Creating content can be fun – but creating a LOT of content can be quite a daunting task. Whether you need to write daily blog posts, create videos, record podcasts, or write emails – this five-step system for content creation will help you get the task done smoothly. It takes the idea of batch content creation and moulds it into a simple process.
At the same time, the five-step content creation process allows us to create high-quality content. We can take our time for each step, which means our material will be better thought out – and better than ever.
I did a live video about my 5-step content creation a while ago. If you like to listen & watch more than you like reading, just watch below.
Step 1: Jot Down Content Ideas
Inspiration always hits us at the wrong time. While we’re in the garden, at the supermarket, or in bed in the middle of the night; that’s why it’s good to always have a tool with you to take notes. Some people will use their phones for that (there are several apps that will let you take quick notes while you’re on the go, like Wunderlist or Evernote). Others always have their notebook with them (in the car, in the garden, on the nightstand. Hey, having a notebook with you in the garden is often useful, if you want to keep track of how things are growing!
The good thing about writing down your first thoughts like that, is that you can let them go after that, and continue to concentrate on whatever you were doing (shopping, gardening, sleeping). When you get home or wake up, the idea will still be there – no need to start working on it right away!
Step 2: Create a Content Plan
Content planning is a crucial element of content creation – at least, if you want to do it efficiently and streamline your content. Although some people enjoy putting out anything they can think of at any time, successful entrepreneurs usually have a lot planned out ahead of time.
Finding inspiration for your content plan is a whole different matter (and the subject of a different blog post), but usually it can help to know what the top questions are in your niche, or what your ideal clients, customers or readers are currently struggling with. Answering the questions and offering solutions for your followers’ challenges can be enough inspiration for years to come!
For your content plan, just write down the dates on which you want to publish new content, and the topic of your content (whether that’s an article, video, podcast, email or something else) next to it.
This way, you can plan content for weeks or even months in advance.
Step 3: Create an Outline for your Content
This step can be taken either right after you’ve finished the content plan for the weeks (or months?) to come – or you can sit on the content plan for a while before you start working on it.
Step three is when we create an outline and a structure for our content; whatever type of content it will turn out to be, it will always need a good structure.
Batch creating content is the number one way to save time on content creation. Writing down the bullet points for your complete content plan can sound daunting, but once you’ve done it, you’ll hopefully start to enjoy it.
Now let’s assume you have anywhere between 4 (1 piece of content a week for a month) and 50 (just a random number) titles written down by now. If you only have 4, you could be doing this on paper – if you’ve got a lot of ideas, putting them into your computer directly might be a good idea.
I recently switched to AirTable to manage my content, and it’s really the perfect tool for the first 3-4 steps: it allows you to make quick notes, reshuffle them into a content plan, put a date on it (and get the overview in “Calendar View”), even add bullet points in a Long Text field.
Every title will now get 2-3 main subjects: what is this blog post, video, podcast or email about?
In some cases (a longer blog post, video or podcast episode), you will also add 3-7 bullet points to each of the subjects. A short video (quick tip to do x) or your average marketing email won’t need this, but anything more substantial will now get built out with a complete outline.
This is the step in which you might need to do a bit of research, so make sure you assign enough time for it. If you’ve got a good list of subjects to write or talk about, you might even want to take a full day to do all the research – and write down the most important bullet points for each subject.
On the bright side – this way, you also get to find ways to cross over. If several articles are related to each other or based on each other, you only need to do the research once!
Step 4: Elaborate on the Bullet Points
After writing out all the bullet points, you might want to sleep a night on it (that’s what I like to do!) – or if you’re on a roll and have a bit more time, you could go back to the first subject and start writing.
What you’ll do in this step, is write 1-2 sentences about each bullet point. You did the research (very recently), so in most cases, the words will flow easily.
In this step, you’ve probably transferred your content to your tool of choice; some people like to write directly in WordPress, others use a notes app. I use an app called Ulysses – which is super easy not only to get some focused writing done, but also to keep track of important info (like word count, time it would take people to read it) and makes it very easy to save and store all my writing. And the best thing – it uploads it to WordPress or converts it into a Word document in just two clicks… full layout, pictures and links included.
Step 5: Create your Content
After step four, I like to sleep on things for at least a night. Taking some distance makes it easier for me to catch any mistakes, and I might also be inspired to add something to my content…
Now step 5 is where we’re turning it into the actual content we need.
That can be a series of blog posts, scripts for your videos or podcasts (I make videos without writing the script for it; I need the bullet points though!), or an email marketing campaign.
You will notice that since you already have most of the content set up, this part will be super easy… if you’re not good at copywriting (or just don’t have the time for that sort of thing!), you could even outsource this step. Your copywriter will know exactly what to include (thanks to the 4 first steps), and you’ll save time on the actual writing & proofreading.
For another really handy way to create more content in less time, check out this article on turning your videos into blog posts.
Now tell us in the comments…
What type of content do you create – and what is your favourite tip for creating quality content easily & efficiently?
Sandrine is a Facebook & Online Strategist. Born in Belgium with a passion for travel, she spends the majority of her time on her off-grid olive & almond farm in Spain. Her mission: helping others make their dreams reality - with an online business to support them.