The great Jack Black once said, “You can’t manufacture inspirado.” While that may be true for artists, it’s kind of “the job” for content marketers. Every day, no matter how inspired you’re feeling, you need to produce blogs, videos, social media posts, and other content to keep your audience engaged.
When you constantly have a deadline hanging over your head, you’re not going to produce your best work. You can’t wait for inspiration, give projects more thought, or bounce ideas off of the wider team.
In an effort to give our marketers a little bit more breathing room, we decided to go off the creativity deep end. As part of Unito’s annual hackathon, we challenged ourselves to create 100 marketing assets in eight hours. Essentially, we decided to devote all of our resources to being creative for a full day. Not only would this help populate our channels for the next month or two, it would also provide the team with the luxury of having more time to work on other projects moving forward. One day of suffering for a month’s worth of creative runway? Not a bad trade. Here’s how we did it.
What qualifies as a marketing asset?
This was the first question our team had to answer (and the question our CEO Marc would continuously prod us with). In this case, we decided that a marketing asset is anything we would share with our potential customers or existing users. Essentially, any public-facing marketing materials. Social media images, gifs, memes, you name it. You can’t set the bar too high when you’re trying to create 100 of something, right?
At the same time, we did want all of the assets we produced to be up to our standards. There’s no point in producing something just to check a box or hit an arbitrary number — there’s a key difference between production and productivity. So while we included many different asset categories, we were unwilling to sacrifice on quality.
5 steps for creating a lot of marketing assets quickly
1. Seek out repeatable formats
The chances of you creating 100 unique marketing assets are basically zilch. Nor should you want to — repetition breeds perfection. To create a large number of assets quickly, seek out repeatable models or templates. This can include:
- Creating visuals to accompany customer testimonials
- Building “tips and tricks” posts for social media
- Making memes
- Taking screenshots or screen recordings of your product offering
- Creating social videos to promote blog content
Essentially, you want to find asset types that require you to work hard on the first one, but require very little effort for subsequent creations. This will drastically speed up your workflow, and provide motivation for the rest of the exercise — it’s incredibly motivating to pump out 10 assets in an hour. \
2. Find motivated people, whether they’re on your team or not
You should not try to produce a huge volume of work in isolation. Not only is that an incredible amount of pressure for one person to carry, but you’re also limiting creativity to a single brain, making the entire exercise more difficult. Instead, seek out other motivated people to join you on this chaotic journey. You want creative people who don’t mind focusing on a single project for a full day.
Don’t limit yourself to the marketing team either. You’ll likely find some of the most motivated people come from teams like sales or customer success. They interact with customers every single day, and know exactly what content they want and need. Ask them if they’re willing to participate in the content creation. Salespeople, for example, are more than capable of recording screencasts or taking screenshots — they do hundreds of demos per year! Even if their work requires a bit of tweaking at the end, editing will almost always take less time than creating.
We ended up running this exercise with two marketers, a salesperson, and someone from HR. We had no designers at our disposal, but having one on the team will likely speed up the process for you.
3. Turn one asset into many
In addition to seeking our repeatable content types, try to create pieces of content that can exist in many different formats.
- Can you write a blog post that you can then turn into a social video?
- Can you shoot a video and turn it into several different gifs?
- Would your customer testimonials work on social media as well as your website?
Every channel is unique, so make sure you’re customizing the content for the audience and not just copying and pasting. But done right, you can quickly build a number of assets by reusing and recycling a single asset several times.
4. Use simple tools
Why does it take so long to produce a landing page? Well, first the content marketer needs to write the words for the page. Then the designer needs to layout the page and create any required visual assets. Then the web developer needs to actually build the page and set it live. And that excludes the data person implementing their tracking or the videographer shooting and editing the page’s hero video.
If you have too many cooks in the kitchen, all working independently on different tools, your project is going to take a long time. There’s no way around it. If your goal is volume (so you can spend more time on big projects in the future), try to limit yourself to simple tools which allow you to occupy many roles. Use Canva to build simple designs to pair with your blog post or to promote it on social media. Use Unbounce to build intuitive landing pages without coding knowledge. A tool like wave.video allows anyone to create beautiful social videos without any prior skill or technical knowledge. These tools make it easy to crank out assets without sacrificing on quality. And again — if you need to bring in experts for some editing down the line, you’ll still save time on execution.
5. Practice the art of “good enough”
It’s a skill that far too few content creators have mastered: realizing when the value brought by further editing exceeds the time spent actually tweaking it. You need to know when your assets are good enough. Not perfect, good enough.
Your audience is not going to know or care that, after careful consideration, you swapped “outstanding” for “fantastic.” They won’t know that you labored over what font to use on the intro of your video. Basically, at a certain point you’re just making changes for yourself, not for your audience. When you’re able to recognize when you cross that line, you’ll make a huge dent in your content production time.
With these five principles, we were able to crank out 101 assets in eight hours. The final tally was:
- 3 blog posts
- 6 community articles
- 4 emails
- 6 screencast videos
- 10 memes (for social media)
- 10 inspirational quotes (designed for social media)
- 12 productivity tip visuals (designed for social media)
- 7 customer testimonials (designed for social media)
- 4 social proof visuals for social media or website
- 4 gifs
- 30 stock images
- 5 social videos
Consider the number of assets you use in a single day. Maybe two or three? This exercise provided our marketing team with at least a full month during which we can dedicate ourselves to thriving, not just surviving our day-to-day. Are you ready to get started?