What are the 3 content systems you need to have in place as an online business owner to make your content more consistent, more streamlined and higher quality? That's exactly what we're tackling in today's post.
Did you know that nearly 25% of online business owners reported feeling some kind of overwhelm when it comes to their content strategies? In fact, it was the #1 reported feeling when it comes to content in my 2021 online business owner’s survey on content marketing.
So if you find yourself in *that* crowd, well you’ve got a whole lotta biz friends right there with you.
But help is on is the way, dear. I’m sharing my 3 go-to systems for consistent content creation that you’re gonna want in your life like yesterday.
Content consistency is a BIG problem for business owners. I mean you know that when you get out there consistently, you get noticed and opportunities and new business come your way.
But content consistency is also a little complicated too. What does it even mean? The exact definition of content consistency varies greatly from one person to the next, and it changes in different seasons and stages of business life.
So whatever it means to you—whether that’s weekly like clockwork, sparingly like monthly or something else – I have 3 systems that’ll help you become rain or shine consistent with your content AND help you quit feeling like you’re in a can’t-win game of content whack a mole.
SYSTEM #1 – A CONTENT INSPIRATION SYSTEM
There's nothing worse than sitting down to write or film something and having to spend the majority of that time deciding on what you're going to even talk about.
Setting up an inspiration system – a place where you collect and organize ideas – can make this whole ordeal a lot less of an ordeal.
Can just imagine what it’d be like to have ideas for content topics, headlines, subject lines, freebies, social posts – all at your fingertips? From personal experience, it saves me boatloads of time, allows me to actually feel excited about my content creation time and leads to better, more *inspired* content overall. Plus it keeps me much more focused and less likely to fall down a rabbit hole of “research” in trying to come up with an idea. True story.
When it comes time to setting up your own inspiration system, I’ve got some tips: Think about your 1H + 4W’s
- Where – do you want to host it? I like to pick a tool you're already familiar with and using whether that's Trello, or Asana, ClickUp, Airtable or a plain old spreadsheet (my personal preference)
- What – categories do you want to store in it? Here are some ideas to get you started: content topic ideas, subject lines, emails, freebie or offer ideas, phrases you love, memes you found funny, useful resources you want to share at some point and so on
- When – do you want to use this inspiration (maybe when you're planning your content or sitting down to create it) and how often will you go through, populate and organize it (as you go or creating a regular routine of it like once a month)
- Where again – where do you typically come across your inspiration? If you're going to organize your content inspiration bank once a month, make a checklist to go through your typical collection spots to pull from there. For me – this is a board on Pinterest where I put ideas, Facebook saves, IG saves, a folder in my email and a bookmarks folder. Plus random bits of paper that I'd lose if I didn't have somewhere to put these notes.
- Finally, How – will you use this system? Document your steps and make yourself a checklist to follow when using and populating it. For example: Will you mark something complete when you’ve used it or remove it from the inspiration bank? Save yourself bookmark links to make using and filling this system easy peasy.
The key takeaway is this – As a business owner, ideas backed with action are the most valuable currency you have – so honour them by creating a process for keeping track of them.
SYSTEM #2 – A CORE CONTENT WORKFLOW
Core content refers to that regular piece of content you put out (usually it’s something like a weekly podcast episode or a biweekly blog post) and then all of the content that goes along with it – like your social media posts for that timeframe, emails, images.
And so the workflow is documenting all of the steps you take to get that core bundle of content out the door and onto the web.
It’s an investment that pays off in spades – it’ll save you time from reinventing the wheel every time, ensure consistent quality and show you opportunities to streamline and templify.
In my agency, anytime a client hires us as their content dream team, our entire first month is dedicated to creating the next month’s content AND setting up all of these workflows so we never have to “figure it out” again.
We spend time setting up things like: templates for social, checklists for publishing, the process for getting all of their expertise goodness from their heads and into their content and a voice process for ensuring the content sounds just like them.
The time investment we spend here helps us do what we do for them more efficiently and maintains quality.
Here are so e steps for documenting your own core content workflow:
- Step #1 – Start by deciding on your frequency for your core piece of content (this is usually a written blog post, a podcast episode, a video)
- Step #2 – Then jot down what has to happen in each of the 4 phases – content planning, content creation, content publishing and content promotion
- Step #3 – Then for each of those tasks you've written down – how can you make them easier? is there a template, a checklist, a tutorial that could save you time each time you do this task again?
- Step #4 – Finally package all this up in your favourite task management tool as a template to duplicate for each new core piece of content you create
Doing this won't only help you save time but will also help you hire your first content VA much more effectively once you're ready. And the good news is that this system creation process will also work for any other system you need to create in your business too!
The key takeaway here – anything you have to do more than once is an opportunity to create a system. And your core content workflow is one of those systems that has the highest potential return on investment for saving you time and ultimately helping you get more consistent with your content.
SYSTEM #3 – A CONTENT BANKING SYSTEM
Over 7 years ago, I created this little system, called the content bank, and immediately told everyone I knew they had to create one. And still to this day, it's the very first thing I have my content empire builders tackle when they join my program Your Content, Your Empire or basically any time I’m talking to a business owner about their content.
And here's why – as a business doing business online, every piece of content you create is an asset which means it’s something that holds value and can be leveraged to get more value out of it.
When it comes to content, we want to make sure that you have a system in place to keep track of your assets so they can cbe reused and repurposed – saving you a ton of time.
I mean why create something over and over again when you've already created it?
Here's what a content bank system looks like in practice:
Step 1 – Choose somewhere to host your content bank.
Just like with the content inspiration bank, you can choose the tool you prefer to host it in – whether that's a simple spreadsheet or a fancy tool like Asana or Airtable.
Little tip – I like to build this in a spreadsheet first if possible because that way you can upload it to any of these other tools much more easily.
Step 2 – Then you want to decide on your content type categories
These might be blog posts, videos, freebies, sales emails, etc. (these would become the tabs if you’re using a spreadsheet or rows if you’re using a board style tool)
Step 3 – Decide what information you’d like to store for each type:
Maybe a link, the text, the link to the folder, promo copy, images
I'd also set up topic category tags so you can easily filter and find what you're looking for when you need it.
Step 4 – Add your content
Once the content bank is set up, it's time to start populating.
If you have a ton of content, take your time. Start with the newest stuff and work your way back. Or if you don't have a lot of content yet, bonus, you're setting yourself up for success from the get-go.
I'll add a link to my content bank template below this video in case you want a template already done for you!
What’s next? After this system is set up, get into the habit of shopping your old content first before creating anything new. There's no need to reinvent the wheel every single time. Quality over quantity is absolutely the way to go when it comes to content.
Ready to get systematizing?
Which of these systems are you the most excited about setting up – A content inspiration system, your core content workflow or the content bank system?
And if you don't have a great content planning template, you can take the free Consistent Content Quiz here to put these systems into action.