It’s a beautiful thing when people take time out of their day to read content that your company puts out into the world. It’s not so great if you’re too busy for the content creation process and are putting out less content than you’re capable of as a result.
In an ideal world, ideas would flow all day with no interruptions. Your team would continuously issue an endless supply of blog posts, whitepapers, speeches, and sales material. But the reality is, content marketing takes time. According to CMI’s latest research, 58% of the top-performing content marketing programs have an extreme commitment to content. The study didn’t define what “an extreme” commitment looks like; however, I’d be willing to bet this involves a substantial investment both in time and money.
With many companies reporting that they still lack clarity regarding the ROI of content marketing, and time being one of the most significant investments you have to make when it comes to creating content, it’s easy for the hours you spend creating content to outweigh the reward.
There are simple ways to make your team’s content marketing processes more efficient and productive. Approach it with these time-saving content marketing hacks so that you can dedicate your team’s time to content creation in a productive way without sacrificing quality due to scarce hours.
1. Build a knowledge bank of information and insights.
Researching the same topics, again and again, is a time and innovation waster that you can avoid if you use a robust knowledge bank. Think of your knowledge bank as the attic where you store all the stuff you’ll need in the future. With everything in one place, you can find legacy information such as relevant research studies, links to prior published content, interview transcripts, video URLs, question-and-answer session outlines, publication guidelines, and miscellaneous notes in just a few clicks.
Be sure to organize your knowledge bank in a way that makes sense so you can retrieve what you or your colleagues need without going on a full-fledged hunting expedition. This may involve experimenting with different tabs or structures. Depending on how vast your content marketing effort becomes, you may want to invest in customizable software or a cloud-based platform to better catalog your material.
2. Document and organize your content strategy.
You may be the only content strategist in the building, or you might be one of a hundred. Regardless, keeping your content strategy organized will save everyone time in the long run. A content strategy includes the documentation of your process, the goals you want to accomplish, customer personas, and key performance indicators.
This documentation of your process should outline what content you plan to publish, the steps needed to make it come to life, expected timelines, and follow-up goals. It shouldn’t be convoluted or hard to follow but aim for thoroughness. By handling all the planning up front, you take away a lot of the clunkiness that sometimes comes with getting content published.
Organizing your content strategy with a calendar that anyone with access can edit is another tactic that saves tons of time and confusion. Plus, it allows you to confidently talk about your content expectations to people outside your department. Trying to persuade a C-suite executive that you have the content marketing bases covered for the upcoming quarter? An editorial calendar provides proof of your diligence and intentions.
3. Fight writer’s block with a content outline.
Nothing wastes time like writer’s block. One of the best tricks to avoid feeling stuck when creating content is to outline it first. Outlining lets you nail down the exact points you want to make and find the structure for your content. Once the foundation is built, you can fill it in with the details.
Instead of assuming your outline has to be peppered with Roman numerals and headers, think outside the typical outline box. For instance, write down your main content points without editing. Hit everything you want to say. Include structural concepts and format considerations, especially if you plan to outsource your content work. An outline is less about making your sixth-grade teacher happy and more about making your life more manageable.
4. Block out time on your calendar to write when you are most productive.
Too many content writers waste time worrying about when they’ll ever get to their projects. This type of fretting and anxiousness spreads its tentacles and affects writers’ ability to focus on other duties. The remedy is to stop giving yourself too much freedom and schedule time dedicated only to writing.
Many professional writers block off daily intervals, such as an hour when they wake up or around lunchtime. Not sure when you’ll be most “in the zone” or have the fewest distractions? Experiment by testing different time slots over two or three weeks. Then see which ones worked best.
5. Save time by holding more — yes, more — meetings.
Sure, it seems counterproductive to take time for a meeting to save time. But you’d be surprised. Even if there are no fires to put out, checking in regularly and communicating with your team, members can save you from backtracking in the future.
We’ve all had situations that could have been avoided if more communication had taken place upfront. I like to meet with my team members one-on-one each week to make sure they all feel good about their work and have all of the answers, tools, and support they need. It’s saved so much time on projects that involve more than one person and offers peace of mind for everyone involved.
You’re providing invaluable content marketing on behalf of your company to the world at large. However, you shouldn’t feel like you’re spinning your wheels or chewing up valuable on-the-job hours. Adopt these time-saving behaviors and tactics to turn content creation into a productive, powerful, and rewarding process.