These days, almost everyone uses social media to create content. Like brushing your teeth, creating content regularly is not only necessary, but can be incredibly beneficial. While it might not keep plaque away, it will help you build a strong personal brand and establish you as a thought leader in whatever niche you choose. However, creating regular content – whether it’s via a blog, YouTube channel or just on Twitter and Facebook – isn’t necessarily enough to being better at creating this content; your words are often more about quality than quantity. While we could suggest several programs, conferences, keynotes and publications to help you become better at content creation, we know that you’re busy (shoot, we’re busy, too!) Instead, we’ve put together 5 ways you can create better content in just 10 minutes or less.
1. Set Aside Time Once A Day To Curate and Write — Tweet this
Unless your job is to manage your own personal brand, it’s not likely that you have time throughout the day to keep an eye on the latest trending news on Twitter and all the breaking news on your favorite blogs. Instead of distracting yourself from what should be an otherwise productive day at the office, set aside a small block of time during the day to curate content and then schedule your social media and blog posts for the next day. Several great tools, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and even Klout’s new features make scheduling content a snap. Using a service to automatically curate all the blog posts other news that is of specific interest to you – without scrolling through infinite feeds on every social network – can be very helpful so you can easily share content relevant to you and your followers.
2. Find 10 Other Blogs To Read — Tweet this
To help you create better content, take 10 minutes to find 10 blogs to read on a weekly basis that create content you can generate ideas from or share with your friends and followers. You can either bookmark these blogs, subscribe to them via RSS, or receive each new post via email. The purpose of reading specific blogs with a purpose is to help ensure you always have fresh content ideas when you’re ready to sit down and write. (For vloggers, this instead may translate into subscribing to 10 YouTube channels that inspire you, for example.) The best writers actually spend the majority of their time reading, learning from their peers how to massage words and inject different voices into their work for different purposes. Setting aside 10 minutes to read blog posts will set you up for success, but don’t be afraid to devote more time everyday to actually reading others’ blog posts. It will ultimately help you create better content – and build a stronger personal brand.
3. Follow 10 New People On Twitter — Tweet this
One of the most powerful yet underutilized features of Twitter are lists, which enables Twitter users to place other users into buckets which can then all be seen in their own unique timeline. (For those who use Hootsuite or another social media management tool, it’s easy to read the tweets from people in lists, side-by-side in columns.) If you follow more than a few hundred people on Twitter, take a moment to create a new list for 10 specific people who inspire you. This list can be public or private – the difference being that other Twitter users can see this list if it’s public, as well as subscribe to it. To help create better content, follow 10 people that also create stellar content, or you know who retweet excellent content from others that motivate you. Then, add them to this list. When you set aside time everyday to curate content and write, you can visit this specific list (instead of your cluttered Twitter homepage) and see if any ideas spark one of your own.
4. Ask People What They Want — Tweet this
As someone using social media, blogging, and/or vlogging, you may have always wondered if people care about your content. Are you reaching the right audience? Are people unfollowing you because you post too many photos of food? Do people actually care less about your knowledge of social media and want to know more about you? What do they really want you to write about? There’s only one way to know this – and that’s to ask them. You can do this several ways: Send out a tweet and ask your followers what they care about; use a service like Survey Monkey to determine what your devoted readers want to keep reading; or use a site like Ask.fm to collect anonymous questions that you can answer with your content, which ensures you are writing what your readers want. By asking people what they want to read, you’ll create content that better resonates with your followers, which will ultimately be better content, too.
5. Read it Again…and Again — Tweet this
Finally, be sure you always take 10 minutes to read your content again (and again) before hitting the publish button. Whether you’re writing a quick 140 character tweet or a 940 word blog post, it’s critical that you proof what you publish. Your written words are the only reflection of yourself online; if your tweets and blog posts are riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, readers will be left with the impression that you are sloppy and careless. Reading your content after you write it is especially important if you’re hoping to leverage your social media presence to find your next career opportunity. As was with resumes before the invention of LinkedIn, your blog and Twitter account will get passed over if there’s any hint that you lack ability to write carefully and do a thorough job. That said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It only takes a few seconds to copy and paste a blog post into an email or share a Google doc with a friend. If you don’t want to give it 10 minutes (or your eyes are crossed from writing that 940 word blog post for the past hour), ask a friend if they can spare some time. Your content will be better for it.
If you only had 10 minutes, how would you create better content? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments.
PS – #NewKlout intelligently recommends content that will strike a chord with your unique network and helps you start the right conversations, at the right time, in the right place. Try it out now.
[Image source: Bianca Green]