5 Tips for Creating Content - Consistently
by Helena B Communications
You have a company blog that requires constant care and feeding, not to mention all the articles, tweets, posts and updates that beg writing. As you've probably already realized, waiting until you have time or until inspiration kicks in is not a winning strategy. To satisfy your content creation demands, you need to learn to write on demand. Here are 5 tips to help you cultivate the ability to summon the muse - consistently.
Chunk it out. Book coach Jerry Mundis counsels his clients to decide how much time they can devote to the creative process and put it on their calendar. When the time comes, set a timer and spend that time, and that time only, on the task at hand. Busy professionals, should probably devote 20-30 minutes a day - and no more. What this does is put your subconscious on notice that it has only a limited amount of time to express itself. You will find that after about a week of practice, it will show up with the goods - ready to go. If you can't think of anything to write, make a list of issues that keep your clients up at night and jot down what you know that could help them.
Write about what you don't know. Things change quickly in the marketing industry and we're always learning. The best way to ensure you've mastered new concepts is to teach them to someone else. Your clients will appreciate your expertise in new approaches, industry trends and technology, and will connect your brand to those new solutions. For a deeper dive into this approach, read "Writing to Learn" by William Zinsser.
Make brownies from cake. There are multiple ways to talk about what is essentially the same point. Go back to an old blog post and give it a new spin. This post, for instance is a "cake" made from the ingredients of a post, "Winning the Content Creation Game in 20 Minutes a Day" that appeared on my blog a few months ago.
Keep a clipping file. You will want to put these "clippings" in a place that is easily accessible -- online. Some people use Evernote, others put a folder on their desktop where they drop links or bookmarks. You also might consider using your Twitter account as a resource, especially if you're more of a curator of content than a broadcaster of your own thinking. (Best choice? Be both.) A scan of your last 30 tweets and retweets should give you some clues about what has piqued your interest lately.
Accept the challenge. Like it or not, as a provider of professional services, assuaging the search gods and feeding the content monster needs to become part of new business development process. It's not easy, but those who manage to produce valuable content consistently are rewarded, over time, with recognition, respect and ultimately, revenue. Consider the two extra hours a week you spend documenting your expertise and providing a service to your industry as an investment in your future.
These tips assume that you are already capable of writing cohesive posts and articles. For some people, especially designers, writing is not the easiest way to express their thoughts. If that describes you, consider hiring a copywriter to wrap your visual communications in effective prose. Similarly, if you are a good writer (and thinker) but are really crushed for time, ask an editor to help hammer your raw ideas into useable articles, so you just have to fill in the blanks and give them a final polish. In any case, realize that when it comes to content creation, you are in control. Set your timer and summon the muse. She will obey, and you’ll be amazed at how much you actually have to say.
Helena Bouchez is principal of Helena B Communications, a consultancy that helps build the brands of small marketing professional services firms and their thought leaders via consultations, content creation and public relations.