Look, I hate titles that include words like “Secret.” It feels like click bait. My titles are normally boring as a result. But, since I’ve seen so many people fail at consistent content creation, I absolutely feel like I have some secret knowledge that others do not.
I have experience on the topic of consistent content creation. I started this website in 2011 and wrote 600 blog posts during the first two years. These pages generated more than 30 Million page views.
I applied much of what I learned with blogging to short-form video creation. In one year since I started, I am quickly approaching 500 videos published.
Let me be clear: I am not special. I like to think I’m pretty good at blogging and creating videos, but that’s ultimately not why I’ve succeeded at it and so many others have failed.
Others have the same skills I have and gave up. Some are more skilled than I am, and they quit.
So, yeah. There are some basic reasons why that’s the case. While writing all of those blog posts and recording all of those videos hasn’t necessarily been easy, it’s all so naturally part of my routine that it’s also not especially difficult.
Why did those people fail? Why didn’t I quit? That’s the secret that will be revealed in this post.
I have a lot to say here. But it’s worth it…
What is Content?
Let’s define this first. We could be talking about a blog, videos (short or long-form), a podcast, or something else. I’d even be open to accepting a commitment to creating engaging content on social media as a fit here.
You’re going to attack a single format or platform and make it a priority.
What is Consistent Creation?
This is going to depend on the format and lots of other factors. But I have a hard time accepting any frequency that is less than once per week of anything if you’re going to prioritize it.
You could make an argument for a weekly blog post, podcast, or long-form video. Creating more often would be better if you can.
When I first started blogging, I published a new blog post nearly every day for two years. I now publish two posts (or more) per week.
I also publish at least one short-form video every day. At some point, I would love to increase that frequency.
Consistent and dependable are important. But volume is important, too.
Why Does Consistent Content Creation Matter?
I almost omitted this, but I realize it’s not obvious.
You can apply this to so many parts of our lives. A healthy lifestyle is a great example.
I’m also a runner. I don’t run because I like running. I run because I know that it’s good for my health and I prioritize being healthy and I want to give myself the best chance to see my kids grow up. I have annual goals for miles and I will often have streaks where I run every day for a month at a time. Reminder: I do this because I understand why I do it, not because I necessarily like to run.
If you want to be successful building a brand with any type of content, consistency is not an option. It’s a requirement. This isn’t something you do “when you have time.” Creators who “dabble” in blogging or short-form video don’t randomly build an empire.
You have to be consistent. It may even seem obsessive. You prioritize it, expect it, and will find the time.
It’s by being obsessively consistent that you give your content a chance. Otherwise, you are bound to fail.
Why Content Creators Quit
I don’t have official stats to back this up, but I would conservatively estimate that between 95% and 99% of those who set out to consistently generate content fail to complete the year.
Every creator’s reason for quitting will be different. And sometimes, it has nothing to do with why that creator thinks they quit. The failure goes deeper.
But, more often than not, it comes down to one or a combination of these reasons:
1. I don’t have time. Creating content is a time commitment and I just couldn’t get around to doing this consistently.
2. I’m not seeing results. I’m not seeing views, engagement, traffic, or revenue, so doing this lost priority.
3. I ran out of ideas. After a while, I didn’t know what else to say and I didn’t want to create content for the sake of creating content.
4. I’m not good enough. The content I create will never be as good as what [fill in the blank] does.
5. I lack the proper resources or equipment. It’s not worth doing unless I can do it well, and I don’t have the right website, camera, microphone, lighting, or something else.
6. Something else became more important. Something that actually does drive revenue took priority over this thing that doesn’t (yet).
Each excuse is rooted in a basic misunderstanding of why it’s important to consistently create content in the first place. They were bound to fail.
Your Purpose: Building Your Brand
This should be your motivation for getting started with consistent content creation. Your goals are long-term. Your entire purpose is to build your brand.
What I mean by that is that you want to be the first person or brand that someone thinks of when they have a need that you can fill. That is why you are creating this content.
About two weeks into my short-form video commitment, I still remember vividly how I got emotional telling my wife that I was going to become the most-followed person on TikTok for Meta ads information.
That was my goal. That was my purpose. It was the reason behind each video that I’d create.
Why was I emotional? It caught me off-guard. But it was a combination of the absurdity and deep belief. It was absurd because weeks prior I wanted nothing to do with TikTok. At the time, I was creating bad videos and had a minimal following.
But I was fully committed and believed to my core that I would pull it off.
Embrace Creating Bad Content
It sounds crazy, but when I embraced that I’d create bad content, it was my breakthrough moment. Let me explain…
When I committed to creating short-form videos, I was overwhelmed. I was a novice. I had no idea the best ways to record videos or what equipment I should use. Should I dance? How do I edit? I was completely out of my element.
At that point, I had a choice: Obsess over making great videos (which was an impossibility) or accept that I was going to create a whole lot of bad ones.
You have to realize that when you get started, you aren’t an expert. You should not expect to create great content yet. That is completely unrealistic. You don’t have a process or routine. You’re mostly running blind and hoping to create something that passes as okay.
You will not create consistently great content until you create lots of bad and mediocre content first.
That bad content is part of your journey to great content. You will learn from it. You will see what you like and don’t like. You’ll make minor changes. Each video will be incrementally better than the last.
Let’s be even more to the point and honest about this: You will and should be embarrassed by your early work!
If you can’t embrace the possibility of embarrassment, you will find a reason to quit. That’s what makes this so important.
I started a content audit of my website recently. Blog posts that were 10, 11, and 12 years old. I cringed hard when I read (and unpublished) so many of those posts. It truly wasn’t until I reached about my 500th post that I felt like it was something I could have written today. I found my groove.
I’ve only been recording short-form videos for a year, but I already see that now. Those early videos were so bad. My lighting, my sound, and my editing were all so low-quality. Over time, you may not see the small adjustments I made, but I do.
It’s actually really cool to see how bad my content was because it gives me a sense of pride regarding how far I’ve come.
Quality and Quantity
This is the age-old debate. But we often frame it improperly.
Yes, you want your content to be of a higher quality. You won’t intentionally create bad content. But don’t obsess over the wrong things.
Don’t confuse “quality” with “polish.” You can spend all kinds of time and money on editing, lighting, and graphics for a video, but that won’t necessarily make it good.
The most important thing is your message. Create content that communicates your message effectively. Do not let the need for polish prevent you from publishing.
There’s also a balance between that polish and quantity. Volume is truly important. The more you create, the more opportunities you have to reach your audience. But these are also opportunities for you to get better and more efficient.
Don’t let the need for perfection slow you down. Your content won’t be perfect. It doesn’t need to be.
Acknowledge and Eliminate Your Roadblocks
There are going to be so many potential excuses, particularly in the early going, to prevent you from creating. Confront and address them.
Here are some examples…
1. Equipment. You’ve started creating short-form videos and you don’t have the right camera, mic, or editing software. Who cares? These things should not prevent you from creating. The truth is that you don’t even know what you need yet. Just start recording with your phone. With time, the best equipment for your situation will become clearer.
2. Time. It takes me an hour, from scripting to recording to editing to publishing, to create a video. If you tell me you can’t set aside an hour to publish a video every day, fine. Guess what? You can still publish a video every day. Find a routine that lets you create faster. Just start recording and ship it. Something is better than nothing. You’ll find a way to make your videos better with limited time as you go.
3. Editing. There’s a lot that goes into editing videos. I take a lot of pride in my amateur editing. But, you know what? I really don’t need to do what I do. There are so many examples of video creators who just look at their phone and record and do minimal, if any, editing. Knowledge of editing is not an excuse.
4. My Appearance. I sympathize if this is you. It’s one of the many obstacles that kept me from recording. Simplify it. I actually created an entire image of myself for videos so I never had to worry about what my hair or clothes looked like. I bought four plain baseball caps that I rotate. I have 10 solid-colored tee shirts. My appearance is no longer anything I worry about.
5. Lighting. My lighting was not great in the beginning. You are not going to have great lighting if you don’t know what you’re doing. This will take time. But instead of obsessing over your lighting, there’s an easy solution: Natural lighting. Go outside. There’s nothing better.
Have a Pipeline of Ideas
It may be easy to come up with your first ideas for content. But it will likely get harder as you go.
I keep a running list in my Notes app of video and blog post ideas. After using it, I remove it from my list.
One of the mistakes we make with short-form videos is that we try to pack too much information into them. Focus on a single thought that you can expand on.
You’re typically going to create a video that lasts about a minute long. That means that you don’t need a “5 Steps” to do something video. Focus on one step at a time.
The same goes for blogging. I do a combination of blog posts that expand on a single problem or feature. But I also write detailed guides that refer to multiple posts I’ve written before. There is room for both.
If you’re thin on ideas, try the following exercises…
1. What are people in your community talking and asking about? My Facebook groups and email inbox are filled with ideas.
2. What content struck a chord? If a prior blog post or video seemed to get a lot of engagement or feedback, create another piece of content from a slightly different angle.
3. What’s the breaking news in your industry? I’m constantly looking for new features and news stories. It starts in my Feedly and social media feeds.
4. What are other experts talking about? I’m not saying you should copy people or even chase down what’s popular. But if you’re short on ideas, search out the popular topics on YouTube or TikTok that fit your niche.
Establish a Routine
A routine will make you more efficient. You’ll become an assembly line. You’ll find ways to make everything a little bit quicker.
Here’s my video routine:
1. Grab a topic from my running list.
2. Write a script in my Notes app that is about 1,000 characters (which will be about 1 minute).
3. Set up my office for recording. This includes cleaning my lens, setting up lighting, mirroring my phone to my iPad to record from the rear-facing camera, opening Screenflow, starting an audio recording from my laptop, putting my phone on a small tripod, and starting the recording. It sounds like a lot, but it’s no more than a couple of minutes.
4. Record for about four minutes.
5. Export my video to my laptop so that I can edit.
6. Edit in Screenflow.
7. Add captions in CapCut.
8. Schedule to TikTok, Facebook and Instagram Reels (via Business Suite), YouTube, LinkedIn, and my website.
Sound like a lot? Maybe. But that entire process rarely takes longer than an hour. I’ve done it over and over and over again.
The part that takes the most thought is coming up with ideas. Everything else is just busy work.
Content creation isn’t something you do when you have time, at least if you want to be consistent. You won’t find excuses not to do it. You expect to do it.
For me, it’s not a matter of setting aside time to write a blog post or record videos. If that works for you, great. But I need the right combination of time and inspiration.
For me, everything is built around a simple schedule:
1. I will publish a blog post every Monday and Wednesday (to be promoted every Tuesday and Thursday).
2. I will publish a short-form video every day.
There are many paths to get there. Sometimes I do it at the last minute. Sometimes I write or record many days in advance if I know I’m going to be out of town.
There is a built-in expectation that these things are going to happen. They will happen. They are non-negotiable.
Ignore the Metrics
One of the primary reasons content creators quit too early is because they care too much about the metrics. I know this sounds backwards. But, metrics just don’t matter.
Do not care about how many views that video got. Do not obsess over the traffic that blog post drives.
It’s not that these things will never matter. They just don’t matter while you’re building.
If you’re obsessed with these metrics, a couple of things can happen:
1. You’ll worry too much about tricks to go viral. You’ll add silly hooks and click bait or follow trends just to get more views. This doesn’t help you stand out.
2. You’ll get frustrated. It’s hard publishing into the abyss. You won’t be able to completely ignore those numbers, but you have to remind yourself that this is all part of the process.
If you don’t get many views in the beginning, that may actually be a good thing! This probably isn’t some of your best work. You’ll get better with time. And once you do, the attention will start to come, too.
The primary short-term metric to care about is simple: Did you publish? How much did you publish? Everything else is window dressing.
All other metrics to care about are long-term. What growth have you seen in six months? Growth and progress often aren’t obvious over days, weeks, or a couple of months. But extend that period of time and you may be surprised.
It’s Not About Revenue (Yet)
Do not care about the metrics. And along those same lines, ignore revenue generated from the content.
Focus on revenue can be dangerous. Sure, you might discover that your content is driving revenue. Great. But if it’s not, you just gave yourself a reason to quit. And that’s not an option.
Yes, you will eventually want to drive revenue with your content. But that is not your initial goal. Your initial goal is to keep creating and keep building.
Give Yourself (Lots of) Time
You are going to be impatient. But take a deep breath. This is going to take a while.
How long do you think you’ll need to create consistent content before you gain traction? It’s probably longer than you think.
In The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever by Mark Schaefer and Friends, Mark estimates that it should take 18 months to gain traction, even while consistently creating week-after-week.
There are some great quotes in that screen shot like “Consistency is more important than genius” and “The biggest mistake is that people quit too soon.”
The most famous YouTube creator of them all is Mr. Beast. How long do you think it took him to gain traction?
Well, he started his YouTube channel in 2012 and reached 30,000 subscribers in 2016. He first went viral in 2017, driving his subscribers to 1 Million — five years after he started.
We often see these creators after they became known and think it was easy for them. We miss how they showed up day after day, often for years at a time, before getting traction. They were stubbornly consistent because they had purpose.
Not At the Expense of Important Things
Be obsessively consistent, but not at a cost.
I do not endorse being so obsessive about your content creation that it takes over your life. Enjoy your weekends. Take vacations.
But, how does that work with the concept of being consistent? It’s actually simple…
I publish a video every day. That doesn’t mean that I’m recording one every day. I’d like to have my weekends free. I prioritizing recording more during the week so that I can schedule videos during the weekend and Monday.
I’ve also gone on a few family trips this year. There was a period of two months when we were out of the house half of the time. I didn’t bury my head in my laptop during these trips. I planned for them.
These times were coming, so I was motivated to record extra videos and write blog posts before we left. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you know you need to do it.
I then enjoyed those trips!
Get Started Now
I know that this was an unexpectedly long post, but this is a topic that truly inspires me. I also struggle seeing so many content creators give up prematurely. It all starts with proper expectations and a clear outlook.
I hope this post helps you while on your content journey. What challenges are you facing?
Let me know in the comments below!
The post The Secret to Consistent Content Creation appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.
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