💡💡💡Be authentic. We hear that all the time on across the Internet. Life coaches. Bloggers. Podcasters. Everyone seems to have their two cents on this topic.
If you are like me you probably think: Of course be authentic, but what does that look like specifically?!”
This can be done using the following tips:
1️⃣ Don’t exaggerate your experience. It is good to use engaging language, but if you over exaggerate your story it almost becomes like a tall tale or a big fish story.
2️⃣ Use details in your content.
Over the past few weeks I have been reading Gary Halbert’s “The Boron Letters”. It is a fantastic read for anyone in the field of advertising or copywriting.
I came across this quote of his that actually inspired me to write this post. “Believability is one of the top most important ingredients of good promotions,” he wrote.
Share the details of your story! Today, my older kids are home from school. It is busier than usual. How did I find time to write this post?
I took my kids to the library and we are in a large playroom with tons of toys (play food and shopping carts) and I let them free play. This freed me up to write and read some of Halbert’s letters.
3️⃣ Share your triumphs AND your trials.
It is easy to filter our social media posts or blogging content to show only our wins. Who doesn’t like a success story?
However, the best stories involve overcoming a conflict or struggle. Those also happen to be the realest. Without showing your vulnerability and weaknesses a you run the risk of becoming unrelatable or stuff—one sided lacking dimension. Embrace the fullness of your life. Share your highs lows, and the in between times as well.
These simple tips will lead to being more authentic.
Do you agree with these tips? Let me know in the comments.
“What matters isn’t storytelling. What matters is telling a true story well.” — Ann Handley
💡The most engaging content I have written does not include the best grammar, language, or most philosophical ideas.
💡A common thread I noticed about posts that get more comments, likes, and views are about actual events in my life.
💡Truth. What is truth? For me it is something that matches reality.
💡The truth about me is that I am a devout Catholic, husband, and father. I enjoy writing (this should not be a shock to anyone 😊), running, reading, and geeking out over comic books and anything Tolkien.
💡The truth is my work schedule is not ideal. My wife and I get only a few times during the week to talk, actually talk about our day, hopes, and dreams.
💡 I have wanted to give up or at least take a long time off from my work as a writer. In hindsight, I know that it was sleep deprivation talking.
💡The truth is I am grateful. On my worst days I am at least grateful for my faith, family, and friends. On my best days I see literally everything I encounter as a blessing. We are blessed to have the ability to use blogging and social media as a platforms to share our truths with others.
Life is going to throw you curve balls. Be prepared to adapt. But what if life sends that elusive knuckle ball? Preparation can only go so far in these types of situations. Today, I felt like a hundred knuckle balls were aimed at me. I had a bunch of tasks I wanted to accomplish. So far, I have missed. There was a thunderstorm last night. This woke up and scared my three-year-old and nine-month-old kids.
Working the night shift, I did not expect to get much sleep anyway. To make matters a bit more complicated was finding out my five-year-old was running a fever. 1 sick kid + tired 2 kids + 1 tired sad = a knuckle ball kind of day. So far, I have found a way to make through the morning (and hopefully the rest of the day) with in the most graceful way possible for me.
This post is the compilation of 10 tips for content creation in 10 days. Originally, I posted these content strategies on LinkedIn, but I figured why limit myself to one platform when other content creators would benefit from some of the tips that worked for me.
💡Tip #1—Complete tasks using chunking, micro-chunking, or nano-chunking depending on your schedule and ability for the day
Breaking up a task (writing, reading, email follow-up, lead research, etc) into manageable bits of time helped get me to achieve something. Something is better than nothing.
I pause many times or step into another room to center myself whenever parenting gets too stressful. It actually took me at least 3 Nano chunks (1-2 minute time segments) to complete this first tip! Placing a time barrier between you and the overwhelming into definitely helps.
💡 Tip #2 Focus on one goal or group of goals at a time
Some weeks or seasons of your life are more challenging than others. Maybe you left ended such a season in your own life. Perhaps you are in the calm of the storm. All I know for certain is that you will encounter resistance again in the future. I am in the middle of the stress tsunami.
Sharpening my focus to specific areas of my work has helped prepare me to better weather this storm. Below are just a couple examples of my focused goals for today and the rest of the week:
Post at least once a day on social media
Do creative/free form writing for at least 30 minutes sometime this week
Read at least 5-10 minutes a day
Begin to carve time in my schedule to listen to podcasts about marketing
I know I cannot achieve all 4 goals every single day, but my goal is to focus on and name the specific goal and at least be consistent in my approach to working towards it. Consistency is an investment that you rarely see a return on in the present. What tools/resources/advice have you implemented to help you focus your goals?
💡Tip 3—It is okay to adjust your goals
Earlier this week, I mentioned this has been a ‘knuckle ball’ type of week. Challenges kept coming at me, yet there was no pattern to them. Monday and Tuesday, I kept swinging and missing. I almost gave up and shut down for the week.
Instead, I adjusted my productivity goals. Dealing with sick children and an erratic work schedule I realized this was going to be a less productive period. I maintained consistency but limited the frequency of content produced. See it is easy to give up when life sends you knuckle balls. I used to have an all or nothing (home run or strikeout) mindset.
If you can’t give it 110% everyday what is the point in trying? Realistically it is not always possible to be at or over 100%. You may get sick. Family obligations supersede work goals. That balance may not happen all the time.
Consistency is what will help weather you through these trials. Hit for average not power: Are you more of a power hitter with your work goals or a person who shoots for average/consistency? How have you endured a ‘knuckle ball’ week?
💡Tip 4—Rest is Necessary in order to improve productivity
I have started taking off most of the weekend (starting last weekend) from social media. I am realizing more and more that it is not realistic for me to post daily and comment often on others’ posts. I am a parent to special needs kids first.
This week drained me of all my mental stamina. It was a week of regression for my three-year-old. I know a lot of people only post the positive stuff and shy away from the real challenges of life. But I am not your normal connection. I am being honest here.
Don’t give into the pressure to create content like a machine. Rest. I am going to cut back on my overall social media a bit as I rest and strategize how I can be more efficient with creating content and still focus on my family.
Have you ever been so worn down from life’s challenges that you had to limit or eliminate your social media activity?
💡Tip #5 Clear and consistent communication overcomes the toughest of situations
Whether you work remotely, in the office, or odd hours it is important to keep your boss and peers at work in the loop. Any transition point in a project or process requires extra diligence. Find how your co-workers prefer to receive information (email, text, in person, phone call etc) and flex to their preference.
Communicating in a variety of ways not only allows you to work well with others but shows your ability to adapt. Always provide a short recap of the main points of a meeting of phone call. Ask clarifying questions to check for understanding especially if you are working on a complex process.
💡Tip #6—Dedicate time every work to work on your craft
Carve our 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. Whatever time segment works with your schedule make that the goal you aim for. Call this your “base goal” a non-negotiable on the absolute minimum amount of time to work daily. With my topsy-turvy work schedule and raising young children my base goal is 5 minutes daily.
Make a stretch goal on days you have more free time. What I mean is add extra “x number of minutes” to your base goal these days. Ex: Wednesdays and Saturday’s I don’t work any of my part-time jobs. So, I up my stretch goals a lot—to an hour.
Not hitting your stretch goals should never cause you worry or anxiety. This is bonus time. Achieving stretch goals should invoke gratitude.
Do you set daily or weekly goals? If so, why do find it helpful? If not, what is stopping you from setting up goals?
💡Tip #7—Getting feedback from your audience will help improve your content
You could be a superior writer interweaving complex ideas together in a beautiful way, but it you are not generating content that resonates with your audience it is ultimately a selfish and futile work.
J.K. Rowling began her Harry Potter series not for herself, but as a bedtime story for her children. She know the kind of content that would be easily picked up by kids. J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired to Roverandom to entertain his son after losing his favorite toy. Selfless acts of creation blossomed into classic tales that continue to give joy to readers today. One way to get feedback is to simply ask.
What kinds of questions do you have about content creation? Do you prefer standalone posts, or would you like to see a content series based on a theme? What prevents you from engaging with certain content on LinkedIn?
💡Tip #8—Getting feedback from your audience is only as important as your consistent execution of that feedback into content
It is important to listen. That often involves follow-up questions or noticing the engagement on the content you implement will go a long way towards fostering a solid relationship between you and your audience. I did get feedback on whether people wanted to see a series based on a theme or standalone posts. The verdict was it was a bit of both. I plan to continue the unique posts but will be creating more of a themed content series broken up in the course of a few days or a week.
What are some of the obstacles in your way of implementing the feedback once you got it from your audience? For me it is time and family obligations—my nine-month-old is teething still and having trouble sleeping through the night. What are some strategies or tools that helped you implement feedback promptly and consistency?
💡Tip #9—Higher priorities will bump your content goals down the queue sometimes and that is normal
Full disclosure: My 10 tips in 10 days has been a misnomer as a couple days I had to miss because of dealing with regression in my autistic son’s progress. Yesterday, was challenging as we painted our living room (thankfully we had some family come up for help). But any deviation from our schedule big or small incites a meltdown unless we uber-prepare him. The latest meltdowns were like wrangling a squid with the tenacity of a wolverine and the sound of a jet engine. Some days it takes me entire mental stamina to maintain a sane semblance of composure. I was 100% drained.
Don’t get down if you miss a day so long. Consistency does not always mean creating daily, but generating, on average, a repetitive and predictable schedule. The weekend often mean family comes first and this was the case yesterday.
How have different and higher priorities impacted your content creation and productivity of your work recently?
💡Tip #10—Content is versatile across platforms
There are so many different types of social media and communication platforms today to publish your material. Audio, written, and video. As I previously mentioned, originally these tips were created for LinkedIn, but realized I was limiting myself to only a single audience if I kept this content solely on one platform.
Combining the ten tips did not take up too much time. I basically had to update the format to read as a blog article (I included headings and ensured I broke up the paragraphs in a readable fashion) and proofread for consistency. Finally, I added images to help break up the text and improve reader experience.
Creating content can definitely be daunting at first. The key is dedicating time daily,a even if it is only 5-10 minutes, to work on your craft, develop a consistent schedule, implement chunking or breaking up tasks throughout the day, reassess your goals often. Learn to love the process of creating content as this will help you greatly in achieving your end goals!
If you need engaging content for your website to improve traffic and boost your brand please send me a link to your website in the comments below along with any questions you have about content creation. I will randomly select three comments to set-up a free content creation consult call! The deadline for comments to be included in the drawing is November 15th.
I was pleasantly surprised and very humbled to receive the news that my blog The Simple Catholic was recognized by Feedspot.com as one of the top 120 Catholic blogs for 2019 (#102).
Thank you to all the people who helped me with encouragement, writing guest posts, and engaging with my content on this platform. You my readers are the reason I write. I humbly use this platform as a means to inform and entertain you about the Catholic faith and my journey as a parent with special needs children.
Special shout to my wife Jennifer she was instrumental to my success: she proofread my articles, gave me time to write, and listened to me brainstorm my ideas 💡
It is also her birthday and I had a unique and cool surprise for her—stayed tuned later as I will reveal that later today. 😊
Thank you to William Hemsworth M.Div, Orlando U Javien Jr., Andrew Garofalo, and Megan Naumovski for your guest posts and to Keith A. Little for your future content on my site. Please visit the Guest Posts page to read these stellar works by these gifted writers.
Thank you to Pete Socks for reaching out to me with help in promoting visibility of my writing services.
I am a blessed man. I am nothing without your help and ultimately the grace of the Holy Trinity.
Here is a link to the top Catholic blogs if you are curious about the list. There are excellent blogs to follow so please check those out. 👍
According to Seth Godin in his book Poke the Box, “Without the spark of initiative you have no choice but to simply react to the world. Without the ability to instigate and experiment, you are stuck, adrift, waiting to be shoved.”
I have been in reactionary mode the last couple of days. Yesterday, I had an entire day off of work from both of my part-time jobs. I spent the majority of my day catching up on sleep.
Too Much Rest for the Writer?
I had to get rest. There was really no way around it. Yet, I somehow felt lazy and unmotivated. Unproductive. I despise that feeling of being unproductive!
My plan for this morning was to begin the day writing. I had saved all these inspiring content ideas. I was going to make up for “lost time” and roar back with a productive tenacity.
Guess what? Sleep got the better of me again! My body needed additional rest. This was the beginning of a writing rut. I could sense it. “It is just one day. I have been busy with my jobs and I had earlier success last month. I deserve another day off. Another 30 minute or hour nap won’t hurt. I will get my article written later in the day,” I told myself.
Excuses Me?! Enough of the Excuses!
Chock it up to an irregular schedule or the beginning of the school year, but at the basic level those reasons were excuses. I lacked initiative.
Admittedly, I did seriously ponder taking another day to rest—to put off the initiative to write. Fortunately, that was a temporary attitude. I drive to my local library to check out some marketing and entrepreneurial books. Seth Godin’s Poke the Box was perfect tinder to reignite my initiative.
Taking time to rest is necessary. Be wary against going too far and letting that day of rest turning into a couple days, then a week, or even long.
Take Action Now not Later
You will experience ruts. It is natural. Don’t give up. Rest your mind and body. Regroup. Go back to your work with a ferocity. Start. When? Now!
Please share your strategies to get yourself out of ruts and how you balance the need to rest with the need to get work done in the comments.
According to Henry David Thoreau, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” I interpret the great American writer’s words to mean that writing without having living is a futile endeavor. Lately, I have been experiencing writer’s block. Promising ideas and topics spring into my mind; however, a few sentences in I encounter a cerebral roadblock. I stop and wonder: what do my better works have in common? This question weighed on my mind for several days. Finally, I had an insight, a spark of inspiration! My creativity stems from drawing on palpable life experiences and I write best when I do not force the pen to the paper. Here are three reasons why forcing ideas lead to bad writing:
Writing is Creative
Writing is a form of art. Like all other artwork, writing involves creativity. From my experiences, I find that I am most creative when I do not seek to be creative. Rather, I allow myself to be inspired. I found inspiration from other authors, the wonders of the world, and my life experiences. William Wordsworth once said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Without breathing creativity into sterile words, writing is a lifeless process—there exists no meaning.
Creativity stems freely engaging with reality, yet also believing in the seeming impossible. “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You image what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will,” declared George Bernard Shaw. Forcing me to write when I am not inspired and when I lack the volition does not lead to a good essay.
Freedom over Coercion
To further the previous point, creativity only flows naturally with a will to write. In other words, authors tend to best write under freedom versus being coerced. Freedom presupposes a will. An author’s will to compose comes in ebbs and flows. Throughout this past month, I have lived in an arid climate—intellectually speaking. Previously, creativity freely flowed into my mind like an open spout. Currently, the creative spigot is dripping sporadic moments of creativity. Without having access to turn the metaphorical spout, I need to patiently wait for my natural ability to write to return. Waiting is a tough thing for me. According to the famous French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, “Patience is bitter, but its fruits are sweet”. I pray for the gift of patience from the Holy Spirit to withstand my aridity in authorship.
Real Life Experience vs. Fabricated Events
During the last few months, I learned that recalling past [and present] life experiences help me in sowing [and eventually reap the harvest] the seeds of writing. Concocting or fabricating an experience does not lead to a good piece of writing. A contrived event only breeds half-finished drafts and clutters my computer’s filing system.
Without leaning on real life experiences, my writing suffers immensely. Drawing on the wellspring on my life infuses hue, vibrancy, and emotion into writing. A large part of my childhood involved reading. Franz Kafka boldly stated, “Reading is more important than writing.” The German novelist is on point with his claim.
This month involved a ton of changes in my family’s schedules. As a result, I lack sufficient time to ponder my experiences. I also failed to read daily. To combat this aridity, I made time to read at least 30 minutes a day to end this week. Reinvigorated with fresh ideas, I finally am able to complete today’s post!
Because writing is a creative endeavor forcing ideas does not always lead to the best artwork. Creativity involves freedom and a willingness to write and draw upon past and present experiences. Useful tips to help renew my creativity wellspring include: retreating from the busyness of life to reflect in silence and read other great books.
***“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”***