You’ve heard over and over again, how important content is to your digital marketing strategy. And you want to create content that is valuable, but it’s so. Much. Work. Your content should be helpful to your community while making your business shine – and that pressure can make it difficult to squeeze out the gems that you want to share. If you struggle with content creation, it may take you HOURS to write a simple blog post or article. You dread each creation session because you know it’ll be hours before you’re done.
STOP. It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to put that black cloud you’re your desk. In fact, if you follow a few basic content productivity tasks, you’ll shave hours off the creation process and may even grow to enjoy it (gasp!).
- Start with an outline.
Forget what you learned in high school about making an outline. You are a grown up and can do it your own way. Your outline can be simple with just a few bullet points or it can be more complex with complete paragraphs that will need to be fleshed out later. Whichever method works for you is fine. There’s no longer a “right” way to make an outline.
I always tell people to throw something on the wall (or paper) and see what sticks. It’s so much easier to edit from something, rather than nothing. Therefore, the reason you want to create an outline is because it’s much easier to write when you already know the main points you want to cover. Start by writing down several points you want to touch on then go back and number them in order of importance. You’ll want to share your most important points early on in your content.
- Write a terrible first draft.
No one sees your first draft, except you so get over making it perfect out of the gate. Many people struggle with content creation because they’re trying to craft the perfect content piece on the first try! It’s much easier to write a terrible first draft and edit it later than it is to create perfection the first time around.
The best way to write your first draft is to set aside a timer. Using only your outline, start writing. You don’t have to start with the introduction if you don’t want to. You can start by writing your conclusion if that’s what you prefer. Go with whatever’s easier and back into the rest.
Feel free to jump around as you create your content, but write it as quickly as possible. Your goal right now is just to get your ideas on the page. Later, you organize or edit those ideas.
- Block out interruptions.
A common reason for difficulty with content creation is repeated interruptions. When you’re interrupted frequently, you lose your original thought and have to look back to discover where you were. Once you enter the creative state, it’s best to stay in it until you’ve completed your project. Most interruptions really can wait until later. I find it’s best to write in the morning, over coffee, before the sun or my mess-makers ever stir from bed.
- Create in batches.
If possible, write several blog posts or articles back to back. When you work this way, you’ll stimulate your creativity and will come up with even more ideas. As a bonus, you’ll now have content that you can schedule in advance later on.
Content productivity is a skill that anyone can learn. Don’t think you have to try every single content hack you hear about. It’s fine to ignore the advice that doesn’t work for you. Instead, just focus on the content hacks that make you the most productive. And when all else fails, remember what Ernest Hemmingway said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”