I tell you a story about John Smith and his mid sized company, or to be more precise how they are discovering the incredible world of Content Marketing. Everyone working there are over their fifties and even not being technophobes, still would rather make phone calls than write emails. Because John has been in business for a while, he had seen or even missed some changes in the industry and does not want to miss on on-line marketing, oh no. He knows all about Ad-words or at least how much the bloody thing bills for each month. He can distinguish a good website for his category, but he waited for a while before investing in content production, but finally realised that there is a point to bring someone full time to do all that social media and blogging stuff.He tried himself, but mediocre rewards are sure not worth the pain of being brain dead after having to create something new from scratch.
Being that guy who has to make the content in John’s company is tough. No one to ask a question, probably little experience before this job, and so many things to do. But you know what, there is a way to make your life a bit easier and I will share with you today, how you can start doing twice as much work in twice as little time. But only if you commit spare time to deeper research and making your content exceptional.
1. Plan Ahead
If your company would contact agency for ad hoc services they would get a nasty bill, paid up front. Why? Because agency would have to calculate man hours and figure out how to deliver services within deadlines and within budget. If you work for a company and you get new ideas from your manager every day, you cannot deliver content on time. First, figure out how many pieces you are going to commit, eg. an article every two weeks, one social media post a day, two relevant re-posted articles multiply by days in a month and create a publishing calendar, Once it’s all in front of you it will make your life much easier, and would show your superior that the work you do is actually very demanding.
2. Create Your Content Products
Just imagine how complicated your laptop is. Would you be able to build one, how long would it take, would you get faster if you build same laptop for a week or a month? Your content can become the same, make it simple first repeat and add features after each cycle. It is great to try new concepts, but it is hard to improve if not two pieces are alike. By having set types of content products you will be able to come up with a plan how to make it faster. Small changes in delivery or style would become trends and iteration would lead to bigger impact.
3. Do Work in Batches
If you do work for John, I bet you have to do allot, and it takes ages to go back to your work if you lets say had to switch from numerical task to creative task. Reason is, parts of the brain required are not really in good relationship with each other and better kept separate. Tell me have you seen many creative accountants? If you are coming up with topics for blogs, do that and only that. If you do research do that and only that. Think of yourself like a content production factory, just instead of having many employees you are becoming one for each stage and work the production line from getting the parts (research) to shipment of the final product (content distribution).
I am guilty of trying to make things perfect from the beginning, and each time something did not work I was blaming my gear, or my PC or software I used. The problem was that tools were great most of the time, I was just not ready for them. I learned graphic design with Photoshop and in the end got saved by Canva. Graduate in complexity of your methods gradually, jump a few steps if you have to, but always look for ways how to make your life easier. Technology is changing way too fast to get stuck on learning one professional tool, only use that you actually need at that time.
5. Think Lazy
For example, I remember using social media publishing tools and entering links manually after I got bored I found out you can actually create a spreadsheet, export it to csv and then import it directly to Hootsuite. Does seem like doing too much, but when you compare to three hundred manual entries it actually saves almost a day. Spreadsheets also offer clear representation of my social media scheduling activity for future reference, is easy to manipulate and search. This is just my example, look for your ways to make your life easier. Even Bill Gates once said;
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
I think he is not a bad person to take advice from.
Content production for Social media or a website is not an easy task. Producing great content is even harder. What makes it easier is creating small but incremental improvement in the process, something like the Toyota model of continuous improvement, but applied to the unlikely area of content production. Don’t make grandiose plans, do it slowly, Create content “Products” and make changes only as the need occurs or results are not present (content for lead generation is a topic for another time). Doing work in batches, due to the monotony of it, will generate patterns leading hacks to speed up the process. Don’t get bogged down on complicated professional tools, there is probably the easiest way to do something you do everyday. Think Lazy and look for the easiest way to do your job, easier does not necessarily mean easier, just more output for the same man hours put it.