The bar keeps getting raised for content marketing. As noted in the recent State of Marketing Strategy Report, producing high-quality content (much less average, run-of-the-mill content) isn’t enough anymore; for content to stand out, it “not only has to be good, it also has to solve a problem for readers—and serve the needs of your company.”
But you’re busy. Probably busier than you’ve ever been. And there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon (or ever). So if you’re going to get more, better work done in the same (or less) time, you’re going to need some strategies for doing so—like the six here.
This is not another post about small productivity hacks, suggestions like taking meditation breaks or power naps, using the Pomodoro technique, avoiding junk food, or staying properly hydrated. All of those are helpful ideas and can lead to incremental productivity gains, but they’ve been written about before, here and elsewhere. It’s time for something a little stronger.
The ideal approach would simply be to hire more people. Good luck with that. Even though many companies have loosened up the new personnel requisitions a bit over the past few years as we’ve finally recovered from the great recession, it’s likely your odds are still better of getting your boss to donate a kidney to you than approve a marketing staff increase.
So, short of growing your team, here are half a dozen ways to get big increases in content marketing productivity.
Repurpose Your Content
Granted, this is hardly a new idea, but like running a marathon or skydiving, it’s something lots of people talk about doing more than they actually do.
If you’ve invested in a great piece of content, how many other formats can you use to tell a similar story? Here’s a partial list to spur thoughts:
- White papers
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Online tools
- Bylined articles
- Case studies
- Interactive graphics
Document Your Strategy
Another key finding from the State of Marketing Strategy Report drives home the importance of a documented strategy: “The most successful marketers: document their marketing strategy and processes: Marketing teams that document their strategy are six times more likely to report success than those who don’t.”
This echoes findings from earlier reports which concluded “Companies with a documented strategy are three times as likely as those without to describe their content marketing as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ effective–and only one-third as likely to say they are ‘not sure’ of its effectiveness.”
So having a documented strategy is important to content marketing success, but how does it help with productivity? By keeping you on track. With a documented strategy, you’ll spend less time producing unnecessary or redundant content. When every piece of content has a clear “why” and “for whom,” your efforts will be more focused and your content itself will be more productive for the business.
Again, hardly a new concept; humans have been using tools to increase productivity since our earliest ancestors started drawing ads on cave walls (of course that’s what those cave paintings were!).
But there are a whole range of text and visual content creation tools that are often overlooked: tools that help improve productivity in areas from content ideation, research, and production to screen capture, infographic design, and photo/video/audio editing.
Revise Older Content
If you’ve been blogging or producing other content for a significant length of time, chances are you’ve got some older content that’s fallen off Google’s (and your audience’s) radar, but could still provide value with a bit of refreshing.
The key is to evaluate your older content with a critical eye. Some posts don’t age well; for example, older guides to SEO tactics (build 1000s of backlinks!) are best quietly taken down, while more strategic content can be refreshed and kept evergreen.
Like remakes of old songs, revised content should retain what was special about the original while giving it a fresh, up to date spin. Quietdrive did this nicely with Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, and My Chemical Romance produced a worthy reinterpretation of the Queen / Davie Bowie classic Under Pressure. On the other hand, Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, one of the most dreadfully unlistenable pop songs in history, should have been left alone; instead Marilyn Manson managed to excrete a version even more painfully awful (no links; Google it if you’re feeling masochistic).
Your voice needn’t be the only one represented on your blog or in other content. Indeed, it’s best if that’s not the case! Publishing content produced by others keeps your output fresh and interesting, offering new perspectives and knowledge (in addition to saving you work, which makes you more productive).
Popular ways to showcase expert third-party content include guest post exchanges (you write a post for an expert’s blog, they write one for yours), expert roundups, and expert interviews. See the post Five Ways to “Expert Source” Third-Party Content for Your Blog for more details and ideas.
A final tactic for getting more done without spending more of your time is to outsource the work. This is often done for specialized skills like infographic design or video editing for which companies may not have dedicated staff. But it also makes sense for writing and related content marketing services.
High-quality writing doesn’t come cheap (and low-quality writing isn’t worth any price), but if you need only a part-time writing resource, this approach is less costly than adding staff.
Content marketing isn’t going to get any easier. And the need to do more with less (or at best, the same resources) is unlikely to change much either. These six approaches can help you get significantly more accomplished in your content marketing efforts without working harder or longer.