Not to be dramatic or anything, but I think I’ve burned down my whole content creation workflow and started building a new one.
It’s been a long time coming, a long time of trying, and I think it’s finally starting to work.
I’ve been wanting to write you this email for months now, but I also wanted to have a better idea of how this new experiment would work before I “reported back” on it.
So here’s the deal:
If you know my work, you know I’m a long-form content gal.
I rarely publish a blog post less than 1,000 words long, regularly run out of room in single tweets, and am intimately familiar with the character limit on Instagram captions.
That’s NOT going to change, but the way I work with that long-form content is.
Heavy Lifts: How I Used to Create
For the past 10 years, my approach to content remixing around a topic has been:
Decide on the topic and outline
Create the whole piece of long-form content
Break it down into smaller parts to remix
It was super sprint-focused.
And that worked fine when I had more energy, was healthier, had a more structured schedule, etc.
Why It Stopped Working For Me
But when you overextend yourself, your borrowing energy from your future self.
And if you know my story with workaholism, you know Bberg in her twenties borrowed a LOT of energy from Bberg in her thirties.
So now, that kind of sprint-focused writing habit is harder to maintain.
I rarely write an entire long-form blog post at once anymore, and know this approach works better for me.
But I hadn’t really done much to intentionally optimize this habit (which is so unlike me ).
My content calendar and workflow still started with a long-form piece of content, which I publish 1-2 pieces of per week.
And if I was on top of my game, I’d start working on something far enough in advance to write them a little bit (200-500 words) at a time.
But more often than not, that just doesn’t happen. So I still need to write the whole thing in one go, the night before it goes live.
Then what ends up happening is…
I do that two days a week, for the two planned long-form pieces. And it’s so draining that the rest of the week, I’m too tired to make much progress on anything.
But for a while now, I’ve been working on…let’s call them micro-habits…to change this.
My Atomic Content Process
Stage 1: Content Consumption & Note Making
First, I’ve become a lot more intentional about how I consume content.
Not only do I highlight and take notes on the books, blog posts, videos, and podcasts I consume (I’ve done that for awhile), I actually review them regularly and do as much note making as note taking (here’s a great explanation of the difference).
This gives me more building blocks to remix from when it’s time to produce content, so I’m not doing as much work from scratch when it’s time to put together a newsletter or blog post.
So far, I’ve been doing this in two places:
My knowledge base in Notion
My evergreen notes database in Notion
(I’m working on creating add-ons to the Content Remix Planner for these, if you have it and want to implement a similar workflow.)
Stage 2: Assembling Atomic Notes
Second, I’ve built my notes databases into my content creation process more intuitively. Thank you to Notion for making this easy.
When it’s time to create the weekly newsletter or a blog post in my content calendar database, I can link to any notes I’m going to use and build them out from there.
Last week, I published my first blog post that was produced almost completely from the building blocks of evergreen notes, and it was wild how quickly it came together.
And I’m “bumping” up social and email in my content remixing workflow, so that they come BEFORE long-form blog posts.
This email you’re seeing is an example of that.
In the past, I would have written a huge guide to knowledge management for content marketers, the larger topic this email falls into, before emailing you this.
Before tweeting or posting an Instagram post about it.
I’d take the big thing and then break it down.
Now, this has never been the only way I recommended.
In fact, I more often recommended the opposite approach to other people: starting with emails and social media as building blocks and then combining them into longer, bigger pieces later.
But I was in a groove, and I wasn’t unhappy enough with it to really try and change it. Until now.
Earlier this year, though, I became dissatisfied enough to start changing.
My Atomic Content Experiment
I’m writing more shorter blog posts and emails, doing more Twitter threads on things I can’t drop a link to at the end (yet ).
And this week, I started a course/accountability program to publish 30 “atomic” or “micro essays” in 30 days.
I’m looking at it as a way to build long-form building blocks.
It’s still too soon to speak to the results of the course specifically, but it feels like the last move in a series of several, all of which are starting to pay off.
Writing has started feeling easier again.
More energy-giving than draining again.
I’ve missed it.
And it’s come back from breaking all my content down to its atomic parts and starting there.
Can’t wait to share more of the results with you!
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