If you run a website as a solo owner, and that website depends on content, this is for you. One of the first bottlenecks you'll run into is how to ramp up your content creation efforts without sacrificing what makes your content so good in the first place.
It's really easy to scale content up, if you scale quality (length, research, etc) down. But that's uninteresting and ineffective. How do you scale content creation without sacrificing quality, and perhaps even increasing it?
The answer is extreme systemization.
Here is how I do it with the authority website that I run. Keep in mind, this is customized to my site and needs, but I believe that the principles that lie beneath my methods will work for most people with a little adaptation.
Note: I've drawn a lot of inspiration from my friend Gael Breton over at Authority Hacker, most notably the post briefs section that you'll read later. He has a lot of good stuff in his Authority Hacker Pro membership. I'm a member and have been interviewed for one of the modules inside. It's good stuff.
Build Content Creation Templates
When I write content for my site, it falls into a few different buckets:
- How To (my site leans heavily on this type)
- Single product reviews
- Multiple product reviews for a specific purpose
- Shorter question and answer posts
- Simple image list posts (for social traffic)
- Expanded list posts (for search traffic)
There are almost no posts that don't fit one of those molds. So if I know that to be true, the obvious next step is to create templates for each of these post types.
I heavily customized templates from Gael's Authority Hacker Pro course to fit my niche, covering the following areas for each post type.
(All of these sit in my Google Drive folder for my authority site)
- Word Count
- Goal of this Post Type
- Example of this post type on my site
- Example of this post type on external site
- Resources for the post
- Post skeleton (simple bulletpoints with descriptions of each section)
Let's imagine I'm going to write a new SEO List Post for the site, say "10+ Methods for Organic Grasshopper Control."
I'll open up my "SEO List Post Template" in Google Drive and make a copy of it. Then I'll start filling in the details for the specific post that I want to write.
Above the post skeleton — which is a general template for how this post type should look — I'll include a Workflowy outline like this:
After this is done, I can send this article brief out to one of my awesome writers (I'll do a post on how I hired baller writers soon) and they have EVERYTHING they need to write an incredible, truly helpful post that's far above anything else written online about that subject.
But we're not done yet...that post still needs to be put up on the site, which can take a LOT of time, because I like to format my posts beautifully.
Build Content Formatting Templates
After you either write a piece of content yourself, or receive a piece of content from one of your writers, the job's not done. There are still a lot of tasks to be done:
- Featured image sourcing, editing, resizing, posting
- Post images sourcing, editing, resizing, posting
- Affiliate link adding
- Amazon native ad unit creation
- On-page SEO
- Post formatting
And we haven't even gotten to promoting the content yet!
I've systemized the content upload and formatting process considerably by creating templates with Thrive Content Builder. It's a WordPress plugin that allows you to edit posts in the frontend of your site and do some pretty awesome formatting...but the real value (to me) is the ability to create content templates.
This means that I can pre-build a template for how a "How To" post should look, save it, and in the future I can drop the skeleton of the post in with a single click. For longer posts with a lot of headings, images, lists, etc, I shudder to think of how much time I'd waste if I was manually formatting all of that myself.
You don't need to get a plugin like this to take advantage of this technique, it just makes it a lot easier.
Here's an example of a template I built for the "Multiple product reviews for a specific purpose" content type:
Now, when I get my article back from my writer, all I need to do is copy/paste the sections into their respective places. Then I can go forward with adding in my links, images, etc.
I have more little tips and tricks for systemizing those parts of the process as well, but I'm a firm believer in optimizing first for what takes the most time.
If all you do to move your content creation efforts forward is:
- Split your content into types and write templates for each type
- Create formatting templates with Thrive Content Builder or some other plugin
You'll have taken two big steps forward in systemizing your content creation in a way that allows you to produce more without sacrificing quality in any way.
In future articles, I can talk more about the research side, or expand deeper into the smaller tips for systemization. Let me know what you'd like to see more of in the comments.