There's a lot to love about being a content strategist or social media expert today, and with changes in our industry happening constantly, this career choice is never boring. However, the one thing I never seem to have enough of is time. There's always that little beast at my back reminding me that I need a new blog post for tomorrow, or an article needs to be submitted for review, a deadline is here or that post needs updated. It never seems to end. So here, I am offering 10 tips that wont give you more time, but might help you make better use of the time you have.
1. Curate Rather Than Create.
Years ago, digital pioneer Mitchell Kapor made a comment that remains true today -- Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. Lots of people are seeking great content, but don't have the time to spend tracking it down. Rather than adding to the flood with original content, pull a few articles and images from the stream, group them around a theme and present them on your own site. A good curation application like Scoop.it can be a big time saver. Not only that, but you'll silence the beast (at least for a while) and do a favor to the rest of us.
2. Schedule Posts.
For social media content, there's nothing better than using an app such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts. That way, you can spend an hour or two developing content for an entire week. Then schedule each post to be released automatically at a specific time, leaving you free to pursue other tasks.
For your blog posts, use an editorial calendar.
3. Repurpose Existing Content.
If you've worked or been in business for a while you probably have a library of old reports, booklets, marketing materials and articles lying around your office or on a thumb drive at the back of a drawer somewhere. Take a look at this stuff and see if there is a way to repackage it for a new post. Maybe there's an update on a news story you wrote about last year or a fresh angle you can take on a tried and true topic. Remember too that not every one of your followers sees every item you post. Its OK to recycle some pieces that people found especially useful.
4. Do An Interview Series.
Choose a broad topic of interest to many people in your field, such as how to build a successful career. Come up with five or six questions designed to elicit advice from people who are already successful. Or work the other end of the career ladder and interview people who are just starting out. Ask why they chose the field, what their goals are and who they admire. Conduct the interviews by email to save time, both for you and your subjects. You'll end up with a backlog of articles that you can use in crunch times.
5. Use Visuals.
If you have access to photos related to your field of interest, collect them into a photo essay that tells a story or simply highlights different aspects of a theme. Make a short how-to video demonstrating a particular task. Or choose one, great shot and ask visitors to write a caption for it. Depending on your experience with images, these can be faster to create than is writing an article. Plus, you'll attract a different kind of visitor to your site -- one who prefers visuals over text.
6. Create A Playlist.
If you like music, have a little fun by coming up with a playlist of tunes that relate to a certain subject or news story. Ask visitors to comment on your playlist and suggest songs of their own. Everybody has an opinion about music. This is a good way to boost customer engagement and bring some humor to your blog or website.
7. Create A Poll.
No matter how many polls we see on the Web, there always seem to be people who will take them. Come up with a provocative question or two, post to your site and use social media to help drive traffic to the poll. Once you get some answers, its simple to create a second piece of content by announcing the poll results.
8. Invite Guest Bloggers.
Invite others to write guest columns or to be a guest blogger. A good way to find guests is to follow likely candidates on Twitter and other social platforms. Engage these people by retweeting or replying to their tweets, then invite them to write for you. Giving guest writers a deadline, and sometimes a specific topic, builds commitment and improves guest follow-through.
9. Use Metrics.
Don't waste time dreaming up new content unless you have some assurance that it will engage your audience. That assurance comes from understanding your audience and knowing what they like. You do this by tracking the success (or failure, sob!) of your content so that you learn what to feature and what to skip. If you use Buffer to schedule your social media posts, you'll find that it has a good analytics package built right in.
10. Be Alert For Good Ideas.
No matter where you are or what you're doing, always keep an eye (and ear) out for good content ideas. Make notes to help spark your thinking when you sit down to develop new content. You may overhear a conversation in the coffee line, come across an interesting news story while channel surfing or see something of interest in your email. Consider using an application like Evernote, which will keep track of all your online activity -- bookmarks, notes, etc. -- across all of your devices. This will make it easy to locate your content notes when you need them.
These are my tips to you. I would appreciate it if you had a few to share back.