Content creation is one of the most important aspects of your digital inbound marketing strategy.
When you take time to consistently develop spectacular content, you are giving your prospects and leads the opportunity to sample the value you can create for them. Helpful, informative content that web visitors can use right away will put them on track for a lasting relationship with your brand.
There is a challenge, of course – actually writing all that content.
To do that, you need to make time for writing. Potentially, lots of time.
Experienced web content writers may be able to write a blog post of 1,000 words in an hour. When working with topics they are familiar with, they might not need to do any research at all to devise the evergreen content that forms the bedrock of a content plan.
However, even the most skilled writers can feel intimidated by a blank page now and then.
Likewise, if you’re a digital marketer, odds are good you weren’t a writer first – or even at all. Writing good content means going beyond the mechanics of language or rhetoric and infusing everything you produce with a deep understanding of digital marketing principles.
With that in mind, producing sound content every week can be tough. That’s the benchmark you need to aim for if you want to see your content strategy consistently attract more qualified leads and win you backlinks and social mentions – the kinds that make real SEO impact.
Simply, the more time you spend on content, the more confident you’ll feel and the better your inbound marketing results will be. So how can you take that step and make writing a new habit?
Try these tactics and techniques to make time for writing:
Write 15 Words Before Work
If you’ve never written before and you’re only writing for work, you might find the whole thing a chore. Not everyone will turn out to be Hemingway, but you have to teach your brain to get into writing mode – and if it turns out you find it fun, all the better!
Recent research on habit formation shows when you start small, you end up with big results.
The concept is simple:
- Start with a new “habit” that’s so small you can’t mess it up (in this case, just 15 words).
- Attach it to something that happens every day (“after breakfast, I will write 15 words.”).
- Perform that new action as soon as the “triggering event” takes place ... every single time.
- Stop to mentally “fist pump.” That is, mentally thank yourself for maintaining your habit.
Once you get started with 15 words, you might just find you have more to say. It doesn’t matter what you write: A journal entry, one or two sentences of a story, or even a little bit of a blog post. The simple purpose is to make sure there’s time for writing.
You can use this technique to get started with almost any new habit, but it’s particularly effective with writing. Set up two “trigger events” every day, and you’ll start writing before and after work. The few words you start with will turn into sentences once you start rolling.
And then you can take that energy into your web content.
Set a Stopwatch
Even people who love writing don’t always feel like doing it. For situations like that, there’s one simple tool that can help you go a long way: The stopwatch app on your favorite mobile device.
Writing is one task that can really inspire procrastination. The trick is, once you get started, it’s hard to stop in the middle of a thought. With a stopwatch, you can take that essential first step.
The procedure here is simple:
- Decide what you want to write or what subject you need to write about.
- Close all apps and browser tabs except one. Ditch other distractions.
- Set your stopwatch for a minimum of ten minutes, and start your writing.
After you’ve done ten minutes of writing, you can take a moment to look at what you’ve accomplished so far – just long enough to read through once. If you still have thoughts you want to get down on paper, set your stopwatch for a slightly longer goal – maybe 15 or 20 minutes.
In most cases, two repetitions of setting the stopwatch and doing nothing but writing will be enough for you to break through the ice and build momentum. From there, you’ll probably find yourself flying. Plus, you’ll have gotten rid of anything that could steal your attention.
Do a Lot of Reading
To do a lot of writing, you usually have to do a lot of reading.
This is especially true in digital marketing, where new ideas are germinating all the time. If you want to be on the cutting edge, you need to see what others are saying. That’s what gives you the fuel to synthesize those thoughts into your own unique opinions (and, ultimately, practices).
When your clients do product research, one of the first things they have to do is decide which publication and platforms they should listen to. Take a page from their playbook and compile your own “blogroll” of favorite sites to read on your topic of interest.
And then – just as with your writing – make sure you actually read them.
Learn How to Outline
Any project will be a lot less intimidating if you go into it with a clear path to achieve the kind of result you want. For content, that takes the form of an outline: The “bare bones” of a blog post, e-book, or other piece that helps you plan and structure it before you do a lot of writing.
Ideally, an outline should include all of the major headings and subsections you want to include, as well as all the key ideas you plan to tackle. A well-crafted outline saves you a lot of time by letting you take a “paint by numbers” approach, focusing on writing rather than logistics.
Outlining is a huge subject, way too big to cover in our quick blog about finding time for writing!
To learn about it, check out The 10 Step Process You Need to Write a Kick Ass Blog Post.
Set Up a Content Calendar
A content calendar is simply a calendar that lets you know which writing projects you should be focusing on and when you should be completing them. These are getting more common – and you might expect they would even be #1 on our list of tips on finding time for writing.
The trick is not all teams will start with a content calendar. Your content strategy usually needs to mature a little first, and your team may need to grow. However, you should always have a certain amount of content you want to produce in a given time (say, a week).
You should also always know which topics or keywords you should be focused on.
And now, in the spirit of creating time for writing – there’s no lengthy conclusion for this post.
Go open a Word doc and write 15 words of your next blog post! You can do it!