With a stack of papers to sort through on your desk, dozens of emails to reply to, and hours of meetings, where are you supposed to find time to create content?
Don’t get me wrong — we all battle this problem. Plus, it’s pretty easy to brush off writing a blog post. Unless you’ve got leagues of voracious followers, it’s unlikely anyone is going to track you down and demand you create more content.
But if you’re like me, you know your business is suffering the longer you delay publishing great content. I’m devastated whenever I see businesses and organizations whose missions suffer because they don’t consistently publish. Not convinced? If these stats from HubSpot aren’t convincing, I don’t know what is.
Without content, how else will you deliver the stories to attract more supporters for your cause? Your business may be doomed without fresh content.
Before you freak out about how much you’ve thought about creating content but how little you’ve done, get started now with these quick ways to create content.
Consistently devote small blocks
I’m not trying to convert you to a full-time writer. It wouldn’t be a great use of your time, anyway. But you need to devote some time on a regular basis to creating content.
The easiest way: set aside a chunk of time every day. Start with 15 minutes each morning. This might only be enough to produce only one piece a week, but that’s certainly better if you’re currently sitting at zero.
If mornings aren’t best, pick another time. Morning is best if you’re usually scrambling to cross off every task at the end of the day. However, I like to wait for my most creative time: nights. For me, the words just flow and I’m bursting with creativity (as I’m writing this now!)
Whatever your preference, build it into a system. And if it’s not working, change your system for getting it done.
Keep ready-to-go topics
Perhaps once you finally convince yourself to sit down and write, you hit the next wall: coming up with a topic.
There’s nothing as annoying for me when I’m amped up to write but then don’t have a topic ready. That’s when resistance hits, and I’ve lost all my momentum.
Easy solution: keep a list of topics handy. Store them in a place that’s accessible from anywhere with internet and can be synched when offline (e.g., on an airplane). When you think of a topic, capture it right there. Evernote works wonders for keeping lists which are easy to add to and search through. Bonus: it’s great for clipping other articles for inspiration, too.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for serendipity to think of the perfect topics, either. Can you think of the top 25 questions that customers ask about your industry? Jot them down now and turn them into blog posts later.
Plan for greatness
In addition to have a topic list, know what you’re going to write and when. This takes the guesswork out of what the next step is when you sit down to write. Plus, by planning out you’re writing, you can be more strategic about when certain content rolls out.
Sit down for 20 minutes and map out your content calendar as far into the future as you can. Then make a commitment to stick to it.
Speed up the writing process
Struggling to get through the task of writing? Don’t let yourself stare at the blank page. Force yourself to write instead.
Before you start writing, commit to a word goal and time goal. Then, use an application like Write or Die (or just a timer) and get to it. Looking at the timer and watching the word count creates a sense of urgency, giving you little time to goof off. Stay on task until the job’s complete.
This also keeps you from editing as you go — a major waste of time. Instead, get everything out on the page first, and edit later.
For editing, realize you’re not working on the next great American novel here. It’s just a blog post. Sure, you can’t get away with writing just anything, but spending hours editing just isn’t worth your time.
My editing trick: read silently once, adding in extra detail. Read a second time out loud, section by section. Make changes as you go until you’re happy with what you’ve got on the page.
Stick to offering simple solutions
Readers really just want one thing: a solution to their problem, delivered in an engaging fashion.
Trust me: they don’t want the industry jargon full of technical terms. Help them, but don’t give them a dissertation.
Just answer their questions simply and concisely (and with a little personality) and you’ll do fine. No need to write thousands of words (which likely won’t get read anyway).
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image by: wwarby