How to halve the time it takes to develop content

TimeCommunicators spend a lot of time developing new content for marketing purposes. But I for one would like nothing better than to find a few ways to save my precious resource.

It would be great if you could halve the time it takes to develop a video, presentation or blog wouldn’t it? Well, here are a few ideas which may help.

One way of saving time is to consider what raw materials you already have access to.

Every company or organisation already has assets you can use as the basis for your material. Perhaps your company already routinely shoots video for performance monitoring purposes, uses animation or computer visualisations to develop products or services, or takes photographs as part of project development.

These activities will be undertaken as part of routine business operations, to a greater or lesser degree, and will vary depending on what industry you are working in. But every organisation will have something you can reuse, even if it’s just some positive praise from clients or customers.

If you can get hold of this raw material then you’ve got a natural head start which is going to save you both time and money in the long run. So ask yourself what already exists in your organisation that you could customise and receive the largest impact for, while making the smallest investment of your time.

Now this begs the question, ‘Where do I find this material in the first place and how do I get hold of it?’ This is a big issue but nothing a little bit of process can’t fix. Why not try using a few of the suggestions below.

1. Explain to employees what you’re doing and why you need raw material for turning into useable content. People need both motivating and informing.

2. Staff need to know how to send you their materials so you’ll need to make it easy to submit, especially large files. Some simple online instructions will help.

3. Consider including a prompt in the policy or procedures that employees use to conduct their routine processes. Perhaps a ‘tick-box’ is required.

4. If you don’t fancy the tick-box approach, how about co-opting various operational staff onto an editorial board? Their advice and involvement could prove invaluable.

5. Tap into training cycles. Can you get a slot at staff inductions, or learning and development sessions, to get your messages across?

6. To avoid having to beat your content drum all the time, consider doing it as part of a campaign. Have a start and end date, and a big push to get top quality material on a specific theme.

7. Alternatively, target specific parts of the business and then use successful examples from that exercise to motivate others and to show how it can be done.

8. If you are starting to get traction, it’s a good idea to put your back into directly helping those contributors who show the most interest.

9. Track what success you have had by adapting their material and show how their efforts have helped the company to succeed, using hard data.

10. Hopefully, by now you’re on your way to building an internal content culture. To step up the pace, promote your drive for reusable content by using other internal channels.

All of these points assume that you have the copyright to use the materials above, and that you are not breaking any confidentiality agreements. This also needs checking.

Now this seems like an awful lot of work to do in order to save time. But actually it doesn’t represent that much time at all in the grander scheme. And believe me, making a small investment early on to get that raw material coming in will really help you out and cut down on the need to develop content from scratch.

So what have I missed and can you add anything to speed things up even further?

Also read: You don’t have time to read this…

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