I think of creating weekly content a lot like cooking a really terrific meal. I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy cooking special meals. Thanksgiving, Christmas, the big ones. I think it’s the challenge of putting my own spin on the classics and pulling off the timing of getting everything done at once. If you’ve ever done a big meal, you know it’s all in the timing.
What I don’t like is the shopping. I’m not great at planning the meal out, listing the ingredients and actually making sure I have everything I need. I try. I check the pantry, I make a list, sometimes I even measure things out ahead of time to make sure that I have everything I need. (Not only does that seem efficient, it makes me feel like a chef on Food Network.)
But no matter how much I plan, I always forget something or run short. One Thanksgiving my husband actually ran to the store in the morning before it closed, six times. Six!!!
But once I’m ready to go, with all of my ingredients laid out in front of me and the kitchen to myself… I’m in my glory.
Creating my weekly content for this blog is much the same for me. Coming up with topics is tough. Sometimes it feels like I write about the same topics every week, yet those topics are what I get asked about the most. So coming up with my content calendar is tough because I’m always trying to put my own spin on each topic that comes up. And quite often, I get bogged down in research or even another project that is vying for my attention.
But once I get going? Once I have all of my bullet points I want to hit written down and have a cup of coffee and a brilliant sunrise, the ideas just flow out of me. Most of the time. Sure I still have days where I struggle and more times than not I’m still writing when I should be publishing, but as time goes on, I’ve found ways to make my weekly content easier.
This week I’ll give you a few tips that I’ve learned along the way as well as examples of much bigger online marketers than I and what they do to make sure they are putting out their best content each week.
Blocking Time for Content Creation
One of the things that other marketers do that I’ve never had luck with is blocking out a day or a week to get a bunch of content done. It’s called batching and it doesn’t work for me as well as I’d like. The idea is that you would block out an entire day or maybe several and get a whole lot of content created during that time.
Some people can create several videos a day, some record several podcasts and others write a whole lot of blog posts or emails. As much as I’d love for this to work for me, it just doesn’t. Maybe it’s because I am writing rather than talking, but when I try to write too much in one day I start feeling like I’m forcing it.
Instead I’ll block out a week and write a blog post each morning, giving me five weeks of content. If I start writing as soon as I wake up, it comes much easier for me. And I’ve learned not to force my writing. If I miss my time slot first thing in the morning because of, you know, life… and I am struggling later in the day to come up with something, I just stop and wait for the next morning. I don’t always have that flexibility, but if I am several blog posts ahead, then being able to pick and choose my best writing times becomes a little easier.
Using Spokes and Wheels for Content Ideas
Years ago at a networking event, I mentioned that I struggle coming up with content ideas. The person I was talking with couldn’t believe it because if you’ve met me you know I never have a shortage of things to say. She taught me a system I still use to this day: Spokes and Wheels.
Start by brainstorming several big topics you could use for content. If you’re a food blogger, it might be: Holiday Meals, Daily Dinners, Date Night Specials, Weekend Brunch. Then from those main topics you come up with subtopics. Sometimes from the subtopics you an even get more specific until you have a large list of content to create. You can organize the content into a series, like Date Night Specials, and write about each subtopic for a month or more, or you might find subtopics that run across several topics, like wine and decide to do a big piece of content on wines for different occasions. It’s completely up to you.
Create a Content Calendar
Once you have topics lined up, put them into a content calendar along with a few bullet points about what you want to talk about for each topic. I’ve tried a lot of different methods for content calendars and what works for me is Evernote. I create a separate note for each topic and put a date next to it. As I do research or come across ideas, I just open the note and add a few more bullet points. By the time I’m ready to write the blog post or video script, I have a pretty good start on what I want to say. That makes it a lot easier than staring at a blank screen.
Content calendars also allow you to organize in a bigger way the themes you want to cover and keeps you from writing about the same topics over and over again.
Types of Content
The type and amount of content you create depends largely on your skill set and your list. What are you able to comfortably produce each week? If you’ve never done video, you probably should start with weekly emails or blog posts until you have gotten your feet wet. You can always learn video while releasing other types of content.
There are as many different types of content out there as there are online marketers. Here are a few examples with links to their sites so you can sign up if you’re interested to see what they are releasing to their audiences:
Chalene Johnson: Chalene started out her online business years ago as a fitness instructor. She has grown that business several times over and is now an online marketing maven. Chalene uses a variety of channels for releasing content and is know especially for her presence on Instagram and Snapchat. Each Friday she sends out a round up email with links to her best content for the week.
Steve Dotto: Steve teaches very specific types of tech to people via YouTube. He often goes deep on one topic and creates a free webinar that explains that specific topic to people. His content isn’t released weekly, but is such a resource that people on his list are likely to go to his site if they are looking for a specific answer to a tech question they are having.
Jeff Walker: The king of product launches, Jeff releases a brief video every Sunday to the people on his list. Although what he teaches is product launching, his videos are more about mindset. Each video is introduced with a short email and link to watch.
Amy Porterfield: Amy has one of the most popular online marketing podcasts on the air. Each week she releases not only a podcast averaging 20 minutes long, but also a blog post, and email to go along with hit. Often she also includes a piece of downloadable free content to go along with it.
Marie Forleo: Marie has a fully produced online tv show that is released each Tuesday. Once released on her site and introduced via a weekly email, she has recently begun a Facebook Show:
For the most part, these examples are from people who now have teams who can help them produce their content. The list is not to meant to overwhelm you or even give you a place to start, but just an idea of what different types of content people are producing. There’s a whole lot more going on in the online world than just blogging.
The most important thing to remember with content is that you need to be consistent. You want the people on your list to remember your name if they are looking for a resource in your topic area and the last thing you want is for them to think you only email them when you want them to buy something from you.
So tell me, which type of weekly content seems most doable to you? And, I’m really curious, which type do you prefer from me, most of the content in the video or in the blog? Let me know below!