By Rob Beadle

Time is short when you run a small business. You feel like there are never enough hours in the day. Because you’ve always got work to do. How do you find time to create content?

Well, there are smart ways to be efficient with your content marketing. Let’s see how.

1. Start with a Content Strategy

You want to dive in and create content, but without a content strategy, you’ll soon get stuck on key issues. To avoid wasting your time, you need to answer a few questions once. Then you don’t have to think about them each time you create content:

  • What’s the aim of your content?
  • How do you want to present your business?
  • Who are you writing for?
  • What type of content will you create (articles, infographics, videos, etc.)?
  • Who will create it?

And the best way to decide your strategy is to take an hour away from your desk. Visit a coffee shop and turn your phone off. This gives you the chance to think through the questions with a clear mind. And will save you time when you create content.

2. Plan Ahead with a Calendar and Work in Batches

In a small business, there’s always urgent work to do. As a result, you may have to create content at the last minute. That’s why it helps to plan time in your calendar for content creation. And to give it equal importance to tasks like your accounts or sales calls. Also, book enough space to create a ‘batch’ of content.

Because you’ll find it quicker and easier to create several pieces of content at once. Working without interruption is more productive and cuts the time it takes.

In fact, you can complete each stage of your content creation in batches:

  • Generate new ideas
  • Write outlines for each piece of content
  • Draft different headlines
  • Find images to support your content

3. Create a Process You Can Repeat

With your limited time, you need simple steps to follow for every piece of content. Because a complex process will slow you down. So for each step, decide once how to do it. Then write that up and use the same method each time.

Key steps in your process could include:

  • Research – Set a time limit for your research and store your findings in the same format (e.g. a Google document).
  • Draft – Create a set of content outlines you can reuse.
  • Review – Agree who will review your content.
  • Promote – Choose where to promote your content and create standard templates for promotion.

Once your process is in place, you can concentrate on what you create.

4. Separate Your Writing from Editing

With written content, it’s so tempting to edit your words as you write them. After all, you want the best possible content. But this slows you down. Instead, write your first draft for your eyes only. It’ll be far from perfect. But your inner critic can fix the typos and grammar mistakes later.

Leave a gap of a few hours or overnight. Then come back to it with fresh eyes to edit. As a result, you’ll create a first draft faster. And you’ll still produce quality content.

5. Use Time-Saving Tools

While content creation is a creative process, there are lots of tools which can help. And many of them are free, too. Use these like an extra pair of hands to save you time:

  • Get inspiration for new content ideas based on key topics.
  • Save your ideas in a task management tool and plan your content in a calendar.
  • Test which headlines are most likely to appeal to your audience.
  • Create graphics from professional design templates.

6. Focus on Quality over Quantity

A sure way to stay busy is to create lots of content. But your audience will always prefer high-quality over mass-produced content. So focus on a smaller volume of well thought out content. You’ll be more efficient and more effective.

How do you achieve this?

For each piece of content, check what value your audience will get from it. Ask yourself:

  • Have I given specific examples?
  • Is the information practical and useable?
  • Does this cover what matters to my audience?

When you review your content, use this as a chance to inject more value into what you create.

7. Get Help from Other People

Running a small business can feel lonely. When you have everything to do, your time comes under huge pressure. But you’re not alone. Because other people can help you create original content. Here’s how:

Interviews with experts

An interview works well for B2B businesses. Think about who will interest your audience. Get in touch with your contacts who fit that profile.

Most people find an interview hard to turn down. Because they can talk about their business or their ideas for free. Decide on your questions and you’re ready to go.

User-generated content

Content from your customers is ideal for B2C small businesses. Encourage them to share photos or videos of your product. And create your own hashtag too.

As a result, your audience creates your content for you. You can share the results on social media and embed them on your site.

Behind-the-scenes posts

Most content takes time to create something brand new. But you can also document what you already do. ‘Behind-the-scenes’ content is an effective way to do this. So capture a process or activity which your audience doesn’t see. You could introduce your team. Show what happens in your office. Or follow the journey of a single customer order.

In Summary

As a small business, it’s a struggle to find time to create content, but you can make it work for you. With the help of processes, tools and other people. So if you invest your time well, content marketing will help to grow your business.