The question ‘How long should I spend creating content for my business?’ could just as well be, ‘How long is piece of string?’ Because obviously you could spend an infinite amount of time creating content for your business. A better question is, ‘What is the optimal amount of time I should give to creating content for my business?’ (It’s not so catchy as a headline!)
Optimal amount of time is – again – subjective and different people will give you different answers as to what’s best. There are, however, way too many people online telling you you can create a month’s worth of content in 30 minutes or less. Yes you can. But will it be meaningful content that makes a jot of difference to your business? Unlikely. Extremely unlikely.
Minutes to minute ratio
So realistically. How much time is a good amount of time to spend creating content for your business? I’m going to start with what I consider to be the magic minutes to minute ratio.
Based on looking at this issue every which way (I do that!), I’ve come up with a one to ten ratio as a very reliable guide for content creation time. For every minute of consumable content you want to create i.e. something that takes a minute or less for someone to read, watch or look at, you should spend ten minutes creating it.
(We’ll get into how much consumable content you should be creating in a bit.)
Why this 10:1 ratio?
If you spend less than 10 minutes creating one minute of consumable content you run the risk of making the quality too low. If you spend more than 10 minutes per minute of this is a sign you may be getting bogged down or giving too much time to individual posts/blogs/videos which won’t be sustainable to create a consistent presence.
What about time to plan and evaluate?
Another thing to remember is creating content is only part of your content life-cycle. You also need to allocate planning time, time to upload and/or schedule the content (yes do this!). You also need to devote some time to the important job of evaluating which content you create is getting the most positive response, by looking at your analytics. So for a 10:1 ratio for content creation time, you need to allocate a total time of about 15 minutes per one minute of consumable content.
Sounds like a lot?
Well, ummmm, yes. There’s no way to sugar coat this. Creating the right kind of quality content to establish you as an expert in your industry is a significant investment of your time and effort. Of course there’s lots of talk about outsourcing, but if it’s your reputation your building it’s your thought and ideas and expertise you need to be putting out there. But you can learn to do this efficiently and effectively and these are key areas I focus on teaching you.
I’ve spent the last six years looking at the online content of small and medium size enterprises, and I’ve found one thing to be consistently true. Most small and medium size businesses are either creating too much or too little content. Very very few are creating just the right amount at the right quality.
So what is the right amount of content?
From a purely practical perspective the right amount of content is whatever amount you can consistently create of a high enough quality to build your reputation and relationships online. This varies for different people at different stages of their business, and I advocate for a completely positive and supportive conversation around content creation (no nasty judgey comments on this, from anyone!).
In terms of what it’s a good idea to have as a goal though, I recommend that you aim to spend one hour creating content per platform per week. If you post the same to instagram and Facebook you can adjust this but allow some time for hashtag research to reach as many of the right people with carefully chosen hashtags.
When you factor in planning and evaluation time that’s one and a half hours per platform per week. Now, this is not prescriptive it’s a guide to help you not give too much or too little time to creating content for your business.
As you get more experienced with your content creation you will get faster and more efficient. The amount you can create in your designated time will probably increase, and your clarity around your topics and what is the most useful content to create for your audience will also probably increase.
One final thing to bear in mind, it’s also really important to go for quality over quantity and put most of your efforts into creating content you can post in more than one place AND post more than one time.
Go spend an optimal amount of time creating quality content, my creator friends!