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Get Your Priorities Straight: How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow

How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow

How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow Here’s what marketers look like when everything is a priority: via GIPHY And here’s what marketers look like when everything gets prioritized: via GIPHY I think you can all guess which scenario is more efficient, effective, and less stressful.  Throughout my marketing career, I’ve taken on roles that have challenged me to be a jack of all trades as well as a specialist—yet every role has required the ability to identify, assess, and tackle the tasks at hand in a way that makes sense for my clients, organization, team, and myself. Simply put, every marketing practitioner and leader needs to be able to prioritize and deprioritize work to be lean, mean marketing machine that drives results. To help you or your marketing team actually get work done (and do it well), here are a few tips for prioritizing to optimize your marketing workflow.

5 Tips to Get Your Marketing Priorities Straight

Tip #1 – Address the elephant in the room.

No one wants to admit it, but not all work is urgent and not all work is “important.” If you or your team’s workload is over capacity, you need to address this elephant in the room: some of the work has to wait.  The hard part is actually taking the time to determine which tasks and pieces of work are urgent, important, both, or neither. Here’s how we often look at it:

  • Urgent tasks are time sensitive. They might be needed to fix a mistake or identify the cause of an issue. They could be the catalyst for launching on time. With urgent tasks, time is of the essence and getting work done quickly is critical.
  • Important tasks are effort sensitive. They take up a lot of resources. They’re the big rock everyone is waiting on. It’s fully expected that important tasks may take a little bit of extra time as they’re something you need to nail right out the gate to impress a client, influencer, or partner.

It doesn’t matter the method you use to define your organization’s priority levels; whether it’s the ABCDE Method, Eisenhower Decision Matrix, Eat the Frog Method, or your custom method-of-choice. What’s important is that you define the levels, they have clear differences, and have the stamp of approval from the whole team. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the same situation of “everything is important” and “everything is urgent,” which is no good for anyone. via GIPHY

Tip #2 – Define responsibilities. 

Any marketing endeavor is marked by dozens of smaller tasks that feed the engine, many of them dependent on the timely execution of what comes before it. Within our agency for example, we need to receive influencer contributions before we can finalize our copy for a large asset. We need the copy client-approved and quality-checked before we can finish the design and promotional assets. Recently, I’ve taken on some of the day-to-day management of project workflow, giving me a bird’s eye view to potential bottlenecks, obstacles, and snags. But not everyone has the luxury of having that insight across the organization. Because a large majority of tasks (and projects) are dependent on other work getting finished, you need to define responsibilities and accountabilities for each team member—and hold them to it:

  • Let them know who is accountable for each step in the process. 
  • Set expectations for when the step needs to be completed. 
  • Show them how it impacts others when those expectations are missed. 

Setting accountability early on motivates your team to do the work, minimizes confusion, and empowers them to take ownership. Read: How to Get it Done: Project Management Tips for Content Marketing Managers

Tip #3 – Assess your task list and prioritize daily. 

When I get into work every morning, I list out priorities. Priorities for myself, that day and that week. Priorities for any projects I’m helping support from a resourcing or prioritization standpoint. I can tell you from experience that these lists changes each day—no matter what. Whether you’re managing your individual priorities or priorities for a whole team, work is in constant flux. One team member could have a heavy meeting day on Monday, leaving them with only four hours of working time. You could be out of the office a whole workday for additional training. Or, someone agreed to get all of their priorities done (wanting to appear efficient) only to have some of their tasks slide to the next day.  Considering all of the unexpected things that can happen in a work day, it’s important that you assess tasks and re-prioritize on a daily basis. It’s something I’ve had to learn to do, too. This not only allows our team to better stay on-track, but it also gives us five opportunities throughout the week to assess whether or not we’ll actually finish each and every priority.

Tip #4 – Establish communication mediums and expectations. 

Easily one of the most important project management tips is to keep communication open, honest, and frequent. And it applies to prioritization as well.  Priorities shift. Sometimes, daily. It’s one of the harsh realities of marketing as we strive to reach the right audience at the right time. Changing priorities allows us to reach our audience with timely, relevant messaging. Or, delight a client with a quick turnaround. Whatever the reason, it’s essential that the change is communicated to the necessary parties early and clearly.  It doesn’t matter if your team prefers communicating those changes via email, in a daily standup, or over Slack, as long as you have a documented process, format, and frequency set for communications, your team will be better prepared to switch gears at the drop of a hat.

Tip #5 – Always have a Plan B. 

Plans don’t always work.  Someone gets sick, an influencer has to back out of a campaign, your client or an internal stakeholder gives you a last-minute, unplanned round of edits, or a new opportunity has presented itself and you need to capitalize. When one timeline moves, so does another. You need a back-up plan to keep your priorities on-time. It seems like an obvious suggestion to have a back-up plan, but it doesn’t always get done. Even though you’re confident in your team and their ability to deliver quality work, you need to be prepared for the worst case scenarios. Otherwise, panic ensues because you have all your balls in the air and no one to catch them. The back-up plan could be leaving a buffer to all of your timelines, assigning extra resources to projects, building in additional editing time even if you don’t think it’ll be needed. Expect (and plan) for the worst, hope for the best.

Let the Work Flow

At TopRank Marketing, we get a lot of work done. We have several internal teams often working on multiple campaigns at a time. And it’s impossible to do it all at once. Prioritizing our work helps us optimize our marketing workflow for both efficiency and quality. Without clear, defined priorities we’d just be really bad jugglers. Instead, we’re pretty darn good at it.  via GIPHY Want more ways to get things done? Check out these marketing productivity hacks from Workfront’s Director of Digital Marketing Mike Riding.

The post Get Your Priorities Straight: How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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