Contributed by Jeanette Gardiner
Your community of customers, clients and prospects wants to hear from you.
They want to get to know you better.
And that means you need to be creating and sharing valuable content with them on a regular basis. But creating relevant, relatable and valuable content that is helpful to your community can be time-consuming. 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.
Or you just don’t do it all, which is a disservice to both your community and your business.
If you spend hours agonizing over each piece of content you create, these four basic content productivity tips will help you shave hours off the process and who knows, you may even grow to enjoy your content creating sessions.
Start with an outline.
This is not your high school teacher’s idea of an outline. Your outline can be simple with just a few bullet points, or it can be more complex with complete paragraphs that you flesh out later. Choose an outline method that works best for you.
Outlines make it 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 in your content.
Write a terrible first draft.
Is there anything more powerful than perfectionism to stop you before you even get started?
If you try to craft the perfect content piece right from the start, you likely struggle with content creation. It’s much easier to write a terrible first draft and edit it later, than it is to create perfection the first time around.
An effective strategy for writing a first draft is to set a timer and using only your outline, write until your timer goes off. And don’t feel you have to begin at the beginning (the introduction). If it’s easier to write your conclusion first, begin there.
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.
Repeated interruptions also present a challenge when it comes to content creation. When you’re interrupted frequently, you lose your original thought and it can be difficult to pick up where you left off. Once you enter the creative state, it’s best to stay in it until you’ve completed your project.
Calendar blocks of uninterrupted time on your calendar where your only focus is content creation.
PS: It also helps if these blocks of time are when you are at your creative best. You likely know when that is. For me, it’s typically in the morning after my two-and-a-half-mile walk with my dog.
Batching is a great productivity strategy for many tasks, not just content creation. This is where you group similar tasks into the same block of time.
So as you’re blocking uninterrupted time for content creation, see if you can work in an extra 30 to 60 minutes so that you can 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 have content that you can schedule in advance.
Increasing your content creation productivity is a skill that you can learn, especially when you focus on the strategies and tips that work best for you. To help you put these tips into action, I’ve created a short journal exercise with three questions that will get you thinking about your content creation sessions in a new light! Send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the journal exercise.
About Jeanette Gardiner
Jeanette Gardiner lives in Palmer, Alaska, and is the owner of SeaStar Strategies LLC where she helps time-strapped small business owners discover the gift of time by streamlining their administrative and marketing systems. Learn more at www.seastarstrategies.com.