Finding time to create online content
How do you find time to create online content? Do you just need to be more efficient?
This question came up recently in my free Facebook group.
On the one hand, yes, there is a lot to be said for being more efficient. But I also think that for most of us, we need to be realistic about how much time we have and be ruthless in our prioritisation.
1) Figure out how often you want to share and where.
Create a list of all the places you would ideally like to share brand new, high quality content. Think about your social channels, think about your blog and your newsletter. Write them all down.
How often would you – in an ideal world – like to share to each of those channels.
So, for me, ideally, I would share fresh content every week on my blog and my newsletter, I would do a Facebook live in my group every week, I would be on Instagram stories every day, and sharing on Instagram 3-4 times a week, posting on Linked In multiple times a day ETC.
When I was furloughed, I was pretty much doing that! I had loads of time to dedicate to it, so it was easy.
But now I’m not furloughed anymore, and I’m working 3 days a week in-house, plus I’ve got ongoing clients I’m working with, and I’ve only just got back my full free day a week.
I can’t do all the things without burning myself out! And if that happens, I end up stopping completely, which doesn’t serve me at all.
When time is short, the next step is:
2) Ruthlessly prioritise.
What are the things you absolutely want to keep up?
When time is really tight, the only thing I keep on my priority list is my mailing list. Then I layer in the Facebook group and my Instagram feed are next. After that comes this blog, although I try to create useful content it, it doesn’t always need to be new.
So – you’ve got your ideal scenario, but what is your ‘if I only do one thing, this is what I’ll do’ scenario? Being really clear on where your focus is can help avoid a lot of panic and overwhelm.
3) Have an idea of what you want to say.
I really recommend doing this in batches. When you’re in a creative, coming up with ideas zone, it’s SO helpful to plan out as many ideas as you can in one go.
So, when I was putting together my content brainstorm videos (which you can watch for yourself here), I did all the exercises.
I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, and there are loads of different ways you can do this kind of brainstorming, but I was relieved to find the exercises really helpful!
I’ve got a really long list of things I’d like to talk about in the coming months. If it starts to get short, I’ll do the whole process again.
Once the list is there, and we’re talking maybe an hour thinking and planning these out, you spend way less time overall planning, because you can say ‘right, I want to share one thing to each channel this week’ and you’ve got your list of stuff to talk about ready and waiting for you.
4) Repurpose stuff!
So – you do not need to share something completely different on every channel! You do not need to share something new on every channel.
This is something that I have known for a long time, but haven’t been very good at practicing, but I am getting much better.
So, let’s say you want to share one big piece of content each week somewhere and you want to share to all of your social channels multiple times a week.
Now, when I’m planning out my newsletter and when I’m planning out my content for this group, I’m always thinking – can I reuse this content somewhere else?
So – my newsletter might go up on the blog the next week. This blog post came from a video I shared in my Facebook group.
Once a new blog post goes up, I have something tangible and helpful to share across places like Twitter and LinkedIn. I can pull out an extract and share that, I can say why it’s helpful, I can say who it’s for… essentially, one blog post gives me multiple things to share on social media.
And you can do the same thing with older content!
Link out to old blog posts! Share something you’ve shared before with a slightly different spin. I even know people who use exactly the same content again a few months later – the algorithm means there will be very few people who are seeing it both times, and even then, the chances of them remembering are very slim.
So – between steps 3 and 4, you should now have a really long list of stuff to share.
5) Break it down into micro-steps.
The final step is actually creating that content.
The way I find time to create online content is to break each thing down into tiny actions, none of which should take longer than 20 minutes.
I’ve been doing this, which is essentially the pomodoro method, since Theo was a baby, 5 and a half years ago, because he would never sleep for longer than 20 minutes.
Now I set a timer. I choose one thing on my list and do only that thing for 20 minutes. Then I either take a break, or if I’m in the zone, I’ll just keep going and move on to the next thing.
To summarise this all into even fewer steps:
1) Throw other people’s idea of consistency out of the window. How do YOU want to show up? What are YOUR priorities? Figure out what the absolute essentials are, and do the rest if and when you’re able to.
2) Have a big list of ideas to pick and choose from, because that will really help when it comes to planning out what to say.
3) Break everything down into small jobs so that they feel less overwhelming, and you might actually find the time to do them!