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Mark Frost

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How to Create Better Content in Less Time

Create Better Content in Less Time

One of the problems most individuals and businesses face with content production is the amount of time it takes to create great content. Whether you’re a nutritionist trying to build an incredible blog, or a car dealer that wants to improve your automotive SEO, content takes a lot of time and it can oftentimes feel like there’s never enough of it to do quality work.

In this post, I’ll provide step-by-step details on how you can stop feeling overwhelmed by and start creating better content in less time:

 

Do Research in Bulk

If there’s one thing that slows down content production, it’s on-the-fly research. You should be gathering resources and taking notes before committing to anything substantial.

Not only will this help you better understand the topic at hand, it will allow you to reference things quickly without getting lost in a sea of resources. You need to have a plan ahead of time in order to efficiently produce content.

In the end, bulk research also helps you better understand the topic. You’re not just reading bits and pieces needed for your content, you’re actually trying to comprehend it.

For example, this would be the difference between reading a textbook and just skimming through for specific details. Sure, you might know dates and names, but you won’t know the deeper significance.

Create an Outline for Every Piece of Content

Content without an outline is like a road trip without a route. You need to know what you want to talk about, what order you’re going to do it in, and how it all flows to create an engaging, informative finished product.

To help you understand exactly what an outline is, here’s a look at the outline I put together for this post:

  • Do Research in Bulk
    • On-the-fly research slows down production
    • You’ll understand the topic better
  • Create an Outline for Every Piece of Content
    • You wouldn’t start a road trip without a route, would you?
    • Provide example outline, explanation
    • Advice on using the outline to write more efficiently
  • Create a Process for Staying on Track
    • Process brings creativity to the surface
    • Breakdown of personal process
    • Be aware of the time
  • Before Writing, Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make This Idea Better?”
    • Your content will never be perfect
    • Visualize and re-read outline
  • Read and Edit on the Fly
    • Good habit to get back on track, catch errors

As you can see, the headings featured on this post are my main talking points. Within those, I add specific notes below so that I know exactly what I want to say before I get begin the actual writing process.

Use the outline as a visualization of what you want to achieve with each individual piece of content. Be as detailed as possible to ensure that you’re able to finish a thought and move right into the next part without getting distracted or lost in thought.

When practiced over the course of a few months, it’s possible to create content in half the time it might have previously taken. And that’s all while improving upon the overall quality as well.

Before Writing, Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make This Idea Better?”

Content is never perfect, and I don’t think it can ever labeled as such. But that doesn’t mean we give up and just write whatever pops into our heads without thinking.

Once you’ve got your outline, take a few minutes to look it over and think about how you can make the idea even better. Sometimes we’re in a rush, sometimes we’re not focused on the work at hand, and adding this element can really ground you in order to help create better content.

Don’t force ideas, but visualize the flow of the content and try to fill any missing blanks with pockets of useful information. You’d be surprised at how often just asking yourself if that’s really the best you can do will spark new and creative ideas.

Create a Process for Staying on Track

While there’s some belief that process hinders creativity, you’ll find you can bring creativity to the surface with less effort when you simply create a process and stick to it.

Here’s a breakdown of how I personally work on content:

  • Starting Research (keywords, related content search, inspiration)
  • Topical Research (links to resources and notes)
  • Create Outline
  • Go Over Research and Finalize Outline
  • Start Writing in the Middle
  • Read Through Content and Create Introduction/Conclusion
  • Brief Final Editing/Formatting
  • Publish

Having this process laid out gives me the structure needed to stay consistent with the quality of my work. I rarely feel like I’m missing anything, and I always know where I’m going with the work.

Additionally, be aware of how much time you’re spending on certain parts of your process. I like to set a timer and give myself 15minutes per 300-word section. This is just enough time to do great work, but will also let me know that I’ve spent too much time on any particular part.

Read and Edit on the Fly

The final editing process should be easy if you make a habit of reading and editing your work on the fly. When I feel stuck, I like to read through the last 300 or so words to help regain my flow. It’s also a great time to catch any errors that may have slipped through.

By the end, all you need to do is briefly re-read the content to ensure it’s good to go.

 

If you’re worried you could be doing more to better your content writing abilities, don’t just keep doing the same thing, hoping to improve. Take action now and identify specific problems with your process!

 

This post was originally published on the Wikimotive blog on July 13, 2015. 

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