A comment I sometimes get from those who follow me online is how consistent I am with my content. It’s worth saying here that creating content, whether it’s a blog post, a newsletter or even an instagram story, can be…. a lot.
Individually it may not seem like much, but pull all of the different strands together and – well, that’s a big old tapestry of content. Here’s a breakdown of what I’m putting out currently:
1 x newsletter a month
1 x blog post a week
1-2 x Facebook page posts a week
7 x Facebook group posts a week
1 x Facebook/Instagram live video a week (most weeks)
6 x Instagram posts a week
Instagram stories and tweets most days
I do this outside of my day job Mon – Thurs… So, yes, I guess it’s not surprising people comment on it from time to time!
I thought it might be helpful to look at how I’m able to be consistent with relatively limited time and why it’s important to let go of consistency sometimes. Let’s start with the how first…
Keep track of ideas
Rather than sitting down at a dedicated time to come up with ideas, I prefer to keep notes on my phone of content ideas whenever inspiration strikes.
Then, when I’m at my computer I add them to Evernote as a list, so I’ve always got a bank of ideas to delve into. This is a personal preference though, if you find it better to dedicate a certain time to idea generation, do that. Find what works for you, just make sure you note every idea down – even if it’s not fully formed yet, you can always come back to it later.
Have key content pillars
One thing that makes coming up with ideas easier is having content pillars. Topics or genres of content you like to create. For example, on the blog I have my three categories, Health, Happiness and Hope.
These are pretty loose, but I know what kind of content I want for each and it really helps me refine my ideas. If an idea I have doesn’t fit here, I might use it elsewhere – maybe in a newsletter or in a live video.
Have key purposes for your content
Similar to the above, I find it helpful to know what purpose each piece of content is going to have. Will it be educational? Entertaining? Will it connect with people and make them feel seen? Or will it be promotional?
I find this especially helpful for Instagram captions and try to make sure I have a nice mix of all the above. Try and keep the purpose in mind when planning your content and aim for a mix, this helps you be consistent without feeling like you’re repeating yourself.
Plan roughly for the month ahead
OK, now we’re getting into the time-management bit. This year I created my first ‘content schedule’ spreadsheet and it has been a game changer. I use it to roughly plan out what content I want to create for the upcoming month, across all platforms (apart from stories, I like stories to be more ad-hoc).
This will be like a skeleton that I can flesh out later. For example I know that every Monday on Instagram I like to do an ‘educational’ post (something helpful) so I’ll put down ‘Educational – xxx’ and then the week before, I’ll decide what topic I’ll cover.
For the blog, I’ll pick from my list of ideas and slot them in so I know what I’ll be writing about that month. This can of course change if I come to an idea that’s not quite ready yet (in fact that’s what happened today! My original idea didn’t inspire me, so I went with this one instead).
Then, plan a week ahead
Every Sunday evening I take some time (maybe 15-20 minutes) to plan the week ahead. I look at my content schedule spreadsheet and give it some more detail. I use the Mosaico app to plan what pictures I want to post on Instagram to tie in with the caption ideas.
Then I’ll use the Any.do app to list my to-dos for the week (outside of my day job). These will include content creation, personal errands and self-care. I have a pretty solid routine at the moment so it’s just a case of noting it all down.
Create a routine according to energy levels
My routine has changed recently to tie in with how energetic I’m feeling at different points in the week and this is SO important if you want to stay consistent. I realised I was really struggling to write blogs in the evenings after work, so I moved this task to Fridays (where I have the whole day for blog and coaching work) and replaced it with tasks that don’t tire me out so much (like social media scheduling).
If you’re struggling to stay consistent with your content, look at when you’re doing the creation – is this the right time? Do you need a more sustainable routine?
Recently I was feeling overwhelmed with content and like I was constantly racing to finish everything on time. I took a day from my weekend and used it to get ahead. I wrote two blogs, and then continued to write one blog post a week (on Fridays). This means I’m now always two weeks ahead.
Yes, I did give up a day off, but I knew I could rest the following day and the sense of calm it gave me was totally worth it. If you’re feeling behind, consider taking a day to focus solely on content creation and get ahead of yourself.
I could not be as consistent as I am without regular rest. I always factor in self-care to my weekly plan and I take every Saturday off social media to get away from all types of online ‘content’ for a day. Resting and taking time away from it all is essential if you want to come up with ideas and maintain the energy you need to create.
Use this time to connect with people in real life, watch an inspiring movie, read some fiction, play! Something I’ve come to realise is that when it comes to creativity, the time we spend not working is just as important as the time we spend working.
Which brings me on nicely to my last point…
Let go of the need to be consistent
There’s a lot of noise out there about how important it is to be consistent. Some marketing ‘gurus’ will tell you that you have to show up every single day, without fail, if you want to grow a business. And I’m afraid, I respectfully disagree.
This need to be ‘consistent’ comes from a scarcity mindset. It comes from a place of fear that if you disappear for a few days, everyone will forget about you. If you’re building genuine connections, you won’t be forgotten.
Yes, it helps if you can be consistent at the beginning of your journey, whether that’s once a week, once a month or once a quarter (whatever is sustainable for you), as this helps to build trust with a new audience. They’ll know what to expect and when.
But this doesn’t mean you need to run yourself into the ground to do so. Instead, be consistent with the quality of your content. Be consistent in your messaging and tone. Be honest, communicate with your audience and I promise they won’t abandon you if you miss a few days here and there.
On that note – there won’t be a blog next Sunday as I’m taking a few days off *everything*.
Normally when I have time off my day job I fill it with Blue Jay work, or at the very least I stay connected to social media. This time round though, I want to step back from anything and everything to do with ‘work’. I want to read books in cafes and let ideas percolate. I want to enjoy dappled sunlight hitting a wall without feeling the need to capture it on stories.
Being consistent isn’t sustainable without the occasional break in consistency! So please don’t beat yourself up when you find yourself aching for rest. Listen to yourself and live life for a while (then you can write about it later 😉 ).
I hope this slightly ramble-y post was helpful – as I’m sure you can tell, I have a lot of thoughts on this subject! Let me know if there is anything else on the topic of content creation you’d like to read about.
Also, as I won’t be here next week I wanted to remind you that my next newsletter will be going out on Sunday 28th April and I’m going to be delving into identity, the importance of rest and recognising you are more than your work. If you want to get this, make sure you subscribe before the 28th.
I’ll be back here on the 28th with another blog, hope you have a lovely couple of weeks.
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