How to Stay Motivated When Creating Content
I’m a big fan of content marketing. It’s a way to not only provide valuable content, but it also lets your audience get used to you and your value before you ask for a sale.
But regardless of what industry you are in, if you create content (blogs, Facebook live videos, or podcasts, to name a few) as part of your business, it can get tiring.
Especially if you’re just getting started–you’re not going to be getting a lot of feedback, and you’re going to feel like your hard work is disappearing into the internet never to be seen again.
In light of this, you need to be intentional with a few things so that you don’t burn out. Here are five things you can build into your schedule to relieve the burden of creating content on a regular basis:
1. Create on a Schedule
In 2016 I wrote a book about creating practical spiritual disciplines. In it I looked at the habits necessary to begin something new and to then build your life around it. When it comes to creating content on a regular basis, the same principles apply.
By scheduling in your creative work, you begin to re-wire your brain to expect work to be done at that time. Procrastination and distraction become less of a problem when your brain knows what to expect.
Many entrepreneurs who work from home have discovered that they still have to keep office hours for this same reason. Even if their office is in their basement. They go there, shut the door, work for a set amount of hours, and then come out when they’re done.
2. Never Stare at a Blank Canvas (or Screen)
Writing is an integral part of my business. It’s anything from articles and blog posts to scripts and books. I don’t think of myself as terribly creative. I’d say I’m about average. But one thing I’ve figured out is how to never need to search for new content ideas.
The key is never sit down to a blank screen. I’ve always got a framework or idea I begin with. When I do this, I never hit the hurdle: “What will I create now?”
My process for this is simple. I create lists and compulsively write down ideas when they come. By sitting down and making myself think of, for instance, 10 ways to stay fresh when regularly creating content, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to come up with 5 solid ones (which is exactly what happened with this article). But also when I do this, I think of other things to write about, too. Not every idea is good. Most aren’t, actually. But it’s the process. And the process pays off.
The other thing I do is always keep notes. I use both the Notes app on my iPhone as well as the Evernote app (free version). I use Evernote when I need to be a little more detailed. And I use the Notes app when I just need to make sure I don’t forget something. My process is to write down a line about why this thought is relevant or interesting (the “hook”) and then some form of the title (the thesis). That takes about 15 seconds. And when I’m ready to sit down to write, I pull out my notes and go from there.
3. Always Create for an Individual
This is about focus and voice more than it is anything else. By focusing on an individual, you keep your work from becoming bland or generic. It’s hard to always put a finger on it, but by writing for an individual your work becomes more interesting. And, ironically, interesting is much more broadly applicable than bland is.
When I create new content, I don’t always have a real individual in mind. It may sometimes be a combination of a few individuals, depending on exactly what I’m doing. But it always could be a real person. And that’s what matters.
4. Have a Support Group
If you’re still building your audience, then solicit feedback from friends. This is not just to get their feedback, but it’s to get their interaction.
Creating content on a regular basis is about motivation as much as it is anything else.
5. Take Regular Breaks
What’s important here is that your schedule changes completely. Make it a real vacation. Not just procrastination that later gets called a break. That’s never rejuvenating. Instead, put it on the calendar. And leading up to your time off, you can either create more work ahead of time to fill the gap, or you can simply take off time. I usually do the latter. The reason is: I’m human and I don’t try to hide it.
Another thing I’ve learned about taking breaks is when I unplug, after about a week I begin to get a flurry of new ideas. It’s like a mental purge. I usually do this about once or twice a year. Each time I do, I come away with new projects, some of which have taken my business into completely new directions.
If you are thinking about beginning content marketing for your business, schedule a call with me, and we can talk about how that might look for you and what tools you’ll need in place to make it a success (and not a burden).