What to do when you are stuck in content creation paralysis/nightmare/despair/h*llhole

Content eh.

We all know that – in theory at least – there’s too much of it in the world, yet without it, it’s very hard to even begin to reach the goals that you might have.

Want to build a social following? OK so you’ve got to create content.

Want to build your email list? You need content to do that and you need to write to people.

Want to make it clear you’re an authority at what you do? Easy enough – if you create content.

Want to get more traffic to your website? Yup, it’s down to content again…..

Want to be a successful blogger? (the clue is in the word blog)

Want to rank highly in search engines…..? Oh guess what you need to do to achieve that

Even sales tools like webinars….. that’s content. And online courses….. more content. It’s ALL content. Whether it’s video, pictures, text, gifs – whatever the media form – we live in a world where we have new Gods and those are Google, Facebook and other giant platforms all of whom have created a status quo in which publishing = visibility.

At the same time, the reality I see every day is that one of the main issues people have in their lives is, erm, content.

Namely, how to create it, how to create enough of it, what do say, and general prolonged agony of the content, all the opportunities that should be taken but can’t because it involves putting pen to paper, sorry fingers to keypads….. and what to do next.

And we all hate that moment of sitting down and staring at a blank screen. For me sitting down to a blank screen is a particular type of hell as it reminds me of all the heartstopping moments working for the Daily Mail when the editor would say there’s a features meeting and he or she wants ideas and you would think ‘erm, but I don’t HAVE any ideas.….’

What is frustrating too is that there are limits to how much content can be systemised and produced on autopilot. Every business is different. Every person is different. I can’t say to you it’s easy, just write about a, b and c because firstly writing isn’t easy (for everyone) and secondly your a, b and c will be different – in some ways – to mine or anyone else that I’m working with.

Hmm, it’s right about here that I’m meant to come up with some clever content formula! 

I thought it might be helpful though to share the system that I use to control/manage/ensure-it-actually-bloody-happens content creation for clients.

It’s about content efficiency, and creating volume of content out of minimal time. 

It’s a bit like taking a cucumber and chopping it up first (lengthways) into quarters, then eights, then slicing it (acrossways) into halves, and finally dicing it! If you do the below then it enables you to get to a place where you are publishing content but you are not thinking about it every single damned day of your life. 

I know if you’re just starting up or working on your own then you won’t necessarily be able to dive straight into the below BUT it’s still worth understanding the process so you can work towards it. 

  1. Start with the hardest content there is and for most people this is videos that last about 2 – 3 minutes. So your typical informative video for whatever it is you do. It might be called something like ‘How do slice a cucumber.’ Film 4 – 6 of these at once. This is going to be your weekly Youtube video. (I do appreciate that simply ‘filming 4 – 6 of these’ is not easy for a lot of people but I am going to lay out the strategy nonetheless as if it’s not easy for you right now, you can learn how to do this). This filming might take ONE day and the editing will take more, but it is going to give you 4 – 6 weeks of content.
  2. Take your 6 ‘long’ films, get them transcribed, and turn this text into weekly blog posts and newsletters. You now have a blog post with text and a video for each week – and newsletters too! Nice eh! Look how far you’ve come!
  3. Meanwhile, each of these videos should lend itself to being broken down into 2 – 3 shorter videos for social media. On your ‘How to slice a cucumber’ video for instance, you might have step 1, and step 2. Step 1 can be one social video, step 2 can be another. So 6 videos can turn into 12 or more social videos. 
  4. You will definitely have made some funny mistakes during your filming. Voila. You have outtakes. People love outtakes. Outtakes are good for social media. You’ll have at least one outtake per video if not more. From that one filming effort you now have 6 weekly blog posts, 6 weekly newsletters, 12 shorter social videos and 6 funny outtakes…… This content is getting more efficient.
  5. Now go on a nice free image site like and download some nice, relevant photos. Sit down for an hour and batch together social content for these photos and these will be the posts that go out in between the above videos.
  6. Look out for any pertinent quotes or pieces of advice you came up with during your filming. Use these words for quote posts.
  7. Schedule the entire lot of that. 

You can still do ‘live’ social content or on the day social content, and share updates from out and about but doing the above means your content is largely done for the entire period. It can get to work doing your positioning, bringing in traffic, emailing your subscribers, building social audiences while you can get on with your, ahem, work.