Whether it’s blogging, design, eBooks or whitepapers, marketers and content creators alike know that the best work takes time. Short and sweet blogs might be easy to create and digest, but it’s the longer, more time-consuming content that really provides the most value to your audience. Sometimes you may wonder, “Is this the best use of my time?” You might try to skip parts of content creation that seem less important. On a tight deadline, you may skip over outlining or not spend as long editing as you probably should. Whatever the excuse, taking short cuts isn’t worth it. You have to make the time because cutting corners will negatively impact your content quality. While it may be tempting to “streamline” your content creation process for the sake of time, every step is equally important to the development of the final product. Here are the four essential stages of the content creation process, as well as what the time commitment will look like for each.
There is no way around it, guys. Great content doesn’t come as a result of procrastination. So you need time to plan.
As simple as it sounds, it’s helpful to know what you want to talk about and to just let it marinate in your brain for a few days. This gives you a chance to think about it occasionally, without having to dive right into content creation when you have no thoughts to put down on paper.
When you have a better idea of how you want to approach your topic, create an outline that will further help you organize your thoughts and start to flesh things out a bit.
The creation process may take up the most work hours, but it will be less of a burden and time commitment if you put enough effort into the planning process beforehand. When you have an outline created, you’re already off to a good start. Now you just need to fill in the gaps. Do some research. Find other sources to support your own words. This will also create trust with your audience and help them to feel like they are truly learning something new and beneficial. The creation stage is also where you figure out if further graphics or other media are needed to support your main content. If graphics are needed, pick images that are easy to understand and fit well with the context of what you’ve written.
Once you’ve finished the actual creation process, you’re done! Just kidding, there is one absolutely critical step left. Editing. Whether you have another person to edit your work or not, your work must go through some sort of editing process. There are many great ways to proofread your work, but generally speaking, you simply need to make the time. Do it and then do it again. And again. And maybe even once more after that.
Remember, one of the best editing strategies is to step away from your work for a little while. Then come back to it later with a little distance and perspective and really edit it well.
“REMEMBER, ONE OF THE BEST EDITING STRATEGIES IS TO STEP AWAY FROM YOUR WORK FOR A LITTLE WHILE.”
Once you’ve finished creating your content—everything has been through rounds of thorough editing, and has been published to your site—there is still some work to do. If you really want to maximize the impact of your carefully crafted content, you need to share it with the world! And this involves more than just posting it to your own website. You need a thoughtful social media strategy to amplify your message. Make sure to create posts on the social outlets your audience is using, so that you can be sure that your new content will catch their eye.
Also, allow visitors to subscribe to your blog so that they can get immediate notifications when your blog has been updated. Don’t let your great new content hideaway in a corner on your site. Take the time to set up social network platforms where you can show it off!
When I have a rushed deadline, and I don’t have time to think, I often end up being unsatisfied with my work. And I absolutely hate the feeling of giving a client unfinished work or work that doesn’t have my complete effort. Whether writing or designing, I find that if I am unhappy with my work, it’s because I didn’t take enough time to just think about it beforehand. I know we’re all so busy. Our schedules are packed and we have endless deadlines. It’s too easy for us to just drop the planning period and get right to work. Yet this usually ends up creating more work for ourselves in the future, and it certainly doesn’t help us create our best work.
Even when you are set on streamlining your content creation process, you need time to review and think and work at each stage. So do you take shortcuts, or are you making the time to create great content?