Week 3 - Draft it Up
Start: Having A Back Up Plan
Have you ever made plans with someone, whether far in advance or last minute. Within the hour of you leaving for said plans your mate backs out and you are left plan-less for the evening? Well, that just isn’t a good feeling. I mean at this point you already carved out time for the evening and have gotten ready, cancelled any other arrangements with other mates, etc etc. You have to scramble to come up with something else to do or stay at home alone, which may or may not end up being fun. Still the feeling lingers that your friend bailed on you and that sucks! This is the sort of feeling you might get when you’ve drafted up a beautifully written essay or a paper and your computer crashes. All of your work is just lost and you are left without a copy and have to start all over. It’s as if your computer was that mate you had plans with for the evening and they bailed. It’s just not a good feeling!
Well, instead of being upset or angry, disappointed, or otherwise just have a back up plan! In the back of your mind think you know if things fall through with my friend I can always do ‘plan B’ instead. I have meaning to clean my room, or start reading that new book I bought, see my in laws, take up my other mate’s offer to hang tonight, whatever it may be. Sometimes unexpected events come up last minute so it isn’t inconsiderate of you to have a back up plan just in case the original plan doesn’t work out. Likewise with your document, if you are publishing content online you should ALWAYS start with a document in Microsoft Word, Docs, Google Sheets, pen and paper, wherever you choose to write your content and safely back it up to a hard drive or USB port. In this section we are going to talk about the importance of having a draft period and brainstorming ideas before you even begin drafting. It’s all a process and keeping that habit in the back of your mind to back your content up somewhere is how you will stay organized and stress-free in case plans change!
Path to Success: Organization is Your Friend
The drafting process to creating content will be dramatically smoother and more efficient the more organized you are. We are going to talk in detail on what that means exactly and strategies on how to keep yourself organized. Putting a system of organization into place will make your life so much easier the larger your content base and followers grow. As you work through the steps for each week, it is helpful to have a pen and paper or a Microsoft Word doc ready to take notes and write down your thoughts. This will serve as a helpful resource to you as you dive deeper into each goal week. Let’s get some content drafted straight away!
Step One: Create a Filing System
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Most of us have hundreds of pictures on our computers, tablets, hard drives, phones and even burned onto disc. Whatever are you supposed to do with all that content and how do you turn it into a useful resource for you? Start with a simple format to get started. Create four new files on your hard drive or an online platform where you can safely back up files.
File 1. This is your file for all of your content that has already been edited and checked for errors. These will be ready to post immediately so do not put it in this folder if you need to tweak it in some way.
File 2. This is your file for content that needs minor work, a bit of cropping, or tweaking of the color. Perhaps you are thinking of making a photo black and white but like it in color too, so put it on hold for now in this folder. Content in this folder can be quickly finished and ready to be put in File 1.
File 3. This is your file for your most memorable moments. You may refer to this folder occasionally if you really need to but this content may have a lot of flaws that doesn’t necessarily meet your standards for content creation to publish. This content however are of amazing places that are special to you so don’t trash it, just hold onto it until you don’t need it anymore.
File 4. This is your file to save any blogs, photos, videos, or stories that you have already published that can be re-purposed and used to build up your travel content. These time capsules of your life will be re-edited and have updated pictures added to them should an occasion rise where its fitting to re-use. This folder is a nice time saver to save the content that gets high engagement and can help you grow.
As you perfect your editing and draft process you can modify these filing systems based on what works best for you. Name it something that you will remember so your content doesn’t get crossed over. If it goes into a file once, do not repeat that piece and put it into another file. Duplicating your content into multiple files gets confusing as to what you actually posted already and what you didn’t. These four primary files will serve as your base system that you will be adding individual folders to inside of. We’re going to take our organization a step further down to the micro-level. Trust us, this will be very helpful in the long run! Organization sets up the foundation of how everything else operates. When you have your files ready to go let’s talk about how to set up your folders next.
Step Two: Learn to Be Unattached
“Be committed, not attached. But more importantly, know the difference.”
― Jazz Zo Marcellus
At this stage hopefully you have had a chance to do a bit of organizing and created your filing systems! If you haven’t done so yet you’ll want to do that as soon as you can. That way as you begin organizing your materials it’s all set up for you and you can start figuring out what process of organization works best for you. Another helpful alternative is to have different USB drives to switch between versus having different files on your desktop. Whatever works best for you. Something to keep in the back of your mind as you are editing is to learn to be unattached to your content. As you decide which pieces you are keeping and file them away, there are bound to be pieces that just simply aren’t savable. While organizing photos for example you are guaranteed to have a few shots that are blurry, out of focus, not focused on the subject you were going for, too bright, too dark, etc etc. If you know right off the bat the photo isn’t going to work just delete it. Or if you absolutely can’t part you can create a separate photo just for these shots.
When we use the term unattached we also mean it in a healthy way to sort of publish your content and let it go. It is important to realize you will likely be publishing content every day or at the very least multiple times a week. Becoming deeply attached to your content can make you go crazy if and when it does not produce the result you are hoping for. Being able to let it go and wish it well for whatever result you get from doing so is a healthy practice of being unattached. You want your content to be as personalized and connected as you can be and when your work is finished with that particularly piece, become unattached so you can refocus yourself to be personalized and connected to the next piece. It’s almost as if as soon as your drafting period is complete, you can become unattached from that point forward. Again, think of this as a healthy step you can make to keep you organized and faster. Next, we will cover ways to begin putting your posts together and strategies you can use to make this process quick but effective.
Step Three: Edit in Bulk
“Write without fear. Edit without mercy.”
At the pace you will need to work, an excellent strategy to get into the habit of is editing your content in bulk. This will obviously look quite different if you are focusing on written content versus photos or video. Your goal is to fill the folders you created in the first step so you don’t have to think about what content you want to use next. The more readily available your content is, the faster you can get it ready to go and published. The pace that you choose to work should be based on what type of schedule you can keep up with. Some influencers suggest posting every single day, at the same time every day. Others post every second day, or every third. The frequency at which you post needs to be at a pace you can handle. However, the rule of bulk editing still applies.
Start by getting your content into organized into the folders that do not need any additional editing or changes made. Then set aside a time to edit as much as you can in bulk. It helps to have a day of the week in mind to do this editing process so you have a dedicated time to get organized. If you edit enough content in advance you can feasibly set yourself up for an entire month! This is a huge time saver to prepare as much content as you can and not have to worry about it later. Having to edit and think of new content to publish each week can be a tedious process but if you plan ahead a bit it doesn’t have to be a long process at all. Try planning out one day this week dedicated to filling your content folders and see if this strategy works for you and see how much time you save! In the next step, we will cover ways to pre-schedule your posts so you can get your content ready to post.
Step Four: Plan Your Content Ahead
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
― Paul J. Meyer
The responsibilities of a content provider and influencer is not strictly limited to the creation of the content itself. Think your content as a service or a product that you are delivering out to someone. Before the package is even delivered there is a process to locate the exact product ordered. Then it is sealed and packaged up in shipping container of some kind. It is then handled on a production line for labeling and shipment. Finally, the product is packed into a carrier and shipped where the customer will receive it. Perhaps there is a period following to promote the product and gather positive reviews so you can grow your customer base. Then, the process continues with thousands of packages. To be able to keep up with an assembly line that large has to have service workers and help along the way in order to function smoothly. Think of this as the process your content takes from beginning to end.
Your assembly line with content creation involves one namely following the steps in this learning section. Utilizing all of the resources of the Travel Circle increases your engagement and revenue. Finally, on your assembly line are apps to automate the posting process so that you can leverage your time in growing your reach. A few apps worth mentioning are: Planoly, Later, Meet Edgar, and our personal favorite Sendible. These platforms all work in very similar ways. The overall goal of using a platform like one of these is allows you to draft up, plan, and schedule content for outside social media platforms. This allows you to see your content at a glance for an entire month’s worth. It also saves you heaps of time from having to do this process yourself day in and day out. With that time you leverage yourself each day, you can focus on being the best you can be within your niche and how to reach others. In the last step, we will cover final editing techniques to make sure you are happy with your work!
Step Five: Any final Words?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
The final step in the draft process is to check your post just one more time. You should have had a chance to do any editing of the colors, add a description, hash tags, and geo-location. If you decide to do so you can take your content with other artists or related accounts. Be sure to add your partner affiliate code so you get credit for any referrals! It always a good idea to double check for spelling errors and to fact check any facts or quotes that you share. You will want to double check that your story flows and your content has fluidity. Is there an authentic voice behind the content? Is your content exactly what you want it to be?
Creating content is meant to be an intentional art form that you can repeat frequently without losing any quality. If a piece of content isn’t all that it can be, take the time you need to get it there. There is no need to rush the process just for the sake of getting content out there quickly. Remember at the beginning of this lesson we talked about having a back up plan. This guideline applies to having back up drafts ready on hand for easy reference. You could actually create a whole separate folder just for quick reference in case you draft a post up and aren’t completely happy with it. This is a good opportunity to see if a filter makes your photos pop a bit more than the way it was originally edited. Any final touches to your content are done now and then, its finally time; to let it post.
Optional: Do Week Four Content Creation
When you have completed each step for this week’s lesson, you should be prepared for the ways you can get organized and effectively draft up your content. If you feel you have completed each step thoroughly and are ready to move on, take a glimpse at the goal for week four!