When I ask business owners what their biggest struggle with content is, the number one answer I get is: CONSISTENCY.
And I get it; especially when you’re a solopreneur, or wearing the hat of “marketing director” on top of all your other hats, it’s easy for weekly content creation and distribution to fall off your to do list. It’s often in that “important but not urgent” box, if you’re familiar with Stephen Covey’s work, and falls behind whatever urgent tasks pop up in your inbox every day.
If you find yourself in that position, having fallen off the content wagon — and you want to get back on track — I’ve assembled some tips and tricks to help ease your transition and make it a regular part of your business life.
Work out your goal for content marketing
Oh man, I sound like a broken record! But before you even make the decision to try to be more consistent with your content marketing, I want you to ask yourself WHY. What do you hope to gain from that consistency?
If you don’t know how your content impacts your overall business goals, why would you feel like it’s important or urgent?
I’ve noticed that one big reason people aren’t consistent with content is that they don’t see any direct ROI from it. (Or, at least, they’re not tracking the ROI.) While in some instances it can be hard to connect the dots between a blog post and sales, it’s not impossible, and your ROI may or may not be directly related to sales and revenue.
All this to say: understanding your goals for your content and then working out a way to track your progress often makes the exercise of actually creating the content feel more real, more urgent, and more important to your overall business growth.
Define “consistent” for yourself
Not gonna lie: I preach the gospel of consistency with content to everyone I meet, but way too often people think that also correlates to quantity.
But here’s the deal: Consistency and quality are way more important than quantity these days.
I would much rather see you write and post and promote one great piece of content each month than throw a half-assed blog post up every week, do no promotion, and call it content marketing.
And I often have to get very real with my clients, especially those who are solopreneurs and who aren’t planning to hire help, when I ask them: how much time can you actually devote to this? Do you have the bandwidth?
I know that if I ask someone to go from zero to 60 with their content over night, it’s just like any other habit: they’re going to burn out and relapse to their old ways. So it’s very important for you to ask yourself what you can realistically commit to right now, and then shoot for that and no more.
Make a plan
I would say that the second biggest struggle people have with content is not knowing what to write about, and it goes hand in hand with consistency.
Because here’s the truth: If you spend a ton of your precious time staring at a blank screen when it comes time to write your content because you don’t know what you should write about, no wonder it’s low on your priority list!
The solution is to make a plan ahead of time. Blocking out a few hours to brainstorm ideas and then put them into an editorial calendar will save you 10x the time on the back end when you sit down to write. You’ll be more efficient and more effective with your content marketing.
If you struggle with this, helping out is our zone of genius. I have a DIY course you can take on building an editorial calendar, or you can spend half a day on the phone with me and I will do it for you. (Sound dreamy? Click here to apply.)
Ask yourself if you’re burned out
Content and marketing burnout is REAL. If you’ve just come off a big launch, or you’ve been blogging for a while and feel like you have nothing left to say, you may be experiencing this. If you used to be really consistent with content, but have found your consistency dropping off, this could be the reason.
If you’re feeling some content burnout:
- Try a new medium. Do some videos, do some Facebook lives, Instastories, rambling audio files — whatever! Don’t put pressure on yourself to “launch” a new thing, like a podcast (at least, not yet!) but just let yourself play and doodle in a different medium for a while.
- Do some interviews. I always find that when I’m feeling out of ideas for content, talking to other people is a sure-fire way to get me engaged again. Whether I’m interviewing other experts, my clients, or being interviewed by other people, it’s a great way to find some new perspective.
- Write about something else. I think business owners often feel like every piece of content has to be in service of their message, and yes, in an ideal world, that would be true! But your brand is likely bigger than your sales message, and sometimes it can be refreshing to write about something else entirely. You may notice that sometimes I write about more personal stuff, or tell stories of my journey as an entrepreneur on this blog — and that is exactly what I’m doing. It’s all in service of my brand, even if it’s not directly selling my sales message.
- Experiment. The best way to break yourself out of a rut is to do something wacky. Run a challenge on the fly. Do live coaching for 24-hours straight, ala Kendrick Shope. Live blog a conference. Start a book club on your FB page. Whatever! Do something wacky to shake it up for everybody.
- Create a framework for yourself. Another great trick is to create a framework and then stick to it. That’s how the “photo a day for 100 days” type projects work, and it can work for you too. Decide on what you want to do — for example, post on a particular topic every week for a month, or do a live Q&A on your Facebook page once a week — and then you have the plan, even if you don’t have the specifics. It’s much easier to create within a framework.
Ask yourself if it’s your systems and process that’s the problem
One of the biggest misnomers about content marketing is that it’s just about writing. If you’re having trouble with consistency, the writing itself may not be the problem!
For example, for a while I found myself resisting writing my weekly blog post, and I realized eventually that it was because I hated looking for an image to go with it, formatting it, resizing it, etc. So one of the first tasks I outsourced with my own blogging was the graphic design part! (And Meg picks way funnier photos than I ever did.)
It may be that you’re not actually struggling with ideas, but with the process of content marketing. If that seems to be the case, I highly recommend creating a checklist for yourself of all the tasks that need to be done to go with creating a piece of content. Get very specific! Once you have your list, put a ballpark time next to each one.
The benefit of doing this is that you’ll be able to better block out how much time you actually need to accomplish all the tasks. AND, once you have a clear list and process, you can start to outsource some tasks. Even just getting that one thing you hate to do off your plate may get you unstuck with your content.