You do have time to create good content on a consistent basis for your audience. The “I don’t have time” excuse is just that: an excuse.
It’s not a reason to avoid marketing yourself well.
What you truly might not have (yet!) are the tools to leverage your time in creative ways, or the knowledge on how to get more out of the content you develop.
So, as quickly as I can, since you’re so short on time, I’m going to give you 3 secrets to leveraging both your time and creative work so you can do more with less.
Secret #1: Work with the Natural Cycles of Your Business
Here’s the thing: business (and life) tends to be cyclical. Meaning, you probably do have periods where creating content feels impossible because you are SO. BUSY.
But there are also periods when you don’t have as much going on. There are times when you find yourself with a short to-do list and lots of energy.
Capitalize on that when you can. Don’t just write a blog post. Write three and save them as drafts to publish later (or get proactive and go ahead and schedule them to send over the coming weeks).
Feeling inspired with lots of quick-hit pieces of one-liner advice? Write them all down, and then schedule them to send out as individual posts on social media.
Whenever you have a pocket of time, use it well and create as much content as you can — then save that content to use or pull from later, when you don’t have the time.
Work with the natural cycles of your energy and attention, too.
When I sat down to write this, I pulled up my list of potential blog post topics to work on. There are about 20 ideas for posts on this list at any one time — and some of those ideas would take me hours to write a good blog post on.
Other ideas feel “easier.” There’s less research involved; less drafting out of the idea needed. The points I want to make come quicker because the idea is either simpler, or just more fully-formed in my mind.
When I’m short on time, I don’t choose the complicated ideas from my list. I pick out one that feels “easy” and I run with it as quickly as I can.
Secret #2: Stop Wasting Time Sweating the Small Stuff
You’re going to make mistakes. That’s a fact.
And maybe that fact stresses you out — or even stops you from doing anything at all because you’re such a perfectionist.
Get over it.
Seriously. It sounds harsh, but you are wasting precious time if you’re “getting precious about the details.”
That was one of the best pieces of advice I heard from the INBOUND conference in 2017: the idea that, if you want to create the amount of content you need to market yourself well, you cannot spend hours ferreting out every possible typo or tiny mistake.
For one, there’s a good chance no one is even going to notice small errors. Our brains are insanely good at “autocorrecting” small mistakes and focusing on the big-picture meaning of whatever we’re trying to consume.
And even if someone notices, there’s a good chance they won’t care.
I know I fall into this camp. When I do notice something that’s “wrong,” I don’t get hung up on it unless it interferes with my ability to experience or use whatever it is I’m engaging with.
The sooner you accept that you’re going to make mistakes — especially at the beginning, especially when you’re learning, especially when you’re in a process of growing to improve — the sooner you can get over feeling weird about it.
As I told my newsletter readers, anyone can go back through the last few emails or blog posts I wrote find typos. I guarantee they’re there.
Do I care? Nope. Because I’m willing to bet those little mistakes didn’t damage the value of the message.
In a perfect world, I’d go through an intense editing process on my own work. But I don’t have time to do that. My clients get that energy, but my own content is going to have to survive with a mistake or two.
Creating things, getting it out into the world, and immediately turning back to the work of creating is how I can efficiently produce so much content that makes an impact on the business owners I want to help.
Small mistakes are a price I’m willing to pay in exchange for delivering maximum value to the people I care about.
That doesn’t mean get sloppy or to put forth anything but your best effort in that moment. But it does mean you need to get your priorities straight.
What’s more important to you: avoiding every single typo or having people tune in to what you say?
Because I guaran-damn-tee you that no one is listening if you’re not saying anything.
Say something. Put your voice out there. It’s worth the risk of a few small mistakes here and there.
Secret #3: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Did you notice where I said “as I told my newsletter readers” in that section above?
A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to my list talking about the dangers of obsessing over small mistakes and letting perfectionism take over.
That’s not what this post was about — but I copied and pasted some of the exact same content from that email, put it in this post, and let it serve as the inspiration for the rest of the article you’re reading.
Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to your content. If you have a piece or an article that did really well with your audience, find ways to use it again.
The content I pulled from the email contains some of the same sentences — but I also edited what I copied, took out some things, and added in others to create a more original piece of content that fit within the context of this article.
You can do the same. Try:
- Copying a great one-liner from a blog post and sharing it on social media.
- Send the “Cliff’s Notes” version of your latest article as an email campaign.
- Take the last Facebook post you wrote that had lots of engagement, and expand it to create an entire blog post.
- Publish quotes you sent to a reporter that didn’t get used in your own content, either as social media content, a script for a quick video, or a topic idea for your next podcast.
Whenever you have a great piece of content, look at how you can get as much mileage out of it as possible.
Not only will that help spread a good message to more people, but you’ll reduce the work and time required to do so since you’re not creating from scratch every single time.
Do More with Less When You Leverage All These Tips at Once
I’m actually using a combination of all these secrets right now, as you read this. Part of this post was “recycled,” meaning I used something I wrote and shared previously as a base for this new, original post.
As for the other two secrets?
I’m in a busy business cycle right now, and have limited time to create everything from scratch. That’s partly due to the fact that I’m getting married… and if you’re reading this the day this article published, I’m getting married tomorrow.
I wrote this two weeks prior, though, taking advantage of a quiet spot in my schedule to knock it out while I could. That gave me lots of space leading up to the wedding in which “worry about blog post” was not on my to-do list.
If there’s any space in my schedule (or energy in me) to knock out creative work, I tackle it and take advantage.
I’ll write out massive amounts of content, save it all, and then pull from that bit by bit until it’s time to replenish my content supply again.
That’s me working with the cycles of my business (and mental energy). In terms of saving time by not sweating the small stuff?
I have a pile of other work to get through once I finish this post, so I don’t have the time to obsess over perfection when it comes to my own blog. I need to stay in action.
I wrote out this post, read through it once, made some adjustments, and scheduled it.
That’s it. Could it be ever so slightly better if I spent more time editing? Absolutely. But my priority is in getting this out there and published, not getting it perfect.
And as we all know, done is so much better than perfect.