Think about five content creators you admire. Regardless of who they are, there’s a common thread: consistency.
Now, consistency might sound simple, but let’s be real—it’s tough. I know firsthand because I struggled with it myself.
Before 2019, I was a freelance writer trying to make a name for myself. I joined LinkedIn hoping for opportunities, but my sporadic and lackluster posts went unnoticed, and my online presence was, to put it bluntly, a flop.
Then, everything shifted when I crossed paths with Mary Imasuen, the Social Media Marketing Lead at a law firm where I interned. Mary shared her success story—features on the Huffington Post, international gigs—all stemming from her consistency as a content creator.
Inspired, I revamped my approach: committed to a regular posting schedule, focused on improving the quality of my content, and engaged with my audience. Fast forward four years, and I’m still here, more consistent than ever.
I haven’t hit the big leagues with hundreds of thousands of followers, but over the last four years, my commitment to showing up has led to some pretty cool stuff, such as:
Unsolicited job offers:
A show on Africa’s leading tech blog:
Exclusive event invitations:
Impressive year-on-year growth:
In this article, I’ll highlight my tried-and-true tips for consistency, hoping they’ll help you carve out your own path.
Anchor your content strategy on the 3 Whats
Before 2019, my content creation was like throwing spaghetti at the wall. I published based on my feelings at the time. Even when I committed to consistency, the results were elusive until I cracked the code with what I call the three Whats. These aren’t just fancy terms; they’re the heartbeat of a content strategy that clicks.
1. What you know
Before diving into a content strategy, pinpoint the topics that fuel your expertise and set your soul on fire. Ask yourself, “What am I both knowledgeable and passionate about?” You want to create content that showcases your expertise and genuine enthusiasm.
In my case, I found my sweet spot in content marketing, the African startup and VC scene, and career development – the pillars of my content strategy.
2. What people want to know
Knowing your stuff is great, but it’s a two-way street. You’ve got to be talking about what your audience wants to hear. It’s like throwing a party—you want to play the music people want to dance to. So, dig into social media, fire up some keyword research tools, and get nosy about what your audience is buzzing about.
My target audience – VCs, CMOs, founders, and fellow content marketers – crave insights into content marketing and startup building. And so, I use tools like SparkToro and watch events they attend to stay on top of relevant topics.
3. What makes you unique
Knowing your stuff and aligning with your audience’s interests isn’t the finish line. The real magic happens when you infuse your uniqueness into your content. What sets you apart? It could be a story, a trait, or an experience.
For instance, if you’re a scientist-turned-marketer, that’s a narrative goldmine! I carve out my distinctiveness by highlighting my diverse journey – from agency roles to in-house positions and freelancing.
But here’s the twist: Don’t rely solely on your perspective. Sprinkle in others’ viewpoints through interviews, expert roundups, or curated content. It adds layers to your narrative and keeps things far from boring.
Armed with these three guiding ‘Whats’ – what you know, what people want to know, and what makes you unique – I’ve found my content creation groove. No more exhaustion, no more sounding bored – just a genuine connection with my audience amidst the noise.
Develop a simple process
Creating content used to be a real puzzle for me. I’d spend too much time hunting down planning templates, only to realize I wasn’t sticking to any plan. That all changed when I adopted a straightforward 3-step process that has made my content creation not just doable but enjoyable.
Here’s the lowdown:
1. Brainstorm an idea
Every Sunday, I dedicate some time to let the creativity flow. Whether it’s for a blog post or social media content, I brainstorm ideas. Sometimes, I’m so pumped with inspiration that I can generate ideas to last me almost a month. I don’t box myself into a rigid timeline – ideas can hit me anytime during random activities like reading or just taking a stroll. I’ve learned to jot down notes regularly, keeping a treasure trove of creative ideas.
2. Document the idea
To keep those brilliant sparks from fading away, I make it a habit to document all my ideas, even if they’re just in their infancy. My trusty Google Sheets is like my content idea vault – where no idea gets lost.
3. Develop the idea into content
This is where the magic happens. I take the ideas that I believe will strike a chord with my audience and turn them into actual content. Google Docs, Grammarly, and my good pal ChatGPT play key roles in shaping my thoughts into engaging pieces.
And here’s a little secret weapon: I save time by repurposing long-form content into bite-sized bits. It’s a game-changer that keeps my weekly content creation workload to a sweet spot of two to four hours.
In adopting this approach, not only have I made content creation more manageable, but I’ve also found joy in the process. Now, I pass the torch to you – make content creation your playground, not a battleground.
Don’t seek inspiration; build a habit instead
When I started using LinkedIn, I fell into the trap of posting only when the creative spark struck. Initially, it seemed to work. However, that magic quickly faded, and I found myself stuck in a disheartening cycle of demotivation. It was at this point that I realized the real secret lies in building a habit.
Inspiration, like a fleeting burst of energy, is powerful but transient. Liz Fosslien’s insightful chart beautifully depicts this—showing how motivation is like a fleeting burst of energy while consistency becomes the cornerstone of lasting progress.
In response to this realization, I made a commitment: a thrice-a-week publishing schedule. This decision transformed content creation from a sporadic burst of creativity into a regular part of my routine. It became a habit.
So, rather than waiting for inspiration to strike, cultivate the habit of consistent action by sticking to an agreed-upon frequency. Set a publishing schedule that aligns with your capacity and resonates with your audience. This isn’t just a routine; it’s a commitment to your growth as a content creator.
Leverage the power of automation
Implementing the steps mentioned above won’t magically erase the challenges that often accompany content creation – the stress of writing, editing, and scheduling. This struggle is a common reason many creators struggle to maintain consistency. I’ve been there myself; the demands of writing and scheduling began affecting my full-time job. However, I’ve discovered practical ways to alleviate this stress by exploring automation.
Take, for instance, the time it used to take me to create an episode of The Investors Corner, my biweekly tech series, over 5 hours. Now, with tools like ChatGPT and Airgram at my disposal, I’ve streamlined the process to a little over 2 hours.
Here’s how I make it work:
- Transcribing interviews with Airgram: To cut down on time spent transcribing interviews, I rely on Airgram. It has become an invaluable asset in expediting this crucial step.
- Editing efficiency with ChatGPT: When it comes to editing and refining content for clarity, I’ve enlisted the help of ChatGPT. This not only saves time but also ensures a polished and coherent content.
- Scheduling with Buffer and LinkedIn: To stay organized and ensure timely content delivery, I employ Buffer for post scheduling. Additionally, I take advantage of LinkedIn’s scheduling feature when it aligns with my strategy.
By embracing automation and incorporating these tools into my workflow, I’ve not only reclaimed precious hours but also found a sustainable way to balance content creation with other aspects of my life.
Find your rhythm and stick with it
Before diving into the tips shared in this article, take a moment to discover your own unique approach and commit to it.
I learned this the hard way. Initially, I tried the whole daily posting routine because that’s what everyone seemed to recommend. However, it burned me out faster than a candle in a windstorm. Back to square one.
Then, I experimented with posting thrice a week. Suddenly, creating content felt less like a chore and more like something I genuinely enjoyed. Since then, I’ve maintained a consistent schedule.
Moreover, I discovered that written content suits me way better than video content. Turns out, I’m not the camera’s biggest fan. And that’s perfectly okay.
So, my advice to you is to go beyond the one-size-fits-all suggestions. What really clicks for you?
To figure that out, keep experimenting. Find what you can comfortably sustain over time, and stick to it. Sure, things might evolve, and that’s fine. Stay open-minded and always be ready to test new waters.
Consistency can be hard to achieve as a content creator, but as you can see from my story, it’s quite doable. To reiterate, all you need to do is:
- Anchor your content strategy on 3 Whats
- Develop and follow a simple process
- Stop seeking inspiration; build a habit instead
- Leverage the power of automation
- Find your rhythm and stick with it
Remember, it’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. Consistency is a journey, and with the right mindset and approach, you’ve got this!