In this post I'll tell you how often you should be posting, and why perfection doesn't work in the world of content marketing.
Last week we looked at why incorporating your personality into your marketing is essential.
A lot of people struggle to incorporate themselves into their content, because it involves risk.
It's not easy to put yourself and your brand on display for the world to see.
Especially when it seems so effortless for the people that get millions of followers and views.
Nobody has ever produced content without first thinking:
Am I good enough at this?
Will people take me seriously?
What if nobody sees my content?
What if I get a bad response?
How do I compete with social celebrities?
And trust me, I know those fears.
These are completely natural, and actually important to consider... but only for a short period of time.
In fact, I think these should be considered after launching your first post.
Perfection Isn't Consistent
And it's not sustainable, either.
Now obviously you're going to want a plan for your content, message, structure, tone, etc.
And without a plan for your brand, you're going to struggle to deliver your product.
(Or you might end up with too many products)
Maybe at least pinpoint your industry so you don't end up targeting management, financial portfolios, insurance, computers, AND black leather gloves.
(For anyone that doesn't understand the reference, do yourself a favor and watch this scene.)
But what I'm saying is that if you're waiting until you have everything about your brand, business, and product figured out and perfectly crafted... you'll never launch.
All marketing efforts take time to yield results, especially when you consider SEO efforts take a minimum of 6 months to yield.
Deep breath before you read this:
"How long does it take for content marketing to really work? It's 2 years." - SEO & Digital Marketing Guru Neil Patel
Now, Neil is talking about what it takes to see a substantial jump in audience (when he 10x'd his audience from 80k to 800k).
Don't worry, going from 8 followers to 80 is a lot easier.
But it's still important to keep in mind that marketing is long term.
If you want to truly build a top notch ecommerce business that ranks at the top of Google, you gotta play the long game.
And the best way to do that is to start now.
Waiting for perfection doesn't work.
What works is frequently posting, paying attention to your analytics, listening to your users, and constantly tweaking things as you go.
When I started Benny Digital I started with a couple specific posts about SEO, because I thought my audience would want to learn about it.
But I quickly realized that my less technical posts about ecommerce, Internet Artisans, and life/business advice got twice as much traffic.
Which makes a lot of sense, right?
Like I said in my post a few days ago, you're not a service, you're a human offering a service.
There's a ton of digital marketers and content strategists in the world. People know they can get help with those things... they just have to decide who they want to turn to for that help.
My content & my story help position me as that source.
When people are ready to learn content strategy, they can DM me or email me directly (email@example.com) and I can teach them the technical stuff.
Which is awesome that in 3 months I was able to collect enough data to show me I needed to tweak my content in a major way.
You can't do that unless you jump right in and start trying your hand.
Sink or swim.
If you flop, you flop.
Direction is More Important Than Speed
This goes for everything in life: stop waiting. Start today, right now.
Even if it's something small like writing down your goals and visualizing where you want to be.
Just put one foot in front of the other.
"The amatuer ... permits the flu to keep him from his chapters; he believes the serpent's voice in his head that says mailing off the manuscript is more important than doing the day's work.
The professional has learned better. He knows if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he'll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow." - Steven Pressfield The War of Art
Pressfield is talking about artists/writers in this example (if you're an artist and in need of motivation, you need to read this book).
But it works for all of us.
Amateurs fantasize about being successful later in life.
Professionals are working on their success each and every day.
Give yourself permission to be a pro. Then launch and figure sh*t out as you go.
You might think you're not ready, you don't know enough, and your content is trash.
Doesn't matter. You can only get better through practice.
(And don't be surprised when someone finds true value in your trash.)
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's look at how often you need to be posting.
Here's the key:
Post as Much as Possible, But Only When You're Providing Value
"When I launched my first blog in 2009 I read the same advice again and again, 'Publish short, 500-word blog posts. Keep your blog updated with fresh content. You need to publish a new post at least once a week'.
That stuff might have worked in 2018, but it doesn't work today." - Brian Dean
I chose that quote for 2 reasons:
It shows that consistency can't be defined by a weekly post limit
It shows how quickly and drastically things change in the digital space
2018 isn't a long time ago, but content strategy has already changed.
Brian is really really good at developing long, specific, & complete guides for SEO strategy, and they work well for him, even though he only posts once a month at most.
That's because he's well established, his business is B2B, and his audience is people like me that are looking for a complete education.
My audience is obviously a bit different, so at the moment, I'm not using my blog posts to dive super in-depth to any technique.
Instead, I use my posts to explain why these things are important and necessary to build 7+ figure ecommerce businesses.
When people are convinced and ready to learn my strategy, they can talk to me individually.
So I work a bit different than Brian.
When I was in college (trying to make sense of why I couldn't find a major I was motivated by) I was writing about 2,000 words of fiction per day.
I had a 300-page novel written in 6 months, and it was probably trash.
But I didn't really care, because I was practicing.
I took a break for a while, and then a year later wrote a 140-page collection of short stories that made the novel look like a kindergartner wrote it.
That story matters for multiple reasons:
I started while fully aware that I wasn't an expert fiction writer
I learned more by doing than I ever could by studying
I developed a process
I took a break
I took a break because I needed substance to write well.
My best fiction, unfortunately, came to me when I was struggling with something in life.
When I was depressed, confused, or worried, I wrote to make sense of my world.
Which resulted in some of the most compelling content I've been able to get onto paper.
But my battle with fiction is consistency.
I've never wanted to write airplane novels or Hallmark movies, so I struggle with potency in different stages of my life (which I've learned to accept out of respect for the craft).
Luckily, my love-hate relationship with my fiction muse was still able to give me the gift of process.
These days I challenge myself to write 1,000 words per day.
And I can't always do it, but I try.
My process is to outline a post with a title, subheadings, and create the instagram cover for it one night.
The next night I'll sit down and get all of my thoughts out and write for a few hours straight — the night after that I'll edit, rewrite/reformat, and then post it.
I try to overlap my posts so that the same night I post something I'm outlining my next post (not the case with this post, where I wrote and edited it the same night).
But the idea is to create a process for consistency.
Some days I won't have the time to get a post written.
Some days all I can muster is jotting down a few words that I think can grow into an entire post.
And some days I'll write something that doesn't feel like it's providing true value, and I decide not to post it.
That's the key to this strategy.
I write as often as possible, and try to follow the same process, but if I'm not providing value I won't post it.
When I started this blog I told people I'd post every Friday (check my insta @benny_digital_ for proof).
But I realized that sometimes that just isn't feasible.
I'd much rather miss a deadline and come back in the next few days to provide my audience with true value, rather than post something that doesn't help you guys.
So here's the formula:
Develop a process, be as consistent as possible, know that you can't always meet every deadline, and know that quality is what's most important.
Post as much as possible, but only when you're providing true value.
And keep in mind that most of the time, you have to get out the bad before you can find the good.
I wish I could remember who said this, but I read somewhere that a very well respected writer told an interviewer she only wrote 200 quality words per day.
When the interviewer asked her how she found such profoundness in her work with that small amount of output, she replied "by first getting out 1,200 non-quality words per day".
I'm paraphrasing and probably butchering that interview, but here's my point:
Sometimes, you have to force yourself into the chair and start typing to get the non-quality content out of your system before you start producing quality content.
So trust your process, and stop hesitating.
What's your process? What kind of content do you want to produce? What's keeping you from sinking or swimming?
Let me know in the comments, DM me on instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I really want to talk to those of you reading my posts.
We'll talk more about product in a couple days.