How To Create Weekly Content Without The Overwhelm
In today’s blog post, I’m sharing all things about why creating consistent content is important and I’m sharing my 5 step process on how to exactly do it without the overwhelm!
Part of the strategy is creating consistent content whether that is weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. But for some, the thought of creating consistent content can seem overwhelming and daunting especially if your time is limited.
Today, I want to share with not only the importance of why you need to be creating consistent (and quality) content but how to do it in a way that takes away the stress, makes it as effortless as possible and exciting.
First, why is creating consistent content important? It is important for a couple of reasons. One, it establishes authority and credibility in your market or industry. You’re giving yourself a voice and a chance for others to engage with you and listen or read, what you have to say. Second, it builds brand awareness because it is a way for you to engage with your target audience through establishing yourself as an authority and third, it helps with search engine optimization (SEO). When you create consistent and quality content, the Googles of the inter-webs will push your content up higher when someone searches for content using keywords.
Now, let’s transition into how to create weekly content even when you don’t have time. First, if creating weekly content isn’t in your cards, then maybe creating bi-weekly content is. Either way, what I’m about to share with you will help you shave off hours when it comes to producing content.
After producing over 300 podcast episodes I can tell you that one of the most important pieces in doing so that has helped me save time is developing my content-producing system from collecting content ideas to drafting outlines, creating a final draft to publishing the content.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to create a process for how you go from start to finish when creating your content whether that is for a podcast, blog post or YouTube video.
The process can look like this:
Brainstorm phase/data collection
Produce and schedule
Now throughout this whole process, you’re going to create a system so that you can optimize the process and be as efficient as possible.
Let’s go back to step 1 of the 5 step process - Brainstorm/data collection phase:
This is where you are generating all possible ideas for your content. Collecting ideas tends to be a 24/7 thing. When I say 24/7 I mean that you could be in the grocery checkout line, reading or listening to something that then sparks an idea for content and you want to jot it down so you don’t forget. This is a passive way to collect and brainstorm ideas.
An active way to collect ideas is to research Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are an amazing resource to find information about what you’re target market has questions about. When I’m looking for content ideas for the podcast or even opt-in ideas, I do a quick search in the search bar of a few Facebook groups to see what the trends are. This is extremely helpful and takes very little time.
Another way is to email your list whether you have 20 people on it or 200,000 people on it. In Her Way Society, one of the members had created an opt-in for her website but it wasn’t converting as much as she had liked. I encouraged her to email her list, dive into Facebook groups and ask questions. She then found out that what she thought they wanted wasn’t at all what they wanted. This exercise not only helped her gain clarity on her target market but also gave her a different jumping-off point for content creation.
You can also use a resource called “Answer the public” it is an online tool that allows you to generate ideas for your content posts. It is a free visual keyword search. You type in a phrase, for example, “Quit my job” and what it’ll do is come up with questions related to your phrase which also helps with idealization for content.
The last one that you can do is conduct 20-minute phone calls. This is more labor-intensive but can sometimes reap great benefits. I did this years ago with She Did It Her Way and learned so much about who’s turning in to the podcast and why. I used a Calendly link where people could easily sign up for call times.
Now, for all of these data collection points, it is important to have a single data collection place. If you have too many, it’ll be difficult to keep track of and therefore become inefficient and zap your energy.
For this, I have found using the Evernote app and creating a note that says “Content Ideas” so that there is one centralized place where I store all content ideas and when I’m ready to sit down, I can open up my Evernote and get to work. This helps avoid any blank stares at a computer screen when you’re racing against the clock to produce content.
I’ve also used the voice to text feature in Evernote if I have something I want to capture but can’t type fast enough.
Step 2 - Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar helps you organize your content, provides a 50,000-foot view of your content. Allows you to plan around key events or important dates. For example, if you’re in the health industry you may plan specific content around the new year, how to maintain health during the holidays.
Know that your content calendar is a living and breathing document. You will constantly be making changes to it.
Know that if you already have content you can re-purpose it and make minor tweaks to it. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. One of the things that stood out to me from last year She Did It Her Way Summit was when the founders of Think Creative Collective said, “You don’t need to produce more new content, you just need to get your content out in front of different eyeballs.” It was such a great reminder that a) we don’t always need to create new content, we can repackage it and b) we don’t need to create new content, maybe it is a matter of getting in front of new eyeballs. From there we made sure that all of our content was up to date on Pinterest.
To create your content calendar you can easily use a Google Document and name it “Content Calendar”, then create a column for Date, Title, Category, Ideas. This is a very bare-bones one but there are different ways you could enrich it. For example, when you feel comfortable you could create a calendar labeled opt-in. So then every time you produce content, you’re also including an opt-in with it. Fill in the date column of when your content is scheduled to launch so if it is every month, then you will want to put in the dates for every Monday. See all the dates will help you then go through and make notes about certain dates, going back to the health example. You can use the column Ideas to help brainstorm about what you may want to launch on a certain date. Then when you’re ready to commit to a certain piece of content you can then fill in title and category.
When filling out your content calendar, you’ll use your Evernote document with your ideas that you captured to help schedule out content. Then when you’re ready to create your content, you’ll move on to step 3.
Step 3 - Create Outline/First Draft
I have found that sitting down and attempting to go through the entire content creation process in one sweep is difficult. It can be done but takes a ton of energy.
When you break up the actual creation part you’re able to step away from what you’ve created and come back the next day with refreshed eyes. This entire process you’ll want to batch which I’ll cover that once we’re through the 5 different steps.
But for here, when you decide which content idea you want to produce on, you then want to create an outline with notes. This part doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re typing from a stream of conciseness, whatever comes to mind regarding the specific topic you decided on. this is extremely helpful because you’re giving yourself a judgment-free space to create and type about a certain subject with zero pressure for it to be perfect.
For this, I recommend creating a folder whether it is in Evernote or Google Documents that is labeled “YouTube videos, Podcast episodes or Blog posts.” Then within the folder, create a document for each piece of content you create.
When you go to do this, I recommend setting a timer for how long you can brainstorm your outline for. This helps you create intense focus about what it is you’re working on.
Step 4 is Finalize and Proof
like I shared earlier, I don’t recommend doing all steps in one sitting. While there may be times when you find yourself needing to do so, I don’t recommend it. It takes a lot of energy and can create stress, which is what we want to avoid during the process.
When you’re in the step, you’ll want to take your outline and expand upon it. You may even reorder things, delete things, that is okay.
You may also find yourself doing additional research on the web to help expand your content that you’re writing about to help generate ideas about it.
In this step, your goal is to get your content ready for production.
Step 5 - Produce and Schedule
This is the final step. And again, this step may be slightly different depending upon whether you’re producing a blog post, podcast or YouTube video. Your production and scheduling process may be a bit different.
One of the key things to have part of this step is social sharing. How do you plan to market your content and get it out into the world?
The most important part of this whole process isn’t the steps themselves it is having a proper system in place with checklists, templates and a batching schedule.
Let’s talk about the execution of the whole process and let’s start with batching:
Batching is when you do like tasks together. The purpose of batching is to help you work in larger chunks of time to be more efficient and avoid going in and out of the process and switching between tasks.
For example, instead of sitting down for 2 hours and doing one blog post from start to finish, you would sit down and do only one part of the process for 2 hours. It would look like you working on the brainstorm and data collection phase for 2 hours for a whole months worth of blog posts. Then the next time you sit down for 2 hours you’d work on creating a content calendar for the whole month’s worth of content.
Batching also lets you work ahead. Instead of sitting down and producing one blog post the week before it launches you can sit down an produce an entire month and a half’s worth of blog posts. I do this with the podcast. I always strive to be 4-6 weeks ahead so I complete everything I need to do in one week an then I’m not in the process again for at least another month. At first, it was such a difference from being in and out of the process every day to only be in it once a month for 4 days at a time.
You will want to schedule your chunks of time on your calendar ahead of time. Maybe you can designate a week each month to producing your content. This requires you to pull up your calendar and schedule ahead vs being reactive with your schedule. Maybe you’re flying somewhere in the future and that is a great time to work on your outlines and/or final draft. When you plan the chunks of time on your calendar, don’t just type “Work on blog post” actually type out what you want to produce in that time frame. I also recommend breaking it up into chunks of time vs blocking out 4 hours at a time. The more specific you with what you need to take action on in that specific time frame, the more likely you are to accomplish what it is you set out to do.
In addition to batching, you will want to create a checklist from start to finish for every piece of content you produce. For this, I recommend grabbing a blank sheet of paper and writing out every single step you do for every single blog post. Don’t discount how small you think the step is because ultimately you’re going to start outsourcing parts of this process to a VA. Once you wrote out all the steps, number them. Then, the final step is to transfer them to a project management tool. As you know, I use Asana. You can create a blog post, podcast episode, YouTube template so that every time you go to create a piece of content you can use the template, assign yourself (or something on your team due dates) and away you go. Then you never have to wonder what part of the process you’re in or where you’re at with producing your content.
Other tips and suggestions for the content creation process:
Timers are your best friends. Decide what time intervals you want to work in when you’re moving through the steps. I like the 25-minute timer. Then 5-minute break. 25 minute sprints are long enough to get into the work but short enough they create a sense of urgency. Then in the 5-minute break, I usually get up, go to the bathroom, refill my water and stretch.
Close all of your windows on your computer screen and place your phone somewhere else. It is a way to easy to pick it up at any time. You want to eliminate all distractions.