By Michele Linn published September 22, 2010 Est Read Time: 5 min

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Marketing

If there is one thing I hear time and time again, it’s that content marketing takes a substantial amount of time to do well. I agree wholeheartedly, but there are some things you can do to reduce the time you spend – while delivering better content to your audience.

Simplify the focus of each content piece

It’s tempting to want to include “everything and the kitchen sink” in a content piece as you have so much you could say. “I don’t want to forget to tell the reader this and this,” you may think. (Or, if your content needs to be approved by a group, each person has something new to add, which can result in a long, disjointed piece.)

In many cases, longer content isn’t better:

  • Readers have limited attention spans – how much time are they really going to spend with your piece?
  • If you are trying to say too many things, the content tends to get general as you try to cram in all of your points. Watered-down content isn’t good for anyone.
  • When you try to say too many things, the reader walks away somewhat confused at what your main point is.
  • If you are nurturing your leads, smaller yet more specific content provides more touch points for your readers.

Instead of creating content-dense pieces that say a lot, think about making your pieces more focused – on one audience and one main point.

If you think the piece is too light, consider adding a case study or example to back up your points. It’s better to have one solid, well-developed point than multiple, general points.

For instance, just last week, a blogger sent me an idea for a post that had so many good ideas that we decided it would better be presented as four posts, each with a bit more depth. The blogger was thrilled because it made her job easier, and I’m happy because our readers will benefit from more details in each post.

This content will still take time to produce, but I have found that having a single focus per piece makes the writing and editing process go much more quickly.

Plan multiple content pieces from the start

While you can certainly repurpose content you already have, to save even more time think about how you can reuse and leverage one piece of content from the beginning.

In one example, MLT Creative had a webinar on B2B Blogging. They followed up by distributing an eBook on the same topic and then answered questions from the event in blog posts afterwards. They then followed up with another eBook on a related topic – guidelines for including guest bloggers.

Yes, all of those activities take extra time, but when you work on them together instead of as single projects, it saves time and provides a better presentation to your customers and prospects.

As I say in many of my posts, I’m a huge fan of having an editorial calendar to plan content. For me, simply seeing content laid out helps generate ideas about how I can reuse content or how some content can be a jumping off point for something new.

Just say no

There are many types of content you could create, but that doesn’t mean that you should create them. Always ask yourself if what you are creating is supporting your business and marketing objectives.

Additionally, if you are considering content that requires constant upkeep, like a blog or eNewsletter, really think about your ability to support this. It looks terrible to have a blog that hasn’t been updated in months, and you’ll lose trust with your audience if you can’t deliver an eNewsletter consistently. Here are seven questions to ask before starting a blog and other tips to consider before embarking on this type of content project.

Here’s another way to look at it: what results do you want this content to achieve? If you are unsure (or you are only creating something because someone in the organization has deemed it necessary), step back and figure it out. This may be something you can cross off your to-do list.

Prioritize

Even when your content will support your business objectives, it’s a good idea to prioritize and work on a few things at a time.

Joe and I have a laundry list of content we want to create to support the Content Marketing Institute, but we have prioritized what we want to focus on first and where we think we’ll go next (we’re always getting feedback, so our future plans have flexibility). If we tried to create all of the different types of content that came to mind, we wouldn’t get anywhere. Simply focusing on what is most important to us is a huge time-saver as we’re not spinning our wheels deciding what we want to do next.

Use a copy editor

Another tactic that has really accelerated the amount of work I can get done is working with a copy editor. In addition to finding someone who has a keen eye for grammar, look for a person who is knowledgeable in your field.

CMI recently welcomed Jennifer Watson to the team as our copy editor – she’s been a fantastic help! While it still takes me time to write and edit, I had no idea how much time I would save by having someone look at each post or content piece we produce to make sure it’s ready to go.  Additionally, she’s a great person to bounce ideas off of or ask for advice when I am struggling with something, which also saves a lot of time (and definitely results in stronger content).

At the end of the day, effective content times takes time and effort – and there’s no getting around that. But, with some planning, you can reduce frustration and have more time to spend on developing the content that excites your audience.

What other ideas do you have to reduce time spent on content marketing without sacrificing quality?

Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

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