How do you know when to click “Publish”?
For anyone who releases any kind of content, it’s a hard question to ask and it’s even harder to answer.
It’s difficult to ask because it forces you to confront the quality of what you produce. Self assessment can be uncomfortable.
And it’s even more difficult to answer because, well, pretty much every sane person sometimes battles with imposter syndrome—the notion that even though you are skilled at something, you’re actually not any good at it.
But answering tough questions is what we do here on the Three Crowns blog, and today we’re going to figure out how to know when your content is good enough to send out into the world.
Before we address the elephant in the room, let’s first wade through the all-important question of why so many advisors fear creating content.
I’m sure there are more reasons you can come up with than this, but I’ve identified a list of six reasons why most advisors don’t publish—including a solution on how to move past each fear.
Here we go, in no particular order…
Let’s get this out of the way: Your compliance officer doesn’t hate you, they just don’t want to see your business go down in flames because of a dumb tweet.
It’s literally in their job description.
But a lot of advisors are afraid of running afoul of compliance. If they aren’t worried about the content itself, then they often believe the archival and necessary storage of their content is too difficult.
There’s an easy fix here. Just talk to whoever reviews your materials, whether you outsource compliance or have someone in-house do it.
Tell them your strategy and plan for what you want to create, and ask for a clear list of what you shouldn’t do or say, and then steer clear of that. A little prep goes a long way.
If you aren’t throwing around performance guarantees and client testimonials like free candy at a parade, you likely won’t run into any issues.
I’m a solo business owner, so I understand the time crunch. Ultimately, creating content for your business comes down to how much you want it.
If sharing your thoughts and offering value to others is important to you, you will find the time to create content.
It might mean that you dedicate one hour each week by coming into the office an hour earlier than normal, or it might mean that you write a blog post at midnight the day before it’s supposed to go out (…I may be speaking from personal experience. Old habits die hard. Sorry, Mr. Fordyce.)
There are other solutions to how you can create good content on limited time. If you don’t want to blog, use video. I love posting social videos because the edit time is minimal. Live videos can serve this purpose too.
When you first start, unless you’re already very well known, it’s true that (almost) no one will notice.
Maybe you’ll go viral on your first post. You probably won’t.
Honestly, think of this as a good thing. It gives you time to get you feet under you and figure out what you’re doing.
Publishing content also demands that you accept the realities of work.
When you started your business, did you think you’d manage $100 million by the end of your first day? Probably not.
Expecting 5,000 hits on your blog after your first post is a similar story. You have to put in the time and effort necessary to earn a following.
Each day, you have to provide advice and service that proves to your clients that you still deliver value that’s worth what they pay you.
The same is true of content. If you continually prove that you can deliver value, you’ll begin to attract more eyes. But you also have to accept the reality that it will take time and commitment.
Your blogs probably won’t saturate Twitter like Josh Brown and you may not get as many live video views as Tyrone Ross, who is doing some fantastic work in that area.
But that’s totally cool.
Most of the time, you don’t have to be better at creating content than someone else to be successful.
If you’re in direct competition with someone else (like an advisory firm that sits across the street from you in your own town) then it does become important to showcase your value and prove your worth in a comparative sense.
But if you’re looking across the industry at large and taking note of what people leading the way are doing and how they’re doing it better than you, you’re putting your eyes in the wrong place.
It’s like looking at the way a five-year-old throws a football versus how Tom Brady throws a football. They aren’t in the same stage of development, and neither are you when compared to the leading voices.
Keep your sights where they matter—on yourself.
A lot of business owners shy away from publishing content because they don’t know where to begin.
But beginning is as simple as taking notes of what you do every day. The conversations you have with clients should form the foundation of any content you produce.
If someone comes to you with a problem, it has certain elements that make it unique to them. But the core issue they need to solve is likely something someone else needs to solve as well.
Take this example. A client of yours might have just had their first child. They want to know the best methods available to them for starting a college fund in your state.
That conversation can become content. Obviously you don’t want to use the client’s name or their specific details, but you can jot down your advice, generalize some aspects of it, and use that to help others who are asking themselves the same question.
After all, you’ve already done the hard work of thinking through the possibilities, so now all you have to do is document your process.
This might be sacrilegious for me to say as a professional copywriter, but you don’t have to be a great writer to be an effective marketer. In fact, a lot of those traditional rules you learned from your high school English teachers don’t really apply at all.
Very few people are going to care if you end a sentence with a preposition (and if they do…I hope they’re getting paid to care, at the least). Nobody is going to care if you prefer Oxford commas or not.
These are things I think about, but for the average person, they aren’t going to cause your message to fail.
On the other hand, do you have to have a sense of pacing and an ability to clearly explain the point you want to get across? Of course. Again, though, a lot of that comes down to practice.
As long as you’re not creating a 2,000-word blog post using only five-word sentences, this fear is probably overblown. (But if you need or want some copywriting help, you can always contact me. If I can’t help, I’ll try to connect you with a writer who can.)
And one more thing: If you hate writing, try video instead.
Ah, here we go. The reason you clicked on this blog post and the question that started it all for me.
What makes good content, good?
I don’t have any kind of secret sauce to guide you, but I do have my own experience creating content for myself as well as many other financial services businesses.
When I’m creating content, I ask myself these three questions.
Is my purpose clear?
Is it helpful?
Is it action-oriented?
Let’s dig a little deeper into each question.
Is your topic immediately clear to your audience, or are you taking too long to get to the point? A journalist might call this “burying the lede.”
Right upfront, state what problem you’re solving. Be clear about the central theme so everyone knows what they’re getting into, and stick to it.
Good content doesn’t sell. Good content provides value to the person who’s experiencing it.
Providing value doesn’t mean it always has to be serious. Comic strip artists are helpful because they’re delivering what their readers want—to laugh or find a few moments of light enjoyment.
So, ask if you’re clearly providing the kind of value your clients would want.
Once someone is done with your content, will they have found it helped their thinking about the topic you covered? If you can say yes, keep going.
I don’t like content that leaves you at the end without much to go on. Provide action steps.
In this post, I’m giving you three questions to ask yourself before you publish content. Those are your action steps.
Beyond that, give your readers a call to action. If someone wants to get in touch with you after reading or watching what you produced, make it easy for them. (My contact page is here…just saying.)
After all that, you may still be hesitant to click publish. And that’s ok.
I love what marketing guru Seth Godin has to say about shipping your work.
“The only choice is to launch before you’re ready.”
He goes on to say that scrappy and crappy aren’t the same thing, and that’s an important distinction.
Publishing a blog with typos everywhere is crappy, but publishing a blog with a sentence or two that might not be quite as eloquent as you want? That’s ok.
Give yourself some grace and have the courage to put yourself out there.
Featured Image: Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash