I used to write one blog post at a time, usually after an idea came. Then, when the time came for another blog post to be written, I’d slog out another one. I didn’t mind the writing part of it, but it just seemed to take up so much time: coming up with an idea, writing, editing, finding a picture, the photo shoot, editing the picture, uploading everything to the website.
And all that before I started the marketing!
When I used to write one post a time, and it still happens every once in a while, it takes me about 90 to 120 minutes from idea to published post. If you write a blog or produce a podcast, you know the time it takes to produce a quality piece of content.
Whether the content you create focuses on the written word (blog posts, guest posts, magazine articles, etc.) or audio and video content, the process of producing content takes a lot of time. I’ve discovered a way to shorten that time dramatically, letting me get more done in less time, decrease the mental anxiety and see better results for my content.
The way I get more done in less time is through a process called batching. It’s not something terribly fancy, but it is incredibly effective. Batching is doing a group of things at one time: doing all the writing or recording for several pieces of content in one session, then doing the editing in a subsequent, then creating all the visual images in a different session. Batching helps me stay organized and much happier with content production.
This is what it looks like for me: Session 1 and 2 are content creation sessions. Session 3 is image creation, proofing and uploading content to website.
Using this method of batching, I can get a month’s worth of content out in three focused sessions. Here’s how you can do the same thing, whether you write, record or shoot video for your content creation. My goal is to create all the content I need for a month in two four and a half hour sessions or three 3 hour sessions.
- Start with an editorial calendar. Knowing what you’re writing or talking about helps to decrease creative content blocks. I always know the subjects I’m writing about before I get focused. It might just be a headline with a few bulleted points for each post. That’s enough to help me write quickly.
Have a goal that you’re working for. I want to get my content done in a half day period. I’ll work backwords, figuring out how much time I have and then setting the timer to reflect the minutes I can spend on each post. It doesn’t always work out, especially if I realize a post needs more attention. When that happens and a single post turns into a more significant value add, it might be the only piece of content I share with my audience that week.
- Time yourself. I find that a little bit of pressure (just a little bit) helps me stay focused. I’ll set the timer and do the work when I’m at my best, usually in the morning. I set the timer for 33 minute sessions and take a 5-10 minute break in-between. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I know there is a timer going!
If you interview people for video or a podcast, schedule them on the same day and stick to your timed interviews (usually having multiple interviews in a day helps with that). John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire fame says he will do eight interviews in one day. It’s an intense day, but it frees up his time the rest of the week for other pursuits.
- Turn on some music and turn off distractions. I can’t write to music with lyrics, but some classical or jazz music in the background helps keep me going. Do what works for you. Some people need complete silence while they write.
Put your phone on silent and turn off notifications on your laptop and/or phone. Responding to texts and phone calls interrupts your flow. Focus is crucial to having a successful batching session!
- Decide on a time period and then spread out the content based on what you get done.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re new to content creation and batching, go easy on yourself. Do what you can with the time you’ve allotted and make changes as necessary the following month. Sometimes the content is heavier than others. Some things take longer to record or the editing was more complicated than what you thought it would be. Take what you have and spread it over the month. So…if you’re creating content for two weeks, but you only got three blog posts finished and your goal was to get five done, don’t worry about it. Take the three posts and spread them out over the next fourteen days in a way that best serves your audience. Don’t stress about what you couldn’t get done, it inhibits the flow and creative process.
A Final tip: On a half-day of scheduled content creation, I will make appointments for later in the day. If I’m doing content creation on a Saturday (my usual day), I’ll plan for something fun or different- something that doesn’t entail sitting or standing at my computer. This really helps me stay focused, especially when I know I have to be done at a certain time.
If you’ve procrastinated on your content production or felt overwhelmed by it recently, consider giving batching a try.
What other tips can I give you to help you start batching your content? Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.