We all know successful people who just seem to have everything in their digital work life fall into place seamlessly. They never miss a beat or struggle to find share-worthy content that generates loyal followers. It leaves most of us wondering how in the world they’re able to keep up with everything.
Well, there’s no secret to how these folks manage to turn their content into gold: they’ve mastered the art of streamlining their creative process. This means they’ve laid out a plan, established a routine, and stick to it consistently so they can move through the motions with their eyes closed.
That’s how I want you to think about your content marketing strategy. No, I’m not saying you should work with your eyes closed, rather, you should work in a streamlined and efficient manner.
The more you can streamline your content process, the more likely you’ll be at keeping your content consistent.
Let’s take a look at how this is done.
Keep a Running Tally of Your Ideas
To make coming up with topics easier, get into the habit of storing all of those random (yet valuable) ideas in one special place that you can access at any time. I recommend using your phone or a list on your other devices that can be synched with your phone, since you’re more likely to have it with you wherever you go (well, except when those brilliant shower ideas strike).
Jot down any ideas that come to mind, even if they seem insignificant. You may be able to take a simple idea and evolve it later down the line when you have time to consider how it can work for you.
Plus, you’ll quickly develop a bank of options to choose from which will help tremendously when you go to create your calendar of topics.
Create a Content Calendar
Coming up with share-worthy content is no easy feat. Content’s not just blog posts anymore, it’s blog posts, social media posts, videos, and even podcasts. Here’s where we get to put your ideas to work.
Fill out a spreadsheet with columns for your:
- Target audience
If you need help with all of that, or would like a free template to get started, check out this article.
Once you narrow down your topics and themes, you’ll be ready to plot out your content calendar. The idea here is to whip out the ol’ calendar and decide what you’ll be posting each week. I recommend designing a content calendar that spans the next three months.
Try not to make it complicated by scheduling too many posts every week. For example, if you’re just starting out, aim to post one new thing per week before attempting to post 2–3 items each time. After you establish a habit of weekly posting, you can move on to adding further content. By this time, you’ll have the consistency down.
Outline Your Content
Writing articles, creating videos, and recording podcasts all need to be scripted, in a sense, with a logical flow that gets your point across and helps your target audience. Nailing great content is sometimes the most time-consuming part of the whole process.
It helps if you’re crafting content that you’re already familiar with, such as if you’re the author of an entrepreneur blog and happen to be a successful small business owner.
But even the most experienced content creators experience blank page syndrome. Essentially, this alludes to that blank, white space staring back at you while you struggle to be witty and informative. It’s not exactly conducive for getting those creative juices flowing.
A good way to combat this is to begin by outlining the subheadings, or talking points, that you plan on mentioning. This will set your creative juices in motion, plus it will help your article begin to take shape.
Now these headings may not be your final ones, but they should be used to guide you as you write. Trust me, it’s much easier to work out the kinks by rearranging or renaming your projected subheadings than it is to change your introductory paragraph a few times.
Speaking of which, if you’re always struggling to craft the perfect intro, don’t start there. Start writing under your first subheading instead. This takes the pressure off creating a read-worthy introduction and helps you warm up. You can go back to your introduction once your article is complete, or whenever the inspiration strikes mid-article.
Remember, you shouldn’t spend too much time being paralyzed in a frozen state as you try to tackle your content. This will only make it tougher to keep everything consistent since you’ll always associate content with constant struggle—instead of freeing your mind for creativity to strike.
Use Scheduling Tools to Your Advantage
Similar to email automation, scheduling tools should become your new best friend. They’ll help you streamline the process on your own time so you can create consistent content.
Certain tools—we’ll show you our favorite ones in our free resource at the end of this article— will actually share your content on each of your favorite social media channels during a time of your choosing. This makes it easy to set things up ahead of time, which is especially helpful for those of us with a full plate.
Simply find the time to create your posts and set your schedule to launch the content whenever your audience is the most active. In your audience’s eyes, it will look like you’re posting consistently and, more importantly, that you’re active. Talk about making your job easier!
Bonus: My Favorite Productivity Hack
Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
If you decide to give yourself the afternoon to complete your content calendar, you can bet that you’ll use the entire time you’ve set aside. You may surf a few of your favorite sites or read the latest articles first, but you’ll eventually get things done, right?
We need to get rid of this “eventually” aspect.
Before you set out to complete each of the tasks on your list, ask yourself how long you think it’s going to take you to complete them. Subtract at least 15 minutes from that estimate. After you’ve done that, set a timer for the adjusted amount and get to work.
You may not finish in time, but if you truly view the timer as a time limit, you’ll get much more efficient at this process, or anything else for that matter.
To give you an idea of efficiency, creating your content calendar should take you no more than 1 ½ hours. Therefore, you should set your timer for an hour and fifteen minutes and see how much you can get done in that time.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to sacrifice quality here, but you also don’t want to spend too much time making things perfect either. Strike a balance between the two and you’ll be in good shape.
Now that you have an idea of how to create consistent content, it’s time to get moving. Start by setting aside time to create your content calendar and get to crafting your next (or first) article. Once your article is complete, use a scheduling tool to share it on all of your social media platforms. Always remember that you shouldn’t be spending your whole day completing these tasks.
As you begin to make this process a habit, keep updating your list of ideas in one central place so you can continue your momentum. After a few weeks, you’ll be a share-worthy content producing machine.