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Under Pressure? Don’t Worry, Stop Overthinking [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending February 7, 2020

This week I’m ruminating on rumination (and suggesting an alternative to overthinking things). I offer my fresh take on the role of content marketing in brand activism. Julia McCoy joins me to talk about how following her gut instinct – even when it scared her – helped her build a profitable content marketing business that ended up being a true lifeline. Finally, I share an article that will help you quit worrying and find and fix the inefficiencies in your content pipeline.

Listen to the Weekly Wrap

Our theme this week is “What, me worry?” Let’s wrap it up.

One deep thought: Making decisions under pressure (2:30)

Are you overthinking things? Many people believe rehashing problems in our heads helps us figure out the answer. We become so focused on making the right decision, we lose the ability to make one at all.

Overthinking often rears its head as we plan a complex change. I recently worked with a director of content strategy at a large B2C company to map 12 weeks of tasks related to a major content initiative. Worry over whether the e-commerce team would meet the deadlines of a tech project in time to line up with the content efforts weighed on him – especially since he didn’t control that part of the project.

Overthinking often rears its head as we plan a complex change, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

I share the advice I gave this client about planning for the future but living (and working) in the moment:

A fresh take on content activism in a ‘post-truth’ world (10:15)

Commentary from PublishersDaily/MediaPost caught my eye this week. The article, Content Activism Can Help Brands Shape A Positive Future, covers a topic on my mind right now.

The article starts by covering ground most of us are familiar with – brands are using content “to align themselves with the key issues of our time.” It goes on to talk about content’s role:

(C)ontent marketing is simply a bigger canvas for brands to develop a narrative, but more recently, the narrative has changed from just product or services to include ethics and principles. We’re asking ‘how’ more than ever. As conversations develop around profit vs. purpose or inclusive capitalism, what they do creates brand value, preference, and differentiation.

The author points to the example of the Food Sustainability Index developed by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition and the Economist Intelligence Unit to promote knowledge around food sustainability. As the article notes, “In a post-truth world, content surfaced within quality editorial environments allows audiences to feel confident that a similar level of diligence and attention has been applied to the facts.”

I share my take on this interesting trend, including another example of how corporate social responsibility (CSR) content is no longer just about what the company is doing (getting rid of paper cups in the office or having the team run a 5K for charity), but where media is the CSR program. Interesting stuff, and I’ll be watching and writing about this more in the future.

#CorporateSocialResponsibility content is no longer just about what the company is doing, but where media is the #CSR program, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

This week’s person making a difference in content: Julia McCoy (14:44)

I often talk about how my guests are making meaning in content. And this week’s guest is the living standard of that.

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and author. She founded a multimillion-dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, Julia has been named an industry thought leader in content marketing by Forbes and is the author of two best-selling books, founder of The Content Hacker, and educator. Julia has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online courses. Her latest book, Woman Rising, is a memoir that chronicles how she escaped from a religious cult and rebuilt her life.

Julia is somebody who definitely doesn’t let worry stop her from making (and meeting) ambitious goals. We talk at length about her unique path to building a content marketing business. Here’s a preview:

Three months into it, I had more work than I could handle. It was a breaking point for me. Do I continue solo and turn down all these gigs or do I build a business? Naturally, because I am that type of persona, I wanted to build a business. That’s where Express Writers came from. It was a five-minute idea I honestly thought wouldn’t last a year. Eight years later, 90 people on the staff, it’s like “pinch me.” But at the same time, it’s that equation of working hard really does equal success. It does come down to how hard are you willing to work?”

It all comes down to how hard are you willing to work, says @JuliaEMcCoy via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Listen in to our discussion, then learn more about Julia:

One content marketing idea you can use (31:45)

The post I’d love for you to look at this week is right in line with what I’ve been talking about – figuring out how to make worry-free plans.

In Fix These Big Inefficiencies in Your Content Pipeline, Kimberly Zhang offers really good tips on avoiding content marketing waste. She points out really smart areas to address, including writing for multiple personas, lacking in accountability, expertise on too many topics, creative teams that lack support. Fixing these areas will help you worry a little less.

An overloaded or overwhelmed #content team can lead to #contentmarketing waste, says @KimZhangCEO via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

Love for this week’s sponsor: ContentTECH Summit

Here’s something you don’t have to worry about – where to find education on content and technology – and a healthy dose of sunshine. I’m talking about ContentTECH Summit in San Diego (new dates – August 10 to 12).

We’ve got amazing speakers like Cleve Gibbon, chief technology officer at Wunderman Thompson, and Wendy Richardson, senior vice president of global technical services for Mastercard.

These brand-level folks are ready to teach you the effective use of technology and better processes that can help your strategic efforts to create, manage, deliver, and scale your enterprise content and provide your customers with better digital experiences.

Check out the agenda today.

The wrap-up

Join me next week as we look for the sharpest tools in our shed. (Don’t worry, we’ll nail it.) This is not a drill – and we aren’t nuts. But we will wrench one thought to level your head, pick one news item to hammer our point home, and share one content marketing rule that will help you measure up. And it’s all delivered in a little less time than it takes to learn that Kansas City is actually in Missouri.

If you have ideas for what you’d like to hear more of on our weekly play on words, let us know in the comments. And if you love the show, we’d sure love for you to review it or share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute