Why I stopped creating new content last year

Why I stopped creating new content last year

In this week’s video I’m owning up to the fact that I have not created any new content to send to you in this way since May last year.  (But you might not even have noticed… and that’s another thing I talk about in the video).

Now eight months is long time without creating any new content, particularly if you know how much I emphasise the importance of being consistent and regular when it comes to giving value to the people who sign up to learn more from you.  Because this is how we stay in contact, show the value of what we do, and how we build trust.   So it wasn’t easy for me to own up to this “business fail” – but my own business mentor challenged me to do it.

Watch the video or keep reading to learn why I stopped creating content, why I’m owning up to it – and the lessons I learned from it.

I recorded this video while in Canada a couple of weeks ago – that’s why it looks so beautiful and snowy behind me – but by the time you read this I’ll be back at home in South East London.  I was in Toronto for a 2 day mastermind retreat with my business mentor Stu McLaren. It was him that challenged me to do this video to talk about the fact that I have let this aspect of my business slip and to share with you why that happened.

Because here’s the thing:  business is just like the rest life:  it’s not all smooth running. We have good periods and bad periods and times when the wheels just fall off.  And that’s the nature of being human. It’s the nature of being alive. It’s the nature of running a business.

So yes, you could say the wheels fell off my content creation strategy last May!

Why I let my content creation slip

For the past several years, I’ve had two right-hand women in my business who support me.  They know me and my business really well, and because of that they can do really good work for me with a minimal amount of handover and management. Let’s call them the “left-hand woman” and the “right-hand woman”.  Well in May last year when I was right in the middle of a launch for the Business from the Heart membership, I lost both of them at the same time.   One of them was planned, that was Elizabeth Buckley Goddard. She had been initially my tech VA and later my launch manager and launch strategist. Hers was a planned departure – she left to focus on adopting two lovely little girls.  The other loss was much more sudden, more unexpected and much sadder in that Sara Louise Fox, my community manager, content manager, and all things, “hey, I need help with something that’s short notice urgently, please can you help me”, lost her husband, the Fabulous Mr Fox, and so understandably she also left suddenly.

So I was left without my left-hand and my right-hand woman in one fell swoop. But there was another piece that combined with this, which is that a few months prior to that I’d actually taken on another person into my business who as it turned out didn’t have the skills or the capability and probably more importantly didn’t have the sense of personal responsibility that I needed to really be effective in my business. But somehow the fact that she wasn’t the right person had been masked by me having these other two people around.  So what happened was that once I’d lost the right-hand and the left-hand, I found myself dropped into daily chaos where I was doing a lot of work that was normally done by other people – easily around 30 to 40 hours a month. Plus I was spending huge chunks of every day firefighting work that wasn’t being done effectively by other members of the team – correcting of work, chasing people up and having to drop everything to fix problems at the drop of a hat.

What it ultimately meant was that because of these “behind the scenes” challenges 2019 was a pretty tough year for me.

The 2 things that took higher priority for me than content creation

So why did I drop the content creation and not something else? Well, that’s because of my personal values, and my business priorities, which means that if the wheels start falling off, there are two things that absolutely have to happen no matter what:

1.  Looking after my customers
The first and highest value for me is always looking after my customers. So, if someone is in my membership paying me a recurring monthly fee, or they’ve joined a course, or they have invested at a high level in private mentoring then delivery of what I’ve promised and received payment for has to come first.  Always.

2.  Revenue
The other piece that as a business owner none of us can afford to let slip is the revenue. I couldn’t stop letting money come into my business or I would have ground to a halt, and that meant that from September onwards I launched the Get More Clients Saying Yes! course. With hindsight, it’s very easy to see that I took on too much at the end of the year considering I had a much reduced support team.  In fact I effectively did four back to back launches between September and early December!  For 3 of those everything was created from scratch – the emails, landing pages, content and the Infusionsoft campaigns.

And so unsurprisingly I just didn’t manage to keep all the plates spinning.

And if you are anything like me you’ll know (and I see this in my clients all the time) that the easiest thing let slip when it all gets busy is our our content creation.  So while I’m not happy about it (and definitely have not been “practising what I preach”) I can also look back and see how it happened.

I’m hoping that this video today is the first step to getting me back on the content creation wagon ready for a very different 2020!

Why it’s important to be consistent with your content

If you’re in my membership you’ll know that I talk all the time about the importance of creating regular content and being consistent with it so that you can keep in contact with people who are interested in what you do.  Not everyone will be ready to buy from you on the day they discover you and many people need to hear from you a number of times – sometimes over a number of months or even years – before they finally make that decision to buy from you or work with you.

If you are not creating valuable content then you are not able to keep yourself and your services “front of mind” for these future potential clients.   And sometimes it’s that one key piece of perfectly timed content that is what gets someone off the fence and enquiring about working with you.

What saved the day when the wheels fell off!

Now I’m not going to pretent I’ve ever been “completely perfect” at my content creation – for example my weekly videos very often end up being fortnightly!   But I have been creating regular content for the past 7 years.  What that meant is that I had a big library of existing content, nearly all of which was still relevant and valuable and full of teachings, insights and information that I teach within my programmes.   So what I did from May last year was I repurposed my existing content.   This meant there was no break in my content schedule – and quite possibly you didn’t even notice it was not brand new?

So I stand by my belief in the importance of creating regular content – because it was my previous consistency that actually saved the day for me last year.

But how DO you create regular consistent content?

I also know from my own experience is that it can be pretty hard to stick with a consistent strategy for creating fresh content.  So what I’d encourage you to do is to think of the type content that is the easiest for you to create. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing.  Instead ask yourself the very important question:

“What is easy for me?”

What I’ve found quite heavy at times has been getting my hair and makeup done, getting the lighting and background right, and sitting down and batch creating all my content. It’s actually really effective because it means I have content ready to go and I don’t have to batch again for another 6-8 weeks. But it can still be a block for me.  What I’m learning is that the “path of least resistance” for me is to do something like this – just to get my phone out, and stand somewhere beautiful or walk in the park while I talk to you.

So my message to you:   Find your path of least resistance.

It’s more important that you’re putting out regular valuable information that your audience can relate to and find useful than having some fancy slick production where everything looks perfect.

*And to exactly prove my point on this one:   That streak of make-up down my face in this video because it was so cold my eyes had been watering.   Would I prefer it wasn’t there? Oh yes!  Does it detract from the message?  Not at all.*

The key lessons I learned from 2019

As well as the reminder of the importance of creating regular valuable content I’m also carrying some other lessons into 2020 as well, in particular connected to my team.  Lessons like making sure that when somebody comes to support me in my business that they really are the right fit to work with me.  This is not just about skillset (though that’s important too of course!).  It also  includes being self-managing, being conscientious, and having personal integrity (this means doing what they say they’re going to do, when they say they will do it).

So yes, it was a year of learnings and I’m looking forward to getting the wheels back on the cart and sharing lots of new, fresh, wonderful content with you over the coming months!

And you can help hold me to it and keep me encouraged and focused by telling me if there’s anything specific that you’d like me to talk to you about.   Whether that’s a particular topic you’d like me to talk about, a question you’d like me to answer , or a challenge you are facing in your business you’d like my take on.   Let me know in the comments below!

So before I finish I want to leave you with these key messages:

1.   We are human. Business won’t always be smooth running and that doesn’t mean you’re a failure and it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out to be in business. It just means that life doesn’t always run smooth and business doesn’t always run smooth.  And even in the toughest times you will be growing and learning the lessons that will stand you in good stead for the future.

2.  Consistency in creating content DOES matter (providing content creation is part of your strategy of course). If you can be consistent this year, then when the wheels fall off for you you will be so glad you were because you won’t have to feel under pressure to create new stuff. You’ll have a backlog library of plenty of fantastic stuff that you can use and send out to people.

And you might even find that nobody even notices that the wheels fell off!

What about you?
What big lessons from 2019 are YOU taking into 2020?  Do let me know in the comments – I always love to hear from you.

And don’t forget to post a comment if you’ve got something you’d like me to talk about or answer for you in my upcoming free content!

With so much love
x

With Love & Gratitude,

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8 Comments

  1. Linda Anderson on February 12, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    This is perfectly timed for me, Catherine, I’m so glad you decided to share.

    I’ve had several pretty big life challenges myself over the past 3-4 years and whilst I have shared some of it publicly, together with the huge learnings that came as a result, I have to admit I totally fell off the content-creation wagon as I focussed on serving my clients.

    2019 was a particularly tough year but I’m coming out the other side now and looking forward to getting started again very soon – after allowing myself a bit of a breather. Self-care seems to be a lesson I need to keep learning!

    Thanks for the tips about repurposing too. I used to think it was important to create something completely new each time, but I notice the same themes coming up over and over as I work with clients, so revisiting content, tweaking, presenting it again in a slightly different way or in a different format, will always be useful for the people who need to receive it.

    Looking forward to seeing more great content from you soon!

    • Catherine on February 13, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Linda
      I’m sorry to hear it was a particularly tough year for you too last year – you know, the funny thing is that I have heard that from a surprising number of people – I think it was “one of those years” for so many of us. And yes repurposing is great – I have a number of videos and articles that I recycle annually as they are so good they really merit a second, and third, and fourth read or watch. No point constantly creating new stuff when what I’ve got does such a powerful job (The Therapists and the Money Pots is a perfect example: https://catherinewatkin.com/blog/the-therapists-and-the-money-pots/

  2. Michael Shain on February 12, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Dear Catherine,

    Thanks so much for this open and frank video.

    I agree nothing goes smoothly all the time in both business and in life.

    Thank you for being so authentic and showing your vulnerability.

    • Catherine on February 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you Michael – I’m pleased you appreciated it. It is so easy for us to be hard on ourselves and focus more on what we “failed to do” but sometimes the most helpful thing is to accept that things don’t always run smooth and we can’t always control for that. I’m glad you appreciated the message x

  3. Hilary Lees on February 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    HI Catherine,
    Like Linda this comes at the perfect time for me too, I have had a challenging few years in my personal life and have needed to step back from content creation to concentrate on client delivery and revenue whilst attending to my own self care, but I am inspired by your example to get back on the wagon and create new content this year to build up my library – the word you used is ‘consistent’ – so that is my goal for this year. You can hold me to that! Thank you for sharing and showing up as the real you – it is far more powerful than only showing us the polished ‘perfect’ version of you and your business.
    Hilary

    • Catherine on February 13, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Hilary, lovely to hear from you! And yes I’ll hold you to that! And here is a suggestion: aim for something achievable like “monthly” instead of setting an impossible target and falling off the wagon. BUT also given your business model it’s worth you asking the question how important regular content IS for you – it is certainly not as much of a priority as if you were growing a fully Online business (BTW I did a FB Live on exactly this topic in the BFTH Members group this morning).

  4. Rajita on February 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Greetings Catherine!
    I so appreciate your dedication to excellence and also your honesty. Of course I have to ask you, did you move into your new place just before all these challenging events occurred? If so, kindly let me know, Rajita@ConsultFengShui.com

    • Catherine on February 13, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Rajita
      Ha! What a great question! The bigger problem actually started about half a year before I moved, I was just slow to address it. But it is definitely true to say that the impact of it escalated after I moved and there was definitely a sense of the chaos speeding up and intensifying as the year progressed – so there may well be something to your question. (And truth is I’d already considered it and planned to speak to you about it… I’ll be in touch!). x

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