You'll notice I didn't say "write blog and web content faster." That's because I'm not going to talk about merely writing articles and posts. In fact, I'm going to suggest that you'll produce content faster if you stop writing so much. Yes, writing will be an essential element, but not the only element.
Content consists of quite a bit more than text. Text has been emphasized because of its search engine optimization possibilities. But there are several ways of using other content, such as graphics, video, audio and music while still being able to get good listings in search engines.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Infographics are at the top of the "hotness" list right now. I know that of all the suggestions I'm about to give on producing content faster, this should be in last place, because, at least at first, it doesn't speed things up. I put it up front because the buzz on using infographics as site content is so high I wanted to get the idea out of the way first.
Yes they're great. And you should look into using them. But they are time-consuming content to make. There are very few pre-made ones available for you to use on your site. You have to make your own. However, you can get pre-made elements and layout templates. And you can get the data you want to illustrate from free government sources like U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis or the U.S. Census Bureau; or places like Google Public Data Explorer http://www.google.com/publicdata/home.
If you want excellent examples of infographics to inspire you -- and intimidate you with the amount of work involved for the neophyte -- go visit http://visual.ly/ .
Nevertheless, if you already have the skills and knowledge -- or a source of supply -- using infographics will provide extensive, valuable content without the need for much writing. (Of course, you could always just supply the data and outsource the infographic creation.)
The secret to getting listings for infographics in the search engines is to simply write a couple of normal text paragraphs describing the content and use of the data in the infographic presentation. Between the keyword-relevant text and the description that labels your presentation as an infographic, you'll be set for getting traffic without having to do a lot of writing for it -- 200 to 300 words will do quite well.
2. Charticles are just as good attractors as infographics, but are considerably easier to make. You can get some of the graphics from free and public domain sources to save time. Charticles, like infographics, have a data or statistics based chart, diagram, graph or other image, around which you write a brief story explaining the content or value of the graphic. Unlike infographics, however, the charticle usually has one graphic. Infographics do mashups of several graphics plus text into a coherent presentation. Charticles are like using photos and illustrations as suggested in #3 below, but the graphic is a data presentation rather than, say, a portrait.
To get good ideas for charticles, look here . Some of the images have crossed the line into infographics, but many will give you accurate examples. Just click on the images to see how they're used in context.
3. Good photos, illustrations or other images that tell a story in and of themselves are a long-time staple of news magazines. The famed and highly collectable Life Magazine relied on them extensively as the basis for its stories. National Geographic couldn't publish without them. Most popular newsmagazines depend upon them.
It is literally true that a picture is worth a thousand words. So, instead of writing a thousand words, get a good photograph or other image and write a short story about what you see in it. How do you interpret it? What does it mean to you? What should it remind your audience of?
With a good image and 200 or 300 words of text, you can have an article or post ready to go very quickly. Not only does it save time and writing, it also provides endless writing ideas. If you're stuck for an idea, go look at photos. Something will occur to you.
It's easy to get photos for free and royalty-free uses. I use iclipart.com, but there are countless others. I also use government and other public domain resources. And I have a collection of my own. You can take your own photos. Even snapshots from your cell phone camera will do for editorial use. You're not looking for fine art. You're looking for a story, an article for your blog or website.
4. Videos are also quite popular content. If you have some of your own, great. Put them in an article, as you would with static graphics, and write a story around them so the search engines will be able to figure out what they are and list them.
If you don't have any of your own, need I say "YouTube?" There are so many online sources of fine videos that you can embed and write a story around that I've lost count. If you don't have your own list of sources, go exploring and build one. This article is to short to cover it.
5. Audio can be used the same way as graphic and video. It doesn't matter if it's music, a podcast, a news recording, a tutorial -- whatever. If it fits your blog or website subject, embed it in your article for streaming or download. Write succinctly about its essential content and its value.
This is another form of content you can find free or royalty-free in numberless venues. And, if you have your own audio content you want to promote, all the better.
[Warning: Please remember to check carefully about copyright and trademark issues when you are using other people's content. "Free" sometimes means you don't have to pay a fee to read or download for private, personal use. On YouTube, sometimes the item is embeddable and sometimes not. If doesn't have an embed link, don't just download it and use it anyway. On all items you borrow from others, find the permission or license to use and only use it in accordance with the published terms. Only use items that clearly give permission. Even on government sites, some items are developed in private enterprise and furnished to the government under license. So check if it's public domain before you use it. In the arena of using other people's content, the old adage applies: "When in doubt, don't."]
Now, stop reading about it and go get some great content to write a quick, easy story around.