We all have too much to do most or all of the time – trying to grow our businesses, working with clients, maybe managing day jobs and, you know, living actual lives and all that other stuff.
Having to create content on top of that? It can feel a little inconvenient or like the least of your priorities.
But what if you could (a) spend less time doing it (b) get more results from it (c) love every single minute you get to spend creating it? A dream, right?
Because truth is, content marketing is one of your best and most affordable sources of leads and ways to build your brand awareness.
Well – here are 4 ways to find the time you need to create content:
Method 1 – Create a Time Budget
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” W. Edwards Deming.
Amber McCue, magical Business Strategist from NiceOps uses a time budget that allows time for content creation and marketing.
I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with Amber on my business through Freshly Implemented for the past 18 months (and counting) and can honestly say that without her guidance I would have continued drowning in hustle.
Me before Amber: delusional and trying to book myself for more than 24 hours a day.
And After-Amber: focusing on the 80% that matters and reworking my business model so I could have time to focus on content marketing (the biggest source of traffic and clients in my business).
I love how using the template she works through scenarios like what do I do when I see [from my time budget] that I’m overbooked on client work and have zero time for content creation & marketing?!
Doing a time budget this way makes it easy to find time that you're maybe not using in the best way and allocate it for marketing and content.
Method 2 – Fight Procrastination
Procrastination is a killer when it comes to content creation
The hardest part of writing any piece of new content is usually overcoming the fear/dread/I-don’t-know-where-to-starts. At least this is true for me. Funnily enough, once I’m finished, I almost always wonder why I put it off since it was actually very easy to put together. So how do you get started?
I love this quote because it completely hits the nail on the head: “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet” – Anonymous.
So besides the obvious advice (Avoid the Internet…at all costs), here are my favourite tips for busting through that procrastination rut when I’m trying to write a new blog post:
(1) Pre-write without expectation: Once I’ve settled on a topic (but before I’ve done anything else for the piece), I set a timer and just write. I organize my thoughts and get my own ideas on paper.
This really terrible first draft is one of the ways I’ve cut the time I used to spend on a single blog post in half. It’s also a good way to make sure that you’re sharing your own ideas and serves as a pre-done outline for the real-deal post.
(2) Separate the content planning and content creation phases. Avoid deciding what to write and actually writing it in the same sitting. I like to plan all of my content for the month/quarter on an editorial calendar (see the Monthly Content Planning Kit) before I even think about writing it.
If you try to both at once, you might find yourself staring at that dreaded blinking cursor and a blank word doc.
(3) Still having trouble getting started, even after you’ve decided what you’re writing about and have completed the prewriting exercise? Interview yourself.
Think of 4-5 questions about the topic and either write down the answers to each or record yourself answering them and have the audio transcribed. Once you have the answers, structure these into a post.
Method 3 – Batching
Content batching is method that I pretty much live and die by (read the post here for a behind-the-scenes on my process).
There’s a huge cost to your time when you switch between tasks. Not just the actual time that it takes to shut down and open new programs on your computer and/or get the right materials in front of you, but the time it take mentally to shift your focus.
In American Psychology Association, D.E. Meyer reports that on average shifting between tasks wastes as much as 40% of someone’s productive time.
So by batching, we’re able to focus on the steps of the creation process for multiple pieces of content because the tasks are similar.
For example, resizing and designing photos for all of your posts that you’re working on at the same time.
Or doing all of your scheduling and formating at the same time in WordPress or social media scheduler (see all of my favourite tools here). What parts of the process can you start batching to save yourself up to 40% more time?
Method 4 – Work in your biological prime time
Chris Bailey talks about saving your biological prime time (BPT) for your most important work in his book The Productivity Project.
Content creation goes best when we’re at our most creative and focused – so your BPT is the perfect time for these activities!
Everyone’s BPT is individual to them. I’m at my best and most creating first thing in the morning from about 5am to 9am. At 3pm, I hit a major rut. So I’ve learned that trying to write a new blog post or create something new in the afternoon isn’t the smartest use of my energy and time.
I love this quote from Doug Kessler, “An hour with a fresh mind is worth five hours of fog.”
So figure out your biological prime time (you might already know or there are some great tips and techniques in The Productivity Project to help you) and save your creation time for these hours.
Save the busy and admin work for when you’re in a rut (or take a break completely – radical, I know, but it’s the perfect time to take a break)