It’s easy to think of content writing as purely a writing task. But in actuality, almost 80% of the time it takes to create content involves everything but writing, including ideation, research, formatting, editing, and marketing/promoting. Only 20% is spent writing.
Let’s dive into a good blueprint of how the 80/20 rule can help you become more efficient and effective at content writing.
Inside the 80/20 Rule
Derived from the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule of content simply means that 20% of your time should be spent creating your content. In contrast, the other 80% is spent on research, ideation, formatting, editing, and marketing/promoting.
The logic behind this rule is that if you stop at content creation, you’re only putting together a small portion of the puzzle. Content marketing isn’t synonymous with content creation. You need to include all the other elements to truly be successful. Your content has to:
- be interesting and provide value,
- be something that your audience wants to consume,
- be easily consumable,
- reach your target audience.
Now, you might be thinking, “Writing already takes a long time! I don’t have 80% more time and effort to give.”
Don’t worry. Following the 80/20 content rule will make you more efficient and effective and will be worth the effort in the long run. And it’s not quite as difficult as you think. We’ll walk you through the many different components that make up the other 80% and give you the tips and tricks you need to do it well.
The first step to creating valuable content is research. You need to know what topics your audience is interested in and how they want to consume information about those topics. Research is one of the most time-consuming elements of content creation. In fact, according to a McKinsey Report, companies spend 9 hours a week researching and gathering information.
The problem is that there’s so much information to go through. One way to make research easier and quicker is to use a product such as Sorc’d, which helps you gather snippets of interesting articles that you find online and save them for later. This makes your time more efficient by putting the heavy lifting of research on a tool instead of your team.
The next step is taking your research and turning it into content. It’s not enough to know what general topics your audience wants. You need a specific idea so that you can start writing your content. This can be a difficult step for many marketers to take. How do you go from “We need to write about Caribbean food” to “Let’s write a blog on our 7 Favorite Authentic Jamaican Recipes that You Need to Try Right Now!”?
One of the keys to transforming your research into an idea is to find potential gaps in current knowledge or to see how you can expand on popular topics. You want to create content that is unique to you but, at the same time, is what your audience wants.
For example, with Sorc’d, you can collect snippets from all Caribbean food articles that you find online. Then, from there, collaborate with your marketing team to see which articles had the most engaged readers and what type of information they provided. If you find recipes that do well, all you have to do from there is find out what type of recipes your business can provide that fill in a gap. Once you find your ideal niche, you can start writing.
Formatting & Editing
You’ve created a piece of content. Fantastic! Now what?
Too often, we run across content that has an interesting premise but is written poorly. No matter how valuable your topic, your audience won’t enjoy it if they have trouble reading it. This is where a tool such as Grammarly or an editing/writing freelancer can come in handy. The more easily digestible your content, the more likely it will provide you with the results you want. This is a vital step that takes time and patience.
Don’t let common grammatical and spelling mistakes or poor formatting keep your content from being read. A little bit of time and effort can make the difference between a blog that gets 1,000 reads and one that gets 100.
The final step to content marketing is the marketing piece. Unless you already have a large and engaged audience, your content will be worthless until you get it in front of your audience. To do this, you need to distribute your well-written content across appropriate marketing channels from social media to landing pages, Google ads, emails, and more.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket—aka, keep your valuable content solely on your blog. Spend time growing a loyal audience and promoting your content to many different audiences. Send out an email linking to your new content. Post your blog on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Create a video that delves deeper or takes a wider view of your newly written content. The key is to do whatever you can to reach the most people.
The 80/20 rule of content writing isn’t a hard and fast rule but a different way to look at your content marketing as a whole. If you’re spending all of your time writing, you might not be spending your time on the most effective and valuable pieces of your marketing plan. The key is to create quality content, and that takes time outside of writing.
Just be sure you don’t waste time unnecessarily. Tools such as Sorc’d and others can cut back on your 80% while still giving you the same results. After all, it’s about working smarter, not harder.