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From Ordinary to Extraordinary: 5 Steps to Outsource Content like a Genius

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From Ordinary to Extraordinary: 5 Steps to Outsource Content like a Genius

There’s no doubt, online content rocks! But creating it is another ball game.

Why? This is because on the internet, there are only two types of content: crappy content and EPIC FAIL. Crappy content is created with little to no research, poor grammar and is keyword stuffed. You can even smell the keywords from the article. EPIC FAIL on the other hand has much more time and work put into it. That’s why it’s epic in the first place.

So, as an entrepreneur who wants to create content that converts into traffic, subscribers or sales as the case may be, you need to know how to create content that rocks. But with the little time on your hands which should be invested wisely, you also need to know how to outsource that content and still get the same results or better as if you did it all by yourself.

But is outsourcing content all you need?

No!

You need to know how to outsource content like a genius, to a team that produces nothing but results for you. So, here are 5 steps to outsource content with little to no effort from your part.

1. Know the Purpose and Create Targeted Content

When the purpose of something is not known, abuse is inevitable. And there’s a lot of online content that’s been abused. The first step to creating epic content is to know its purpose. You need to know the “why” of the content (that is, why are your creating it?) before even thinking about who you will outsource it to.

Online content is written for different purposes: clients, traffic, sales, engagement, etc. Content that’s created for engagement must always appear interesting and should speak the language of your audience.

Content written for traffic should be optimized with specific keywords and should be of high quality, especially if it is a guest post. Content written for clients and sales must subtly sell your services or products to the reader while still giving out maximum value. Your services or products would just be an option or a faster way to solve the problem you stated in the content. All this would help you have a clear Call-to-Action that converts.

Outsource it: Knowing the purpose of every piece of content you create is very important. This way, when giving your content team instructions, you’ll be able to make things easier by saying, “The purpose of this content is to attract potential clients to my services page. So, ensure you write in a tone that gives me authority and credibility.”

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2. Know Your Audience and Streamline Your Language

Every industry has its language. If your audience is a bunch of tax consultants, mentioning words like tax, auditing, equity ratio, allocation, etc is acceptable. But please don’t use those words when writing for Work-At-Home moms.

You need to know exactly who your content is aiming. Once you know this, you’ll then need to speak or write in a way that they would understand. The aim of every piece of content is to get the message across in the simplest way possible. Don’t make things complicated for your readers by using technical language, all in the name of appearing professional.

Outsource it: Specify that you want the content to include the language used in a specific niche. This way, when giving your content team instructions, you can add that, “This content is written for people in the tax industry, precisely tax consultants. So ensure you use words that they use every day and that directly speak to them.”

3. Know Your Competition and Use Them as Leverage

Every business has competition and the goal is to not only be better than your competition, but to be different. Why is it important to know your competition? Well, this helps you and your content team know what qualifies as “quality content”. Here’s what I mean;

Communicating ideas with others can sometimes be hard because they may not understand what you qualify as a good result. What you need to do in this case is look for a quality piece of content created by your competitor that is worth emulating. This piece of content, which could be any of the different types of online content, must be the kind that you propose would bring the results you want.

The next step would then be to make yours’ different, using your competitor’s content as a benchmark. In other words, the quality of content you would create must not be less that of your competitor. This gives you some form of leverage for you because you’ll add something to yours’ different or better.

Outsource it: Do a little research to find content that’s extraordinary. It may not even be from your niche. This way, your content team would have a defined direction and know what you qualify as a good result when you add, “Use this guest post by company XYZ as reference for this content. Look at how it was crafted to suit their audience, the content structure, length and tone. I want you to create something like this but make it unique. Show that I offer solutions in a way that’s different from others.”

4. Use a Content Framework to Save Time and Effort

Every piece of content on the internet has the most basic form of a framework which is: Headline, Introduction, Body, Conclusion and Call- to-Action. However, if you want content that converts, you should go deeper than that and define each part of the framework.

After studying the content from your competitor, you would be able to outline the content framework used. You can easily do this by simply answering some specific questions such as, “What headline formula did he use?”, “Does the introduction include a story that outlines the problem or is it just engaging?”, “Is a pattern interrupt or cliffhanger used? If it was used, where?”, “How detailed are the sub points?,” “Is the conclusion actionable? If it isn’t, how can I make mine more actionable?,” “Did the Call-to-Action blend in with the content?”

Outsource it: Using a framework gives your content team a more detailed overview of how the content would be created. You can add to your instructions, “See how a story was crafted to show the problem that tax consultants face when auditing large firms. Ensure to include a pattern interrupt at the beginning of the body that hooks the reader to read the sub points afterwards. Although the conclusion was not actionable, make mine actionable so it takes the reader one step forward toward solving his problem.” Once the content is studied and a framework created, you can then assess it, make corrections and move to the next step.

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5. Use a Draft That Leads To Smashing Finished Content

The purpose of drafts is to simply guide you on what to write. It also makes content creation super easy because it allows you to just “fill in the gap” when creating the final content.

As an example, let’s pick the basic framework one after the other.

The introduction

After the headline, the introduction is the second most important part of an article. Miss it here and you won’t get readers to go through the rest of the content.

So, the best way to capture readers in the introduction is to appeal to their emotions. How?

1. Through stories.

2. By relating with their pain and giving them a solution.

Whichever one you choose, the main aim is to get the reader connected.

The draft could have an introduction like this:

————————————————————

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State the pain associated with [subject of article].

————————————————————

Afterwards, your introduction should also contain the solution; the magic pill that the readers want. But you don’t just state this directly. Saying it like, “the following are 20 ways…..” can make the reader lose interest. The best way to say it is using the “Pattern Interrupt” if this is the way you want to go.

The Body

It’s in the body that you directly state what the reader is about to learn.

As for the points, you must have thought them up even before creating your draft. Also, every point comes with an explanation and an actionable give away. However this could differ depending on the content framework and kind of article.

————————————————————–

1. [Point 1]

This is where we show the reader how to …..

Next, we give an actionable way the reader can implement [Point 1].

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2. [Point 2]

We show the reader how…..

Next, we give an actionable way the reader can implement [Point 2].

————————————————————-

[Point 1] and [Point 2] will actually be replaced by the actual points.

This is just assuming that we’ve 2 points in the article.

The Conclusion and Call to Action

Here, depending on the framework, you summarize everything you’ve discussed so far. But most importantly, you end the story that you started in the introduction. If your story, in the introduction, states the pain the reader faces and the solution you are providing, the conclusion would show how the reader’s life would turn out if he/she implements your points in the article. Remember, you are writing to appeal to the emotion of the reader, and not just their common sense.

Outsource it: Request for a draft from your content team. You can add something like this to your instruction, “After studying the content framework of the guest post, send me a draft of what you would include in the final content. This draft should give me a brief overview of just what you would write in each part of the article. Once I make any necessary corrections and approve this, you’ll be able to create the final piece faster.”

It’s almost impossible to receive crappy content after following these five steps. Outsourcing content has its headaches because not every team member can easily translate what you qualify as quality. Therefore, you need to give them something to work with.

By knowing your audience and creating a content framework that speaks to their needs, you’ll receive outsourced content that brings the results you want. The good thing is you don’t have to do the work yourself. This ultimately saves you time and gives you a better Return on Investment. Just ensure you outsource content to someone who can get the job done!

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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