If you’re about to start a content marketing strategy for your business and you’re wondering how to keep showing up consistently, or you’re already struggling with sporadic publishing habits, this episode is for you …
If people tell you that creating content regularly is easy, they’re telling fibs. It’s one of the biggest challenges businesses face when Hitting Publish and I’ve got a confession to make … I’ve struggled with it a lot in the past.
Fortunately, this means I have a few sneaky tips for helping you out if you’re in a content creation jam.
You can turn things around and I won’t be asking you to go from zero to hundreds of posts in just a week.
Publishing content for your business should be fun, because if you’re not having fun, you won’t show up regularly, and when you do show up, your audience will know they’re not getting your best.
Tune in to this episode to find out:
- Why the secret to showing up starts before you create any content
- Why you must be able to identify the triggers that will trip you up
- How to add a little ‘friendly pressure’ to make sure you hit your publishing deadlines
- The two voices in your head you need to ignore (and the one that will keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself
The Show Notes
- Sonia Simone’s: “Complete Flakes Guide to Getting Things Done.”
- The Pomodoro Technique – a neat tools for time management
- Light Relief from AmyTV: Slow and Steady Wins the Content Marketing Race…
5 Simple Steps for Creating Content, Even When Life Gets in the Way
Amy Harrison: Hello, this is Amy Harrison and you’re listening to Hit Publish, where I cover simple ways to get better results with your online business.
In this episode I’m baring all and making a confession. In the past I have struggled to stick to a regular publishing schedule.
If you’re about to start content marketing for your business and you’re wondering how to keep showing up consistently, or maybe you’ve had your own sporadic publishing history and you’re wondering if you can change things around, this episode is for you.
I want to thank you for downloading this podcast and I want to thank Rainmaker.FM for hosting it.
Are you ready to set yourself up for success when it comes to creating regular content? Let’s Hit Publish.
Okay, so before we get underway with the word of the week and our Dear Amy letter, first I want to give a shout out to some Hit Publish commenters and the tips they shared on previous episodes.
A couple of weeks back we looked at how you can boost the credibility of your website by using Trust Medals. Trust Medals are your little badges of honour that show your customer can trust you. These might be testimonials, or awards your business has won.
Anthony Taylor runs a business consultancy in Canada and he said that when he took testimonials off his site, the volume of calls certainly went down. Anthony also aligns himself and his business with organisations that have high-credibility. For example the Globe and Mail newspaper, and his local chamber of commerce.
So, having testimonials can boost your enquiry rate, and it’s also smart if you can show that you have worked with, or contributed to organisations that your customers already trust.
On the same show, Paula who runs a training company, shared her tip for using testimonials with a twist. In addition to a short written testimonial, Paula actually records an informal audio conversation with her customer talking about what they like about her service. I love this idea because it works to make the testimonial come to life and feel more personal.
So, some great tips from listeners there and don’t forget if you want to share a tip or leave a comment, just head over to HitPublish.FM.
Now it’s time for….
Word of the week.
Each week I hide a word somewhere in the podcast. You’ll need to train your ears to listen out for it in the show and let me know when you find it.
This week’s word is: flumadiddle, which means ‘utter nonsense’ or ‘worthless frills.’ Flumadiddle.
Where will it turn up in today’s podcast?
Now it’s time for Dear Amy, and this week’s letter is a bit of a special one. Because I wrote it all by myself.
Why the Secret to Showing Up Starts Before Your Create Any Content
“I know that publishing valuable content on a regular basis is critical for building an engaged audience for my business. I know that showing up consistently builds trust, keeps your business in people’s minds and helps to keep putting in leads to the sales funnel.
It’s just that sometimes, I really don’t want to create content. Especially if it’s sunny outside, or if I’m a bit tired, or my friends want me to come and play. How can I solve this?
Yours, slightly inconsistently, Amy.
Well, this is a challenge near to my heart, and I want to ask you if you ever feel that way? Do you ever get to a point in the week where you think “ah, I’m a bit strapped for time, maybe I’ll skip this week’s blog. Who’s going to know?”
If you’ve ever struggled to show up on time, consistently when it comes to putting out a regular blog, or perhaps a podcast or newsletter, know this:
- You are not alone
- It’s one of the biggest challenges businesses face in their content marketing
But just because it’s a common problem, doesn’t mean you need to put up with it. And I’ll be honest, if you do struggle to produce consistent content, you might not suddenly become organised overnight. But there are a few things you can do to make things easier on yourself, as well as making you feel better about it.
Here are my top 5 tips:
Tip Number One: When It Comes to Content Creation, Play to Your Strengths
Interviewer: Miss Harrison. Thank you for applying to the London School of Art. Tell me, in which artistic medium do you feel you have the greatest skill?
Amy: Oh gosh no, I’m terrible at art.
Interviewer: I beg your pardon?
Amy: I can barely colour between the lines.
Interviewer: Then why have you applied to art school?
Amy: I want to learn how to swish! I want to wear loose clothing, and kaftans, and smell of incense and look slightly exotic and mysterious. Art people are so cool! I want to be cool.
Interviewer: Miss Harrison. To cut it here, you’re going to have to produce art daily, using a variety of mediums and demonstrate a depth of knowledge about art culture and history.
Amy: Oh, I am going to be terrible at that. But it’s just that so many people are artists, I figure I should be one too…
Amy Harrison: When it comes to content creation, it can be very tempting to choose a medium that everyone else is doing. You see people blog once a day and feel like that’s what you should be doing.
There’s just one problem – you don’t enjoy writing and you don’t have time to write once a day.
But if other people with online businesses are doing it, you should be able to do it too. Perhaps if you stay up an hour later and force yourself to write it might work?
The key to consistent content creation comes before you even create anything. You have to make sure you’re choosing a medium that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, you might force yourself to do it for so long, but you’ll find yourself putting other tasks first. If you don’t enjoy writing long, in-depth posts, don’t do it. If everyone in your industry is podcasting but you hate talking, don’t do it.
It’s not just important to you that you love it, it’s important to your audience also because they will be able to tell if your bored, or restless or just not having any fun.
So first of all ask yourself, what do you enjoy creating? Now, if you’re just starting out, experiment. There might be a medium you absolutely love doing that you don’t know because you’ve never tried it before. The beauty of content marketing is that there is so much variety.
- Write a blog
- Launch a podcast
- Host a live Q&A
- Write a newsletter
- Create a video blog
What I would recommend is that if you’re first starting out, when you find something you love, focus on building consistency in that area before you start trying to launch another content marketing medium.
So first things first, think about a method of content creation that actually gets you a little excited.
Tip Number Two: Know the Triggers that Can Disrupt Your Content Creation
Friend: Hi, just wondering if you were still free Saturday night?
Amy: Yep, just planning my week. I’ve scheduled all of my really important tasks for Sunday morning. I’m going to do all of my writing and editorial planning from 6am-12pm.
Friend: Really? But we’re going out Saturday night.
Amy: I can’t see a problem.
Friend: We didn’t get home until 3am last time
Amy: I’ll be fine by 6am.
Friend: Okay, see you Saturday.
Amy: What? What time is it? 6am on a Saturday. I need sleep. The blog can wait.
Amy Harrison: I’ll admit that in the past I have been a little over ambitious about what I can achieve on a Sunday morning following a late night out. Now you might have more subtle triggers that are disrupting your commitment to consistent content creation.
If you’ve struggled sticking to a content plan in the past, ask yourself:
- Is it because your energy levels have been low – if you tend to have a mid-afternoon slump and that’s when you’re scheduling your blog post, you might not have the energy or attention to get your content written and published.
- What else is on your plate? Are you trying to fit too much into a day. For example, I always used to under-estimate how long it would take to write a good quality post. The result was that I’d overschedule my day and end up bumping the blog post to the next day and then the next. So make sure you’re giving yourself enough time.
- Is there a conflict in your calendar? If you know that at the end of the week you’ll accumulate a number of tasks in addition to what you had originally planned, tackle your content creation before these things have a chance to crop up.
Look at what may have prevented you from sticking to a schedule in the past and ask what you can do to ring fence your content creation time so that you have enough time and energy to get it done.
Tip Number Three: Know Your Triggers for Motivation
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid there were certain things I just didn’t want to do.
For example, getting ready for school in a morning. I couldn’t think of anything more boring.
What a rigmarole. Having to get out of bed, get washed and dressed and then get my school things together. So quite often I would get distracted and simply read comics instead.
Now my mum is a small, but formidable force.
“Are you getting ready?” She’d shout up to my bedroom from downstairs.
“Yep!” I’d shout back with one sock on and my head in the Beano.
“Make sure you’re getting ready Amy,” I don’t want us to be late again.
“I’m nearly done”, I’d lie, chuckling to myself about the latest adventures of Dennis the Menace.
But then there was one sound that flipped me into a frenzy of activity.
The sound of mum coming up the stairs. Because I knew I had about 5 seconds before I was caught and in big trouble for making me and my brother late for school.
Clothes on, comic hidden, schoolbag over the shoulder.
That first foot on the stairs was a powerful motivator for action, and I’ll bet that if you’re struggling to create content consistently, you can put in place some triggers to boost your own motivation.
Unfortunately, I can’t lend you my mum to come round to your house and run up the stairs to see if you’re writing your latest blog post, but there are things you can do to create a similar effect.
- Can you get someone to hold you accountable? For me, knowing that there is a deadline at Rainmaker.FM means I am always going to produce a podcast on time. There’s just no way I’d let them down. Do you have someone you wouldn’t let down? If so, show them your content schedule and ask them to check in on you.
- Does a public commitment work for you? You might want to make a promise to your audience about what they will find out next week in your content. That extra pressure, knowing that people are waiting for your content can help spur you into action.
- Does a bigger project appeal to you? For example, rather than writing a blog once a week on a different subject, why not outline a 10-part series. Sometimes knowing what’s coming in advance makes it easier to produce.
Tip Number Four: Go for Little Wins
This is a quick tip but I want you to set yourself up for success, and do everything you can to make success more likely.
When it comes to sticking to a schedule I’ve found that going for little goals you can reach is much better than trying to change everything overnight.
If you’re struggling to get a blog post out once a week, why not try once every two weeks. If you can crack that, you’ll find it much easier to add in an additional post once you’ve cracked the habit of content creation.
What’s more, you’ll feel good about actually achieving the goal. If you aim to write once a week, but only average 2 or 3 posts a month, you’re going to be beating yourself up, you seem to be failing every month. That will not make content creation fun. If you aim for every 2 weeks and you stick to it, you’re going to build your confidence which means you’re more likely to feel enthusiastic when it comes to creating more content to boost your output.
And this leads into my fifth and final tip:
Tip Number Five: When You Get Off Track, Don’t Beat Yourself Up, But Do Hold Yourself Accountable
I have two main voices in my head whenever I make a mistake.
Voice number one sounds like this:
“Ohh, Amy, what an idiot! Can’t believe you did that. That was so ridiculous. Wow, everything is probably going to fall apart now. Hey, take a look outside, you might want to start getting used to what that gutter looks like because that’s where you’re going to end up if you keep making mistakes like that…”
The other voice in my head swings the other way:
“Ah Amy, don’t worry. It wasn’t your fault, life is just really hard. Oh, who needs to produce regular content, the whole content marketing thing is just utter nonsense. There’s nothing you can do about it now, look why don’t you just take a break, don’t feel bad. Have a nap, have some chocolate, have some wine and watch 10 hours of Netflix. You deserve it.”
Do you have similar voices? One is too hard and the other is too indulgent. What you need when you get off your content creation schedule is the kind of voice you’d use to speak to a friend.
“Okay, you got off track, can you pinpoint a reason why this happened and avoid it in the future? Maybe take a short break now but then take action and start planning your next piece of content and get moving again.”
And remember why you’re creating content – building an engaged audience to your online business is a great way to attract leads, enquiries and sales so it’s definitely worth it.
My Question to You
So, here’s my question to you: What do you struggle with when it comes to your own content creation? What kind of things keep you motivated and do you have any tips for others that you’ve found useful?
I’d love to see you sharing them on the comments page over at HitPublish.FM.
Thank you for being a top Hit Publish listener. If you’ve got a spare 60 seconds I’d love it if you popped over to iTunes and left a rating and a review.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to be featured in the Dear Amy column, simply leave a comment on the show page with your question or problem, or email me using firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for this week, so until next time, remember to take action and Hit Publish.