Content creation can quickly become a sticking point that we resent in our businesses if we’re not careful.
Today’s digital-savvy consumer is after one thing and one thing only: content.
Be it a blog post, an eBook, a podcast or video, people are hungry for information from brands and businesses they trust. Marketers, entrepreneurs and creators know this, and thus spend the majority of their working hours churning out new content for their audience. But the consistently increasing demand brings a new challenge—how to streamline content creation without losing quality.
How can you keep your community engaged with new content without losing valuable time (not to mention your sanity)? Outside of hiring a copywriter or copywriting agency, here are a few things you can do.
Step #1: Get Organized
It all starts with a content calendar—a digital or physical sheet that lists all upcoming projects for a predetermined period in an easy-to-understand manner. This calendar will serve as the home for all of your content: social media, blog posts, emails, bigger projects, etc. Whatever you’re putting out into the world needs to have a space on this calendar.
Spending time to create this now will help streamline your process down the line by saving you countless lost hours tracking down updates when they’re due.
Whether you use a template (like these examples) or create your own, here’s what your calendar needs to include:
- A list of all your upcoming content.
- The date each piece is due and deadlines for any review or revisions.
- Any notes, updates or reminders you need to make about the project (for example, if you’re doing a day-long Instagram takeover on such-and-such day, birthday wishes to another brand may be better sent as a tweet).
- A reference for which team member or outside source will handle it when necessary.
Step #2 Create a Content Bank
Every content creator has had that moment of panic where they realized they had no clue what they were going to post about next. Save yourself the stress by building a content bank, a collection of ideas for posts that can be added to and taken from as needed.
A good way to start this bank is with an inventory of topics you’ve already covered—if you’re running out of steam, rehashing one or two will provide great links back to older content, social shares or traffic in general. To keep your process simple, stick to 3-4 content topics.
Then you’ll want to list out as many ideas for content as you can under each topic. This can be a mix of questions, how-to tips or resources you think would be interesting to your audience. Try to think of each piece as a news headline to make the value of the piece clear.
Next, lay out the content formats (i.e., Instagram Stories, blog posts, weekly newsletter) and all possible types of content that could fall under each category on your calendar. For example, for “blog posts,” you might write down: interview posts, how-to’s, roundup posts, opinion posts etc.
From there, decide which content idea will be used on which platform and then plug them all into your content calendar.
Step #3: Establish a Workflow
Creating a content calendar is just the first step to saving yourself time. The next, equally important move is establishing a workflow that will help you stay on track and get your projects done—and out into the world in an efficient manner.
Essentially, a workflow is a recipe for completing a task that should include all these ingredients:
- A process
- Tools you’ll use along the way
- Key milestones and timelines
Think of your workflow as the steps you always take to complete a piece of content. Following these guidelines will take the weight of constant decision making off of your shoulders and give you a consistent set of steps to follow every single time. It also makes it easier to delegate content creation to a member of your team or a contractor because they can clearly see what to do.
You should establish a workflow for every type of content you publish. And while they’ll look different for every business and content type, here’s a basic example for:
- Pull idea from content bank.
- Conduct necessary research
- Turn the idea into a first draft.
- Proofread, edit and prep for publishing.
- Incorporate feedback from client or team member.
- Schedule to publish.
Step 4: Decide When You’ll Create
Now that you have a system set up, it’s time to establish when you’ll put it into action.
Most people don’t want to create content every single day. So depending on how much content you have to create, try picking a day or two during the week to spend solely on content creation.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete each project and don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially if you have a tight deadline. You might want to leave some buffer room between your scheduled post dates in case something gets delayed.
Experiment with your schedule until you find something that works best for you and your business.
Remember to Make It Easy
Content creation can quickly become a sticking point that we resent in our businesses if we’re not careful. So as you’re creating a streamlined system, continue to keep your eye out for ways you can make it even easier.