Tools of the TradeContent marketing has taken the business world by storm over the last three years, and rightfully so: in today's ad-blind world, meaningful and relevant content delivered strategically is one of the few ways left to reach prospects and customers with your marketing message.

But, there's no way to sugarcoat the fact that content marketing – when it's done right – takes a lot of time.

So how is a busy business person supposed to dedicate the necessary time to creating and distributing quality content while still being able to actually do the work their content marketing generates?

Here are five tips to help you carve out the necessary time to add content marketing to your marketing toolbox:

Strategy First

Before sitting down at the keyboard, ready to plow through content that “has to get done,” be sure you take adequate time to think about content strategy and who you're writing for.

As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This couldn't be more true than when it comes to creating website content for marketing purposes: if you're not clear about what you're trying to accomplish and who you're hoping to reach, 90% of your content will end up off-the-mark, which means you'll be wasting a lot of that precious time.

Don't Write Novels

Ok, lets clarify: don't write novel-length content unless that's what your strategy requires.

While the age-old paradigm in advertising and especially direct mail was that long copy beats short copy every time, that's simply not true anymore when it comes to creating content for marketing purposes.

It's not the size that counts.

What is important is giving your audience something valuable that they will appreciate--something that was worth their time investment to consume it.

That leaves the matter of word or page count completely up to the audience, and it's your job to figure it out. But the less you have to write, the less time you'll have to invest.

Plan to Recycle

Nearly every piece of content you create can be used again at another time, in another format, through a different channel, or some combination thereof.

So, you need to plan ahead to make the most possible use out of every piece of content.

For example, let's say you spend two hours crafting a 500-word blog post. That's a fantastic piece of useful content, so you publish it on your site. But what now?

How about this:

  • Pull 8-10 quotes from the post and tweet them out over the next several days with links back to the blog.
  • Search through previous blog posts on similar topics and pull together 6-10 posts that complement your new one, then combine them and – with limited editing – you have a free e-book for download.
  • Monitor comments that come in on your post and pull 3-4 of them to expand your responses into follow-up posts to publish during the following weeks.
  • Search out bloggers and thought leaders with the opposing view, invite them to read your post, then record a Google+ Hangout call where you both discuss/debate the issue. Post it to YouTube.
  • Summarize the post and discuss the comments as part of your weekly podcast.

Choose the Right Tools

While technology can save us a ton of time, it can just as easily waste it.

When creating content, be sure to use technology that's going to do the former and not the latter.

For example, how simple and intuitive is your content management system (CMS)? How well do you know how to use it? How about your social media dashboard or the individual systems you use to distribute and curate content?

If you've done your homework and know you have the best tools available for what you're trying to accomplish, invest time in mastering them.

Get Help

According to a recent study conducted by Marketo and the Content Marketing Institute, “65% of B2B enterprise marketers outsource their content marketing.”

If companies with over a thousand employees see the benefit of bringing in outside help for the potentially time-consuming content marketing work that needs to be done to make their marketing more effective, how much more so should smaller companies with more time-strapped employees?

If you want to discuss the value of outsourcing your content marketing needs, find the time to give us a call and ask how we can create exemplary content for you even if we don't know much about your industry.

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