Where will you be when inspiration strikes? I recently read Marcus Sheridan’s ebook about Content Marketing and one of the sections in their talks about taking inspiration from your daily observations. My observation/story starts with me riding my bike home from work.
I’ve recently decided that I am going to use my Road Bike that has been collecting dust for a while. Not an amazing revelation, but as a background, this is a goal that I keep returning to month after month. This time however, something was different. I resolved to make it work. To actually follow through with what I was going to do was going to take some planning rather than just words. Here is how I did that.
The first thing I chose to do was to give myself a realistic and some might say easy goal to achieve. I chose to ride my bike to and from work 2 days in a row. This doesn’t sound like a lot of work and to be honest, upon reflection, it really isn’t. But that is the key here. I wanted to start with something that was super simple. Super Simple, but also something I have not yet done. It dawned on me as I was thinking about this goal, that in the 3 plus years I have been in the current day job I had not yet ridden my bike to the office and back home again for two days in row. So that was my goal.
The second Item I thought about was “Why is riding my bike to work difficult for me?” My trip to the day job is roughly 5.5 miles in one direction. So that is a pretty easy bike ride. So that isn’t why I don’t like doing it. The real reason is that I don’t like being super sweaty when I get to the office. So, I decided that I was going to buy a cargo rack for my bike and see if that will stop me from being a bit gross by the time I get to work.
Trust me, I will relate this to content marketing and business really soon.
So, with the new bike rack installed, I set off to work. The ride itself was actually pretty hard. It has definitely been too long since I went out on it. However, when I got to work I was as fresh as a daisy. With the exception of dry lips and am almost painfully dry throat (Arizona weather, don’t you just love it?)
On the way home, the ride was again difficult. At one point I was overtaken by a really old guy on a fat tired mountain bike, that could have been disheartening, but I decided that he has probably just been riding more regularly then I have. Again, when I got home, I was practically sweat free. The bike rack did its job and I was ready to bike again the next day.
Almost to the good stuff I promise 🙂
So, the next day is here and I am still feeling the bitter sting of being passed by the old guy. If you are reading this, you may not understand the depth of feeling that I have about this, but I still feel the embarrassment.
I resolved to figure out something that I can do to make the bike ride even easier, my solution, make sure I have more air in my tires. In reality, I know that my bike could do with a complete tune up, but this is something I can do in the 5 minutes before I set off. Additionally, I wanted to make myself more comfortable on the ride. Liberally applying lip balm and chewing some gum are my choice of experiments.
The result? I knocked about 10 mins off my time and the bike ride definitely felt easier. Even the small hill that made my quads cry out in mercy the day before seemed like a gradual climb. But the major result is that I am looking forward to doing it all over again next week. In fact, if I wasn’t going out of town, I would set a smaller goal of 3 days in a row.
So, how does this apply to Content Marketing?
I think this analogy works really well when you think about the process it takes to produce content marketing.
1. Set Goals
My goal was almost laughably simple: Ride to work, 2 days in a row.
What goal could you set for your content marketing? I will write 1 blog post this month. That is a good start that almost anyone can do.
2. Really determine why you are not doing it and make steps to fix it.
For me the idea of being gross and sweaty at the office had been holding me back for a long…long time. Seriously, ask my wife we have had the following conversation hundreds of times
Me: I want to ride my bike to work more often
Wife: Why don’t you?
Me: Because I get all sweaty and gross
Wife: What are you going to do about it?
Me: I don’t know, but if they had a shower at the office, I would be riding my bike everyday
I mistakenly thought that not having a shower was the reason that I wasn’t biking to work. But when I thought about it logically, there are loads of people that ride to work, but don’t have showers. What do they know that I don’t know?
In the end, I chose to get rid of the backpack I used to wear.
What’s your real reason?
Some people claim “I don’t have time” as a valid reason. but I hate to break it you, it isnt. Either make time yourself or find someone in your organization who can do the bulk of the work, while you make sure it is accurate and it reflects your brand.
Whatever your reason, figure out a way to fix it.
3. Become more efficient
The first day of the bike ride was hard. Embarrassingly so, but I decided to figure out a way to make it better. The bike needed a tune up, but I didn’t have time or the money on hand to take it to a shop. I could however pump up the tires and it took me less than five minutes.
What can you do to make your Content Marketing production more efficient?
One of the ways at like to do this is by having a content calendar. Here is an article with a few more of these ideas.
4. Experiment to see what makes the journey better
My experiment involved adding a bit of lip balm and chewing some gum on the way to the office (I didn’t think to bring it with me, so the ride home sucked a bit 🙂 )
Something this simple made the ride much easier and much more enjoyable.
How can you experiment? Do you write better content if you outline it first? Do you write better at the coffee shop? Do your customers prefer heavy text over images or vice versa? Give it a try and see what happens.
I guess I don’t really have a conclusion, other than to ask you to give comtent marketingjust a try and make it work. In fact, maybe you will come up with your latest content idea while riding your bike home from work. You never know where you’ll be when that inspiration strikes.
What tips do you have to just get creating? Let me know in the comments below.