Free and Easy Ways to Automate Your Content Creation

More and more, marketers and business professionals are starting to see what distributing valuable content to the right audience on a frequent basis can accomplish. It expands your reach, establishes your credibility, and increases conversion rates.

To stay top-of-mind in today’s online business arena, you need to create interesting and diverse content, and a lot of it. You can’t just post a 300-word blog post once a month and expect to see noticeable results.

Whether you’re creating content for a small e-commerce site or a large enterprise, you’ll want to learn some easy ways (highlighted below) to automate your content creation process. Once you automate your content creation process, you’ll have more time to create valuable content your audience will enjoy, without going broke or sacrificing your sleep.

Use Google

The best thing about Google, believe it or not, isn’t just that a majority of its software and services are free. The best thing about Google is that their software and services are based in the cloud, which means you can store, access, and edit your content on any device.

With Google Drive, you can store all your documents in the cloud and add them as attachments to your calendar invites, and track edits and comments added to them. Within each Google Doc, you can use the “Explore” feature under the “Tools” menu option (without exiting the document) to research related topics and images on the web as you compile your document, as well as search for related material in your own saved documents.

There are also a lot of different free templates you can use. With these options, Google Docs easily automates your writing and editing process.

And of course, Google’s Webmasters tool locates keyword and SEO data about the content on your website for you automatically, all in one place. When you use this tool, you can automate the process of locating obvious issues with your website. You can also use this tool to automatically locate issues with your content. The tool will highlight the content that’s being discovered across the web but not clicked through and read by users who are sending queries for topics related to what you write about.

Create and Use Templates, Checklists, and Well-Crafted Outlines

If there is any type of document you write frequently, such as a newsletter, blog post, or e-book, you should create a template for it to expedite the drafting process. Each template should help you outline the meat of your content so that it’s a bit easier and faster to write, without sacrificing its quality. You can save the appropriate branding, fonts, and formatting in each template so that you don’t have to update them each time you create a new document of the same type.

You’ll also want to outline and structure every piece of content you create in a way that makes it easy to add additional information to main topics, or break main topics apart into subtopics for other pieces of content you want to create using the same main topic.

OUTLINE EXAMPLE:

E-Book: The Ultimate Guide to Whale Watching (Main Topic)

    Section 1: Best Places to Go for Whale Watching                                                                                               (Can also be used as a topic for a blog post)

    Section 2: Pictures Taken While Whale Watching                                                                                          (Can be separated into individual social media posts)

    Section 3: Things You Need for Whale Watching                                                                                              (Can also be used as a topic for a blog post)

  • Binoculars (Topic for product description for inventory you or your affiliate partners offer)
  • Raincoat (Topic for social media posts)
  • Group Cruise Tickets (Topic for blog post- “Top Ten Group Cruises for Whale Watching”, or topic you can use for marketing content with affiliate partners )

You should also save checklists and image requirements for everything you publish, alongside your templates. For instance, for each blog post, you’ll want to remember to save the links to your sources, record your keywords, verify its word count, make sure it’s optimized for search engines, determine when you’ll share it on social media, and more. If you aren’t sure what your template should look like, then check out some of the templates for Google Docs to get started.

Schedule Your Writing and Sharing Process

If you don’t have a content calendar that you stick to, you’ll always feel behind and will take too long (or not long enough) to publish content. Creating and following an editorial calendar is essential to content automation.

You should have a set and recurring schedule for when:

  • Content ideas will be pitched and selected
  • Research for content will be conducted
  • First drafts are due
  • Editing and proofreading will occur
  • Final drafts are due
  • Content will be published
  • Content will be shared on social media
  • Content’s performance will be analyzed
  • Content will be logged and scheduled to be repurposed in the future

It’s critical that you deliberately schedule time to write and work on projects on a rolling basis. Don’t simply have a due date listed for a content project on your editorial calendar with nothing else related to it on the same calendar. If you only include final due dates, they’ll sneak up on you, and before you know it you’ll have to rush to get a piece of content published and shared.

You must also schedule adequate time to conduct research, write, and edit. Typically, it’s helpful to come up with multiple content pitches at a time, and take an hour or so to schedule when they’ll all be researched, drafted, and published, a month in advance. You can then use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule when your content will be published and shared on different social media sites.

Generate Ideas with Helpful Tools

Sometimes it’s possible to come up with great topics to write about without having to do much research or online reconnaissance. But it’s usually best to use tools like BuzzSumo, Headline Analyzer, and DrumUp, to come up with ideal and targeted topics to write about. Why? Tools like these not only help you discover topics to write about, they’ll also ensure the topics you want to write about will perform better by providing you with impactful headlines, and SEO keywords and pointers.

Another way to automate ideas for content that you want to create is to keep an ongoing list of potential topics in the cloud (perhaps by using Google Drive or Evernote). Whenever an idea comes to mind, jot it down on your list that you can access on any device. Or if you’re a visual person, you can save photos that you like in a folder on Google Drive or in Dropbox. When it’s time to come up with ideas to write about, then you can access this folder of images for inspiration.

Track Your Time and Evaluate it

The purpose behind automating any sort of task is to save time, right? So, the best way to know if you’re automating your content well (after you begin using the tips highlighted above) is to see if your writing and organization practices are saving you any time, and how much. You can use time tracking tools like Toggl to track the time it takes you to write a blog post. Compare the time it takes you to write a post with a template to the time it takes you to write one without the template.

It’s also important to understand what tasks take you longer so that you can plot your schedule and content calendar accordingly. Do you need to spend more time compiling outlines, conducting research, or evaluating your content’s performance? Different types of content and industries require different time frames for different tasks. Make sure you are spending time on the tasks that match your immediate and long-term content goals. By tracking and evaluating your time, you’ll know when you need to outsource and what specific tasks you need to work on becoming more efficient at completing.

Staying organized is also key when it comes to automating tasks and cutting down on the time it takes to complete certain tasks. Check out these tools that will help you get and stay organized.

Luckily, you don’t need to break the piggy bank to automate your content creation process. As long as you structure your content outlines well, use the right tools, and have a robust content calendar that you actually follow because it’s accurately compiled according to your goals, then your content creation process will start to seem almost effortless.

Is there anything else you do to help automate your content creation process? Please share with us in the comments below.

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