How To Scale Content When You’re A Time-Poor CEO

Any idiot can create content for a website. It’s really not that hard.

I’ve written blog posts that took less than 20 minutes to put together, including proof reading and publishing on my website.

Once you get the rhythm right, churning out words is child’s play.

But to create meaningful, targeted, and engaging content, well… that takes some forethought.

Don’t worry, this is something lot of business people struggle with and I’m definitely including myself here.

What I’ve learned in the past few months though, is that even though you might be a time-poor CEO, it is still possible to use content to grow your business.

Your problem definitely isn’t finding time to create the words – like I said, any idiot can churn out a blog post in 20 minutes – the problem is that you are probably missing a few core ingredients…

Scalable Content Marketing For Time-Poor Business People

A bit about me…

I come from a software programming background where brevity is something that is treasured. So content marketing is definitely a learned skill for me.

My company makes WordPress/WooCommerce plugins – we’re doing well but we’re still scaling up our ventures so it’s a busy time for us and me in particular.

I’m a big believer in setting goals, so when it came to looking at our goals for 2016, one of the main things in my crosshair was that I want to better leverage content in our business.

Content can be amazing for bringing customers in the door. And the best thing is that once it’s out there, it’s a source of traffic and customer interest that isn’t going to go away.

The problem? Even though I’ve used content in the past (with mixed success) the game has changed and I have much less time to dedicate to it these days. Running a company is busy enough without having to set aside time for slow-burn activities like creating content.

One of the temptations, as a time-poor CEO, is to just blast through the content and get it out there.

Like I mentioned above, it’s easy enough to put words on paper and if you’re good at communicating, it doesn’t really take more than a hour or so to whip out a piece of content.

“That’s great”, you say. “But I’ve tried creating content and it went nowhere!”

You’re 100% correct, this is the wrong approach.

And the reason it might not have worked before is because you’re probably missing the secret ingredient that most time-poor CEOs (myself included) have overlooked: scalability.

Adding Scalability Changes The Game

One of the things I took away from the book Content Machine by Dan Norris (who is renowned for just pumping out ridiculous amounts of content) is that if you want to implement his strategy you need to make things more scalable.

And I don’t mean just scalable content marketing in a general sense. Content has to be scalable for you to create.

Once you add the scalability mandate into the mix it quickly makes you aware that in order to have a solid content strategy that really works to grow a business.

You need a strategy to make sure that what you’re doing is clear, achievable and measurable.

The 3 Part Scalable Content Marketing Strategy For Time-Poor CEOs

While I’m definitely not the authority on the subject of content marketing (see people like Dan Norris and Neil Patel for some serious authority on the subject) I wanted to share how I came up with my scalable content marketing strategy.

My goal with this article is to inspire other time-poor CEOs in a similar situation to give content marketing another go.

You don’t have to feel guilty about missing this week’s blog post and you don’t have to invest hundreds of hours a month into it.

Lets get started…

There’s 3 Main Points…

If you’ve been digging into content marketing recently, you’ll probably think this is a really over-simplified list… and it is.

But even though the following 3 points aren’t the only pieces to the content marketing puzzle, if you sort out these three high-level parts, it will deliver you a strategy you can scale.

  1. Define Your Ambitions
  2. Plan How You’re Going To Deliver
  3. Make Sure It’s Achievable

Step #1: Define Your Ambitions

Defining what your content ambitions are means you should know the answers to these 3 things:

  1. Who you are targeting
  2. Why you’re targeting them
  3. And what you hope to achieve

In short, you need to know who, why and what… and it ultimately comes back to your business goals and objectives.

Do you want to increase your mailing list? Increase your website traffic? Improve your search ranking?

Or are your goals more business oriented; Do you want to increase sales on your online store? Increase the amount of leads you’re collecting? Send more prospects into your sales funnel?

For most people it’s going to be a combination of increasing sales/business metrics and getting more traffic to your site.

That’s fine, but try to think about this: if your strategy succeeds, what will the flow on effect be to your business?

For me, I defined my content ambitions like so:

“Our blog will deliver quick to consume, extremely actionable articles that are centred around running an e-commerce store.

Articles will contain code snippets, links to highly useful plugins they might not know about, and how to’s containing quick marketing strategies they can implement (marketing hacks).

We want e-commerce store owners to find everything we write extremely actionable so that they will want to sign up for our email list and we can push our products down their throats later without resistance.”

You’ll notice that I covered all three points:

  1. Who you are targeting: e-commerce store owners
  2. Why you’re targeting them: to get them on our list and make them more receptive to our offers
  3. And what you hope to achieve: a subscription, and then a sale in the future

Ideally you should define just one primary audience and if you’re struggling to narrow it down, one other secondary audience.

Your task then becomes to learn more about them: What is their age, sex, location, industry, computer savviness, and any other demographic information you can get your hands on.

This is just basic market research so I won’t go too in-depth here on how to do that, but tools like surveys (try Google Forms or Survey Monkey for this) can be really helpful and will give you the information you need to narrow down the next part…

Step #2: Plan How You’re Going To Deliver

Now that you know who you’re writing to, do you know how you will interact with them?

The first question to ask yourself is what you’re good at creating.

For example, I find it quick to write articles.

It’s probably because I can type really fast and find it fairly easy to brain vomit everything into a blank document and quickly tidy up all my ideas into a coherent article.

This process is something I’ve used since my university days and I use it all the time.

What are you good/quick at? You might be really efficient at creating videos. Some people are just able to switch on the camera and talk for 3-10 minutes and it all makes sense.

Or if you’re into talking but don’t want to jump in-front of the camera (hey, we don’t all look like Brad Pitt), then podcasting might be your medium of choice.

Just as writing can be a great medium if you’re a fast writer, you might find that either podcasting, videos, infographics, interviews or step by step guides are a better choice for you when it comes to producing lots of content.

Do what you’re good at.

Stuck For Ideas?

“Great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

You can also check out what your competition is doing for their content.

Delivering the same message as your competitor is fine. More often than not, they’re probably not doing it so well anyway.

You can steal the idea or premise of their content but try to do a better job at delivering it by rewriting it or delivering the content in a different way.

They’re doing written articles? Try video. They’re doing straight talking podcasts? Try interviews. You get the idea…

Caveat: Remember kids, straight out and out plagiarism is bad. That’s not what I’m suggesting here and it’s not what Pablo was suggesting either 🙂

Your Task: Create A Shortlist

Create a shortlist of the types of content you could possibly create for your audience, here’s a small list to start you off:

Add your unique content ideas to this list!

Now, keep in mind you won’t be able to implement them all. This is just an exercise of getting all your ideas down on paper and will help you identify which ones are easy for you to create.

Pick the top 2 or 3 that you think you can deliver a single content piece in less than a couple of hours (max) or less than 1 hour if you’re really time poor.

From now on, these will be the core types of content you will create in your scalable content marketing strategy.

This will give your content consistency and take away the mystery for you to make it easier to create.

BONUS HACK: The Cheats Guide To Creating Loads Of Content With 1/3rd The Effort

Another good tip I’ve come across (sorry, I can’t remember the source, but thank you whoever it was that came up with the concept!) is to repurpose every single piece of content that you create.

It works like this:

Imagine that you have picked the top 3 types of content that you know you can deliver quickly.

For example, mine are:

  1. Short actionable blog posts
  2. Slideshows
  3. Email newsletters

Each time I create a short actionable blog post, I might also combine it into a weekly slideshow which I upload to Slideshare (and other sites like this).

Then, I use the very same content to create a weekly e-commerce tips newsletter.

And to get even more use out of it, I can also use the same content again for a roundup post in the future. You know the ones where you combine multiple tips together (10 ways to… 8 code hacks for…).

It’s a crazy simple way to triple your content output!

Step #3: Make Sure It’s Achievable

Variety is important when it comes to content in order to keep it interesting, but you also want to make sure you do not commit yourself to content that you struggle to create.

That’s why my previous tip on narrowing down your options to the top 2 or 3 content types that are easy for you to create is so important.

The key to content is consistency; haphazard blogging because you’re not very good at writing isn’t going to cut it.

Likewise, your stale old video series where you stutter, stumble and mumble your way through 10 minutes of boring presentation isn’t going attract anyone, especially if you find it so daunting that you put it off your task list and only end up creating something every now and then.

Try to plan ahead and make it achievable.

Even small teams and solo players can achieve great things with content with proper planning.

Get the calendar and task list out and schedule your activities ahead of time at consistent intervals.

In the beginning, this might be only a few times a month until you get into a rhythm and figure out what amount of content you’re capable of creating with all your other responsibilities fighting for priority.

If you write down the working title of the content you’re going to create on that day it takes away some of the hard work of deciding what you’re going to talk about.

I also find it can be useful to jot down the key points of the content piece instead of just the working title as this can take the procrastination factor away and can be a godsend when you’re staring at a flashing cursor on your text editor.

Once you’ve planned your strategy, stick with it for a while.

Content is a slow-ROI activity, so give it a chance and don’t get sucked into following the shiny object syndrome. Keep to your strategy and implement it.

Make Your Content Measurable

The final piece of the puzzle of making your content achievable is to measure it’s impact.

If you can see the results of your efforts after a month or two, then you’re more likely to continue.

An example of this would be if you wanted to increase how often your customers come back to shop at your store again.

Before you start your content marketing, take a measure of how many re-orders you get on your e-commerce store. This will be your starting point.

If you start sending out a bi-monthly email newsletter to your customers so that you’re getting yourself in front of them more often, how does this change the number of re-orders after two months?

This is a great example of an achievable metric to measure and it’s achieved with only 4 unique pieces of content. Even the busiest time-poor CEO could achieve this and if you see a big jump in the number of re-orders, it’s very likely that you’ll continue.

Plenty Of Opportunity

Usually in these articles people comment on the sheer amount of content being created and how using content for your marketing is much more challenging these days.

Honestly though, 80-90% of the content created today is garbage and it’s not that hard to rise above the din with a bit of strategy and forethought. You don’t have to create volumes and volumes of content.

In fact, by following my strategy I guarantee that you will create more quality, targeted content than ever before which will be much more effective for your business.

Do you use content to market your business? What is your focus and how is it working for you? Tell us in the comments!

This post was a guest post by Josh Kohlbach, a WordPress developer and owner of Rymera Web Co. They make of a number of popular plugins, including the WooCommerce plugin — Wholesale Suite, that helps store owners sell to wholesale customers. He has been working with WordPress for over 8 years.