5 effortless ways to create more content

Who says you have to create new content from scratch? Save yourself time and trouble with these efficient techniques.

A lot can happen in a minute.

Consider this: Every minute, people create 571 new websites, YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Google receives more than 2 million search inquiries, Twitter users send more than 100,000 tweets, and Tumblr publishes 27,778 new posts.

Social media, mobile, and digital publishing have altered how people consume, share and interact with information. These same innovations have also changed how those of us who create content work.

The stats are enough to make even the most seasoned editor’s head spin. It gets even harder when you factor in the reality that many publications are cutting editorial budgets, and few have the resources to hire new staff or dedicate precious time to creating more content.

So how can you create more content when you are already stretched to the limit with regular deadlines?

According to Corey Murray and Chris Blose, TMG managing editors, you already have the raw material. You just need to use it in a new way.

Murray and Blose shared tried-and-true ideas for getting more from your content without a lot of additional work at the Construction Writers Association annual conference in October.

Blose’s advice: The key is to plan how you’ll distribute your content at the point of creation. Don’t let it be an afterthought.

Blose and Murray offered these five tips, along with practical examples, for how to make your existing content go the extra mile:

1. Open your reporter’s notebook.

Reporters spend three quarters of their time conducting research, and not all of it will make the final cut. Don’t let it go to waste, Murray advises.

If you flag a statistic or other useful information during your reporting, share it with your audience in a quick online post.

Example: While conducting research for an article about education and technology, Murray discovered an infographic about teachers’ opinions on classroom technology. He wrote three short paragraphs and posted them online as a standalone piece. In less than two days, more than 400 readers shared the short piece with their social networks.

2. Make a list.

People love lists. You add a lot of value if you can create a list from information your audience might otherwise find daunting.

Example: To promote a corporate white paper about education on one of his client’s sites, Murray extracted “21 reasons why technology works in education” and posted it online with a link to the full white paper. The result is less daunting, and a lot more digestible.

3. Make existing assets work for you.

Do your organization’s leaders speak at events? Do they do Q&As? You can grab some gold from these existing pieces and turn them into content.

Example: Blose worked with a client to round up key talking points from a recent Web chat with a respected physician. The result—without a lot of extra work—is a helpful piece on childhood diabetes.

4. Round ’em up.

Do you have 10 stories on the same topic? Pull them together in a list or primer that allows readers to access all the resources in a single location.

Write a short introduction, and include brief descriptions of each item with links to the original pieces. You’ll drive traffic to a new piece of content and give a second life to older articles readers might have missed.

Example: Murray collected 10 articles written during the summer and assembled a list of “must-reads” for educators getting ready to head back-to-school.

5. Pull it all together.

Ask your fellow content creators what they are working on, Blose says. You might find material they already produced that you can craft into new content.

Example: A videographer at Cleveland Clinic produced a series of short videos about a heart transplant patient. Blose used transcripts from those videos, as well as some new reporting, to craft a seven-part Web series that gave the audience multiple ways to experience the content.

What do you do to get more from your content? Share your tips!

Allison King is marketing director at TMG Custom Media. A version of this article originally appeared on the Engage blog.

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