Love it or hate it, your brand needs to create great content—and lots of it—to thrive. The average adult in the U.S. now spends over 11 hours consuming content each day, so if you’re not giving your audience what they want to engage with, you’re not going to stay in their minds for long. And with feeds refreshing every second, high-quality content creation needs to happen fast.
We won’t lie—content creation can be challenging when you’re first getting in the groove of it. Some companies hire entire content marketing teams for the task, after all. But once you have a solid, repeatable process to follow—and great tools to speed up your work—you’ll be able to produce the best content for social media, your website, and more without wasting any time.
Here’s what you need to know to become a master content creator for your brand.
Table of Contents
- Start With a Content Marketing Strategy
- Create Your Content Calendar
- Master Content Creation Hacks
- Templatize and Remix What Works
Effective content creation doesn’t start with creating content; it starts with planning.
Taking some time to brainstorm is key to building a successful content marketing strategy. Brainstorming allows you to generate content ideas with your audience in mind so you’ll know what the next steps are before you dive into writing, designing, filming, and everything in between. At this stage, you should also identify where you plan to reach your audience and how you plan to engage with them. Think about your tone and voice now, so you can save time later.
The following four steps can help you solidify your content strategy efficiently—and you’ll only need to repeat the last one on a recurring basis.
1. Identify Your Content Categories
A great first step is to select 3-5 core content categories for your brand. These will be the overarching topics that every piece of content you create should relate to in some way.
For example, if you run an Etsy store that sells vintage tees, your core categories may be product listings, style, and sustainability. Anything you post should fall into at least one of these buckets.
Setting your categories first will not only help make your niche clear to potential customers, it will also keep you focused on what’s most relevant in your ideation phase.
2. Identify Content Formats and Publishing Platforms
Knowing what types of content you want to create for which platforms is another helpful step for speeding up your content creation. This step is pretty simple. All you need to do is identify your most important marketing channels (e.g., Instagram, LinkedIn, blogging, and email marketing), then figure out the exact content formats you need for each channel (e.g., Instagram post, Instagram Story, Instagram Reels, IGTV).
If you don’t already know the right channels for your brand, consider your target audience. Where are they spending most of their time? What kind of content would be most engaging for them?
3. Define Your Visual Identity
A strong visual identity can turn a run-of-the-mill company into a brand that everyone will remember. Make decisions about your visual identity now to take out the guesswork and save time when it’s time to create your content. What colors and fonts will you use? What will your logo look like?
Once you have your visual identity set, you can set up your brand in Spark to maximize efficiency. Just plug in your colors, fonts, and logo and we’ll hook you up with personalized and customizable templates.
In the future, you can transform any project into branded content in a single tap, saving you lots of time, while keeping your visuals consistent and on-brand.
4. Gather Assets and Share Them With Your Team
Searching for and making visuals takes up a ton of time when creating content. And if you’re starting from scratch every time, your brand may end up getting diluted in the process. Having a place to gather your photos and other assets into a library will give you a curated collection to look through before you go down any stock photo rabbit holes.
Spark’s Creative Cloud Libraries integration makes it easy to not only stay organized, but also share with team members, so you’re always creating from the same, on-brand assets.
Pro tip: Refresh your library seasonally or when you update your content categories, so you always have lots of on-brand visuals to choose from.
Your editorial calendar will serve as the home for your comprehensive content strategy. It’s how you’ll stay organized as you finalize your content ideas, and it’s where you’ll plug in the content you create.
Your calendar doesn’t have to be fancy. All you really need is a Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. At a minimum, create columns for the following:
- Publishing date
- Publishing time
- Post topic
The first four columns of your calendar will allow you to establish when and where you’re publishing, as well as what your content will be about. The “post topic” column—which we’ll go over in the next step—will allow you to get a little more specific before you create your content for the final two columns.
Plan a Month Ahead
Once you’ve completed the first four columns of your editorial calendar, you can start generating specific ideas for each day and time you plan to publish. Do this weekly or monthly.
Pro tip: A great way to save time is to use the same idea across all the marketing channels you’re posting on each day.
For example, if you run a record store and you’ve chosen the content category “music history” for Christmas Day, you can use the topic idea “background about the most popular Christmas song of all time” across all your chosen content formats. As you’re going through the content creation process, you can then simply optimize content for every platform—for example, editing a YouTube script into a blog post—instead of creating brand new content for every post.
Some places that can help inspire good content ideas for your brand include:
- Industry news
- Google Trends
- Trending hashtags and topics on Twitter
- Upcoming national holiday or social media holiday calendars
- Similar social media accounts
When you’re ready to get hands-on with content creation and bring your ideas to life, a streamlined process can really make a difference. These five master content creation hacks can help you produce content for a variety of platforms faster than ever before.
1. Create in Blitzes
It can take a while to get in the groove of content creation, but once your creativity is sparked, you’ll easily pick up the pace. Instead of constantly stopping and going, carve out some time for yourself to create all your planned content for the week, or even the month. This way, you’ll already be in your creative flow and content creation will fly by faster.
2. Write First
A good rule of thumb for efficient content creation is to start with the copy. This way, the visuals you pair with your written content are sure to be relevant. Plus, if you’re planning to create graphics, you can have the copy prepared for your visual, too.
Any long-form content should come first. When optimizing for different content formats, it’s always faster to cut down copy than to add onto it. For example, pulling a tweet out of a podcast script is much more efficient than vice versa.
If your first piece of content needs to be more than a few paragraphs, however, make sure to create an outline for your content before you start writing.
Need some help finding creative ways to express your topic idea in your brand voice? Consider these tips:
- Jump on a search engine to find content about similar topics
- Use a tool like RhymeZone or The Idioms to experiment with wordplay
- Read through our list of 100 Instagram caption ideas
3. Start From Inspiration
You don’t have to start with an empty canvas. Search on Spark for the type of graphic you’re looking for. You’ll be able to scroll through thousands of relevant templates and quickly find the one that gives you a perfect starting point.
As you customize your chosen template, browse through over 20,000 design assets—including frames, shapes, and texture overlays—to find the best fits for your aesthetic. No need to DIY every little element of your design.
4. Turn To One-Tap Video Creation
Want to make your brilliant copy into something everyone will read? Turn it into a trendy video animation with one tap!
On Spark, you can add motion to your graphics and better engage your audience as a result. With just a single tap, your graphics will never be a snooze fest again.
5. Resize in a Single Tap
Every platform has different recommended dimensions for visuals. To make your content stand out everywhere you’re publishing it without wasting time, use Spark to resize your designs in a single tap.
Just start with a free design template of your choice, then tap “Resize” and choose your content type to create an instantly optimized graphic for another platform. Tap below to try the feature:
Bonus! Handy Keyboard Shortcuts
When you’re on a deadline, you need all the time you can get. So we’ve coded up some handy shortcuts to speed up many of the most common editing actions. You can find the complete list of the available keyboard shortcuts in this Help Doc. And you betcha we’ll be adding more in the future.
Here are a couple of our favorite shortcuts:
- [Shift + Return/Enter] to quickly confirm your text edits without having to click the “Done” button.
- [Option/Alt + drag] allows you to duplicate the selected element and place it where you want by just dragging it!
- [Cmd/Ctrl + G] to group selected elements together.
Once you’ve gotten pieces out into the world, you’ll start to get a sense of what posts resonate with your audience. Is it bold and inspirational quote graphics? Or do they love your more refined, educational designs? Do your lists get saved and shared more than any other piece of content? Whatever is garnering the most engagement should get the most space on your account.
Challenge yourself to remix and reinvigorate your top performing designs or content types. Then work from those projects to create the next one—it may be as simple as swapping out the color for another in your brand’s palette or changing up the copy in a high-performing infographic. The more you can avoid starting from scratch, the faser your content creation will become.
Check out how these brands find social success by relying on templatized social content:
Astrology app Co-Star proves that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you post on social. While the brand’s Instagram page offers new content every single day, its designs follow the same template that simply switches between black and white backgrounds.
Co-Star found the design that resonates with their audience and capitalized on it, giving its 1.6 million followers consistency while keeping content creation as low-effort as possible.
The Depression Project
The Depression Project similarly sticks to the same templates, posting educational content with consistent cover image templates each time. When they switch it up, it’s for a purpose. They communicate what the audience can expect from the full post just by designating different icons and colors to each of their content categories. It’s a simple way to spark interest with minimal changes to a familiar template.
Start browsing through Spark’s Instagram templates and brainstorm how you could master content creation through templatization today!