Last week I gave you a list of seven things you might integrate into a healthy marketing plan for the year ahead. Many will have looked at the list and simply thought that they do not have enough time. So, if you're doing the marketing for your own small business, employing your first marketing person, or working with a consultant, it's good to have an idea about how long typical tasks take.

Without talking of pieces of string and how long they are... I thought I’d have a go at some practical time-blocked suggestions that anyone could try. So, let’s run through seven marketing activities that you can do from your desk, with a run-down of what’s involved and roughly how long this would take you.

Writing a blog post or article: 2.5 hours approx

To create something that people want to read, and will act as a stepping stone into finding out more about your company, you will need to:

  • Come up with an idea,
  • draft the copy,
  • review and edit your copy,
  • check your SEO phrases are included,
  • come up with a catchy headline,
  • write the meta tag and meta description,
  • find an accompanying image,
  • upload this to your site,
  • tag it and categorise it,
  • publish it,
  • and, let people know it’s there.

In talking to other bloggers, I’ve had estimates from 30 minutes to 10 hours. Once you get into the swing of blogging I believe that anyone, who knows their subject well, can write a good piece in about 2.5 hours. And, it doesn’t need to be done in one sitting. I find this a perfect activity to do if I’m out at meetings with 30 minutes or so in between, or on a train. I always keep a notebook handy for those moments of inspiration too.

Take a look at: Business blogs – the good, the great and the gratuitous

Social media marketing: 10-20 minutes per day

You can squeeze your social media into those gaps in your diary. With a smart phone there’s no reason that 5 minutes waiting for a client to arrive, or between appointments can’t be put to good use. The things I build into each day are: updating my Linkedin status, replying to any @mentions on Twitter, saying good morning on Twitter, asking a question on Twitter at some point in the day, re-tweeting an article or two I’ve found interesting. And each week I will supplement this with: posting details of our latest blog, any published articles, and some comment on a article I’ve read.

Useful event: How to use social media to drive sales (Guardian Masterclass)

Directory listings: 3 hours quarterly

There’s a little bit of upfront work to do here in researching the directories in your industry. Take a look at membership organisations, Google industry terms, see if you can find a helpful list of lists out there somewhere. Then it’s a case of adding yourself, and popping back at least quarterly to check that your details are up to date.

Search engine optimisation: 1 day then 10 minutes per week

Again, after some initial legwork in researching your keywords, which you will probably want to repeat quarterly or six-monthly, you should then simply be weaving these terms into any new content on your website as it is added – then running off a report monthly to see how you’re performing.

Creating a short video: 1 day

YouTube has helpfully reduced the expectations on production values, and many people will appreciate a video that has been produced with care in-house. To create a short video we’d suggest picking one of your best blogs and expanding on it with a few more stories or analogies. With a decent camera and basic editing software you can produce something worth sharing. You’ll need to jot down your talking points, set-up your camera in good light, shoot your footage a few times, run it into an editing package (like iMovie for Mac), edit it to flow nicely, add some captions and an end-frame, export as an MPEG, upload to YouTube, embed in your website. And there you have it.

For a campaign last week, I took a 90-minute piece of footage from a recent talk of mine, and cut it up into 15 chunks with intro and outro slides. It took me one day to do all 15 of them using iMovie. I've never been trained on this software. It really is do-able!

For a 3-minute piece I’ve probably over-egged this – but once you’ve got to grips with the editing you’ll definitely be able to do one of these in a day.

Hosting a web or telephone seminar: About a day spread over 6 weeks

A telephone or web seminar is a live event that people attend remotely having pre-registerd. They are typically an hour in length, with 30 minutes of content, 10 minutes of intro and wrap-up, 10 minutes of interaction like Q&A or live polls and a little contingency. To run one of these you’ll need to promote the event in good time so people register, prepare your content, practice presenting the content, send people joining instructions, familairise yourself with the technology, run the event, and send people a follow-up to the event. The first time you do this it’s about a day’s work spread out into chunks of an hour or two, but once you’ve done it once you can re-run it with far less time investment.

Creating a web or podcast: 1 hour approx

A webcast is simply a pre-recorded presentation that plays on demand (like our 10 Minute Tips). For these you can re-use some of your video or webinar material from above, or just do a voiceover some presentation slides. PowerPoint and Keynotes both allow to record and export in various formats in the latest versions, so with pre-existing content this is unlikely to take you more than an hour to produce.

The great thing about all of the items listed above is that once you have them, you can eek miles of value from them, by re-purposing and re-using them in various different contexts. And if you can’t think what to write, take a look at our A-Z of Content Marketing Ideas. © Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer

Bryony Thomasby Bryony Thomas, author of the award-winning book, Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press £14.99) – The entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual. #watertightmkg

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Drop me a line by leaving a comment below, or chatting over on Twitter: @bryonythomas

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author and Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony is an inspirational marketing speaker, and author of Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press, £14.99). Billed by Start Your Business Magazine as “a must for small businesses.” It was described by one MD as “the entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual”. By another, as the “best business book I’ve ever read.”

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