Content & Social Media Tips

How To Work Smarter Not Harder: 6 Ways to Be More Effective at Content Creation

Work Smarter Not Harder
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So you want to be a more successful solopreneur, but you feel you just don’t have enough hours in a day to get everything done? You think you’re working smarter when in reality it’s just all hard work.

Especially being a content creator, there’s soooo much work to create content every single week…I mean, you probably want to create a weekly blog post, post a few Instagram posts and stories, send out your newsletter, and maybe also do something on your Facebook page. And some of you might even have Twitter, Youtube, Tiktok, a podcast…

It gets overwhelming and stressful to keep up with all this content that you need to create, right?

I remember feeling this huge weight on my shoulders when I was so behind with creating content and not being as consistent as I wanted to. This is so sad because I wasn’t enjoying the process of creating content anymore.

To be completely honest, it was even kind of affecting my peace of mind to the point that I took a long-needed break. I just stopped creating content from one day to another and took a break for a few months.

I didn’t want to continue like this anymore. I didn’t want to feel left behind anymore… I just wanted to fall in love again with creating content again.

So, I sat down at my desk and did a complete reset of my daily ritual, and build my schedule completely from scratch.

There are so many things when it comes to managing a digital business, and content marketing is only a very small part of it. So, it shouldn’t take 80% of your time. It should only take about 30% of your time, to be able to spend enough time creating new offers and products, networking, client support,… you name it.

So, I tested out several approaches to simplify my content creation process and make it as smooth as possible, so it takes waaayyy less time.

And today, in this blog post, I’m going to share some of my insights and epiphanies with you.

Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it won’t cost you more but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. This is great because I was going to share it with you anyway!

how to work smarter not harder

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1. Planning Ahead of TIME

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu

Planning ahead of schedule gives you an added advantage over probably half of the people on the planet. While most people complete a task only when they remember, you’ve already created a systematic plan on how to achieve it and by when.

So when it comes to making content, I make sure that I take a couple of days from my week dedicated to the creative process. I then create a list of topics I want to cover the following week.

I then choose which days would be for brainstorming ideas and research, which ones for writing, and which ones for editing and scheduling.

Then every morning I prioritize the 3 most harder and pressing tasks to complete. The tasks are dedicated to the part of the process that is similar in nature (for example writing). Only when I’ve accomplished those tasks will I move on to the next not-so-important ones.

The joy that it gives when completing the most important ones first helps me enjoy the rest of my day.

With such a thought-out plan ahead of schedule, I know exactly what content to publish the next week. This takes procrastination and the time it consumes out of the equation.

Obviously, there will always be ‘what if’ moments, and things won’t go 100% according to plan. The main objective is to fall into the habit of planning stuff to set you up for success.

The more practices, the more missions you accomplish.

2. Using Scheduling Tools to Work Smarter Not Harder

As a content creator, you’re probably juggling repetitive and frankly quite boring tasks regularly. In order for your business to scale, you need to be automating such tasks.

Using scheduling tools saves you time, as you don’t have to worry about all the different settings to fiddle with on every platform. Meetedgar, Hootsuite, and Later are some of the leading scheduling tools when it comes to automating your content.

I personally use Later as it’s quite intuitive and easy to set up. It allows you to create, edit, publish and manage all your social media platforms in one place. Once you’ve curated your content, you can schedule it in advance as well as the time it’s supposed to be published.

While you let this amazing tool do its thing, you get to focus on the higher-value tasks.

What I also found really interesting is that it minimizes distractions. As we know social media is one of the biggest time wasters. If we juggle between different platforms to publish posts ourselves, we’ll all be lost scrolling content endlessly and probably forget to post something.

3. Transcribing Tools

Ideas don’t just pop up when you sit down on your desk trying to figure out what content to write. Sometimes writing itself becomes a tedious task. I found at times what I am writing, does not completely resonate with my thoughts. And I’m just like “what the hell did I just write?!”

A lot has to do with trying to make everything perfect from the get-go instead of just letting the hand flow. This is why I found brainstorming out loud on a transcription tool to be quite effective.

Enter Otter. An AI voice-to-text tool that can accurately transcribe your voice into notes. It can also understand proper names, different jargon, and terminology.

What I love about it is, that I found it is more time-efficient when coming up with content ideas.

I use Otter by imagining myself talking to a friend who’s asking me advice on a certain topic. I then hit the record button and talk endlessly like I would to a friend.

Once transcribed, I then send it to myself and pick the most relevant parts that can be used for my content.

It also has a built-in learning ability. It can recognize over time who is actually speaking and generates separate voice prints for each person. This is really helpful especially in meetings to identify which speaker has brought up a point.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, give the free version a try and see if it helps in your content creation process.

4. Batching Similar Tasks

This productivity strategy involves grouping similar activities together within a certain time frame. The whole idea behind it is to avoid your mind switching (context switching) back and forth between tasks. By focusing on a single job, you’re also able to minimize distractions, get super focused and get it done in no time.

Because if you’re in a flow state and immediately hop on a different task, it takes a lot of mental effort to do a 180 to switch context.

So how do you batch your tasks? Let’s say for example you plan to make several posts on your blog for the next week. Here’s what you do:

  • Decide your week with a list of priorities: Begin by grouping similar themed tasks under its own category. So with blogging, you’ve got writing, editing, scheduling, etc. Have a day(s) like Monday for instance, dedicated to only writing content. Tuesday for editing and so on….

  • Brainstorming Sessions: Before putting pen on paper, ask the creative side in you about how to approach things. Brain dump all your ideas and do prior research on the content you want to write. Create a structured outline of how you want the post to be written.

  • Dedicate time-blocks for each category: Some tasks may take longer than usual. So writing which is the hardest part may take more than a day or two. Editing might only take a couple of hours. Be honest and try to determine at best how much time it would actually take to complete.

  • End of the week review: Once all the important part is done and dusted, it’s crucial to look back at how your work week went. Review your content and see if any minor changes need to be made. Or you might need to catch up with mundane tasks or some administrative work. This way you’ll enter the next week stress-free.

5. Work Smarter by Repurposing Content

It’s often times difficult to come up with new content every single day.

It’s even more stressful to deliver high-quality content that your audience craves every single time. This is where the magic of repurposing some of your old content comes into play.

Sometimes all you’ve got to do is rinse them, a little tweak here and there and you’re good to go! You also get to post them on several other platforms.

Aaron explains one of the major benefits is reaching new audiences. For instance, some visitors may prefer an in-depth article while others would like a video on the topic. Reformatting your content for different mediums increases your chances of reaching a wider audience.

Another benefit is improving your SEO since you’re creating multiple pieces of content around the same topic. You also create quality backlinks to your blog or website to rank it higher up the search engine ladder.

Some of the smart ways to repurpose content are:

  • Turn written content into videos: Create videos of your popular blog posts or the ones that have a demand from your new-found audience.

  • Podcasts: As I mentioned above, some of your audience might prefer content in a video or an article format. Or some might be audiophiles. So turn your articles into an audio form (I talk about them here!). What’s great is you can have guests as well to talk about the same topic for more insights.

  • Online courses: Yes, you can absolutely repurpose content to create a course. Once you’ve established the type of content your audience enjoys, you can create a “how-to” or a “step-by-step guide” to solve a particular problem area in their work/life.

  • EBooks: If you’ve posted a lot around a particular topic, you can gather the important points and rewrite them into a cohesive EBook. Diving deep into a particular topic will make you stand out as an expert and the go-to person to consume content.

  • Snippets/Captions/Newsletter: A single post can be broken down into smaller chunks of information. You can take a part of your blog article and post it on Instagram as a caption. Or rewrite a section into a newsletter and Email your audience. Now I know you’re probably worried if you’re audience would be annoyed with the same content. Not really. The purpose is to make sure that you share your amazing content with every type of audience that’s out there. Some of them may need to see the same content more than once to truly understand the message.

6. Using Canva Templates

You probably know how much I LOVE the graphic design platform Canva, to create pins, Instagram graphics, workbooks, slide decks and so much more.

However what I did to speed up the process is creating Canva Templates, which I can use, and re-use over again so I never have to start from scratch over again. (I also sell some A-MAZING templates over here!).

With the done-for-you templates I sell, you can streamline your visual content and have gorgeous graphics superrrr quickly. All you need is to add the title, texts, and photos, and you’re done!

Once you’ve created the content, you can take advantage of the inbuilt social media planner of Canva, so you don’t have to worry about exporting it later on when it’s time to post.

The only downside is that the scheduling planner is a paid feature. However, if you just want to use a free version, there are lots of other tools out there like Later, Hootsuite, Tailwind, and many more that allow you to schedule your posts for free.

If you want to find out more with regards to simplifying your content creation, so you can have time for the more important stuff in your biz, I’ve got an in-depth course on this topic. Check it out here!

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Let’s Chat!

These are the tips on how I’ve been able to work smarter not harder. Are there other ways you’ve found to make your work life a bit easier? Share your ideas with us in the comments down below!

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