The Content Production Challenge
This is an absolutely classic challenge that everyone faces: which is what is the fastest way to create really high quality content?
Step 1: Find the Question/Thing
The very first thing to do is to go out there and find a question that’s useful. Find a question that people want the answer to, and figure out whether that question being served to the degree and quality that you could serve it, and serve it reasonably easily.
The chances are, it’s going to be something that falls within your area of expertise. What you’re looking for is: if you were asking the question, would you be able to find the answer in a sensible fashion, step by step, out there online?
Google it and see what the results are. Is your very specific question adequately answered and fully answered? Is it the best possible answer out there? Is the answer ‘No’?
That includes on YouTube – although YouTube is a bit of a mess – with loads of distractions and competing content. Plus the challenge of not being able to absorb the lessons quickly .
See it Like a Consumer
It’s important to see it from the consumer’s point of view. The chances are Quora won’t be that great, because people are trying to hack it to market. Forums also a quite difficult because you have to go in and hunt around, and then get drawn into content trails that consume time.
The question is whether there is a really decent article or YouTube video that specifically answers the question you asked.
If the answer is no, you can write one. Rapidly! As I’m about to show you in this process.
Use Intuition and Experience
So really, this is about using your intuition and experience rather than just using keyword search research tools. What this is really about is thinking about the stage at which you were in in the particular thing you know about.
For example, one of the things I know about is online course creation and online course marketing. What I would do is look at basic questions at various stages through the process of online course creation and marketing.
What are the most likely questions people would ask? Certainly one of the questions would be ‘How do I sell and market my course when I have no audience?’
So I could literally go for that long tail phrase as a question, that I would answer with a quality blog post.
The Source of this Method
I have to give credit where credit is due – the basic method here comes from Income School. They have a well established reputation and teach a step by step blogging process, which is very good.
But it takes a 60 day process and the results build up – as they state straightforwardly – over a two year period.
Whereas what we’re about is finding a way to hack that process and get results faster.
Step 2: Design/research/find a step by step process
Next up is researching and digging.
The Power of Checklists
People often want a simple checklist: step one, step two, step three, etc.
Once you’ve got identified a good and useful question, the next step (if you’ll forgive the pun!) is to go out there and hunt down the really good workflows and steps. You want to put them into a kind of ‘master step plan.
You want to be the best step-by-step guide out there on the internet. If you can do that, the content can become a lead magnet, it can become a guide, it can become something you put in a course, it can become the foundation for an online course.
It’s about doing rapid research to put that step by step thing together.
Sometimes you’ll have the steps already in your mind. Like, for example, this piece of content right now. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. And I wanted to cut down the number of steps one does to go from ideation – from the very first idea or thought – down to really useful content. I didn’t want to have too many steps.
But some of the things you look at might have 10, 15, 20, 30 steps. People will find that fantastically useful. Something that can be used in all sorts of ways.
So you collate your research into something where you (and your audience) can usefully use it. That’s Step Two.
Step 3: Teach ‘As Live’ Using Loom and iThoughts
Step Three is to feed that research into a Mind Map (I recommend iThoughts), and use loom.com to teach it.
Loom is a great solution
The reason for having the professional version of Loom, which costs $100 a year, is that it allows unlimited videos. It also allows 1080 HD videos. That means that the quality of the videos is high.
I’ve discovered that the quality of these videos is high enough to pass Udemy quality control. It’s good enough to put out there online and be very useful to people.
You can put the video inside a blog post, or what have you, out there on the internet.
It will, as I say, even pass the most the most important course platform in the world – which is which is Udemy.
With Loom, you do have some quality compromise – notably lip sync. Which is why I keep the ‘bubble’ small. But the pace at which you can create high quality written and videocontent is really rapid.
What people value in your content
The thing that people actually care about is whether you help them get a result, and do it quickly and answer their specific needs.
Loom takes away all of the problems associated with recording in ScreenFlow or Camtasia. And all the associated editing problems. It gets your head in the right place, where what you’re doing is delivering value and and teaching someone a process. And getting real value out there quickly.
Not getting stuck in detailed editing and, and all the rest that’s involved with ScreenFlow and Camtasia. Or getting into the whole business of enormous file sizes cluttering up your disks.
The chances are that once you’re inside ScreenFlow or Camtasia, you’ll start to drop videos and images and all the rest of it into your recordings. Which is totally fine if you’re doing a bigger course, or an important piece of work.
Loom renders all of your videos on its servers. The advantage of that cannot be overstated. It does all the processing in the background, while I take a coffee break. 10 minutes later, I can download the video. It’s really quick.
Generating transcripts easily and quickly
Next, I feed the video into Otter. Otter.ai is a really great transcription app. Very accurate. You get 10 hours per month for free, which is amazing. If you have a premium account like me, you pay $100 per year and you get 100 hours per month, which is enough to do anything you’re going to throw at it.
Step 4: Otter to Ulysses
As Otter processes the video transcript, I feed the mind map I used to teach on Loom into my writing app Ulysses as Markdown text in order to create the structure of the article I will write to accompany the video, or be published separately.
At this point, I have the structure of the article.
Once Otter has finished transcribing, I feed the transcript into a separate ‘sheet’ in Ulysses. I put the sheet with the raw transcript and the sheet with the headings side by side, and transpose the transcript over.
Step 5: Write high quality article in Ulysses.
Step Five is to edit quickly in Ulysses, to a reasonably high standard, with steps clearly signposted and indicated. I’ll add clarifications where necessary, and take out the worst of repetitions and syntax errors.
I use a combination of H1, H2 and H3 headings to give the article a clear structure (Google likes that!).
Step 6: Post to blog using MarsEdit. Then add in CTA.
When the article is edited, I publish using something like MarsEdit (for Mac) to WordPress. This avoid mucking around in the WordPress editor.
It’s important to think of yourself as a video maker and writer, not as a ‘blogger’. That way, you aim at a higher standard.
At this point, we are basically done. We’d hop into the editor in WordPress and add calls to action. It might be to encourage someone to sign onto your email list. It might be to buy something. It might be a ‘content upgrade’: readers/viewers leave an email address to get the rest of the article.
The bottom line is that you’ve now got a quality piece of content: a quality article AND a quality video. Google is going to love it because it’s high quality content and it’s extended content.
Step 7: Syndicate.
The very last step is to syndicate the content, using something like MissingLettr or repurpose.io.
I hope you enjoyed this walkthrough guide.
This actually has been a test of this process, to see if it will work for real for Brilliantio and Bestseller Courses, for our promotion mechanisms.
Content marketing at some point is important. We don’t want you to get your head in the wrong place in terms of marketing, but at some point you will be use content marketing as part of your overall effort in course production and promotion.
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