Marketing your own business is hard - believe me I know. Many times I find it's easier to market other companies rather than sit down and force myself to do what I need to do for my own.
Because I'm taking myself on as my own client as I rebrand my business, I've had to ask myself, "What's my main problem with marketing?" And I know my answer is the same as every client I have:
The fact is that we're running businesses we don't have time to market - that is, until business slows and we wonder why we haven't been marketing more. And while I would like to say that it's on my calendar every Wednesday morning to create content, sometimes that just doesn't happen because not every Wednesday morning is the same.
We've all heard ideas about batching content so that we're getting it all done at once, and ideally we would all do that; 3 hours the first Monday of the month and we're done. But life doesn't always work that way, mainly because our brains don't know to have a bunch of epiphanies the first Monday of the month. Ideas come when they come and they're not always on schedule.
So, let's figure out what WILL work in order to generate ideas because let's face it - once you have the idea creating the content takes a fraction of the time.
This is a big one for me. I almost always come up with an idea for a blog when I'm walking. Don't just take my word for it - the smart people at Stanford figured out the same thing:
"The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting."
Now, I have several different blogs that cover several different subjects, so it's not always a given that if I walk I'll come up with an idea for the blog I really want to concentrate on. Sometimes it's content for another one. But I almost always come up with something.
I'm also not talking about a huge time investment. Even if you can step away from your desk for 5 minutes and walk around your building, it's better than sitting still and trying to generate something that just won't come. My best ideas usually come about 20 minutes into a walk and then I can't wait to get back to my office and get started.
This brings me to my next point: Allow your mind to be open to possibilities. Don't go on a walk thinking, "I need to come up with an idea about how to explain IRAs" when inspiration is telling to you write about something else. In fact, I'm betting that part of what you're thinking about is what you've got going on in your own life...which could be perfect for original content.
Maybe you're having issues with your teenager or you're wondering how to fund your own retirement. Chances are, if you're having those problems, your clients are, too. How do you plan on tackling those issues? Can you look for resources when you get back to your desk? And once you've found what you need...can you tie those things into a service you provide?
Don't be too rigid on the content you create. You're a human being communicating to human beings. They'll appreciate your authenticity.
If things just haven't been percolating for a while, I highly suggest tuning into a podcast while you walk. Take a moment to not only research and find podcasts that have to do with your industry, but also find stuff that just appeals to you, period. You'll be surprised at what you mind latches onto.
I love the TED Radio Hour because it covers a lot of subjects. And it never fails - I'll find one that's about creativity or marketing and get excited because I think I'll get some insight. In reality, it's an unexpected subject that usually has me rushing back to my computer to write (the podcast on parasites was surprisingly interesting.)
Just keep your mind open to new ideas and think outside the box. That's what your clients are looking for.