Have you ever started at a blinking cursor in your blog and wondered whether any words were ever going to come out? Or stressed over an email to send? Have you scheduled a whole bunch of quote-pic social media posts just so you wouldn’t go dark on your Twitter or Facebook business feed? Yep – raising MY hand here too. Creating content to keep our businesses out there, in front of our ideal clients, can feel time-consuming and HARD. But what it felt easy?
Writing emails, writing blog posts, doing videos, sharing on social media are not things that come naturally to most solopreneurs or small biz owners. If you’re a financial analyst, numbers come naturally. If you're an editor, grammar and style manuals are your best buddies. If you’re a parenting coach, listening and empathy are core skills. If you’re a graphic designer, PhotoShop is in your wheelhouse (and definitely not mine!). But we each had to stretch out of our comfort zones to learn how to market our skills and our businesses. Stretching feels scary too.
Comfort zones are … well … comfortable! Like your couch, favorite sweatshirt, or a recipe handed down from your grandparents. These are our easy spots. We can do that stuff without thinking or breaking a sweat. Graphic designers whip out logos. My financial guys LOVE their spreadsheets. Coaches know just the right questions to ask and how to probe.
If you ask most parenting coaches, authors, editors, or graphics whizzes to do a regular series of Facebook Live videos, or start their own YouTube channel, knees will knock. You pause. You procrastinate. You procrasti-learn (taking every course on the planet vs. taking action). If you're trying this on your own, it's hard to step out into the fear.
Because those new steps, those marketing tactics that aren’t comfortable, are downright scary. Taking a leap to try something new feels scary, and so we procrastinate. And then it just feels scarier.
What if you could test and try and be supported while you took a leap?
What if you got to a place where those new things, those marketing things, actually felt EASY?!
What would it take for content marketing to feel easy?
What has it taken for content creation to feel easier for me?
Well, not ALL of content feels easy or not all the time. I still freeze at the keyboard some days. 😉
Breaking things down into smaller steps.
Seeing examples from other rocking business owners.
Community – that provides accountability plus support.
Have I mentioned practice or just doing it?
Ok, and brownies and coffee mugs and other prizes haven’t hurt. 😉
In addition to following resources that help me learn tips, trends, and techniques to improve my content marketing (that I then share with you), I too have to keep practicing. I use checklists. I get templates. I turn to licensed content as a brain-starter. I look to other businesses for inspiration.
Once you take that first leap, it’s easier to leave your marketing comfort zone and explore new tactics.
I'm not sure I really believed that would be the case when I first started seriously practicing a stretch of my content marketing 7 years ago (read about 2019's stretch here). Even with all my experience in marketing and research, I knew I had to get better at DOING content. I thought with enough support, guidance, and practice it would become easier.
And it has become easier! Because every year – this is now my 7th by our best count – I CHOOSE to stretch. I choose to practice. And the accountability, community and sheer fun of it keeps me coming back. Prizes don't hurt. 😄
The Stretch Yourself Content Marketing Challenge from Kelly McCausey at Love People and Make Money Shoot, I started diving in to content marketing and taking new leaps back when she had a different brand name and the challenge was in the spring. That's how many times I've made this choice and investment in my business.
Kelly’s challenge comes with a packed guidebook, including checklists, to guide us through many possible content marketing challenges. Different business owners, at different stages, will be stretched by different challenges. What makes one online business owner shake their head (TicTok?!), will be an other's jam and joy (keep shining Tishia!). There's a content challenge in here for every business, touching on all the major forms of content marketing (valuable blog posts, lead magnets, video marketing, social media, and more).
I remember the year Kelly added doing a series of Facebook Live videos as an option and I got excited. I even declared in her community I was gonna do that!
And then I got nervous.
And then I straight-up panicked and didn’t do the FB challenge that year. I stretched in other ways.
But … I didn't do the thing I knew would really stretch me …
However, thanks to the awesome SYC and the guide, I still learned about how to structure a Facebook Live series. Then I watched other business owners go Live. I asked for support. And by the following winter, I took the leap and I was going live every week. What started as hard and scary became easy. Fun even! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done a Facebook Live by now. It’s become an integral part of my business and marketing.
When you do the Stretch Yourself Challenge live you get community, support, accountability, and live calls – which are all awesome. But you can completely learn and rock your content marketing by doing the SYC as a self-study, any month of the year. Pick one of the challenges (Facebook Live series, start a YouTube channel, create a new opt-in gift, promote a great blog post like crazy, etc) and give it your attention and practice over 30 days. And you can still join Kelly's community and get support from like-minded, stretching, leaping business owners. Any month is a good month to take a leap!
I recommend the SYC because you will learn how much easier content creation and content marketing can become when you know how to do it. When you take guided steps and practice it. When you have support. When you see other online business owners stretching and taking a leap and getting OUT THERE with their marketing. When you see it CAN be easy.
This year I’ve already completed two challenges from the guide that I had no intention of doing at the start of the month (a webinar on 10 days notice, creating a new group coaching experience). LOL! I did them because of inspiration, because they brought me joy, because they let me give more to my community … and because they had become EASY. And they were easy because they brought me joy. And they were easy because I had done them before and gained confidence.
Feeling joyful about leaving my comfort zone … knowing I CAN leave my comfort zone … that's why I choose to come back to the SYC so often.
My content isn’t perfect. No solopreneur will ever have perfect content marketing. We’re human and there’s one of us. But we can keep learning and experimenting to find what parts of content marketing work for US, for OUR business, and that become EASY for us. That may not be Facebook Lives for you, it might be weekly emails, or a podcast, or one really meaty blog post per month.
What if you stretched and took a leap … and found a part of content marketing that was easy for YOU?
P.S. h/t (that’s “hat tip”) to my coach Kelly McCausey for introducing me to “What If It Were Easy?” – a question she nudges her folks with. We business owners overthink things a LOT. I even have the mug to remind me to step back, strip away the extra layers, stop over-thinking, and do what is easy.
I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.
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