How Top Content Marketers Carve Out the Time to Publish Every Day
One of the biggest challenges for every content marketer is time—trying to find it, deciding how best to use it, and the fact that there’s never enough of it to begin with. When you’re responsible for maintaining a blog, time starts to feel even more evasive—especially if you’re expected to update that blog every day.
Blogs remain a go-to content marketing tool for brands. Recently, Contently surveyed marketers on their plans for the coming year, and we found 69 percent of respondents believe original content is more effective than licensed or syndicated content from a third party. Most respondents also felt they could increase brand lift and ROI by 2 to 5 times by devoting more resources to creating quality content.
An earlier survey released by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute discovered that 70 percent of B2B marketers are creating more or significantly more content than they were in 2013—and production goes up every year. When asked how often they publish new content, 42 percent said daily or several times per week.
While social media now outranks every other content marketing format, including microsites and video, 80 percent of marketers still use blogs and 81 percent write articles for web sites.
How do they do it? With dexterity and careful planning. “It’s a tough cadence to sustain,” says Michele Linn, who as vice president of content for the Content Marketing Institute oversees the organization’s site, including the daily blog. “If you can do it well, though, you can have a great competitive advantage.”
Linn advises companies to retain multiple writers; whether in-house or freelance, a diverse team can act as a sounding board, ease the burden of writing daily posts, and pick up the slack when a member is away. Linn also emphasizes the importance of appointing a managing editor to oversee content production and keep things running smoothly. “Having a plan, process, and calendar are all key.”
Ben & Jerry’s takes this approach, tapping both employees and local freelancers to produce content and then filtering the results through its marketing team. The brand publishes 10 to 15 posts per month in the What’s New section of its site, along with quarterly stories for its global markets. “We’ve been moving to a content driven organization over the last few years,” says Mike Hayes, digital marketing manager at Ben & Jerry’s. “As a part of this, we are constantly refining our processes to make sure we have people focused on this part of our digital marketing strategy.”
Often, though, the task of generating an endless stream of content falls to an individual, and that requires an equally endless stream of topic ideas. Kevin Lee, founder of New York-based digital marketing agency Didit, suggests bloggers make the most of their downtime. Inspiration strikes while you’re driving to work? Record a post on your phone and transcribe it later. Boring commercials on TV? That’s a good excuse to dash off the first few lines of a new story. “Restaurant lines, public transportation, and boring meetings can be great for coming up with blogging topics,” he says.
Seasonal and cultural events can trigger new posts as well. Some posts are completed on the fly to react to an impromptu moment or a social conversation, while many of Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s posts are planned weeks in advance to capitalize on traditional benchmarks such as holidays. Content like “Vermont Fall Foliage Pictures,” “Black Friday Finds to Feel Good About,” and “Holiday Pie & Ice Cream Pairings” are relevant and timely additions to the site.
Building on the popularity of past posts is another way to keep the content coming. By measuring the success of each piece, marketers can determine what resonates with their audience and use that as a jumping-off point for developing future stories.
If you’re still struggling to carve out time for a post, try alternating the length and nature of your content. Every post you publish doesn’t need to be a text article between 400 and 800 words. Samsung regularly posts infographics to its global blog, which it typically updates several times a day. It also posts research charts, lists, and brief overviews of its social accounts.
Similarly, Ben & Jerry’s relies on images and varied formats to keep readers engaged with their posts. “If it’s a story about an issue we care about, we use visuals to help explain complex topics,” Hayes says. Social commentary and environmental reports appear alongside far shorter listicles and recipes.
“Mix it up,” Lee adds. “In this world of 140-character stories, a short blog post can often do the trick.”
Once you understand what to publish, it’s time to consider when. Data from HubSpot shows that blogs receive a surprising amount of views on the weekends, and midday is the best time to post throughout the week.
Make blogging a routine, and make each post count. You’ll still feel the grind, but you’ll have the output to keep up with it. And at the end of the day, the best solution is often deceptively straightforward.
“Not to oversimplify this,” Linn says, “but when you are the person who needs to write, you simply need to make yourself sit down and write.”Image by dedek