How to write faster when you are short of time

Time is the biggest enemy when it comes to content marketing.

You could sit down for 15 minutes and come up with loads of great ideas for articles or infographics, but having the time to put them together is where things often come to a halt.

Those great ideas end up on a ‘to do’ list gathering dust when, in fact, you could just get them done quickly if you set your mind to it.

Get time-efficient

Here are my tips for getting content written quickly. This is not a guarantee of quality, so you need to include some time in your activity for self editing and quality control. This article is not about trying to break records. Some articles can be written in 20 minutes while some need a couple of hours from planning to publishing.

The aim of this article is to help you be time-efficient.

Evergreen content versus news

Producing an evergreen article with lots of information, links, images, etc. is clearly going to take longer than writing a news article or opinion piece. These tips will help you be organised so that, no matter the type of content, you will execute the task as efficiently as possible.

1. Decide for whom and why you are writing

Will your article be opinion or a review of something? Are you sharing useful tips or a list of instructions to perform a task? Know for whom you are writing. If you don’t already have a structure mapped out in your head, write one down.

How will your content be formatted? Will you break it into sections? What information will you need to plug in – such as links, screen grabs, photos or data from other sources?
See: How to write a blog – from ideas to promotion


2. Gather your info and data

Before you write too much, do some quick research to find useful information to use in your article. You may want to find quotes by experts, facts and figures on other websites, links to official company websites and details of product names or prices.

If I am pulling from two or three other web sources, I like to have these open in separate browser tabs as I write. Then I can pull the references I need from those sites and link to the pages within the article, so the reader can click through to view the source.
See: Images are content too. Don’t neglect them

Man painting on the street

3. Write your headline

The headline is vital. It sets the tone of the article and it can also make a difference to your SEO and social media success. Don’t write a headline that is too poetic or obtuse because it may not make sense when viewed in a list of search results or on a social media link.

Think about headlines that are as short as possible (Twitter only has a few available characters) and describe what the article is about.
See: How to write a blog – headlines that work

4. The intro

The first couple of paragraphs should set the tone. These are all about getting the reader to start reading and keep reading. The headline grabbed them, now your intro needs to make them want to read the whole article. You can start with an anecdote or something exciting, or just be straightforward about how the reader will benefit from reading.

Whatever you do, forget everything you were taught at school about essay writing. Essays are boring. You don’t need to start off with explanations of why you are writing the article, how you collated your findings, or who you are. Just get to the point.
See: Hey you. Do you write for the second person?

Love Hearts

5. The end

If you are in danger of rambling on and losing focus while you are still in the middle of the article, jump to the end and write the sign off. This might be a reinforcement of the arguments you raised at the beginning – some way of justifying your claims. Perhaps your sign-off will be a list of recommendations or some key take away points for the reader to digest.

Writing your outro can be a good way of cutting short any rambling and ensuring your article is rounded rather than unfinished or open ended.
See: How to get editors to read press releases

Peacock - getting noticed

6. Self editing

Read the whole thing; look for spelling errors, typos, formatting problems and any missing links or images. Then read it again, for sense. Make sure all the points are clear and unambiguous.

Include links to any third party references and add in images if the page looks boring.
See: How to edit your own writing

Mixing desk

7. Publish and promote

Once you have put the content live, promote it. Link to it from your social media accounts, include it on your email newsletter, share images on Pinterest, make sure Google is able to index it quickly (you could always add it to Google via Google Search Console).
See: 10 content promotion tips to help you get more traffic

Sowing seeds

Time is the enemy of most people – or a lack of time, to be exact.

The problem many people have is that content takes time, so it often gets left on a list of ideas that don’t turn into words on the published page.

You can solve this problem by writing faster. It’s as simple as that.

Well, as simple as this:

  • Sketch out your article idea on a piece of paper (or type it out). Note down a rough headline and the angle. What main point is being made in the article? Have one main point (e.g. to show that you can write articles faster).
  • Do fast research – type your working title into the search engine to see what others have written. Some of those articles will have good advice you can use, then credit those articles with links and the writers with mentions on social media.
  • Copy the nuggets from other articles that you want to refer to or quote. Keep their page links handy.
  • Write your opening and possibly your ending, to make sure you have a clear intro and a tidy round-up.
  • Pull together all the advice you have gleaned, in your own words. Include links in relevant contextual places (search engines like to see you linking out to other useful resources).
  • Now go through and include some sub-headings to break it up and make sure you have an image or three in there.
  • Re-think your headline. Is it going to be enticing on Twitter, the kind of headline people would share? Does it contain emotive language? Is it still relevant to the article? Re-write it if you need to.

Need an extra pair of hands with your content?

We have a team of qualified, in-house brand journalists at the ready! Simply call us on 023 9283 0281 or send us your details and we’ll contact you.

Steve Masters profile picture
Steve Masters

Steve (RIP) was Services Director for Vertical Leap. He started professional life as a magazine journalist, working on music magazines and women's titles before becoming a web editor in 1997, then joining MSN to work purely in online publishing. Since 1999 he has worked for and consulted to a broad range of businesses about their digital marketing.

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