by Benjamin Brandall, Negosentro.com | 4 Tiny Ways to Improve Your Workflow as a Marketer | As a marketer, you probably have to do a million different things every day. Catching up with outreach emails, keeping your social feeds updated, manipulating SEO data, coming up with content ideas.
All of these tasks can take a long time and go off track if you’re not careful, especially since you’re probably already struggling to get everything done.
The good news? In this article, I’m going to show you 4 tiny methods to make all of the problems I just described easier to deal with (and a lot more).
Ready to learn real methods to skyrocket your productivity?
Use a text expander
Want to stop wasting so much time typing and copy-pasting? Just use a text expander.
A text expander is a tool that automatically turns keyboard shortcuts into blocks of longer, pre-defined text.
For example, if I wanted to write out a generic thank you email, I could just type ‘emailthankyou’ into the body, and have my text expander app turn that into a full, polite email with 1 second of effort.
If your job includes repetitively typing the same thing over and over again, a lot of emailing, writing formulas in Excel or any kind of robotic writing tasks, you could save a ton of time and finger-energy with a text expander.
I’d recommend aText for Mac, and TextExpander for Windows. To get you started, here are a few of the things I automatically expand with a hotkey:
- My writer’s bio
- A link to my headshot
- My personal email address
- My work email address
- A pack of generic emails for outreach, pitching, etc.
This tiny tweak could end up saving you entire days out of the year, even if it improves your typing speed by just a few percent!
Make a checklist for yourself
Whether you’re SEO-optimizing a blog post or sending an invoice, the best way to keep yourself on track is to follow a checklist from start to end.
Atul Gawande, the author of The Checklist Manifesto, found that 78% of surgeons following a checklist rather than working from memory had observed the checklist averting a mistake in the operating theatre.
So, if checklists can work even in high-pressure situations, they can certainly help you out at work, too. You can create checklists in Word, in Trello cards, Evernote notes, or even by using a dedicated checklist app like Process Street.
When your checklist is on the cloud, you can easily collaborate with other team members and cut out the need to constantly ask for progress updates.
In short, checklists both help you:
- track your own work inside a longer task
- Improve your workflow when collaborating with others
It can seem like a big task to create checklists for your common jobs, but switching from using no checklist to using one is a tiny tweak that greatly helps you and your team get more done.
Learn quick text-editing techniques
As someone who works a lot with SEO data and regularly scrapes datasets for long-form, data-driven blog posts, I find myself using a few smart text-editing methods almost daily.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll try to explain it with a real-world case that happened to me last week. For example, when scraping Google search results you could get a set of URLs polluted with a predictable, repeated error:
So, you’d want to find and remove all instances of that error. You can do this (and tons of other great things) with a text editor like TextWrangler (free, Mac), Notepad++ (free, Windows), or BBEdit (paid, Mac).
Here’s an example in TextWrangler:
With find and replace, I was able to remove that string from all rows at the same time, making the data usable.
Another use case: creating a comma-separated string of values from a list.
If I wanted to turn this huge wall of URLs into one comma-separated line of just the domains, I could also do that by using a URL to Domain web tool, then quickly editing inside TextWrangler:
Once you learn simple tricks like this, it makes manipulating data so much easier and helps you stop wasting time picking through text at a hilariously slow rate.
Set up simple integrations that do the dull work on autopilot
One of my biggest “A-ha!” moments as a marketer was discovering that almost any two apps or services can be connected together using an integrations platform called Zapier. What does that mean, exactly?
Well, it could be as simple as automatically adding all attachments you receive in Gmail to a Dropbox folder or as complicated as building an integration that listens inside a database for a new matching record and shares it to more than 10 social media accounts at once.
An example of a simple integration that I use daily would be my link between Slack and Trello. Slack is a chat app for businesses where our organization communicates and collaborates. I spend a sizable percentage of my days inside Slack, and often have an idea for a post while talking to my colleagues. Trello is where we collaborate over blog post ideas — new ideas should be added to an ‘ideas’ list in Trello.
The way I link the two is to create a channel in Slack called ‘post ideas’. Whenever a new message is sent to the post ideas channel, it gets copied over to the list of blog post ideas in Trello! 100% automatic. The only thing I had to do to get it working is to set up this zap in Zapier.
Other ideas for handy marketing team integrations could be automatically sharing new RSS feed items on Buffer, adding new company mentions to a spreadsheet, or assigning tasks to your team via Evernote.
An alternative to Zapier is IFTTT, which does many of the same things but is much more basic and smartphone-based.
I hope this post has given you a few new ideas about how you could make your job easier and spend your time more efficiently! If you have any suggestions for me, let me know in the comments.