This is a guest contribution from Adam Costa and Darcie Connell.
Whew. It’s been a busy day. It started off by creating three video lessons for a new course for 10xtoday.com. After that, I edited and revised the introduction to our new book which will be launching next month, and now I’m working on this post.
And it’s only 11 a.m.
Content marketing is an arms race. If you continuously crank out high-quality content at a rapid-fire pace, your blog—and your business—will win the war against your competitors, build a quality readership, and grow faster than you ever imagined. In this post, I will reveal how to create high-quality content quickly and efficiently—and repurpose this content to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck.
You’ll discover five simple steps to create content faster than you ever imagined possible.
So let’s get started, shall we?
Step 1: Create a content roadmap
To write content in record time, create a roadmap. Your roadmap helps you see the “big picture,” and prioritize what needs to be written and when.
The simplest way for you to create a roadmap is to use Trello—a free tool to help you visualize your work using boards. (A “board” is also called a kanban, a process originally made popular by Toyota.)
Here’s what a board looks like:
You can access this example editorial calendar board here.
After you create a board in Trello, you can easily add individual cards for what you want to write, add due dates, and even assign them to different people if you’re managing a team of writers.
A simple board to get you started
The above editorial calendar might be a lot to start with. So let’s keep things uber-simple and just use four columns.
Here’s what the board looks like:
Access the board here.
As you can see, there are four columns:
Backlog: stuff you may do, someday. (Put everything in here. Seriously. The beauty of this system is that you can put as many cards as you want into the backlog column without worrying about actually doing it. This allows you to empty your mind, which is a technique originally made popular in the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.)
To-Do: stuff you’ll do someday, just not now.
Doing: stuff you’re doing today.
Done: stuff you’ve done. (Duh.)
The key is to limit your work-in-progress. In this case, all the articles in your “Doing” column.
For example, I never have more than three cards in my “Doing” column at any one time. For today, those three items were the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post: creating a video course, editing the introduction to my book, and writing this post.
Limiting your “Doing” column ensures you always finish what you start, and helps you see the trade-offs between working on one item over another. For example, I can easily see that writing a guest post, creating my video course, and editing my book are the three most important items that I’m working on now. If my “Doing” column had ten items in there, I’d be scatterbrained, inefficient, and stressed out.
So here’s what you need to do next:
Copy the following Trello board (or create a new one with the four columns mentioned before) and add all your content ideas into your “Backlog” column. Get crazy here! Brain-dump all your ideas into this column; the goal here is to empty your mind as quickly as possible. Be sure to “Add a card” for each idea.
Here’s an example:
Hmm, there are some good ideas here, and one lousy one. (Fried chicken chains? Really?) But that’s OK; it’s out of my head, and that’s all that matters.
Next, move cards that you’ll work on someday into your “To-Do” column. (Don’t overthink this; if you think you’ll work on this card sooner than later, just move it into your “To-Do” column.)
As you can see, I’ll want to work on all items, except the “fried chicken chains” and “common blogging mistakes”.
Now I need to decide what to work on today. To do this, I select at least one—but no more than three—cards to move to the “Doing” column.
Here’s what it looks like now:
You can even add due dates to cards. To do so, click a card and then click “Due Date” and select a date.
You can see it here:
Pretty simple right?
So now let’s move on to…
Step 2: Creating an outline—the right way
Most people create an outline based on what they want to write about. This is dumb. Instead, start with what your audience wants—and work backward from there. Read blog comments, social media posts, and emails from your readers to get some ideas. Dive a little deeper by surveying or polling your readers using Hotjar.com (their basic plan is free).
Once you’ve determined what your audience wants, create an outline that includes your hook, main points, personal experiences, additional examples, and your conclusion.
Don’t skip this step.
Creating an outline helps you map out your ideas first, making your first draft a breeze (which we’ll cover in the next step).
Here’s the outline I always start with:
Who is your reader, and what will they get from this content?
Example: Bloggers who are busy and need to produce high-quality content, fast
Readers will get X, Y, Z
What is your goal for this content?
get speaking gigs
promote new book
what is your hook to get them interested? (I usually write this last)
main point 1
evidence to support main point
main point 2, etc.
Summary of main points
Tie into hook if applicable
OK, let’s continue to…
Step 3: Create content quickly (up to 2,000 words per hour)
I’ll tell you the secret to creating content quickly: break your writing process into four drafts.
Counterintuitively, multiple drafts ensure you write faster because it separates the “artist” and the “editor.”
Your first draft is essentially a brain dump, where you go through your outline, and speak your thoughts out loud. I highly recommend you dictate your first draft. Not only can dictation triple your writing speed, it ensures you don’t edit yourself as you write. (You’ll edit later on.)
There are several tools you can use to dictate. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a popular paid choice though I use Google’s free voice typing option in Google Docs. It’s one less tool to worry about, it’s free, and it works pretty well.
To access voice typing, open your Google Doc and click Tools, then select “Voice typing.”
Keep in mind: dictation is not perfect, nor should it be. It’s sole purpose is to help you write your first draft as fast as possible.
When dictating, I can routinely “write” over 2,000 words per hour. Trust me, it isn’t award-winning, but that’s not the point. The point is to get the ideas out of my head and onto the paper is quick as possible.
Then it’s time for…
Step 4: Edit quickly using several free tools
Now that you’ve completed your first draft, it’s time to edit it in four rounds.
First round: make sure you’ve touched upon all main points. If some areas feel “light,” do another round of dictation to fill in the blanks.
Second round: Use Grammarly to quickly fix common mistakes and get suggestions for improvement. (Grammarly’s much more than just a spell checker; it corrects over 250 types of grammatical mistakes, while also catching contextual spelling errors and poor vocabulary usage. I highly recommend it.)
Third round: Tighten your writing. Delete unnecessary words.
Fourth round: Add necessary formatting, images, videos, etc.
Great job, you’re almost done! Now that you’ve created high-quality content in record time, it’s time to turbocharge your content.
Step 5: Repurpose your content
You can repurpose your content in multiple ways. For example, one of my blog posts about inspirational quotes got a lot of attention. So we took those quotes and put them into Canva—a free tool for creating beautiful images—so we could create highly shareable images of those quotes. The strategy worked, and we got over 21,000 shares.
You can see it here:
There are loads of other ways to repurpose your content.
The strategy that I prefer to use, is to create long form content, such as writing a book, then dissecting it down into other offerings. This way, your content will be well thought out and written so you can easily repurpose it.
For example, if you start with a book, you can repurpose that content to create:
Ecourses and membership content
Presentations and videos
Webinars and podcasts
Social media content
As you can see the possibilities are endless, and this ultimately this approach is what helps us win the content marketing arms race.
So there you have it: an easy-to-follow the way to create content quickly and leverage it in multiple ways.
How do you create content in record time? Let me know in the comments below!
Adam Costa—and his wife Darcie Connell—are conversion optimization consultants who have made tens of millions of dollars for their clients. They currently run KeepInspiring.me—a personal development blog with over 1.5 million monthly readers—and 10xToday.com, which provides free personal development courses.