Content marketing is very important for your business. It can help you rank higher in Search Engines, establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and create a reputation for your company. However, content creation may not be easy for everyone. You may not know what to write about or how to start writing for your blog if you are just starting out. Here are some ways to speed up the content creation process so you can take advantage of this marketing technique to reach more people with your business.
I am a business owner and I don’t want to waste my time. How can I speed up my content creation process?
Start with a detailed content strategy.
Want to experience content marketing success more quickly? Then you’ve got to have a plan. According to a 2013 survey from the Content Marketing Institute, only 44% of content marketers have a clear strategy — one of the many reasons these marketers struggle to gain traction.
Think about it: If you don’t know who you’re writing for or how to best reach them, how are you going to nail your content execution efforts on the first try? Simply put, you’re not. You’re going to release content with broad appeal that speaks meaningfully to no one, and you’re going to waste time creating content piece after content piece that never really connects with your audience.
That’s why I don’t start by brainstorming blog post topics or throwing around ideas for possible ebooks or whitepapers. Instead, I create a document with a complete content marketing strategy that goes into detail on the following elements:
- The brand image I want to convey through content;
- The type of content that’ll resonate with the target audience;
- The ideal way to deliver content to that target audience.
Without answering these and other questions about your target audience in advance, you risk wasting time.
Outline a month’s worth of ideas in advance.
Can you guess what most marketers find to be the most difficult part of content marketing? Here’s a hint: It isn’t creating the content itself!
In fact, many of the marketers I’ve worked with tell me that coming up with new ideas for content pieces is the most challenging part of their strategy. Fortunately, it’s an issue that can be easily resolved if you take the time to develop an efficient system for generating ideas.
In my experience, the best thing you can do is to come up with at least a month’s worth of content ideas in advance. Not only will your content be more consistent if your ideas are outlined ahead of time, you’ll be able to redirect the time you would have spent on individual brainstorming sessions to actually creating your content.
Of course, having a plan ahead of time doesn’t mean you have to follow your predetermined strategy to the letter. If hot topics or breaking news items come up in your industry, you can always bump your other ideas down your editorial calendar to accommodate new trends.
Basically, your content plan shouldn’t be a straightjacket that locks you into a predefined content plan — it should be one of many tools in your arsenal that helps minimize the amount of time needed to create your content pieces. And while it may sound extreme, I’m willing to bet that planning at least a month’s worth of topics in advance will enable you to cut your content marketing prep time needs by as much as 50% or more.
(Use HubSpot’s blog topic generator to come up with topics quickly.)
Create multiple headlines in advance.
Headlines have always played an incredibly important role in marketing, but they’re even more critical for content marketers given the amount of digital noise that exists today. It’s your headlines that serve as your call to action in the SERPs, in your social media posts, in your emails, and in a variety of other channels.
Unfortunately, many people fail to find quick success with content marketing because their headlines aren’t properly optimized, leading them to create more content than they actually need to meet their marketing goals.
So once you’ve got your list of content piece topics put together, I’d recommend also using some of that time to brainstorm possible headline ideas as well to help find the one that’s most likely to gain traction. And I’m not alone in this recommendation: Content marketing strategists at BuzzFeed, Upworthy and some of the world’s leading marketing firms often create 25 or more headlines before selecting one for publication.
This all might seem unnecessarily time-consuming, but trust me. Setting aside a chunk of time to take care of your brainstorming and prep work before you actually sit down to create your content will save you huge amounts of time in the long run. (And check out this infographic for more headline-writing tips.)
Align content with user stories.
The user story template should be clear. One user story describes the needs and wants of one persona. This extremely narrow focus serves a purpose. It reduces meandering, mitigates excess and encourages simplicity in customer engagement.
Creating content quickly means doing one thing really well for one person. Your audience should be able to quickly tell who your content is designed around.
Get content creators involved early.
Content creators often aren’t part of the planning and strategy sessions that take place at the start of a sprint. But they should be. Silos slow down content production. Involving creatives earlier allows them to become attuned to the overall content strategy. This can help them begin the ideation stage early and potentially short-circuit it by dismissing ideas that don’t fit in with the bigger picture.
This approach also empowers creators to provide valuable feedback from their vantage point. They may foresee potential roadblocks that others miss. Addressing problems early is a major win for any strategy.
Prioritize the work that is truly critical.
You can’t do everything at once. Make tough decisions about what is absolutely critical and rank the work accordingly. Then, tackle content creation in priority order.
Ideally, team members should complete a user story before moving on to the next one. If disaster strikes, your organization can rest assured that the workflow won’t be interrupted.
Speed is key to staying ahead in today’s fast moving world. Hours spent waiting on the production process for content pages, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media can fall behind exponentially. This leaves you with less time to expand your business into new opportunities.