Content creation is the backbone of your online business. You want to create content that is valuable, but you also can’t spend your whole time just creating content.
You know your content should be helpful to your community while making your business shine, but you also know that creating quality content takes time.
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.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to spend hours agonizing over each piece of content that you create. In fact, if you follow these basic content productivity hacks, you’ll shave hours off the creation process and may even grow to enjoy it.
Content Hack #1 – Minimize distractions
One reason it’s hard to be productive when creating content is because we get interrupted and distracted easily. Frequent interruptions cause you to lose your train of thought, and when that happens you have to stop and go back to where you were and try to pick up the threads of your idea again. Each time you have to do this it gets harder and harder to follow your original argument to its logical conclusion.
Have a plan for minimizing distractions and blocking out interruptions. I know this is nothing new to you, but it bears repeating…
Turn off your phone, shut all your email, Facebook, etc. on your computer, and close the door. If there are other people at home, announce that you’re writing and not to be disturbed and even hang a “do not disturb” sign on your office door if you have to.
Once you get into a creative state of mind, it really is best to stay there until you’re finished your project.
Content Hack #2 – Outline first
Don’t get caught up thinking this is your high school English 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 will need to be fleshed out later. I’ve started blog post outlines with a couple of words on a post it note.
There’s no right way to create an outline for content creation purposes. Whatever helps you organize your thoughts is what you should use.
But regardless of how you create your outline, you should create one. And the reason for it is this… 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.
Content Hack #3 – Draft without editing
One of the reasons many people – me included – struggle with content creation is because we think it has to be perfect the first time out. I learned the hard way that it’s much easier to write a draft, and then go back and edit it when you’re done (after leaving it sit for an hour or two).
A good way to write your first draft is by using only a timer and your outline. Start with the piece you know best, and work from there. You don’t have to start from the introduction if you really don’t want to. Personally, I’ve found I have to do start with a title, then an introduction, or I can’t get the flow… but that’s just me (and my son says I’m a weirdo anyways).
Don’t worry about fact checking or adding links and extras at this stage. Just write until you get all your ideas on the page, or the timer goes off. You can add all the fancy stuff and formatting later, during the editing stage.
Content Hack #4 – Create content in batches
You can really boost your content creation productivity if you learn how to write in batches and series. Working this way stimulates your creativity and you’ll find yourself coming up with even more ideas.
Remember those sticky notes I was talking about for my outlines? Most of those are the result of batch sessions when I come up with even more ideas, but don’t want to take the time to flesh them out.
Another bonus of batch writing is that you’ll have content you can schedule in advance. Like this morning, for example. I’m writing this post and several others because my internet is acting all wonky. So instead of doing the work I had planned to do, I’ve got the house to myself and I’m writing all my posts for at least the next week, or maybe two depending how long it takes them to fix the problem.
There’s no secret to content creation productivity – it’s a skill that anyone can learn. Develop your own system, and don’t think you have to use every hack and short cut you hear about. Try them, take what works for you, and toss the rest. We’re all different and so it makes sense that our content creation routines will be different too.
Have you tried any of these content creation hacks? Let me know in the contents, or hop on over to the group and share your experiences there.
This is part 4 of the Productivity Hacks Series
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