Your bookshelf is groaning with business marketing books and your Twitter stream is full of experts telling you what to do. You know you need to be doing something different with your content if you want better results from your marketing. So what’s stopping you? Why is it so hard to change?
There is huge frustration for many business owners around content. Yesterday, one of our newsletter readers described the feeling of not getting to grips with his content as ‘a bad smell that lingers all the time.’ He described having lots of ideas but a fear of committing to any of them. Which was the right one to pursue? What if it wasn’t good enough? What if he wrote something that misrepresented his business? What if people didn’t understand what he meant?
He described a desk piled high with half scribbled blogs and newsletters, and a mind full of great ideas for many more that he thought his customers might value, but he just could not get going. He had acres of good intentions but is completely fenced in with fear.
How to feel the fear and do it anyway
It’s a common problem, particularly for small business owners who don’t have a big network of support to help them.
Here are a few tips on breaking the content deadlock, and making change happen.
- Commit to it. To make any kind of change you need to flick a switch in your head. We love the way Dawn French describes it. Whenever she is scared of doing something different she asks herself ‘Am I the kind of person that writes a novel/does a one woman show in the West End/scripts a TV series?’ And if she likes the sound of it, she does it. How you see yourself plays a big part in the chances of something really happening. Ask yourself ‘Am I the kind of person who runs a business that really helps my customers?’ Believe it, and be it.
- Commit time to it. Self belief is a start, but making it happen takes time too. Set aside half a day a fortnight to write a blog based on an issue you know a client is facing. Write in 25 minute blocks, with 5 minute breaks – use a timer to keep you on track.
- See the wood for the trees. Focus your writing time on one blog that helps one person. Put aside any other ideas and keep the focus tight. Helping is the core of your business, and you’re doing the right thing, right here, right now.
- Seek out a writing buddy. You won’t be alone in finding content writing hard. Working with a partner helps enormously. (It’s how we do it at Valuable Content.) Find someone you trust to read your work and make constructive criticisms. Return the favour and press publish together. Two heads are better than one.
- Take an online course. Invest in some training that will help you overcome your marketing hurdle. Investing money as well as time might be the kick you need to make change happen. You’ve paid for it, you’d really better make the most of it! If you’re in the UK you can test out whether online learning works for you with our free social media course.
- Find a coach. Some people learn best in groups, some value one-to-one support. If going it alone isn’t for you, and you don’t want to commit to a course, find a coach with hours that will fit with your schedule. The right coach will offer expert insight and advice, and keep you right on track.
- Learn in a group. If you’re desperate to get to grips with your marketing, want the support of like-minded peers, know you work well in a group and can travel to Bristol, UK, then our Pub School Programme might help. If what you need is inspiration, focus, structure and support, then it could be for you.
You have options. And what you DO is down to you. Think about what is really holding you back, and what will help you break through it. Help is out there – find the kind that is right for you.
How will you choose to overcome your content block this year? What will help you make the change?
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* Illustration from Jane Northcote’s excellent book ‘Making Change Happen’. (We highly recommend this book).