The words ‘digital content creation’ might immediately trigger a stress response, a fear that content creation is so time-consuming and tons of work, that you might as well kiss the rest of your life goodbye.

Okay, that might have been a bit dramatic, but you get the point. 

It’s easy for people to become easily stressed by the demand to create content that connects with their audience. Even though marketers and small business owners are facing many new challenges, we believe the unique pressure to deliver content that makes a return on investment has catalyzed a wave of effectively engaging content today. 

While the pressure is on, you need to streamline your content creation process so you can meet the demands of the market while reducing stress load and avoiding content burn out for good. Keep reading for our top five favorite hacks.  

Hack #1: Keep a Content Journal

From experience, we’ve seen that our most viral content and LinkedIn posts are tied to personal shares. As a result, everyone on the Flow team is encouraged to keep a content journal to document day-to-day experiences we otherwise might forget about. 

Moments of learning, sparks of ideas, and even reflections of dreams and memories are powerful ways to serve as excellent “hooks” and connect with your audience on a personal, empathetic level. Even if it seems trivial, like a conversation with a co-worker or an interesting interaction with a prospect, it can become your next viral piece of content. I’ve even seen a post on LinkedIn that said, “I had the craziest dream during COVID. Here’s the idea it inspired.” 

Documenting all your ideas not only gets the creative juices flowing, but it also helps you keep track of some of your best ideas. That way, if you ever feel like the creative well is dry, you have a river of ideas you’ve already recorded in your content journal.

Hack #2: Create a Content Calendar

Creating content on the fly might work temporarily, but it does not contribute to any long-term strategy. 

We’ve all been burned in the eleventh-hour of frantic content creation, trying to think of what to post, scraping the bottom of the creative barrel, scouring influencer’s content to get a glimmer of inspiration for content creation. 

And what inevitably happens? 

Your content feels lackluster because, ultimately, you’re posting just for the sake of posting. You wind up wasting time and creating content that is a waste of space in your digital realm. 

Instead, when you get intentional with a content strategy and organize content creation within a calendar, every piece you create follows a narrative arc, builds traction, and attracts a qualified audience. 

Related: The 3 Questions to Answer Before Writing Content

People think that creativity and organization are at odds with each other. If you’re too strict and regimented, you can’t be creative, and if you’re a super-creative visionary, it can be hard to sit down and get organized. When, in fact, we find the opposite to be true—organization is fundamental to creativity. We’re the most creative when we cross our T’s and dot our I’s, and we believe it’s critical to creating long-term, high-quality content.

Google Calendar is a great place to start, but Asana is where the real magic happens. The calendar feature in Asana creates a series of to-dos for every event you create. Essentially, it bundles all the sub-tasks within a task; that way, you can seamlessly merge your calendar and project management systems.  

Trust us, merging the two is a game changer! 

Not only will you never miss a task, but it will also completely take the stress out of planning and execution. If you’re a digitally-native company like we are or transitioning to a more remote team, then Asana is an absolute must in your tech stack

Related: Tools to Startup Your Remote Team: Everything You Need for Success

Hack #3: Batch Your Time

This hack goes hand-in-hand with getting organized. If you’re always waiting until the day-of to post, we guarantee that you’ll find yourself scraping the bottom of your creative barrel for ideas, images, and status copy. Getting organized allows you to get into the creative space to produce your best work and feel uber confident to smash the publish button. 

Weaving task batching into your content creation will allow you to maximize your flow state—a heightened period of concentration, productivity, and creativity, so you get tons more done with way less stress and distractions. To effectively task batch, create a long list of similar tasks to complete in a set time period with no interruptions. 

Related: Boost Your Performance With Flow State: The Skill to Double Productivity and Maximize Creativity

We recommend doing a macro batch of everything you need to get done to create content, such as batching all the writing and editing of content together,  batching social media statuses, batching all the graphics, and batching all the scheduling and distribution. 

Then you should implement a daily micro-batch to spend 15 to 20 minutes every day engaging with your audience on social media. That way, you ensure that you don’t miss a thing while minimizing the time you have to spend on your phone. 

Setting up an organized system that leverages batching allows you to squeeze out every drop of productivity over and over again so you can create a well-woven, thought-out content web. 

Hack #4: Create Templates and Outlines to Make Execution Seamless

Nobody likes looking at a blank Google doc, dreading creating thick black paragraphs of dense content straight off the dome. We’re getting overwhelmed just thinking about it! 

Now imagine if you broke up your ideas into a simple and straight-forward bulleted template. The barrier-to-entry is much less intimidating, and it’s so much easier to get ideas out. The key to writing is preparation, so we recommend creating a rough template outlining the main headers and ideas. Then under each header, write a few bullet points with supporting thoughts. From there, start to connect the dots with transition sentences and style, and boom. Before you know it, you’ve moved straight from ideation to creation without worrying about writer’s block. 

Following this hack will make executing feel lighter because the outline does at least 50% of the work for you. Especially if you’re new to writing, templates and outlines will help you build the habit, so down the line, you can bust out better content faster. 

And do you think batching all your outlines for the quarter is a good idea? You bet! 

Hack #5: Invest in a Social Media Distribution Platform

Social media management and distribution platforms are designed to link your social accounts to a calendar so you can schedule your posts well in advance. 

Adding a distribution platform like Buffer or Hootsuite to your content tech stack ties back to the idea of batching. Nobody wants to spend tons of time creating social media posts each day, especially if it’s work-related. Imagine trying to publish long-form content with carousels, stories, and videos every single day. And god forbid, trying doing that if you have multiple pieces of content to publish every day—it would be a hot mess.

If your content distribution is a hot mess, then you’re going to scream and run away at the first chance you get. Your content will flop, and your followers will find your competitors. Nobody wants that. Instead, invest in a platform that suits your social media strategy and use it religiously to batch all your creatives into one, easy-to-organize space for you or your entire team to manage weekly. 

Related: Our Favorite 5 Companies With a Strong Social Game

Master Content Management and Organization 

One of the most challenging barriers to creating content is time. People think they’ll spend all day posting. 

Guess what? 

You will—if you don’t have the organizational process and tech stack to help minimize the time it takes to create share-worthy content.

Getting organized will allow you to: 

  • Source and document your freshest, most innovative ideas
  • Tap into a flow state, your most creative content creation headspace
  • Get a firm grasp on the narrative arc of your content (and avoid disconnected ideas).
  • Spend more time engaging and building rapport with your audience
  • Save your tons of time and stress

Most importantly, allow you to ditch content marketing myths and fall in love with the entire process – especially when we hear how important it is to double down on organic digital marketing strategies like content to keep our businesses solvent during the pandemic.  

Building these systems and getting into the habit will not only help you save a lot of time and headache now but will set you up for long-term success well into the future. 

If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, then start with hack one. Start hoarding topic ideas, until you can’t get one more substantive idea out of your head. Then, you have no choice but to craft an impressive piece of content around it and are confident enough to hit publish. 

And if you’re already in the content groove, tell us, what hacks do you use to streamline your content marketing machine? We’re curious to hear your ideas.