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3 years of consistent content: how I did it

I’ve always had a thing for anniversaries.

I remember a high school classmate whose parents — according to the Bridgewater mom gossip network — were still crazy in love like teenagers.

And according to the moms, the couple also took a decadent, lavish trip (sans children) every year on their anniversary.

I stopped listening when the mom squad shared their opinions on how this puppy-dog-style love affected their kids. They lost me at the “lavish anniversary trip” part.

I LOVE the idea of honoring milestones, both big and small. Taking time to reflect and celebrate an anniversary is an awesome idea, in my book.

Life moves too quickly if you don’t stop and smell the lilacs once in a while.

…Which brings us to today.

Next month marks three years since the launch of my current website. Which also marks three years of sending my email list something new each and every week.

Even though weekly content creation is a normal part of my biz now, it didn’t always feel so natural to hand-deliver copy love to my subscribers’ inboxes each week. So it deserves a moment of celebration from the Slytherin quidditch fans.

Creating new content every week feels scary. And hard. Really hard.

How can you find the time / inspiration / wherewithal to create fresh, new content, week after week after week?

In looking back on the last three years, I see a few common threads that really helped me stay consistent. And I want to share them with you, in case you’re looking to pick up a content creation habit of your own…

 

99% is hard. 100% is easy.

 
The real reason I’m able to stick with churning out weekly content? I’m 100% committed.

Missing a week just isn’t an option for me. Plain and simple.

Three years ago, I made a commitment to hold myself to the weekly standard. As a naturally competitive person, I wasn’t going to let myself down and break the pattern.

(That commitment-keeping streak is the same reason I stuck to my 90-day Instagram challenge, too.)

As weird as it might sound, the 100% commitment actually gives me FREEDOM.

As Mark Manson so eloquently states in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life:

Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous.

Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy.

Commitment makes decision-making easier and removes any fear of missing out.

Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would.”

(I share more about using this subtle-but-crazy-powerful mindset shift to stick to weekly blogging — click here to watch!)

 


 

Batch the blog process

 
Admittedly, this one’s always an evolving process. I tend to go with a particular batching system until it feels stale and then I switch it up.

Whatever strategy I’m using, I always use Mondays as my content creation day. Every Monday, my main priority is to work on at least one new piece of content that I’m excited to share.

(Not kinda sorta lukewarm about. PSYCHED to share. That standard makes a big difference, motivation-wise.)

Here are three batching systems I’ve used and liked so far:
 

1. One stage per week

 
My first stab at batching involved working on one month of blog posts all at once every Monday.

The first week, I’d write four outlines. The next, I’d create four rough drafts from those outlines. And the next two weeks would involve editing four drafts and making four WordPress posts.

When I tried my hand at video blogs, I’d write four scripts, record four videos, edit four videos, and create four WordPress posts during the month.

This system worked out well for a while. No major complaints, actually! I just wanted to try something different after a few months.
 

2. One post per week

 
This technique is super straightforward. I just wrote one post, from start to finish, each week.

I love the simplicity of this method! And it’s what I go back to when client work / business / life feels full and I want content creation to be nice and easy peasy.

The only downside is that it doesn’t give you any time between drafts, which I really like to have. (More on that a couple tips down.)

So I have a third batching technique I also use…
 

3. Multiple stages per week

 
Okay, this might look a liiiiiittle bit chaotic from the outside. But I actually really like this method!

Here’s a screenshot of one of my old blog boards (you know I love me some Asana for keeping track of my blog content!)



Each blog post moves through six phases from birth to publishing.
At any given moment, I’ve got one blog post in each phase. And each Monday, I move every post forward one click.

1. Write outline
2. Create rough draft
3. Edit rough draft
4. Create WordPress post
5. Create weekly email in ConvertKit
6. Approve post and email

If today were Monday, for example, I’d take the existing outline in Phase 1 (the one I wrote the week before) and write a rough draft from it. Next, I’d take the rough draft I created the previous week and edit it. I’d also take last week’s edited draft and create a WordPress post. And so on, and so on.

So each week, I’m moving each post to the next stage. Make sense?

Working this way keeps things interesting and gives me lots of time between drafts for fresh ideas to bloom.

The key takeaway? Experiment with your content creation process!

There’s no one perfect way so try out new strategies until you find one that feels right…at least for right now. 😉

 


 

Plan ahead of time

 
For me, having a plan keeps me accountable. Just like committing to new content every week, once I take my time and brainpower to map out a plan, I want to make sure I keep it.

My favorite method to map out a quarterly content calendar is what I teach in the Blog Planning Made Easy Challenge.

Not only does it make me feel like a boss and ensure my content is working towards my bigger marketing goals, it also makes writing easier.

Sitting down to write and saying “Hmmm, I can write about anything under the sun, what should I say?” is stifling. It’s counter-intuitive, but the freedom makes it really hard to choose!

But when you have that structure? A topic already laid out for you? That’s when you can sit down and crank out content.

Edges actually allow the creative juices to flow.

Planning out my content ahead of time is what allows me to stay consistent. If you’ve never tried it, I definitely recommend giving it a go! You’ll be surprised at how much having a plan makes a difference.

 


 

Make peace with garbage (and edit like nobody’s bizz-nass)

 
“I found that I need to develop my artist and editor personas separately. Be a much more ruthless editor and a much more careless artist.” – Christoph Niemann

When I heard this quote while watching Abstract on Netflix, I literally felt my heart melt a little.

Developing those artist and editor personas has made me an infinitely better writer.

I made peace with the idea that a first draft can be total and complete garbage. It can suck. It can be the worst, most embarrassing thing I’ve ever written. It just needs to be DONE.

That acceptance gave me a lot of freedom to let the words pour out, quickly, haphazardly, and without judgment.

And then? I’ll edit the pants off of it to make it shine. I’ll be ruthless with what I keep, change, and toss.

The key, for me, is leaving as much space as possible between the writing and the editing. If I edit a piece I wrote that morning, I’m too close to the words. I feel possessive and don’t want to throw away any hard work.

But after a few days, I’m not so protective.
The words don’t feel like a part of me anymore, so I’m cool hacking away at it until I’m happy.

To help me with writing and editing, I rely on Grammarly and the Hemingway app. As a solopreneur, I’ll use every bit of assistance I can get to catch scraggler typos and simplify my writing!

 


 

Stick to a simple formula

 
Instead of reinventing the wheel for each and every blog post, I stick to a pretty simple formula. And it goes like this:

– Main blog graphic
– Intro
– Body (with subheads and interlinks)
– Closing
– Opt-in area
– Probing questions
Related Posts section

I also usually repurpose my blog intro into weekly emails that I send out to my list.

Following the same formula for my posts makes sure I never forget an important element and gives a lot of structure to my content. And most importantly, it saves me a lot of time.

Day 5 of the Blog Planning Made Easy Challenge is devoted to walking through an effective blog post formula, complete with a checklist to make it easy. Click here to sign up.

 


 

Build a blog buffer

 
In November 2017, my dad passed away. Completely unexpectedly. I was with him on Saturday night, laughing and remembering “the good ol’ days” with his college roommate in his living room. And by Tuesday night, he was gone.

Business was the absolute last thing on my mind for a good few months after that.

Luckily, I had built up a blog buffer — an “emergency fund” of blog posts, in essence — so I had some breathing room for those first few weeks. I didn’t have to stress about coming up with fresh content on the spot. I could just schedule one of my pre-created buffer posts for that week.

My blog buffer seriously felt like a life-saver.

I’m a planning nerd for a variety of reasons, but the ability to navigate life’s bumps gracefully is the biggest one. I’m a passionate believer in the blog buffer and credit it with my consistency.

If you want to learn how to build your own blog buffer this week (it’s seriously easy!), click here for a how-to.

 

Make it bigger than you

 
One way to keep my head in the right place is to zero in on ONE reader.

Instead of creating content for my subscriber list as a whole, I get super granular and look at just one person.

I defined my ideal audience member (I have a little cheat sheet inside Asana to remind me) and I take a quick glance at her every time I feel uninspired.

There are so many solopreneurs out there who, for a million and one reasons, aren’t able to work with me right now. But I can still help them, in both big and small ways.

When I’m in a content rut, I pull out my trusty customer avatar and remind myself that that person needs my help.

She doesn’t know how to use words to make money. She doesn’t understand how to agitate readers to act. She doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her brand and who she truly is.

She needs practical copywriting tips and she wants to consume them in a light, fun way. THAT gives me purpose and pushes me to create for her.

It’s my quick trick to get my head in the game when I don’t feel like writing. And that makes all the difference when it comes to staying consistent.

 


The main takeaway I hope you soak up from this whole post?

You can do it, bud!

If consistent blogging is something you’d like to do, you totally can. Because if I can do it, you can do it, too.

It really comes down to 100% committing and then holding yourself to that standard.
I know you’re capable of doing that, if you really want to!

If you want to give consistent blogging a shot, I’d love to invite you to join my Blog Planning Made Easy Challenge. Together, we’ll create your quarterly blog calendar and set you up with a plan to take action and make. content. happen.

I only open this once every few months — click below to join us!

join the convo

What’s the one thought holding you back from weekly blogging?

Where do you struggle the most? What’s your sticking point?

If you’re already on the weekly blogging train, what’s your best tip to staying consistent?

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