One of the most overlooked facts of content marketing is just how much time it will take for you to actually produce high level content. The plethora of different content mills, content production companies, and the break-neck speed of daily internet publishing has set some unrealistic expectations for those that are just getting started.
Many companies quickly find that creating good content is a much more complicated process than they envisioned when they were getting started. Consistent, high-level content production requires a well-oiled machine in all stages of the production process.
This leaves many companies scrambling to improve their output both in terms of quantity and quality, which is a very difficult undertaking. It is always best to focus on improving one of those two areas before the other, preferably starting with quality.
Here are a few simple ways for companies to speed up their content marketing production while maintaining a high level of quality.
Simplify Topic Generation
Research is one of the most time consuming aspects of producing content. To create content that your audience clamors for, in-depth research on every subject is necessary. However, you can streamline research by focusing on a few core areas.
- Examine your analytics. What subjects have performed well for you in the past? Is there any way for you to expand your current coverage? Figuring out what has already worked in the past can help drum up ideas for future content.
- Keep an eye on competitors. What subjects are they covering? What blog posts or social media content is keeping their audience engaged?
- Use tools like BuzzSumo or NUVI to look at your industry at large. What are the best-performing pieces of content within your industry?
Choosing topics shouldn’t be difficult. Any industry has an almost unlimited number of subjects that you could potentially cover. The trick is to find subjects that your audience finds engaging and interesting.
Plan Ahead, Research in Advance
Put together a content calendar several months in advance. Keep in mind that you do not have to stick to your plans stringently. Things can be changed as new subjects trend and your audience requests that you cover others. By planning your posts and content out ahead of time, you not only get a lot of the subjects chosen and out of the way, but you give your team ample time to research those subjects. They can even create the content in advance, which gives you a great deal of time to sort out issues and ensure quality as well.
Having trouble sticking to your schedule and maintaining quality? Reduce your output. Quality is the single most important aspect of effective content marketing. If you find that your quality is slipping due to unrealistic publishing expectations, the best thing that you can do for yourself (and your team) is to ask less of them and give them more time to focus on the topics at hand. If your quality slips, giving your team a short breather can help to re-focus and get things back on the right road.
Set Aside Time
Many companies break into content marketing and plan on producing content during their downtime, without ever actually setting aside time to write and be creative. This typically leads to underwhelming results. Instead, set aside time specifically for writing – even if it is only an hour per week. Giving yourself that dedicated time allows you to be more focused and create higher quality content in the long run.
Write without Distractions
Writing while you listen to the radio, play music, or listen to that favorite podcast can be really distracting. Generally, I try to avoid it, personally. If I am not able to dedicate all of my attention to what I am doing, I try to find another time during the day when I can do so. When creating content, choose a place that will limit your distractions as much as possible. Turn off that second monitor when you aren’t using it for research. Turn off the radio. Pause the podcast. Focus on the task at hand.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals will only be useful if you are able to attain the goals. Try to set realistic goals for your own content production efforts, and try to keep them reasonable. Set a goal for specific word counts, number of articles per week, or another metric – and try to keep things in the attainable range. Not hitting your goals can be a downer, and shooting too high can kill your motivation.
Copy Competitors and Expand Upon Their Work
As you research your competition, try to keep an eye on what is working for them. Did an article that they recently published get a lot of traction on social media? You can use that to your advantage. Examine their content and brainstorm areas where it could be improved. Did they forget to cover important aspects of the subject? Did they short-change a very important concept? Building upon the foundations that they have laid can help you to duplicate their traction and deliver a more valuable piece of content.
Create Promotion Plans that can be Duplicated
Promoting content is a long and arduous process. It never really stops. That blog post that you published 8 months ago is still a valuable tool and should be promoted as long as the content is still useful to your audience. Although some types of content will require their own customized content production plan, there will be some aspects of promotion that are consistent among all types of content. Create a plan that you can duplicate for every piece of content that you publish so that you can create processes for speeding that promotion up.
Work with an Editor
Somewhere along the line, editors became a much smaller part of content marketing than they rightfully should be. Great editors don’t just edit your piece for spelling and grammar, they give you feedback on making a piece better. They steer you in the right direction. They help you find interesting angles to approach a subject from. Although including an editor does add another step in the production process, it makes proofreading and quality assurance easier across the board.
Producing highly valuable marketing content is hard and time-consuming. For companies that are just starting out, you can anticipate a lot of trail and error as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Putting processes in place and taking steps to minimize stress during the production process can go a long way toward speeding things up.