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Sharing great content with people who haven’t bought from you yet is a classic — and classy — marketing move. But for some reason, writing a newsletter or publishing our blog consistently is a real challenge for many self-employed professionals, healers, teachers and coaches. So how can you improve your consistency, when in comes to getting a newsletter, video, or original content out into the world?
I will feed you, baby bird…
The first thing to remember is that if you are already feeling stuffed, full, or overflowing with things to do, you are not ready to take on a new goal of “getting more consistent in publishing my newsletter and blog.” Instead, I invite you to take on the goal of “saying no to things that I don’t want to do” or “taking a day where I make an obscene number of decisions to make space for my next bold move.”
Life, contrary to what many believe, is not an all-you-can-eat buffet.
It is a potluck of neighbors, friends, and maybe a few strangers, where everyone brings a dish, there’s plenty for everyone, and no one goes home hungry.
Side bar: Note to self:: Host more potlucks.
7 Ways to Create Consistent Content:
Tip #1 – Pick a structure that’s fun for you.
If you like to write, write articles. If you love to talk, shoot video. If you are a photographer or visual artist, maybe you’d rather speak through images. The point is, there is no one way to express the ideas that are flowing through you to other people. But you do need to pick a structure that sings to you, if you are going to create it consistently. Ask yourself: What’s my favorite way to express myself? How can I shape that structure so that it’s useful to other people?
Tip #2 – Use a behavior modification chart.
Getting content out consistently is actually a new habit. In my Shut Up And Write community, we call it “building a newsletter and blog habit.” Like adding any new habit, it takes a while before it feels like second nature.
One way you can give yourself a bit of celebration and positive reinforcement along the way is to print out a month calendar, tape it to your wall, write your intention – whether it’s “send my newsletter out every two weeks” or “post to Instagram daily” – and then give yourself a star every day you do it. I have been known to buy gold star stickers for this very purpose.
What physical tool can you make to make this more of a game for yourself? Do you want gold star stickers, too? New pink sharpies?
Tip #3 – Manufacture inspiration.
Look, you simply cannot wait for inspiration. That’s not how it works. As one of my teachers once told me, “She who goes after it, gets it.”
If you are someone who feels a need to be inspired before you create content, are you satisfied with how consistently you are publishing content for your business? If the answer is no, it’s time for some mental weeding. Rip out the belief “I need to be inspired before I write content” and plant a new one. Something like “Inspiration is all around me and I am glad for it.” What do you need to do every day and every week so inspiration is always there for you?
Tip #4 – Separate brainstorming from writing.
Most of us have ridiculously unrealistic expectations for our writing time. Writing Time is different than other times in our business. It is generative. It is contemplative. It is often like wandering through the forest in the dark without a flashlight. But it is also the clearing where new discoveries, insights, and consolidation of our core message can be seen.
Consider separating your Writing Time into two ‘chunks’ – time to brainstorm topics and ideas for your content, and time to actually write. When you have your topics list hammered out first, this can give you just enough structure to be wild and inspired when you show up to write.
Tip #5 – Experiment with batching.
Maybe you are like me, and you like the ritual of writing content each week, come hell or high water. This weekly rhythm is actually something I look forward to, as it gives me a moment to ask myself, “What am I challenged by and what did I do to address that?” or “What have my people been asking me about?” But not everyone likes that sort of weekly commitment. If that feels confining, try blocking out one day a month to write several articles in one go (or shoot video).
Tip #6 – Time box.
I used to hate writing to a kitchen timer. My surly pirate soul rebelled at the mere suggestion that I pay attention to that artificial construct of time. But as my business grew, I realized that I needed to evolve my relationship with time.
Setting a timer when you need to write content or sales copy is one simple tool for doing this. At first, it simply helps you notice how long different writing projects actually take. Then, you can start to play and shape how long you want things to take. Or race yourself to get your content done in an hour, instead of four. If you are wary of this idea like I was, ask yourself: How could I use a timer when I write, in a way that feels good? What would be the benefit of experimenting with timing my writing?
Tip #7 – Notice the gremlins.
There are these voices in our heads that say horribly nasty things to us any time we even begin to express what is inside of us. They may say things like doesn’t everyone already know this? Or you suck! Or this sucks! Or what if my mom reads this? Or what if I piss people off? Or you can’t possibly say this without pissing people off! Or any number of things that are, at bottom, genuine attempts to protect you from getting hurt or hurting others.
These voices actually don’t EVER go away, in my experience. But what you can do is develop a working relationship with them. Get to know your gremlin voices. Let yourself look at them. Strangely, you may find that they only have pure, loving intent, and only want to protect you. You can talk to them in your journal (if you have a journaling practice) or simply write down on a post-it what they yell when you are writing content.
Get curious about these messengers from your deeps. They have some nuggets for you (and the people you serve through your work).
Above all, be gentle with yourself as you go about developing consistency in getting your newsletter or content out into the world. There’s a lot of hoopla in the online space about goals and greatness and going for it and all that has its place, but the ideas that are flowing through you have their own timeline, and it cannot be rushed.
Yes, yes, we are all gonna die and life is short and none of us knows how long we’ve got do better get busy… but consistency takes time and is a messy, creative, alive thing. It’s not light a light switch – on or off. It’s more like a seed, planted in the ground, that with enough water, light, and tenderness, will grow steadily over time.
We’d love to hear from YOU…
Do you have trouble writing consistent content? Which of these tips do you think would help the most? Leave your answer in the comments below!