Do you have a love/hate relationship with content marketing?
Love that it builds trust and authority, and drives traffic to your website.
Hate the amount of time it demands to keep on top of it.
OK, hate’s a strong word.
But you're not alone.
Research by Orbit Media shows that 52% of bloggers say finding time to create and promote content is their biggest challenge. And that's because most aren't full-time writers. They have other jobs to do.
Well, here's some good news.
You don’t need to overhaul your whole strategy to transform your content marketing and free up more of your time.
Smaller changes are much easier to implement than a massive U-turn in strategy.
And these seven will make a big difference.
1. Be more realistic about your content output
You’re a busy marketer.
Your time is in short supply and content isn’t the only thing you have to think about.
So you need to be more realistic about the amount of content you’re able to write in the time you have available.
Sometimes less is more, especially if you’re sacrificing quality to get an unmanageable amount of new content out the door every month.
If you do your company’s marketing on your own, a new piece of content every week, four per month, is probably too much. And as soon as you miss just one of those, the panic will set in.
Two good pieces of content that you’ve taken the time to research, draft and review properly will outperform four pieces that you’ve worked through your lunch hours to pull together.
The more realistic you are about what’s possible, the more rewarding and enjoyable content marketing will become for you.
I mean, if you didn’t enjoy writing a piece of content, how can you expect your audience to enjoy reading it?
And just think what you could do with your newfound lunch hours.
2. Have discipline and create a content schedule
Once you’ve decided how much content is too much content and settled on what’s realistic, you need to hold yourself accountable and have discipline in how you approach your writing.
A content schedule is an easy way to stay on track.
This isn’t a complicated document that is just going to take up more of your time.
It’s a simple blow by blow of what you say you’ll do and by when.
Break this down into chunks of time for research and planning, drafting, reviewing and publishing each new piece of content.
On what day and at what time will you factor in each of these tasks?
And don’t try to do all of the above in one go.
The point is that you break the process down, so it’s much less overwhelming and easier for you to tackle as smaller tasks.
3. Stop trying to come up with all the content ideas on your own
Yes, you work in marketing and content is your remit.
But it’s the sales managers, customer service advisors and various other members of staff that are ‘on the front line’ with your customers every day.
Talk to your colleagues. Take them for a coffee. And have a notepad handy.
Discussing what questions your customers ask, or what common objections they have can provide you with a bank of ideas that you can be confident will resonate with your audience.
Coming up with new ideas for regular content and writing it all yourself is tough.
So, share the load.
4. Focus on one topic at a time for each piece of content
Keep it specific.
Writing content is so much easier if you have one main message for each piece.
It can get confusing for the reader if you’re trying to give them too much information and you go off on a tangent.
Plus, you’re only creating more work for yourself.
As you’re writing, related topics and ideas will naturally spring to mind. When they do, ask yourself whether they reinforce your main message, or if they actually detract from it.
The bonus here is, what you did think about including could be a piece of content in its own right, so make a note of it for later.
5. Write your content to a specific person
Now I’m not talking about customer personas here.
Yes, these are still important in the research and planning stages to help you think of relevant ideas and topics to get you started.
But when you write, I want you to picture someone you know.
Ideally that someone will also be part of your target audience, and your goal is to explain your idea in a way that makes sense to them.
Instead of writing to the masses, you’re now writing to a specific person, and your ideas will flow more naturally.
I’m writing this particular piece to a friend and marketing manager that I work with regularly. And I’m trying to use a writing style, language and references which she’ll relate to.
6. Repurpose your existing content
If you’ve made it this far and you’re still reading, you must have decided that some of these changes are quick wins.
Hopefully, you’re going to rope your colleagues in for new ideas, and you’ve already consciously cut your content output from four articles per month to two.
But you’re now wondering, how will I fill the gaps on social media and in our email marketing?
Well, think about how you can recycle your existing content in new and relevant ways.
One piece of content has the potential to multiply into many different formats.
That article you wrote last month that was packed full of statistics can also work as an infographic or a series of scroll-stopping social media posts.
Regularly reusing what you already have will free up more of your time to focus on those one or two quality new pieces of content each month.
7. Update and refresh your old content
Can you reuse or repurpose content that is a year (or more) old?
Of course, you can. But nothing stays fresh and on-point forever, so you need to clean up your old content first.
Correct outdated information, fix broken links and update images to give it a new lease of life.
Tackle two or three old articles every month and factor this into your content schedule as a task you need to tick off.
Not only will this give you more content options to play with, but it can also boost the organic search ranking of the old articles you update.
Small changes can make a big difference
With content marketing, it’s easy to feel as though you’re always playing catch-up and never quite where you want to be. And that can be exhausting.
But if you make even just one or two of the seven changes I’ve suggested here, it will change your approach, transform your content marketing and demand much less of your time.