The entrepreneurial lifestyle is often a hectic one.
Some “treps” easily end up working 50, 60, or even more hours per week.
Don’t get me wrong.
I love almost everything about running my businesses and blogs, but time is definitely at a premium.
And I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to spend on an extensive, exhaustive marketing campaign.
But you know what?
There are a lot of marketing activities that can get legitimate results that you can do in 1 hour or less.
I came up with 28 specific activities you can do in your downtime but which will still give your business a nice boost.
Here we go.
1. Create an editorial calendar
Almost any great blog begins with a detailed editorial calendar.
This is where you coordinate your content, schedule your posts, set deadlines, list your CTAs, and so on.
In other words, an editorial calendar provides structure to your blogging campaign and keeps things from getting messy.
Honestly, this is the only way I’m able to stay on top of my game (and maintain sanity) with all of my different projects.
I recommend checking out this list of editorial calendar templates from Builtvisible for more.
2. Tweak your editorial calendar
You should also know that an editorial calendar is never static.
A good one is dynamic, ever-changing.
If you haven’t checked your editorial calendar in a while, look it over and make any necessary adjustments.
For instance, you might:
- Check off posts that have been completed
- Add new content to create over the next month
- Look for ways to make it more organized
3. Read three industry blog posts
I really recommend staying on top of industry trends.
This is your ticket to spotting patterns, generating new marketing ideas, and coming up with interesting new content to share with your audience.
That’s why I try to make it a habit to read three high-level industry blog posts whenever I get a chance.
4. Comment on three industry blogs
When you’re done reading, leave a thoughtful comment.
Go for more than just saying, “I love this blog post!”
Instead, shoot for something more detailed and insightful to prove you’ve really sifted through the information and analyzed it.
Here’s a great example of a recent comment I received on Quick Sprout:
I think this comment added even more depth to the conversation, and I can guarantee you any blogger would greatly appreciate such a comment.
I know I do.
5. Research industry trends
The way I see it, crushing it in most businesses is all about striking while the iron is hot.
That’s why I routinely do industry research to see what’s happening and stay on top of recent changes.
A quick Google search on “[your industry] trends” should pop up a wealth of information.
This can shape your business and marketing decisions and will help you stay sharp as an entrepreneur.
6. Brainstorm topics for your blog
As I’ve said before, coming up with new ideas for blog posts can be quite exhausting.
That’s why I like to devote some time to simply brainstorming new ideas so I don’t have to come up with them off the top of my head.
One of the ways I streamline this process is by using Alltop and BuzzSumo.
And here’s BuzzSumo:
They’re both great for seeing what’s popular and for generating ideas.
Sometimes, I can come up with as many as 50 rock solid ideas in just 1 hour this way.
7. Do keyword research
I’m a big fan of a process known as “batching,” which I’ve written about before on Quick Sprout.
Batching can be used to make nearly any task quicker and more efficient.
Here’s a simple example of using batching to deliver mail:
One marketing task that can be quite time-consuming is keyword research.
When you do this prior to writing every blog post, it can really drain your time.
That’s why I suggest doing it in blocks: identify keywords to target—all in one sitting.
You can then add your keywords to your editorial calendar so you know what to use in your upcoming content.
8. Send a pitch for a guest post
You probably already know I’m a huge proponent of guest blogging.
If you can get in front of a large, established audience, you’ll get exposure for your brand.
It’s just as simple as that.
But, of course, guest blogging first begins with sending an initial pitch.
If you’ve got an hour to burn, why not send out a couple of pitches to relevant bloggers?
And if you’re new to this, I really love this guide from Backlinko.
It will walk you through guest blogging step by step.
9. Repurpose one of your best blog posts
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, there’s a good chance you have a handful of posts that totally crushed it.
They’re the best of the best—your “unicorn content.”
Repurpose one of your best posts using a different medium, e.g., a whitepaper, long-form guide, infographic, or a short e-book.
If your audience was receptive to a particular topic presented in a standard blog post, there’s a good chance they will give it a warm reception in a different medium too.
Read over this guide for everything you need to know on repurposing content.
10. Record a video
Video marketing is ridiculously huge right now.
On average, video gets crazy engagement.
It also gets massive conversion rates.
If you’re not already leveraging video marketing, I suggest getting on board right away.
I know for a fact that video allows me to connect with my audience on a level that most other mediums cannot.
And the odds are good that it will produce a positive impact for you as well.
11. Record a podcast
I friggin’ love podcasts!
Interest in them has grown over the past few years quite a bit:
In my opinion, they’re a great way to “round off” your content and offer your audience an alternative type of media to consume.
At the time of publication of this article, I’ve recorded over 200 podcast episodes on NeilPatel.com and have found it to be a tremendous experience.
Once you figure out the software and equipment, it doesn’t take much effort to record a podcast.
You can easily do it within 1 hour.
If you’re not sure how to get started, check out this guide from Pat Flynn.
12. Make a slideshow
I feel slideshows don’t get a whole lot of love and get lost in the content mix.
But they’ve got plenty of potential and are worth experimenting with.
Slideshare alone had 70 million users as of early 2017 and can be a great way to pull in some extra traffic.
13. Create a picture quote
I’m sure you’ve seen picture quotes floating on social media.
They look like this:
They’re especially big on Twitter and Instagram and work great for expressing thoughts in a visual-centric way.
The cool thing is that picture quotes are super quick and easy to make.
Canva is one of my favorite platforms because it offers a large library of professional images that are mostly free to use.
You can borrow from famous quotes or create your own.
14. Share three epic posts on social media
Curating content is an integral part of the social media marketing process.
You definitely want to shine the spotlight on other people’s great work rather than shamelessly self-promoting your brand.
Whenever you’ve got some free time, search the Internet for three epic posts to share.
To curate content like a boss, check out this guide from Curata.
15. Follow five relevant people
Sometimes I feel my social feed is a little stale.
In which case, I search for a few new follows to spice it up.
You may even be able to make some new contacts, so always be willing to make the first move on social media.
16. Engage with five people on social media
Allow me to piggyback on that last statement.
If you’re looking to expand your network and potentially find new business partners, be always engaging with others.
This hardly takes any time, but commenting or even liking or retweeting great content can sometimes be the catalyst for new opportunities.
17. Engage with five recent followers
It’s also important to engage with the people who follow you and build genuine rapport with your audience.
When you’ve got some spare time, go through your social media accounts and pick out a handful of recent followers.
Then hit them up by thanking them for following you or even start an online conversation.
18. Target an influencer
I’m sure you’ve heard about influencer marketing and how potent it can be as a marketing tool.
And it’s totally true.
But getting to the point where an influencer actually promotes your brand takes time.
The first step in the process is finding someone who is likely to be on board.
One technique I’ve found to be effective when searching for influencers is to use BuzzSumo.
Here’s an example of what pops up after I searched for content marketing influencers:
I think a great way to make use of an hour is to research and target potential influencers in your industry.
To learn about this process, check out this post from NeilPatel.com.
19. Contact an influencer
Once you’ve found an influencer, it’s time for the approach.
This typically involves doing a little research about them, their brand, values, philosophy, etc.
Next, send them an email or contact them via their website to give them your pitch.
I recommend reading this post from Crazy Egg for the skinny on reaching out to influencers.
20. Submit your business to directories
Did you know that 145 million people use Yelp each month?
And that’s just one of many business directories.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your exposure and reel in more local consumers, it’s smart to spend some time submitting your business to relevant directories.
This ultimate list from HubSpot highlights 50 of the best directories for local marketing.
21. Check Google Analytics
It’s important to stay current on key metrics.
I like to know about any visitor traffic patterns and behavior that could impact my ability to make conversions.
If you haven’t checked Google Analytics (or whatever type of metrics platform you use) in a while, it’s smart to spend some time there.
In particular, I pay close attention to the amount of time people spend on my site, referrals, and audience interests.
22. Analyze your top competitors
If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you may want to see what the competition is up to.
I suggest identifying three or four of your top competitors and checking the following:
- Top organic keywords
- Top anchors
- Referring domains
This will give you some valuable intel on what’s working for them and what you can do to gain the upper hand.
One of my favorite tools for doing this is SEMrush.
It’s free and will supply you with a load of information.
23. Do a content audit
Although the word audit may sound time-consuming and even a little intimidating, it’s actually not all that involved.
You can do a basic content audit in as little as 1 hour.
While it may be a tad boring, it’s a great way to ensure your content is hitting its mark.
You can learn the basics in this guide from Quick Sprout.
24. Do an SEO audit
Just like you want to ensure that your content is in tip top shape, it’s also crucial to see what state your SEO is in from time to time.
Doing an SEO audit is a great way to get a glimpse of how things are performing.
More specifically, you can tell:
- What your top organic keywords are
- Whether there are any issues with meta descriptions, URL structure, etc.
- How your domain ranks among the competition
Check out this post from Search Engine Land to learn how to do your own SEO audit in only 5 minutes.
25. Check for dead links
Dead links aren’t cool.
They disrupt the user experience and can make your brand seem unprofessional.
That’s why I suggest checking for dead links every few months or so.
It’s no big deal.
Just use the Online Broken Link Checker.
It’s completely free, and it will give you the rundown of any broken links and identify their location on your site.
26. Do some internal linking
An internal link “is one that points to another page on the same website.”
Internal linking is a fundamental part of SEO and helps “spread link juice around your site.”
It’s a good idea to spend some time doing some internal linking if it’s something you’ve slacked on in the past.
Just make sure your links point to pages that are relevant and truly add to the reader experience.
27. Improve your email signature
Having an email signature that’s consistent with your company is an important aspect of branding.
Unfortunately, it’s sometimes overlooked.
If you really want to make a splash, add your logo along with a professional headshot.
Check out this infographic from Business 2 Community for the details on creating a killer email signature.
28. Fine-tune your sales funnel
Your sales funnel is the key to leading consumers through the buying process until they ultimately make a purchase.
But if you’ve been using the same sales funnel for the past few years, some serious inefficiencies could be holding you back.
Why not spend a little time going over your existing sales funnel to check for areas that could use some improvement?
Amping up your marketing doesn’t always require exhaustive work sessions.
In fact, there are many business-boosting marketing activities you can do in 1 hour or less.
If you’ve got some downtime and want to devote it to marketing, any of these activities should be worth your while.
Can you think of any other marketing activities that don’t require a big time commitment?