In this blog, I share the tools and strategies I’ve adopted over the years to facilitate a consistent content creation habit for my business.
I hadn’t fully appreciated, till I started to really think about it, just how many things I have in place to make the delivery of my content marketing strategy as easeful as possible.
Without further ado let’s dive in.
1. I create sacred space
Since my business really took a few years ago, my schedule has become very full. Despite that, I have Monday mornings blocked off in my calendar for content creation. This time is held sacred, I don’t bump it to squeeze in other things, I don’t skip out on it when I don’t feel like it. Monday mornings = content creation and that’s just the way it is. Does that mean I always produce a finished piece? Nope, sometimes despite my best efforts, I don’t get a piece of content created or published but the commitment to trying is there.
Something to mention is that I used to have content creation in my schedule daily and I actually found that then it was easier to miss or skip those sessions. Knowing that the only space in my week is Monday mornings means that I know that if I don’t do it then, it won’t get done.
2. I have a deadline
Monday afternoons through to end of play Thursday are filled with 1:1 and group coaching calls. If I don’t get the piece written before lunchtime on Monday, I know it won’t go out because I literally don’t have the space in my week to finish it. This is what happened last week. I have a half written piece about Visibility sat in my drafts folder because it was too big a task to finish in the time I had available and half-way through writing it, I ran out of steam.
Having this lunchtime deadline on a Monday really helps to motivate me to get my ideas out of my head without overthinking it too much. It also means that if I miss the deadline, I don’t send out content that week.
3. I use accountability
This comes in the form of mindful coworking sessions from the cabin. These are 75 minute sessions that contain movement, meditation and a 52 minute focused working session. They are run by a client of mine, which gives me an extra reason to go and for me they are brilliant. I’m actually typing this very piece in my morning cabin session.
Coworking with others and sharing my intention for what I plan to get done during the session keeps me focused on the task at hand. Left to my own devices, with the whole morning open for content creation, it’s easy to succumb to distraction. To open up social media or my email and get lost in busy work. working alongside 4 or 5 other people, knowing that we’re all trying to complete an important task really helps me stay on task.
4. Never miss twice
Years ago I watched a video, in which someone shared the idea that if we endeavour to never miss a habit two days (or two times) in a row, we’re guaranteed to hit our target at least 50% of the time. I loved this idea so much and it has played a big part in how I approach habits in my life and business ever since. Allow me to explain what this means in practice, when it comes to content creation.
My commitment is to create one piece of long form content a week. However, there are times I don’t manage to do this. Maybe I’m just really not feeling it that day and as hard as I try the words won’t come, sometimes I’m sick or one of my children is, sometimes I’m exhausted (two children under the age of 5 will do that) and I just need to go back to bed for an hour. Whatever the reason, I don’t execute my plan to create content every single week and I am completely okay with that. If I miss a week, for whatever reason, I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it.
What I’m less relaxed about is missing my commitment two weeks in a row. This never miss twice idea makes so much sense to me that it’s how I overcame my resistance to writing this very letter this morning. Because I missed last week, I knew that missing today would break my never miss twice rule and the reason I’m so strict about it is because if we go too many days or times in a row without honouring our commitment we undermine our self-trust and it becomes increasingly more difficult to get back on track. To hear James Clear, author of Atomic Habits talking about this in a super short video click here.
5. My Content Strategy
Another things that provides accountability for my habit of content creation is that my entire content strategy depends on it. My whole approach to content marketing is to create one solid piece of content each week and then repurpose it so that I can publish daily content without having to create daily content.
My whole strategy is create — repurpose — promote.
If I skip the create part too many weeks in a row the whole strategy collapses. It’s taken me years to create a marketing system that is simple, enjoyable and that brings in new clients, so the idea of not showing up for the most important part of that system is often enough to get my butt in the chair.
6. I plan ahead
Planning what I’m going to write about before I sit down to write is make or break for me. If I sit down to my Monday morning cabin session with no idea what I’m going to write about or several ideas for what I could write about, I know for a fact that I won’t get a newsletter out that day. No joke it’s that clear cut.
Not having thought about my content idea ahead of time means I inevitably spend the time allocated to create, thinking instead. My ideal is to have come up with the topic for my piece of content the Friday before so that my subconscious can chew it over in the background over the weekend. Sometimes, however, like with this piece, I came up with the idea less than 30 minutes before I sat down at my desk, but that still gave me enough of a head start to be able to start writing as soon as my content creation session began.
7. I write about what is
Years ago I dreamt about being the kind of content creator who could batch create content and have a month of newsletters or blog posts pre-written and pre-scheduled but since then, I’ve well and truly let that dream go. Why? Because I feel inspired to create when it relates to what is going on for me and/or my clients in the present moment.
Let’s use this piece for example. It started life as a newsletter and the Monday it was due to be sent, I hadn’t come up with an idea for it on the previous Friday. Given my weekends are busy with my family, I didn’t get a chance to think about it until the morning it was due to go out. On my walk I went back and forth on several ideas, capturing some of them by talking into my phone, but none of them felt right (you know how it goes). Then the thought of not sending a newsletter out popped into my head and all of the reasons I’ve outlined above started to come up. I’d missed the week before, so don’t want to miss another week, I had a cabin session planned in so I didn’t want to waste or miss it, if I didn’t write something that day, my assistant wouldn’t have anything to repurpose a month from now etc etc.
And then it hit me, I could simply share with you all the things I have in place to support my content creation habit. Et voila 🙂 Looking at what is present for me right now, is often all the inspiration I need.
8. I draw on real conversations
Similar to my last point, I also draw much of my inspiration from my conversations with other business owners, my clients and mastermind participants, I have many coaching sessions each week and these conversations are rich with ideas and topics for content that I know will help my audience.
Side note: In case you are wondering, this is where I got up to in my 52 minute coworking session — not bad eh? What happens when I put a timer on a task and throw in some shared accountability is nothing short of magic! 🙂
Now if you don’t have a schedule filled with client sessions to draw on, don’t despair. There is nothing to stop you having regular conversations with your ideal clients. These could be complimentary sessions, research calls or just virtual coffee dates, the format doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are out in the world talking to the very people you’re trying to support. Hearing from your ideal clients directly about what they are struggling with and need support with has been an endless source of inspiration for me.
9. I always have you in mind
If I didn’t have the reader in mind when I sit down to create content, I think I would find it overwhelming. There are so many things I could talk about in the realm of business and so many ways to talk about them that I would struggle to know where to even begin. What works for me is to think, first and foremost, about what would support you the reader, as I craft my piece of content.
It’s for this reason that I focus mainly on content that moves the reader from doubt and resistance to clarity and action.
My hope for nearly every piece of content I create is that they contain practical strategies you can go away and try on for size, that the content is genuinely useful and practical rather than simply inspiring or thought-provoking. Don’t get me wrong, inspiring content has its place but always coming back to the question: What can I share that will support my audience to grow their business? really helps me to create my content with more ease and flow.
10. I have space to think
And last but not least, I walk every day — now for an hour, which gives me 5 hours of thinking time each week. Time to mull over content ideas as well as listen to business podcasts (a brilliant source of inspiration). Having space to think (albeit no so much that I overthink) is essential to me and it’s why I upped my morning walk from 30 minutes to an hour.
Of course I don’t just think about content, I think about my offerings and business model, my business goals and other ways to make my business work for me, so that I can enjoy life as much as possible. Not just that, but I’m finding that as a result of these daily walks I have so much more energy and feel so much more alert than before. And it’s worth noting that sometimes I don’t think about work at all and instead spend the time taking beautiful sunrise photos, leave voice love notes for friends and family or simply listening to music.
So there you have it, ten things I do to support my content creation habit. I truly hope that you find a few things in this list that you can use to support you. If you feel called to, please leave a comment and let me know what practices you might adopt in your own content creation efforts.
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