Getting Started with Content Creation
A reader asked about my process of writing blog posts and making videos:
“When you do your content planning for the week, do you pick a theme or category for that week’s content? Is your content planned within certain guidelines? Or do you just go by what you are inspired to share that week and whatever is up for you in the moment? I’ve heard a lot about having themes for each week, so I’m wondering if there needs to be any organizational way to plan our content. Thanks for any tips!”
I’m going to share with you the process I use for my main business (GeorgeKao.com) as well as my secret side project where I’m building a brand new audience (without the benefit of this existing audience) in a new niche for me (spiritual counseling) — I use the same process:
1. First, get into a consistent habit of creating authentic content. By authentic, I mean to create content on whatever topic is alive for you that day or week.
2. After I have a couple dozen pieces of content (it may be weeks or months), then I look for themes or topics that are evident in my content, that are relevant for my audience.
This is opposite of what many people do — do a lot of content planning, then try to create the series of pieces. Let’s cover each piece of the puzzle: consistency, authenticity, relevance.
Prioritize Consistency First
When I first started, I didn’t concern myself with what the theme or topic should be. It was more important to get into the habit of creating content consistently, whether it’s making videos or writing articles.
That’s the most important thing in the beginning: the habit. The habit is created from consistent practice. Don’t burden yourself with sticking to certain topics yet. Before you’ve gotten into the habit, simply write/share what’s inspiring, real, or current for you and your business right now.
The first priority is to get accustomed to content. You want to get to a point where it becomes harder for you not to create content consistently, where you feel compelled to keep a rhythm going.
For example, I committed in 2015 to doing videos (and blog posts) every Monday through Friday, until I got to at least 100. By about 8–10 weeks into keeping my promise each day, I became compelled to keep going. It was now easier each day to meet my promise than it was to slack off.
That’s when I knew I had created a habit. This is what I wish for you. How often should you create? Once a week is a good rhythm, but what’s interesting is that it’s easier to do it everyday. When you have a weekly habit, it can be hard to build momentum. When it’s a daily habit, there’s no question that you have to do it each day, and it becomes a rhythm.
So that’s the first priority: a content-creation habit. Without that, you will keep struggling and wondering about topics, rather than having the act of creating be second nature.
Whether it’s writing blog posts, or making videos, or recording podcast episodes, commit first to the the consistency — the habit. But what if you are doubtful or anxious about the content you would be putting out there consistently? The answer is authenticity.
Authenticity Creates Freedom
Before you have a content habit, give yourself the freedom to share what’s true and energizing for you in the moment. This will make content more fun for you to do. It will help you stay consistent.
Before you create, do a spiritual or mindfulness practice (such as an energy reboot) that helps you reconnect to your purpose and build some courage.
Then just go for it. Show up as you are. Don’t worry about trying to be anyone else. Over the years of content creation, I’ve learned this: The most valuable thing for our audience is not our knowledge — it’s our authenticity. Knowledge is abundant and easily found via Google or other search engines or by asking around. Your authenticity, however, can only be found with you.
No one else can compete with your authentic voice in writing or speaking. So just be who you already are, no matter what that’s like.
Maybe you think:
- “I’m not good looking enough for video.” I thought that about myself for a long time, and still do sometimes… and yet I just jump in, knowing that we all judge our own looks on video much more than others do.
- “I have an accent.” This is true for some of my clients, but they just do their videos anyway, and their audience finds their accent to be unique and interesting.
- “I’m a bad writer.” Every time I look back at my first several hundred blog posts, I think I’m a bad writer. I’m sure when I look back at this blog post in the future, I’ll see much room for improvement. Yet, there is always room for improvement and the only way is to keep doing it. You’ll keep get better, but you must start. To get real practice, commit to posting/publishing consistently.
- “Everything I want to say has already been said.” And yet — it hasn’t been said in your voice, in your style, in the context of your life’s experiences. No matter what idea you’re repeating from others, the way you repeat will be different just because you’re coming from a different perspective than anyone else in the world.
Give yourself the freedom of creating content authentically.
Each of us has a deep reservoir of experience, ideas, and intuition that can be channeled or accessed only when we create in the moment, without the constraint of having to follow a static plan.
Of course, planning does generate some ideas, but you cannot predict what will be authentic for you a few days from now, let alone a few weeks.
Authentic content organically emerges from your day to day experience. It can also be some past experience that you feel alive about exploring right now. Either way, it is hard to plan for that kind of in-the-moment resonance.
I do recommend that you keep a list of content ideas that you keep adding to. But when it’s time for you to create content, just create what’s true in the moment, whatever topic is alive for you right now. Still need an idea? Look at your content ideas list and find something that feels alive for you in this moment.
Aim for consistency and authenticity first. Get into the habit of making and posting authentic content. That’s top priority.
Clarity, Relevance, and Themes Will Emerge
The more content you create, the more clarity you’ll have. You’ll start to see some themes emerge, but only after you make enough content. It should be natural rather than forced.
The more content you put out there, the more you’ll start to see what is relevant to your audience. You’ll start to notice what topics they most enjoy hearing/reading you create content on.
Content leads to Clarity… not the other way around.
Once you have lots of content, then it is time to categorize them into themes.
You’ll have a bird’s eye view of each theme, and what holes exist — what content pieces you still need to create to make each theme more complete. At that point you’ll be ready to work on a collection based on your theme, such as putting your content pieces into a book or a course.
But don’t get ahead of yourself. If you aren’t even in the habit of creating content yet, do that first. Work on consistency and authenticity.
Get started and get going!
Originally published at www.georgekao.com.