1. Trying to produce original content every time
One of the things that most people find daunting when approaching a regular writing/blogging habit is thinking that they have to produce and expand on an original idea every day. Now if you’re doing your morning pages each day this is not such a wild idea as the purpose of that practice is to tap into your subconscious reservoir of ideas and creativity.
It’s not the only way though (but I still really, really recommend it as a regular practice!)
With the explosion of the internet and technology in general, there is even more opportunity to expand your horizons and reach many more readers, listeners, lookers and experiencers with any number of versions of your idea. Not everyone who consumes information does so through the written word. If you’re familiar with the idea that people have numerous preferred modes of communication, then you know that some will like a leisurely read, others will prefer a short, sharp, get-to-the-point-already! delivery, while still others might like to download your content on their iPod or mp3 player and listen to it while on the go. Don’t forget the power of visuals – they say a picture paints a thousand words and effective imagery delivers more bang for your buck so use it whenever you can and where it’s appropriate.
The beauty of this point is that it’s the idea that keeps on giving. When you create your content in different formats then you not only cement your messages with your audience through consistency, but your content is ready-made to share on various social networks – Facebook & LinkedIn for articles, Twitter for short sharp commentary, Pinterest & Instagram for imagery, SlideShare for presentations, Youtube & Vimeo for video content to name just a few. It’s not so hard to take your article and rework it into these different formats and deliver it to those platforms and voila! you have just reached any number of new audiences.
2. Being overly protective of original ideas
I see a lot of talk in my networks regarding people stealing ideas and sometimes even whole chunks of content and passing it off as their own. Now I think this is a deplorable practice and always recommend that you be aware that this is a real possibility and it does come with the territory, however it should never absolutely stop you from putting your best work out there.
If you are truly able to create your own message that is unique and authentic to you, then your essence and value cannot be taken away – and while you continue to follow the practice of writing your morning pages, you will not only always have fresh content and ideas for creating more, but you will find your message and your abilities to articulate that message will grow organically and you will always have fresh sources of inspiration.
By not being overly concerned with people taking your ideas ñ after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – be assured that those people can never sustain the flavour and authenticity of your voice and the natural progression that your work must take by showing up every day.
Attaching a copyright notice to your work is advised as this lets readers know that you own copyright to the material, although it is usually not required to seek explicit copyright of the material you’ve produced. The copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive rights.
Ultimately, if you are crippled by the thought that people are taking your best ideas and that you will finish the day empty handed, then you lose anyway. Your work, enthusiasm and ability to inspire dries up too.
Which camp would you prefer to be in?
3. Not taking advantage of community connections
The beautiful thing about social media are the connections you make with people whom you never would have otherwise come into contact with.
There are no physical boundaries or limits to your connections with people and organisations, and it is entirely common to have friends and acquaintances all over the world.
Social media is ideal for groups of like-minded people to connect and keep in touch, develop ideas and learn from each other.
One of the most effective ways to expand your reach is when you are in a group of writers who have similar goals and values. If everyone is on the same page and willing to promote and be promoted, then the ability to expand your audience exponentially is huge. Smart Healthy Women Magazine has over 100 individual authors who contribute articles to its pages. Imagine if each of these authors were to promote the work of the other authors in the community to their audience.
If each author only had a reach of 100 members in their community, then suddenly each of these contributors can potentially reach over 10,000 people on the first iteration. Add to that the connections of those 10,000 people and so on, and you have a very simple formula for having your articles accessible to many more people than your 100 followers.
For this strategy to work, there has to be a common understanding among the participants and a willingness to honour the principles of sharing in the spirit of community and service.
4. Not connecting with the big guys
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to get your articles & work out into the mainstream is to be published on a hugely influential publication like the Huffington Post that has over 40 million female visitors per day. (Smart Healthy Women Magazine isn’t quite there yet but believe me, we’re working on it!)
Identifying and contacting prime digital magazines that publish the type of articles that are a match to your best work should be included in your overall marketing plan.
Make it your job to study the articles that are published on these sites, and pay particular attention to the article titles – start collecting these in a file and start learning what works as it’s often your title that dictates who will click through and read your work (and your bio) which is what you want.
If you can craft an article that is timely and interesting, then do so and submit it to the editor. You may be surprised to find that you’ve been published. “List” type articles are often well regarded as people find them easier to read.
And if your article doesn’t get picked up, then that is feedback for you too. Back to the drawing board and see what you can improve.
5. Being too bland – not wishing to offend anyone and putting them to sleep in the process.
Guess what, being bland offends people too! In fact, they’ll be so offended you will lose each and every one of them. Fact is, only the people who resonate on your frequency, or vibration, will be a match to you anyway so you may as well put the real you out there.
So don’t be afraid to use your authentic voice and also when you write or speak then do so in the way that you normally do. As the saying goes, those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.
*It may not be your style at all to use four letter words and that is great if that’s you. My point is, be your natural self, even down to writing the way you would speak.
Bonus tip 6: Not being consistent.
Consistency with your work is key. If you have obligations that mean you can’t put in a 40 hour week while building up your business (and let’s face it, as women we often find an 80 hour week is the norm with everything else we need to factor in, including family and perhaps a ‘real job’) then plan and stick to a schedule that you can commit to. It’s not necessarily the amount of time you put it, but the level of consistency that you commit to that will give you the greatest results. To paraphrase Danielle la Porte: “You have to take responsibility for everything you say ‘Yes’ to”. If you find yourself saying ‘Yes’ to too many things, you need to take a look at that.