Bloggers, content creators, marketers, copywriters, business owners, all have something in common: They aspire and strive to create valuable content for their audience.
It’s quality content that will bring your customers closer to you and thus closer to the product or service you’re selling.
But while the every day battle for new ideas rages on, you might find yourself in a routine, a “machined” protocol you follow in order to come up with new content.
Maybe you scan every day your sources for new material that will grant you new ideas, slowly entering a “creative routine” as I’d like to call it.
A creative routine is what we content creators easily fall into if we don’t pay the necessary attention when it comes to the content output process.
When you do the same thing over and over every day it’s unavoidable that your cognitive actions will go on some kind of auto pilot. It’s our brain’s mechanism: it identifies certain actions that we repeat as routine and puts them aside so that you can focus on more important tasks and don’t get exhausted by those less significant actions.
A routine, as Meg Selig of Psychology Today writes, is nothing more than a “series of habits.” We follow them with intentions of making our lives easier, but rarely ever stop to think about how limiting they might be.
Then again, that’s sort of the underlying convenience of routines in general. They allow you to get sh*t done without thinking, simply out of habit. According to Selig, routines allow you to “go on autopilot and still accomplish your goals.”
That’s great and it generally works wonders for our thought processes, but in this specific case guess which actions are labeled as repeated, boring routine actions that need less attention? – The creative process of thinking and creating new content for our businesses!
The most creative, artsy, and free part of our work becomes a repeated marginalized action by the brain itself.
A widely acceptable rule of the online marketing world is: “Be Consistent”: make sure that you stick to your set schedule of content output and no matter what do not break it.
I agree, but what happens when you genuinely don’t have something valuable to say? something interesting to contribute to your selected niche?
The “Be Consistent” tip, while it is considered the golden rule of the online presence, it can drive us into the “Creative Routine”.
Well, at that times I would suggest to take a step back and reconsider your material and your strategy.
A new piece of content which adds nothing of value and it is written only because there is a schedule to be followed, in the best case it will do nothing for your brand and in the worse case it can function in a negative way, turning people away from your business.
You have to avoid falling into this routine by proper preparation. You should work preemptively and always have content and sources ready for your next articles(s).
Check this article which features techniques on how to consistently come up with new content ideas and create a stack of ready-to-go content.
But that alone isn’t enough; after every article you write and the moment before publishing it ask yourself these four short questions:
#1 What is it about?
You wrote an article, that’s great, but what is it about? After reading it, is the reader able to easily pinpoint what it concerns, what issues it raises?
Is the title descriptive of the rest of the content? Avoid misleading titles that have little to do with the actual body of the article.
When your readers finish the article, they need to be sure about what they read. If you leave them with a feeling of uncertainty they will be uncertain of you and your business as well.
So, be specific, don’t mislead and avoid fluffy generalizations.
#2 Who is behind the article?
This might seem obvious, your readers know who you are, but what is your role for this specific article? Not all posts are the same. Maybe you are writing something from the point of view of the expert, the authority in your field providing valuable insight information.
Maybe you are writing a case study and trying to comment and criticize real life examples. Maybe your post is satirical from a relaxed pov and you want to comment on an ongoing situation. Maybe you are writing fiction and so on.
State specific what your role is for every post or at least make it clear through the writing: who you are in relation to what you write.
#3 Who is it for?
As you know you have to be specific when writing about a subject and being specific means that your post wont be for everyone.
You have to appeal to a certain group of people that share something in common, whether that’s a problem, an issue, or an interest. As your brand’s ambassador and community link, you know your audience better than anyone.
Throughout your writing never forget to whom you are appealing to.
#4 Does it add anything of value to the reader?
This is the most important question. You did the research, you wrote the article and it is ready to go out in the world and be read, shared and commented on.
Person starts reading the article, spends X amount of time, person finishes reading your article.
Is the X time spent reading it worth it?
What will people win in value if they spend time reading your post? Are you offering something genuinely useful? Something that solves a problem your audience is facing? Something that is interesting to the people who read it?
You don’t want your articles to be considered a waste of time.
How has your content changed the person engaging with it? How has your content attributes to the solution of a problem?
So, before publishing any new article make sure that you can answer these four questions with confidence. If you find yourself unable or uncertain about any or all the questions, it’s time to go back and rework your post.