We love collaborating with bloggers and today we’re pleased to be able to share this guest post with you from Ivan Siladji. Ivan’s a dad and a blogger and he’s sharing his tips for keeping up with content creation. Enjoy!
Let’s be real for just a minute. For most of us, this whole blogging thing is a part-time gig. Some people never want to take their writing full-time, you know, the making a living from it kind of full time. For many, blogging is a way to journal their life – and it’s a great way of doing that. Kudos.
For others, myself taken, the blogging journey we are all on is one that will one day provide for financially, and then some.
The bridge between hobby content creation, being part-time and then ultimately full time is a long journey that best be enjoyed with long nights, sore typing thumbs and a glass of wine. It all gets interesting when you couple all of this with a full-time job, being a dad to two kids under six, married life, family life, taking time for health and all the other things this wonderful thing called life may throw at you.
Content Creation – Why Create?
Legacy. That’s it for me. For you that might be different, and probably will. My mission is to interact with as many people as I can while I’m here and in some way, shape or form, leave a lasting impact, big or small, trivial or profound. Content creation and the internet is the easiest and most direct way of doing that. It’s also the most competitive. And if I can support my lifestyle while doing all of this it just seems like a no-brainer. Of course, there is always a catch. I’ll give you a hint – it starts with “W”.
So Where Do You Fit In?
My perspective starts with me standing all alone, on that bridge, this little guy from the big city of Sydney, Australia — long way from home, I know. I’m currently walking that line between hobby content creator and part-time blogger. Sure, I hope to take this thing full time but the biggest thing I’ve learned in the last four years would have to be patient.
I currently create content around three main pillars – written in the form of my blog or other articles, such as this that you’re reading now. Second is video content and that’s where my YouTube channel comes in. There I document my journey and life in the form of vlogging and create other short-form videos for my community. Then there is the third pillar – the audio component. Think of podcasting for example. In my case, this is my anchor station where I aim to put out daily “plogging” content – think of vlogging or blogging but in podcast form. Then there is the plethora of micro-content that strings all of this together – Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. All of which in their own right are quickly becoming, if not already, pillar content platforms.
I took the route of these three main pillars because they integrate well. I can write a piece of content in blog form and then speak about it in audio form, opening up further conversation and bringing to life the voice behind the written post, and vice versa. YouTube vlogging allows me to take my community along for the journey and pull together a video that visually tells the story I am trying to convey in otherwise written form. And in all honestly, humans are very visual creatures. Personally, I’m always painting the picture in my mind of what a writer looks like behind a post – video is perfect to share what that looks like with your own community, especially if you’re comfortable to do that sort of thing.
How Do You Keep Up?
Before you think about how you are going to go about all of this it’s important to accept the fact that it will involve a great deal of work, which, if you’re passionate about all of this content creation stuff, shouldn’t be a problem, most of the time. If you don’t have kids you’re ahead of the game as evening, night and early morning hours are still your own. If kids have somehow made their way into your lives you’re in for a journey of time management. Don’t worry, it can be done, you just have to manage a few extra things.
Now that you’ve accepted the fact that work will be involved, it’s important that you get clear about what it is you are trying to do. Get clear about the pillar content forms you want to pursue. Don’t focus so much on the social platform or you will be hedging your content on the success of the platform and any algorithms they throw your way. Rather, focus on the content types. For instance, when I say I vlog for YouTube I also have these vlogs as video posts on my public Facebook page – Facebook is really upping their attention on video content so engagement for that type of content is usually higher and Facebook gives it some preference in their feeds.
From here it’s all about when. This is where the ‘keeping up’ part comes into play. I’ll make it easy for you from the get-go. You won’t always keep up. Accept that. As you make progress and get better at your craft you inherently get busier. Opportunities come more often which means you’re writing more frequently than you otherwise anticipated and with that comes an increase in your content distribution efforts. You spend more time engaging with your readers, viewers and/or listeners and building a community — personally, that’s the best part and it’s a lot of fun.
Tools Of The Trade
Like any job, you need specific tools to get you through specific tasks. Personally, I use a number of tools to make the process of content creation all that bit easier. These include (and are free without taking any upgrade options);
- Evernote – I use Evernote to create written content for platforms outside of my own blog, for example, contributor pieces. If I’m writing directly for my own blog I write directly within WordPress, my sites hosting platform. The text editor there is more than ample for how I like to write so I keep within that. However, when it comes to writing for someone else, jotting down notes or getting an audio note in, especially while out-and-about, I don’t go past Evernote.
- Pages – I manage my Facebook page through the native pages app by Facebook. It gives better reporting and power over your page. I’ve used this for years so I’m not sure if it’s normal practice now but if it’s not and you’re still managing your page within Facebook itself, try the pages app.
- Canva – I’ve recently signed up with Canva (oh Canva, where have tho’ been). In a nutshell, Canva makes creating anything visual so much easier. They have all the templates you need for all the major platforms. I use this via Google Chrome as an in-browser app as well as on my iPhone when not at my desktop.
- Asana – Need a task and project management tool? Asana is your new best friend. This cloud-based app on desktop and mobile is powerful, visually appealing and makes setting up tasks and projects much easier. After you play around with this app and get your bearings around it you’ll never look back. You can organise your tasks by project and assign sub-tasks. And if you have a team it gets even better as you can assign tasks to your team and open workflows between members.
- Bit.ly – Bit.ly is my go-to link shortening app. I like this as it allows me to track click-throughs from social platforms and other parts of the interweb so I know in more detail who is getting exposed to my content and from where.
- WordPress – I natively create most of my blog content within the mobile version of WordPress. Because most content today is consumed within a mobile device I figured it made sense to create the content within one. This allows me to see what my posts will look like on mobile which gives me a chance to iron out most blogging layout bugs before I hit publish.
- iPhone / DSLR / External Microphone / Tripod – I’m an Apple guy but if you’re an Android user all of what I’ve written here will still work. I record 95% of my video content on my iPhone and subsequently do 80% of my video editing within the device as well. Sometimes I go to the desktop but it’s usually much easier and quicker to do it right from my device. Point is – you don’t need to get fancy. Although I use Adobe software for higher end video and photography work, Apple iMovie is more than capable of getting you started. I also carry in my kit a DSLR (although I’m using it much less these days), an external microphone for audio content such as that which I put out on Anchor when I’m in the office as well as a tripod to hold my iPhone or DSLR when shooting video. Take home message is you can do most of your content creation using nothing else than your smartphone and any excuse otherwise is exactly that – an excuse.
I’m Still Hearing You In The Background…
I’m well aware some of you are still saying – good for you but I just don’t have the time. Respect. I get it. But I don’t buy it from most of you. I truly would love to see you win at this. Even before I do. The journey is long, so engage in a little patience, sprinkle on some consistency (the hardest part) and take small steps to climb big mountains. Utilise tivo to record your favourite show for later or skip it all together. If you’re naturally a night person – go to bed an hour or two later. Morning person? Wake up an hour or two earlier. Catching a train? Write a post. Waiting in queue for a latte? Engage on Twitter. Taking an Uber? Record a podcast. Out and about? Record a vlog. It just comes down to work.
Given this post threw a lot at you, I truly hope it’s given you a little more edge. I love creating content, particularly that in written form. Being part of an online community has introduced me to more people than I ever thought I’d get to know and it’s been a hell-of-a journey. Be open to patience, and be willing to travel the blogging journey long-term – results come not overnight but rather after many keystrokes. Most of all – enjoy the journey. I am.