Let’s start with acknowledging a simple truth. Creating content can be hard.
It doesn’t matter if you write blogs, film videos, or record a podcast. Making something new and original is not an inherently simple process, and the very act of creation should be celebrated.
But the idea that “content is hard” often leads advisors to the wrong place. They try to get around it by using canned content, which is something a third party creates that an unlimited number of people can license and use over and over again.
I’m going to make my stance on canned content very simple. I don’t like it.
My kids are really into Aladdin right now, and using canned content is a little bit like the plot of that movie.
Aladdin thinks he can’t win Jasmine’s heart by being himself, so he has the genie give him a makeover and look like a prince—even though he’s not really a prince. A lot of the problems in the plot happen because Aladdin refuses to reveal his true self.
He’s afraid that if Jasmine knows who he is, she won’t like him, so he puts on a disguise created by someone else.
That’s fun for a movie, but not how you want to build a sales process.
Canned content is a disguise. It’s trying to make someone like you by disguising who you really are.
So, yes, creating original content takes time and effort, but I don’t believe that should deter financial advisors from becoming exceptional content creators.
In fact, I believe with the right mindset and frameworks, anyone can become a great content creator.
But I also know that time to create content can be hard to come by, so when you do have time, you have to make the most of it.
In today’s article, I’m sharing six tips for how to create quality content faster.
You don’t have to use all of these methods, but if you find one that works, then you’ll be further ahead than you were yesterday in generating more attention for your business.
Skip the Brainstorm
Brainstorming is intimidating. You set aside 30 minutes for yourself to come up with ideas...and 30 minutes later, you’ve written a couple things down and none of them inspire you.
Instead of having your content planned for a month, instead you’re feeling defeated.
So instead of setting time aside for brainstorming, just skip it.
If you want to create more content (and higher quality content) then it’s important to get past the “blank page” as fast as possible.
You have to have a framework to start from if you want to do that. When I talk to advisors about how to create more content, I tell them to think of content in terms of three types:
Your content can fit into other buckets, but if you focus 90% of what you do on these three, you’ll never lack for ideas.
I wrote another article that goes into more detail about each, but here’s the tl;dr version for each type:
Document means to simply write down what you talk about with clients and then spit it back out for a larger audience.
Interview means you should leverage other people’s ideas—ask for a guest blog or interview someone for a podcast or video so you’re not doing all the talking.
Preview means you look at current events and comment on them. Again, you’re not generating a wholly original idea on your own; instead, you’re using an existing idea and then putting your spin on it.
Start with a Template
Think of each blog or video you create as a three-act play. You should have a beginning, middle, and end.
The beginning is your introduction. State the big idea, tell a little story, and set the scene for what’s to come.
The middle is the body. This is where the meat of the post should be and where you give examples or ideas that support your main idea and really make it come alive.
The end is the conclusion. Summarize your main takeaway so everyone is clear on what they should have learned, and then give them something to do next.
All of your content should have a call to action for your audience, even if it’s as simple as “subscribe to my blog.” Don’t leave people hanging without a way for them to stay in touch with you.
At the end of this article, I’ll share my blog template you can download to help you get into writing and creating content faster.
Set Time Constraints
I firmly believe in the psychology behind how time constraints create better work. It’s one reason why I think advisors should force themselves to commit to a regular posting schedule and make it known to everyone who follows them.
When the pressure’s on, you have no choice but to perform (or not, but then your credibility takes a hit).
Setting arbitrary limits on yourself might sound ridiculous, but there’s been research that shows it works.
When you have to find a solution fast, you actually give yourself permission to try solutions you might not otherwise consider.
So go ahead, open that blog template, set a timer for 30 minutes, and see what you can do when you tell yourself you have to be done when the alarm rings.
Make Content Creation a Game
If putting restraints on yourself isn’t quite your cup of tea, then think about how to gamify your content creation process instead.
Gamification is the process by which you give yourself rewards when you complete a task.
It can be really simple. A lot of writers I know give themselves some chocolate after they write a chapter. Or at least, if they manage to avoid Twitter for a half hour while trying to write.
If you’ve ever been on a website that wants you to get to 100% profile completion, then you’ve been gamified.
At its core, gamification is simply the process of making it more fun to complete a task.
The results seem to say that gamification works. Check this out:
“One global community site, for example, raised Facebook engagement by 92 percent, discussions/comments by nearly 300 percent and social network traffic by 90 percent through a badge and challenge-centric gamified system.”
You can even find real games to play to help you deal with things like writer’s block. If you want to write that 500-word blog for tomorrow but can’t find the inspiration to crank it out, pull up Fighter’s Block and try to get your word count in before you get knocked out by a monster.
Or if you’re like most of the Internet and you love cats, try Written? Kitten! which rewards you with a different photo of a cat at the word amount you choose.
Sometimes the best way to create content fast is to not think about the content.
Play Some Music
Apparently there’s some debate on if listening to music makes you more or less creative.
One study in the UK found that people completed a puzzle faster without background music. But another study found that people did better on tasks that needed a “divergent” approach when they were accompanied by happy music.
So I’ll just go with my personal experience on this one. I can’t work when it’s quiet. When I start work in the morning, I turn music on and I don’t turn it off until I go to sleep.
As with all the advice in this article, your mileage may vary.
But from my personal experience, there’s no better way to get a blog written in under 30 minutes than to set a timer and throw on some Notorious B.I.G.
Regurgitate Your Work
Look, I’m sorry. I know “regurgitate” is a gross word and brings up images you’d rather not think about.
But I’m using it for a reason. Do you know why cows chew their cud?
Cud chewing is essential for a healthy cow’s digestive system.
When a cow regurgitates some of its semi-digested foods, it produces more saliva, which keeps the pH level of its rumen from becoming too acidic (the rumen is the largest compartment in a cow’s four-compartment stomach). Cud chewing also helps the cow digest carbs better.
So...what in the hell does a regurgitating cow have to do with you?
Once you’ve got content published, you’ve got to regurgitate it from time to time if you want to have a healthy promotional strategy.
There are easy ways to do this. If you want to create ten social posts from a blog you wrote, just copy your 10 favorite sentences and paste them into a scheduling app like Buffer and drop in your link.
Don’t even worry about creating 10 all new social posts. Use what you have.
If you recorded a video, trim out a handful of 15-second clips from your video to share and get people to watch the full video.
It’s all about using existing content to create more content.
No one does this better than Michael Kitces. He is constantly resharing old blog articles, even when they’re a few years old.
There’s no reason you can’t share content you created six months ago as long as it’s not a time relevant piece. In fact, just reshare the same exact post you created six months ago.
Social networks are ephemeral. No one’s going to remember and call you out for reposting something.
There’s one motto about content creation I want you to remember from all this: Quantity produces quality.
I used to be of the mind that quality > quantity, but the more you create, the better you get at whatever you’re doing. And the more content you publish, the more opportunities you give yourself to connect with someone who needs to hear what you have to say.
So take whichever tactic resonates most with you, and get to work. Someone out there—not everyone, but one person—can benefit from what you have to say.
Always keep your content positive and helpful. Stop selling. Start educating. And get after it.