While we were busy enough that it was easy not to think about it, we also recognized that more and more potential customers were investigating our social media presence when considering who to hire, and frankly, many of those visitors surely opted for other providers.
So in 2015, this was the issue we set out to fix: create something from nothing out of our wasteland of social accounts for Colorado Web Design, and do a better job demonstrating all that we’d learned in this space over the years.
But we also recognized that we couldn’t start this process up and then fizzle out again.
We needed a sustainable content and social media strategy.
First we set goals. What was the point of our content creation going to be?
We settled on the beginning do-it-yourselfer as our main target audience; the type of customer we’d likely never land without demonstrating our own expertise (after all, they are trying to do it themselves). And since most potential customers of ours would want to know what we know, this made sense for other parts of our potential market as well.
Then we got cracking on content creation. This is going to be the focus of this post. How we sustain-ably managed regular content creation with one part-time (way, way part-time) writer.
It’s important to note that once you get to the point of really diving into your content creation, you will need to understand the type of content you will be writing. Depending on your topic, your audience, and your own abilities, people will be expecting anything from a weekly blog post to multiple daily posts. The length and depth of your content should be consistent with this periodicity for which you are aiming.
No sense creating 5000 word posts to release three posts a day. This will kill you. This may kill your readers!
At the same time, if you are only writing once a week or less, your posts better reflect genuine thought and effort and offer legitimate topics and concepts for your readers to noodle on. If you post once a month, and your work reminds people of 18 other posts they’ve read on your topic, its going to take a very long time to have any real impact from that content.
We arrived at the 1-post-a-week number, and decided to make each post ~1000 words. This was not a hard and fast number, but just a guideline. Then we were going to couple this writing with some content aggregation work in the social media world to have a regular, quality presence of helpful content for any visitor or follower out there.
Keep in mind that your own cycles and amount of time you are willing to spend can and should vary depending on your business and your goals. For our own goals, we know full-well that we could increase our output and theoretically realize our goals more quickly, but our growth and our regular output must be sustainable. That’s the real point here.
Everyone writes differently, but for me, I can lose interest if I’m trying to write a whole article end-to-end. Instead I try to block out 3-4 hours either late in the week, or on the weekend, and I try and develop 3-4 posts during this cycle. But again, not end-to-end. Most blog posts have a weeks long process, in other words, but at any one time, I’m developing, writing, or refining up to 4 posts in any of my sessions. Here is what I recommend to get started in a cycle like this.
Most posts will either have a list structure, or they won’t, but during idea development, most of our topics start off as lists. This first week, maybe swallow hard and put a bit more time in to give yourself a good head start.
I would spend 1 hour brainstorming post topics. I do this by “speed-creating” post titles and saving drafts of each. Obviously these titles should be describing your topic ideas, but don’t stress too much at this point about the quality of your titles. Just make sure you know what you are talking about.
If you have a burning, great idea during this brainstorming session – maybe some talking points for one of the ideas you are churning out, by all means, capture them, but don’t get too carried away writing just yet.
Sticking to this titling exercise helps me during writing, because I’m starting to have a vague sense of how my content will be coming together over multiple articles, and this can inform how we talk about any one thing in any one article.
In the second hour I would try to develop bullet points inside of 4-5 of your ideas. These don’t have to be perfectly structured yet, but it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind how the article itself might come together when you are ordering your bullet points. In any case, the point here is to give yourself launching off points when you come back to each of these posts to actually write the articles within.
We’ve spent a few hours here, but now we need to actually try and write and complete 1-2 posts. Still talking about Week 1 only. It get’s better from here!
Go into your bullet pointed posts. By now you’ve likely identified what you wish to start with. So go ahead! The idea is to really take your outline for a post and bring it as close to home as you can. It’s not a disaster if you don’t feel entirely complete with any posts this first day. In the ensuing weeks, you will start to see that you have built-in reflection periods for each post, and you can come back to your ideas with fresh eyes each week, and refine with more familiarity over time, before any post gets published.
This first week, I recommend getting one post as close as you can, and a second pretty far along as well. Before you publish your first post, we will sit on it at least 24 hours.
There is an entire field of study related to when to post your content, but for now, let’s just pick a day to publish your posts. Because of our social sharing strategy, the date and time of post publication is not necessarily that important. It just needs to be predictable.
Finally, a few hours before your post is scheduled to publish, check back in with fresh eyes, and tweak as if it’s go-time. Because it is!
Week 2 and beyond:
30 minutes brainstorming new topic/titles
60 minutes bullet-pointing existing topics
30 minutes getting next week’s post almost ready
30 minutes getting the week after’s post almost ready
30 minutes getting this week’s post completely ready
By now it should be clear that there is some discipline involved here, to move from one cycle to the next, but it actually help to refresh my brain when I move around a bit during these sessions.
As with anything, none of this is written in stone. I’ve found that when I’m inspired, I’m creating a backlog of posts, and when I’m not, I can keep myself fresh by sticking to the process.
Any other one-man bloggers out there with any hints to share to keep those content fires burnin’?
Bill lives and plays in Fort Collins, Colorado.
After a fulfilling career for a Fortune 50 company, Bill founded Colorado Web Design in 2012 with a passion for creative digital solutions for business.
Bill likes to manage a wide variety of projects and tasks for his clients in the digital space. The creative elements of website design, application design, and marketing are enough to keep anyone busy and engaged, but wiping the slate clean over and over at the start of new projects comes with its own challenges.
"I like to start with really good client communication sessions. The rest is easy if you get started in the right way."
He plays tennis, bikes, and hikes and then undoes all of that with too much delicious food and TV watching.
We've been building websites for Colorado businesses since 2002. We are a small team of dedicated individuals who love the challenge of each new marketing project. We live and play in northern Colorado.