Raise your hand if you’ve ever said one of the following:
“I know I need to be blogging, but I just don’t have the time.”
“I’m too busy doing client work that I don’t have time to do marketing.”
“I know constancy is important, but I never have the time for it.”
If your hand’s raised, I have two things to say to you. First, stop “shoulding” all over yourself. You’re fine. You’re doing what you can. Stop beating yourself up about not doing enough.
And second, content creation doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you think. There are ways to streamline the process so that you can get it done quickly and painlessly, and then get back to other priorities. While I haven’t figured it all out, I’ve learned a few tips for being more consistent with my blogging, without letting it take over my life. Here’s what I got for ya.
1. Capture ideas when they happen
Usually when creative entrepreneurs tell me that they’re struggling with consistently creating content, they point to one of two reasons:
- “I don’t know what to write (or post) about.”
- “I have tons of ideas but don’t make the time to do it.”
This tip is for the first group.
I had no idea what to write about.
Now, I have a no-fail system in place that ensures I always have something to say.
Keep a running list
Immediately after every client call or chat with another entrepreneur, I write down topics we discussed that I could write about on the blog. While I’m at it, I go ahead and make bullet points of what I’ll cover in the post so that when it’s time to write it, I already have the outline and just need to fill it in. It makes writing so much easier-- and faster-- which helps me stay consistent.
Same story for social media. I have a folder in Evernote (which is on both my phone and my computer) called “To Share” and as I’m browsing the internet or taking pictures for Instagram, I simply save the articles, videos and pictures I want to share in that notebook. Easy peasy.
Use voice memos
When I can’t immediately write my ideas down, like when I’m running (which is when I do my best strategizing), I use the voice recording function on my phone to capture my ideas. Sure, all my voice memos are essentially me panting into the phone while spitting out a few random words, but when it’s time to sit down and write, a few words (and creepy heavy breathing) is all I need to get started.
2. Batch it
For those of you who have ALL THE IDEAS, but can’t find time to do anything with them, may I introduce to you my secret productivity weapon:
Batch that shit.
If you’re a productivity junkie like me, you’re probably heard of the technique of batching together similar tasks to focus and save time, rather than spreading them out throughout your week. I do it with everything: email, client work, social media scheduling, admin, and especially, content creation.
When I first started blogging, I used to stagger all of the steps to creating a blog (writing, layout, graphics, promotion, etc.) throughout the week. The problem was, every time I worked on it, I’d have to go back into Squarespace or Mailchimp, try to figure out where I left off and what I needed to do, and refocus myself on the work-- which was a massive waste of time. Plus, if a new client project came up, the whole process would get thrown off.
Now? I batch it all.
Wednesday is my blog/ email list day, and Thursday morning is my blog promo and social media time slot. Rather than spreading out content creation for my blog or social media accounts, doing a little every day (which means it never gets done), I block the time and just knock it all out in one go.
Which, when it comes to social media, might raise some questions, so that’s why my next tip is:
3. Schedule it
Hi, my name is Elissa and I’m a social media addict.
Seriously, I’ll go on Facebook to post one picture and then 45 minutes later, I’m still standing in the middle of my kitchen, staring at my phone.
Knowing this about myself, I’ve tried the abstinence route as well, staying away from Facebook completely. The problem with that approach is that for months, the Facebook page for FtBold was pretty sad. I’d share my latest blog post each week, and that’s about it, which didn’t make my page very exciting for my followers (sorry guys!)
So now? I schedule everything ahead of time, using the idea capture and batching tips above.
Each month, I set aside a specific time to schedule all of my Facebook posts at one time. I simply go to my Evernote folder with the stuff I want to share and create draft posts for each one using Facebook’s publishing tool. In about 30 minutes (batching, yo!), I can have a month’s worth of posts set up and ready to go-- without losing 45 minutes of my life every time I want to post a humblebrag about working on my balcony.
Scheduling has also been a game-changer for me on Pinterest. Instead of spending 30 minutes each night browsing Pinterest and pinning interesting links for my followers, I use the Tailwind pin scheduler to plan out pins so I can essentially set it and forget it.
Yep, social media scheduling is the slow cooker of marketing your business.
You can also schedule blog posts and emails. If I know I’ll be busy on the day my blog post is published and the email to my mailing list goes out, I schedule them ahead of time. That way, my content remains consistent, even if my work schedule doesn’t.
4. Prioritize it
Ok, I know this is tough love, but the truth is: there’s no such thing as a lack of time, only a lack of priorities.
If you’re honest with yourself? Really, really honest? You most likely have the time to create content, but it just isn’t a priority.
I’m not saying that to judge you. It’s ok if creating content isn’t a priority. Maybe it’s not a priority because your business doesn’t need it. Maybe it’s not a priority because you have more important tasks to do. There could be legitimate reasons why you’re not doing it.
But lack of time isn’t one of them.
So if you feel like you should be creating more content, first ask yourself the following questions:
- Why is it important?
- Where does it fall on my list of priorities?
- What am I doing instead of creating content (and which is more important?)
Maybe you’ll find that it isn’t that important, in which case, stop beating yourself up about it. Or maybe you’ll find that your time is better spent elsewhere, in which case you can delegate or outsource content creation to someone else.
But if you realize that it is important, that it’s high on your list of priorities, and that you’re spending your time on less-important tasks instead of creating content, you really only have one option:
Make content creation a priority.
Set aside a few hours (or however long you need) that are dedicated to content creation and only content creation. Block your calendar. Don’t schedule any meetings during that time. Hold that time sacred for you to do what you know is important for your business. Make it non-negotiable.
All of that said, shit happens.
There will be times when client work takes precedence. There will be times when a kid gets sick and you just can’t get it done.
And that’s ok.
In an ideal world, you’d have a couple posts already written, just in case. But I personally don’t live in that world, and I’m guessing you don’t either.
While consistency is important, it isn’t the end of the world if you miss a week. As long as missing one week doesn’t lead to a second week and then a third week, chances are, nobody will even notice.
So is creating consistent content important? Yes, definitely.
Are you a horrible entrepreneur if you aren’t doing it? No. You’re fine. Calm down.
Your content should be a way for you to connect with your audience, position yourself as an expert, hone your brand voice and build your knowledge base.
It shouldn’t be yet another thing that makes you feel like you’re not good enough.