As an experienced copywriter and content creator who runs a personal blog and writes blog content for my organisation and others, I spend a lot of time writing blog content and guest post articles.
All of this content takes hours to research, plan, write, edit, and proofread. To streamline the process, I’ve started creating templates for some of my articles.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not talking about writing a job-lot of articles well ahead of publication.
That might be a good way to save yourself the effort at the time of publication, but in the long run, it doesn’t actually save you any time. You’ve still got to write and research the content; you’re just doing it all in one big chunk, rather than spreading the work out over several weeks.
Instead, when I want to save time, I create basic templates for content that include all of the info I know I definitely need. This approach has helped me to streamline the content creation process, and it can help anyone who regularly creates content for a blog.
If you want to find out how I do it, and how you can use this approach in your work, then read on.
Work Out All The Information You Need To Include
The first step is to work out what information you always include in your posts.
If you always have a conclusion or a call to action, then include this information on your list for the template.
You can also save yourself time when it comes to posting the content, by creating specific sections for the header, subheader, image caption, and other relevant sections.
There’s no need to fill those sections in; that will come when you actually write each piece. All you need to do for now is to show where they will go so that you can fill them in when you write the article and can then quickly grab that info when you post your work.
Make a rough list of everything you’ll need, and then you can start drafting your template.
Create Separate Templates For Different Types Of Content
If you’re writing a lot of content for a range of destinations, as you should be, then you’ll need a few templates.
After all, your guest post template will be different from your blog template, and if you write other types of content like press releases, then you’ll need a specific template for those too!
Create different templates for each style of content so that you can save yourself time writing anything.
Set Your Template Up The Way You Like It
The whole point of making a content template is to save yourself time, so set it up the way you want it so you can get straight down to writing.
Even the smallest change might put you off, so adjust your template to include the font, text size, and app integrations that you like.
Personally, I like to layout my work in a certain way, which is different from the default blank document settings. That’s why I love creating templates- I don’t have to go through the ritual of changing everything, and can just get straight down to putting my piece together.
As you get used to using your template, it’ll be easier for you to find the sections you need to fill in and check your content for typographical errors, as I’ve found over the years.
No matter how small the issue is, if something is getting in your way or you don’t like it, then change it so that the template looks exactly the way you want it to. After all, it’s meant to save you time, so you need to make sure it works for you!
Make It Clear Where Information Needs To Be Added
No one wants to make the embarrassing mistake of missing out information from their article, so it’s crucial that you make it clear where everything needs to be added.
If possible, try to set up the template so that the information needs to be included alongside the sentences you’ve already got, not actually in them.
If it’s completely unavoidable, then make sure that you highlight which parts of each sentence need adding to, so that you can see them clearly.
You should always be reading your content through completely before you publish it, so you should catch any missing info. Despite this, mistakes happen, so do your best to reduce them by creating a template that is user-friendly.
Never Be Afraid To Change Your Template
Once you’ve put your template together, it’s important to remember that it’s not set in stone.
Your template is yours; it’s designed to save you time, but sometimes you might have to change it or ignore it altogether.
For example, if I’m writing a specific piece of content, then I might decide to move things around or to take something out.
Changing your template helps you to create the content you need, and it also helps you to avoid duplicate content.
Readers and search engines both want new information, and if they notice regular repetitions, then they might become suspicious.
Google recommends that you don’t post duplicate content online, and while you shouldn’t necessarily do everything that the search engine tells you to, in this instance, you should follow this suggestion.
If you’ve made your template properly, and not filled in the information but just shown where it will go, then you should be OK, but it’s still vital that you adapt your template and don’t stick to it religiously.
Be prepared to make changes and adapt to the expectations of your audience. If you notice that you’re making the same changes over and over again, then turn them into a new template!
Adjust Your Template Regularly
As well as temporary changes to your templates, you also need to review them regularly and check that they still fit their purpose.
As mentioned earlier, readers are always looking for fresh, exciting new content; if they notice that your work is derivative and samey, then they won’t keep reading.
To combat this while still using templates to save yourself time, you need to update them regularly. Check that the information is still correct, and adapt it as you see fit.
Even if you don’t feel that anything needs changing, make a few minor tweaks to refresh the template and keep your content interesting.
You also need to keep an eye out for any information that you have to add to your template every time you create content; you might need to add this to your template.
Refreshing your template regularly will keep it relevant and ensure that it saves you time and still leads to great posts that readers will love.
It’s also important to remember that your template might not work out the first time; like everything, you might need to try out a few techniques before you create something that you enjoy using.
Try out a few techniques until you hit upon a template that is flexible, time-saving, and easy to use.
Blogging can take a lot of time and effort, which is why article templates can help, but only if they’re used correctly.
Remember that you’re the one using your template, so it doesn’t just need to create great content; it also needs to save you time and make it easier for you to write.
I hope that you’ve learned to use pre-written content templates to make the content creation process quick and easy, while still ensuring that the outcome is high-quality articles that readers will enjoy.
Hannah Stevenson is the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, the UK’s highest-ranking link building agency. A former journalist and experienced copywriter, she understands how to craft time-saving yet engaging pre-written article templates.