getting an intern!

  • Jay Olson

    Great advice Michele. Regardless of one’s plans to delegate, this is a good checklist for anyone who is starting a blog.

    • Michele Linn

      I actually intended this list for anyone creating content, but great point about using this list for bloggers as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Anonymous

    Michele, thanks for detailing how best to use a virtual asst. When we spoke a few months [? yikes] back and your first explained to me how you use an asst, I felt as if you had opened up all kinds of possibilities.