Productivity is a popular buzzword these days. There’s an assumption that being productive is a good thing, and in fact if you’re going to stay in business, you will need to be productive. But what does that really mean, especially when it comes to your marketing?


There’s a phenomenon I think of as pseudo-productivity: when you’re getting things done-ish. These are things that keep you busy, maybe even fill up your calendar, yet they’re not actually productive. Real productivity means you’re getting things done that move your business forward, like getting the word out about your offerings, or creating a solid foundation for your ability to serve your clients.

Below are examples of real productivity vs. pseudo-productivity. As you read them, think about your average week.

Real productivity

  • Emailing former clients to see if they’d like to work together again.
  • Following up with someone you met at a networking event by picking up the phone and calling them.
  • Reaching out to a local business group to see if they will book you as a speaker.
  • Writing an article and publishing it in your newsletter.
  • Setting up a booth at a conference frequented by your ideal clients.
  • Queuing up social media posts for Hootsuite to post for you this week.


  • Looking through the papers on your desk to remind yourself what’s there.
  • Checking your email, yet not taking action on it.
  • Reading over your social media profiles without making any changes to them.
  • Scrolling through your Facebook feed to see what’s new.
  • Calling a colleague to talk about your pricing and chatting about other things until you run out of time.
  • Attending a workshop because a friend asked you to keep her company.

How would your average week rate? Are you being genuinely productive about marketing, or only pseudo-productive? Activities that qualify as pseudo-productive can be good things to do in general. It’s helpful to see what’s on your desk or in your email, learn what’s happening in social media, or catch up with your peers. The danger comes from thinking of actions like these as productive steps that will likely result in clients. That’s where only true productivity will help you.

Take a look at your calendar and to-do list. Are they filled with productive activities or pseudo-productive ones? The more you occupy your marketing time with productive activities, the more you’ll experience the benefits: a steady stream of potential clients, and a rewarding business.

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