Do you know that it takes over four hours to write a typical blog post?
This stats from Orbit Media complements the data on main challenges content marketers face in work: lack of time and high-quality content creation are among the top three for specialists to overcome.
Content marketers deal with tons of content daily:
They brainstorm and plan it. They develop strategies for content promotion, and they analyze the results of content campaigns to adjust those strategies for better efficiency. More than that, it often happens that marketers need to write content (or at least edit it) themselves.
Given the time needed for creating one piece of content, we have a problem:
You want to get more results in less time; you have tons of other tasks to complete; you understand you’ll have to spend hours writing one content asset. It’s frustrating, discouraging, and demotivating. It seems that colleagues do it faster, right?
Let’s see what you can do to organize the writing process for better efficiency. This article will help you divide content creation into several stages, with practical tips for every stage on how to write more content in less time.
Marketers know that content creation is not only about writing. You can’t just sit in front of a blank page with nothing but a title in a pocket and start crafting a 2,000+ words long article that would:
- be a part of your content strategy
- meet your marketing goals and your audience’s search intent
- be data-driven, well-written, and SEO-optimized
- include custom visuals for better readability and visibility in search engines
You need a pre-writing routine: brainstorming writing ideas, content planning, information research, preparing visuals and references, and outlining your content assets. It stands to reason that a content creator can’t do that on the same day and time; otherwise, brain overload appears, and it takes even more time to complete a content piece.
To write faster, you need to separate pre-writing practices and have everything ready before you start writing an article itself. Here’s how to organize it better:
Your properly-organized workspace
The fact is workspace organization influences our mood and productivity. Whether you’re an office worker or a freelancer, do your best to organize everything for maximum motivation, inspiration, and effective writing:
- Ensure you have a comfortable chair and table. It’s not only about your physical health but productivity: Sitting with comfort and your body supported and relaxed, you’ll focus on creative tasks and not get tired fast.
- Think of good lighting and potted plants. Studies prove a positive effect of natural light, soft and subtle colors of the walls around you, and cold color temperatures of desk lamps. As for plants, they clean the air in your room, influencing your brain work; also, they reduce stress, leading to calmness, inspiration, and productivity.
- Personalize it. Add a few personal items to your workspace: a calendar, a family photo, a motivational quote that inspires you, etc. Consider everything that makes you feel motivated and inspired, but ensure you don’t clutter the table. Otherwise, these personal items will work like distractions, causing the opposite effect.
Faster and more productive brainstorming
Brainstorming new writing ideas that would fit your business goals and marketing strategy is an integral part of content creation. It’s that moment when you come up with topics for your future blog posts, sales content assets, or social media content.
How to make this process faster:
- Organize brainstorming once a week to generate many content ideas instantly so you wouldn’t spend other days on it. Choose a day and an hour for individual brainstorming sessions; to save time and make it even faster, you can do that during lunch in a cafe or on your way home.
- Always have a notebook with you: Write down all the ideas that strike you, even if they seem weak or irrelevant — you’ll analyze them later, when you need a writing idea for your next content asset.
- Consider a mind mapping technique for brainstorming. It allows you to develop ideas, represent them visually, and see their connection for more possibilities and alternative content ideas.
More efficient research
Once you have a few content topics ready, it’s still early to start writing. Now it’s time to do research on these topics, gather the information you’ll cover in the content, and craft detailed outlines.
That’s how to do it faster:
- Research and outline a few topics at once. Even if you spend one working day gathering the information and references for 3-4 articles, it will save you time later.
Let’s say you spent an hour brainstorming content ideas last Friday. You are back to work after the weekend on Monday, choose a few topics from that brainstormed list, and spend Monday researching and outlining them.
Now, you have 3-4 outlines ready for writing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. By the end of the week, you’ll get several complete pieces to publish and distribute! With no pre-writing work, it would be impossible:
You’d have to plan and research every separate content piece during a week, distracting from the writing process. Topic research is time- and energy-consuming: Overloading your brain with it during the writing process itself, you won’t be able to complete a draft fast.
Preparing visuals and references
The pre-writing stage also includes the preparation of references and visuals for your content. How will you prove and support the arguments you use? What images, videos, graphics, and other visuals will you include for your content optimization?
The work with visuals takes time. That’s what you can do to spend less time on it:
- Create a list of resources where you can find original and royalty-free illustrations for your articles.
- Make it a habit to keep all the relevant images, graphics, and other visual content in one folder on your computer.
- Save all the potential sources for references beforehand: industry surveys, scientific research in your niche, expert reports, etc.
With all this info in your pocket, ready in advance, you won’t have to stop writing every time you need a reference but don’t know where to find it. You won’t get distracted by searching for a visual or a quote to mention, therefore writing faster and more efficiently.
Now it’s time to write! Here go your tips on how to do it faster:
Work with templates
Content marketers work with many templates: business plans, email pitches, social media ads, etc. That’s fine because professionally developed templates are easy to customize, save time and resources, and automate some tasks for better focus on creative work.
Why not consider templates for content writing? After all, every type of content asset has its structure:
When writing a list, you know there should be an intro, H2 items with descriptions, and a conclusion; when working on a case study, you write an introduction, background info, a presentation of your findings, takeaways, and references; etc.
So, you can prepare a template for every content type beforehand and later use it to structure your texts faster. Also, do your best to prepare the lists of linking words, glossaries, power words, and other writing references to address and avoid writer blocks.
Get rid of distractions
Here go two tips you already know: Turn off your phone and desktop notifications while writing. Your proper organization of workspace also helps you get rid of distractions: a comfortable chair, no clutter on your table, a cup of green tea for better brain work — all these tricks are effective for your productivity.
But there’s one more:
Check the writing app you use for content creation. Some have a distraction-free interface (Omm Writer, Freedom, Calmly Writer), while others have instruments to adjust it accordingly. Even when writing in Google Docs, you can hide the menu and make the screen free of all distracting elements:
Set strict deadlines and track time
With tons of management tools available for work organization today, it would be a sin not to use some for motivating your brain to work faster. To speed up writing, address time management tricks and make it a habit:
- Set timers: Put on a corresponding app or an alarm clock on the table, set 20-30 minutes, and don’t stop writing until the time is over. It’s a psychological trick for your brain to work faster, so you’ll complete more text during this time.
- Set strict deadlines: It tricks the brain into getting things done, encouraging it to work faster and finish writing on time.
Work on a few texts at once
For some content writers, it’s challenging to craft content step by step, starting with an introduction and getting ahead to a conclusion in sequence. If you’re among them, try working on a few texts at once: It will help you get several completed texts faster.
- Write the parts of a text you feel inspired to write right now: It’s not a must to start with an introduction; you can craft a few body paragraphs today, continue with a conclusion tomorrow, and finish with an introduction later.
- Work on a few texts simultaneously: Write an intro for one content piece before lunch and continue with a paragraph for another text after dinner. You’ll have several articles ready by the end of the week.
- Use two computer displays: It will save time you spend switching between tabs while writing; you’ll check references on one monitor and write a draft on another one.
Proofreading and editing your texts can take even more time than writing itself. To do it faster, it’s worth using tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, or Hemingway. However, these instruments aren’t pro editors: While they are OK to identify some grammar and stylistic mistakes, each of such tools still has drawbacks and can’t guarantee stellar work.
It’s specifically true about spelling:
We all know those catches with “you/you’re,” “their/they’re/there,” “than/then,” and so on. So, it would help to proofread your content one more time, even if a few editing tools have already finished checking.
A few tricks here:
First, you may want to zoom in on a draft to notice all the typos and other slips of the pen.
Second, — it’s more about proofreading, not editing — read your draft as separate sentences, starting from the text end. It helps you avoid scanning and see weak words clearer.
Third, try reading your content piece out loud. It seems more time-consuming but it makes you “catch” even the tiniest mistakes you could miss while scanning. Plus, you will check the readability of your content like this.
Another trick is to print out your draft, take a pencil, and check it as if you were a teacher reading your student’s essay. Such a change of perspective always works!
If possible, ask a colleague to read your content piece. They’ll check it with a fresh eye, so they have more chances to notice all the gaps in your writing.
With your stellar organizational skills and little tricks to influence productivity, you can skyrocket your writing endeavors and remain an efficient content marketer. Just do your best to separate pre-writing and actual writing processes, get rid of distractions, and don’t hesitate to use corresponding tools to your benefit.