How to Easily Create 10 Times More Content in Little Bits of Time That You’re Currently Wasting
I Show You How I Used the Same Technique to Create This Very Article and Lots of Other Content in An Enjoyable 1-Hour Session
Many who struggle to get online business going say they haven’t created much content for one or both of these reasons:
- They don’t know what to write about
- They don’t have time
I “wrote” (you’ll understand the reason for those quotes shortly) this article to show how a simple, free phone app can help them – and perhaps you – with both of those problems.
Not knowing what to write about comes from one or more places where you may be:
- You don’t know exactly who you serve
- You don’t know exactly how you serve them
- You struggle (we all do) to write something when starting with a blank page
In this article, I will assume it’s that last item that’s holding you back. If you instead are stuck in the area of nailing down who you serve and how you serve them, shoot me an email and I can give you some help there too.
Starting at a blank page and trying to create content is hard. Luckily, it’s also totally unnecessary.
One way to start with much more than a blank slate is to start instead with private label rights or white label products. I have resources on this site to help you with that, but today’s article is about using your own ideas to help keep you from staring at a blank page and to quickly create your own, unique content.
I got this idea from one of my mentors, Jonathan Green. A high-level group I’m in with him invited him to teach how he creates books so prolifically. Among many other tips, Jonathan revealed that dictation is one of his biggest secrets.
After outlining his books, Jonathan simply talks through each section of his outline into a recorder and then has that recording transcribed. He (and we) can do these recordings anywhere, which for him often is sitting on a dock or even in the water near where he lives in the South Pacific.
In the middle of the USA where I live, it’s something like 40 degrees today. Hardly tropical. Still, I figured that I could use Jonathan’s dictation idea to help me create content more productively.
I wanted to try Jonathan’s idea with a couple of twists of my own, though:
- He uses a pocket recorder, but I figure the Android phone I already have can do the same job
- He sends his recordings off to a paid transcription service, but I wanted to just instantly edit free automated transcriptions if my testing proved that could be effective
Here, unedited, is the instant transcription from my first test dictation session. Just the next three paragraphs, after which I’ll pick the story back up (edited and added to from the remainder of what I transcribed).
“I’m testing the Live Transcribe app on my Android phone while I’m outside using my smoker and grill to cook some meat.
The app is from Google. Several reviews make it seem it may be fairly good. It has some horrendous reviews too, but of course what doesn’t?
So far, it's getting every word that I say accurately including that my pauses turn into a comma.”
OK, it did make two mistakes in transcribing that previous sentence.
It heard “paws” when I said “pause,” and it transcribed “coma” rather than “comma.”
That made me start to doubt how well it may work, but I later found that fear, like most fears, was unfounded.
“The app is always listening. I suppose that’s unless you turn off the app. Looks surprisingly good so far”, I dictated next.
Unlike paid transcription apps such as Dragon Anywhere, there does not seem to be any ability to speak punctuation (the app wrote “period” when I tried to end a sentence by saying “period” as I hear my wife doing when she’s using her microphone to record text messages to her real estate clients and others.
There also don't seem to be any commands I can use. For example, I’m not able to say something like “erase that” and have it removed from my transcription or any of the other commands that Dragon Dictate supports.
But again. This app is free.
I’m going to try it out and see how well it works for helping my create content when I’m not able to use my laptop or my keyboard-paired iPad tablet.
Today, I abruptly decided to use it while outside using my pellet smoker/grill. I had not pre-planned or outlined any content to create during this session in other words.
It’s probably worth me pointing out, especially if you’ve never been around a pellet grill, that those things are fairly noisy. At least my particular model uses a fan that’s so loud it’s not possible to hold a conversation with my wife if I’m near the grill and she’s more than a couple of feet away.
I mention that because the noise from the grill did not seem to interfere with my dictation at all. The app has a cool feature that lets you know what the background noise level and your voice level is. My voice level tended to be about two times higher than the loud fan’s background noise. When I walked away from the grill or stepped inside, the signal to noise ratio was far better.
It’s also worth noting that I only briefly tried using this outside near the noisy grill with my phone’s built-in mic. I had recently purchased a lavalier style lapel mic to use for dictating into my phone, so I quickly switched to using that to test it out as well.
The combination of the lapel mic and this free transcription app seems to me like a match made in Heaven.
One more thing about this. When I would cough or sniffle or chuckle at something while the app was on, it never tried to transcribe any of those non-verbal vocal sounds.
The main reason I got the mic and am trying dictation/transcription apps is of course in hope of being a more prolific content creator. In my case, I expect most of the gain to come from the ability to use some of my otherwise “non-productive” time such as commuting in my car or baby-sitting my pellet smoker to create content that I otherwise couldn’t. Plus, I’ll be able to better capture some of the great topic ideas that I tend to get when I am furthest from my keyboard.
Now, today, I just so happened to have been working on a new report for my tribe. I spent most of two hours starting on it from scratch by typing on my notebook PC. By the way, I always save what I’m working on “in the cloud.” Microsoft One Drive is my choice because I and four other family members get something like 1TB of space each as part of my subscription to Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, etc.).
In that two hours of typing, I created almost exactly 1,000 words of the new report – just a handful over that. In Word using fairly default font, margins, and spacing that equated to about 3 pages of my report.
The way I tend to write in Word, those 3 pages are probably 99% production ready, meaning I edit and format a bit as I go. I should say too that I’m a fairly quick typist, mostly because I’ve had my fingers on a keyboard for hours or more most days of my adult life.
So, how did the output of my (first) dictation session compare with that?
I dictated for about exactly one hour. The first 10 minutes or so were all about the Google Transcribe app. I was just testing it out and talking about how it worked – which became the beginning of this article, by the way. 😊
My hour of dictating, some of which was admittedly rambling and notes to self, netted me just under 5,000 words. Doing the math of 5K words in an hour vs. 1K words in 2 hours…. my very first one-hour transcription session was TEN TIMES MORE PRODUCTIVE (by word count) than what I calculated was somewhere near my 27,000th two-hour typing session!
TEN TIMES MORE PRODUCTIVE!
Now, that is admittedly a somewhat apples-to-oranges comparison. As I said before, when I type for an hour or two in Word, whatever number of words I produce is pretty close to the finished product, ready to post, email or sell.
The 5,000 words I dictate – at least those from my very first session – were nowhere near that polished. It’s probably obvious that I did not dictate this article in the form that you are now reading. I substantially edited and added to what I got from the transcription app.
But wow. As I finished typing that last paragraph, I glanced down at my word count. I have added about 1,000 words during a 20-minute session of editing what I dictated.
Clearly this article is not 5,000 words long. My editing and additions grew it from the 1,000 words I dictated to the over 2,500 words you’re reading. I’ll explain in a moment what the rest of those words are for. I’ll also tell you how I easily got them into Word were I’m currently editing and expanding on them.
But first, let’s talk about that 1,000 words I added to this in 20 minutes. That is a quite dramatic productivity increase over that thousand-words-in-two-hours session I had in Word earlier today.
So far, I am highly encouraged by this dictate-edit-and-expand form of content creation. If today’s inaugural session is any indication, the benefits of using this so far include:
- Capture fleeting ideas while commuting or elsewhere that I would otherwise tend to lose
- Provide at least a foundation upon which I can more quickly create written content compare to when I start with a blank page
- Turn something as “unproductive” as an hour or two with my smoker/grill into pages of content – even if I’m also smoking a cigar and/or enjoying a beer, glass of wine or cocktail simultaneously (yes, I tested that out today too 😊)
- Provide a foundation of ideas and content that makes the next keyboard-aided writing session much more productive as compared to one that starts with a blank screen
OK, so how do you take what Google Live Transcribe captures and turn it into written content? It was a bit counter-intuitive to me at first but ended up being a piece of cake. The not-obvious part is that, unlike any other voice-capture app I’ve used, Live Transcribe doesn’t have a way to “start a new recording.” The app just records whatever you tell it in a seemingly endless stream.
The app’s interface is refreshingly spartan, which means it doesn’t take long to learn how to make that stream work for you. When using the app, there are only about 4 things you see:
- The words that are transcribed as you dictate them. Briefly pausing adds a comma. A bit longer pause adds a period. Pausing even a bit longer automatically creates a paragraph.
- A simple “sound meter” that shows the relative levels of both your voice and any background noise.
- A keyboard icon, which frankly seems useless to me as it does not allow editing what has been transcribed but to instead create “a reply.” Curious, but if I could edit what I’m transcribing on my phone, it would just slow down this method of content creation anyway.
- A “gear” settings icon.
There are a few settings you may want to adjust including the text size, language, and a dark or light theme.
The last two “advanced” settings though divulge how to use this app. You can enable transcription saving. The app then indicates your dictated content will be saved for 3 days. Directly below that is an option to delete your transcription history.
If you’ve dictated some awesome content, why would you ever want to delete it or have it go away in 3 days?
Well, here’s the workflow that I quickly found for effectively using this app for content creation.
- Open the app – and don’t worry, it records absolutely nothing when it is not open.
- Start talking – it will help in your later editing to have put together an outline of the content you want to record and then simply talk about each outline point, however I tried this out today totally unplanned and still came away with a ton of useful content and notes that I’m easily turning into additional content.
- At any point where you’d like to stop one piece of content and begin another – or just at any point in the next 3 days that’s convenient, simply long press a word within the transcription. A menu appears that includes “Select All” as an option. Click that to highlight your entire transcription.
- “Copy” then appears as an (the only, in my experience) option. Touch that to put your transcribed words on your phone’s clipboard. My Android phone had no trouble putting all 5,000 words I’d dictated into its clipboard.
- Open the app where you will capture your content – I use OneNote for this but could also have used Word. Create a new note or document, and then paste your transcribed content in there. I save my OneNote notes and Word documents into Microsoft One Drive automatically, so my words are then ready for me to later edit and publish with ease from any device I feel like working with.
- Now that you’ve copied and pasted your content and know it’s safely stored for your use, how do you transcribe more thoughts and ideas and then only copy/paste those new ones next time? It took me a few minutes to discover that this is made easy by the “Delete history” option I mentioned earlier. After you know you have the content saved (or if you created some you don’t want to save) simply click that menu item to start over again. This is quite easy and convenient once you get the hang of it.
Another option rather than copy/pasting and clearing your content potentially multiple times during a transcription session is to just keep going and capture the entire session in a single session. That’s what I did in my first hour of using the app.
When I was ready to switch from one topic / piece of content to another, I just said the word “break” 8-10 times, which of course was transcribed too. Doing that makes it dead simple while editing to know where one topic ends and the next begins.
So that’s what the other 4,000 words of my transcription contained – the content for additional articles and emails, as well as one or two sections of the new report I had started writing earlier.
And there you have it. Give this free app a try and see whether it helps you create more content as much as it’s going to help me. If you do use this method – even if you do it with a different app – I’d love to hear about it. Just comment on this post with your experience or reply to any of my emails if you prefer.
The jury is still out for me as to whether this app is the one I’ll use long term for quick content creation. Other apps have additional attractive features, but of course those also come with a price tag this free app does not.
As I gain experience using Google Live Transcribe and the workflow detailed above for content creation, I’ll keep you updated with how it goes, whether I end up decided to use some other tool and workflow instead and why.
Another thing I’ll likely try is seeing whether and how well this phone app may work for capturing and transcribing other speakers and multiple speakers during a live or Zoom meeting. I’ll also let you know how that goes once I try it.
Stay tuned and again, I welcome your feedback and your own similar experiences either in a comment below or in a reply to one of my emails.