It seems almost impossible to imagine that this time, two years ago, the world was an entirely different place. In the past 24 months, our society has faced immense struggles on global, social and personal scales — from lockdowns and isolations to dramatic environmental disasters and European warfare. Our mental and physical health has suffered and our attitudes towards everyday life have irreversibly shifted. And that’s ok.
After experiencing a high level of trauma, our responses to our typical working activities may have changed — our priorities have evolved and we recognise the need for wellness and self-care more than ever before. Personally, in the days following the announcement of war in Ukraine, sitting down at my laptop to write silly little Instagram posts and write Twitter captions felt painfully materialistic and small. When people around you are losing so much, retaining a normal lifestyle felt like cheating somehow.
So how do we move forward through this? With energy prices rising and the cost of living increasing, our work is suddenly more important than ever to see us through the next few months, and it’s our responsibility to keep providing for ourselves. We have to turn up and show up to keep the wheels turning, even on the days when it feels impossible.
So in this week’s blog post, I wanted to share some of my favourite ‘slow marketing’ activities, designed to help your marketing efforts stay relevant without draining you mentally. We’re all going to have bad or overwhelming days, and it’s important to listen to our minds when they tell us to slow down. But if you need to keep working, here are just a handful of activities that might help:
Engaging on social media is one of the most useful, yet forgotten, tools to help you grow your profile and your brand. Simply taking an hour or so to go through your feed and interact with other posts, or reach out to new followers and potential clients gives you the opportunity to increase your content’s visibility online. The more you engage, the more users are likely to find your profile, and the more likely the algorithm is to push your content to a larger audience.
Try these easy engagement actions on your next slow day:
- Leave ten comments on Instagram
- Follow fifteen new accounts
- Reply to all messages and comments on your accounts and profiles
- Spend thirty minutes liking various posts on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn
- Spend twenty minutes replying to Twitter posts
- Spend twenty minutes replying to LinkedIn posts
- Write ten DMs to people whose posts you’ve enjoyed
- Re-share seven pieces of content
Image curation is one of my favourite activities to do when my writing brain fails to engage. It allows my mind to focus solely on imagery, creative pictures, colours and composition, as I work my way through sites like Unsplash and source beautiful images for my brand.
I like to set up different folders focusing on different elements i.e. working, coffee, people, nature, interiors, shops, laptops and download the photographs that work to my brand criteria. This is a great, slow activity that can not only help future-you to quickly find the perfect image for a web page or post but can also lend itself to inspiring more creativity in your work and projects.
Alt tags & Metadata
SEO can be a lengthy and complicated process, and the struggle to achieve high rankings can be competitive and frustrating — however within the process, there are always areas that can be a little kinder to an anxious mind. Simply open up the backend of your website, head into your Media Library and take the time to work through your images, adding essential alt tags and descriptions to every single picture.
A good example of some solid image metadata is to include the purpose or the title of the page followed by the brand name, i.e. Services | Nikki McCaig.
Then in the ‘alt description’ section, write a sentence of two describing what’s happening in the image i.e. ‘coffee cup in focus next to a laptop’. This helps visually impaired users access your website and enjoy your content fully, making it more accessible for all.
Website and Link Testing
No matter how much we think we know our website, we can always be caught out by the occasional typo, broken link or unoptimised image. Spend an hour or so just running your eyes over your website, checking through each page, link, form and resource, looking out for any bugs, breaks or even just a buffering image that takes too long to load.
If you’re confident your website is in full working order, why not go through your social media profiles instead and check for any outdated links in your bios or your posts. Occasionally URLs might change or need to be re-directed so it’s worth checking in on past social posts to make sure they’re all still active and working.
A nice, relaxing task I like to set myself on lazy days is to de-clutter my digital spaces, from my computer and mobile files to old, unused images in my Media Library. This is a great one for when your brain needs to zone out and listen to some music, stick on a comforting Youtube video in the background or just mentally destress after a tough day.
Work your way through your personal files first, deleting any duplicated images, old assets, blurry or low-res photos and random screenshots that are no longer useful to you. Then organise the rest into neat and tidy files, sorted by categories such as ‘Home’, ‘Family’, ‘Finances’ and ‘Work’. Do the same for your computer and laptop files too, using systems like Google Drive to keep everything in one handy space.
Then do the same for your Media Library on your website. If you’ve had a website for a long time, it’s likely there will be hundreds and hundreds of old assets, images, template elements and files cluttering up your storage spaces, and it’s time to wipe them all clean. Head to the earliest uploaded image and work your way back from there, clearing out any old images that aren’t on the current site or that have a higher quality duplicate elsewhere in the library.
If you feel like you need to put your mind and your hands to work on something pseudo-productive, I recommend working on ‘topic curation’ for an hour or so of your day. This means looking through and exploring different digital resources, i.e. Medium articles, social media posts, LinkedIn long-form pieces, magazines, blogs and newsletters to help build up a bank of different topics for your upcoming content strategies.
Explore some of the other businesses in your industry and find out what they’re posting about and the different topics that they’re marketing, whether it be employee wellness, industry updates, sustainability or regulation changes. Make a big, organised list of the different topics that could apply to your marketing strategy and try to create different forms of content that could work within those topics i.e. social media posts, blog posts, newsletters or podcast episodes. Not only will you have something to show for your day in the form of potential content and future planning, but you’ll also gain a clearer insight into some of the trending issues your users are interested in at the moment.
Everybody loves an organised marketer, so why not spend your relaxing lazy day updating your calendar and your diary with all of the upcoming events, marketing days, holidays and plans your company has to look forward to? Give yourself some time to look up some relevant awareness days coming up in the next few months, and make notes of some deadlines for content planning for the various seasons.
Update your team’s calendars with dates for blog post publishing, engagement hours, social meetings and catch up sessions — dates to email clients and start prepping for big campaigns, alongside dedicated hours for social planning and photo shoots. It’s also a good idea to make notes in your calendar of when certain key or significant posts are going to be published, to remind yourself or your team to give them one final check before hitting that share button. This is a great way to keep yourself and your team caught up and organised, ready for the year ahead!
There’s no shame in having slow, overwhelmed or ‘lazy’ days in the world of marketing. We work in a fast-paced industry where the waves of bad news often hit our online spaces hard, and it can be difficult trying to motivate ourselves in troubling times. Take it slow, take it easy and be kind to yourself on your next lazy day and remember that good days and productive days are always around the corner. You’re doing great.