For the past four years, I’ve set the same New Year’s resolution to read more books.
In 2018. I epically failed; according to Goodreads, I only read two books for the entire year. 😬 In 2019, I read 14 books. In 2020, I started to get really serious about it and make some big changes, and I ended up reading 73 books.
This year, 2021, I set a really ambitious goal to hit 200 books this year, and it’s late April. So we’re about a third of the way through the year, and I’m at 60 bucks for the year. So I’m right where I need to be to hit my goal.
How did I go from reading two books a year to reading 200 books a year?
Well, it wasn’t by accident. I made a lot of big changes. And I had to shift around the priorities in my life to make sure that I could do it:
- I changed my environment: I made sure that I was able to get library and download books from the library apps onto my phone and on my Kindle. I swapped out where the apps are on my phone, where I used to just automatically go check Facebook, now I have my reading app there. And instead of my podcast app, I have an audio book app.
- I track everything that I do and share publicly: So if you look at my Insta stories, you can get an idea of all of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. And that starts conversations about it in my Instagram DMS, like me really excited about other things that people are recommending to me, it helps build that community conversation about what’s interesting to me.
- I’ve adjusted my habits: I used to watch Netflix after my kids’ bedtime, now I climb into bed with a book for an hour before I fall asleep. Shifting that bedtime routine increasing my page count and decreased my late-night snacking. Win win!
I’ve also been writing so much more than ever before this year, in part because I’m applying those same principles. And I want to share with you 10 tips that you can use to turn your content marketing goals from pie in the sky New Year’s resolutions into things that you’re doing every day, every week, every month in order to really start seeing results. So stick with me, and I’ll share right after this.
So many people come to me when they’re ready to get started with their SEO, and they say, “I feel like I should be writing but I just don’t have the time.” Or “I know that it would be really important if I could get this done. But I just see a blank cursor show up on the screen or I can’t carve out the time to do it.” And so today I’m going to share with you 10 tips that you can use to make yourself not just more likely to create content, but more excited about it to feel really good about what you’re putting out into the world.
Why is consistency important in your content marketing?
Consistency is really important for your SEO. Google loves fresh content, because new content (and updates to older content) indicate that your content relevant & timely. The Google robots know when & how often to index your site, and the YouTube algorithm thrives on predictable content releases.
Regular content also develops trust in your business: your clients know when to expect new content (my audience knows I post my YouTube videos every Tuesday morning and send emails on Tuesday afternoons), and keeps you top-of-mind among your audience.
That’s why it’s important not just to create, but to establish a content creation habit — tasks that you complete daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly to engage with your audience & position yourself as an authority.
In this post, I’ll be talking about the process of creating weekly or monthly evergreen content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc) to establish your own brand.
10 Tips to Create Consistent Content Habit
1. Set a clear, smart goal
You’ve heard that your goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time sensitive. So when it comes to creating content, what is it that you are actually going to produce?
- Specific: I will write & publish blog posts
- Measurable, they will be 500 words each
- Achievable: I will write one blog post every month
- Relevant: they will be about (this topic)
- Time sensitive: I will do it for one quarter
So the full goal is: I will write & publish one 500-word blog post a month for the next 3 months. Boom, there is your SMART goal. If you just say I’m gonna write blog posts, it doesn’t always translate into something that you really can achieve.
2. Declare your intention
I could have just silently read all of my books without coming out and saying “I’m gonna read 200 books this year!” But because I just did that I feel like if I don’t get to my 200 books, then I’m going to be disappointing not only myself, but you.
This outside accountability is really important for Obligers – one of Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies who meet outer expectations but struggle to meet their own expectations.
So many productivity books tell you to just “make a commitment to yourself!” But I’ve always found that those 6am runs only happen when I have somebody waiting to meet me, otherwise the snooze button is too alluring.
Also: declaring a positive goal is much more fun than another declaration …
3. Hire some support!
Hire somebody to help you who gets paid whether or not you actually get your work. This one has been super important to another goal that I had this year, which is to release one YouTube video and one blog post every week. I have an awesome video editor, Sam, who has time dedicated every week to work on my video editing. And so I have to get it to her a bit in advance, I have to plan ahead and record for her.
If you’re not doing videos, or you edit them yourself, maybe you want to hire an assistant who can just help you get your blog posts onto your website, or you want to hire somebody who can help you with the graphics.
Find someone that can support you in this way, and when you fall behind they can give you a gentle little nudge.
4. Block off sacred content writing time
For a long time, I would say, “Oh, I’m gonna do my content on Mondays,” and then as soon as something came up, I would just push it aside because it was only an obligation to myself instead of a sacred block on my calendar. (There’s that Obliger tendency again!)
But finally this year, because of my public declaration and my team waiting on me, when I set a time to do my YouTube video recordings, I take it really seriously. I make a plan for when I’m going to be recording and I show up and I’m ready to go.
5. Batch create your content
Whenever possible, create content in groups. On my YouTube days, I try to record at least three YouTube videos, because my hair and makeup are done, they’re ready to go.
If you are a blog post writer, take a day and just write all your blog posts; if you’re recording podcast, try to get all of your guests to go back to back to back. And that way you can just make it your podcast day or podcast morning. And that way you’re kind of in the headspace.
By time blocking and batching your content, you’ll be more productive because you won’t have to task switch as much.
6. Surround yourself with cheerleaders
In my Attract and Activate SEO membership, we have a space where we’re all talking all the time about what we’re working on and the things that we need help with. We have an accountability group where we can say, Yes, I finished this one, check out this blog post I just published, we have that space where we’re able to have a group supporting us and knowing that we’re working towards specific goals and checking in on us if we’re falling behind.
By creating a cheerleading squad for ourselves, we’re able to not only say look at what I did, but we’re able to have people behind us going yeah, that was really hard for you and you did it anyway, way to go. It’s really important to have people who know how hard it is to do what we’re doing, especially the things like content creation that don’t always have these time sensitive client driven deadlines, it can be hard to find the motivation to do it.
And being surrounded by other people who are trying to achieve similar results can make a huge difference and feeling like you’re part of a community that’s all moving in the same direction.
7. Track your habits
Pay attention to the habit to completion, not so much the results. So for my reading habit, my goal is to complete reading a certain number of books, but my habit is to read every day.
What most experts say is that you should just stack a new habit that you want to create onto an existing habit. So it used to be that after I put my kids to bed, I would go downstairs and turn on Netflix and get a thing of popcorn and just kind of zone out. But now, after my kids go to bed, I walk in my bedroom, I pick up a book. (Unless there’s a new Marvel show on Disney+ to watch, then I have to find other time that day to read!)
if I just said I want to read 200 books, and I want to read every day it would feel really vague to me. But instead I say no, after my kids go to bed I go and I read until it’s time for me to go to sleep. And that’s how I’ve been able to read 25,000 pages in four months is because I have made that habit of every single day.
8. Don’t break the streak
Jerry Seinfeld is known for a productivity hack that he used where every day, he would write one joke. After he finished writing that joke, he would go to a calendar and as well and make a big x. And he went years and years and years without breaking that streak. And some days, it would just be right the X and some days, it would be writing for hours and hours and hours. But if there were days that he didn’t want to start working, he would think I just don’t want to break the streak.
And so for me with my reading, I’ve been reading for 124 days straight (actually longer than that, because one day I only ready a physical book instead of the Kindle … but to make my streak-tracking easy I’m using the Kindle, because that tracks it for me).
There have been days where maybe I don’t want to read, I don’t have a book lined up, I could take a break. But I don’t want to break my streak!
It doesn’t always have to be a daily streak either. I have a goal of putting out a weekly YouTube video, and there are times where I fall behind. And it would be a lot easier to just skip a week. But I know that if I skip a week, then that starts a new streak. And I feel really strongly that by the end of the year, I want to be able to say that I’ve released 52 YouTube videos, that’s my goal for YouTube this year is 52 videos. And if I can hit it, I will feel so accomplished. And that brings us to the next tip …
9. Reward yourself!
Celebrate the good work that you’re doing, and to pick specific times during which you’re going to reward yourself. Part of your SMART Goal is to make it time sensitive, so whenever that goal is “up,” (the end of a month, quarter, etc), find a way to celebrate all of the work that you’re doing.
And this is important, too: Brag about your accomplishments! I did a lot of humble bragging about my 73 books last year, because I’m proud of it! It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments. It’s okay to be excited about the things that you’re doing in your business.
10. Track your success
I said earlier that we want to track our habits, which are the lead goals, the things that we’re actually doing that we can measure in real time. But we also want to track our results, our lag goals, the outcomes of the habits that we have created.
The idea of lead & lag goals come from the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution: “While a lag measure tells you if you’ve achieved the goal, a lead measure tells you if you are likely to achieve the goal.”
My LEAD measures — the thing that I’m actually doing — is creating weekly YouTube videos & corresponding blog posts.
My LAG measures — the outcome of my actions — is that I see increased YouTube & email subscribers, more traffic to my website, more keywords on the terms I’m targeting, etc.
Four months into this weekly generative process. I really am starting to see some trackable, quantitative results happening in my business. Creating one YouTube video probably wouldn’t have done that. For me, creating a habit of releasing new content is getting new subscribers, new clients, new students into my program.
Creating a consistent marketing habit is something that we work on a lot in Attract & Activate program. It’s hugely beneficial for my students in the membership.
And for this summer only, I’m going to create a special experience for people who don’t want to commit to the full six month membership, but just one community space in which they can create these habits and celebrate their wins.
Getting support for your content creation habit formation
For the summer of 2021, I’m creating SEO Summer Camp, it’s going to be a 100 day virtual experience where you can meet up with other online entrepreneurs who are trying to establish this habit of creating content. Basically, you’ll have your own built in cheerleading squad by being there. And you’ll have access to me to help you with turning these content marketing goals into habits and trackable results.