How to Find Time to Be Creative
By Katie Lance of Katie Lance Consulting
If there's one thing we could all use a little bit more of, it's time. I've chatted a lot about time in recent blog posts - from social media time management and my best-kept secrets for curating, creating and promoting hot content to how to stop wasting time on social media. Today I want to dive a bit deeper into the idea of finding time and making that time count - specifically how to find time to be creative!
For many, the majority of our work is not creative work. For real estate professionals, days are made up of contracts and inspections, negotiations and listing paperwork. Switching not only our schedules around, but also our brains, to be creative can be challenging. Yet, getting into that creative zone and producing consistent, high quality content is key to our social media success.
So how can we make this time and get our creative juices flowing? Here are a few of my biggest tips for finding time to be creative.
Batch your content. The thought of setting an hour aside every day for creative work might sound nice, but let's face it, that's not always doable. The nature of the real estate business is that some days are simply busier than others. But what if the goal was to set aside an hour or two a week to work on content creation? For most of us, that is much more realistic. If you're going to take the time to sit down and write a blog post, why not knock out 2 or 3 while in the zone?
For blogging, I like to start with a blank Word document or Google document and I try to follow a formula when writing:
- A few sentences for the introduction
- 3, 5 or 7 bullet points or numbered items. People tend to consume content and share your content more often when presented in bite-size pieces.
- A statistic or two
- A personal story or two
- Wrap up - a few sentences tying it all together plus a call to action (i.e. to leave a comment, share on social media, etc.)
You can easily use this batch method for creating graphics too. One of my favorite tools for creating graphic content in batches is right on my phone; it's the WordSwag app. On a road trip recently (my husband was driving) - I created a handful of graphics using the app. By being able to consistently use similar fonts, pull great stock photos and add my logo - I created a number of images within a matter of minutes that we will re-purpose and use on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (and right here in this blog post!)
Creating video content? If you're going to take the time to set up your lighting and do your hair and makeup, make the most of it. A quick change of clothes and no one will be the wiser that you shot numerous videos within the same time frame. By batching your content, you can capitalize on this time and get much more bang for your buck. For example, this 6-video playlist we created was all created and filmed on the same day.
Have a schedule. I talk a lot about the importance of schedules in social media, whether that's creating a blog calendar or utilizing a content grid. How you create your schedule is up to you, what's key is that you have some sort of schedule in place and that you follow it. A Google Calendar with your blog post ideas and dates is all you need. Working with a team? Some of my team's favorite tools are shared Google calendars and docs which allow us to collaborate in a simple yet efficient way.
Of course, leaving a little wiggle room in your schedule is important, especially in social media when things can change so quickly. But for the most part, sticking to a schedule is going to not only keep you accountable but it will also create consistency in your social media which your audience will come to know, expect and appreciate.
Have a system. Beyond just a schedule, you also need to have a system. When you sit down to write a blog post, how will that look? Will you write the post, create images for the post and create social media shares all in one sitting? Will your blog post be emailed to your database? Is there a video that goes with the post?
All of these considerations will make up your social media system. A few key items to consider:
- Who will write the post (perhaps you'll use a copywriter or posts will be written by numerous team members)?
- Who will edit the post?
- Will the post include images? Who will create those?
- What system will you use to create those?
- When will the post be published?
- How will the post be shared on social media?
- What will you do differently on different channels to promote your post?
Have a strategy. You've got a schedule, you've got a system but do you have an overall strategy? If you've been following me for any amount of time you know that I believe strongly in being intentional when it comes to social media. It's simply too easy to be sucked into the social media time vortex…and not have anything to show for it! Having a strategy for social media is not only going to save you time, it's going to make your efforts go much further in the long haul. Remember, social media is a marathon not a sprint.
Check out this webinar replay on How to Create a Social Media Strategy from Soup to Nuts.
Ready to truly get smart about your social media and get your strategy in place? Would it be helpful to have sample schedules and step-by-step systems for creating content? All of this (and so much more) is available in our #GetSocialSmart Academy.
What tips do you have for finding time to be creative? I'd love to hear! Leave me a comment below or jump on over to our Facebook group and join in the conversation there.
Katie is the CEO and Owner of Katie Lance Consulting. Katie is a nationally known keynote speaker at conferences and events, teaching the latest tools and strategies in social media, mobile and technology trends. She is a frequent blogger and contributor to Inman News and The Huffington Post.