If you’ve spent any time working on a content marketing strategy for your business, you’ll know just how powerful it can be to push out material that’s valuable and educates your readers.
The bad news, though, is that writing well-researched content that’s a cut above the rest takes time.
In today’s article, we’re going to show you just some of the ways that you can save time when working on new blog posts for your website.
And let’s face it – we could all do with some more time to work on other marketing tasks, or just to take a break from our business for an hour!
Plan Your Content
Be honest: how many times have you opened up a Google Doc and stared blankly at the screen, wondering what to write about for your next blog post?
We’ve all done it, and it’s because of poor planning. Coming up with ideas for content in advance can save you hours, and help you create more impactful posts that your readers will want to read and share.
Create a content calendar for your blog, whether that’s on your iCloud or in a spreadsheet, and come up with blog post ideas for the next couple of months.
If you run a niche blog and want to delve deeper into your subject, you could create content pillars and topic clusters over several weeks. ‘Blog series’ can prove incredibly popular and build hype around new posts.
Coming up with topics isn’t the only way you can plan and prepare your content in advance. If you’re not in the writing mindset, you can take notes, conduct research, put together a structure for your piece, or create supplemental graphics. All of these will save you time when you’re writing the article and preparing it for review.
Write Material in Bulk
Sometimes, it can be tough to sit down in front of the computer and write content. Perhaps you’ve got a million and one other things to be getting on with, or maybe you’re just not in the mood to write.
When you’re ahead of the curve and you’ve got several weeks’ content waiting to be published, you can afford to take a day or two off.
But you’ve got to write when you can.
If you’re only motivated to write now and again, then set aside the time to write several articles at once. Chances are you’ll be surprised at how much great content you can write when you put your mind to it, so give it a go and try writing a month’s worth of blogs in a day or two.
Use a Content Skeleton
One of the biggest reasons why small business owners and startups fail on their content marketing strategy is because they find it hard to structure their posts and stay motivated when writing.
Following a simple structure or skeleton format can keep you on track, help you write more consistently, and deliver a cohesive, valuable piece of content to your end users.
Rather than starting from scratch every week, consider following some of the most popular content skeletons, like the good old ‘5 of the best things about…’ posts, where you choose five points, add an introduction and a conclusion, and flesh out the piece.
Other options include the ‘expert roundup’ post, where you ask the opinions of high-profile figures in your niche.
Over time, and as you write more content, you’ll soon overcome the barriers associated with new bloggers. Following templates and skeletons in the meantime, however, will serve you well.
Cut Back Your Content Schedule
With all of the will in the world, sometimes you’ve just got to accept defeat. If you’re struggling to write blog posts week in, week out, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider your content marketing strategy and cut back on the number of posts you write.
Indeed, the quality of your content is much more important than quantity; one super-impactful blog post a month is better than writing a generic, 500-word piece every week.
With so much competition online from other bloggers and businesses, and more than 2 million blog posts published a day, you can’t afford to churn out mediocre material, as it will get lost in the crowd.
Take a step back from your content marketing campaign and decide how much time you really have to spare on writing content.
If you’ve got six hours a month, invest that time in one or two long-form blogs rather than six shorter entries. You’ll likely see an improvement in traffic, rankings and audience retention.
Try Different Content Formats
Not every piece of content has to be a standard blog post; in fact, today’s consumers are always on the lookout for exciting formats to keep them informed and entertained.
Experimenting with a different format – like an infographic or video – could help you save time and connect with a whole new audience, so don’t be afraid to try something new and see what happens.
Infographics, for example, continue to be one of the most effective content formats, as they’re perfect for social media and more likely to be shared than standard blog posts. In fact, research suggests that infographics are thirty-times more likely to be read than a blog post.
Video content is also an option to consider. Sure, you’ll need to invest in a camera and basic editing software, but once that’s covered, you should be able to churn out content in no time. You could, for example, film Q&As. These videos will not only be much quicker to produce than blog posts but also provide more value to your audience; four times as many people would prefer to watch a video than read about a topic.
Accept Guest Bloggers
A sure-fire way to generate more content and keep your readers engaged is by accepting guest contributors on your website.
While guest blogging may have fallen out of favor in recent years, accepting respected bloggers and authority figures from your niche can enable you to publish more high-quality content that will rank and be shared by your readers on social media.
The key to accepting guest bloggers is quality control. Make sure that you have the time to read and review every submission, and only work with reputable bloggers.
You can also impose your rules and guidelines onto guest submissions to increase quality; for example, you could add a 1,000-word minimum word count, or prevent guest bloggers from actively promoting their own businesses and products when writing for you.
In simple terms, accepting contributions rocks. If your site is of high-quality and you have an engaged audience, you’ll be inundated with marketers wanting to write for you. In exchange, you’ll publish their content and give them a link or two back to their website. Simple!
There’s no getting away from the fact that great content takes time to write and prepare, and if you don’t have the time to invest in creating high-quality material, then you should consider outsourcing your content marketing to an agency. However, the techniques we have mentioned in today’s blog should shave off some precious hours and help keep you on track. Good luck!
About the Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a UK-based marketing agency specializing in content marketing, social media and search engine optimization. When he isn’t working on campaigns for clients, he loves binge-watching Netflix shows and walking his dog.