Last week, I talked about the value of fresh content and that even though “b___” is an ugly word, it’s worth embracing the pain.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find ways to make creating fresh content less painful – and as efficient as possible. Here’s a plan you can put into place to maximize your effectiveness and eliminate the pain.
Schedule Content Creation
Perhaps the biggest step you can take toward creating content efficiently is to commit to creating content. That means setting aside the time. Put it on your calendar, close your door, shut the email program and turn your phone face down.
When you’re scheduling the time, you’ll want to do three things:
- Work in advance
- Work a concept
- Take two passes
Work in advance so that you’re not writing your 11am blog post at 10:59. That probably goes without saying.
Second, don’t necessarily write just one post – write a group of related posts, even if they aren’t all going to be published back to back. That will help you begin to build a library of content you can lean on when something unexpected comes up or when you have to work around a vacation or client demands.
Finally, understand that writing is rewriting. Don’t think you’re going to get it perfect in one pass. To even try is, for most of us, to ensure frustration. Instead, focus on getting the broad ideas down. Then let it rest and return to it to flesh out ideas, edit down extraneous fluff, and polish the language. I prefer to do this over two days, but you can spread it out in whatever way fits your schedule.
Make That Time Productive
The muse won’t visit just because you’ve summoned her. So view gathering ideas as a separate task and feed them into a file, digital or physical, you can refer to when you sit down to write. If you’re able to jot down a note or two with the idea, that can help point you in the right direction. Even without the extra note, just having the idea means you’re never staring down at the dreaded blank sheet of paper.
Map Out Your Writing
Since you’re not writing just to exercise your creative muscles, you want to think more universally. You’ll find it helps to sit down on at least a quarterly basis to align what you’re writing about with what you’re marketing. Otherwise, you’re just publishing free content …
Let Others Do the Work For You – Automatically
There are more clipping services and aggregators than I can count, all of which can help feed great content ideas to your inbox every day. Google Alerts, Google Trends, Flipboard and NetVibes are a few of my favorites. Set these up and you’ll have the basis for great content at your fingertips all the time.
Let Others Do the Work For You – Not Automatically
Even better than the clipping services and aggregators, though not as indefatigable, are your customers, prospects, and colleagues. Note the questions they’re asking and you’ll have a ready source of material you’ll know will be relevant and valuable to them. There is no better source of content then your customers, prospects, and colleagues.
These five simple steps will make content creation a much less onerous task that it can be, and will also help make your content marketing even more effective.
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