How To Break Down Content Creation Into Easy To Manage Phases

Ev Chapman
July 15, 2023

If weekly content planning always feels like a big lift to you, try breaking down your planning into phases instead.

Phases allow you to 'batch' different modes of working together. If your brain knows it's in the ideation phase it switches on idea mode. In another session, you might be in full writer mode and your brain can settle in and focus on that one thing.

But when you're constantly switching modes your brain gets worn out & that's why you feel like content planning is a bigger lift than it needs to be.

What you need is to bring the right mind to the right time.

The Four Phases Of My Weekly Content Planning Process

Phase 1: Capture Ideas

I rarely ever sit down to brainstorm ideas and that is because essentially I'm in the capture phase constantly. Whenever ideas come up I capture them:

- If I'm out and about I open Tana Capture & talk or write my idea.
- If I'm at my computer I hit CMD+E in Tana and quickly add.

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The Quick Add Window In Tana let's you add ideas no matter where you are & they get to the right place.

My #1 rule for the capture stage: Brain dump as much of the idea as I can at the moment I have the idea.

That could be one sentence it could be 3 paragraphs. Brain dump till your empty.Then I go on with my business with the peace of mind that the idea will be waiting for me when I move into content planning mode.

Phase 2: Content Planning

When you take the time to capture your ideas, instead of having to brainstorm ideas for content planning, you'll have a bank of ideas to pull from.

During the content planning phase, I open my Idea Bank and choose an idea I want to add to the schedule for that week. That's it. I don't start thinking or producing content. I just create the plan.

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Viewing All My Content In The Calendar In Tana

This takes content planning from a heavy lift activity (brainstorming & ideation) to a light touch activity (selecting & organising your content). It hardly feels like work at all - it feels easy. This way I can reserve that hard work for where I need it most - production mode.

Phase 3: Content Production

This is where I go into deep work mode. The ideas are brainstormed, the plan is created and now I can just focus on the craft of writing. In Tana, I keep all these content ideas to work on in what I call the Spark Queue.

One after the other I work on each piece of content like a big production line:

→ Review the brain dump
→ Craft The Structure
→ Build out the content
→ Work on hooks & headlines
→ Schedule

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My Spark Queue Where I Do All My Focused Content Production

There is something almost ritualistic when you get into the flow of production mode. And I work the list until it's empty and everything is scheduled.

Phase 4: Content Remixing

Most people stop at production. They schedule their content & say 'done.' Till next week turns around and they have to do it again.

But to turn this into a self-perpetuating system that keeps feeding itself, I take it one step further and remix the content into new ideas for the content bank in two ways:

→ Endless Tweet Generator. For every tweet I publish I push myself to write 3-4x more variations of the same tweet. Writing it in different ways, different perspectives & different formats.7 Published tweets can turn into 28 more tweets

→ Long Form Extraction Process. In the same way for every piece of long-form content I write, I extract all the content I can. For something like my newsletter, I'll extract up to 20+ more ideas for short & long-form content that will go in the content bank.

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My Long Form Extraction Worfklow In Tana

Just spending time in the remixing phase means that my content idea bank is OVERFLOWING with content.

Content planning doesn't have to be a heavy lift activity each week. Just break it down into phases & so you can 'Bring The Right Mind To The Right Time"

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