I feel so little when I see some people creating content almost every day, on high-quality standards.
Do these people ever sleep? Do they have a super power or something?
Well, this is mainly because of two factors:
- They have a PROCESS
- They have PRACTISED a loooooot
I cannot teach you so much about the second one; this is up to you.
If you want to become really good at something you have to repeat and repeat, over and over, until you master what you do.
I can tell you few interesting things about the process because I was through the process (and I’m still on it).
I can tell you the tactics, tools, and habits that better perform to me to become, finally, productive on my content creation.
As you will see in a bit, this is not about a TOP SECRET formula that will make you generate a crazy amount of content.
There is no such thing.
This is about a process that everybody can follow to start generating good quality content, very often.
Even if you are not an English native, like me.
Let’s talk about size, what’s the perfect length?
There is a lot of theories, studies, and examples about how long it should be a piece of content.
Some people say that long form content is the best way to rank better in search engines. We are talking here about over 2,000 words. According to serpIQ.
Other sources like Medium, say that the ideal time a reader should spend reading your post is 7 minutes. Which equals 1,600 words.
I need to warn you here about something:
WARNING: “you don’t have to feel overwhelmed with all these studies and big numbers!”
All those are studies, and that’s cool. Very valuable. But remember, is just a guideline, not a rule that you always have to apply.
What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to find your own way, for every piece of content.
After all, how long it takes to read 1,600 words?
You can write a 500 words post using a sophisticated vocabulary and complicated concepts that takes 20 minutes to read.
On the contrary, you can write 3,000 words on an excellent and easy to read writing that people will read it like nothing.
(More about this later)
Unblock your creativity: always ready to jot down great ideas
I am writing this lines from a Starbucks, on a Saturday morning (around 11:30 am), drinking coffee.
(By the way, they write Frank rather than Fran on my coffee again… just saying)
My girlfriend is in her Spanish class until 12 pm, so I decided to come here and do some writing.
This is the same thing wherever you are.
Other great places I like to write are airplanes, libraries, train stations, hotels lobbies, etc…
Did you ever write a piece of content from anywhere else? Please, tell me in the comments below, I want to know.
Everywhere where a good idea comes up to your mind, you need to be ready to take some notes.
The truth is that you don’t even need a laptop. If there is something in your mind, grab the phone and write an outline.
You can polish the idea later and develop the piece of content correctly.
Some great tools to write everywhere are:
- Google Docs
But never, ever, ever… in your mind!
Keep a post idea in your mind to go deep later, and you will lose it forever.
Set up an automatic feedback generator, AKA survey like crazy
Keeping your topic ideas list fill all the time is as important as finding the RIGHT TOPICS to write about.
But… what’s the right topic to write about? What is your audience demanding to read?
One simple and yet powerful tool to keep yourself on top of what your audience wants is by using surveys.
I am going to talk you about the first section of the Ask Method, which is compelling to this post. But I encourage you to take a look at the whole thing.
Why is this so powerful? Probably because is extremely simple.
Do you want to know what your audience wants? Ask them.
On my welcome email sequence, right after anybody subscribes to my list I send a survey.
This survey asks what is their #1 challenge when creating content to build an audience.
It looks like this…
Following that question, they have four more questions so that I can segment my audience from minute zero.
- Do you work on your business full-time or is this a side project?
- Do you have an audience?
- How big is your team?
This is an excellent way to start asking one by one all your subscribers.
And the good thing is, especially if you are starting with your list, that you can reply one by one to go deep in their needs.
Let me show you an example.
One subscriber from Singapore replies the survey and say this: “Having the focus to stay on the line of business that I’m in”.
It was awesome, I send a new email to her and ask more about that. Apparently, she was struggling to create content for a particular niche. Banking. I don’t blame her.
The thing is, after that brief conversation I have an excellent post idea. I’ll send her the post once finish and publish.
This is a fantastic sample about writing for one person at a time.
TOP CONTENT MARKETING TIP: When writing content focus on solving just one person’s problem. No more.
A process makes everything easier; we are humans, we love routines
I love simplicity. I think I said that in this blog in almost every post.
But it’s so true. Why do you want to do things complicated if you can find a simpler way to have the same —or better— results?
The answer to this question is because complex things look better. But it’s not true.
So wrong! Take a look at Apple. They convert complicated things into as simple as possible devices.
If I could give a piece of advice today that would be: don’t underestimate the power of simple things.
How that applies to the topic of creating content like a machine?
Simple, if you can establish a process to create every piece of content, you can systematize the process. And then, becomes much easier to get things done.
For example, my system to create every single post that you read here is this:
- Topic selection and draft headline (usually an awful headline)
- Keyword research: how people search on Google what I am trying to explain?
- First Ugly Draft or like Stephen King said: “writing with the door closed”. At least 700 words non-stop. Nobody will see, ever, this draft. No worries.
- Re-Write: I call this part “where the magic happens”. Now looks something readable.
- Editing: send to somebody to check your spelling or review carefully yourself. Better if you can pay a professional for this.
- Production. Put in place everything in WordPress + images.
- Publish + Promotion
This is a very straight forward process and very easy to follow.
If you want to go deep in your process to create great content —especially blog posts— I strongly recommend you to read the book “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley. Fantastic reading.
Don’t forget to be agile in your content process, especially if there involved a team. You need to be able to select the best topic ideas and so having an efficient approval process is essential as says Vladimir Covic.
If It Doesn’t Get Scheduled, It Will Never Get Done
I don’t want to finish today before telling you something more. We can go very deep into this one, but this is just a brief comment.
If you want to succeed with your content strategy. Whether is for your blog, your business or just for fun… You will need to set up a content calendar.
Setting a content calendar is a whole topic as I said before.
But we can take a quick look.
Ideally, you should plan at least one month of content in advance. That could sound overwhelming, but it’ not that dramatic. Promise.
What happens when you schedule your future posts is two things:
- You commit to your audience, and they start taking you seriously.
- You commit yourself! So now, it becomes a serious job.
I strongly recommend you start working on your content calendar ASAP.