Expert copywriter and coach Belinda Weaver, from Copywrite Matters, recently invited me onto her YouTube channel to talk about how to make the content creation process easier and quicker. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t get stuck or procrastinate from time to time when creating content? But what’s holding us back from consistently getting content out there? It often comes down to three things:
- Lack of time, ideas and inclination
- Self-consciousness, especially if we’re introverted
- The inability to assess whether what we’re creating is effective
So, what can we do to make content creation quicker, easier, and dare I say it, more fun? We talked through several techniques that can take the pain out of content marketing. Read on for eight quick tips that might just help.
Tip 1: Track Your Content Creation Results
Where are you marketing yourself? Do you only post updates on your website? Or are you on EVERY social media platform? How often do you post and interact when you’re on each one? What results are you getting?
If you don’t know, start tracking your content creation efforts regularly.
I track how many social media posts, blogs, newsletters and guest articles I publish each week. I record how many people I follow. These are my inputs, reflecting my content creation effort.
Track the results you get. How many followers and subscribers do you have? How many connections have you made? Importantly, how many leads, enquiries, and sales have you received?
Keep it simple and track the metrics that are easy to find on each platform. For instance, I can’t see how many posts I’ve published in total on LinkedIn, but I can on Twitter and Instagram. This means I can’t always make like-for-like comparisons across the platforms. Rather, the idea is to track a good metric for that platform and see how it changes over time.
Review the trends. What is working? What isn’t?
For instance, between 25 March and 1 July, I didn’t post on Instagram and lost 2% of my followers. Between 1 July and 30 September, I posted 12 times on Instagram and my followers increased by 18%.
On Twitter, I tweeted 210 times between 25 March and 1 July and grew my followers by 50%. I’ve only posted 28 times since then, and my followers increased by 5%.
Why is this fun? You get direct feedback about what is working and what isn’t. You can see your ‘numbers’ grow and if they’re not, despite your efforts, you know where to stop wasting your time.
Tip 2: Find a time to release your creative brain
This year, I realised I have a spare hour every Wednesday afternoon when I am trapped courtside at one of my kid’s sport activities. I used to use the time to write long overdue replies to emails from friends and family. Now that I am generally caught up (and we’ve all moved to WhatsApp), I use this time to come up with content ideas. I let my mind drift to work challenges, hot topics we’re all discussing, business problems we’re overcoming, interesting stories, big wins, and I jot them all down in as much detail as I feel like for future blog posts. No judging, critiquing, or editing is allowed.
Why is this fun? The constraint of being captive and time-bound seems to free my mind to ruminate, create, and connect dots I don’t normally notice.
Tip 3: Capture your ideas somewhere fun
I heard Suzi Dafnis and Michelle Falzon talk about their favourite tools on their Content Sells Podcast. They use Trello for some of their content creation and now, so do I. I love moving the squares across the board, having a visual image of my content status, and seeing how much I’ve done!
Why is this fun? An idea repository offers a quick way to pick your next topic without having to rack your brain.
Tip 4: Time-block your marketing
The customer always comes first. My people-pleasing tendencies embrace this value. If my clients are happy, I’m happy. This year I decided to engage myself as my own client. This means I put time in my calendar to deliver The Ink Rat’s marketing requirements.
Why is this fun? You’re no longer trying to squeeze in your valuable, important marketing around your client work. No more half-arsing it at 9pm on a Tuesday night, well most of the time, anyway.
Tip 5: Set the bar so low, you can’t fail
I restarted my content creation process this year by posting once a week on Instagram. Sure, it’s not best practice, but I could achieve it. In five months, my Instagram followers increased by 30% from posting once a week.
My content calendar goal had a good, better and best version. I was doing good if I posted once a week on one platform. My better target was posting twice a week, my best goal was posting 3 times a week. I now post once a week on three different platforms, every single week.
Why is this fun? It wasn’t that hard to reach my minimum target. Yet that alone gave me the motivation to exceed it and hit my best target.
Tip 6: Treat your content creation process like an experiment
Don’t take responses to your content creation personally. No one shares it? So what? No one ‘likes’ it or comments on it? Who cares? Experiment with your posts and look at the metrics with curiosity rather than criticism.
And just because people don’t engage with some of your content, doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them. I have not publicly reacted to some of the most life-changing posts I’ve ever seen, often because I’m not ready to share or admit to the emotional reaction I had.
Why is this fun? An experiment is less about you and more about the content. An experiment removes (much of) the self-criticism and allows you to play around with the content. Play with timing. See what happens if you use the same content on different platforms. Tinker with different images and length. See what works.
Tip 7: Save time by repurposing your content
So, you’ve written a blog? Don’t waste all those hours of effort. Pick out the 3-5 key messages and use them across the rest of your content marketing. Rotate your messages between the platforms so you reach more people. If some people see the same message multiple times, that message merely gets reinforced. Win-win, either way.
Why is this fun? One blog can give you timesaving content for days and weeks. No more wondering what to write about on social media every week, and as a bonus you create more consistent, themed messages, too.
Tip 8: No time whatsoever and none of this sounds fun? Try a Sparticle instead!
If you love a chat, but loathe writing, speak your content into an audio recording. In just 7 minutes, you’ll have enough for a 1000-word article, newsletter, email or whatever else you need. Send it to me and I’ll also add a range of compelling headlines to choose from, make it SEO friendly, and give it some structure, key takeaways, and a call to action.
Voila! A blog in just 7 minutes of your time.
Why is this fun? Because it’s affordable and gives you back 2-4 hours of your day. Find out more about Sparticles or get in touch with me directly.
So, you have a lack of time, ideas and inclination to create your content marketing?
- Block an hour aside each week to get creative, especially if it’s when you can’t do much else
- Capture your content creation ideas in a tool you enjoy using where you can see your progress
- Treat yourself like your own client and schedule yourself into your calendar to work on your marketing
- Save time by repurposing your content across the different platforms you’re on
So, you feel self-consciousness and introverted about posting content publicly?
- Treat your content creation like an experiment and get curious, not critical about how your content performs
- Set the bar so low you can’t fail. Take the first step, then the next, then the next. It is never as bad as you might imagine, and once you get practiced, you might even kind of like it.
So, you can’t assess whether what you’re creating is effective?
- Track your content creation inputs and outputs and use proper data to determine what’s working
- Let someone else create your content. Provide your expert input, sure, then hand it over to someone who expertly creates content for a living…
Go sparkle on, brilliant content creators!
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.