“I don’t have time!!” is a common cry when I ask people why they haven’t published a blog post in forever, or why they’ve been saying they’re starting a podcast series but have yet to broadcast the first episode. If you lament the lack of content creation opportunities, here are my seven ways to find the time.
One: Make it something you want to do
Someone once told me that there’s no such thing as ‘not enough time’, just ‘higher priorities’. Think about that for a second. Every time you choose to do one thing over another, it’s because you deem the thing you do to be more important than the thing that you don’t. So if you’re prioritising other tasks over creating content, it’s time to find a way to make content more important. You’ll know yourself what makes something important in your life, but here are some of my suggestions to help make content creation something that you want to do.
Firstly, align your content with your business objectives. What are the goals you want to achieve in your business: short and long term? How can the content you create help you to achieve those objectives? If the content you create is helping you to achieve your business goals, then surely that bumps it up the priority list?
Secondly, make it personal. What do you get personally from creating content for your business? Maybe it’s a chance to develop your writing skills by writing in a different way? Or to take yourself out of your comfort zone by recording a video series? Or to raise your profile within your company and be seen as an authority in your subject? By making it personal, you increase your motivation to getting it done.
Thirdly, make the content you write a key part of your marketing strategy. Use it to keep in touch with prospective and existing customers. Use it to follow up on networking events. Use it as a key component in your digital strategy. If other parts of your marketing strategy depend on you creating content, it’s a lot more likely to get done.
Two: Make it fun
There are various ways you can make creating content fun! Here are a couple of suggestions.
Involve other people: get yourself a blogging buddy or form a content club. This’ll give you people to bounce ideas around with, and help you create the content you say you will. Buddies or content club members could be other content creators from your company, or if you work solo, other solopreneurs. Creating content with other people around you feels a lot less like a chore, and more like a fun business activity.
Mix it up! If you normally write for a blog, try creating a video instead. Or record a series of your blog posts as a podcast series. You’ll be learning new skills, stretching yourself out of your comfort zone, and breaking the monotony of doing the same thing each week.
Another way to mix things up, is to take yourself out of your normal environment when you’re doing the creating. Even if you have to create your videos or podcasts in the same place, you can write script somewhere else. Changing your environment is a great way to change your mindset, and can lead to faster writing as your inspiration is sparked.
Three: Create a habit
Experiment and find the best way, best time, and best place for you to create content, and then consciously stick to that until it becomes a habit. You might find that creating a piece of content is a great way to ease yourself into a Monday morning, and that accomplishing an important task so early in the week gives you such a sense of achievement, that it becomes easy to make it a habit. Or perhaps you hit a lull midweek, and that’s the best time? Or you have a regular meeting out of the office, and you can leave an hour earlier to write a blog post, podcast or video script. Some people find it most efficient to write, and schedule or record, all the content for each month in one hit. By experimenting, you can find out what works best for you and your work schedule, and make that your content creation habit.
Four: Capture ideas in the moment
When you have an idea that you can turn into a blog post, podcast episode, or video, take a note of it as soon as you can. Write down or record the idea, how it came to you, why it’s a good idea, and the key points about it. That way, when you come to create the content, it’ll be easy to expand on the skeleton that you’ve already created. Content becomes less of a chore when it’s quick and easy to create. Get into the habit of carrying a small notebook around with you, or use the voice-record or notes function on your phone. You could even download the Evernote App and use that, so that when you get back to your computer or tablet, it’s easy to pick up the skeleton and create the piece of content.
Five: Use a Story Cupboard
Creating a Story Cupboard and keeping it topped up is a great way to save time when you’re creating content. For a start, it makes creating a content calendar a breeze. Some people like to plan out what content they’ll create for in advance, which is a great idea if your business is seasonal, is launching a new service, or has time-critical information to make available. When you have a Story Cupboard, you can just pluck the relevant ideas from the Story Cupboard and put them into your calendar at the appropriate time.
And of course, using a Story Cupboard means that you’ll never be short of inspiration about what to create. In the Story Cupboard you get for free when you sign up for my newsletters (see the box on the right of the screen), you’ll find six jars all waiting for your ideas. Set some time aside to brainstorm topic ideas, top-tips, people you could interview, books you could talk about, places you can find topical news stories to comment on, and inspirational quotations. Then you’ll always have ideas when inspiration fails to strike.
Six: Use your dead time wisely
We all have some dead time in most of our days. Times when we’re travelling, or waiting for a meeting to start, for example. Times where it’s too late to start a new task, but not quite time to stop work. Small windows of time that we could use to think of content ideas, write sections of content, review content already written. Identifying these pockets of time, and getting into the habit of using them to create bits of content, can mean the difference between publishing once a week and publishing once a month.
Seven: Keep images simple
Adding a featured image to your content can be a mountain too far when it comes to getting your content published. Images are important, and while you could publish without one, an image can be the difference between your content being read or ignored. Sometimes you’ll have time to find exactly the right image to convey what you’re talking about, but for those times you don’t, here’s what to do. Go to Canva, or your favourite graphics software, and create an image template. I upload some different backgrounds: photos of a wall, tree trunks, a field, Loch Tay etc, and then I overlay them with a white circle. Then all I need to do when I need a featured image is choose a background, and add the title of my blog post to the circle. Then it takes a minute to download, et voila! A perfectly good image!
I hope these help you to find the time to create great content that works for your business. But if you’re still struggling, I can help you with all aspects of your content creation: from helping you set yourself up for success, to the ultimate luxury of having me write your content for you. Come and have an exploratory chat with me: in person if you live around Edinburgh, Aberfeldy, or Kenmore; or on Skype if you’re anywhere else in the world. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org: I’m already looking forward to learning about you and your business 🙂