One up of the hangups a lot of us have — especially if we care about accuracy or fear being judged — is to not post content because we haven’t yet done enough research.
This is a trap, because for any topic, there will always be more research to do. It’s endless.
How then do we create content consistently, while respecting the need to do research?
My main recommendation for you is to be clear about separating your content production time from your research time.
Content production is the time you spend actually writing or recording.
Research is the time you spend on reading, searching, and taking notes.
If you combine these two modes, your content production will be continually delayed. As you do more research, you realize how much more research needs to be done!
I believe that you already know enough to create content that will benefit your audience.
I would even venture to guess that — unless your field is highly technical — you know so much at this moment that you could probably write an article a week for a whole year, and not have to do another minute of research.
The 2 modes of research
- Exploratory — this is where you’re surfing the web, social media, or reading a book in your field with curiosity about what you’ll discover. Or watching videos on Youtube or elsewhere that’s related to your field. In this exploratory mode, you might be taking some notes as you learn things. Hopefully you have some regular process, for example, once a day or week, of filing away the notes into the right categories, so that it’s easier to pull up when you need to do the next type of research.
- Confirmatory — this is where you’re confirming or corroborating facts about a specific topic that you’re going to create content on. You may have started with some notes that came from your exploratory research and now you’re adding additional weight to the story with a few facts, examples, or connected ideas.
Exploratory research tends to happen naturally already if you’re curious about your field. You probably consume such content without having to plan time to do it. The key now is to be more conscious about taking notes and to plan time to process those notes into topics that you might create content on in the future.
Confirmatory research is usually optional. It is more necessary in technical fields where your audience expects high precision. If you need to do this type of research, plan separate time for this — and not too much time — be specific about the topic you’ll be writing about, and then spend maybe 30 minutes doing just enough confirmatory research that you have enough facts and figures for a blog post or video.
There’s actually a 3rd type — Primary Research — where you do your own experimentations and report on them, or you take a survey and report on the results. (I had to do some confirmatory research to be sure I was using the right term!) This third type is the most valuable, and should also have separate time scheduled.
Content Production Time
Then, in your content production time, you’ll be focused on writing the narrative, integrating the research you’ve already done.
You may even separate content production into two segments: drafting versus editing and publishing. It’s helpful to sleep on a draft, as you’ll often see things you missed a day earlier.
Get familiar with the 3 stages of content. I recommend that most (or all) of your Stage 1 Content be done with as little confirmatory research as possible. Only when an article or video has gotten traction with your audience, does it then make sense to do additional research to expand the content and distribute it even farther.
Start producing (publishing content) on a consistent rhythm as soon as possible. You already know enough. Get the ideas out there first. And if there’s traction, then carve out additional time for research on those topics.