We’ve all done a workout or two that we gave less than our best effort. But why do we do it? We’re still taking the time to do the workout, so why not do everything possible to get the full benefit?
I see this approach happen all the time in content strategy. Maybe it’s a routine project and it seems like a waste of time to do more than the bare minimum. Maybe it’s a complicated project that feels overwhelming. Whatever the circumstances, people choose to do less than their best. But the work still has to be done. So like the exercise routine, why not do what you need doing to get the greatest benefit?
Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your content strategy (routine):
1) Add a Warm Up
Ever jump into a snow-fed lake? It’s not pleasant. The shock won’t kill you (probably), but it can bring you to a screeching halt. The same thing can happen if you haven’t built a warm up in to your content strategy. So start with the basics.
Identify the people who’ll contribute to the project. Outline a broad goal of what you hope to achieve. Make a quick assessment of existing resources. Whatever gets you headed in the right direction, make sure you do it every time. Creating consistency from beginning can help you avoid the cold-lake effect regardless of the project size or complexity.
2) Track Project Progress
Tracking the results of a workout can show if you’re improving over past routines. Sometimes in the rush to get things done, tracking individual and overall progress can get overlooked. In some ways, you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you’ve been. Plus you get the benefit of understand how your scope of work changes over time.
Tracking progress also gives you a baseline for assessing and comparing different projects. Did you really need five people or did a similar project with three people show that the smaller group was more efficient?
3) Don’t Leave Out the Challenge
For workouts to do their job, we have to do things that keep them challenging, like increasing the weight or going longer. The same holds true for your content strategy. Just because you did a project one way six months ago doesn’t mean you should automatically do a new, but similar, one the same way.
You’ve probably learned something new in those six months. Put that knowledge to work on the new project and look for other ways to improve on the status quo. Doing so can keep you focused and interested in the work. I’m not talking about making it harder for the sake of working harder, but instead about making it better.
Overall you’ll get more out of your content strategy (routine) if you look for ways to maximize every project. And like any good workout, you’ll start to feel and see the benefits.