What If You Took a Little Leap and Learned to Make Your Content Marketing Easier?
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?
“Marketing” can be a frustrating, confusing, or even scary word.
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.
But what if content creation didn't feel so scary?
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. 😉
What helps me tackle my own marketing and business growth:
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.
And I consciously, with intention, push myself out of my comfort zone at least once per year.
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. 😄
Where have I gotten that support, encouragement, nudging, butt-kicking, inspiration and education in content marketing in-practice?
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.
What You Get Inside the Challenge
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.
Every online business can learn to make content marketing easier
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.
Loved your post and how you brought the “What if it were easy” into the post and the challenge. I honestly think in our minds, we make everything harder than it is. We talk ourselves out of doing amazing things by telling ourselves it is too hard, will take too long, etc. I’m glad the challenge is helping you to move things forward and make things easier.
I like how you compared what comes easy to accountants, parenting coaches, and so on… but to most of people in business, content marketing does not come easy! And it’s so true. We seem to have to be several places at one time. I’m glad to hear you’re stretching to reach your goals in the SYC.
This is my first year and I definitely see the value in it and in getting out of my comfort zone. Am glad to be in it with you and to see what you are up to as you grow your business!
I love your Facebook Live example! The challenge goes way beyond September, doesn’t it? And we never know when that thing we’re mulling over will finally bubble up and become reality. So stoked to be one of your teammates in this thing!
Sign me up as a Procrasti-learner!! I used to think I was a Just-In-Time-Quick-Study! This works out well for me…. most of the time. Other times something creeps up on me that was not expected and the eleventh hour gets spent on putting out a fire or soling a crisis.
What I love about the SYC is that we can easily plan out the work. We have the items. The Triads force me to schedule them.
I’m looking forward to jumping into the content refresh challenge in October.
I chose the fb lives and holy cow has this made it easy to repurpose content! Like crazy easy lol
Is this what real marketers do? bahahaha
I have never heard that term, “procrasti-learn” before. I don’t know if you created it, or if it’s just something new to me, but man, it describes what I would have done without this challenge! I knew that I didn’t know much, and would have waited to figure everything out before truly committing to my new business if it weren’t for this challenge and this group. I’m also excited about your comment where you say, “What if you stretched and took a leap … and found a part of content marketing that was easy for YOU?” What a terrific tip! It doesn’t have to be one size fits all, just because someone else is rockin’ it one way, doesn’t mean I can’t rock it another way. This was a very inspiring post. 🙂
“Taking a leap to try something new feels scary, and so we procrastinate. And then it just feels scarier.”
Oh, this is so true, the more we think about anything the bigger and harder it becomes in our minds. With the community support, and everyone else stretching too, it does feel less intimidating, and easier to procrastinate the procrastination.
Wow, Jennifer! I now have a name for my particular style of procrastination. I am a procrasti-learner🤗
I love to see how you grow more and more each year! Way to go on finishing two challenges already this year!!!
Hah, welcome to the Procrasti-Learners Club Benecia, you’re in good company. 🙂 And we have the community and skills to turn that around into action.
Jennifer, I love this! You remind me of myself! I got a good laugh thinking about how you shared about coaches! YOU NAILED US! It reminds me of plumbers with leaky faucets–we are so quick to help others get things done and we have a tendency to let our own things sit in the background just begging for a bit of attention. I LOVE that SYC lights a fire under our tail and helps us to take those steps to make ourselves a priority for just one month. I cannot wait to see all that you accomplish. You are a powerhouse! 🙂
Coming from another powerhouse, thank you Cindy! We do indeed have to make the concerted focus on doing our own work and not to let it sit for the next challenge, right?! Go get it!
You’ve just taught me a new word: “procrasti-learn.” And oh yes, I have done that so many times. We tell ourselves that stretching won’t be as scary or hard if we learn everything about something before we do it. But of course DOING it is still going to be a stretch. And yes, any month is a good month to take that leap! The best time to do something amazing is always right now.
Hah, yes I’ve taken on those words: “Procrasti-plan” and “procrasti-learn” – all the ways we can think we are busy and out there, but are we REALLY doing it? Let’s actually DO it. You’re doing it!!
Breaking things down into smaller steps, has been magical for me.
I applaud your commitment to stretch yourself with the challenge
for the past nine years. You are success in motion. Keep doing.
Thank you Adalia, it’s community and meeting other inspiring business owners like you that keep me refreshed and stretching forward.
Oh, wow! Seven year? That must be the reason that you seem so confident to me in the forum. Thanks for all your inputs to my and other people’s questions! They’ve been so informative and enlightening, just like this blog post… and, yes, that “What if?” It’s something one should keep asking oneself to muster enough courage to do things that seems difficult to do.
Thanks Maria! We each can find our courage to ask the questions and do new things in business and life. You’ve got this!
What if it were easy? What am I overthinking? What do I want to see more of in the world? Aren’t these the first principles of Kelly McCausey’s momentum group that you and I were founding members in?? And they stand even until today.
Nice post, Jennifer, for someone who didn’t even think she could find time to write a couple of paragraphs! You nailed the Stretch Yourself Challenge and the WHY for someone to jump into it!
Isn’t it wild and wonderful how the little sayings and quotes have become so integral to our thinking, our businesses and our lives?! 🙂
Nice meaty post Jennifer. Love watching you stretching and growing again this year. You are rocking it. I like the whole procrasti-learn you mention – been there, done that, got 10 t-shirts for it 😉
LOL. Got the t-shirts, the mug, and half of a second graduate degree as a master at procrasti-learning. But we are kicking it and taking action with this challenge, and all year long – aren’t we?! 😀
Jennifer, congratulations on completing two challenges in the guide. That’s fantastic. You’re off to a strong start with this. I, too, love Kelly’s question about “What if it were easy?” It really opens up so much possibility for ease and flow! And, I’m so glad we had an opportunity to triad. It was so helpful. Thank you! To your continued success with SYC.
Thank you Tara for your comments and the ideas in our call. It’s always helpful to remind ourselves to not get so caught up, to ask ‘what if it were easy.’
Great Blog post. I love how you ask the readers lots of questions, encouraging them to think and question. Plus who doesn’t want brownies?
Thanks Amanda! I’m a champion question-asker.
P.S. Send brownies! 🙂
Jennifer, practice, support, and breaking things into smaller steps. You are speaking my language! That is exactly how I am able to tackle new challenges. If I look at something new and don’t think of it the way you described, I panic.
Thank you for all the support you have personally given me ❤!
Awww, thanks Luanna! And a timely reminder for me to follow our advice – break it down, take one bite at a time, no panic necessary. 🙂
Thank you for stretching yourself, Jennifer. I, personally have benefitted from the challenges you have taken on. When you grow, I grow.
Thank you Lynn! I love your support and watching you shine and boldly grow as well.
Watching you stretch over the years is a pleasure Jennifer! You have stepped it every time, taking full advantage of the invitation… and extending invitations to others! Keep it going – the world appreciates you ❤
Thanks Kelly! You surely know how to guide, nudge, and inspire your community to take action. We have a great role model as we share and build our own communities through our work.
Super excited to be a part of the Stretch Yourself Challenge and Team Shine with you this year! Keep up the stretching – you are going to continue to accomplish amazing things! 🙂
Thanks for your encouragement and accountability my friend! Even solopreneurs need teams and support.