How to Write Faster When You Are Short of TimeTime is the biggest enemy when it comes to content marketing.
You could sit down for 15 minutes and come up with loads of great ideas for articles or infographics, but having the time to put them together is where things often come to a halt.
Those great ideas end up on a ‘to do’ list gathering dust when, in fact, you could just get them done quickly if you set your mind to it.
Get time efficient
Here are my tips for getting content written quickly. This is not a guarantee of quality, so you need to include some time in your activity for self editing and quality control. This article is not about trying to break records. Some articles can be written in 20 minutes while some need a couple of hours from planning to publishing.
The aim with this article is to help you be time-efficient.
Evergreen content versus news
If you are trying to produce an evergreen article with lots of information, links, images etc, you will clearly take longer than if you are writing news or an opinion piece. These tips will help you be organised so that, no matter the type of content, you will at least execute the task as efficiently as possible.
1. Decide what you are writing and for whom
Will your article be opinion or a review of something? Are you sharing useful tips? Perhaps a list of instructions to perform a task. Know for whom you are writing. If you don’t already have a structure mapped out in your head, write one down. How will your content be formatted? Will you break it into sections? What information will you need to plug in – such as links, screen grabs, photos or data from other sources?
2. Gather your info and data
Before you write too much, do some quick research to find useful information to use in your article. You may want to find quotes by experts, facts and figures on other websites, links to official company websites and details of product names or prices. If I am pulling from two or three other web sources, I like to have these open in separate browser tabs as I write. Then I can pull the references I need from those sites and link to the pages within the article, so the reader can click through to view the source.
3. Write your headline
The headline is vital. It sets the tone of the article and it can also make a difference to your SEO and social media success. Don’t write a headline that is too poetic or obtuse because it may not make sense when viewed in a list of search results or on a social media link. Think about headlines that are as short as possible (Twitter only has a few available characters) and that describe what the article is about.
4. The intro
The first couple of paragraphs should set the tone. These are all about getting the reader to start reading and keep reading. The headline grabbed them, now your intro needs to make them want to read the article. You can start with an anecdote or something exciting, or just be straightforward about how the reader will benefit from reading. Whatever you do, forget everything you were taught at school about essay writing. Essays are boring. You don’t need to start off with explanations of why you are writing the article, how you collated your findings, or who you are. Just get to the point.
5. The end
If you are in danger of rambling on and losing focus while you are still in the middle of the article, jump to the end and write the sign off. This might be a reinforcement of the arguments you raised at the beginning – some way of justifying your claims. Perhaps your sign-off will be a list of recommendations or some key take away points for the reader to digest. Writing your outro can be a good way of cutting short any rambling and ensuring your article is rounded rather than unfinished or open ended.
6. Self editing
Read the whole thing, looking for spelling errors, typos, formatting problems and any missing links or images. Then read it again, for sense. Make sure all the points are clear and unambiguous. Include links to any third party references and add in images if the page looks boring.
7. Publish and promote
Once you have put the content live, promote it. Link to it from your social media accounts, include it on your email newsletter, share images on Pinterest, make sure Google is able to index it quickly (you could always add it to Google via Google Webmaster Tools).
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