Seven daily habits to make you a more consistent content creator
I’ve written more than 3,000 blog posts. Hosted nine years of Marketing Companion episodes. And I’ve written nine popular books (well … eight out of nine!). I have been one consistent content creator!
I am often asked how I can be so prolific. I don’t think I am any more creative or talented than an average person. However, I AM DISCIPLINED. Becoming a consistent content creator isn’t necessarily a talent. It’s a decision. It’s a priority. So today I bring you seven healthy habits to turn you into a consistent content creator. These ideas work …
1. Be aware of your environment
The first four of these disciplines go together as a weekly ritual. You have to perform them together to really make it work.
The first habit is to begin to see the stories all around you. You are literally being bombarded by content ideas every waking hour of the day. Don’t just live your life. Watch what is happening through the lens of a content creator. Could there be story ideas in
- Questions people ask you?
- Headlines in the news?
- Seeing something that surprised, delighted, or annoyed you?
- Content from someplace else you can build on?
There are literally endless sources of inspiration all around you. Tap into your world!
2. Capture the ideas
Now, paying attention to these ideas is no use unless you write them down!
I spend a lot of time in Zoom meetings these days and there is always a notebook by my side to capture potential blog post/podcast/book ideas as they fly at me.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to write ideas down! There is nothing worse than being FORCED to create content with a blank screen. But if you have a notebook full of great ideas you’ve collected throughout the week, then it’s just a matter of choosing the ideas that seem most fun to work on!
The only time my content creation sagged is when I ignored this discipline.
3. Schedule the time to create
A consistent content creator doesn’t have more hours in the day. But they have made their process a priority.
You need to fanatically set aside sacred time every week to work on your ideas — just as you would schedule time to work out, go on a date, or complete a project for work or school. If you’re serious about breaking through the noise of this world you have to be consistent, and to be consistent, creating has to be a priority.
Find one or two quiet hours each week that become your sacred time of creation and protect them from invasion!
4. Enter a relaxed zone
I am speaking from experience on this one. It’s difficult — maybe impossible — to be creative when your head is filled with distractions like a buzzing phone, yelling kids, or worries about a work deadline.
When I am relaxed, I am literally 10 times more creative than if the busy world is still in my head. The key to being happily consistent is to be productive in the shortest period of time possible. Put yourself in a relaxed space and eliminate distractions to get the most out of your sacred time of creation.
5. Seek randomness
Now that we’ve established the four core basic steps, let’s take it up a notch.
Most people stumble on idea generation. As I mentioned in Step One, the greatest source of inspiration is just being aware of your surroundings. Now, what would happen if we actually put ourselves in a place to generate even more ideas? That comes through the gift of randomness.
Creative inspiration often comes from seeing something new, meeting a new person, or attending a conference. When we are really busy, it might seem strange to mindfully insert randomness into our lives but that is an essential and valuable source of ideas. So it has to become a habit.
An example … for me, the annual SXSW conference is a gathering of thought leaders and ideas that stretches my mind in new directions. Every year, I think it is too much money and too much time to devote to a conference, but I also know this is a hyper injection of creative inspiration that will fuel my content for months to come. So I commit to it.
The inspiration for my Cumulative Advantage: book struck me during a conversation with a friend in a hotel lobby. Perhaps this work would not have occurred without something so random. Serendipity is the fuel for a consistent content creator.
6. Don’t over-think it
I do a lot of personal coaching and the biggest fear I see in the content creator world is the act of pushing that darn “publish” button!
Here is a truth. You will NEVER be a consistent content creator if you seek perfection. You can be great without being perfect. You can be meaningful without being perfect. Stop obsessing about perfection.
I have never published a single piece of content that could not be better. The day after I publish a book I start getting ideas on what I could have added to the narrative. It’s frustrating but learning to let go is part of the content habit.
Consistency is more important than genius. It is certainly more important than perfection.
Here’s a better filter. Are you proud of your work? Is this a post or podcast you are proud to put into the world? Do that every week and you’ll be elite.
7. Transcend chaos
I recently wrote an entire post devoted to this important topic.
To be consistent, you need to adopt a mindset that creates an invincible path. I can practically guarantee that in the next 12 months you will get sick, have a life tragedy, or experience a disruption that requires your full attention. Consistent content success is about transcending chaos.
You KNOW chaos will come knocking on your door. So create a buffer. When the inevitable dumpster fire happens, have a cache of extra content you can pull out and keep marching forward.
The consistent content creator is the successful one.
I have had the privilege and honor to meet and befriend many great authors, podcasters, and other content stars. They didn’t magically appear at the top one day. All of them started at zero and did a little better week by week.
Being consistent, slow and steady, is by far the number one success factor in monetizing a personal brand or content channel.
Don’t shoot for “viral.” Concentrate on doing great work THIS WEEK. And then, maybe do even a little better next week.
One viral piece of content does not create a community. You must show up every week and become a habit.
Mark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.
Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com