Written by Joseph Woodcock, Campaign & Content Executive
Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done and when it comes to building a campaign, it can often be a lengthy process. But, having gone through the process several times, you soon find areas where you can streamline things to make it much more time efficient.
Recently Search Engine Journal published an article detailing several productivity tips to help save time on content marketing, which succinctly lays out the main areas and tricks that we already used to save time, so we thought it would be worthwhile to show how we use these in practice when creating content and link building campaigns.
You never know, you might just pick up something which can not only help with your content marketing but be transferable to other areas of the business as well.
Brainstorm ideas in batches and capture ideas as you have them
When you’re in a creative mindset, it is wise to use this time to think of as many ideas as possible until you run out of steam, as when you’re not in the correct mindset trying to think of ideas can be a long and tedious task.
After a round of games to get the creative juices flowing (consider small and fun challenges that will engage the right and left hemispheres of the brain), we ask participants to come up with as many ideas as they can think of during our brainstorming session, all on various topics.
There will be a brief in mind for what we are trying to achieve but these are often not limited by topic, as we know that inspiration and good ideas can come from anywhere. After all, an idea which might not be relevant this time around could be a perfect fit for a current or future client, which is why we try to capture all the ideas that come from these sessions and record them.
We all also have different processes for thinking of ideas, so we make sure to write them down when they come to us. We do this by having a shared team Trello board where we can ‘brain dump’ our ideas and inspiration’s for later. We also ask everyone to think of some initial ideas before attending brainstorm sessions and always try to give sufficient notice ahead of the meet-up as we’ve found that some of us are better at conceptualising ideas alone than in a group setting.
Plan out the campaign before you start
Planning out what you’re going to say in a piece of content before you start can save your mind from wandering when writing, in turn delaying the delivery date. To do this, we always make sure there is a brief in place before we start. We know what keywords we are targeting and in most cases, content for clients usually has a standard format for the introduction and conclusion which saves on time.
Then make sure to plan in advance how you’re going to promote and repurpose your content so you’re not wondering what to do next once its live. We do this by working out what publications we’re going to outreach to and what our angles are whilst the campaign is still in development. We also gather assets for social around this time too, if the campaign is going to be amplified by such channels. This allows us to have a battleplan ready for a campaign to go live, but this can change once in action, as who knows what will happen in the news affecting your prospects during the outreach period. From the client targeting the same publications as you to another campaign like yours appearing in the news, it will probably happen at some point.
Separate research from writing
More often than not, the research required for a piece of content or a campaign can be the most time-consuming part of the process. This can be streamlined by doing the research before you begin creating the content or campaign. We initially make sure that the data is there from authoritative sources and that it is useable and not already covered by the media before even pitching the idea to the client. There are plenty of resources out there too which collate useful data such as Mintel and Statista, helping with the search.
The Financial Times created a brilliant Visual Vocabulary as a guide to how you can present every data set. You can also read about our favourite free data visualisations tools – https://www.wavemakernorth.co.uk/4-great-free-data-visualisation-tools-for-content-marketing-campaigns/.
Create long-form content in short sessions
We all struggle to focus for long periods of time, so break up the time required to produce long pieces of content into smaller manageable sessions. Focus on collating all the images together in one session, writing or briefing copy in another, and adding SEO recommendations in the other. This way, you can then break down a hefty time-consuming piece of work into individual bursts which can be worked around other ongoing projects.
There is also no point in wasting time starting from scratch when writing copy about a campaign or piece of content for social and outreach, just to reuse and customise the copy you’ve already written. We do this for things such as meta descriptions, outreach templates, guest blog articles, social copy and more.
It is worth noting that this isn’t just a copy and paste job though as Google penalises duplicate text. You don’t want your campaign page copy popping up on another site because your outreach emails just reused it word for word. The golden rule is to make sure that the original campaign copy is just used as a base and then tailored for the context in which it’s being used.
Create a repeatable process
Having created many campaigns for several different clients, you soon work out a system. It is this tried and tested process which can save you from missing essential steps during creation and the time then needed to go back and fix any mistakes. We do this by having a campaign checklist that we’ve developed from previous campaigns and we use this an ongoing guide to check that everything is being done correctly for an efficient and successful campaign launch.
Build in future buffer time
Make sure to plan ahead for the additional time you might need for potential delays from the client or your suppliers so that you’re not scrambling to make things work last minute and pushing back deadlines.
We do this by ensuring there is leeway built within our timing plans and enough resource for the PR of the campaign once it’s live. Issues will show up, from lengthy client sign-off times to spotting incorrect data or having to rework the outreach angle multiple times to land coverage, so it’s good to have time set aside when it does. If a campaign finishes earlier than expected because no problems arose, well then that’s a win too!
Hopefully, this insight into how we save time on our content marketing has provided you with some food for thought and can help you do the same. Our process changes with every campaign, learning from our successful campaigns and those which didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped – It’s all about using this knowledge going forward.
If you would like to discuss our content marketing abilities, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.