"Content is king."
We've all heard it. At this point, the necessity of content marketing is well-known, and there are millions (if not billions) of articles offering advice on how to make your wordpress blog gain traction. There's so much advice out there that it's easy to feel the creep of analysis paralysis--the state of over-analyzing a situation so much that you never make a decision or take action.
When it comes to your business, though, you can't afford to be paralyzed. With all the shouting about which path is the best, you need to be able to shut it down and do the work.
We're here to offer a few tips on how to cut through the noise and take decisive action:
Start with self-care
The first step to decisive action starts with your personal well-being. Taking strategic action requires being in the right headspace--which means you have to take care of you first.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, HALT. Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? If so, it's time to figure out how to resolve that first. Eat a snack; punch a pillow; call a friend; take a nap.
Culturally, we're told that running a business requires sacrificing our own well-being. People often brag about working long hours, losing sleep, or skipping meals because they have so much to do. If you find yourself nodding along, remembering all the times you've been down that very same path, I have to ask: Are you running a marathon or a sprint?
Making sure you're well-fed (with healthy food--we see you nodding along, nutritionists out there!), well-rested, and mentally clear is a crucial aspect of taking action. High levels of stress reduce productivity, which means taking care of you is the first thing you must do.
View advice through a critical lens
A blogging tactic may be absolutely brilliant, but that doesn't mean it's a good fit for your brand. Before panicking about how you're going to implement a new approach you've heard about, evaluate whether it would be uniquely beneficial to your business.
A few questions to ask yourself before adding a new approach:
- How much time per week do I currently spend on content creation and promotion?
- How much time per week do I have to spend on content creation and promotion?
- Is it possible for this approach to be seamlessly integrated into my current process?
- Will this approach access a new audience that falls within my target demographic?
- Does this approach offer something new to my current audience?
Any approach you take on should be straightforward and simple to work into your process. The answers to these questions will help you evaluate which tactics are a good fit for you and whether or not they're worth your valuable time.
Parse the to-do list
Who hasn't stared down a long, seemingly insurmountable to-do list and thought, "I would like to crawl back into bed right now?"
If you're looking at your current content strategy (or what you wish was your current content strategy), thinking, "Oi vey," take a deep breath! The key here is breaking each task down into tiny, digestible pieces.
When you're looking at a task, the best way to remain calm is to cut and rank each piece.
For example, consistency is crucial for blogging. There are many successful blogs that post once or even several times a day, but if you're a one-person shop, that's a lot of pressure. How sustainable is it for you to create new blog content every single day? Staring this down is a good way to cause a heart attack!
Instead, you can cut the large task into several parts and what might have seemed like one big, scary task...is really just a series of small tasks. You could easily set up a whole process step by step, even spacing small tasks out weekly toward your long-term goal.
Having a minimalist wordpress theme goes a long way here - removing clutter and helping you focus on your content, which is ultimately what's important.
All new tactics get a probationary period
If you're trying a new approach to blogging, treat it like a new employee: it gets a probationary period, at the end of which you'll decide whether or not it's working for you.
Keep track of the date you kick off a new approach and set a block of time aside on the calendar for ninety days later. Between the kick-off and evaluation dates, make a commitment to yourself: You won't give up or panic about whether it's working. Put the strategic part of your brain on hold!
During that time, keep a document or notepad where you can jot down thoughts as you go through the process. Have you noticed that this new process is much more time-consuming than you thought, even when you get in the swing of it? Jot it down. Have you noticed that your site traffic has spiked midway through the probationary period? Jot it down. Have you received any feedback from your audience about the new approach? Jot it down.
At your evaluation date, look through the notes you've taken over the last three months and look at your site's vital stats (sales, traffic, engagement). What have you noticed? Are there things about this approach that are working? Are there things that could be tweaked to make it easier for you to manage?
Or maybe, at the evaluation date, you decide that the approach isn't the one for you. That's okay, too! And it brings us to one of the most important things to remember...
Stop doing work that isn't paying off
Are you familiar with the sunk cost fallacy?
When we invest time and money into something, we want to make it worth it. It's no surprise that this applies to blogging, too. How many current tools and tactics are you using just because you've already invested so much into making them happen... even if they aren't working for you anymore?
Consider a minimalist approach. Do fewer things, and focus on those fewer things that are most important.
You aren't losing anything by giving up the approaches that aren't working for you. That time isn't "lost," because it's time you spent figuring out whether or not the approach was a right fit. It's time you needed to try, experience, and learn. That's why the ninety-day probationary period works: It allows you to be experimental--and it also allows you to say "Buh bye!" to things that are hindering more than they are helping.
Hopefully, these tips help you breathe a little easier when you're trying to figure out where to take your blog next. Remember: You're already doing incredible work, and any content marketing tactic you use should elevate the brilliant things you have to share with your audience--without bringing you down.
Say goodbye to analysis paralysis--and join the conversation!
Have any questions about these tips or insight on how you handle this situation? We'd love to hear it! Head to our Facebook group and join the discussion!
Sometimes you need a permission-giver.
If you connected with these insights, join us for more actionable steps and permission-giving in our exclusive masterclass for bloggers using our wordpress themes looking to earn more and do more with less hustle. #loveyourblogagain