These are some of the most popular questions we're asked:
How can I start setting the time aside to really create the kind of content that I want?
I’m not a writer, so creating my own content is like going for a weekly root canal. What are some processes that can numb the pain?
How do I start that blog, send out that newsletter, or get over my phobia of hitting ‘publish’ for once and for all?
We often answer these a variety of ways – tips and tricks for planning your content, tools for creating it, and advice for publishing it – but lately, we’ve been meeting these questions with a counterpoint that turns it all on its head.
Maybe the question isn’t, “How can I make the content I crave?” but rather, “What's preventing me from making the kind of content I really want?"
Five Content Killers
So, what are the five content killers that keep stories buried six feet under?
1. Lack of Clarity
A lack of clarity around what your business is, who it serves, and why it exists can be lethal. Not only does a vague value proposition damage your credibility (“Why should I care?”) in the public eye, but it prevents you from strategically positioning yourself in a way that helps people understand how to hire you.
Content’s end game is to sell them on what you you best without making it feel like you're selling your soul.
Instead of asking, “What do I do?” try asking yourself, “What don’t I do?” Drawing a line in the sand between who you are and who you aren’t is one of the best ways to gain instant clarity that fuels your content. In the end, it’s clarity around your reason for being – your purpose – that shapes your content, makes your story ownable, and gives people something to talk about.
Feel like your content's voice is whispering in the dark? Click here for a FREE worksheet that will bring content clarity to your rallying cry.
2. Lack of Time
You wouldn’t ignore your accounting or bookkeeping, would you? Just like money (and the IRS, ahem) is a motivator, content should be your business’s top priority, not an if-I-have-time afterthought. After all, when you see content as the gateway to doubled revenue or a higher annual net income, it looks less like a chore and more like the bridge to next-level business goals.
If you’re struggling to create the content your business deserves, take heart: content doesn’t have to be a time suck, nor does it have to steal you away from your other priorities.
Batching your content allows you to clear time and space to create content, say, a half-day once per week, or even a whole day to knock it out for the entire month. Or, if writing full posts isn’t your thing, try micro-blogging as an alternative strategy.
Many business owners are taking to Instagram to build a following, carving out 5 minutes of their day to write about something that’s been on their mind and solidify the voice behind the brand. If your work is fast paced, you might want to share some behind the scenes of what you’re working on, like a living, breathing portfolio, and invite people to click your #linkinprofile to click through to your site and find out more about you.
3. Lack of Money
Content doesn’t have to cost a dime if you team up with a creative collaborator.
Perhaps the biggest, baddest misconception about quality content is that it costs money. And although it’s true that hiring content specialists like Lexicontent can take the pain out of planning, creating, and publishing, you can absolutely DIY your content until outsourcing is within budget.
One of the best techniques we share with creative entrepreneurs is the Content Buddy System. It works like this: invite a friend to coffee, lunch, or if you’re working remotely, a beverage via Skype. Come prepared to ask each other five to ten questions about a specific topic you feel would benefit your audience, based on your positioning and clarity, personal story, or featured products or services.
Take turns interviewing each other while recording the conversation. Share the audio file with each other, and voila! You’ve got plenty of material to transcribe into a Q&A style interview, and perhaps inspire other pieces of content based on the topics and tangents that come up in your conversation.
4. Lack of Inspiration
Remember, content is so much more than just blog posts. It can take any shape you want it to take — video vignettes, photo essays, newsletters instead of a blog, e-courses, heck, even poetry counts! Content can be anything that matches the fullest expression of yourself and your brand with the fullest return on investment of time, energy, and resources.
If your content tank feels like it’s coming up empty, don’t put added pressure on yourself to produce just for the sake of getting something out there. Instead, set aside some time to absorb a new way to share your brand’s story through words, images, or other form. Skillshare, Lynda, and Creative Live are all designed to get you up to proficient speed through lessons and class challenges, and best of all, they’re designed for part-time learners with a serious hunger to learn new storytelling techniques.
5. Lack of Process
Like lack of clarity and inspiration (heck, all of the above), a lack of process is also fatal. "Where did I save this PNG?" and "Whose turn is it to write?" are process-oriented obstacles that keep content stuck in the draft stage growing cobwebs, never to see the light of day.
While it's possible to create content without a good process – also known as simply "winging it" – a good process saves you time and makes content less of a rarity and more of a frequent occurrence.
Good content processes make it clear who's responsible for what when, make content creation transparent, accessible, and ownable for all involved, and ultimately, serve to make it easy to hit publish in a predictable and replicable way.
A process allows you to produce content on a predictable schedule time and time again, so you're not spinning your wheels and trying to reinvent the wheel at the same time.
Content doesn't have to be a silent killer, nor do you have to handle it all on your own. Click here to learn more about creating Trickle Down Processes that belong to everyone.