By Anthony Gaenzle published February 8, 2015

How to Increase Content Creation Without Hiring More People

Content-Creation-Gaenzle-CoverOne of the biggest concerns facing companies when it comes to their content marketing is how to create enough content to be effective, especially when faced with limitations in personnel equipped to handle such tasks. Growing your content marketing team by taking on another salary can be expensive, not only due to the addition of the salary itself, but also the cost of recruiting, interviewing, and making sure you are selecting the right candidate.

While conundrums like this can bring about tension headaches, some simple solutions can help ease the pain of dealing with such issues. Here are a few ideas to help you increase your production of quality content that connects with your target audience, while avoiding breaking the bank to expand your team.

Give your old content a new life

You invested so much time and so many resources, not to mention valuable marketing dollars, into all that content you created. It’s a shame to see it grow old and go to waste. What you may not realize is that a lot of pieces of old content hiding out on your laptop could be once again the talk of the town if you just spend a little time brushing them off and giving them a makeover.

Consider that eBook that your audience downloaded 1,000 times a year ago. Instead of toiling away for hours to come up with a whole new piece of content, why not create a 2.0 version? While it already was downloaded by many, there are a lot more than 1,000 people in your target market. So fix up that eBook and target those who missed out the first time. If you do it well, even people who downloaded the original version can benefit from the new one. Just follow these steps and you’ll have that eBook shiny and looking like new in no time:

  • Thoroughly review all text to ensure that everything is up-to-date.
  • Update anything that isn’t current by replacing stats and other insights with more current information.
  • Replace any visual examples.
  • Add a few anecdotes to enhance the content and insert current quotes from experts.
  • Create a new cover, change up the headers, footers, and page numbers, and alter the color scheme a bit.

Once you’ve completed these steps properly, that eBook or whatever type of content is being revitalized is ready to roll back out. Now you have a new piece of content to strengthen your connection to your audience.

User-generated content

If you’ve done your job right, your customers are talking about your company. Focus on the fans who advocate your brand and chat about your products or services on social media.

Conduct some social media listening activities and find out who’s talking about you the most. Find out who is influencing the conversation about your brand. Then reach out to the ones who make the most positive comments and ask if they’re interested in creating some content for you.

Content generated by your target audience’s peers is considered more trustworthy and reliable than content clearly created by the company. It’s also likely that your advocates will be more than happy to put together a video, article, or other type of content free of charge. Your brand’s recognition of them, along with the ability to have their content consumed by your audience, often is enough.

Another angle for getting more user-generated content is to hold a contest. Ask your fans to put together videos focused on a positive experience they had with your brand. Post the top three videos on your website for a specified period. You could ask fans to vote for their favorite. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is the time to sift through all the videos.

Curation

There are different schools of thought on content curation, and I urge you to approach this one with care, but there is certainly value in it if done properly. I am not recommending that you simply post the first paragraph or two with a link to the original article. I don’t see a lot of value in that. The problem is twofold:

  • Google doesn’t give any SEO value to the keywords or other elements from these types of posts.
  • A lot of readers will click on the link, go to the third-party website, and never return to yours.

There are a lot of great examples of content curation, but you might want to consider this tried-and-true example.

  • Take the most important part of an article and place it in the middle of the page.
  • Bookend it with your original lead explaining why you thought it was right, wrong, informative, totally pointless, or whatever. At the end, write a conclusion about how the reader can apply the content to his or her own work.
  • Link to other content on your own website from your original text in the bookends.

While you still need to cite and link to the original source of the excerpt, your reader is more likely to return to follow up on your commentary about the article. Google will also recognize the original text on the page. It’s a simple way to create content quickly and it eliminates some of the pitfalls that come along with curation.

Outsource it

If you’re feeling ambitious and looking to create large amounts of content, you might need to consider other ways to extend your resources. Hiring an agency will cost you, but it may be more efficient and less expensive than adding a salaried employee. Agencies allow you to:

  • Expand your resources temporarily. You can scale back when the content creation is complete or the workload diminishes.
  • Save the time and money to train your own team by bringing in a group of experts who can hit the ground running with minimal guidance.
  • Relinquish management of large projects. Quality agencies have the experience to step in and manage them smoothly, freeing up your time to work on all the other things piling up on your desk.

So whether you choose to try a few of the in-house tricks or hire an agency, this blueprint shows how to ramp up your content creation without bringing on unnecessary salaried team members.

If you have comments or other suggestions, I would love to read them in the comments.

Want to learn more about how to boost your content marketing without creating new content? Check out the CMWorld 2014 sessions available through our Video on Demand portal and make plans today to attend Content Marketing World 2015.

Cover image by reynermedia, Flickr commons, via pixabay.com

Author: Anthony Gaenzle

As founder and lead strategist at AG Integrated Marketing Strategists, Anthony Gaenzle works with businesses by helping them develop and implement effective marketing strategies that help bridge the gap between their digital and traditional marketing. He works across a variety of industries and has a wide range of expertise, including content marketing, SEO, graphic design, social media, and strategy creation. Anthony has an MS in Marketing from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing an MBA from Clemson University. Follow Anthony on Twitter.

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  • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

    Hi Anthony,

    I find another effective way to boost your content production is to hire freelancers. They’re much cheaper than using an agency and often much easier to deal with. You can bring them on for special projects, on an as needed basis.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      That can definitely work, but some issues that arise are the management and quality control. An agency alleviates those concerns. If you have the team in place to manage the writers, as well as ensure that the quality level is high, then hiring freelancers directly can work. However, you may actually end up saving time, getting better quality, etc. by hiring an agency.

      By having someone else manage the content creation, it frees up your own management team to work on other endeavors that are critical to the success of your organization. There is also a lot of unique management expertise necessary for managing a content creation project properly. Lots of considerations from SEO and quality, to payroll and recruiting. It’s a very complex process.

      • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

        Hi Anthony,

        I think you underestimate freelancers then or just haven’t found good ones. The freelancers I use have processes in place to ensure quality. A lot of freelancers also have agency experience. There’s absolutely nothing in the content creation process that a freelancer can’t handle and a lot of them have come from agencies anyway.

        I find freelancers tend to be more nimble, quicker to deliver and often much better value than an agency model.

        • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

          I don’t underestimate freelancers at all. I think we are talking about two different types of projects here. In the case that you’ve got a smaller project in the works, hiring freelancers and guiding them through the process is certainly an excellent option, if you have the managment experience. While you may have that experience, many do not. So look at this from the perspective of someone less experienced than you.

          When a larger amount of content is required, hiring freelancers and setting them free without the right processes can lead to all kinds of problems. Let’s say you have a project that requires 25 writers, several editors, two graphic designers and the list goes on. Would you hire them, explain the project and leave them to their devices, or would you manage the project thoroughly to ensure that they all followed the brand voice, stayed consistent and turned in quality work?

          I’ve got tons of experience with freelancers. Many of whom are extremely talented. But freelance or full-time, major content projects need to be well-managed and require certain things to be in place. I would never suggest to any company that it’s a good idea to undertake a large project using freelancers unless you’ve got the expertise and resources to manage it.

          If, however, you are looking for a couple weekly blog posts, then hiring a talented freelancer is definitely a good idea. Scale is an important factor to consider.

          • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

            I’ve worked on all sorts of projects with freelancers, both large and small. The largest was for a content hub consisting of 750 original articles. We launched it in 2 months from start to finish. And, yes, working with freelancers requires overall project management but that’s true, to an extent, with agencies as well.

          • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

            So we are basically saying the same thing, though. Agencies manage freelancers. I never said freelancers were a bad idea, just the idea of setting them free without serious management in place. I’m sure you had some serious management, quality control, content management system, etc. in place when you worked on that project. So, ultimately it was accomplished by using the tactics of which I am speaking. Different levels of management are necessary for large vs. small projects, wouldn’t you say? An agency helps alleviate those concerns for companies who don’t have the expertise or resources in place, which is effectively what you did when you and your team managed that project. You managed payroll, quality, consistency following style guide, etc. So again, we’re saying the same thing, just mixing communication.

          • Craig Bechtel

            I’ll echo the idea of using freelancers as long as they can be properly managed, but wanted to be sure to throw in my “two cents” about being sure the organization properly utilizes existing employee assets. A personal example: I’m a 20 year + hotel management veteran who also happens to have a degree in English writing and moonlights as a music writer, so I would have been happy to craft some marketing content for the hotels I’ve worked at, I just haven’t been tapped to do so, despite my frequent reminders to my colleagues that I would be glad to contribute in such a way! Now that I’m working in sales again, I’m hoping to help craft compelling marketing messages in collaboration with our client(s). Bottom line: be sure to send out “a call” to your staff first, to see who might be able to help in some capacity, either as part of their job or on the side, or as a volunteer.

          • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

            Thanks for pointing that out, Craig. It’s very important to know your team, as many companies would be surprised to find that there are talented content creators eager to lend a hand in almost every department. Our in house content creators span across the entire company. I recently wrote an article about this exact thing. Check it out if you are interested: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/10/how-to-create-cross-functional-team-synergy-for-content-marketing/

            Too many times, content marketing talent within an organization is overlooked because the person(s) title doesn’t contain some type of marketing-related lingo. Companies that think this way are really missing out.

          • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

            I do think we’re in agreement, Anthony. My point was that agencies aren’t the only option and freelancers are often good resources for companies to consider using.

          • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

            Definitely. I think we were just confusing each other :) No worries! I can do that sometimes. Freelancers are great. We work with them on both large and small scales. I think the important things are management, scale and resources to determine whether to do it in house or bring in an agency. Good debate anyway! Too bad we were arguing the same point, haha.

  • https://www.strategic-ic.co.uk/ Lucy Jones

    Hi,

    This is a key issue for myself and a lot of clients, so my team have been exploring how to get around it.

    While repurposing, outsourcing and UGC are excellent, we’re aiming to make the most of every staff member’s knowledge – and started a discussion on LinkedIn to see how much success people are having with getting non-marketing employees to blog.

    From the answers and our own experience it can be done, though it takes some groundwork. If you’re interested, here are the 7 steps we’ve adopted – https://www.strategic-ic.co.uk/7-ways-get-non-marketing-employees-blog/

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Blog creation by non-marketing team members is really valuable, if done properly. We’ve always operated that way. Our blog writers span basically every department, which gives us a variety of perspectives. It’s great for our reader base, offers various vantage points, generates new ideas, and the list goes on. I would recommend it to anyone, however, it needs to be something that’s done with a strategy in mind.

      I linked to this above in another comment, but you might be interested in this article:

      http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/10/how-to-create-cross-functional-team-synergy-for-content-marketing/

      Thanks for sharing your article. I will definitely check it out. And thanks for the comment!

      • https://www.strategic-ic.co.uk/ Lucy Jones

        No problem, thanks for sharing that other piece!

        Definitely some very useable ideas in there on how to smooth the collaborative process and how to highlight that effort/value and reward balance.

        It can still be a little tricky but I think it’s one of those activities that blossoms with time and good old fashioned elbow grease!

        • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

          Those are all great steps presented in the article that you shared, by the way. It’s important to educate your team as to the “why” of the content creation. If you just ask them to create content “just because,” it’s not highly likely that you’ll get very high quality content delivered to you, or even get buy-in for the creation in the first place.

          A little competition and assurance of the personal benefits of creating the content are great as well. We’ve developed relationships with a lot of major, authoritative websites, and we post our team members’ articles on those sites, as well as on our own site. We try to keep the content original for whatever site it appears on, so it doesn’t appear in two places. It helps our team members get more exposure for their own expertise, while reaching new audiences for the company as whole at the same time.

          Thanks for sharing the article. Excellent suggestions.

          • graycradm

            Great ideas Anthony. Any suggestions on how to distribute content if you don’t have a blog? My firm does not have a blog and very limited budget to ‘buy’ into channels to distribute. I’d prefer inbound versus outbound.

          • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

            Thanks for the comment. Great question. First, I urge you to consider integrating a blog into your website. It’s not that expensive, and if you have your team write articles, you can populate it. The benefits of having a blog are too many to overlook, from traffic increase to lead generation and beyond.

            In the meantime, there are other things you can do. Contact editors of authoritative blogs that cover your industry. Inquire into what it takes to submit guest articles. You can benefit from reaching new audiences, as well as generating natural, quality links back to your site.

            You could also try publishing on LinkedIn. It’s a great tool for bloggers, especially if you don’t have another platform.

            There are a number of other things you can try, but start here and then consider other options along the way. Hope this helps!

  • http://twitter.com/neomammalian Danny Ashton

    I think the first things to do is make sure that you are getting the low hanging fruit with the teams you have. I see so many clients that are not blogging regularly/curating/ which are easy wins that don’t need major expertise or big salaries.

    But investing in bigger projects – visuals/interactives/ebooks – there will be a point when hiring a team of experts makes far more sense, at least until you understand what works and what provides a return on investment.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Agreed completely. Many companies don’t take advantage of things like blogging, simply because they don’t understand the value, or they don’t think they have the resources in place. They see that they don’t have a bunch of writers on staff, so they think a blog is out of the question, but in reality, there are writers in every department within your company. I actually wrote an article about working across departments. If more companies worked like this, they’d find that things like this are actually easier than they first appear.

      http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/10/how-to-create-cross-functional-team-synergy-for-content-marketing/

      Giant content creation projects, however, may require the expertise and resource extension of an agency. Even really large companies may find it difficult and too expensive to employ a large team of writers and content creators full time.

      Great comment. Thanks for the input, Danny!

  • http://www.nurturehq.com/ Vaibhav @ NurtureHQ.com

    Right on the mark – content re-purposing or pure content re-marketing is highly under appreciated in the race to create new content. As you rightly pointed out, the target market is usually much larger than the initial reach achieved by any content, so re-marketing is an important strategy to maximize the potential of your content.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Nicely said. I think too many marketers assume that a piece of content loses all its value after a certain amount of time. But with a little nurturing, an “old” piece of content can have a new life and reach new audiences. Even audiences that have consumed the piece can benefit from an updated version.

  • Shai Geoola

    Excellent article, thank you for sharing Anthony!

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Thank you, Shai. I’m glad you enjoyed. Hopefully you’ll be able to use some of these ideas within your organization.

  • http://www.backlinksentry.com Ben Sibley

    I would also add updating old blog posts. With Google Webmaster Tools, you can find better keywords for existing blog posts, and then re-optimize them to get additional search traffic.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Revisiting older content and revitalizing it is an easy way to alleviate the concerns of not being able to create enough content. Along the lines of my first point of re-purposing content, but definitely much easier. Thanks for the suggestion, Ben.

  • http://www.RobToth.com/ Rob TheGenie Toth

    Right on. This is a bit trumpeting our own, well, trumpet … but it’s certainly something we advocate and a primary service we work with: creatively repurposing content. We’ve started with as little as 4 content sources from a client/project and provided back over 190 new content pieces. The point (other than the soft pitch this response turned into)… is just ONE quality video, book or lecture can lend itself to a mini library of terrific slide-decks, whitepapers, info-graphics and similar.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Soft pitch aside :), that is very true. One piece of quality content, even something as basic as a blog post, can be turned into all kinds of fun, new content. One thing we find that works for us is to take high performing blog posts and turn them into infographics and slide-decks. Those can then be distributed in a number of ways. It’s a really great way to save time, reach new audiences and boost your content creation.

  • http://pitechnologies.org/ Web Development Indore

    Hello Anthony,

    Your tips and writing both are amazing. I like the
    point of brushing up old content and creation of version 2.0, it is really a good
    idea to use already established market.

    Thanks
    Pi Technologies Pvt. Ltd Indore

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Thank you. I truly appreciate that comment. It’s humbling to read something like that. I am just happy when my advice is found to be useful by someone. Old content can always have a second life. Whether it’s in a different form, or just updated to become a current piece of valuable information. You’re quite welcome.

  • Charly Suter

    Great tips, even if I am not a fan of curation. But have you ever thought of agile publishing? When you start with the story first you produce one big story, but have some side stories which do not fit into it and in old style you cut them out. But if you not just delete them and use them you may get almost finished article/content to support the lead article and give a even stronger fundament. Instead of starting always from zero.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Charly, I am not really an advocate of curation either. However, if done probably, it can be a great way to generate quality content quickly. I frown upon most types of curation, but when it’s done right, and when it’s only a piece of your content marketing puzzle, it can be highly effective.

      Agile Publishing, as I understand the concept, involves creating a large piece of content, like a book for example, and then creating pieces around it and getting users to contribute to its development, etc. Is that the concept in a nutshell? I know it’s relatively recent, but it seems like it’s similar to the concept of agile in a software development sense.

      I’m not clear how it would save time, as it seems similar to repurposing content, or developing new content that revolves around a particular subject. Can you elaborate on the process, as well as how this would assist a company in creating more content in a cheaper, more efficient way?

      • Charly Suter

        Well Anthony, in a nutshell you are right. But think not “like a book” more like a article. Then you know, you are doing your research, make expert interviews, read statistics and at the end you skip, skip, skip content out of your article to make it short enough. If you take this skiped content – you have two, three other articles, infografics, podcast-interview or or or. So you save money, when doing the research once.

        In german (my mother tongue, therefore excusse my english) there is a pretty good book about this: http://www.amazon.com/Publishing-Obermayr-Matthias-Günther-Hagemann/dp/3941951866/ref=sr_1_1

        So it is not invented by me!!

        • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

          No worries! You’ve got a pretty good handle on the English language. Much better than I have on German. I’ve taken classes in high school and college, but I could never hold a conversation or answer a forum question in German.

          Agile advertising seems to have a lot of components similar to repurposing content. Definitely a good way to create multiple short pieces of content while significantly reducing the amount of production work. Thanks for the insight!

  • Terri Zora

    As an agency content creator, I appreciate reading someone else who’s saying that ” Hiring an agency will cost you, but it may be more efficient and less expensive than adding a salaried employee.” My supervisor and I were discussing this a while back. Thanks for the article!

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Happy to share, Terri. I think that a lot of companies startle at the idea of hiring an agency, but they don’t take into account that a salary gets paid year after year, and that one person who is consuming that salary is not going to produce nearly as much content, and will not be nearly as efficient, as bringing in an agency. Agencies tend to save companies money, and they are full of experts who really know what goes into quality content (good agencies that is) who can produce content that’s going to be effective, not just produce content for the sake of producing content. Thanks for commenting!