8 Tips for Building Inbound Marketing Momentum in 2014
For me, 2014 is going to be all about MOMENTUM! And of course, the accomplishments that MOMENTUM brings. I capitalized that word for a reason (but won’t do it again in this post) because just as momentum is critical to physics, it’s also critical to marketing.
Although a very broad term, in marketing, momentum refers to the speed and ability of a marketing message to spread. We’ve all heard the term, viral videos. Those are simply videos that have received significant momentum in that many people are sharing them over a short period.
In marketing, viral videos are usually part of a short-term campaign, one designed to achieve a specific goal over a predefined period. In most campaigns, most marketing materials are usually produced over a short period in order to maximize efficiencies. Upon completion or launch, the production team usually moves onto other projects.
But how do you sustain momentum over the long-term when production is ongoing? In this situation, all of your marketing assets (blog posts, videos, social status updates, etc.) often cannot be produced in advance since the campaign may depend on changes in conditions or a prospect’s individual response. Additionally, the need to keep feeding the content pipeline can also place a strain on your teams.
Over the last few years, Inbound Marketing has emerged as an extremely effective marketing strategy. However, inbound marketing campaigns often require the creation of content over prolonged periods of time. The idea is to build your reputation by continually demonstrating your expertise by maintaining a constant flow of high quality and relevant content. Over time, customers will eventually come knocking. Inbound marketing works, but you have to be in it for the long haul.
And the long haul is the problem. During inbound marketing campaigns, sustaining momentum is critical to maintaining the quality of the content. When campaigns run over long periods, especially when affected by potentially changing conditions, your teams can burn out. Symptoms of burn out include diminishing content quality, drifting messages, missed deadlines and even poor campaign performance.
Fortunately, there are several ways to build and maintain momentum. Try some of these strategies and tools and see what works best for you and your team. And if you would like to add something, let us know in the comments below.
1) Get Organized
A certain degree of planning and organization is crucial to help you work efficiently and effectively. Although detailed planning may be necessary for your campaign, don’t let it hold you back. The point here is to DO!
Tip: Momentum builds from accomplishment. Get something done.
2) Use an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or a blog plug-in that actually sends reminders to you (or use your daily calendar to do the same). The point of an editorial calendar is simply to keep you on track. Set aside thirty minutes each week, early in the week, to plan your posts. This could be as simple as making a list of interesting things to post about to serious brainstorming.
Tip: Use simple tools to start out, but start using them now.
3) Take Small Bites
Considering all the different types of content you can use for your inbound marketing campaign, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead of looking at everything you have to do, focus on smaller, “bite-sized” tasks. The sense of accomplishment you gain as you complete more and more smaller tasks helps you to build momentum to tackle larger projects.
Tip: Instead of putting in months of work on that comprehensive white paper, write a series of smaller, “mini-posts.” Then, after you’re done with the posts, merge them into that larger white paper.
4) Get Motivated
Obviously, nothing will help build momentum more than motivation. The trick is to leverage motivation so you can apply it at the right time and in the right ways. But did you know there are different types of motivation and that each can be applied differently?
• Fear: This one’s kind of obvious; do the work or lose your job. But not everyone responds to fear in a logical way.
• Tip: Figure out what kinds of fear gets you moving and learn how to leverage it.
• Ambition: Doing great work won’t necessarily get you what you want. You need focus on something that is realistic and achievable.
• Tip: Set goals for you to aspire to, but also goals which are achievable.
• Exercise: Motivation and momentum require energy and nothing will increase your energy levels, and your attitude, better than exercise.
• Tip: It’s surprising how far a little exercise can go. I lost fifteen pounds in four months just by walking my new dog.
• Revenge! You read that right. Revenge can be an amazing tool when it’s focused on positive outcomes. Instead of plotting how to get back at the jerk in the office, refocus your energy on improving your performance.
• Tip: Your true revenge is your continued success.
5) Write First and Write Often
You don’t have to finish a blog post in a single sitting. Although it’s great if you can, it’s not always possible. Instead, set aside thirty minutes every day, preferably first thing in the morning (especially before you read your email or Facebook!) and write two paragraphs. That’s it. Just two. By the end of the week, you’ll have ten paragraphs. That’s a blog post!
Tip: Spreading out writing also helps you think through your topic. At the end you’ll get a better post (this post was written over four sessions).
6) Binge Writing
Of course, some people just need to let things simmer for a while before spitting it all out in a single, massive (or mad) writing session. This works best when the writer has a good sense of their own “writer’s voice.” A well-developed voice helps a writer get their words on the page with minimal rewriting. While not a substitute for quality content, this make a binge session much more feasible.
Tip: If you’re going to be a binge writer, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want to write and the point you want to make. Planning and research will help.
7) Do You Need Discipline or a Habit?
For many people, the word “discipline” is a bad word. It’s something, usually unpleasant, that needs to be done. Discipline requires conscious effort. Habits are different. They’re things that you find yourself doing when you’re not conscious that you’re doing them. Writing daily blog posts requires discipline, but studies have shown that when you do something often enough, it can become habit.
Tip: Think about the habits you have. How can you learn to recognize them? Then try associating them with productive behaviors. For example, I don’t let myself go on Facebook until I’ve first written one blog paragraph (Facebook becomes my reward for writing – weird, huh?).
8) Have Fun!
Building and maintaining momentum can be hard work. But just because work is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, and when something is fun it not only makes it easier to do, the results are better.
Tip: If possible, focus on the “fun” stuff first. This will help you get something done that you enjoyed doing and that engenders a sense of accomplishment and progress. When you have those, you’re building momentum. You could also leave the fun parts for later as a reward for doing the hard parts first.
As you can see, there are several ways to build and maintain momentum. Try some of these strategies and tools and see what works best for you and your team. And if you would like to add something, let us know in the comments below.