Content Marketing Time Sucks, Part I: How to Find Them

I bet you’re working really hard to get your story heard. You’re writing blog posts, sharing them on social media … and probably not getting the results you want.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Evaluating your content marketing efforts can be a complicated and in-depth effort. This piece is going to help you answer a key question: Where are you wasting time in your content marketing?

The first step is to gather information about your goals, current efforts, and infrastructure into one place. You can do that by filling out this form. It’s tempting to say, “It’s all up here” (accompanied by a finger tapping the side of your noggin). But going through the motions of putting it down on paper and ticking off what you’re doing—and seeing what you’re not doing—is a great exercise.

Once you’ve got your current efforts out of your head and written down, you can start hunting down your content marketing time sucks.

 

Time to check your time investments

Time is a great lens for evaluating your efforts because a) it’s a key variable for most people and b) it’s relatively easy to track. So let’s get started!

 

1.       How long have you been engaged in an organized content marketing campaign?

This question frames a lot of your other temporal considerations. Content marketing takes time to start showing results, and those results compound over time. It also takes time to compile the data you need to effectively guide your efforts and to efficiently complete the many tasks involved in content marketing. If you’ve been doing this for less than six months, you’ll have to factor in this learning curve when assessing the effectiveness of your efforts and the amount of time you’re spending on each activity, since it will probably lessen and/or change in the coming months.

 

2.       How much time are you spending on content marketing each week?

Do you know how much time you’re devoting to the entire process of content marketing? If not, I recommend using a time management app like Toggl or even just being conscientious about noting your time in a calendar or spreadsheet for a few weeks. I know this can seem like a lot of extra effort for no immediate benefit, but the time you invest will be saved many times over in increased efficiency and clarity.

Make sure to include (and break down) time spent:

  • Developing new content ideas
  • Outlining and writing
  • Editing and keyword optimizing
  • Finding and incorporating graphics, citations, and links
  • Uploading and formatting text and graphics
  • Promoting via social media, email, etc.
  • Responding to comments, asking questions, and interacting
  • Finding, formatting, and sharing third-party content
  • Checking, analyzing, and reporting on metrics  

 

3.       How much time are you spending on different platforms?

Sometimes the time suck comes not from a given activity, but rather a specific platform. So cross-reference the activities above with associated platforms such as: 

  • Blog
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

 

The results are in …

Now that you’ve got some information for your input (time), it’s time to look at your output: results.

The metrics you use to measure success (or progress) in your content marketing efforts will vary depending upon your goals. But given the wealth of analytics out there, I can guarantee that there are metrics that you should be paying attention to and using to guide your efforts.

You might be looking to increase your email subscribers. If so, you’re probably tracking which platforms are driving the most website visitors and which kinds of content downloads are resulting in the most email sign-ups.

If you’re more focused on raising your profile, you might be prioritizing g likes, clicks, comments, and shares.

Regardless of your goals (and metrics), you should look for the answers to the following three questions:

1.       Which platforms are yielding the best results?

2.       Which kinds of activities are resulting in the best results?

3.       Which kinds of content are driving the best results?

 

Once you've answered these three questions, cross-reference them with the time allocation questions to answer this:

How is your time investment lining up with your results?

The areas and platforms where you’re spending the most time for the fewest results should be the first places you investigate for time-saving opportunities. This could include streamlining your activities, cutting back on the number of platforms you use, or investigating apps and programs to help improve productivity.

In my next blog post, I'll cover some time-saving content marketing strategies to help you reduce your time investment even more.