Five easy steps to creating great digital content – and staying sane

Need to create digital content for your business but don’t now where to start? Here are five easy steps that won’t drive you mad!

When you’re running your own business it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating digital content.

You’ve heard that creating content is a must-do, but where do you start? What do you create? And where do you share it? And, more importantly, how do you find time when you’re working on every other aspect of your business too?

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Five easy steps to creating digital content – and staying sane

Believe it or not, creating content doesn’t have to be daunting. And it certainly doesn’t have to be such a mammoth time and energy suck. It can be fun. It can be easy. It can be (dare I say it?) effortless.

Here’s how to do it (and stay sane) in five easy steps.

1) Start with your core piece

There’s a bit of a misconception that you need to be creating original content for each and every platform. But that’s simply not the case – you just need to pick one.

Take action:

Think about how you like to consume content. Do you read blogs? Watch video? Listen to podcasts? Let your own tastes dictate which format you favour.

Think of this core format – written posts, videos or podcasts – as your content “hub”. This is the one piece of original content you create regularly, which can then be tweaked and repurposed for other platforms.

For example, you may love video, but quite like the idea of having a blog too. Your one piece of original content is your weekly video, but this could then be embedded into a blog post, or transcribed and turned into a standalone post.

2) Plan your path

One of the single most important things for you to remember is that digital content is not the end game here. Your content is a tool there to help you promote your business and attract your buyers, so keep your eye on the real prize.

Developing a content plan is a really simple and effective way to make sure your content falls in line with your wider business strategy. I recommend planning your content in three month blocks. This is long enough to give you a ‘big picture’ view, but flexible enough to accommodate any big changes in your niche.

Take action:

Keep it simple. Open up a spreadsheet, and plot your dates along the top (I’d suggest weekly). Then add in any product launches or promotions you have planned, any key industry dates you’d like to factor in, and any events you’ll be taking part in or attending.

Next, plot your platforms down one side. This should include your content hub, the social media channels you publish on, your newsletter, and any other sites or platforms you contribute to.

Finally, brainstorm a list of content topics that tie back to your business offerings and those important dates you’ve highlighted, and pop all those ideas into your plan.

Like I said, I’d suggest reviewing and refining your plan every three months to make sure you stay focused, and on the right track.

3) Work it out

You’ve picked your hub, you’ve got your topics, now it’s time to look at your content creation process.

Take action:

Next time you sit down to create a piece of content, make a note of every single step you take, and use your phone to time each one.

By every single step, I mean EVERY single step. Research. Planning. Writing or recording. Uploading. Editing. Image creation. Promotion. SEO. Everything.

Next add anything you’d like to include in your workflow. For example, at the moment you may not email your list a copy of each post, but if if you’d like to, note it down.

My top tip here is to take this list and turn it into a checklist, either on Trello or Google Keep. Then, each time you need to create content, you can refer to the checklist so that you never miss a step again.

4) Automate and outsource

By timing each activity you’ll realise how long each piece of content really takes you to put together. And, as you start to scale your business, you may decide that you can’t afford that luxury.

When you hit that point, it’s time to start thinking about how you can tweak the process, and alleviate some of the pressure through automation and outsourcing.

Here a few ideas to get you started:

  • Research – outsource to companies like Fancyhands.
  • Drafting written content – outsource to a copywriter you know and trust.
  • Adding show notes – outsource to a VA.
  • Turn a video or podcast into an article – transcribe through companies like Rev.com, then give a quick sense check.
  • Promote across social media – trigger updates with IFTTT, or ask a VA to schedule posts through Buffer or Hootsuite (all free).
  • Create imagery – create a template then outsource to a VA.

Take action:

Look at your checklist (and those timings you noted), and think about how you can start to streamline. Baby steps are best; you don’t have to let go of everything at once. Which tasks are taking you longest? Which do you enjoy the most?

5) Step back from the bustle

My final piece of advice, and the one that always has the biggest impact, is this: switch off from the online. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing, and creating, and publishing. It will only make you feel bad.

Instead, know this. You are creating fantastic content for your audience, and you’re doing it consistently. As long as you’re sharing that good stuff with everyone who wants it, you’re sorted.