As content marketers and bloggers, we all feel we could use better Time Management strategies from time to time.
In fact, one of the most important takeaways we drew from our 2016 best marketer survey is that our readers are short on time.
As we dug into the data, it wasn’t hard to see why. Most of our audience work alone or in a small team and usually don’t have all the resources needed to create all the content they need. Most of the respondents are also new to content marketing and blogging, with 63% reporting that they have less than two years of work experience.
Put it all together and it sounds like a recipe for burnout.
However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, there are ways to take control to put the odds of success back in your favor. By streamlining your workflow, using the right tools, and learning to focus on the tasks where you can make the most impact, you can make your life as a content marketer less stressful and more satisfying, while increasing your productivity.
Here are 101 time management marketing strategies to help you better manage your time, work more efficiently, and take control of your content again.
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1. Think MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
As you plan your time-limited content strategy, ask, “What is the minimum amount of resources and effort each project will require to be successful?” However, this is not the same as cutting corners.
Think of this process as a way to mentally cut your content down to what matters most and leave anything that isn’t critical to your success on the editing room floor.
2. Update and republish
Instead of creating completely fresh content every time you sit down to post, consider identifying older content that you can potentially update and update.
To do this, use Google Analytics to find your most popular posts.
Then search for your primary keyword for each post and see what content is currently ranking on the first page of Google. If these posts have newer or more relevant content than your own, double your efforts to be even better than theirs. Then publish it as a new post or as an updated version of the original.
This strategy can help you save time by using what you already have instead of coming up with something new from scratch. Plus, it can also be a good way to get more value out of posts that you know are already resonating with your audience.
3. Create a quick reference list of content curation sources.
Identify influencers in your niche that you can rely on when curating your content and put them on a list you can come back to later.
This way you don’t have to search for sources later.
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4. Use Google Trends.
Use Google Trends to quickly gauge user interest in a specific topic. It is a free and easy-to-use tool that shows you how often searches are performed on a specific topic, which is extremely useful for testing the value of your content ideas.
5. Quickly find the most effective content with BuzzSumo.
If you’re ready to upgrade to a paid tool, BuzzSumo is a handy tool for finding the most effective content on a given topic. This can help you not only identify what is popular but also show you what kind of competition you are fighting against.
6. Don’t forget about Google Keyword Planner.
While this is primarily a PPC tool, it is also worth mentioning Google’s own Keyword Planner here. This is useful for both generating keyword ideas and evaluating the potential search traffic they might deliver to your post.
7. Leverage your competition
Manually browse the most recent posts from your top competitors’ blogs and websites. See what they are doing to get an idea of what topics are hot at the moment. Stay tuned for new information that you might add to a post that no one else has (yet).
8. Try the Portent Content Idea Generator.
9. Use Feedly
Use Feedly to quickly follow the latest news and blog posts. This is similar to what was previously in Google Reader: the latest posts from different sources are collected in one place for easy reading.
10. Take notes and keep them in order.
11. Set a time frame for the brainstorming session.
Brainstorming (with a time limit).
Have your team jot down as many ideas as possible in five minutes. Place them on the cards and then place them on the board. Go through them all and rate each idea from 1 (so-so) to 3 (brilliant). Discard anything that is not unanimous 3. This process can easily lead to dozens of powerful ideas in less than an hour.
12. Use a voice recorder or mobile app to take notes on the go.
Inspiration can come anywhere, anytime, so get in the habit of writing down your ideas when they come to your mind.
Use a voice recorder or note-taking app on your phone, or consider carrying a notebook with you in your work bag.
13. Subscribe to e-newsletters in your niche or industry
Subscribe to quality industry newsletters. Keeping track of influencers in your niche is a lot easier if you get their latest information straight to your inbox.
14. Use internal search terms to generate content ideas
Use internal site search analytics to see what people are looking for on your site or blog. This can be a quick way to spot gaps in your content (if people are looking for something from you that you don’t have content for, then you know it’s time to get started).
15. Use idle time to find information on your phone
Turn wasted time into productive time by using your phone for research, waiting in shopping lines, on public transport, or wherever you are waiting (and when and where you can use your phone).
16. Audiobooks are your friend
On the road, listen to developmental audiobooks instead of music or radio. You will receive information that you can then use when you arrive at the office.
17. Use Google Analytics to Measure Past Success
Use data from Google Analytics to predict success and not waste time on things that won’t work.
For example, if you notice that a few posts on a particular topic are not working well, consider whether the issue is the quality of your content or the possibility that the topic simply does not have an audience. If you know that certain topics resonate with your readers, and you have evidence that they are creating more similar content.
18. Create a list of persistent ideas
Make a list of ideas for content that you can use in the future. Store it in a Google Doc, Spreadsheet, or Evernote for your entire team to view and edit. Then, when it’s time to write your post, you can just pull the idea off the list instead of wasting time thinking about what to write about.
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19.Use a shared appointment calendar
Use a shared Google Calendar so everyone on your team can see meeting times, events, out-of-office requests, and more.
20. Use consistent filenames.
Establish a uniform naming convention for the files you save. This can make it much easier to find things later.
21. Work on projects in a logical order
Group similar projects and break them all down into sprints. For example, list all the steps required to write one blog post. Then walk through them, starting at the top.
22. Follow the 80/20 Principle.
Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Principle is that 80% of your output will come from 20% of your efforts. To use this in your work, start by eliminating or delegating black nonessential tasks that do not directly affect the results. The more you focus on the things that directly affect performance, the more you will get done with less effort.
23. Be Realistic About What You Can Do
Prioritize projects and take on those that are within your capabilities and have a reasonable chance of success.
24. Set goals for each task
Set progress goals for each project and stick to them. They will keep you focused on the result and help build discipline.
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25. Use a messaging app instead of email.
26. Use screenshots to edit your design.
One picture is worth a thousand words. If you need to suggest design changes, sometimes it’s best to submit screenshots. Use tools like Skitch, SnagIt, iAt Home, or Awesome Screenshot to take screenshots with notes and arrows.
27. Know When to Delegate
If someone else can do a task 80% better than you and you don’t have the time to complete it yourself, consider handing it over to another team member (if he has time).
28. Know when to ask for help
Get help before you spend too much time trying to figure things out on your own. There is a lot to be said for taking the initiative and trying to learn something on your own, but if you know someone on your team already has that knowledge, just ask. This will help you achieve more.
29. Provide easy access to shared files
Make sure everyone knows where to access the files and documents your team will be using. Sounds simple, but if you’re using multiple resources to store your files, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get things out of control if your team doesn’t know what is going where.
30. Establish team workflows
Establish consistent workflows to save time thinking about what each person should do at each stage of the project.
- Get your team together to make a list of each step that each team member needs to complete the project (be sure to do this before doing any actual work).
- Give these steps in order.
- Determine who will be responsible for every detail.
- Have everyone notify the next team member when they are ready to transfer.
By the time you’re done, you’ll have an effective workflow template that you can follow on similar projects in the future, refining the process as you discover what works and what doesn’t.
31. Set a regular check-in time
Schedule and stick to regular engagement meetings. This removes excuses for not having time to communicate or for team members not sharing important information.
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32. Use contours
Create an outline for each blog post. Knowing the structure of your message will help you write it faster and create more focused content.
33. If you’re overwhelmed, do better by doing less.
Think less is more. If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to create too many posts, try putting more effort into fewer posts. Sometimes focusing more on fewer things can help curb this stress.
34. Avoid the pursuit of excellence
Don’t skimp on quality, but avoid the pursuit of excellence. There are always things you want to change, so focus on shipping and know when to finish.
35. First, edit your own work
Before submitting anything to a proofreader or editor, edit your own work. This will save them time and encourage you to stay by their side.
36. Write great messages in parts
Break the long pieces into smaller pieces and work on one piece at a time. It can help you work faster by focusing on smaller parts of the message as a whole, instead of being overwhelmed by your whole idea.
37. Set deadlines.
Deadlines. Install them and meet them. Don’t let your work stretch out to take too long.
38. Hiring Assistance
Don’t have time to do everything yourself? Consider hiring a freelance assistant if you can.
39. Turn colleagues into blogging authors
Use internal experts in your organization. If you work internally, enlist the support of other team members with unique backgrounds who can help you publish blog posts.
40. Scheduling work units
Set aside purposeful and uninterrupted time to write. Distraction-free word processors like FocusWriter or WriteBox can be helpful if you really want to get serious about eliminating distractions. This way, you can write more quickly without distractions.
41. Forget about the number of words
Don’t waste time worrying about typing a certain number of words (unless you’re working with an editor or manager who is adamant about a certain number of words).
The right length for your post, but it takes a long time to write a complete and comprehensive piece of content on your topic. This usually means considerable length (over 1500 words), but not always.
42. Consider user-generated content
Consider accepting unsolicited reader submissions, or create a section where readers can write their own posts on your blog (this doesn’t necessarily work and won’t work for every blog). Blog Moz on YouMoz – a great example of how to do it well.
43. Invite Guest Bloggers
Additional help from reputable authors can make it much easier to get authoritative content on your blog with less effort on the part of your own team.
44. Use Hemingway.
Wondering if your letter sucks? The Hemingway app will let you know and help you identify ways in which you can make your text clearer. It’s available for both Mac and PC and is well worth its $ 10 price tag, especially if you don’t have a true copy editor or proofreader.
45. Use CoSchedule
Use a tool like CoSchedule to schedule your blog post and related content on social media ahead of time. Is this a shameless fork? Sure, but there is a reason why we create our product. (If you haven’t tried it yet, get a 14-day free trial here.)
46. Write headlines with Headline Analyzer Studio.
Use Headline Analyzer Studio to write and evaluate headlines quickly. This allows you to quickly write many headlines and choose the best one.
47. Use the skyscraper technique.
Use the skyscraper technique to quickly identify the best-performing competitor content you can improve.
This simply involves looking at the top-rated content for your topic or keyword, identifying what is missing from those posts, and then making sure your own content fills in those gaps. This could mean including information not found in other posts, or different types of content that they lack (such as embedded videos or infographics).
48. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
Change the content of your blog posts for different content. Borrow a copy of the blog post for your email list. Convert multiple related blog posts into an e-book. These are just a couple of ideas, but if you need more inspiration, here are over 50 ideas for repurposing content.
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49. No designer? No problems.
Don’t have access to Photoshop? Or is your team lacking a dedicated graphic designer? Either way, tools like Canva, Infogram, and Piktochart make it easy to create high-quality images and infographics that you can use for your content.
While the above tools are definitely useful, sometimes you really need dedicated design and image processing software to get your job done right. If cost is the only thing holding you back from investing in Photoshop, consider GIMP. It’s a free, open-source alternative to Photoshop that, while lacking certain features, still packs incredible power.
It’s not necessarily a time-saving tool on its own, but if you’ve been delaying creating graphics because you don’t have the budget for the tool you need, now is the time to stop wasting time on excuses and start giving up. work (the rewards for quality graphics are ultimately worth it).
50. Reusing Graphics
Keep in mind that one image can potentially be used in several places. For example, try redesigning your blog header graphics in multiple sizes for email newsletters and social media posts. If you have certain graphics that you use frequently, consider keeping them all in one place where they can be easily accessed.
51. Use keyboard shortcuts.
Explore Photoshop keyboard shortcuts. The time you spend integrating them into your workflow will ultimately save you tons of time.
52. Use image templates
Create your own Photoshop templates for common image sizes and formats that you know you’ll use frequently, or search for downloadable templates online (a quick Google search should provide plenty of options).
53. Give your designer guidance before they get started
If you’re a writer or blogger working with a graphic designer, give them an idea of what you want from a graphic before they get started. This can help avoid confusion and the need to rework images when the results are not as expected.
For graphic designers, the same advice applies in reverse. Ask your writer what he wants. Even if they may not be able to communicate exactly what they are looking for, starting a discussion early in the collaboration process can save a lot of time later on.
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54. Use Yoast
If you’re using WordPress, use the Yoast plugin to quickly check your page SEO and make sure your title tags and meta descriptions are spelled correctly.
55. Get an SEO Platform Time Management Marketing
If you have the budget, use a dedicated SEO software platform to manage your search engine optimization efforts. Moz and Raven Tools are affordable and fully-featured options that will cover most of your bases. Also worth looking at are tools like Majestic and Ahrefs. The advantages of using these services are that they store your data in one place and make your SEO tasks much faster, easier, and more efficient.
56. Use Local SEO Tools to Clean Up Quotes Quickly
If local SEO has anything to do with your business (that is, if you have a typical location and rely on search to drive traffic), Whitespark and Moz Local are two great tools to help speed up a lot of the dark tasks that otherwise you can eat valuable hours of your time.
57. Use the Screaming Frog.
Fixing broken links on your blog or website can take a long time. However, it helps to pay attention to them and correct them as an ongoing practice, rather than letting them accumulate and correct tons of them all at once. Use Screaming Frog to quickly crawl your site and spot URLs that return a 404 status code.
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58. Use one tool to manage all your accounts
Manage all your social media accounts with one tool. CoSchedule, Hootsuite, and Buffer are all valid options for this task. By logging into one dashboard instead of multiple login pages every time you want to schedule social media updates, you can easily save a huge amount of time.
59. Automation of publishing on social networks.
Automate (some of) your social media content. You’ll want to keep adding a personal touch to your social media posts, but filling your social queues with pre-planned content can help you maintain a consistent presence with less active effort and focus.
60. If something doesn’t work, stop.
Get rid of broken platforms. Focus more effort on fewer channels. You are more likely to be less stressed and more successful.
61. Use IFTTT to Automate Social Media Tasks
Use IFTTT to automate repetitive tasks. It’s a cool tool that uses “recipes” to automate processes (and has applications that go far beyond social media). Here’s a good video tutorial on how it works:
62. Use reports to collect social profiles from emails
Receive an email from someone and want quick access to their social media profiles? Use Rapportive. It’s faster and easier than manually searching for a Twitter handle.
63. Use Tomoson to find social media influencers
Use Tomoson to find influencers and brands that might be interested in your product or service. Rather than manually searching for experts on a given topic, it can make finding leads for this kind of social media reach faster and more efficiently.
64. Avoid social media when you are supposed to be doing something else.
Get rid of the distractions from your personal social media as you work. You’d be surprised how much time you could spend checking your Facebook or Twitter updates.
65. Respond to comments, but keep them short and sweet.
Speed up your social media response times. If you don’t have the time or energy to write a thoughtful response to a social media post, sometimes just say, “Thanks for reading!” enough to let someone know you’ve heard their feedback.
66. Turn One Idea Into Multiple Messages
Try to write several different versions of the same message. Then schedule these posts for the entire week. Now there are three ideas for your post.
67. Use Twitter Lists
Use Twitter Lists to quickly follow influencers on specific topics. You can create your own account tracking lists based on topics or interests, or simply search Twitter for lists of topics that interest you and subscribe to them.
68. Use Storify
Use Storify to quickly collect tweets and social media posts.
69. Use Social Media Interaction Metrics for Instant Content Feedback
Use social media engagement metrics as a quick real-time indicator of what content is most popular.
70. Use hashtags wisely
Use hashtags to easily increase your reach. Be sure to choose hashtags that are directly related to your brand, blog, or content. It may sound simple, but it is an often overlooked tactic that can help your posts get noticed quickly.
71. Write messages in bulk
Write massively on social media and schedule them at least a week or two in advance.
72. Use Followerwonk
Want to analyze your Twitter work and find influencers quickly? Try using Followerwonk. It’s free, fast, and easy.
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73. Use a true email marketing platform
If you don’t have access to a developer who can create custom email newsletter templates for you, use an email management platform such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor (we use Campaign Monitor at CoSchedule). They are easy to use and make managing your email marketing much more efficient than without them.
74. Resubmitting past newsletters by email.
Instead of writing a new letter, try to take your last letter and send it to anyone on your list who didn’t open it the first time (make sure to wait about a week first).
75. Use Popup Forms to Create a Mailing List
Use automatic pop-ups on your blog or website to quickly build a mailing list and convert readers to email subscribers. SumoMe’s Scroll Box is an easy-to-use tool for this task, available in both free and premium versions.
76. Give Out Free Bonus Content To Increase Your Email Subscriptions
Use content updates to drive more email subscriptions. A content update can be defined as a gated piece of content (such as an infographic, ebook, video, course, or whatever) that requires readers to share their email addresses to access the content update. One piece of content can equal many subscribers, making this a very effective way to grow your email list.
77. Automate Email Tracking with Boomerang
If you need to automate a lot of messages for personalized email, use Boomerang to track emails.
78. Check your email at set times (not literally all the time)
When it comes to your own work email, take the time to check your email instead of checking it every five minutes. If you accepted our offer to use HipChat or Slack for in-office communication, you will probably notice that the number of emails reaching your inbox has also dropped significantly.
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79. Use a content calendar
If you haven’t already, use the content calendar. Any calendar. We’re going to get connected quickly here, but using CoSchedule can help save tons of time here.
80. Plan Your Content Two Weeks Ahead
Keep your calendar filled at least two weeks in advance. You can get more done if you don’t feel nervous about urgent deadlines. This may mean a little work at first to create enough content to fill your calendar, but once you get past those initial efforts, you feel freer to strategize and work more effectively.
81. Consistency is the key to success
Be consistent when updating your content calendar. Develop time-saving habits, and your calendar, in turn, can help you save time in other parts of your workflow.
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82. Use ready-made Google Analytics dashboards.
If you don’t know how to customize Google Analytics yourself, use ready-made dashboards faster and faster. This saves you the hassle of learning how to properly configure everything yourself while making sure your dashboards are designed to be useful.
83. Use SumAll to Collect Social Media Data
Use SumAll to automatically generate data-driven social media performance reports (note that this is a paid tool as of March 1, 2016).
84. Set up automatic reports on your SEO platform
If you are using Moz, Raven Tools, or any other content marketing and SEO platform, use it to set up automatic reports delivered to your email. Thus, you can quickly submit reports to management without manually generating reports.
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85. Keep track of your time
For this well-suited instruments accounting of time, such as Toggl.com. Or just use the timer on your phone. Over time, you will better understand how long tasks are usually time-consuming and will be able to better plan for them in the future.
86. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Try using the Pomodoro Technique all day long. In short, it’s a productivity method where you work in batches of 25 minutes, separated by breaks.
87. Take time breaks
Even if you are not using the Pomodoro Technique, it is recommended to take temporary breaks. Your brain just can’t work around the clock.
88. Use a password manager
89. Don’t be afraid of failure
Fail quickly and move on. Don’t let fear of failure get in the way of trying something new that might work better than what you did yesterday.
90. Don’t waste time on things that don’t work.
Likewise, if something doesn’t work, either figure out why it doesn’t work or give it up and move on to something else. Focus on action and don’t waste time over-analyzing.
91. Avoid multitasking
Stop multitasking. Research shows that you can get more done faster if you focus on one task at a time.
92. Use checklists
Create checklists to keep you on track. Wondering what makes checklists such an effective tool for getting things done? Read the Checklist Manifesto.
93. Never start a meeting without a plan.
Schedule appointments and set timers. Never come to a meeting without an agenda or purpose for which the meeting is intended to help.
94. Only use tools that show real benefits.
Use tools and software services that deliver clear performance gains. Get rid of everything that doesn’t. This saves time and money in one fell swoop.
95. Tackle the hardest task first thing in the morning
In the morning, tackle your worst task first, whatever it may be, to free up mental space to tackle the rest of the day.
96. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep. You will get more done and faster if you get a good rest. Working when you are tired will lead to diminishing returns over time.
97. Don’t Say Yes to Everything
Learn how and when to say no. While it’s often tempting to take advantage of every opportunity and every challenge you face, you don’t want to burn yourself out by taking on too much. Be realistic about what you can achieve with the time you have.
98. Leave Enough Time for Small Failures
Leave a time buffer when estimating time for tasks to account for unexpected freezes. This will help avoid missing deadlines. This is important because missed deadlines can snowball, pushing back deadlines for other projects.
99. take time to plan
Take time to plan. It takes time but ultimately saves time.
100. Use Friday Afternoon for Daily Service
Schedule your least intellectual tasks for Friday afternoon, when you are likely to be exhausted. This way they will not be distracted from more important work, but will still be done.
101. Plan for tomorrow, today.
Use the end of one day to plan what you will do at the beginning of the next day. You will likely feel empty by the end of the day, so now is the time to make a simple list of priorities for the next morning. You’d be surprised how much time this can save while making optimal use of energy levels.
This Completes All 101 Time Management Marketing Strategies
Developing the best habits isn’t always easy, and it will likely take a while before you can start applying most of these time management strategies to your content marketing workflows. However, all of these points are something you can start doing today, taking everything one small step at a time until you develop more efficient and productive ways of working.
Are there any tips, tools, or tricks we missed out on? Mute in the comments below, and thanks for reading!