2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The March Prompts

content excellence challenge - march prompts

Hey there, content geniuses — it’s March, and that means we have new prompts for our Content Excellence Challenge.

This is a yearlong community exercise in getting better at what we do … and more productive, so we can do more of it. (Or even accomplish something crazy like having a life.)

So, let’s do this.

The March Creativity Prompt

This month, we’re going to focus on actually doing our keyword research.

Not thinking about it. Not promising ourselves we’ll do it. Actually doing it.

Keyword research isn’t about making search engines happy — it’s about unlocking the language that your audience and customers use. Knowing the words they use will help you understand how they think and feel.

Check out Beth’s post from Tuesday for some simple ways to get started. Then you can move on to using keyword research tools, like Google Trends, AnswerThePublic.com, and the data from your own site analytics.

As you uncover words and phrases for your topic, think about how you’ll gracefully integrate them into your content.

Are the ideas you’re uncovering big enough for a blog series? A series of tutorial videos? Or maybe they’re important enough to become a new category on your site.

Keyword research actually produces a lot of creative ideas you can play with … but first you actually have to get the research done.

The March Productivity Prompt

I’m stealing this one (like I steal so many productivity ideas) from Cal Newport. It comes from his book Deep Work.

You know how Facebook is stealing your life? Or maybe for you, it’s Pinterest, or Instagram, or Twitter. Or it’s a game (ask me about my Pokedex) or some other fun activity.

Fun is wonderful. I recommend fun. But today’s fun activities are scientifically designed by fiends to steal every moment of your life.

To take them back, I loved Newport’s suggestion to schedule your goof-off time.

If you love Pinterest, don’t give up Pinterest. Schedule it. Decide on one or two good times of day to go look at photos of salads in mason jars. Decide how much time you want to spend with that. And put it in your calendar.

Even better, set up a recurring Freedom session, to set limits on the times you can actually access the site.

This can work nicely even if keeping up with social media is part of your work. It’s unhealthy and unproductive to try to keep your attention on a social site every second of the day. And yet … we try.

Instead, try scheduling those sessions. Then, when it’s time for you to have those political fights with your high school friends on Facebook, you’ll be able to really enjoy them.

Let us know what you’re doing!

If you get some solid keyword phrases uncovered this week, let us know in the comments! (You don’t have to let us know what they are, just an “I did it” works.)

And if you decide to take back your time and start scheduling your goof-off periods, let us know that as well.

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