How would you like to free up hours every week to focus on your most important projects?

Among the many regular tasks we commit to is creating regular content that helps us:

  1. Show who we are & what we do (and that we’re here for the long haul).
  2. Build a relationship with our audience.

If you deliver weekly content you’ll know it’s a huge investment of time and energy to maintain.

It can suck up hours in planning, creating, editing and publishing.

But what if you could streamline your content production process so you could free up your time to get on with other tasks?

Creating content for The Freedom Philosophy blog used to take me forever.

The secret to freeing up more time.

Once I got a strategy in place it became easier to create saved me hours in editing & proofing.

Secret #1:

Content production is all about efficiency and effectiveness.

You’ve got to design your workflow (your process) and choose the systems that will help you maximize both.

Secret #2:

Brainstorm 100 ideas at a time.

I literally have 100 ideas lined up and never have to wonder what to write about, or what needs to happen to produce it.

The process I’m sharing with you below saves me over 3 hours a week.

It gives me more time to focus on what matters most, like my biggest, most immediate business-building task in front of me.

That, friend, is the result of having a rock solid Content Marketing Strategy.

 

If you haven’t read my Introduction to Content Marketing then go back and read that now. In this article we cover Step 2 of 4. It assumes you already know what content marketing is (and how it can help you achieve your business goals) AND have already created your own Content Marketing Strategy.

 

When your Content Marketing Strategy is in place you can crack on with your content creation.

Content creation can be so much fun if you manage your workflow it well and use the right systems for you. Click To Tweet

The 10 steps of time-saving content creation

Here’s how I manage my content creation workflow, also called a content production process (I’ve added in red what a larger team might add as separate stages to this workflow or designate to separate people/ roles, but which I jam together cos I’m a Single Business Mother.).

  1. Define Your Workflow (What Needs to Happen)
  2. Choose The Systems that will help you maximize effectiveness of the workflow
  3. Generate Content Ideas
  4. Map Your Editorial Calendar
  5. Research & Outline
  6. Write the Content
  7. Edit the Content
  8. Copyedit/ Proofread the content
  9. Layout & Design
  10. Publish the content

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that, so let’s take a look!

#1: Define your workflow (what needs to happen)

The workflow or process is just a list of what needs to happen for your content to go from concept to published.

It’s a ‘checklist’ of actions that need to be done in order to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of your content marketing strategy.

You’ve seen mine already (3-9 above):

  1. Generate Content Ideas
  2. Map Your Editorial Calendar
  3. Research & Outline
  4. Write the Content
  5. Edit the Content
  6. Copyedit/ Proofread the content
  7. Layout & Design
  8. Publish the content

I use Google Sheets to keep track of where each blog post is in the workflow.

#2: Choose the systems you love and find easy to use

Your systems (tools or software) that you use at each stage of your workflow are there to HELP you, not hinder you.

Use tools that you love, are easy to use, and help you work more effectively & efficiently through your content production process.

Here are the systems/ tools I use at each stage:

 

Workflow Stage: Systems/ Tools: Role or person in a larger team:
Workflow tracking Google Sheets Editor
Generate Content Ideas Google Docs* Stategist or Editor
Map Your Editorial Calendar Google Calendar Editor/ Editorial Assistant
Research & Outline Pen & Paper (*old school alert*) Copywriter
Write the Content OmmWriter Copywriter
Edit the Content Hemmingway App Editor/ Editorial Assistant
Copyedit/ Proofread the content Google Docs Copyeditor/ Proofreader
Layout & Design Google Docs => Wordable Graphic Designer
Publish the content Wordable => WordPress Editorial/ Editorial Assistant

 

*Moving my content to Google Docs has been a game-changer. I was especially lucky that I had made the transition before my laptop was in a coconut water coma. I was able to borrow friends’ laptops and access all my work. It was ace.

#3: Generate content ideas

If you’ve done your groundwork and prepared a Content Marketing Strategy you already have a really deep and compassionate understanding of your target audience.

You might even have a 29-page audience matrix (saved in a Google Doc for easy access of course!) — like me!

Coming up with ideas is easy using the SWEET SPOT strategy.

Your content ideas should be a SWEET spot between:

  • What they need to know that helps them achieve their goals and establishes you as a trusted expert in your category
  • What they want to know that establishes you as someone who totally gets them

If you cannot brainstorm 100 article ideas within the next 20 mins that will thrill your audience, THEN YOU ARE NOT READY TO MAP YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR. Go back to your Content Marketing Strategy now!

When you have 100 ideas you can organise them in themes, topics or categories.

For example I love the cluster model where you create a piece of Pillar Content (like my Introduction to Content Marketing) and then 5 or 6 more articles that address different aspects of that post to make a cluster series exactly like this one.

Organise your content ideas in a way that makes sense to you AND your audience.

#4: Map your editorial calendar

Decide how often you’d like to publish your content and then schedule it in a Google Calendar.

This is called your Editorial Calendar!

#5: Research & outline

The first thing I do is check my audience matrix to find out exactly what my audience think and feel about a topic.

Then might write off the cuff based on my own experience, or do more research on:

  • Google – to find out general info
  • BuzzSumo – to research what has already been successfully published on the topic
  • Alltop – to find out the top headlines attracting attention around the world on the topic
  • Answer the Public – to find out exactly what people want to know around the topic (how they phrase their questions)
  • Google Keywords – the most popular search terms around my topic so I know how to phrase things &what keywords to use in my writing

#6: Write the content

I write straight into OmmWriter.

It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

It’s a distraction free writing interface where I can choose the font style, size and background color.

But even better: there are 10 music tracks conducive to focus AND I can choose the sound of my keyboard clicks which is SO FUN.

I tell you what: I’ve never written so fast in my life, just to hear each key on my keyboard. It’s so motivating.

This is where I save the most time. Writing the raw draft.

The faster you write the raw draft the quicker you can polish it to perfection. So this app is ACE.

IN LOVE.

blog content creation process

 

#7: Edit the content

In Hemmingway App I just toggle across to the ‘Edit’ page and edit away.

I used to use it to write my content (toggle left and you have the distraction free writing interface) but OmmWriter has stolen it’s thunder.

It’s such an easier way to ‘see’ where you need to tighten your writing.

 

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 10.19.12

#8: Copyedit/ Proofread the Content

In Hemmingway App.

#9: Layout & Design

I copy my text into Google docs where I add images, screenshots or tables.

 

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 10.20.35

#10: Publish the Content

I import it into WordPress using Wordable, which saves hours of editing and layout drama in WordPress.

It keeps all my layout and design in place – it’s magical!

This is the second area I save the most time. Absolutely AMAZING.

 

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 10.24.31

 

I then make sure there’s a feature image, optimise it for SEO using the YoastPlugin, do a final read through and then I hit ‘Publish’.

 

 

Et voila! That’s my entire Super Savvy Content Creation Process that saves me more than 3 hours every week!

It’s constantly evolving to become more efficient. As long as I love using the systems AND they save me time I can’t go wrong.

I hope this helps you develop a fun & efficient system, too!

Next up >> Ninja Content Creation PART 2 : My Process & Favourite Tools For My Facebook Live Show

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Other posts in this series:

  1. Content Marketing Demystified
  2. Content Marketing Strategy
  3. (Content Production Part 1)
  4. Content Product Part 2
  5. Content Promotion Strategy
  6. Content Conversion
  7. 3 Mistakes People Make In Their Content Marketing

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Photo by Tony Ross on Unsplash


Stephanie Holland
Stephanie Holland

I'm a strategist & traveler obsessed with thriving on all levels and helping fellow entrepreneurs launch their ideas with more ease, vision and likelihood of success.