Stop Wasting Your Time With Content Marketing
January 15, 2014 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg
Yep, that’s right. We said it. You’re wasting your time with content marketing.
Content marketing takes time, and lots of it, to do well. So if you’re squandering what little time you have to devote to it, you’ll never see results.
That’s why it’s important to stop wasting your time with content marketing, and instead, start making the most of that content marketing time by following a few simple tips. ;)
Content marketing is more crucial to your online marketing success than ever, but who has endless hours to devote to coming up with compelling topic ideas, tweaking each headline to get it just right, crafting an interesting, valuable, perfectly edited blog post, searching for the ideal image to accompany it, and then posting the whole thing with meta tags and categories and appealing formatting?
No one! Even content marketers, people whose job it is to write content all day, don’t have time to waste in the never-ending race to create fresh, valuable content on a regular basis.
Because of that need for efficiency – the need to create the highest-quality content possible in the least amount of time possible – those same content marketers (like us here at Marketing Zen!) have had to develop some tricks of the trade in order to manage their time wisely. And today, you are the lucky recipient of that secret insider knowledge.
Take just a few minutes of your time to read through these 11 content creation tips – we promise, it’ll be worth your while.
1. Keep a file of possible blog topics. There’s nothing worse than wasting hours searching fruitlessly online for a blog topic, especially if you have a deadline looming. Rather than waiting to brainstorm about your blog post’s topic until you’re sitting down to write it, you should be on the lookout at all times for interesting ideas. Every time you get an email with relevant information, or happen upon an article with pertinent industry news, save it to an idea folder. That way, when it’s time to put pen to paper…er, fingers to keys…you’ve already got a treasure trove of ideas to choose from quickly.
2. Use audience feedback to find topics. Another quick source of blog topic ideas is your audience. If you’re stuck, sift through your emails or comments to find a question you can answer with a blog post. Yet another tactic is to simply survey your audience, asking them what they’d like to see from you. Your audience will appreciate the interaction, and you’ll have an instant list of blog topics.
3. Interview an expert. Interviews are some of the quickest blogs to write, because you’re really not writing much – you’re basically just transcribing what your interviewee said, and adding a short introduction and conclusion to polish it up. Add to that the prestige of having this expert connected with your business, and it’s a win-win situation.
4. Give yourself themes. Sometimes all you need is a little push to get started. Rather than having to choose a topic at random every single time you sit down to write, come up with themed blogging days. Maybe Mondays are your day for list posts, while Fridays are reserved for opinionated editorials. That way, you’ll already have at least a general idea of what you’ll be writing, and that may be all you need to get those creative juices flowing quickly.
5. Create an editorial calendar. The most efficient means of coming up with blog post topics is to plan ahead. At the beginning of each month, decide on the topic for each post you’ll be writing. This method ensures that you’ll never miss an opportunity to blog about a holiday, and that scheduled promotions won’t sneak up on you – and you’ll be able to begin writing each day without hesitation, knowing exactly what your topic is.
6. Keep a list of title templates. Sometimes it can be just as hard to come up with the perfect blog title as it is to come up with the topic. Instead of crafting a new title out of the clear blue sky for each new post, make a habit of collecting effective titles whenever and wherever you see them. Save them in a file to serve as fill-in-the-blank templates for your own titles. When you need one to fit your current post, you can skim through your list, and find one whose structure suits your needs.
7. Group similar activities together. Planning out all your blog topics in advance. Coming up with a month’s worth of headlines in one go. Choosing all the images you’ll need for the week at once. By getting similar tasks done all at one time, you’ll avoid the mental adjustment time necessary to switch gears between them. Choosing a topic, crafting a headline, picking an image, writing, editing, and posting all require different mindsets, and there can be a definite lag as we try to transition from one to another.
8. Write in batches. The same philosophy applies when you write for different purposes or audiences. When you’re already in the groove writing a blog, why waste time switching gears to write an email, and then to write a guest blog post for a different audience? Get all your marketing emails done at once, then move on to blog posts, and then that ebook you’re working on, or the guest blog post. Take advantage of the significant time savings you can realize from staying focused on one type of task.
9. Work with your chronobiology, not against it. You know there are certain times of day when you’re at your best, and can write quickly and easily…and then there are others when writing half as much takes you twice as long. It’s called chronobiology, and it’s your body’s natural rhythm. Take advantage of your peak times to write – don’t waste them on checking email or doing less demanding tasks. Save those for when you’re naturally more tired, and can’t write a coherent sentence to save your life.
10. Get ahead. Nothing shuts down creativity more quickly than panic, so trying to write to a tight deadline every day is the best way to set yourself up for writer’s block. If it’s possible to get ahead, so that you have an extra day or two before your work is due to go live, not only will you be calmer and more able to think creatively, but you’ll also have the opportunity to edit your piece the next day with fresh eyes, to make sure it’s as well-written as possible.
11. Keep your posts focused. Finally, remember to keep your content simple and focused on just one main thought. Branching off into tangents not only annoys and confuses your readers, but it also wastes your time. Writing tightly focused content is the easiest way to get your point across quickly and effectively.
If you put these 11 content marketing tips into practice, you’ll instantly see a significant time savings – and the quality of your content might even improve at the same time. If that isn’t a win-win situation, we don’t know what is. So stop wasting your time with content marketing, and make the most of it instead.
Have you been wasting your time with content marketing? Tell us what you plan to do about it in the comments section below!