Use These 3 Habits and Always Have Content to Create

Content fuels your website by delivering solutions, ideas, and inspiration to a target audience or the “right people.” Creating content all of the time can be a drain or a source of daily inspiration. The following habits ensure you have content to create and are inspired in the process.

It is about finding a blend of discovery, note taking, and creation all in one. Why not make it much easier to spend a little time here and there rather than sucking up a whole Sunday afternoon?

When it comes to tools for content you need tools to keep your pulse on everything. You need a way to skim, monitor and collect, to curate ideas together to help towards the spark of creation.

Collecting Content

Collecting content all day is a trick between finding good content and letting it go. Your mind plays like you are starving and this content might be your last meal. You resist this by collecting moving on.

Collect using tools such as Feedly, Scoop.It, Flipboard, Springpad, and Zite just to name a few. Each one does a great job covering how to use them so I won’t do that here. Which one is best? Some people are partial to one particular tool, others use a combination which I find works well. It doesn’t matter what is best for everyone else but what works for you. You have to experiment. Start by checking out this awesome article on content curation from the experts. That way you still can experiment but start with a solid foundation. Of course, tools are only as good as the habits established around them.

Collecting Habits

Habits are the cornerstone of life and what can make the difference between getting stuff done and frittering your day away. The following are habits to prevent content collection from being another time suck.

  • Time yourself. This one is critical, you have to decide how much time you are going to use before you start and then stick to it. Just stop when the time comes and trust that if you miss something, there will be other even better content to take it’s place.
  • Use buckets. You need a place to throw content you find and want to review and organize later. This can be something like Pocket or Evernote.
  • No interruptions. Make sure you are not interrupted because then it will become more difficult to time yourself. You also may become less likely to put in the full time as you get swept away by other duties.
  • Learn to skim. Look for key points that really grab you and make you want to tell someone about. If you are compelled to share any part of it when you skim, then throw it in a bucket for later.
  • Alternative. See something while doing other work, quickly throw it into Evernote using the browser tool and review it all later.

Content Review

Once you collect then you need to review. The review process is where you actually read what you collected. This time you need to have somewhere to throw quotes and jot down ideas as you go. Write ideas down as soon as you have them, you won’t always remember later and this way your brain isn’t taking up energy keeping it in the back of your mind.

You could use a regular notebook and that might work well in some cases but otherwise use Evernote. Evernote has plenty written about it for example here or here. Some review habits to consider:

  • Have an organizational system. This could be tagging, folders, whatever will work well for you to find the ideas later.
  • Carve out time. Reading what you find takes time so be ruthless about reading only the good stuff while also making sure nothing else gets in the way. Reading is often seen as a luxury that few allow themselves. Make time for a complete read not just a skimming, if you are really just skimming, maybe it isn’t worth reading?

Content Planning

The best planning is done through a content calendar. Start small if you have to but decide on content as far out as you can. Having some ideas in place beforehand also helps feed your content collection. Your mind starts thinking about future content and often be unconsciously collecting. The habits to consider:

  • Try to incorporate different media, not just blog posts but images, video, and podcasts too.
  • Instead of doing it alone find other people through tools like FollowerWonk and try co-creation projects
  • Have extra backup content you can always use anytime for just in case
  • Use your full team for creating content.

Content ideas come from keeping this process consistent. There is never a shortage of ideas when you make the process a regular habit. Extra bonus: switch up where you read to cross pollinate your ideas from other niches.

Content Creation and Discovery without the Burnout

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Content marketing has certainly taken off in a big way but at the end of the day despite all the buzz there are still the same barriers to content creation; time, money, resources to get it all done. A content marketing strategy seems great for those large sites with lots of staff to deligate responsiblities to but what about the little guy? If you are a small business owner or are an individual with a hobby site then you might want to create blog posts, video, images, podcasts, and ebooks but who has the time? Most who attempt massive content creation strategies eventually succumb to content creation burnout. Well, there is a better way and it is what marketing guru Michael Adams (recent winner of Launch VT contest) does and what our mutual friend and Project Management Wonder Chef James Tourville calls beast mode. [Read more...]

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If you search for content marketing, SEO, Internet marketing, content curation, social media, or any number of other similar keywords you get tons of advice on your content marketing strategy. It is almost like a favorite bed-time story that starts with “once upon a time…” only these posts frame their ideas as simple “all you have to do is” and then fill in the blank.

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I am not talking about the push-button schemes that make the tables at Vegas look honest by comparison. I am talking about the posts that suggest to practice a content marketing strategy by creating a blog post that is then redone as a podcast, video, infographic, PDF download, newsletter content, alongside posts unique to each social media platform. All the while this same content satisfies the cravings of random strangers customers by answering their undying questions in such fun and quirky ways they shove aside their baby pictures to share your post to their friends and family on Facebook begging them to view it. The result is a social media buzz storm that you ride into fame and glory. [Read more...]

A Basic Guide for Evaluating WordPress Plugins

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Soon after setting up a WordPress site there are always a ton of potential plugins calling like a song from the island of sirens. Don’t give in to the temptation of instant solutions to everything from Facebook like buttons, SEO guidance, to Karoke player lyrics from the currently 22,404 WordPress plugins available and counting. Sure many are free and work at a click of a button but at what cost? The following will give you a window into evaluating WordPress plugins alongside solutions for filtering out the bad and insecure from making your website perform worse than your competitors. [Read more...]

On-Page SEO Completed, Post Published, Now What?

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Everyone knows on-page SEO is important but it is good to remember that it only makes up about “25% of what impacts your spot in SERP” (Hubspot, see link at end of post). Making full use of your content within social media is one of the many other factors. If you are a small business or individual you need to leverage your time. Consider why Rand from SEOMoz follows the 80/20 rule with on-page SEO.

Nothing in the on-page world is going to provide exceptional ranking influence, but getting perfect is often only marginally better than just nailing the title and headline. If you’re spending a ton of bandwidth on the last 80% of work (providing 20% of value), I might re-consider your to-do list.

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Creating Engaging Online Connections

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It is easy to see how many followers you have but takes more effort to measure their actual engagement with you. That engagement is the start of something greater, a community. It isn’t about the numbers but more about how you and they interact over time that matters most. Sonia Simone from Copyblogger puts it this way:

“I’ll take a small, involved community any day over a big, unresponsive one. There’s nothing inherently wrong with getting big. Big has certain advantages, especially when you can maintain a real sense of connection. But engagement matters a lot more than gross numbers.” [Read more...]

Content Curation Guide and Tools List

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