If you own a business, it’s likely that at some stage you’ve come across the need to create content yourself – namely, writing a blog post.
And if you’ve done it, it’s also likely that at some stage you struggled with it.
Because, it’s easier said than done, creating (good) content…
It not only requires time and effort, but it can certainly get frustrating and annoying at times. Especially when it takes longer than thirty minutes to write a paragraph (yep, been there).
Consequently, many of us don’t really want to do it. Which is completely fine if you can outsource it or have an in-house marketing department.
But if that’s not the case, then it would be nice to know how to create content more efficiently and also enjoy doing it – at least a little bit more…
Well, here are my tips for you to do just that!
It’s hard to say how long it will take to come up with the right combination of words that read well and serve their purpose.
It could be a whole afternoon if you are trying to smash it out fast, or a few nights if you are doing it intermittently.
Either or, it’s still necessary to sit down and write. With the logical conclusion being that you are more likely to do so if you are somewhere you appreciate.
So, the setting is, I dare say, directly proportional to the volume and quality of your work.
It’s a simple equation: the more pleasant your work environment, the more time you’ll linger around and the more work you’ll be able to get done (that is, if you don’t chill too much).
And with more work done, the better the chances of crafting something good.
Not to mention that part of your inspiration may stem directly from the elements surrounding you.
Cliché, I know. But precious, nonetheless.
Break up the writing sessions
From personal experience, I know I can’t be productive for very long. Not with writing, at least.
Whenever I’m doing it, I feel my brain pushing its boundaries and almost burning a hole in my head.
So multiple short sessions end up being my preferred modus operandi. In this way, I maintain optimal bandwidth every time I’m writing and also get to enjoy the experience more.
Little by little, things take form and meaning. And with every writing session, new insights are incorporated into the page.
Cut the criticism
Don’t be too harsh on yourself.
If there is one thing that stands in the way of progress is all the mulling over about the quality of your work.
See, if you stop to criticise what you are doing, you’re using up precious time that could have been applied to what really matters: creating your content.
At least on the first stage, push criticism aside. Simply roll your sleeves up and focus on the job at hand.
You can have other people reading your initial draft and do the criticising for you later on.
That’s not only important to free up time and energy, but also because you’ll get a glimpse of what your potential audience feels like when consuming your content.
Write like you were talking
Let your writing follow the natural rhythms of conversation instead of formal lines of construction.
This not only helps in putting word to paper, but also in getting your ideas across naturally. Don’t fuss around too much with trying to use elegant words for the sake of sophistication.
The essence is more important than aesthetics. Rarely will we read something on the internet solely for the beauty of it – that’s what we have books for!
One simple and powerful trick that helps with this is to, initially, rely on the knowledge you already have about the topic.
Put it all on the blank page and let the message start shaping itself. Then follow the conversation to its natural conclusion.
This surely requires previous knowledge and experience. However, it shouldn’t represent a problem when you are operating within your expertise zone: it’s what you do and talk about constantly.
Well, now that everything’s been done and the right elements are on the page, it’s time for a polish.
If you feel it’s necessary to increment the quality of your text, then, by all means, do it.
Add the sophisticated words you were searching for, rearrange the overall structure of the content, delete sentences that don’t feel right or recombine them with other parts of the text, and so on.
Anything can be done at this stage. Even deleting the whole thing and starting from scratch (hopefully not the case).
But if there’s one thing that it’s worth sticking to is the below piece of advice:
2nd draft = 1st draft minus 10%
In other words, if you can cut words, cut words (clearly, I didn’t do that here).
And there you have it… a simple method for producing content. Certainly, nothing magical, but definitely a little help for when you feel stuck.
This is what I do every time, and is by far the method that works the most for me.
*I wrote this article in an office with a view over three 1,5h sessions. I cut (pretty much) all the criticism and thought about the whole piece as a conversation with a good ol’ mate, which I burnished a little in the end.