Within Professional Services, perhaps the easiest place to be able to quantify savings is in reducing wasted billable hours. Most professionals know precisely how much they charge and have a very tight grip on who they are charging at any time. This makes it comparatively straight-forward to quantify the opportunity cost of any endeavour.

Within the Content Marketing industry, authenticity is widely recognised as a critical component of good content. However, the cost of getting fee-earners to write long-form content is often so high that the business benefits can rapidly become marginal. 

Here are three of the most time-effective ways to create online content that advances any professional looking to build their reputation in their sector. 

All these methods of producing expert content have one thing in common, they are about protecting the time of your experts by lowering the barriers between their knowledge and the market.

Podcasts 

Podcasts are an extremely time-efficient way of creating content that is unquestionably authentic. Helpfully it's also a format that the marketing function can help facilitate; dramatically reducing the amount of fee-earner time required. 

A particularly effective approach is for the marketing function to set a time-limit for the podcast (often 5-10 minutes is plenty) and send through a day in advance three to four questions they're going to ask during the recording. Typically, professionals are extremely eloquent and enthusiastic when talking about their area of expertise so they rarely need to do a great deal of preparation before a recording.

Then all that's required is a quiet room, a laptop computer and a good microphone (and 10 minutes of the fee-earners time). 

"Post-production" on a podcast can again be done on a laptop by the marketing support and typically takes about twice as long as the podcast recording. The product is compelling, digestible, educational and easily shared. Also, by virtue of being a "real human" voice, the connection created with the listener is very personal.

Commentary 

Commenting on current events is a great way to create digestible relevant content that is of real value to an audience. The commentary format enables a professional to get straight to a point, relying on the referenced events for context. This can dramatically reduce the time required to write a post. 

Commentary blogs score very highly on Edelman's "five features of good thought leadership"; they are Relevant, Insightful, Digestible, Trusted and Current.

Professional-curated newsletters

I first created a community around a weekly newsletter when I was based in San Francisco in 1999. I was trying to build a presence in the Streaming Media community. We got a feed from PR newswire and a few other feeds, each Wednesday evening, I curated the most relevant content for our readers into a newsletter that we then emailed to everyone that was interested in events in our industry.

It was really interesting to hear Rahul Gandhi from Global Law firm CMS explaining that today he has a newsletter that he sends around that tracks events in the esports sector in an extremely similar fashion. 

One of the great advantages of committing to creating a weekly update on your sector (quite apart from being known as the "esports guy") is that you necessarily stay right up-to-date on industry events.