I kid you not, I’d make fewer graphics.
Just as I was thinking about writing a post about this, a milestone alert arrived in my inbox from Canva.
If you are just starting out and writing your first blog posts, you don’t need to worry about graphics!
Unsplash is built into most sites for free now. Use that. Or use nothing. Here’s why.
If I had it to do all over again, I’d start out even leaner than I did before. I originally began with the free Canva plan and spent years there. But what I did spend? A ton of time on creating graphics when my time as a sole proprietor could have been spent elsewhere.
(Now I pay $13/mo for Canva and can’t imagine my life without it because it saves me time with resizing and background remover!)
I think it’s easy to get into all the shiny objects when you start out.
I started Destiny Architecture Life Coaching & Reiki in the summer of 2016 as I was working two jobs and completing my life coaching certification. I thought creating the perfect blog was my ticket to future business success. I had no idea what I was doing.
So I spent a ton of time writing blogs that didn’t work, which I’ve since either deleted or edited. I also made sure to create my very own graphics. They had my personal stamp on them! They were special. They were pieces of me, just like those early blog posts that I’ve since realized weren’t helping me at all.
I hope you’re rolling your eyes reading that last paragraph just as much as I was while writing it 😉
What I should have done? I should have:
- Spent time editing blogs for readability, content, spelling, and grammar mistakes.
- Spent time studying what successful bloggers in my niche were doing.
- Spent time learning to harness SEO. For real, it counts.
- Spent time community building both on and offline.
- Trading links and guest posts—but that’s also part of optimizing for SEO. It’s also a vital part of business networking.
- Been consistent in delivering content.
What I’m glad I did:
- I hit social media from the start.
- I also built my email list from day one.
- I created a mix of working online as a coach while also continuing to work within my local community.
- I never, ever gave up.
Now, it’s time for yet another pivot.
I recently explored what happens when a writer and online content creator (me) makes the effort to be consistent. I wrote and published my work online daily for 190 days straight. I called the first 90 days of it “#ContentStorm” on Twitter.
But it went so well, I didn’t stop until day 190!
My break from daily shipping has lasted a few weeks now, but I’ve still been writing online nearly every day. I am a professional writer, after all. I write for my sites and newsletter. I write for the social media marketing agency where I work.
It was easy to get into this discipline and lose sight of other business priorities.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been delving into my coaching and Reiki business again as I simultaneously work to complete my yoga teacher and meditation teacher trainings concurrently. I’ll soon hold my RYT-200 along with a 100-hour meditation teaching certification.
Now is the time to lean out my processes, settle up on prices, and make my offerings easier for clients to navigate.
That’s what I have devoted my energy to lately, rather than take up 30-60 minutes daily because, “I have to write and hit this quota.” The writing also was taking a backseat to the reason I started consistent shipping in the first place. That was so that I could use my online content as an organic means of attracting an audience to my work as a transformational life coach and Usui Reiki Master.
In pursuing the goal of daily shipping for six months, I lost sight of what I was writing about.
Which brings me to the original story on how my online content marketing journey began. I knew I could write because I was a working journalist and content creator before it was cool. Before the word “content” was thrown around so often and casually that it became the trendy thing it is now, I was low-key creating content online.
I’m talking about when the Internet was young, in the pre-9/11 times.
Because I knew I had this skill—and because I was that absolutely broke journalist/social worker—I knew that if I was going to make it as an online life coach, I had to do it without paying for ads.
So I spent the past six years learning how to reach my clients organically.
What to do if you’re just starting out as a content creator:
- Define your core audience and write to that person. Niche down hard. Then, go even harder.
- Use Typeshare + Twitter/Medium/LinkedIn to test and validate your ideas.
- Have a website, blog, and/or podcast if you must. But don’t expect anything to come of it.
- Invest in where people are right now. I see that in this moment to be TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
- Spend time on creating writing your readers find valuable, not on creating graphics.
- Keep your tech stack simple and lean. Find tech that works together. Look for freeware and free starter plans as much as you can. But don’t forget you will be charged more as you grow. Plan to scale over time!
- Find a mentor.
- Take risks.
- Create a system in which you can plan, track progress, and self-reflect.
- Find ways to go paperless. Get and stay organized from day one.
- Realize you’re going to have to learn, grow, and change constantly.
- Know what the trends are, but be objective enough to know when not to follow them.
I could go on all day, but I think there are a couple things worth noting.
- Your mileage may vary. My niche and my audience may be very different from yours.
- All of this is subject to change quickly in the world of digital content.
My philosophy is to put yourself out there, test content, and then study analytics. Metrics are often my boss, but I never lose sight of the human beings I serve.
Need help getting started? Seeking a content coach? Book a quick meeting with me on my calendar!