Content marketing is tough. If you run a small business and you’re working on a blog, then it’s most likely the last thing on your mind for the majority of the working week.

Then, when you finally find the time to start writing, you’ll be overwhelmed and produce a 500-word piece of content that doesn’t really answer any questions or get to the bottom of the topic you’re trying to tackle.

Outsourcing your content marketing could be an option, but if you’re tight on funds, it’s not always possible. Therefore, you need to make sure the time you do spend on producing content is used in the most effective manner to help you secure the best possible results.

Below, we’ve rounded up five ways to save time when working on a content marketing strategy.

Schedule content in advance

If you only take away one thing from this blog post today, let it be this.

A slapdash approach to blogging and content marketing will never work: if you want to be successful and create a blog that people want to come back to, you need to be organised and schedule content in advance.

Therefore, we recommend creating a content calendar and coming up with original ideas for the next three months. Depending on your schedule, you may not be able to produce material that’s three months in advance, but at least a couple of weeks should help.

Content Academy spoke to bloggers about their content planning, and the results were mixed. However, the general consensus was that planning at least a month in advance will keep you organised and help you create impactful and relevant content.

And that makes sense. If you know that you have content ready for the next X number of weeks, you’ll be able to free up your time and have quality content prepared for seasonal events, big news in your industry, and have the flexibility to cover breaking news and adapt to changes in your niche or industry almost overnight.

Bigger brands are already working on next year’s content and building links for relevant search terms, so if you want to stand out, you’ll need to make sure you’re producing the highest quality material and scheduling as far in advance as possible to save time.

Follow a template or skeleton

The key to a good content marketing strategy is variety.

You want to create a blog or resource hub that stands out and offers impactful, engaging material that users can’t find anywhere else. And, of course, that means every post you write needs to be unique and original – but you can create a “winning formula” but following a template that’s worked in the past.

If you created a tutorial or how-to series that proved particularly popular, for example, then you could follow the same format and adapt it to another topic.

Following content marketing trends can also save you time and increase your chances of producing high-quality material.

Expert roundups, for example, are incredibly popular in the world of content marketing, but they can easily be pushed into other industries, too.

Let’s say you run a bakery in New York City; you could reach out to bakers and food bloggers about their favourite bread recipes and put them all together in one high-quality, long-form post that will attract social shares and engagement.

Accept guest bloggers

You’ve read the warnings and you’re steering clear: guest blogging is dead, right? No, it’s not. As part of any successful content strategy, you should be building links through guest blogging and reaching out to influencers in your niche.

And you should also accept blogs from contributors and writers. It’s a legitimate way of saving time while publishing more content on your blog.

There are a number of benefits of accepting guest bloggers on your site. First, you’ll get access to more high-quality content – material that you may have got round to writing yourself, but don’t have the time at the moment.

And every guest blog you accept is one less blog that you have to worry about on your content marketing calendar – giving you more time to focus on producing the 10x quality, super impactful material that will help you rank and build links.

Another benefit of accepting guest blogs is audience growth.

Every guest blog is an opportunity to get more social media shares, more comments and a wider audience – after all, the blogger’s audience will be sharing their favourite author’s material on social and sending traffic your way.

Explore less intensive content marketing ideas

Okay, we’ll admit it. Sitting down once a week to write a blog post can be tough. It’s easy to run out of ideas, copy other people’s blog posts and write content that, quite frankly, nobody will ever want to read.

It’s one of the biggest problems in marketing: people become overwhelmed with the task at hand and churn out material that is substandard in an effort to keep their sites up to date. But substandard content isn’t going to rank or capture the attention of your customers.

One of the best ways of saving time on your content marketing – and producing content that people really want to share and interact with – is to explore different content formats.

Infographics are ever-popular; so much so, that they’re shared three times more on social media than any other form of content. It, therefore, makes sense to start experimenting.

Video is another trend that’s exploded in popularity. New figures suggest that by 2021, 33% of all internet traffic will be video, so getting involved now could be lucrative.

Of course, setting up cameras and editing software can be time-consuming and costly, but once you have everything in place, you can churn out engaging, valuable video content in no time.

Podcasts are another marketing tool on the up. All you need is a microphone and some free editing software, and you can create a podcast that speaks to your audience on topics that matter. You could even hire a freelancer to transcribe your podcasts into an SEO-friendly article.

Spread work across the team

It doesn’t matter whether you run a corner shop with your family or you’re in charge of an office of ten; a content marketing strategy is hard work, so spreading it across the team makes sense.

Handing over the responsibility of your company blog and link building strategy to one member of staff is fine, but you should be prepared to get involved and let others help on your journey.

The good news is that you don’t have to be the world’s best writer to produce quality content that people want to engage with. Behind-the-scenes and day-in-the-life posts are great ways of getting tech-phobic members of staff involved in your digital marketing, and photography and video content also be used as a substitute for a traditional blog.

Mix up your content marketing strategy with different members of the team and see what works for your business and your customers – you could find that a monthly video rounding up the biggest news stories from your industry could be more effective than a weekly 500-word blog.

Wrapping up

The truth is that, if you want to make your content marketing strategy work, you’ll have to invest time and energy. Nobody said that marketing a small business was easy – there’s groundwork that you need to put in if you want to find success online, so get started and write as much as you can.

The more high-quality content you create, and the more regularly you post it, the more chance you have of securing backlinks, climbing ranks and converting readers to customers. The tips that we have offered in today’s blog post will help you get there just a little quicker.