How to simplify the process for creating content: The essential guide for business owners with no content plan
Most business owners know they need a process for creating, but how many actually have one? Not just any old process, but one that’s documented, easy to follow, and totally doable within the long list of many other content creation essentials. I know you might be screaming silently ‘What!?’ Maybe you’re through throwing your arms in the air like you just don’t care. You could even be dropping an f-bomb or two under your breath. Why? Because a process for creating content is just. another. thing.
I feel your pain. The content juggle is real, right? But here’s the thing. There is only so much that any one small business owner can do without a solid repeatable content creation framework. Without it, producing content for social media, blogs, newsletters, videos, and whatever else you’ve got going on in the creative brain of yours will just feel like a bridge that is way too far. Overwhelm, confusion, and frustration become our constant companions (and we didn’t even invite them in). That’s why this blog is dedicated to covering the absolute bare essential three steps to freedom for a business owner who doesn’t have a process for creating content or a content plan. We’ll work through this surprisingly simple, short list needed to formulate your very own write-it-down-and-take-it-away process you can use over and over and over to create purposeful content to support that surviving-to-thriving small business of yours. Get the picture? Uh-huh. Let’s do this. Because life as a business owner is hard enough and your process for creating content shouldn’t be the one thing that stops you from connecting with your audience in the way you’d love to.
⤵️ Now before you opt out because it feels too scary already, take a leap and stick with me to the end of the article friend, because there you’ll find a totally useful freebie, the Business Owner’s Content Checklist [20 questions about content every business owner should be able to answer] ⤵️
It’s essential reading for any business owner ready to jump off the content conveyor belt and start creating their very best content. Okay, let’s go.
Step 1 – How to get into a process for creating content [when you don’t want to]
Someone wise once said that whatever we do, we should begin with the end in mind. Another wise owl (it was Confucius) claimed that ‘Man shoot at nothing sure to hit it.’ What this ancient wisdom means is when it comes to our content creation process, we start by deciding where we want to finish. Now maybe you’re not quite at the stage where you have a detailed content plan, but I want to assure that for now, that’s okay. And even if your plan is super simple, like you’re just hoping to get clear on a process for writing a single blog or a week of social media posts, that is just fine too, because what I’ve learned is that few of us can go from zero to hero in one leap. Keep in mind too that the grandest content plan is nothing without the ability to implement, and let’s face it, that’s where most of us fall down. I’m a big believer in starting where we are with what we have right in front of us. So let’s get on and identify the content process that works for you specifically so you learn the ropes and feel confident about what needs to happen next at every step.
Before you put proverbial pen to paper and start typing, channel your inner two year old child and ask why are you even doing this? I mean, isn’t life simpler without the pressure of creating content consistently? So yes, knowing why is important. When the rationale for creating your content is clear, the impetus to keep going burns strong regardless, allowing you to take in your stride the frustration and overwhelm that probably will arise through the process. If you’re stuck with knowing why, here are some suggestions:
- Increase traffic to your website or shop
- Grow brand awareness
- Generate sales
- Share value
- Engage with your audience.
Don’t gloss over this and think, ‘Yep, all those Macushla’. Being clear about why goes hand in hand with a process for creating content purposefully. Keep in mind then you might also be prompted by:
- A desire to learn and hone new skills (after all, the appetite for content isn’t diminishing)
- Wanting to give life to your higher purpose or mission (there’s a purpose right there)
- Sharing information that can make a difference to your ideal audience.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what your why is. What matters is you have a why and it’s clear in your mind. A clear why gives your content direction, links every content piece to your plan (no matter how small or grand the plan), and keeps you laser-focused on outcomes. This is fundamental to the mindset of conscious content-creating business owners, yet it’s so often overlooked. Your ‘to do’ then is to write down your why. You can do that here on this simple content creation process document like the one I’ve shared here.
>> Also helpful: Freelancer Mindset Hacks: Why they don’t work for your best content <<
Step 2 – How to simplify your process for creating content
A content creation framework for business should be built around the type of content you intend producing regularly going forward. Not Maybe I will or I might, but what you’re honestly, truly prepared to commit to without compromise. If one blog a month is what you can manage, start there, but the key word in this paragraph is commit. I talk about commitment *a lot* when it comes to content creation because I see business owners who wish and hope and squeeze their eyes shut while crossing their fingers for content that will appear magically somehow. Purposeful, conscious content doesn’t happen like that. It demands a commitment and a willingness to accept that work is involved, particularly while you develop and refine a process that works for you.
On the basis that content is king, my strong recommendation is commit to producing long form content regularly. Now your regularly might differ from everyone else, but because we’re launching from ground zero in this blog, I suggest one piece of evergreen, long form content that has loads of potential for repurposing. Evergreen is just a term that means whether I post this blog today or in a year, it’s still going to make total sense to my audience. Yes, it may need a tweak here and there, but the content remains largely the same as it shares important messages that are the essence of my business, while also being important to my audience.
If you’re a graphic designer, a good example of evergreen content might be a blog on how to create a brand design strategy. Branding is something that business owners need to understand and it will always be important. A blog on this topic would be the perfect way to showcase everything you know about developing a brand strategy for business. Let’s say you’re a dentist. Then your evergreen blog post could be focused on the essentials for maintaining your best oral health. We all need to brush, floss, and visit our dentist regularly. If you write a blog about this, it’s not going to date. These are simple examples but you get the idea. An evergreen post allows you to capture your wisdom and importantly, write. it. down. What you’ll find is there is something immensely satisfying about this, because the mere process of writing causes us to think. This is key to a content creation process because the more deeply we consider our topic, the more deeply we can connect with our audience. My position on this is pretty solid. Without writing down these core ideas about what you stand for, how can you know what message to share? Add to this the bonus of creating a valuable asset (that’s right, your content is an asset) to deposit within a growing content library that continues working for us long after we hit ‘publish’.
Which is why your next step here is to make your commitment. Then decide on the topic for one piece of evergreen long form content and write that down in a document just like the one I showed you in the video above.
>> Also helpful: How to Write a Blog for Business [and why it matters] <<
Step 3 – Marshalling your content creation tools [my best practices]
Okay, so we know why we’re creating content and we’re committed to doing it. Now we’re ready to dive into the process itself. At this point it’s a good idea to be really honest about what’s been holding you back from creating the content you know is needed for your business. Whether it’s a perceived lack of time, creativity, ability or something else, right now is when you let that go with a willingness to see things differently. Underneath these so-called blocks is something else (probably fear and doubt) because if content creation was important to us we would find the time, the ways to be creative, and opportunities to acquire the skills. Let’s address each of these in turn.
- Time – If we accept content creation takes time, it follows that for our content creation process to work, we must make time. How much time are you willing to invest in growing your business content assets? Jot your answer down here.
- Creativity – Whether we believe it not, we each have access to a rich treasure of creativity. Finding it is like ‘digging for gold’. I know that every person has this gold in them, however most of us need help to draw it out. Repeat after me, ‘I am a truly creative being!’ – and say it like you mean it.
- Ability – Of course not everyone is a confident writer, but there are ways and means around that, even if you can’t spell and still hold a grudge against your middle school English teacher.
So there are no excuses when it comes to content creation, especially if you think you have no time, aren’t creative, and writing is not your thing.
The #1 tip to speed up your process for creating content [especially if you are time-poor, uncreative, and not a writer]
An approach that’s worked well for my time-poor-uncreative-not-a-writer clients is to record themselves talking about their topic. The reason it works well is because it’s easy for us to talk about anything that’s important to us. We speak naturally and aren’t ruminating over the right words while a cursor is flashing on the screen in front of them. When they understand the value of stories, these can be woven into their recording and shared as though I was right in front of them listening. The end product is more likely to be one that reflects their authentic brand voice – which is exactly what we want. Before recording, keep in mind that keyword research is essential because we want this important content piece to be found organically by your ideal audience. There are many tools for keywords (a lot of them free), but don’t let this task overwhelm you. Quarantine your search efforts to around 15 minutes and keep moving. You might already have SEO support, and if you do, have them check the keywords as they relate to your topic. I’ve found that a lot of business owners have an SEO person helping them but forget to ask (or aren’t advised by them) as to the keywords they should be turning into long form content.
- A content writer who understands you, your mission and vision, your business, as well as the challenges you solve for your customers
- A website support person who can upload the blog to your website if it hasn’t been created there already
- A virtual assistant who is handy with Canva, so your blog feature image and any other images can be created from templates on repeat
- A social media manager who can draw out social posts from your content piece and share them.
I have performed all these tasks and more for my clients and my own blogs. What it’s taught me is I can very quickly become proficient at each step, ultimately speeding up the overall content creation process. You might start by outsourcing the tasks listed above, or start by doing them yourself until you decide it’s time to outsource. I find that it’s not only handy to have an understanding of what’s involved; it’s wise too. You don’t need to know everything, only enough to know whether a job is being done to the standard you expect when you hand over the reigns to someone else.
>> Also helpful: There’s no content team like your own [How to choose your content team + win] <<
The bonus for business owners who care about their people
So, you made it to the end and you’re on the way to content creation a la your business. Nothing stopping you now, right? I said upfront there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or make things harder than they should be. With what I’ve shared here you can plan out – and create – that pivotal piece of evergreen-cornerstone-here’s-what-I-have-to-share content. I promise it gets easier as you go along. And you really, truly don’t need to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and stuck in a rut with a content creation process that doesn’t work for you. This is all about make it simple, user-friendly and repeatable.
Now, because it seems like you care about conscious content (thank you for reading 😉), and the idea of sharing your most meaningful messages with your audience lights you up because you know it’s making a difference, guess what? There is even more you can do. I’ve created the foundation for stepping forward in this bonus freebie: the Business Owner’s Content Checklist [20 questions about content every business owner should be able to answer]. Yes, there are more questions, but I know you’ve have it in you to take charge and start working your content like the creator you are.