AKA How to Add Even More to My Hectic Day
In the past, I’ve never been in the habit of writing (or creating any content really). I’ve tried to get into writing a few times, but have ended up with sporadic blog posts every few weeks. I like to build things, and I really like drawing, designing, visual-type activities. But, I know how beneficial writing is, for many varied goals.
I even recommend that my clients blog. I know that if they start producing content on a regular schedule, they will build authority, attract organic traffic, educate their audience, and increase conversions on their website.
I just haven’t done it. Because it’s very hard. It’s pretty hypocritical of me, really. How can I expect my clients to create content if I’m not doing it??
Really, I just worry too much. So do most of my clients. The coming up with subjects, the actual writing, the habit of working on my own content (rather than client work), the horrifying thought – what if that post I just published is crap?
We’ve all heard the sayings, “Done is better than perfect,” and, “perfection is the enemy of done.” And I fall prey to that as much as my clients do, no matter their industry!
So, I Challenged Myself to Create More
I’m at a decision point in my business. I’m fully booked, but not earning what I’d really like to. I need to scale my business and build out my own systems so that I can help more people and meet my own goals.
Based on what I see from people who have navigated these same issues, I think writing will help me start. Writing (or producing any content, really) will do a few things for me (and you if you do it too):
1. Write Naturally
Currently, I don’t write well and I don’t feel like I sound natural when I write. I figure that if I write enough to make a habit stick, I’m bound to get better. I would really like to find my “voice” and write the way I speak.
It’s hard to avoid the formal writing we learned in school! But a more relaxed writing is so much more readable. And if no one reads what I write, then I’m not helping anyone.
2. Develop a Writing Habit
Habits, I believe, are the key to making progress in any area. If I can build a content creation habit, then I can have a continuous source of material to provide to clients who have questions, or are worried about their own businesses. If I can make this a real habit, then the effort *should* go down. it may not get easy, but it shouldn’t be nearly as hard.
I want to report this as true to my clients, but unless I’ve done it myself, I really can’t be sure it’s true!
3. Learn to Write Faster
Good gracious, I’m the slowest writer on earth right now, with the exception of my fifth-grader. We worked on writing up reports for the science fair and it took hours to hunt and peck through the word hypothesis. (ok, minutes, but it sure felt like hours)
I struggle with perfectionism, and that slows me down. Half the time, I never finish or publish what I work on for hours. I struggle a lot whether something is good enough. Do you have that issue at all?
One of my brilliant clients does. She is a wonderful writer and has a wealth of knowledge to share with her audience. Even casual conversations with her are filled with insight. But she struggles over each blog post for nearly a month.
I took that info and looked at myself – I’m not even publishing these things! She’s light years ahead of what I’m doing and I can see how, if she accepted 80% good & done, I’d bet she could double or quadruple her output and be that much more helpful.
4. I want to show off my expertise
Over the years, I’ve kept an idea in my head that I heard on the radio from Dave Ramsey. I don’t know who originated the idea, but I heard it first from him: If you read 3 books on a subject, you will be an expert compared to the average person. It’s stuck with me – I both believe it and find it impossible at the same time.
I already read quite a bit, so why don’t I *feel* like an expert? Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of marketing and online marketing books and blogs. I’m at the point where I need to start making sense of the information and learning it in an integrated way. I really think that writing about what I’m learning will help me understand it better, and demonstrate that I do know how to help.
5. Generate Ideas for Products & Services
The more I learn, the more I generate ideas. So, I’m hoping that through research and learning, the ideas that run through my mind will be the kind that can help people.
I think while I write and get really distracted because my mind likes to off on different paths. I have my handy-dandy Rocketbook right here and I jot down ideas as they float through my mind. So, this is one of those good side effects of writing!
In addition, I find that writing about a problem prompts me to think about it in a little different way. I can often come up with ideas that I otherwise would never have thought of!
6. Bring Traffic from Search Engines
I’m not worrying about keywords and page rank just yet. This habit is so hard and so time consuming for me, that I want to focus first on making sure I write before I add tasks like keyword research.
I’m also not doing a whole lot of promotion. I’m adding the post to my Facebook page and pinning an image to my Pinterest account. Right now, doing any more is overwhelming and threatens to stop me from starting if I think about it too much. Eventually, my plan is to automate most of the promotion. And when I do, I’ll be sure to share it with you, so you can do it too!
I’ll get there though. I know that for the first couple of months, these posts will be a bit rough. Yet, according to Miles Beckler, just the fact of having put regular content out for people will start to help me with the search engines.
Rules for My Content Creation
1. Write every single day.
This is by far the most important. If I get this done but miss the other goals, I will be a success.
2. Publish at least 4 blog posts per week.
I had thought this would be 5, but I’m leaving a day for email marketing. I still think this will be tough for me, but if I don’t set a goal I have to reach for, well, I doubt I’d do much reaching.
This is my October 2019 goal. I will set a goal at the beginning of each month. I’m going to have to take into account holidays, and what’s realistic. When I’ve been too unrealistic before, I’ve failed, and stopped creating. In general, my goal is to have 15 – 20 blog posts each month.
5/6/20 Edit – while I would like to write that much now, it’s not realistic for me. Publishing twice per week feels right going forward. While we’re sheltering in place for covid-19 though, it’s only once per week. Keeping up the habit is really the most important thing.
3. Try to help others with what I write.
Even though I’m still working on the exact direction I want to head, I can still write helpful information. For each blog post, I’m going to be thinking of a particular past customer (or lead) and write answers to their questions.
4. Stay on track
If I get off track, I promise I will not beat myself up. Instead, I will get right back to writing and pick up where I dropped off.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb.
Barriers to My Content Creation
By far the biggest barrier to writing so frequently is time. I am running a full time business on part time hours, parenting an active kiddo, have a husband who travels last-minute for work, and an very high-energy puppy that needs far more attention than anything else.
I jump on any time-management advice, and some I do implement. Some I should but haven’t yet. A great deal of it sounds good, but doesn’t apply to me. For example, “Get up earlier to write” sounds great. However, I’m already up before 6:00 every day, and if I’m honest, my body needs more sleep than I’m even getting.
Time-blocking with a calendar also sounds perfect, and I’ve been writing out my time blocks each week. I just seem to have too many unpredictable schedule changes to make this work. I need to figure out how to deal with unexpected interruptions like emergency doctor visits, puppy needs, and changes to my husband’s travel.
Strategies for Successful Content Creation
1. Blog Post Templates
2. Making notes and outlines during small bits of free time like waiting rooms and while at kiddo activities.
3. Being willing to publish before I’m really done. I can’t spend 5 hours on a 500 word post.
5. Not messing with SEO just yet.
6. Building a buffer of posts. Well, that didn’t happen, but if I get faster, I want to build one up!
7. Writing out a schedule of ideas & post titles
How Do I think I’ll Do?
I know that at the beginning, these posts will be pretty rough. I still have a very hard time getting what I want to convey out of my head and on to paper. I secretly have two hopes: no one is reading, and that I have tons of readers.
I seem to have a new mindset around this than from when I’ve tried this before. I’m less rigid about perfection, and more about getting it out there. Maybe all those previous tries were required to get to this point. But I feel like I’ve flipped some switch in my head. Now I produce content. So I do.
We’ll see if it lasts, but for the first time, I believe enough in myself that I’m pretty certain it will.