How to create great content in 15 minutes

Use these six tips to network and create micro-content your audience will love—in a fraction of the time.

Let’s face it: Creating content can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive.

I started thinking about this in the context of my friends and small business customers who simply can’t afford that kind of effort. It led to the idea of micro-content, or creating small bits of marketing content when you don’t have time to blog, create videos, or spend all day on Facebook.

Let’s examine ways to use micro-content for your social media strategy, assuming you only have 15 minutes a day to devote to it. I’m up for a challenge!

Preparation

Like any marketing initiative, you must have a firm idea of your strategy, selling points, and target audience. Take time to come up with a set of keywords that represent your business and your customers’ needs. You’ll need to weave these keywords into your micro-content initiative.

Once you have a firm idea of “your story,” use some of these content marketing options that take just 15 minutes a day:

1. Slideshare

Even the most content-starved companies have PowerPoint slides. Upload your best public presentations to Slideshare for a quick and effective way to populate the social Web with meaningful content.

Search engines index Slideshare, and you can assign keywords to every presentation. Make sure your last slide directs viewers back to your website. How long does it take to upload an existing presentation? Less than 10 minutes.

2. LinkedIn forums

LinkedIn is a goldmine of opportunity for micro-content.

There are about 750,000 LinkedIn groups that cover every imaginable business interest. Go to the search function at the top of the page, highlight “groups,” and look for a few with like-minded people who might be interested in you. If you are in a specialized field, you may even consider starting your own interest group.

Look through the Q&A forums and get involved. Simply answering questions provides meaningful content that can attract attention to you and your website. I’ve made some fantastic connections this way, and even acquired two great customers.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete so people can learn about you when they click on your profile. Depending on your industry, it can be very profitable to spend 15 minutes a day participating in relevant LinkedIn forums.

3. Networking on Twitter

Twitter is the ultimate site for making connections through micro-content. In a separate post, I provide some helpful ideas on how to build a targeted audience through Twitter . It makes no sense to work on micro-content on Twitter if nobody is listening!

Here is a suggested micro-content regimen if you just started tweeting:

  • Create a habit of sharing . Every article, post and video has a tweet button. When you read something that interests you, share it on Twitter. It only takes a moment.
  • Work your network . If you surround yourself with interesting people, they will provide you with a stream of relevant content. When you find something great, retweet it. You don’t have to create everything yourself. It takes almost no time at all to repurpose other people’s content.
  • Follow the 3 x 3 x 3 rule. If you’re new and trying to figure out what to do, tweet three times a day at three different times on three different subjects. A few example topics are: interesting information you saw, heard or read that’s unrelated to work; news related to your business, market or industry (use keywords); and your opinion on an item in the news or something funny.

Remember, micro-content is supposed to do the job of big content: Drive people to action on your website. You need to include your website in your profile and use keywords in your bio.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the wall of noise on Twitter. Use lists to focus on your most important contacts so you spend your 15 minutes of daily networking well.

4. Comments

Spend 15 minutes a day commenting on relevant blog posts, videos and Facebook pages. It’s a quick and easy way to deliver micro-content that packs a punch. Here are some examples:

  • A small business owner I advised commented on a magazine’s Facebook site. The magazine invited her to send her product to the editor for coverage.
  • Add your comment to relevant YouTube viral videos to create impressions with thousands of people who are interested in a related topic.
  • My comment on a popular blog post contained a link to my website, which still receives hits nine months later. It’s not unusual since posts on popular topics can have long shelf lives.
  • Comments on my blog have resulted in new business partnerships, guest blogs, and freelance assignments for my readers.

Comments can carry even more impact when they’re “micro.” People will read a few sentences, but probably just scan a few paragraphs. Are there blogs your customers enjoy? Why not contribute to this rich content with your own comments?

5. Micro-video

Videos are hot right now, but you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and precious hours in the editing booth to create great content.

I carry my $150 Kodak HD video camera with me everywhere I go. Recently, I gave a speech at an innovative new center for entrepreneurship in Chicago . I whipped out my camera and did a four-minute interview with the director. After I uploaded it to YouTube (for free), I embedded it on my blog. The embed code is under the “share” button on every YouTube video.

Voila! Within 15 minutes I had interesting content for my blog which fed my Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, G+ stream, and LinkedIn status.

6. Blogging

There are so many benefits to blogging, but this is usually where time-starved marketers stumble. Think about repurposing micro-content on your website as a blog post, even if it only happens once a month:

  • Cut and paste answers you already provided on LinkedIn and blog comments as new, unique posts.
  • Start a blog post with “I found this interesting article through a link on Twitter,” and share the content from one of your tweets.
  • Embed a pre-existing company video or a Slideshare presentation as an original blog post.
  • Share a relevant article, video or blog post from a trade publication and write a few sentences with your comments.

A blog post does not have to be a Ph.D thesis. Use some of these techniques to create blog posts in 15 minutes.

These are just a few ways you can effectively network on the social Web with a sprinkle of content instead of a flood. Obviously there are hundreds of other ideas, but this is a start—even if you only have 15 minutes a day.

How do you use small nuggets of content to support your time-starved marketing strategy?

Mark Schaefer is the author of “Return On Influence” and blogs at grow, where this article originally appeared.

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