I started creating content in January 2020 and 15 months later, I quit my job after accumulating millions of views. It’s been an exciting and sometimes terrifying journey and I’ve learned many things along the way.
But that’s enough about me for now.
Let’s focus on you. Here are 10 tips you can start using today.
#1 Find a voice checker
Almost everything possible online has already been done. The main way we can stand out is through our personality but it’s harder than it sounds.
People were too kind when they complimented me on my writer’s voice when I started. I gained loyal fans but I had no idea what I was doing.
My little sister is the secret sauce as she reads everything I write before I publish. She knows me better than any of my readers and has no problem with calling me out if I sound fake or it seems like I’m trying to be someone else. This means my writing actually sounds like me.
Find someone to do this for you and you’ll gain followers who resonate with who you are. It must be someone who knows you from before you created content. Someone who knows you not your persona.
Message your chosen person today.
#2 Stop finding causation in randomness
When most people tell me about how they have taken a data driven approach to their content, I smile and nod at their sample size of 5.
I paid far more attention when Tim Denning with a sample size of thousands of articles talked about his findings on a call. Most people don’t have a large enough data set to make meaningful conclusions.
There are a million and one factors why one piece of content did well and another didn’t. On one day, it was cold and rainy so people spent more time online. On another day, the latest Brigerton series was released and everyone was binge-watching.
You have to go with your gut in most cases about what is higher quality. Stop obsessing over tiny swings in data and put your energy into being creative instead.
I check my stats once a month. Pick how often you will check yours today and stick to it.
#3 Talk to non-creators I see other people post on Instagram how their real friends don’t support them as much as their online friends.
I’m sorry but I don’t expect any of my friends to read my content because I don’t visit my doctor friends and clap after they treat each patient.
Most of your audience won’t be in the same world of work as you. It’s critically important to get out of this bubble and connect with others in completely different fields. Don’t lose sight of the rest of the world.
I went out for dinner with some friends at the weekend and we talked about my writing for maybe 10 minutes. The rest of the time we were laughing and joking about I can’t even remember what. I need this to keep me fresh and stop me from creating unrelatable content that no one wants to read.
Reach out to a friend today and try to not talk about your side hustle or work at all. There’s way more to life.
#4 Generate if-then plans
My mind loves being creative but it’s less keen on actually doing the work.
I have way too many ideas and it pulls me all over the place. It’s exhausting and stops me from getting things done. I’ll spend hours investigating some new thing I could potentially do then never actually do it.
The way I manage this is through if-then plans. I ban myself from chasing a shiny object until I’ve met some other criteria.
For example, I’d love to start a podcast one day but I certainly don’t have the time. If I can consistently write 3–4 articles per week then I’ll start a podcast. Until then I don’t spend time worrying about it.
This helps you build quality in one area first before moving on.
Get a piece of paper and write down some of your if-then plans today. Make sure you stick to them!
#5 Create a blacklist
Going one step further, create a list of what you’ll never do. As soon as you join any online community you’ll be flooded with things you could do even though realistically you know you never will.
Expel these distractions from your brain by writing them down on your blacklist. Maybe you never want to create content about money or sexual relationships or maybe you want to avoid creating TikTok or Instagram reels.
Whatever it is just write them down today and feel lighter afterward. The internal strain of being in forty-seven places at once isn’t worth it.
#6 Consume what you don’t like
There’s a tendency for people to pick a few others who they like and follow them religiously. It’s a great way to learn by dissecting what works for them.
The path less traveled is also studying those with who you disagree. The ones where you’re wondering how anyone wants to follow them. Just because you don’t like them, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn valuable lessons.
This helps to teach you about the wider audience beyond your bubble. It challenges your beliefs of what works and makes you more resilient in the long run.
You’ve probably already got someone in your mind who is where you want to be but you don’t like their content. Check them out today.
#7 Bring your external skills
I believe it took me 28 years to become an overnight success as a writer.
All the skills I gained at work and the life experiences I went through formed who I am and the way I connect with people.
I find it strange when people start a new venture online and act as if they’ve never done anything else before. Don’t try to grow as one of many on a production line, you’ll get lost in the crowd.
Instead, try to work out how what you’ve done before can help you in what you’re doing now. It’s likely your competition can’t do something else as well as you can so why wouldn’t you use your advantage?
Take a piece of paper today and draw a line down the middle. On the left, write down a skill and on the right write down how this could help you create great content.
#8 Have a different colored brain buddy
My friend Nabil Alouani has an odd way of looking at the world but it’s rubbing off on me. He often talks about the colors of the brain using Herrmann profiles:
Blue = analytical
Yellow = intuitive
Green = organized
Red = emotional
The easiest way to work out which one you are is to ask your friends because we always self-identify as what we’d like to be rather than what we are.
Now find someone at a similar stage of their journey who you respect and has a different colored brain. They will give you insights you wouldn’t see yourself and add an extra dimension to your end product!
Send the message to your new buddy today.
#9 Do a complete re-do
Whatever your field, if you’ve been doing it for a while, you should be improving all the time. Going back to your earlier content should make you cringe.
Many podcasters sound wooden in their first few podcasts.
Many YouTubers look like they used a potato to record their first few videos.
Many writers have terrible flow in their first few stories.
This is ok and it is normal. Rather than avoiding your old work, you can use it as an exercise to flex your creativity muscles and see how far you’ve come.
Pick something you’ve made and makes you embarrassed and remake the entire thing.
Comparing what you’ve done between versions increases your awareness of the techniques you’ve subconsciously learned so you can apply them more mindfully in the future.
You can do this today.
#10 Have a ‘Why I do this’ list
Some of you are here purely for the money and I’m not going to judge you. As long as you understand your fans aren’t following you to get you rich but for what you offer them.
Proving this value can be difficult and take a long time. If you’re in it only for the money, you’ll find it even more stressful. I know as I quit my job, I feel so much pressure for each story I write to do well. It’s a horrible feeling and blocks my creative process.
So write down a list of the other things that motivate you. For me, it’s the fun of working out how to craft messages, the friends I’ve made in the online world, and the amazement that I can reach people with my words and find value in it.
These things keep me going on a tough day and pushing through. I would have given up a long time ago if not for them. I don’t want you to give up if you love what you’re doing. Just remind yourself that you do.
Get your pen and notepad out and write down what your reasons are today. Stick them up somewhere you can see.
Picture Credit-Created by the author — original image from pexels