A part of successful execution is consistent progress. Whether it's a cross continent-bicycle journey or content marketing, you must keep a steady pace and scheduled execution.
Problem is, you don’t have time for all of this. You need to be the manager of your business, build relationships, maybe even work your "dayjob" at the same time.
Let me blow your mind for a second: It’s perfectly possible to create good content in 5 hours or less.
Five hours!? Yes, I’m serious. The best content marketers out there are pumping out good pieces of content in less than two hours.
All you need is a good system.
The Content Machine Writing System
Most writers begin the process completely ass backwards. They call up their favorite document editor and prepare to type out a masterpiece.
But nothing comes out. They're smacked in the face by the dreaded blank page-syndrome.
A blank page offers ultimate freedom. You have the possibility to write anything. Instead of leading to ultimate masterpieces, it actually leads to a form of decision paralysis and chokes your writing completely.
All masterpieces in the world have come out of limited resources. Counter-intuitively, it's these limits that offer your creativity a place to flourish.
Removing the Guesswork
Imagine someone telling you to write an article.
About what? About anything, they say. 2000 word minimum. At first you might feel empowered by the possibility, but soon you’ll realize it’s actually quite the tall order.
You’ll inevitably choke, and the someone will never get their article.
But what if instead this someone, proving to be quite the smartass, asks you then to write a non-fiction book with the following strict parameters:
- An 8 word headline, clearly illustrating a benefit of standing up every 45 minutes
- An emotionally engaging introduction, with at least one personal confession
- 6 list points of content with examples, formatted into an easily readable structure
- A conclusion with an obvious and assertive call to action
Wow, those are some strict requirements.
...but don't you feel different? There’s a different energy in this requirement.
It gets your creative juices flowing.
Isn't that strange? Introduce a structure to the process, and you're free of decision paralysis. You're able to divert all your creative energy towards creating excellent and effective content.
The 5 Hour Content Process
If you have a well planned system for producing articles, it becomes much more fun.
You'll be using a standard article structure of:
- Explain your reader's problem
- The real root cause of the reader's problem
- How to solve your reader's problem
- How your reader can apply your solution
- Conclusion / Call to action
Let's see how it's done:
1. Start with the headline - 30 minutes
As you learned in Lesson 2, headlines are vital for getting people excited and clicking on your article. The best writers spend as much time writing their headlines as they do writing all the rest of the article!
It's not only to please the reader, though. A well thought out, effective headline is also vital for the writing process.
The headline sets the angle, the tone and the focus of your article. It serves as a compass, an anchor-point for your content, and keeps your article heading in a consistent direction at all times.
When your angle is consistent, you don't have to stop and wonder about making course corrections along the way. That's why it's important to perfect your headline before writing the rest of your article.
Using the headline templates you found in lesson 2, write your headline in 30 minutes.
2. Write your engaging introduction - 60 min
The purpose of your article's introduction is to engage your reader emotionally.
There are endless ways to write a good introduction, but all of them have one thing in common - they make you feel.
So when you start your text, forget about informing. Forget about teaching. Empathize with your reader and make them the main focus of your story. We can break it down to a simple process.
Go back to Lesson 2 for details instruction on writing your article introduction.
3. Outline your post - 30 min
When you've written your headline and introduction, write subheadings for each section and a short note about what each section will include.
An effective subheading tells your reader:
- What they will discover by reading the following section.
- The benefit of reading the following section.
4. Write the article! - 45 min
Next step is writing the article. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is if you followed the first steps, because there’s no more guesswork!
The way you do it is this:
- Close your door.
- Write for the next 45 minutes. Do not stop.
- Do not use the backspace-key. Include every typo, every misthought, every failed sentence.
- This will be your first draft.
The key here is not to stop.
You will have a first draft that looks horrible.
5. Take a break - 120 min
Congratulations! You've written your post. Now take a break.
- Go take a walk.
- Visit the post office.
- Cook some beans.
- Climb a tree.
- Work on some other content piece
I'm joking of course, but the break is actually a vital role in the creative process. Your brain has just huffed and puffed and created a piece of content.
That'll overheat anyone's noodle.
Cooling down is important, but you also need to take a step away from your writing.
You're too close to your creation at this point, and any mistakes you've made logically or grammatically are practically invisible to you.
6. Edit your post for flow - 30 min
Now that you've taken a break for a few hours, take a look at your work.
First, read it to yourself.
Next, we'll start editing.
- Delete double sentences.
- Mark the places where a thought doesn't make sense or the sentence seems to be in the wrong place.
- Try and fill in these spots.
Repeat until your article has a good flow. Don't worry if this takes a couple of passes. Editing is where the masterpieces are formed.
When you're happy with your flow, we can start looking at the technical side of writing.
7. Edit your post for grammar and style - 30 min
Now for the nitty gritty. You've gone over the post and the overall logic and flow is workable. It's time to get down to brass tacks.
Search for "there", "here", "it", "that"
Start by removing the fluff.
"Here are some things that you should consider" > "Some things you should consider are"
"It’s fun to write good content" > "Writing good content is fun"
"It takes time to edit" > "Editing takes time"
"There are many people who think" > "Many people think"
"There’s nothing better than marketing" > "Nothing’s better than marketing"
Search for common verbs "make", "to be", and replace when needed
Don't dilute your power verbs.
"I can’t make it to the party" > "I can’t attend the party"
"Give out free content" > "Offer free content"
"Find out the secret" > "Discover the secret"
"Make it clearer" > "Clarify"
Search for "really", "very" and "not" and replace with power adjective
"Really good" > "Great"
"Not good" > "Terrible"
"Very tired" > "Exhausted"
Search for "going to" ==> Replace with direct verb
(eg. You’re going to have to edit your work – You’ll have to edit your work or You must edit your work)
Read every sentence and delete redundant words
(eg.Editing is absolutely essential – Editing is essential)
Read every sentence and look for stronger adjectives
(eg. Tired – Exhausted)
Add commas if they help reading the text
Search for "on" and "regarding" ==> Use noun modifiers instead
(eg. Tips on editing = Editing tips, Great advice on how to boost traffic – Great traffic-boosting advice)
8. Publish your post
Read your post aloud to yourself. Does it make sense?
Congratulations! You're done. How long did it take you?
Add images if you wish and publish.