My workday begins at 8:30 am. I plunk my tea on my desk, start up the laptop, curse Java for insisting on an ever so vital update, and open my email. I probably have skimmed the highlights already, glancing at my phone earlier that morning in hopes of learning that overnight I inherited a fortune from a long lost love that never got over me. Alas, her lawyer still hasn 't been able to track me down, so it 's off to work I go.
Now, emails are one of those basic necessities of modern life for most everybody, but good Content Marketers deal with scads of them. We network, join groups, add ourselves to Circles, sign up, sign it, like, tweet, pin, post, + 1, all in the name of the profession. The result is a choked inbox every morning, which I can safely say, usually looks pretty much the same for all of us. The variations on "Best SEO Practices" and "When to Post Your Blog" are mind-bogglingly endless.
Here's the deal, emails are like good copy. Skim the inbox for your most trusted resources, and for (dare I say it?) keywords and phrases which pertain to what you currently are working on. A quick glance at my emails at 9 am will show only a few remaining from the plethora that I found thirty minutes before, and most of those will be from the same sources that I have kept around for months because they were so informative, well written, and provocative. Stick with your best assets, and give them the courtesy of reading the opening 90-100 words, at least.
Yes, I am advocating hitting the delete button or unread emails, and doing it multiple times at the beginning of the day. If something vital in the industry happened overnight, then you will learn about it from your key sites. Can something slink by that, in hindsight you should have read? Perhaps that is the case, but there are various opportunities to catch up throughout the day on one of the content curation sites that you surely subscribe to. You should also have a direct link to Mashable, which is analogous in our line of work to something like The Wall Street Journal; and to LinkedIn, which has increasingly informative articles on its home page.
I read Copyblogger, founded eight years ago by Brian Clark, and the blog posts from HubSpot every morning. There are many great, informed sources out there, but those are my "go-to" sources because I respect their writing skills, as well as their ability to capture the pulse of our crazy business. Choose your favorites, but limit them.
Finally, I want to return to a previous posting about prioritizing your work. That means that you can't possibly read everything, bounce around on social media sites, and still get your work done. Or, ahem, so I've read.
Gary Locke is a semi-professional hyphenate and the Content Editor for CommonPlaces. He has enjoyed a long career in theater and multimedia, and still hopes to one day drive the Batmobile.