Some days, your to-do list feels impossibly long. You and your team are moving full steam ahead on projects, but your hours don't match your ambition. You're juggling multiple projects and goals with limited resources, and something has to change.
When growing your team isn't an option, it's time to get creative. I scavenged for a set of ideas to help solo marketers or small teams make the most of every minute. Here's what I found.
1. Learn from your peers (so you don't repeat their mistakes)
While our instincts are to keep decision-making internal, learning from marketers at other companies gives you new perspectives and might let you skip a few hard—and time-consuming—lessons.
Asking for advice in a Slack group for marketers is a great place to start. For example, one Superpath user asked the community how they should structure their team. Instead of spending months or years using trial and error to rework their team's workflow, the leader asked other people to share their experiences. At the very least, they could eliminate some definite non-possibilities based on the answers they got.
This goes for smaller decisions too, though. Not sure about a specific guest post opportunity? Instead of spending precious time writing the post and seeing if it gets you results, ask if anyone else has guest posted for that publication and how it went. You can't make your decisions based on other people's experiences, but you can absolutely inform your decisions.
When you find the right community, you'll find there are plenty of people willing to help.
2. Invest in content repurposing to make each piece go further
It takes a lot of effort to create a new blog post, webinar, or podcast. So when a new piece does go live, you want to stretch its impact as much as possible. Repurposing content for social media or other channels saves you time on content creation, fills your content calendar, and (bonus!) boosts the performance of each piece.
There are all sorts of ways to repurpose content. For example, you can turn a one-time webinar into a blog post and downloadable guide to create a niched-down lead funnel. Then you have evergreen content that keeps driving traffic long after the webinar is over.
Keep looking for opportunities like that, and you'll find yourself with some time back in your day.
3. Set up text expanders for common marketing phrases
Shaving a few seconds off of your writing doesn't seem like a big deal. And, sure, it won't drastically change your team's output. But setting up a text expander can make writing feel smoother. Instead of writing keywords, phrases, call-to-action copy, or descriptions over and over, you can create shortcodes to fill in common text.
Kristie Wirth, a data scientist, uses snippets to respond to frequently asked questions, among other tasks. If your content briefs require the same information, a text expander lets you fill in each document way faster. You can even create snippets to quickly write messages in Slack when you need to give a project status update or follow up on that information you needed yesterday.
4. Create as many templates as possible
You have decisions to make and ideas to generate. So why waste time setting up documents? Templates let you focus on the important work and maintain consistency across the team.
If you need new templates, Zapier has you covered:
5. Cut out channels or tactics that don't deliver
Your time is precious, and your goals wait for no one. That means you need to evaluate the effort vs. impact for projects. If a particular tactic or channel isn't performing well, consider dropping it and spending your time on higher-impact tasks.
I used to be active on LinkedIn in the hopes of finding more clients. Then I abandoned the site for a while and realized I was still getting interest in my profile. When I dug deeper, I noticed the keywords on my page did more to promote my business than sharing posts and adding hashtags. Since I didn't enjoy LinkedIn, and the amount I was using it didn't make much of a difference, I officially cut it out of my workflow.
You can't be everywhere, so you need to figure out where your efforts are rewarded the most.
6. Look for content inspiration everywhere
When your inspiration feels stagnant, it helps to have a backlog of ideas to tap into. That way, you aren't staring at a blank screen for hours on end and backing up the rest of your to-do list. Especially for areas where you don't feel as strong, having somewhere to start can save you some precious time.
Set up a place for you (or your team!) to jot down ideas or idea starters. Your idea log needs to be easy to access: save it with a bookmark, pin it in Slack, whatever works.
Since posting to social media doesn't always come naturally to me, I try to capitalize on my personable mood days. A simple Notion page with a dropdown for each idea lets me store lots of text in a small space. Color-coding also helps me remember which ideas I've used so far.
7. Communicate wins (and losses) with your team
Positive team relationships make collaboration easier and keep morale high. But sharing wins—and losses—can also be a time-saver. For example, if a teammate reports on how their subject line boosted open rates, other teams can jump right to a method with proven results instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
Sharing marketing results also reminds everyone what the team is working toward, making it harder to get sidetracked with shiny new projects that take time away from your main goals.
8. Prepare for unproductive days on productive days
Balancing a to-do list with your naturally-varying productivity is tough. Take time to assess how you feel, and identify easy tasks versus ones that require heavy brainwork. Rochi Zalani, a freelance writer, suggests keeping a list of low-effort tasks.
Justin Pot has a similar idea: use the good days to plan for the bad. By recognizing when you're on a productivity high, you can capitalize on those moments, so you're more prepared for the less productive days.
Setting up an automation to handle items on your to-do list is a surefire way to free up your time. Not sure where to start? Here's how to know when it's time to automate. Generally, repetitive tasks or tedious steps (like adding something to your to-do list or tagging email subscribers) are a good place to start.
There's no shortage of marketing tasks you can automate, and depending on your role, you'll find plenty of specific things you can delegate to a computer:
Start by doing a marketing audit, and figure out what you need to kick to the curb—or to the robots.
Productivity is a process
Being productive isn't a one-time goal. You can't perfect a system and keep it in a holding pattern from now until forever. As your team, goals, and business change, so will your time-management strategies. So don't sweat it if the process feels imperfect.