I saw a stat not long ago that said marketers spend 30% of their work week learning, implementing, or searching for new technology to make content creation and management easier and faster. I can’t find it now, so maybe I imagined it.
But even if that isn’t true, it feels true.
My experience with two content teams over the last month shows why this happens.
One team uses a sophisticated tech stack with a modern content management system, a digital asset management system, and even AI-driven writing assistants. The other relies on a patchwork of shared cloud storage, HTML snippets in Excel spreadsheets, and ancient collaboration systems.
The teams produce the same amount of content – they’re getting the job done. But neither team feels like the technology they have serves them well.
As a result, they’re both vulnerable to the dream of a tech solution.
Many content marketers envision how much better their work could be if only they had the right technology. They see themselves happily using tools that automate processes, create insightful dashboards, or magically deliver the right content to the right people, at the right time, on the right channels and devices.
They spend so much time thinking about how to get the shiniest new technology they forget to consider how to use technology to get the most from their work and their team.
The problem arises when people buy into the promises of new tech without first asking the most important questions: Do we need this? Why?
For example, I recently learned about a new technology that helps automate responses to data-access requests from consumers who think a brand isn’t using their personal data correctly. On its surface, the solution sounds neat.
But before buying tech like this, a smart marketing leader should ask: “Why is our strategy leading to so many disgruntled consumer requests? Is automated response tech the best choice to address their frustration?”
In other words, “Why do we need this technology?” The answer might (or might not) have anything to do with tech.
Cathy McKnight, who works with me at The Content Advisory, suggests a multistep process when selecting new technology. (Does it surprise you to learn that writing the request for proposal doesn’t happen until step seven?)
The first steps she suggests are essential, yet they’re rarely done. I’ll walk you through this critical part of her recommended process.
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Validate the need for technology
Validating your need for new technology seems like an obvious starting point, but it’s not.
Fear of missing out is strong, and it leads marketers to seek new tech because they’ve seen new tech. The tech they rely on today looks like a run-down neighborhood bar, while the latest tech solution looks like the hottest nightclub in town.
Don’t fall prey to FOMO. Before making any decisions, look at your current strategy, your plans, and your ability to get the job done today. Ask these questions first:
Do you have a technology problem?
Or is there another reason you’re not working in the best way?
One client I worked with considered a technology solution that would let them limit who could push the big red publish button. But they asked this question – and decided they didn’t need a tech solution. Instead, they started telling people who could (and couldn’t) push the big red publish button.
Can you solve the problem by adjusting the process?
This question reveals if you have process problems (or if you have any processes at all).
Let’s say you’re looking for ways to help a team member decide which website pages need updating more efficiently. First, ask how they do it today. If they look at a spreadsheet delivered to them through email, download all that information to their laptop, and prioritize the changes based on their experience, you don’t really have a process.
And that means technology shouldn’t be the first answer to that problem.
Could (or should) you update existing technology, or do you need new technology?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen marketing teams replace their CMS because they conflate it with their website’s design. When marketing leadership wants to redesign the website, they use it as an opportunity to replace the poorly implemented CMS.
Shouldn’t you at least see if an upgrade or reimplementation would suffice?
Create the business requirements
If you answer these questions and land on “Yes, we need new technology,” you’re ready to list your business requirements.
I won’t cover that process in detail as it’s well known: Audit and interview stakeholder groups to uncover the requirements in each of the relevant processes.
Ask whether the existing processes are the best way. You may find changing a process to better match how technology providers handle that process is easier than forcing tech to accommodate a non-optimal process.
Identify your focal needs
This third step is possibly the most important part of assessing your new technology needs.
You might think you have needs that no other business does. (And you’re not alone – nearly every marketing team believes it’s a special rainbow-colored unicorn.)
Spoiler alert: 90 to 95% of your business requirements are common. And this is a good thing.
Still, you likely will have a few processes unique to your business. And they may be too important to lose in a new technology implementation. These are your focal needs – the requirements that differentiate the technologies under consideration.
Tech solutions may (or may not) be the answer to your problems
It’s easy to be blinded by shiny new technologies and approaches. But remember this: Your content technology stack won’t differentiate your strategy or content. It may make things easier – or it may make things more difficult.
But focusing squarely on your strategy and related needs always works as a nice pair of shades – you’ll see past the glitter and eventually find the gold.
Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just about five minutes:
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
Achieving the Perfect Work-Life Balance with Coworking
Do you have a job that allows you to work from home? If you’re like many small business owners, you keep telling yourself that the money you save from not renting a separate office is justification enough to let your office take over your living space. Is it the best option to work from home given your small business enables it? Many small business owners prefer to work from home, but does it provide you with the work-life balance you require? You may discover that it has certain disadvantages.
Work-life balance is more complicated than you would assume. It can result in a loss of productivity, extreme burnout, nervousness, stress, insomnia, and more. Unfortunately, traditional offices and the work-from-home strategy do not allow employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. On the other hand, shared offices can make a significant difference in this area. Let’s look at how coworking office spaces can help you strike a work-life balance.
To Improve, Get Social and Get To Work.
Many smaller businesses have discovered that coworking has helped them avoid the problems that come with having a home-based firm. Coworking allows you to communicate with others while avoiding the isolation that comes with working from home.
Coworking provides an ideal environment for networking, business growth, and simply socializing. A coworking space can assist freelancers, entrepreneurs, persons in the creative sectors, and others. It provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to both inspire and be motivated by people around you.
If you currently work from home and find it difficult to strike a work-life balance, consider joining a coworking space. Almost every big city has a number of coworking places where you can work for little or no money.
One of the most important aspects that helps business owners combine personal and professional life of employees is flexibility. Many studies show that allowing employees to work at their leisure and at their preferred location improves employee satisfaction and reduces stress levels.
One of the most significant benefits of coworking spaces is that they allow for flexible work arrangements. Employees that operate from a shared office have more influence over their schedule. For example, based on their most efficient work hours and schedules, individuals can start right away or work late. Flexi plans are available from all major coworking office providers, allowing members to take advantage of flexible work hours.
Productive Workplace Environment
There is, in fact, a strong link between your workplace and your work-life balance. You will be unable to complete your job if you work from an office or home office that lacks all of the necessary amenities. Unfinished tasks accumulate, sabotaging your work-life balance by eating into your personal time and weekends.
Because of the variety of amenities and distraction-free work environment, coworking spaces make it easier to achieve a work-life balance. From well-equipped desks to comfortable furniture to specialized meeting rooms, entertainment areas, community spaces, and cafeterias, shared offices have everything you could want to boost productivity. As a result, you complete more tasks, freeing you more time for your private lives.
The Importance of Motivation
Another important component that impacts your work-life balance is motivation. Your productivity rises by many notches when you are inspired. It assists in allocating time between personal and professional lives. However, staying motivated while working at home or in regular office spaces, especially as a freelancer or entrepreneur, is difficult.
Because of its community-inspired structure and nature, coworking office spaces might help you achieve a better work-life balance. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people and have the chance to meet and network with mentors. To put it another way, help is available when you need it. All of this contributes to achieving a healthy balance between your professional and personal life.
Coworking spaces can help you strike the perfect work-life balance by giving you the opportunity to separate your professional and personal life. With so many different options for coworking, it’s easy to find one that meets your specific needs. Whether you need a quiet space to focus or a place to collaborate with other professionals, there’s a coworking option out there for you. Let us help you find the right space for you! Have you found a great coworking space that has helped you achieve better work-life balance? The benefits of coworking spaces are totally up to you. You may not be eligible for all of the benefits, but the ability to tailor them to your business needs is the most valuable bonus of all.
Achieving the Perfect Work-Life Balance with Coworking
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