So, you wanna be a content machine?
While you can argue the QUALITY of my content, it’s hard to argue the QUANTITY.
In the last 5 years — starting in April 2014 — I’ve published over 1.7 million words of content to Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
Every day. Monday through Friday. With very few breaks for holidays or other off days.
And with almost zero guest posts or content.
And that doesn’t even include the word count of my weekly video issues, which have been consistent for the last year or so. Nor does it include promotions for my own products, or the content of those products. Or client work, which I’ve done consistently for this time.
In fact, I don’t believe there’s been any other marketer or copywriter who has offered so much value for free during this time.
I draw all these distinctions for a very important reason.
To establish my credibility for every tip that follows.
But first, the housekeeping… Today is Mailbox Monday. Which means today’s article is a response to a reader question.
If you’ve got a burning question about marketing, copywriting, selling, internet business-building, entrepreneurship, or any other related topic, submit it here to have it answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue.
You’ve been on an awesome streak with your daily essays, I admire your discipline here.
Could you please share how you got about creating your content so regularly?
How do you always have something to say?
You already mentioned, that you bash these essays out in 30 minute sprints. Do you do additional research prior? Do you have a list of topics on a wait list and you pull one out every day?
I’d very much appreciate if you shed some light on your process.
Best regards from Germany,
It’s easier than you think…
I say this, based on experience. Getting in the habit and the rhythm.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Because I sat and brainstormed 15 tips I believe are my secret to cranking out 1.7 million words of marketing content in the last 5 years.
Let’s dive in…
- Develop a daily writing habit…
This is the biggest thing, by far. When I started Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, I asked one person to sign up, and told her she’d get an email every day. Then, I started writing, and sharing what I wrote. That little obligation gave me just enough momentum to start the habit. And then I’ve just made sure I did it, every day.
(A note about discipline: “self-discipline” is a poor choice of words, because we assume you have it or not. “Self-imposed discipline” — a concept I got from Dan Kennedy — is much better because when you know what you have to do to get it. I imposed the daily discipline of writing on myself, through making a promise — first to one reader, and now thousands.)
- Write to a deadline…
Many days when I sit down to write, I have to hit “publish” in under an hour. That means I don’t have any choice but to crank it out. I find when I give myself too much time, I waste it. When I have just enough time, I find a flow. (And I’ll note: the 30 minute writing time in the question is generous, most essays are written in 45 minutes or so and prepped for publishing in 10. That’s 50% more time, which is significant.)
- Massive input = massive output…
I have read a ton of books. I’ve listened to a ton of programs. I’ve consumed way too many podcasts. I now listen to audiobooks at a rate of more than one per week. (Most media, I play at 2X speed or greater.) The more you learn related to your topic — and in general, because being overspecialized makes you boring — the more ideas and thoughts you’ll be able to turn into output.
- Borrow, with credit…
I frequently borrow ideas. When I borrow directly, such as with the Dan Kennedy mention in Tip 1, I try to give credit. This actually has a few benefits. First, I don’t have to try to hide it, which makes it easier to write. Second, there are SEO benefits, as most of my most-trafficked articles are about someone else. Third, they give me a framework for what to write about.
When I borrow, I always bring my own perspective and experience to the fore, and write about that. My coach, Joseph Rodrigues, has a whole podcast and YouTube channel dedicated to his “Insights and Perspectives” on popular books. I use this idea of sharing my insights and perspectives as a guiding principle for when I’m borrowing someone else’s ideas.
- Write in stories…
As someone who created a whole program called The Story Selling Master Class, you’d think this would be in here somewhere.
When I’m writing an article based on a story, it’s very quick to write. It often cuts my writing time in half. Not only that, stories are often the most engaging, and can be very effective if I’m selling something or asking for action at the end. When you have a story — even a tiny story — use it. And if you know the story templates that work for marketing and selling content (see that link above), you’ll find selling stories everywhere.
- Repeat yourself, but from a new perspective…
Although I’ve written around 1000 essays over the last 5 years, I probably have a couple dozen core ideas I keep coming back to over and over again. If I wasn’t willing to repeat myself, I’d be out of content in a couple months.
But I seldom do a simple repeat. Instead, I bring new insights and perspectives to the topic each time. I zoom in or out, covering it on a smaller or larger scale. I’ll focus on different points in the process. I’ll cover the ideas in big or small applications. Or I’ll look at how to apply the same ideas in different situations. And lastly, I might switch from a specialist (financial copywriter) to a generalist (marketing) perspective and back again. This plus my constant growth and development make the content consistently new and fresh.
- Write what you know…
This is huge, and a huge part of why I’m able to produce so much content, so fast. When I write for clients and have to do deep research for every topic, I write much more slowly. But when I’m writing what I know, I can literally sit down and start banging on the keyboard, and something at least halfway-decent will come out. The more you write what you know, the easier it is to write more.
- Use (rough) outlines…
I took my kids to swimming lessons this morning, and sat with a notepad by the side of the pool and brainstormed these 15 tips. That’s the most refined my outlining usually is. Sometimes, I’ll just open a new document and throw in 3-5 bullet points I want to cover, and start at the top. Doing a rough outline ahead of time, to give yourself destinations, helps with both speed and quality of content.
- Write about things…
Throughout your week, you come across what we can vaguely categorize as things. Ideas. Experiences. Concepts and perspectives. Processes. And, you can no doubt plumb your memories for dozens if not hundreds of these, if you were to sit down and write them out. If you have something to write about, it makes it so much easier. So pick a thing, come up with a rough outline of what you’d say about it, and start writing.
- Write to themes…
You can also write to themes. For a while, every day of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets had a thing. Then, that wasn’t working so well for me, so I changed it up. Today is Monday, so my theme is Mailbox Monday. On Fridays, I do Video Friday. If you establish these themes in the rhythm of your content (weekly, monthly, etc.) it becomes easier to plan what to write.
- Know your audience, and what they need…
With regard to today’s theme, I figured out early on that answering questions I got was a great way to create more content. It also helps me get to know my audience better. Initially, I wanted to write to business owners, but I quickly found my audience was much more densely populated with copywriters so I’ve shifted to speaking more about copywriting, with additional content around more general marketing and internet business-building skills.
In the context of knowing your audience, it’s smart to consistently answer questions. Not only does this make the content creation easier, it also creates rich content for the search engines, which can increase traffic. Plus, if I’m solving my audience’s problems, I’m no doubt setting them up to purchase more solutions to more problems, when I make offers.
- Have a next action…
I wouldn’t still be doing Breakthrough Marketing Secrets if I didn’t provide me with significant ROI. I didn’t start it for that, but the fact that I’m getting paid makes it sustainable. With that, I’m often asking my readers to do things, such as click through to view offers that are either mine, or that I bought and liked enough to endorse.
Having a next action I want my readers to take also helps with content creation. It helps me land on ideas, plus figure out what I want to say to encourage action. Plus, this is good direct marketing. If I don’t regularly make an offer, I’m not being a very good example. 🙂
- Have opinions…
Like with stories, having opinions makes you more interesting, and it makes the writing easier. It’s about as easy to write a rant as it is to write a story. (Often, actually, a story conveys an opinion, or a rant starts with a story.)
The current US President is an example of the power of polarization. But, of course, you don’t have to be like him on the surface if you don’t want to be. Simply holding a strong opinion on something will polarize your audience’s reaction. And those who side with you will resonate more strongly.
- Be human…
This seems a little silly on the surface, but it’s pretty profound. Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes. We have flaws. We have quirks and oddities of character. And that’s what makes us profoundly interesting.
When you embrace being human, that means you’re honest and authentic about who you are, at least the parts of you relevant to creating this content. Plus, it often means being vulnerable, putting yourself out there with the very real risk of being judged.
The more you can do all this, the easier it is to create content. When you get in the groove of being real, you’ll realize how much easier it is to create volumes of content than if you’re trying to carefully manufacture and curate whatever it is you do.
- Doubt yourself, but publish anyway…
There are usually about two months per year where I go into a deep doubt of whether or not I should be doing this. Usually in the darkest days of winter, probably made worse by some seasonal affective disorder. And then there are many days where I’m just not sure if what I wrote will be any good.
And even in the midst of that — deep in the fear of being judged and rejected — I write and publish anyway.
Often, the issues I doubt most are met with instant excitement by some reader who tells me it’s exactly what they needed to hear, in that moment. And, ironically, often the opposite is true — my favorite issues are met with the chirping of crickets.
The more you DO in life, whether it’s creating content or anything else, the more fear and doubt you’ll have to face. Every time you try to live your life in a bigger way, you’ll be struck with resistance. You have to get in the habit of “hitting publish” and moving forward, in the face of fear. And the more regularly you do that, the more you’ll bust through all your doubts and fears and accomplish great things.
I was NOT writing this on as tight of a deadline. And this list was long. So we’re now at about 2,100 words, in about 60 minutes of writing — plus some leisurely brainstorming this morning by the pool.
(BONUS TIP: Having a list is a great way to create more content, faster!)
When I started writing, my daily issues were about 750 words. Today, they usually average about 1,100. And occasionally, I run long, as I did here.
That’s the power of these tips!
If you want to crank out content, go ahead and start creating content every day. Even if you doubt yourself. Especially when it’s hard to hit publish. Get in the habit, and you’ll soon find yourself experiencing breakthroughs…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: You don’t have to go check out The Story Selling Master Class right now, but you will probably be a much better content creator and marketer if you familiarize yourself with its contents.