I’ve got to be honest with you. There were times over the last month when I felt like this day would never come but here I am on day 30 of my #contentcreationapril challenge in which I committed to writing 30 blog posts in 30 days. And this is my 30th post.
I won’t lie. It has been intense. There were days when I was still fiddling with my post at 10 o’ clock at night. There were weekends when I was in my office working on my post to distant sounds of my son and husband laughing and playing or when the house was completely silent because they were out in the sunshine while I was home working on my post. But, for me, the effort expended and the hours spent on this challenge, has been totally worth it.
At the beginning of 2019, as part of my business plan, I set the goal that I would publish 52 blog posts in 2019, one a week. But by the end of March, I had only written 5 posts. Eight posts shy of where I should have been at that point. Now after my 30 day challenge, I only have to write 17 more posts over the course of the next 8 months to hit my initial goal of 52.
I can tell you that after writing 30 posts in 30 days that feels very achievable. But I’m actually readjusting my initial 52 posts in 52 weeks goal and now would like to recommit to one blog post a week for the rest of the year, which will leave my blog in a very healthy state come the end of 2019.
In this post I would like to share with you the what I learned as a result of this challenge as well as links to the 30 posts I published.
Writing every day is in some ways easier than writing once a week
Before this challenge I was struggling to write a post a week. Despite countless ideas for blog posts, I just couldn’t get into the habit of writing a post every week. I now know that I had made my blog post writing into a bigger thing than it needed to be. Before the challenge, each post had to have two images, including a nicely designed blog post image and on top of those, a nicely designed pin for Pinterest, which took time, so much so, that often the task of publishing a post could take days and inevitably, I found myself too busy to do it. Writing every day meant that I had to let go of my perfectionism.
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~ Jodie Picoult
I still wanted every post to have an image and a quote (which I know some days I wasted time on) but I was open to writing shorter posts and publishing posts that in my mind needed more work. Plus writing every day for 30 days meant it became a habit, I knew each day I got up that by the time I went to bed, I had to have produced a blog post. Doing this day in and day out did eventually get easier.
Sometimes you have to abandon a draft and start something else
There were days when I would be working on a piece when try as I might, I just couldn’t finish the damn thing. I learned pretty quickly that on days like this, my best approach was to save what I had written so far as a draft and to start another post. Just a switch in topic often made all the difference. Also, I found that going back to a half written draft on another day, was often much easier to complete than it had been previously.
In my drafts folder in WordPress, I usually had around 8 or 9 started drafts so that each day when I sat down to write I wasn’t starting with a blank page, Some posts, were finally published after being worked on over a number of different days. For me, the only rule was that I must be writing, so when I got stuck with one piece, rather than waste too much time, I just opened another.
It works better to think of the post topic ahead of time
In the early days of the challenge, I was much better at getting my post for the day written and published in the morning and then spending some time in the afternoon thinking about, and even starting, my post for the following day. As the challenge progressed, this became more and more difficult, which meant when I sat down to write each day, I’d often have a hard time choosing which post to write or work on. The benefit of writing a weekly post is that I can decide the topic a few days ahead of publish day and have my subconscious mind working on it, in the interim. That way when I come to write it, I’m not starting cold.
Setting a time limit and using a timer really helps
I didn’t do this every day but on the days that I did, I was always amazed by how much quicker I got my post finished. On the days I didn’t set a limit, I could spend hours going back and forth with my post, starting first thing and not publishing till right before bed. But on the days, I decided (often out of necessity) that I could only spend 90 minutes from start to finish, that’s how long it took. I use a Miracle TimeCube Timer and would set it for 60 minutes aiming to get a complete first draft done, then take a short break and reset it for 30 minutes, during which time I would proofread and edit.
I’ve come to learn over the years that we take as long as we give ourselves to finish a task so if we don’t want it to drag on longer than it needs to, then setting a clear deadline and enforcing that with a timer really does help.
It’s okay to repurpose content
Something I’ve wanted to get better at this year is repurposing content I have already written. I’ve created countless long form newsletters, resources and workbooks for my audience and I knew that I was missing a trick by not repurposing content that had already been created.
During the challenge, I did use some of my previously created content as the basis for my blog posts. I realise now that when we’ve spent a lot of time working on a piece and then we publish it, it’s all too easy to forget about it and move onto something else. But with such small numbers of people seeing our content when we share through social media and via email, it’s super important to repurpose and share again if you want to make the most of the content you create.
It’s important to flesh out ideas a little when recording them
I have a master list of content ideas, with many, many ideas for blog posts, I add it to often and have been for years so you can imagine that’s pretty big list. However, when I reviewed this list, which I did often, I found that many of the ideas were cryptic, with the passing of time I had forgotten the detail behind the idea and so felt no connection to it or could see no way of turning what I had noted on my list into a full blog post. Other ideas, however, where I’d fleshed out the thinking a bit and made a few notes on what I thought the post could include were a godsend. My learning here is to be mindful of how I record ideas for future content and to take at least 5 minutes to flesh out the idea with some notes.
Sharing the content is as important as writing it
Because of the time it took me to create 30 blog posts in 30 days, I haven’t shared the content as widely as I know I could have. Whilst I shared a link to every post in my weekly newsletter and inside my free Facebook group, I didn’t share each post across all of my social media channels. Now whilst I know this challenge meant I was more pushed for time, I have also been guilty in the past of not sharing my content as widely as I could. Seeing the increase in stats across the board (website traffic, Subscribers, Facebook engagement and likes to my page just from my limited sharing, makes me realise how much greater my reach and visibility would be if I took the time to share my individual posts across all of my social media channels and then share again at a later date.
Inspiration comes when you show up to write
I already knew this one, but doing this challenge just proved it ten-fold for me. So much so that I wrote a whole post about it. If I had tried to complete this challenge by writing only when I felt inspired to write, I probably would have finished less than 3 posts. Instead, I showed up willing to write and trusting that as my hands typed, the inspiration would follow. Some days, it definitely felt harder than others, but the bottom line is that because I made a commitment to show up every day and followed through on that the words came.
30 posts in 30 days
Here is a list and links to all 30 posts I wrote in April:
- Why You Struggle to Create Content Consistently and What to Do About It
- The Importance of Having a Strong Point of View
- Why It’s Sometimes Necessary to Break the Rules
- 4 Ways to Turn Pro in Your Business
- Conscious Business – What It Is and Why It Matters
- Four Marketing ‘Tactics’ That Erode Trust
- How Easy Is It for Your Ideal Clients to Find You
- 3 Books That Have Influenced My Creativity
- An Essential Mindset Shift For Entrepreneurs
- The Secret to Easeful Productivity
- How to Stay Accountable as a Solopreneur
- What Are You Prepared to Endure?
- Are These Two Things Aligned in Your Business?
- Authentic Outreach: What It Is and Why It’s Important
- How to Simplify Your Business
- How to Create Powerful Agreements with Your Clients
- How to Minimize Overwhelm in Your Business
- How to Consciously Create Your Business Tribe
- Five ways to get more consistent in your business
- How to Better Navigate the Lows
- Everything I Use to Run My Business
- A Simple Tool for Content Creation
- A Conscious Approach to Client Creation
- How to Know If You’ve Stopped Being Authentic in Your Business
- Why Freedom is Overrated
- Getting Clear on Your Sales Strategy
- How to Stop Tying Your Self Worth to Your Work
- Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Inspiration to Strike
- How I Structure My Working Day
- What I Learned From Writing 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days
Of all the things I’ve learned this month, the greatest lesson has to be that when I show up consistently with my content, I get more engagement with my business. More traffic, more subscribers, more likes, more requests to join my group, more enquiries about working with me. Across the board, I’ve seen a spike in engagement this month, which has been wonderful and very welcomed. If there was any doubt before how viable a strategy consistent content creation is for business growth, there certainly isn’t now.
How about you? Did you take part in the challenge? If so share with us what you learned from doing so and how you will carry that learning forward in your business.