Content is one of the great equalizers of the digital age. Every mom and pop company with an Internet connection can build a platform and become an authority that competes with even the largest and best established brands in the marketplace.
But there are some barriers to entry. Certainly the size of your distribution channels and the resources you have to reach a wider audience can be an issue, but even before that, there is the issue of creating all that content.
Someone has to sit down and write, record, or design all the content you plan to use in your campaigns. And if no one in your organization can do it, it can get very expensive very fast.
I fight this noble fight every day and having now been on both sides of the process – both commissioning and writing the content – I have developed 7 quick tips that help me get more done faster, often within or UNDER budget.
1. Use Evernote to Organize Research
Evernote is a perfect tool for a content creator. It’s available on every possible platform you might use, it syncs automatically, and it can capture anything – from PDFs to snippets of text in a blog post.
Every Evernote account looks different – yours should be no different to match your habits – but there are some standards (and a few good hacks) in books like Evernote Essentials by AUTHOR.
It’s loaded with tips on how to setup a capture system, manage it, and keep it organized for research and much more.
2. Join Industry Forums and ASK People What They’d Buy
One of the biggest challenges of writing an info product is that you either don’t know the niche as well as some other people or you know it so well that you have no idea what information people would be willing to buy from you.
So instead of spending three weeks writing the draft for a product you’re not quite sure someone will purchase, join industry-specific forums and ask people what they would be interested in.
Join conversations, look for common questions, look for key pain points that people bring up over and over again, and just plain listen.
Heck, you can even ask people what they would buy if you were to write it.
This basic step can save you weeks of hard work and ensure your product is more in line with what your target customers are actually interested in.
3. Buy Some of Your Research Materials and Build a Library
If you plan on writing about a topic more than once or if you are a freelance writer and suspect that the topic will come up again, buy your research materials.
Yes, you could probably find everything you need online in some form or another, but having a physical copy that you can reference whenever you need a new idea or want to clarify something, and that you can write in with a pen, is a big boon here.
Even from outlining to writing a draft, you are likely to forget some things or want to quote a passage you read a few days ago.
And having those books in your library will create a feeling of expertise in you that permeates your work. By taking the actions of an expert, you’ll start to feel like one, and the work you do will be that much better because of it.
4. Write Notes in Books with a Pen to Find Ideas Later
This is such a good one that I’m going to mention it again.
The human mind works better in tandem with visual cues, creating memories and building new ideas from them. Typing doesn’t provide that kind of tactile feedback, no matter how much faster it might be.
Whether you do this in a separate notebook or you write directly in the books (which I prefer to do), actually writing out your thoughts is a surefire way to create a stronger, deeper connection with the material and start forming more advanced ideas, sometimes even without actively doing it.
5. Record Short Videos Whenever You Have an Idea
This is a quick and easy one that I started doing three years ago when I switched to a Macbook. These days, any laptop, phone or tablet allows you to do the same, though, so it’s a universal tip.
Whenever you have an idea, instead of writing it down, take 30-45 seconds and record yourself describing it. This works so well for many reasons.
To start you can feel and see your own enthusiasm in the idea when you watch them back later. Second, some of these videos can actually make good micro blog posts or YouTube content. You don’t need a big long script and carefully produced videos to start publishing – just good ideas and a platform.
I’d say 1 in every 5 videos is actually worth sharing, but if you do this a dozen times a week, that’s two new videos a week and a TON of new ideas to work with.
6. Spin Out Sections from Longer Products to Create Bonuses and Blog Posts
One of the things Internet marketers often do, and that I have long since emulated, is spin out sections of a larger product as bonus content. Again, this isn’t about reusing content or copy-pasting it into a new format.
It’s about taking the one or two most interesting and most valuable parts of your core product and creating smaller, free bonuses around them, or expanding on them in certain ways that supplement the main product.
This can be in the form of an app, a software tool on a website, the resources that the main product says you will need.
This kind of content adds value, yes, but more importantly, it SUPPORTS the core message of your product and helps people to succeed.
At the end of the day, if you help people succeed, the money YOU are going to make will come with it.
7. Spend At Least 10 Minutes EVERY DAY Writing Something, Even When Not Building a New Product
There was a time in my life when I used to write 10,000 words per day…on AVERAGE. I would sit down for 8 hours a day and just write. Eighty percent of it was for clients and I made a very good living writing from 7am-3pm every single day.
Back then, it wasn’t hard to motivate myself to write. I was already doing it – heck writing something that I enjoyed and that wasn’t for a client was a treat.
But when I started my own agency and later took a job in Manhattan with a larger marketing agency, that time dwindled. There were weeks at a time when I didn’t write anything at all, so when I did it was a lot harder than I remembered.
It took longer, the quality wasn’t as high, and I felt like I was constantly struggling against writer’s block.
That only lasted for a few months, because I quickly realized I needed to keep my writer’s mind sharp.
The same goes for any kind of content creation. Videos, podcasts, articles, blogs, eBooks – if you don’t produce content consistently, you risk getting rusty and the entire act becomes that much harder to start back up.
So spend at least 10 minutes a day writing SOMETHING.
A blog is an extremely useful tool for this reason alone – it keeps you on point.