20 Smart Ways to Save Time on Content Creation (Starting Right Now)
Are you looking for ways to save time on content creation? If so, you’re not alone.
Today, 53 percent of marketers report that blog content creation is the top priority of their inbound strategy. While it may be a priority, anyone who has ever tried it knows how time-consuming and stressful it can be. After all – creating great content is tough, and it doesn’t happen overnight!
Luckily, you can save time and make your content creation and marketing more efficient when you follow these twenty tips:
1. Develop a Content Plan
You wouldn’t set out on a big road trip without a map, right? Then why would you head out on a content creation mission without an outline or overview? Save yourself time and make your content creation efforts more productive by developing a content strategy in advance. Not sure what to include in this strategy? As a general rule, any strategy you come up with should contain the following information:
- Your target audience
- The problem the content will solve for that audience
- The elements that will make it unique
- The format of the content
- The publishing channels you intend to use
- Your plan to schedule and manage creation and publication
- The keywords you mean to target in the post
Before you start writing, take some time to check each of these boxes. Not only will it simplify your creation process, but it’ll also allow you to create the material faster and more efficiently.
2. Make a List
To-do lists help you organize your content creation and streamline your efforts. For best results, create a to-do list that coincides with your writing and publication process, and ensures you don’t miss any steps.
For a real-life example, I create different to-do lists for each stage of my writing process. As I write, I develop a list that includes the client’s guidelines. My editing to-do list includes things like double-checking keyword inclusion and using a grammar checking software. My final publication to-do list includes confirming posting time, adding tags, and optimizing all images.
3. Define Your Goals
Goals help you organize your thoughts, adjust your content strategy accordingly, and ensure the efforts you’re taking are intentional rather than random. For each content campaign, you launch, define the goals for the piece – is it meant ot generate leads, rank for keywords, or earn shares? Figure it out ahead of time for better results.
4. Understand Your Audience
Who are you writing for? Try to appeal to everyone who reads online content every day, and you’re bound to fail. Instead of wasting your time being this general, know who you’re writing to and target them accordingly. If you’ve never taken the time to define your target audience, now is a great time to take the step.
5. Establish a Content Creation Schedule
Writing is hard, and being efficient at it requires being intentional. Instead of writing at random times, develop your content when you’re alert and sharp. Maybe this means dedicating a single day each week to content creation or simply writing for a few hours each morning. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it.
6. Group Your Content Creation Efforts
Instead of creating five different social posts on five different days, group their creation together. Not only does this create a sense of continuity int he posts, but it makes you a more efficient writer. When it comes to writing, segmentation is the enemy. The more you can group your content creation efforts, the more productive you’ll be.
7. Kill Multitasking
In the words of Gary Keller, the Founder of Keller Williams Realty, “You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” With this in mind, DON’T multitask as you develop content.
Multitasking is inefficient in most situations, but it can be disastrous in content creation. Distracted writers put out crappy material that’s riddled with mistakes and issues. Do this enough, and it can easily harm your brand and drive customers away.
Instead, focus on one thing at a time as you develop content. For me, this means closing all the windows I’m not using, marking myself as “Away” on Slack and Scoro, setting my phone to “Do Not Disturb,” and digging in.
8. Reuse Content
Lots of marketers invest hours in their content, and then just let that hard-earned 3,000word post die in the dredges of their blogroll. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, re-use your content. Take an old blog post and transform it into a series of Facebook posts or updates, or transform old material into an ebook or Q&A section. Webinars can become video tutorials, and so on and so forth.
9. Automate Everything You Can
When it comes to content creation, automation is your best friend. Use it to your full advantage. While you can’t automate your writing, you can automate your social media feeds using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, and automate your email marketing with a tool like IFTTT. Save yourself time and work smarter, not harder.
10. Try not to get Lost on the Internet
Use a tool like Momentum to keep yourself on track and prevent yourself from getting lost in the web. A free Chrome browser plugin, Momentum pops up every time you need a new tab. Just input your primary goal and to-dos for the day, and stay on task easier.
The ultimate content creation productivity tool? Delegation. Make the most of your efforts by delegating what you can. Things like creation, social posting, engagement management, and more can all be delegated out to someone else on your team. This makes your strategy more efficient and helps ensure that you’re moving through it as seamlessly as possible.
12. Prioritize Intelligently
Instead of creating content indiscriminately, prioritize the things that produce the most ROI for your brand. Depending on who you are and what kind of business you operate, this could be social media, blogging, or live video. No matter what it is, pinpoint it and target it accordingly. If you need some additional help, consider what Tim Ferriss has to say about maximizing efficiency and prioritizing in high-stress situations
“Here’s my 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things): Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. Email is the mind-killer. Make a cup of tea and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper. Write down the 3 to 5 things—and no more—that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually equals most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict. For each item, ask yourself: ‘If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?’ ‘Will moving this forward make all the other to-dos unimportant or easier to knock off later?’ Put another way: ‘What, if done, will make all of the rest easier or irrelevant?’ Look only at the items you’ve answered ‘yes’ to for at least one of these questions. Block out at 2 to 3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow. TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2 to 3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work. No phone calls or social media allowed. If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward-spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.”
13. Go for Quality over Quantity
Don’t just churn out low-quality content. Instead, invest your time and effort in creating evergreen content that will stand the test of time. Seasonal material is okay every once in awhile, but it shouldn’t be the overarching theme of your content strategy. Instead, address the primary questions and concerns of your audience, and take the time needed to ensure the topics you’re tackling are relevant to your audience.
14. Curate Material
Believe it or not, you don’t have to create all the content you post. Instead, learn to curate content accordingly. This can cut down on the time you spend creating material, while also helping to ensure you put out material your customers love.
15. Create an Idea Pool
Ever experienced the frustration that comes with not having anything to write about? Get rid of this issue by creating an idea bank. Depending on how you organize yourself, this could be a Drive folder with a series of ideas, or even some titles typed into your WordPress dashboard and saved as “drafts.” To keep your idea pool fresh, be on the lookout for titles, structures, and topics that catch your eye as you cruise the web and read content from other companies.
16. Listen to Your Audience
Use sites like Quora to mine ideas and develop them accordingly. By listening to your audience, you can give yourself a head-start with online material. Just input a few keywords or terms you’re interested in creating content for, and take a look at what people are saying about it.
In the screenshot above, “How to Write Influencer Posts on LinkedIn” would be a great potential topic!
17. Stay Organized
Keep all your source materials, drafts, and guidelines for each campaign you launch in a single file, so you’re not wasting time trying to find the items you need as you’re writing. Take your organization one step further by making to-do lists (either in Momentum or on paper) and sticking to them throughout the day.
18. Show up and Throw Up
My writing process looks like this: I create a “show up and throw up” draft that I’d never show anyone. It goes fast and flows quickly. When I’m done – I walk away for a few hours or a day. When I come back, I can edit more efficiently. My experience has been that this structure allows me to write content faster, without requiring that I sacrifice quality.
19. Set a Schedule
Content creation is one of those things that won’t happen unless you have a defined schedule. To give yourself a head-start, figure out a schedule and stick to it. This is especially important if you work with a large team. In the words of Lili St. Crow, “Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of her.”
20. Adjust Accordingly
Your content strategy should grow with your brand! If you find it’s no longer working the way it was, don’t be afraid to adjust it accordingly. You’ll save yourself time and energy in the long run when you do.
Save Time, Create Better Content
While content creation can be time-consuming, it can also be much more efficient than it has been for you and your team. By implementing these 20 tips in your daily content creation efforts, it’s easy to simplify the process and ensure quality throughout.