3 golden rules to creating content online

I’d firstly like to thank everyone for their interest in the posts from the last two days. 5 days with Ed Dale and 10 ways to not do business in 2010 have been amongst the most popular posts I’ve ever written – so I’m hoping you’ve found them interesting. Let’s get back to it then in day #3 of our series of articles on my experiences and learnings of spending 5 days with Ed Dale, the creator of www.thirtydaychallenge.com.

The three day seminar he gave last week has been inspiring to many (Hashtag here). Today, as someone that creates content online in various guises every day of the week, I wanted to add my take on Ed’s thoughts on creating content online.

#1 Overcoming writer’s block

“It’s all been done before”… Oh no it hasn’t… not with your spin on it… not for your audience – think about a different take. Add your opinion. Leave your own web footprints around the Internet by creating opinion. Create an audience for yourself. Granted, it won’t happen over night – but it will do eventually if you are discipined in your approach. Go find the prominent bloggers out there – Chris Brogan didn’t say that everything’s been done before… he just started writing and created an audience.

“I’ve got nothing to say”. Of course you haven’t, because you aren’t following rule #2.

#2 Be a selective  information sponge

Google Reader without question is the most awesome free business tool you can possibly use. It is your very own personal information database, which pushes the information you need to you… If you don’t know what it is and how powerful it is, then take a look here.

Get into the habit of:

  • Using the ‘note in reader’ button on your browser toolbar, collect information as you go. Don’t get distracted by it – store it away for when you need it.
  • Use the TAGS function. If you see an article you want to share – note it and tag it as tweet. When you’re short of something to say – head into reader and dig it out again. When you are going to write a blog post, look at the blog post tag for articles you’ve filed away.
  • Clean up your RSS feeds on a regular basis. Your information needs change over time – so manage your feeds accordingly.

HEALTH WARNING: be obsessed by relevance. Don’t collect information unnecessarily and don’t get distracted by it. There’s a time and a place for reading – schedule it.

Get into the groove

Ed talked about having a process for creation – whether it be writing or video recording or whatever. This is great advice. I write blog posts at the start of each day – never in the middle or at the end. It’s when it’s quiet. Some people literally put their writing hat on to get into the zone. What could you do to help you focus? Turn the phone off, turn your email off and turn the children off if you have to … that’s the only way it will happen.

Once it’s happened – whatever it is on the page – then take a break, and go back and edit… add the images, add the links, tidy it up and make it fit for purpose. Key to success is – don’t edit as you go.

Day #4 of my experience of working with Ed comes tomorrow…

2 replies
  1. Juan Batista
    Juan Batista says:

    I’m a 30 day challenger as well. These lessons are invaluable. Ed has a simple way of overcoming writer’s block. Using Google reader is the best way to capture information on any topic. Just remember, write the article in your own words. This will prevent copyright issues with Google. Look forward to your next post.

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