Feeling exhausted by your current content creation system? 

If you’re dreading your content to-do list, you might be doing it the hard way.

You’re about to learn my “lazy” approach to content marketing. 

It’s not totally lazy, of course. You’ll still work hard to create high-quality writing. 

But you’ll work smart. You’ll work lazy.

Here’s the thing:

Your content marketing plan shouldn’t be a marathon or a sprint. It should be a simple relay race. 

When you create content like you’re running a relay race, content marketing will become a habit, like brushing your teeth.

You don’t dread brushing your teeth, do you? 

Why your marathon content creation system doesn’t work

Marathon content creation sessions aren’t smart. 

You need to find a large block of uninterrupted time to do them. Who’s got spare time lying around? (Not me!)

During your single marathon session, you have to come up with a content topic, create an outline, and write a first draft.

After your brain is worn out from all that work, you need to edit your content.

The finish line is in sight! But you’re tired — so you’re blind to your content omissions, typos, and errors of logic.

You work for hours and yet, you publish subpar content.

Why your content creation sprints are a disaster

Let’s say you don’t have much time but you absolutely must create a new piece of content. 

You decide to get your content done in a sprint session. 

You drink extra coffee, do some burpees next to your desk, and — heart racing — you use your turbo-charged brain to bang out a first draft.

Yes, you might get that draft done fast. 

But if you’re in a hurry to publish it, you’ll need to edit it quickly, too. 

Because you’re in a rush, you may miss super obvious errors. 

Your “helpful” readers will point out those mistakes to you when you email them a link to your new content.

What’s the solution?

I recommend you make your content marketing plan a part of your weekly routine.

Make it a habit — not a task on your to-do list.

Warning: What I’m about to teach you is simple. So simple that you may resist trying it.

Take it from the readers of my content marketing books — resist all you want, but once you try this lazy approach, you may never go back.

Introducing a content creation system you can customize to your life

This isn’t a marathon content marketing plan that leads to a tired brain and subpar content.

And it’s not a sprint session that leads you to publishing hastily created, defective content. 

It’s a relay race. A relay race you run with yourself.

You’re going to create your content in leisurely blocks of time spread over several days rather than slogging through several hours of work at once.

You’ll grab a single content creation task and tackle it with your full energy, your well-rested brain, and your fresh eyes.

Then you’ll take a break.

Just like a relay race, each leg of the plan is short. 

This efficient content marketing plan means you can fit content creation into almost any schedule.

Read on to learn how it works.

The 4-day content creation system

“I don’t have four days to spend on creating content!”

Relax. That’s not what I’m asking you to do here.

We’re not going to spend four whole days. We’re going to break your content project into four smaller chunks and assign each chunk to a day of the week.

When you get used to this type of weekly content plan, it’ll be easier to turn your writing sessions into a habit you follow, just like brushing your teeth or eating dinner.

The “lazy” content creation system:

  • Day 1: Build your content backbone
  • Day 2: Create your first draft
  • Day 3: Polish and prepare to publish
  • Day 4: Publish and promote

Let’s look at what you’ll do on each of these days.

Day 1: Build your content backbone

Your goal for Day 1? Create a structure for your content. I call it a content backbone. 

You’ll tackle three things:

  1. Pick your content topic. What will your content cover?
  2. Write your headline. Write lots of headline ideas until you hit on one that makes you say, “Oooh, I can’t wait to create that content!” 
  3. Map out your subheads. Decide how you’ll develop your topic and move your audience through the main points you want to cover.

The sneaky result of your Day 1 work? You’ll have created a content outline.

But let’s call it a content backbone — that sounds way cooler, right?

Once your content backbone is in place, walk away. Take a break. 

Give your brain time to think about your content without working on it. 

You’ll need all of the ideas you can get for tomorrow’s task!

Day 2: Create your first draft

Bring your ideas, energy, and enthusiasm to Day 2: It’s first draft day!

You’ll tackle four sections of your content today. Read Master These 7 Essential Elements for Winning Content [Infographic] if you want to learn more about how these sections work together.

  1. Write your first sentence and introduction. Pull your audience into your content from the first words they read or hear.
  2. Fill in under each subhead. Your subheads lay out the premise — use them as guides to flesh out your information.
  3. Add a summary. Briefly wrap up what your content covered.
  4. Include a call to action. Ask your audience to take action. This may be to share the content, leave a comment, opt-in for a lead magnet, or book a sales call — choose an action that makes sense for your business model.

Create your first draft as fast as possible and aim for a messy first draft. 

Important: Do not make any attempt to edit during Day 2! Your creative brain and your editing brain compete for your energy and attention. 

For this system to work, it’s essential that you separate the content creation process from the editing work.

For more on this, read How to Invite Your Creative Angel and Devilish Editor to Help You Write.

Editing happens tomorrow. 

For today, focus on creating a messy, imperfect, but complete version of what you’ll edit.

Day 3: Polish and prepare to publish

Time to put on your editing hat and polish up your content so it’s ready for publication.

You’ll work on four things:

  1. Read, listen to, or watch your first draft from start to finish. Use those rested, fresh eyes and ears to “see” your content like you’ve never seen it before.
  2. Proofread, add, delete, and polish. As you go through your first draft, notice if something seems unclear or wordy. Trim, clarify, and clean it up.
  3. Format for skimmability. Once you’re happy with your draft, look at it. Is your content scannable? Format it so it’s easy to read and understand.  
  4. Add images. Visual content marketing is your last step! You can learn how to engage your reader’s visual cortex — even if you’re not a designer.

How’s your content now? 

At this point in the process, you should feel like the proud creator of a brand-new piece of content. You’re ready to get it out there so it can make a difference in the world.

Day 4: Publish and promote

Time to share your content with the world. Let’s make sure it gets in front of the people who need it most.

Here’s how to advocate for your new piece of content:

  1. Promote your new content to your email list. Send a link and a brief summary, and ask them to read the full piece on your site.
  2. Share your new content on your social platforms. Wherever you’re active on social media, be sure to mention your new content and share a link.
  3. Set up your content for ongoing promotion. Don’t publish and ghost your own content! Ensure your future audience sees this content by linking to it from pertinent email sequences and in future social posts.

Congratulations. You created a polished, thoughtful, new piece of content. 

You did it!

Need to research your topic? Add a Day 0

Where does research fit into this lazy content creation system?

Many of us can pull our content topics from our own experiences and those of our clients. 

The only research we do is to find a keyword phrase to target.

But lots of content marketers need to start with research — research that needs to happen before the content backbone is created. 

If that’s you, add a “Day 0.”

I highly recommend you give yourself a time limitation for your research. If you don’t limit research time, you may fall down the research rabbit hole and never make your way out to create your content. 

Use Day 0 to do needed research with the goal of deciding what topic you’ll write about and how you’ll approach it. 

Set your research aside once it’s done, then use it to create your content backbone on Day 1.

Start using this custom content creation system

To start using this lazy approach to content marketing now, pick a publication day and work backward. 

Assign days of the week to the content tasks outlined above:

  • Day 1: Build your content backbone
  • Day 2: Create your first draft
  • Day 3: Polish and prepare to publish
  • Day 4: Publish and promote

Choose a schedule that works for you and plug these days into your calendar. 

Leverage your calendar and your habits to create a custom content creation system that feels as automatic as brushing your teeth.

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By Laya

Helping creatives to turn offline experiences into online income At the age of 18, I decided to leave my home and move to Italy. With no plan, no income, no idea what I'm up to. I just wanted to take the leap! Long story short, I ended up getting into a freelance design which later brought me to website design & online courses. Now, proud to be location independent digital nomad, I help creatives to turn their offline experiences into online income!

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