Most marketers tell us they want the same two things: more time, and more content.
Shame it’s hard to have both at the same time, huh?
You know that creating content is crucial to your online marketing, but how can you possibly keep up with your endless to-do list and create more of the stuff you know you need?
The key might be changing the way you THINK about the content you’re creating.
And not in a you-can-just-manifest-it-into-existence way, either.
When you change your perspective even a little bit, it can open up new opportunities, and make stuff that used to be really time-consuming a whole lot simpler!
Here are some of our favorite tips for creating a whole lot of something out of a tiny bit of (almost) nothing.
Can you guess how someone will use something for the very first time?
If they’ve never needed your product or service in the past, how might they use it in the future?
You can quickly come up with a list of content ideas by following Jimmy Daly’s Persona + Use Case Formula.
Here’s how the concept works.
Write down a list of the types of people (or personas) who you’re targeting with your product or service. If you’re, say, a dog photographer, your personas could be city dwellers, first-time dog owners, and enthusiastic doggie grandparents.
Then, make a list of your use cases. That dog photographer might write down holiday gifts, home decor, and memory preservation.
Finally, you’ll add your list of content ideas by mixing and matching the personas and use cases:
Doing this exercise gives you a list of content ideas, which is a great starting place. But how do you actually create the content that matches up to that list?
Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, type a few sentences, leave the document you’re writing in to grab a link, and then bam – it’s suddenly four hours later and you’re at the bottom of a totally-unrelated Wikipedia rabbit hole?
Yeah, we’ve never done that either.
This is why the most efficient writers separate out research and writing.
Do your research up front, so when it’s time to actually write, you’re prepared.
Writing time is when you’re in the zone. You’re focused, you can’t be stopped. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Realize as you’re writing that there’s a point you want to research a little more? Make a note, but keep pressing on – you can come back to it!
To be the most efficient and organized with all of this, you’re gonna need some help, though…
We’ve talked about some of our favorite whiteboard and mind-mapping tools before, and those are great for the ideation phase.
When it comes to the task of actually writing that content, though, you’re going to want to build an outline.
Think beyond just Intro, Body, Conclusion. Break down the individual points you want to make, and organize them in a way that makes sense – the more cohesive the structure, the easier it’ll be to actually write.
(You can get more tips on outlining and writing in this free download, too!)
Your outline template could even include things like your goals for your reader, categories or tags from your blog, an SEO summary section, and images you want to include.
Building a framework gives you freedom to fill in the blanks instead of starting from scratch every single time – and that means the process gets easier with every post you write!
One of the hardest habits to quit is editing as you write.
It’s tempting to want to make something perfect as you go, but it also makes the process a lot more time-consuming and stressful!
Instead of editing as you go, finish your first draft and return to it later with fresh eyes.
Some people call it a messy first draft, some just call it smart. Get all of your thoughts out onto paper first, then go back and edit. (Yes, we’re talking about ignoring typos, grammar errors, and even entire paragraphs that you might want to rearrange or delete.)
First drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect – they’re just supposed to be finished. When you’ve had some distance from it, editing goes a lot more easily!
If creating marketing content is part of your job, congratulations – you’re a professional content creator!
(Even if it’s just part of your job.)
And when you’re a professional, you’ve gotta practice.
Think of yourself like a professional athlete. A pro javelin thrower!
Someone who throws the javelin for fun only does it when they want to, because it doesn’t matter how good they are at it. They might even give it up for long stretches of time, and when they come back to it, they’re rusty.
You, on the other hand, are a pro! You show up consistently and you throw that javelin, even if you don’t feel particularly inspired at the time. You don’t ask yourself if you feel like it – you just show up and do what needs to be done.
Practice doesn’t have to be a big deal. Maybe it’s just a half hour each day! The point is that you make progress toward your goal each day – even just a little bit – no matter what.
Sometimes the Content Gods aren’t smiling down on you, even when you try all of the tips we’re sharing here.
And that’s okay!
When you find yourself stuck, it’s time to step away.
Take a break. Watch some cat videos. Step away from the computer and go outside, read a book, listen to some great music.
Your brain might just surprise you when you give it a break!
You know all of those great ideas you have in the shower or when you’re driving? There’s science behind those moments!
Taking a break is scientifically good for you and your creativity, so cut yourself some slack – it might just be the one thing you need!
Now that you have a game plan to make content creation less of a headache, where do you want to start?
How do you keep up with your own content creation schedule?
Share your favorite tips in the comments!
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