Ten ways to pump out a stream of great content without burning out
There’s always more content to write.
Sometimes that can be encouraging, even exhilarating. You’ve got plenty of space for all your ideas, and countless opportunities to engage with potential customers and to build a stronger relationship with existing ones.
But producing a constant stream of content can be exhausting.
You’ll find yourself running out of ideas and running out of steam. And at that point, it can be really difficult to keep creating high-quality content on a regular basis.
Even if you’re in a position to hire someone to help, you’ll still need to have a fair amount of involvement in content production – supplying ideas and outlines, at the very least.
So how can you keep up with all the content you need to produce? Before we dig into some specific tips, let’s take a look at how much you actually need to create.
How frequently should you post on your blog and your social media accounts?
There are no rules here different blogs do different things, often within the same industry. In the content marketing world, for instance:
- Smart Blogger posts (very in-depth) pieces once a week
- Copyblogger publishes three or four posts a week
- Content Marketing Institute posts one piece each weekday
As a rough guideline, you’ll probably want to aim for at least one weekly post, one daily Facebook and/or Instagram post, and three or more posts a day on fast-moving networks like Twitter. (According to Louise Myers, the “general consensus” is that anything from three to 30 Tweets per day is fine.
So how do you keep up with this level of content, week after week?
How to create great content without burning out
Here are nine ways to keep up your content production without getting to the point of feeling so burned out that you simply give up.
You can use these as a step by step process, or you can pick and choose ideas that’ll make your existing process go more smoothly.
1. Decide how often you’ll post content
While there’s no “right” answer to how often to post content, there’s definitely a “wrong” one. Posting content whenever you feel like it, at wildly varying frequencies.
It’s best – for you and for your audience – to have a consistent posting schedule, both on your blog and on social networks. That might mean, for instance, two blog posts each week, one Facebook post each day (more may be counter-productive), and five Twitter posts each day.
While you might vary your schedule a little, having a clear idea of what to aim for makes it much more likely that you’ll write and publish regular posts.
2. Come up with a suitable pattern for your content
With social media, in particular, it’s helpful to “pattern” your content. This is also a useful practice for blog posts, especially if you post twice a week or more on your blog.
Rather than starting with a blank page when it comes to generating ideas, you can have a pre-set “pattern” for the content you’re going to create.
For instance, if you’re writing five Twitter posts each day, you might decide to have:
- Two posts linking to other people’s great content
- One post linking to your most recent piece of content
- One post linking to a piece of content from your archive
- One post that asks a question or prompts a discussion
3. Brainstorm lots of ideas
Simply coming up with ideas for content can take a lot of time. Instead of sitting down and staring at a blank page, try “batching” the idea generation process: set aside time once every week or two to come up with a whole list of ideas.
Some great ways to find content ideas include:
- Common search terms within your industry: this is part of keyword research and as well as being a useful SEO tool, it’s great for idea-generation.
- Questions that you frequently get asked by potential customers.
- Problems that you faced when you were starting out in your industry.
- Other people’s content – could you create something that tackles a topic in more depth, or from a different angle?
- Your own content: can you go back to an old blog post and update it, or take some social media posts and weave them into a piece for your blog?
- Asking influencers for their contributions – this might be in the form of a quote or two from one person, or a “round-up” post with quotes from lots of different experts.
4. Outline longer pieces of content
With short posts on Twitter and Facebook, you probably don’t need an outline – just a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.
For blog posts, though, you’ll find it’s much faster to write when you’ve got a solid outline in place, especially if you’re producing long-form content. Again, it’s often a good idea to “batch produce” your outlines, by picking four or so ideas and outlining all those posts at once.
That way, when it’s time to write those posts, a lot of the hard work is already done. Plus, if you outline several posts in a single session, you’ll find it much easier to create links between them.
5. Write several short pieces of content at once
Instead of opening up HootSuite (or your favorite social media management tool or app) every single time you want to send a tweet or create a post, write lots of posts ahead of time.
You might want to queue up a week’s worth of posts all at once. Buffer is a great tool for this, allowing you to schedule posts to go out at any time you want – making it easier to reach potential clients in other timezones or those on unusual schedules.
6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces
Creating content requires a lot of focus – it’s not something you can easily do while you’re fielding phone calls or responding to emails every few minutes.
Block out periods of time (ideally two hours long) in advance, where you can shut your office door, ignore your email, and let calls go to voicemail.
6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces
While you may have no choice but to self-edit your content, if it’s possible, get an editor involved. This might be someone already on your team, or a freelancer external to your company.
A good editor will go far beyond correcting spelling mistakes and grammatical slips. They’ll help to ensure your content is well structured, that it flows smoothly, and that it’s as engaging as possible.
8. Have an assistant format and upload your content
If you’re uploading all your own posts on your blog and social media, you’ll be spending time finding images, selecting categories, adding hashtags, including links, and so on.
While these tasks are an important part of the content creation process, they don’t need to be done by you. Delegate as much of the repetitive work as possible to an assistant so that you can free up more time to write or design the content itself.
9. Get ahead and take time off
If content creation is starting to feel like a treadmill that you can’t get off, then you’re probably heading for burnout. Plan your schedule so you can get ahead, perhaps by creating an extra piece or two of content each week.
That way, you can take a week off from content creation occasionally (plus, you’ll also be covered for any unexpected events, like a particularly busy period, or illness).
10. Repurpose your existing content
There may well be excellent blog posts in your archive that rarely get read, and your social media posts will almost certainly only gather fleeting attention.
Instead of always coming up with fresh ideas and creating new pieces from scratch, how about reusing some of your existing content? That might be as simple as writing an updated version of a blog post, and republishing it – or it could involve something more involved like turning a series of tweets into a blog post, or turning a post into an infographic.
Valuable, high-quality content is great for your business, your potential and existing customers, and your SEO. By trying some or all of the tips above, you can keep up the flow of content, without burning out.
If you have a tip for creating lots of great content, consistently, feel free to share it with us in the comments below.
Joe Williams is the founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on Twitter at @joetheseo.
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