There is no shortage of tips and advice out there for budding content marketers. Anyone who has dipped their toes into this particularly creative aspect of marketing will know for a fact that content can be used to significantly enhance their company’s reputation, boost their credibility, and increase traffic to their website.

However, when you’ve got a business to run, customers to keep happy and deadlines to meet, you may think you’ve not got enough time on your hands to create those fresh, engaging and insightful blog posts that marketing experts tell you are so important to your brand’s digital wellbeing.

Contrary to popular belief, effective content marketing doesn’t have to take up as much time or energy as some people might have you believe. With a little thought and some lateral thinking, you too can create a whole host of resources that will work hard for your business.

Here are ten content marketing shortcuts that will help you get the best possible return on your investment (and, crucially, that won’t require you to become a full-time content marketer. I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief from here!).

1) Repurpose your best content

Every site has certain articles that go down really well with visitors and receive far more hits and social media likes or retweets than others. So why fix what ain’t broke?

Don’t be afraid to subtly repurpose and reuse the blogs that have proven to be the most popular. After a few months, revisit a particularly successful article and see if you can tweak it or change it, based on what’s been happening in your company or in your industry since it was published.

Think of it this way: when it comes to books, music and movies, people never tire of the classics. The same applies to web content, as long as the updated version is bringing something slightly new to the table.

2) Build relationships through comments

Being an authority in your field – and producing content that demonstrates your credibility – is key to a successful content marketing strategy. But you can’t simply become a go-to industry personality overnight.

If you are relatively new to your sector, or at least new to content marketing, start small. Select half a dozen good sites in your sector, whether they are the brainchilds of your associates, suppliers or even your competitors, and get into the habit of commenting on their best content. Go beyond simple one-liners saying “great post”, because that’s just irritatingly lazy; instead, contribute insights and opinions of your own that add to the discussion. And if you can, always sign off with your contact details and web address – that way you will soon become familiar to other readers.

Over time, commenting on appropriate posts will at the very least help you establish a name for yourself in your chosen community. At most, it will drive more valuable traffic to your site, and it may even result in solid leads from the most unlikely of sources.

3) Follow your influencers

Influencer marketing is set to become one of the most important marketing channels over the coming years as Generation Z becomes the dominant demographic in terms of spending power.

Because of this emerging trend, it’s essential to have a handle on some of the main influencers in your industry.

This doesn’t necessarily mean stalking them religiously on LinkedIn, or commenting on their Instagram posts twenty times a day. To start with, use them to help you understand which topics are hot, and monitor their feeds to see how other users are responding to certain types of content.

Once you’re feeling a little more confident in your space, reach out to a couple of successful personalities and connect with them. Most are pretty friendly and happy to chat, especially micro influencers with emerging followings.

4) Use multiple channels

People typically think of content as being articles and blog posts. They should be the cornerstones of your overall content strategy, yes – but there’s so much more to play with!

If you’ve got a great piece of content in the form of a blog post, you can repurpose it into an infographic, a vlog, a podcast or even a white paper. This might involve learning different design skills, or outsourcing the job to someone who already has these talents, but the end results will be so worth it.

You could even take a digital piece offline by turning it into a magazine article or a brochure. Print is by no means dead, after all.

5) Contribute guest posts

Remember those relationships you were nurturing with your relevant, well-placed comments? It’s worth keeping in mind that the people you are conversing with online are working hard to deliver great content, just like you are. Offer to contribute your unique insight in the form of a guest post, and they might well jump at the chance to get their hands on fresh copy from someone else who’s on the same wavelength as them.

Don’t just reproduce an existing article, though, as Google takes a dim view of duplicate content. You can take direction from an existing piece, but still put your own spin on it. In fact, it’s another great way to tweak and repurpose some of your best work.

6) Be open to guest posts

It works the other way around, too. There are hundreds of people out there who would post on your website in an instant, if they could.

Accepting guest posts from other writers can be a great way of getting fresh concept in a new voice – but you must tread carefully. When it comes down to it, these guest posters are all after one thing: a backlink to their own site. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, as long as the article is well-written and relevant, and you’re eventually going to be linking to a platform that’s reputable and at least fairly relevant to what you do. Take some time to vet link requests to preserve the credibility of your brand (and the domain authority of your website!).

7) Research keyword trends

Keyword analysis is one of the oldest components of SEO, and it’s as relevant today as it has ever been. Keeping an eye on keyword trends is a part of good SEO housekeeping, particularly for those who are also running perpendicular PPC strategies.

As well as being a vital part of any onpage optimisation process, in-depth keyword analysis also provides the best possible insight into the hearts and minds of customers and site visitors. It’s a great way to find out which content topics are likely to have the greatest impact on your readers.

8) Automate the process

Unfortunately, there’s not an app that will create content for you. (I’d love to say I’m working on it, but I’d be doing myself out of a job).

You can, however, automate the sharing process. If you are making full use of your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on, you will know that posting and tweeting your content can take as long as creating it. Tools like Hootsuite and Twitterfeed will do it for you in an instant, and best of all, you can schedule posts and links ahead of time.

9) Curate content from trusted sources

The internet is full of content. Some of it’s great, plenty of it is indifferent, and a small percentage of it is, quite frankly, tat.

So when you have the pleasure of coming across some really good content on another site, share it via your own site. Don’t copy it – write a short intro, credit the author, then link to the piece you found. Doing so will start to turn your site into a hub of useful resources.

And if you want to start collecting ideas for your own content projects, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you store all your inspiration in one place. In fact, there are too many to list here, and why bother when Express Writers have done all the hard work for us?

10) If it all gets too much, outsource!

If you’re running out of time, you have other things to focus on, or you’re just downright opposed to the idea of working on your content marketing campaign, there are plenty of content writers out there who will happily pick up the slack.

It’s up to you who you choose to employ. Some people prefer enlisting the help of a digital marketing company with its own in-house copywriting team, while others get better results from working with freelancers (and like the flexibility of being able to call upon professional help as and when they need to). Just make sure that your chosen copywriter has experience in your field of work and can provide you with a portfolio of work (or, at the very least, testimonials from their happy clients).