I’m often asked how much content digital marketers should produce. My answer: It’s a lot.
Recommendations vary, but every day you should update your blog, post two to five times on Facebook, share about 15 pins on Pinterest, and tweet eight to 10 times. Every digital marketer has to be a content machine.
I find that the actual posting of content isn’t what takes time. It’s the creation process. This includes coming up with fresh ideas, researching the background, writing and producing the content, and then editing and polishing until it’s ready for prime time. I’ve learned that it’s helpful to have a routine and some clear processes to keep my content machine humming.
Here are some tips for keeping the content flowing—without the stress:
- Have a plan. Remove the stress from the creation process by mapping out what you’ll produce over the next week, month, or even year. You don’t want to end up staring at a ticking clock and realizing you don’t have content to post.
- Create an editorial calendar. Add specifics to your plan by detailing each post, status update, or tweet and determining the time and channel where it will be distributed. This will help you identify gaps and the resources you’ll need in order to create your content.
- Schedule regular features. Mixing labor-intensive items with those that are easy to produce can alleviate the pressure. And don’t think simple content is necessarily low-value content. Some of the most shared items are inspirational quotes borrowed from great thinkers. Many bloggers publish meaty posts in the middle of the week and leave Fridays for a best of the Web wrap-up. Others share cartoons, images, or videos from their favorite content producers.
- Set a work schedule. This is probably the most important step you can take toward a more efficient process. Nothing sets my focus faster than having dedicated time to meet a looming deadline.
- Read news daily. If you’re stuck for ideas, make industry trade publications, blogs, and news media your go-to sources. You’ll find inspiration from world events and the latest trends. An additional advantage is that people are probably talking about what’s happening in the world, and your take on it can generate some clicks. Set aside an hour every day to read and curate.
- Carry a notebook. Have you noticed that all artists carry a notebook? You should, too. When you think of an idea for a blog post, write it in the notebook before you forget. Better yet, if you’re near a computer, enter it as a new post in your blogging platform, then write as much as you can and save it to finish later.
- Create content in batches. Some bloggers and marketers set aside one day a week to write and record several blogs or episodes at once. Then, they schedule them for the week ahead. Batching in this way frees up the rest of the week for other work.
- Chunk the work. Some may find it daunting to sit down and create a single piece in a day. In fact, putting time between your first draft and your final will help you create better content. For example, you can draft your post on day one, edit on day two, and upload and format on day three.
- Invite guest bloggers. There’s no rule that says you must create all your own content. Bringing other experts on board can greatly extend the reach of your digital marketing platform. When customers, vendors, or partners contribute to your blog, they’re likely to promote their content to their followers, so you save time and gain a larger audience.
- Enlist co-workers. Ask other employees to take a turn keeping your social channels updated. For example, give everyone on your customer service team a “shift” on Twitter. Let them manage the conversation for an hour or two a few times a week.
- Reuse content in multiple places. Yes, it’s a best practice to tweet eight to 10 times a day, but that’s more doable when two of those tweets can be about the blog post you’ve just published. Though you’ll want some made-for-Facebook only content, most of what you post can be repurposed from and for other channels.
These practices will not only help you feed the content machine, but they can also help you create interesting and compelling content.
This article first appeared on Quick and Dirty Tips.