Time is a precious commodity – especially if you’re an independent consultant. When you bill by the hour or the day, there is a tendency to quantify the cost of every part of your life. If you bill at $300 an hour, it can be hard to see the value in spending 2 or 3 hours creating a newsletter or even writing an article. But content marketing requires that you make, well, content. So how do you find more hours, minutes and seconds when you’re already crunched with more pressing, and often more profitable, demands?
While adding time to the day is physically impossible, there are a few things you can do to squeeze more writing into whatever time you do have. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a few good ideas about how to tackle your next writing assignment when time is at a premium.
Plan Your Content Marketing Stratgies
Before you set out to write anything, you should have a plan. Think about what you’re trying to do with your content marketing. See what your competitors are already doing and come up with a different slant. Then develop an editorial calendar to keep track of things. Start planning it at least one month in advance. If you can’t come up with any reasons for creating a piece, then you shouldn’t create it at all.
You can get a fair bit of writing done if you have content marketing goals AND you stick with them. You can do start by setting goals over yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly periods of time. To figure out what goals you need to set weekly, think about what you need to be doing each day — and move up from there. You can also try being slightly overambitious to help you work harder, so long as you don’t set goals that are completely outside the realm of possibility.
Additionally, try to set goals that measurable. Don’t just say, “I’ll write content.” Say, instead, “Today, I’m going to write 500 words.” You can then track your progress against those goals.
Write About What Excites You First
The idea behind this tactic is that you’ll write a whole lot faster when you actually really, really want to write about something, thus saving you time. That will free up more time to write about the content that doesn’t quite catch your fancy — or is giving you grief in terms of turning those pesky ideas into words. If you’ve got a boatload of fun content to keep your funnel full then you have time to sit back and think about the tough stuff.
Divide Up Your Writing Time
Think about dividing up your content marketing tasks over the course of a week to get your pieces ready. For instance, use an hour on Monday to research and list topics for your articles and blog posts. Tuesdays can be spent on the rough draft. Wednesday is for polishing of your piece, while Thursday and Friday are for adding pictures, video, and actually publishing. You can successfully use this strategy for anything from blogging and website articles to newsletters.
Quality Content, Not Quantity
Reduce your content publishing frequency and go for more in-depth and long-form articles. The downside is that these pieces take longer to write, but they offer more value for the reader and they’ll help make you an authority on your subject material. You can break up the content with other content formats, such as:
- Slide decks.
- Social media images with tips.
Learn How to Say “No” and Get Rid of Distractions
Finding more time to write is all about making time to write. If you find that you’re hammered with distractions, like an avalanche of e-mails, then it’s time to put the distractions away. Close down your e-mail client while you write.
Granted, there are things you might not be able to say “no” to, such as e-mails from a top tier consulting client. But if you can figure out the other sources of distraction you can minimize or remove them altogether.
Are there any other ideas you have for how to make more time to write? Leave a comment below, and let us know!