An 8-step productivity tool to help you create more content than ever
Online competition is wild.
No matter how much content you produce, there will always be someone who makes more. And not being able to do anything about it is painful.
So if you want to keep up with everyone, you need to work on yourself. There is nothing else you can do. You have to find new ways of accelerating your productivity. And you can approach it in many ways:
- If you procrastinate, you may want to avoid time-wasters, for example.
- You can learn to reach deep work faster if you have focus problems.
- Or you might build a working productivity system.
But even after making all those changes, you might still feel behind other content creators. And in most cases, unbatched work is the cause of this slowdown. So you need to split your creation process into clusters to boost your content output.
Why should you work in batches?
Batched work is a form of productivity that makes you focus on a single topic instead of jumping from one task to another.
Most content creators produce their content one piece at a time due to their inability to organize and schedule tasks in time. So instead of focusing on productivity, they focus on the completeness of one piece of content.
I used to work like that for a few years. But then I realized I was losing a lot of time changing tasks. For example, I need to open multiple tabs when I schedule my content because I need to access information from different services. So if I want to write another article after scheduling one, I need to close everything and open other tabs. Then, I need to pick a topic, create a temporary headline and outline, and only then start writing.
But batched work is different.
- Working with isolated tasks improves efficiency because you don’t have to prepare at the beginning of each one.
- Also, batched work enhances mental clarity by limiting the effect of residual attention. If you are working on a single task, your mind won’t wonder about others, and you won’t get interrupted that often.
How to split content creation into batches
You can apply batched work to any task you want. But in this case, we will discuss content creation and how to boost your output.
If you are a creator and want to learn to split your activities into batches, you need to analyze them first and identify the mini-tasks that complete your content piece. For writing articles, I identified eight steps: topic selection, headline study, content summary, writing, reviewing, refining, planning, and promoting.
And even if, depending on your content, you may have more or fewer steps, the basic structure should be similar.
So let’s analyze each batch.
1 — Topic Selection
The first thing you need to do when creating a piece of content is to define the topic. So one of your batches has to be topic selection.
You can brainstorm ideas, filter them, and try to find the perfect fit for the post you are planning to create. And even if it seems like the most random batch, once the creativity starts flowing, it is easy to remain focused.
However, don’t use this batch to start creating your piece, even if you feel a strong desire to do it. Give your ideas time to ripen.
2 — Headlines Study
The headline is the first approach any consumer has to the post. So it isn’t something you can do in 5 minutes. It requires a little bit more time.
I planned one headline study batch each Monday, for example. And I use it to create up to five new headlines. Sometimes, I write multiple titles for the same post idea, so I have more freedom when it’s time to choose the final one.
Also, I analyze my headline to make it compatible with good SEO scores:
- a length of around 70 characters
- a specific type (how-to, list, case study, etc.)
- keywords I want to use in my article
- a specific purpose
- and positive or negative emotion, if possible.
3 — Content Outline
If you produce content without any preparation, you can skip this batch. Otherwise, allocate some of your time to writing outlines.
Elaborate and research your topic if there is something you need to refresh or still don’t know yet. Then, you can make a structure for your content.
Before writing any new article, I design it to fit a regular and recognizable structure. And in most cases, I use a simple routine:
- Explain the general topic at the top of the page.
- Build a layout that only contains the headings and subheadings of each section. Even if it is temporary, it gives me an idea of what I want to write in each block.
- Under each heading, write a bullet list with the things you want to touch.
- If there are any links or studies you wish to attach, put them in a bullet list at the bottom of the article.
- Once you finish the outline, check if everything resonates with the topic and the temporary title.
4 — Content Writing
The content writing batch will take most of your time. But with a great outline, you will work much faster because you already know what to discuss.
If you include writing and outlining in the same batch, you will use two different skills contemporary:
- The first one is your creativity. Without an outline, you need to think about what you want to write next before writing it.
- The second is writing itself. After deciding the direction of the section, you need to write the first ugly draft.
So it is better to split the two skills into two batches to spare your time switching them and boost your content output.
Also, it is always better to use an outline for any content. Otherwise, you might miss the point or go through circular structures. And these errors are a big turnoff for the audience.
5 — Content Editing
Reviewing content might be different based on which type of creator you are. If you write articles, you need to make them more readable by checking grammar rules or eliminating cliches. On the other hand, a video maker requires different skills like color correction and video editing.
However, no matter the creator, this batch will be your longest one because it is the crucial part of any content piece.
Personally, correcting my draft is the part of this job I enjoy the least. But serializing each activity helped me become faster and more flexible.
- Before anything else, I read the entire article and spot the complex parts that require more attention.
- Then, I think about grammar rules. So I adjust any missing commas, semicolumns, and quotation marks. Usually, this simple task fires me up and makes me get into the redrafting mindset.
- When I finish the first round, I focus on the sentences I spotted before. So I might split them if they are too long, rewrite, or even delete them.
- Finally, I focus on generic words I can replace with more suitable or simple ones. And I check tricky tenses to make sure they are correct.
6 — Final Refinements
Fixing a draft is a complex task that requires a lot of attention. So sometimes, you might give up and miss some stupid errors.
For this reason, I prefer using a final refinement batch where I read the article once more to understand if it hits the target. Also, I might tweak the headlines and split big paragraphs into shorter ones to enhance readability if needed.
7 — Content Scheduling
Scheduling your content usually doesn’t have to do anything with producing it. And for this reason, many people hire an editor who also deals with this part of the job. But not everyone can afford an editor, so you need a batch to schedule your content and boost its output too.
Content planning comprises many little tasks you need to serialize for better efficiency:
- If you don’t write directly in the platform you use to publish, you need to paste the content and review its structure first.
- Then, you can think about additional content like links, cover images, CTAs, referral offers, etc.
- Before planning, you also need to make your content SEO compliant. With articles, I need to define the keywords, for example.
- And then, you can check your editorial calendar and decide when to publish your work.
8 — Promotional Scheduling
Creating and planning promotional posts is another activity content creators prefer to delegate. But if you have to do it yourself, you need a batch for those activities too. However, writing a promotional post is not as time-consuming as producing content. And usually, you can do it directly on the platform. So you can decide to use only one batch for it.
Also, the tasks of this batch are similar to content scheduling. You only need to create the content first. But you need to schedule this batch in a suitable position. Sometimes, you won’t have the link to the promoted content, and you will need to review the post later.
Batched tasks are the perfect strategy to boost your content output.
Batched work improves efficiency by eliminating the initial preparatory step of each different task. Also, it enhances mental clarity by reducing the stress that comes from residual attention and switching activities.
Whatever content you are creating, you can use my eight-step structure to split your work into batches and adapt it to your needs.
You will need to select your topics first and study the headlines. Then, you can write an outline and create and edit the product.
After a few days, you can check it one last time to make any final refinements. And then, you can concentrate on scheduling and promotional posts. In this way, you will you can boost your content output every day.
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Cover photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels.