Whatever your industry, time is always your enemy, especially when it comes to creating content. There are just never enough hours in the day, are there?
During my career, I’ve juggled full-time hobbies with full-time jobs, worked at three different companies at once and held top-of-the-ladder positions with a never-ending stream of emergency deadlines – basically, I’ve become the master of time management.
If you’re struggling to create content in the little time you have available, I can help. Here’s how I find time to publish blog posts and articles when hours are scarce…
5 Tried-and-Tested Content Creation Tips
#1. Keep a list of ideas on standby
This is the best piece of advice I can give you. I started doing it back in 2009 when I ran my blog, A Chick Named Hermia, while also working full time. Free hours were scarce and I was posting 5-7 times a week, so I didn’t have time to waste on leisurely brainstorming.
Every time I had an idea, I would jot it down. Whether I was queueing in the shop, sitting on a bus or cooking dinner, I would scribble those nuggets of inspiration in my notebook and my subconscious would work on it until it was time to write.
Over the years, as I moved into digital marketing and then became an editor, I never strayed from this. That collection got me through periods of writer’s block, moments lacking in inspiration and the times that were just plain hectic! Moleskins were swapped for the Notes app on my iPhone, but the system stayed.
These days, I’ve organized the process further by using Trello. I have different cards dedicated to different areas, whether it’s my business or travel blog or ideas for my individual clients. Using this platform, all of my ideas are conveniently sorted and ready to be used when I need them.
#2. Create in bulk
Inspiration often strikes in bursts, so whenever this happens I try to facilitate it. It may take up three, four or even five hours of my time one evening, but the benefits are far-reaching.
I can put together multiple posts in that time and then schedule them for the coming weeks. My mind can shake off that stress, my To Do list is shouting “Hallelujah” and because it wasn’t a laboured process, you actually enjoy the creation process!
Writing this way is also incredibly efficient. Starting is the hardest part of writing, so if you have the time and energy to keep going, don’t stop. The second and third posts will be written much quicker if they’re tackled straight after the first one. You’re already on a roll and you’ve built momentum.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an assignment for you: write one post next Monday, another on Wednesday, a final one on Friday and take note of the time it took to write each one. Then sit down over the weekend and write three separate posts in one sitting. Compare the time it takes to do this with the total time it took to write the amount individually.
#3. Take advantage of scheduling
And with the above point still fresh in your mind, I’m going to talk about the power of scheduling. I’ve seen many bloggers, writers and clients get REALLY excited when they put a few posts together and they can’t wait to send them out into the cyberverse. Within a couple of days, they’ve published all the content they created and suddenly they’re back to Square 1.
If you’re short on time, you need to make creative bursts last. Consistency and quality are always going to be more important that quantity, so it’s better to commit to one post per week rather than over-posting sporadically whenever you get the time.
Aim to sit down and write four posts once a month or two posts twice a month. Pick a publishing day and schedule a post to go live at that time each week. At the same time, you should also schedule shouts for your articles, using a platform like Hootsuite.
When it comes to numbers, you can tweet the article 5-10 times that week, provided you have other content in between, and post it on Facebook 2-3 times. For LinkedIn, I wouldn’t recommend posting your article more than once in that week.
#4. Don’t fret about length…
There have been various claims made about the perfect length of a post if you want it to go viral or at the very least, get people to read it. In my experience, this is all crap. I’ve seen 300-word posts KILL IT when it comes to views and also witnessed similar success with 2,000-word articles.
It comes down to the content itself. Get to know your audience and find out what it is they want to hear from you. Solve their problems, empathise with their struggles, celebrate their successes – it doesn’t matter how many words you take to do this once you’re giving real value to your readers.
#5. …but do prioritise editing
A well-formatted post is a beautiful thing. If your post is quite long, there’s a chance it will scare people away either by looking too time-consuming or by being difficult to navigate. Read through and ensure every sentence serves a purpose and create a clear path for the reader to follow by inserting headlines.
2,000 words are a lot more manageable if you break it up into digestible sections, while a 500-word post will look more substantial if you bulk it up a little with images, videos and headings.
Start putting these content creation tips into practice today and you’ll find the process a lot easier. Meanwhile, in my next post, I’m going to tell you where to find content ideas during those times when you need good material FAST.