Deep Focus: The Unheralded Skill of Digital Marketing Leaders

Digital Marketing Leaders

by Cameron Conaway, content marketing manager at Klipfolio

The digital marketing space is changing rapidly. New tools are continuously being developed (and being pitched to us by fellow marketers), and some of them can actually help us do our job.

The sheer pressure of keeping up with so many tools and technologies while constantly assessing what new product may be of value can itself soak up a significant portion of our work days.

And when this is paired with working in trendy new open-layout office spaces – where enclosed spaces for focus are limited and everybody can see and hear everything everybody else is doing – a recipe for productivity disaster can begin to form.

This recipe intensifies when you factor in that many of us in digital marketing – especially those of us working for scrappy startups and small businesses, are also tasked with managing and monitoring the company’s social media presence.

Why is social media worth mentioning? Because as Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, told me in an interview, social media platforms are “ad engines hand-crafted to be as distracting as possible to transform your hours of attention into revenue.”

So how can digital marketing leaders improve their capacity to establish deep focus – those prolonged periods of uninterrupted time to work – in an increasingly distracting space? Here are 4 tips to help get you on your way:

1. Make Focus Part of Your Company’s Culture

Our team at Klipfolio takes focus seriously, and it’s what has served as the backbone for much of our success. If a colleague needs to have writing time or otherwise have their head down in work, we’ve created a safe space for them to do so.


It all comes down to the basics of effective communication and the building of trust. Rather than simply disappearing for a few hours, let your colleagues know what you need and what your plans are.

Trust is then built from what you achieve. If you tell your colleagues you need deep focus time from, say, 1-4pm, and at the end of it you deliver what you promised, they’ll trust you – and it also sets the stage for them to do something similar. This is how focus slowly becomes part of company culture.


2. Choose Tools Wisely, And Master What You Have

While the constant allure of shiny new digital marketing tools can be exciting, it’s important to assess and master what you’re currently working with. If you’re maximizing what’s in your existing tool kit, you may find you don’t need to constantly be on the prowl for what’s next.

From there it’s important to establish dedicated periods of time to explore new tools. Rather than opening your email when every new product pitch comes your way, create a dedicated period of time in your schedule where you check such emails. Remember: Even a quick glance at your email inbox can pull you out of deep focus and disrupt hours of your work.

3. Get Yourself a Digital Marketing Dashboard

I can’t stress this one enough. There is so much us digital marketers want to measure. All of these moving parts can feel overwhelming, especially when we are tasked with reporting these results to our executive team. A digital marketing dashboard, like what we offer at Klipfolio, can pull all the metrics you possibly need to know – from Google Analytics, Slack and Salesforce to every major social media outlet and even basic spreadsheets – and wrap them into a gorgeous real-time dashboard that lets you see everything in a single glance.

To be clear, our competitors offer some beautiful dashboards as well – but my point here is that it’s worth choosing one because it will catapult your ability to focus on the digital marketing metrics that matter.

4. Create A Personal Focus Practice

I spend 30 minutes each morning in sitting meditation. It’s a practice that allows me to focus – to strip away all distractions and simply focus on my breath. In addition, it’s truly a practice. As distracting thoughts enter into my mind, meditation helps me be aware of them so I can then better choose how to respond.

This has immense carryover into our work lives – where so often we get distracted and, without thought, take action on that distraction rather than recognizing it and then choosing how to respond.

Your practice need not be sitting meditation, but it’s important to carve out periods throughout your day where you are training your brain to get accustomed to working for prolonged periods of time. Remember: Being distracted isn’t just something that happens and is out of our control; it can actually be a habit we form.

Guest Author: Cameron Conaway is an investigative journalist, a Top 50 content marketing influencer, and the content marketing manager at Klipfolio.