How to Succeed at Content Marketing
Even if Your Content Skills Suck

Sad Content

Turn on your TV at 6 pm. What do you get?

The news, right?

Then turn it on tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and the week after.

You can turn in on at any day and guess what?

The news is still on at 6 pm.

Now imagine if you tuned in on a Monday, and they had a sitcom. What if you tuned in on Tuesday and oops, it’s an adult movie with clothes flying all over the place. And then maybe on Wednesday it’s the news again.

Would you continue to watch that channel for news? Or would you simply go to a channel that was more reliable?

Many people don’t understand that the most important thing in content marketing is reliability. I don’t care if you put out ten or twenty or seventy-three pieces of content a month.

I just want to see it same bat-time, same bat-channel. So be reliable.

If you’re going to write an email newsletter, the first thing you need to know is that it needs to be published on a pre-fixed schedule from now until the year 2025. If you’re going to post videos on YouTube, plan for 2025 too.

It doesn’t matter if email newsletters or YouTube will change or even continue to exist in the years to come. What’s important is that you’ve created a channel, and you’re the content producer. And you jolly well better show up, or I’m leaving you for a more reliable channel.

  • It’s not just your credibility that takes a beating; it’s also your sales.
  • And not just your sales, but also your pipeline of new customers.
  • And not just your pipeline of new customers, but also return customers.

Your whole darned business really depends on your reliability of communication. Why? I’ll tell you why!

It’s because if you don’t show up, the customer’s memory of you gets increasingly blurry. And that’s only one part of the problem. The other part is that if you don’t show up, and the customer wants to buy your product or service, they’ll buy the product or service anyway… from someone else.

  • Remember the time you bought an iTunes album, just because you got the newsletter?
  • Remember the time you bought something online just because you saw a video?
  • Remember the time Oprah recommended a book, and you traipsed off to buy that very book?

Of course this brings us to a very important juncture: The problem with perfection.

What if you don’t really like the quality of your current content? I have news for you. You’re never going to be completely satisfied—ever!

But you’ll look back at your work six months from now, and the work you’re doing then will be much better, even though you still think it’s not good enough. You’ll look back at today’s work two years from now, and you’ll wonder how you ever got anyone to pay attention at all.

If you really want to get better, you won’t get better wondering about it. You’ll get better only by producing content consistently. You have to put out newsletter after newsletter, video after video, to get better.

Put out what you have today. It doesn’t matter how crappy it looks to your eyes… just put it out. And then improve as you go.

People will put up with less than polished prose, or less than professional video or audio, but they won’t put up with fruity frequency. They’ll simply change the channel and go elsewhere.

If you don’t want customers and prospects to leave, you need to have a plan.

So here’s your plan:

  1. Get started today by putting a schedule in place.
  2. Promise this schedule to your audience (even if you have a list of three people).
  3. Get your content out on the day/days you promised.
  4. Don’t forget that reliability is everything, because quality comes from consistently doing.

About the Author: Sean D’Souza offers a free report on ‘Why Headlines Fail’ when you subscribe to his Psychotactics Newsletter. Check out his blog, too.

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Comments

  1. I totally agree with you. Thanks for you ever insightful explanations.

  2. I have been working on making a set schedule, so far so good- new contests run on Weds, small talk 6 on Saturdays, etc. I need to get more detailed with it though, like budgeting on monday, cleaning on tuesday, etc.

    Great article- thanks!!

  3. The quickest way to ruin the trust in any kind of up-and-coming real-life event, meetup, show, party, etc. – is to miss it just once. People have doubts about whether it’ll happen agan. Same is true in the online world.

  4. Sean,

    I truly appreciate your message of consistancy and reliability. Here’s a thought for you and perhaps a follow up blog post. We are all human and slip up and might have fallen off the consistancy wagon. Assuming you are back on a schedule what are some effective ways to communicate this to your audience?

  5. Hi, This is a really great post. Thanks for the tips. Everything in a blogging or in a business is important, but this one:

    “..If you don’t want customers and prospects to leave, you need to have a plan..”

    Is far far way more important.

    PS: Sorry about my poor english, i’m brazilian and i’m still learning your native language.

    Regards,
    Monthiel

  6. This is a kick in the pants, but I need to hear it. A lot.

    That said, here’s a question for you: How do you apply this when your content isn’t marketing a product but is simply building your personal brand?

    When the quality of your content does matter, because that is your product, how to you move forward with the don’t worry, be crappy mentality of pushing content out anyway?

  7. Great points all around!

  8. Tiffany, that’s a good question with a tough answer.

    If you don’t just do it, how will you ever get better? There seems to be no way around it, unless you practice without releasing anything. But without real-world feedback, you may just be a harsher critic of your work than anyone else is.

  9. @John

    If you’ve fallen off the boat, and need to get back on, then you simply write to your clients. Tell them that you’ve been unable to write a newsletter or blog (or whatever).

    Clients can handle a simple apology and a comeback.

    It worked for Cher.
    It will work for you.

    Nothing complex.
    Just apologise. Then tell them you’re back. And promise a schedule. Then keep to it.

    There are two other ways to keep to a schedule, because it’s quite easy to fall off the bandwagon.

    1) Take a pre-scheduled break.
    2) Get information ready in advance.

    If you watch the Jon Stewart Daily Show, you’ll notice that the program goes off the air, and archives roll. This is for a daily program. And yet it goes off the air. It’s a pre-scheduled break, and we do this for our blogs as well. At the Brain Audit blog, we took a break from December to Feb (which is when we take our vacation). And we got back in Feb. Customers aren’t silly. They know a break is needed. And when you take that break, really take the break. Then come back in full form.

    2) Creating information in advance
    I’m due for another break within a week (I leave for the US, and then to Europe. And I’ll be gone for a month). I write two-three blogs, and a newsletter, and five articles for a membership site (per week). That’s roughly about 12 articles a week. And yet, if you’re on those blogs or websites, or membership site, you’ll almost never know I’m gone. I learned this trick from my ‘cartooning’ days, when editors wouldn’t accept a cartoon strip, unless I had two-three months worth of stuff in advance.

    So get stuff ready in advance. And what if it’s not ready? Well, run archives for a month or two, while you’re building a backlog. That’s perfectly acceptable as well.

    Makes sense?

  10. Gotta be consistent with what you do pretty much. People will begin to respect your consistency at the least. If the content isn’t complete garbage – then it should work out for you.

  11. Sean…great reminder. If you are a business and you don’t set up and adhere to an editorial/content calendar, you’ll be in trouble. White papers, videos, blog posts, enewsletters should all be on the schedule – reminders of your content promise to your customers.

    An editorial calendar is one of those great practices from traditional media operations that content marketers need to steal.

  12. Hi Sean

    This post has really hit the nail on the head.

    I do have a newsletter but I don’t send it out consistently, there is no defined schedule to it…just when I can fit it in.

    I’m a perfectionist which means that I agonise about every piece of content that I produce. This means that I don’t post as often as I should. I check and check and then I check some more before I press the ‘publish’ button. I’m my own worst nightmare!

    I really need to read the following quote by ‘Mark Victor Hansen’ at least a thousand times before it sinks in…

    Here it is…

    “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So What? Get Started Now! with each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self confident and more and more successful”

  13. This is very true. I have this exact problem with pumping out content daily. It is really for me to be consistent. It’s just a weak personality trait for me. Is it possible to learn how to become a consistent person?

    There are some things I do consistently very well but I wish I could trade those habits for better ones.

  14. Tiffany: As Brian said: Toughie!

    But the point is that ‘crappy’ stuff is very, very debatable. So when I started out in cartoons about 20 years ago, I did ‘crappy’ stuff. But I didn’t know it was crappy. It was the best I could do at the time. And so I’d put it out on a regular frequency.

    The problem with most people is that they’re too self-indulgent. They look at their material, and think it’s not ‘ready for the world’, because there are imperfections. And that in itself is a problem from two distinct angles.

    1) The customer doesn’t have a frequency schedule.
    2) Your information turns out to be a lot crappier if you don’t put it out regularly.

    Just the act of putting out information will improve your writing, as it did with my drawing (I now mostly write instead of draw). Even if you do no course, read no tutorial, buy no book—in other words, do nothing—your work will improve if you turn out sheer volume.

    A good analogy would be your driving, for instance. If you learn to drive, and you drive for three months straight every single day (or thrice a week) then your driving will improve with no further instruction at all. This is because you have a core competency level, and your brain takes over, sanding off the rough bits with sheer practice.

    If you keep learning and writing in those three months, your improvement will be dramatic. But on the other hand, if you wait, and try to simply improve it in theory, it just doesn’t work. Somehow the work needs to go ‘outside’ to customers before you get better, and I don’t know why.

    One more example: I’ve been playing with video for the past three months. I read the books, spoke to an Emmy winning light guy, spoke and worked with other video experts. And guess what? The first video we did got us more feedback and learning so that we could do an even better second one, and third one.

    The point is indeed frequency.
    It may seem crappy to you, but to the reader it’s not the case, because even if you’re an average driver, the reader is often just the passenger. They’re not evaluating your driving. They only want the result. And if you stick to giving out your ‘personal branding’ message, they’ll get it for sure.

    I’m not advocating crappy stuff.
    I’m ranting against ‘overanalysis’ of what you and I think is ‘crappy’ in our work.

    That said, here’s a question for you: How do you apply this when your content isn’t marketing a product but is simply building your personal brand?

    When the quality of your content does matter, because that is your product, how to you move forward with the don’t worry, be crappy mentality of pushing content out anyway

  15. Hi Sean: I APOLOGIZE for pushing back on your great post! For our little foodservice supplies company, we’ve hashed over this point for 3 years and found it works better FOR US to email ONLY when we have great content and a call to action.

    Otherwise, with our time-strapped, action-oriented customer base, we’ve found we’re just making noise and becoming “invisible”.

    Can’t say this’ll be true for anyone else, but it’s true for us.

    Thanks for the nice post. It’s a HUGE factor to consider.

  16. This is so true. I am finding that the more articles I write the better I get and the quicker I publish them without wasting too much time editing them to get them “perfect” the more traffic I get to my web site.

  17. This is very true. I have this exact problem with pumping out content daily. It is really for me to be consistent. It’s just a weak personality trait for me. Is it possible to learn how to become a consistent person?

    You’ve underlined a fundamental problem.
    Who said you have to do a post every single day?

    When I started out I’d write a newsletter every 45 days. But on the 45th day it was out. I then went to the 30 day zone. But on the 30th day it was out. Then to fortnightly and then to weekly. Now I turn out 3-4 articles a day. And they’re out.

    You’re trying to run the 100 meters in the first outing. And trying to break the world record in the first outing too. That’s not just a tough call, it’s pretty impossible.

    Don’t take on the daily stuff.
    Take it on weekly. But on the seventh day, make sure you’re not resting. :)

  18. @ Doc.

    I’ll have to disagree (or rather reserve judgement) till I see what you’re putting out. I’ve seen people sell stuff from motorcycle ignitions to spring coils, to massages, and great content is hidden in their brains, but they don’t know how to pull it out and use it for their list of readers.

    Yesterday I was talking to a guy who is a video pro, and he was talking to me about the ’60 cycle hum’. Ever heard of that? What about the ‘automatic gain control?’ Never heard of that either. But it’s amazing information when the company explains the concept to the customer.

    The video expert didn’t think much of it as content. Till we had the discussion.

    This is why I’d defer judgement, DOC. We as business owners tend to think our stuff is not ready, or that our clients are time-strapped.

    But as Paul Simon said in his song, “A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.” This applies to both us, and the customer.

    We hear ourselves saying that the customer is not ready, or too busy, or that our information isn’t good enough, when in fact, that very customer is chomping through ten thousand tonnes of information from other sources in that very day. If we can make our information interesting, then our customers will listen. And it will give us the confidence to put out information on a consistent basis.

  19. You may have heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. In December, Gary and I had a conversation of about an hour on the phone. Well, I was asking him about the success of his video.

    And believe me, I already knew what he was going to say. Or at least I thought I knew.

    I wanted him to say that the reason his video succeeds, is because of ‘personality.’ In the chat, I even pushed him into a corner saying: “So isn’t personality the reason your video is so popular?”

    And he said NO.
    Emphatic NO.

    He said: Every evening between 4pm-7pm Eastern, I put the video out. Every evening! That’s what makes it successful.

    Of course, that’s only part of the reason. Because there are dozens of other elements. But even if you remove all those elements, among the biggest reasons for it being successful is simply the ‘reliability’ of frequency.

    Same applies to ‘Coffee Break Spanish’ (now doing well over a few million downloads). Same applies to Cali Lewis at Techbrief. It’s over and over and over again the factor of reliability of frequency.

  20. Your suggestion about running archives while building up a backlog is very helpful. I find it can be difficult to carve out time to create content when I’m managing big, time sensitive projects so re-running previous blog posts will help us catch up. Having content for two-three months will also help us stick to the schedule.

  21. Hmm. Well, it is important to keep writing. But the old adage “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You’ll get perfect at exactly what you’re practicing, so it might be better to say “perfect practice makes perfect.”

    There are some specific things most people can learn to write better. So if you want to write good content, yes keep writing, but ALSO keep studying how to improve.

  22. Sean,

    Great article as always.

    I think it’s important to recognize that even if people aren’t responding to your newsletter, it doesn’t mean they’re not reading or appreciating it. I’ve been reading copyblogger for some time now and this is my first comment.

    I wonder how all of us would feel if it were no longer there.

    So in many ways just showing up is a big step.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dave

  23. Sean: I LOVE it! Disagree! This is the best discussion I’ve heard on this subject.

    For us, CONTENT is not ideas in a post — but IDEAS + ACTION. We’ve got to have something actionable in terms of product or marketing tools that our reps & customers can use or they feel we’re wasting their time.

    Does that make sense?

    To me, it’s really different from, say, this site, where there’s really good IDEA content that draws a crowd and great discussion.

    Would love to hear any other thoughts on this. Have a good one!

  24. Terry, I’d have completely agreed with you about two months ago, but not now. And I realise you’re talking about improvement while learning. And practising in a specific direction.

    But often you don’t necessarily know what you’re practicing. So a one year old who’s learning to walk, does so through sheer volume of sitting up and falling down.

    The same applies to bicycle riding. There are elements that need focus, but there’s a huge chunk of stuff that the brain simply puts together by eliminating failure.

    P.S. I talked briefly about my cartooning skills. Well, I’ve been drawing since I was five years old, and drawn at a professional level since 1987 or so. And yet, in the past two months, with no additional practice or direction, my drawings have dramatically improved. You can see them on the Psychotactics blog. Go to the November archives and then the Feb Archives and see the difference for yourself. I didn’t consciously improve it, or even learn anything (consciously) and yet the improvement is just in the ‘doing.’

  25. For us, CONTENT is not ideas in a post — but IDEAS + ACTION. We’ve got to have something actionable in terms of product or marketing tools that our reps & customers can use or they feel we’re wasting their time.

    Does that make sense?

    Of course it makes perfect sense.

    But what I’m suggesting is that you have ‘diamonds’ in your mine, and you just don’t see them as diamonds. I’ll point you to a link at rouxbe.com. They’re using your formula of ideas + action. And notice something. Some of the stuff may seem terribly boring to seasoned chefs, but to those aspiring to be be great home-chefs this information at this link is not only ideas, but also action.

    And it’s also non-boring for me, but likely to be boring to chefs. Check it out for yourself.

    http://rouxbe.com/drilldowns/394
    And also other drilldowns at:
    http://rouxbe.com/drilldowns/

  26. You’re good.

  27. Doc, also keep in mind that valuable content builds trust and loyalty in between calls to action.

    As you state, most Copyblogger posts are about providing valuable ideas and instruction to our readers. But Copyblogger is supported by two businesses that were launched off of it (Teaching Sells and DIY Themes), each of which will do over a million dollars in sales this year.

    I only talk about those businesses a small fraction of the time, but when I do, people listen thanks to the goodwill established by reliably providing at least 5 pieces of content each week. You might not need that much frequency, but it might have a positive effect on your sales.

  28. Brian brings up a great point. For most purchases today, a brand first needs to establish trust. Consistent information builds that trust over time – positioning the content provider as a trusted solutions provider.

    Then, when they are ready to buy, they buy from the content provider. Brian, I guess you would agree that you first established trust and credibility with Copyblogger, which led to many of your followers to purchase your products and services. Correct?

  29. Nice Article. I appreciate all the tips you guys give. Thanks.

  30. We rarely buy from people we don’t know. OR don’t like. This is why we tend to buy from Amazon.com even though a product may be available cheaper elsewhere.

  31. @ Brian – I think you’re probably right. Perfectionism and your own expectations are often much harsher than any other critic out there.

    It is a struggle, though, to push through that anyway without any form of accountability.

    So, now I’m thinking, well turn this problem on its head, and then it’s not an obstacle, it’s a solution: tie my writing to sales.

    Is it that simple?

  32. Brian, I guess you would agree that you first established trust and credibility with Copyblogger, which led to many of your followers to purchase your products and services. Correct?

    Yep, for almost two years. I don’t think other content marketers need to wait quite that long to sell something (bloggers are just a tough crowd to win over :) )

  33. And what’s also critical (and missed out by most marketers) is that the trust must be established for every product or service. This means that just because you bought the iPod, doesn’t mean you’ll buy the iPhone. Just because you have Version 5, doesn’t mean you’ll buy Version 6. Every product/service has to have its own ring of credibility and deliverability.

    It helps if the brand that the product/service comes from is trusted, but each product/service still has to stand on its own merit.

    We’ve run Psychotactics for seven years, and week after week the newsletter has been sent out without a break. But yes, we were able to sell something within a few months of launching the brand. :)

  34. Brian: I’m struggling with this…

    I’m a physical product marketer. I spend most of my time out in the field and in an R&D lab, coming up with new product improvements & features that our users will love.

    If I don’t have ANY new feature to share, or ANY new marketing tool to help our reps and distributors sell, then what do I have to talk about, from THEIR perspective?

    It’s like putting up a billboard about a car that is the same as last year’s model. No matter how clever I am, there’s no “content”

    This site is different. This POST is awesome content all by itself. It IS product. It’s a new way of looking at scheduling posts and a lot of users here are going to benefit.

    Congrats on your 2 businesses by the way!

  35. Hi there,

    Interesting post on content marketing. Recently I read a post on article marketing on Caroline Middlebrook website and found it very helpful. Lately I’ve been coming across alot of posts related to content and article, both good and bad. It looks like content is really the KING when it comes to website marketing.

    Cheers,
    Eddie Gear

  36. Doc…really appreciate your perspective.

    I guess based on your example of “the billboard”, I would say this…your customers are ignoring the billboard, circular filing the brochure, deleting the product email as SPAM, screening the telemarketer – basically doing everything they can NOT to have any kind of relationship with you at all…regardless of how good your product is.

    Of course the product must be good. If your product isn’t helpful, you have no story. The point here is that to market effectively today, you need to find out what your customers’ informational needs are and talk about those on a consistent basis. By doing so, you can create that relationship when they are ignoring everything else. Those educational messages are then “tied” to your products and services, and when they are ready to buy your latest car with the best features, they’ll buy from you, their trusted content provider about everything car related.

    I’ve seen this work first hand with hundreds of companies…the new marketing is publishing. Have you noticed the number of companies that need less “salespeople” and more informative content. Some small businesses have no sales people at all (including ours) that believe in this model.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  37. Doc, seems like a monthly newsletter with some “how to” content related to food service supplies would be useful. Education is a wonderful under-the-radar selling tool, since it instructs people how to get the most benefit out of the purchase. You don’t need a new product if you convince people to buy some of the stuff you’ve already got in the meantime.

  38. I really enjoy reading posts like this, especially since I just set up a blog yesterday finally. Then poof, this is sitting in my inbox this evening.
    I couldn’t agree more about reliability, I have turned off from so many blogs just because they stopped updating, or they started blogging off at a tangent.

  39. If I don’t have ANY new feature to share, or ANY new marketing tool to help our reps and distributors sell, then what do I have to talk about, from THEIR perspective?

    May I respectfully say that what you just stated is impossible. Everything has features that are ‘unexplained.’ You don’t need need features. You need to dig deep for existing features.

  40. And the other factor that I see is that people talk about ‘education’ as if it was just some new thing that came along with the Internet. Way back in 563 B.C., a man called Buddha started a concept of giving ‘information’ that resulted in one of the biggest organisations on the planet. All religions have followed the same principle. Most authors have too. Most singers have too.

    It’s nothing new at all. So the quicker you stop treating it as new, the better off you’ll be.

  41. Great point Sean, and a nice job of putting it together. Perfectly acceptable to not provide content on every second Tuesday of the month as long as the same thing happens every month.

  42. While I do agree that ones writing improves drastically with practice, I’m not convinced with this:

    “People will put up with less than polished prose, or less than professional video or audio, but they won’t put up with fruity frequency.”

    It’s definitely an interesting argument. And you may be right… But it seems to me that indeed people will be willing to put up with infrequency in blog posts if the content is compelling or just downright entertaining.

  43. I really relate to “it has to be perfect to be posted,” which is another way (for me, anyway) of saying, “Put it off forever.” Good tips. Thanks.

  44. This article helped solidify what I already knew. Very true words indeed.

    I am currious if there is any research out there about when the best times are to post a blog? What are the peak times people will notice their RSS feeds?

  45. In January I committed to posting to my blog 3 times a week (almost) without fail I have done this. Last week I got a call from a large marketing company in Australia who wants to use my articles in a pilot email campaign they are running – to 10,000 SME’s!! And there’ll be a link back to my website… didn’t have to think about that offer for too long!

    What was interesting was when I asked them ‘why me?’ one of the reasons was the consistency of the posting on my blog – they could see I had plenty of content to share…

    Sean – I know your consistency strategy works – I just have to get a little more consistent with the rest of my writing now. It has also become clear to me that the more you write, the easier it gets… I write a month’s worth of blog posts at a time and preload them – it makes the work so much more enjoyable!!

    cheers
    Lisa

  46. This article speaks to me directly.

    Its like the first time I bought a car and I had to drive. I didn’t know everything about driving but if I hadn’t got into that car and said “I’m a drive to work today” and done it then I would still be a weak ass driver.

  47. Powerful points you’ve made especially in the comments. I’ve failed to stick to schedule twice already so I do think that archiving some posts will be essential for me. Reliability and trust are powerful connection points – I’m sold!

  48. Sean,
    Excellent point. I do think most readers prize reliability over content and many are impulse buyers who buy becomes a newsletter comes into their mailbox at the right time. I know when I choose which blogs to subscribe to I will often look at the average # posts per week as a gauge of reliability. You’ve made your point that we should plan on blogging or writing newsletters until 2025. None of this is “get rich quick” although many wish it were!

  49. I believe Duke Ellington said, ‘I don’t need time; I need a deadline!’ Signing a contract for 104 blog posts over 52 weeks was chilling, yet comforting. Now that I’ve given my word, I’m writing posts ahead of time, just in case there’s a bus with my name on it! Top article, thank you! :)

  50. Sean, your post and the follow-up conversation bring to mind for me an awareness of rhythm. The web is mostly asynchronous, where content will be available no matter when it goes up. So I think people assume that the timing and frequency don’t really matter. But people actually love rhythm. How good do you feel when you’re actually able to go to bed and get up at the same time every day? Or when you smile every Wednesday at noon because it’s Mexican food day at the cafeteria? Then there are the countless musical examples of our connection to rhythm.

    So it seems that in addition to growing the relationships with your readers and building trust, you’re tapping into something quite subconscious as well. And even the asynchronous nature of the web can’t stop that.

    web use, asynchronous, we still have rhythms and respond to such
    could you imagine a musical ensemble that only performed when they felt they were ready.

  51. This is an excellent point, and one I am fairly horrible at. It’s one reason Twitter has been terrific for me–it fills in the gaps if I’ve got a bad blog week on Remarkable Comms. Or a bad two weeks. Or whatever.

    I’ve seen the light, Sean, I’m taking the pledge. A post a week for Remarkable Communication no matter what. I love the archive idea. I do have rather nice archives, if I say so myself.

  52. The same applies to bicycle riding. There are elements that need focus, but there’s a huge chunk of stuff that the brain simply puts together by eliminating failure.

  53. After about 4 months of content production I just figured out this concept YESTERDAY! Now I have a set schedule I’m gonna stick to even if my content sucks…and let me tell you my podcast is HORRENDOUS. But like you said I’ll just keep doing it and doing it til I get better.

    It’s funny I just figured this out yesterday and then I wake up to find this post in my inbox.

    Thanks for the affirmation Sean!

  54. Good article. Keeping to a schedule is definitely the hardest thing to do. And to stick within the hosts guidelines is not always easy.

  55. I agreed. You need to be focus and consistent on the information you provide.

  56. @ Sean, Bryan – I definitely think practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, but I have no shortage of practice when it comes to that – my day job, much of my time is spend as a writer, editor and blogger, and I get paid to get that regular, deadline-based experience on a regular basis.

    So I think part of my paralysis comes from 1) I already write at work and have very high professional standards for that and 2) I feel my blog is a professional extension of myself as a writer allowing me to expand my writing topically, grow as a professional, and build relationships — but I hold the quality my writing there (and anywhere) to the same professional standards, because why publish myself at all if it’s not building my credibility as a writer? and 3) I already write – a lot! – so finding time when I feel personally energized to really flesh out ideas outside of work is challenging.

    But really, all that is about understanding my own circumstances as a writer.

    In the end, you’re right. It is all about expectations. So it’s more of a mental obstacle for me than anything.

    I think creating my own expectations for frequency and letting go of some perfectionism will help though. So thanks for sharing these great ideas!

  57. and let me tell you my podcast is HORRENDOUS.

    There’s no reason to be. :)
    Here’s what you do.

    Find a good podcast.
    Then de-construct it.
    See what the structure of the podcast seems to be. Good podcasts have structure, just like programming. They follow a pattern. If you follow a pattern, that’s 3/4th of the job done. I have a structure when I do my podcasts. That makes it easy.

    e.g. Especially in new podcasts>
    1) I start off with announcing my name.
    2) Then music rolls with our signature tune.
    3) Then I say hello, and talk about some thing to do with my personality, pretty much like I’m having a chat with you. So I talk about my last name and how I got it. Or who’s the kid at the end of the podcast audio. Or New Zealand. Or something that’s not exactly connected with the content, yet interesting.
    4) Then I segue into the main content.
    5) The main content will have structure, but it’s a chatty feel. I work hard to make sure I’m not lecturing. This means that while I completely control my ‘ums’ (and this comes with practise) I slow down, or speak faster. Or stop. Just like I’d do with normal conversation.
    6) Segue into summary.
    7) Segue into talk about Psychotactics and products. And some instructions. e.g. How to get the Psychotatics podcast via iTunes etc.
    8) The kid singing :)
    9) The voice over.

    And that’s it. But look at the structure. It creates a factor of reliability and helps me with frequency and content.

    -Sean

  58. @ tiffany

    I think so too.
    Perfectionism is a curse.
    Good is the enemy of great.
    But greatness is the enemy of great, too!

  59. And just for the record: Debbie Munoz hopped over to my blog, listened to the audio podcasts, and made a very valuable suggestion—none of which would have happened without me posting this article here on Copyblogger in the first place.

    Thanks Debbie :)

  60. Thanks for the suggestions Sean!

    I highly doubt you are interested in mixed martial arts, but if you have anytime to critique my podcast today you could find it at http://www.atlanticmma.com/2009/03/06/mma-in-the-morning-march-6th-podcast.

    If not no worries. I subscribed to your feed so I’ll keep up with you from now on.

    Thanks again Sean!

  61. Sean,

    Your suggestions on apologizing when you fall off your publishing schedule and creating content in advance are right on point. Thanks so much for contributing to your community of commentators.

    John

  62. @ Jonathan

    I did listen to a bit. The point is that the podcast seems like a news broadcast. It doesn’t make you an expert, but just a reporter of news. I would recommend you to become the ‘expert’ and use the news as a sideline.

    I’d also recommend you get a pop filter for your microphone. See the reason why: http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/microphones/popping.html

    There was a fair bit of popping in your audio. The filter is really cheap and you can make it at home. Look on google or ebay for pop filter.

  63. Thanks a lot Sean for taking the time to do that.

    I’ll get that pop filter you recommended.

    I’m not so much of an expert, at least not yet.

    I have some ideas on where to take the podcast from here, but nothing set in stone.

    I’ll most likely interview other experts in the field and “borrow” credibility as soon as I’m comfortable.

    Anyways, thanks again.

    Copyblogger,Teaching sells, and Psychotactics are all badass.

    Thanks guys!

  64. I don’t agree. While I can believe that the message should be consistent, I can’t believe that anyone will unsubscribe from your email newsletter simply because of an irregular schedule. I’m subscribed to a few newsletters and I’ve got no idea when any of them will be delivered, or indeed if any of them even have a regular schedule.

    Would you say that RSS is quite similar to an email newsletter? I’m still subscribed to Chris Pearson’s http://www.pearsonified.com/ despite the fact that he posts incredibly rarely these days. But when he does post, it’s usually pretty interesting so why would I unsubscribe?

  65. this is why the networks will still win. content has to be better not the marketing. good marketing success over better content + mass population access… cancels everything out…and leaves the Networks and big corporations…winning.

  66. I know what my problem is, I have trouble staying on track. This is a good article. I realized I have let some very profitable and good traffic generating techniques slip away as I have moved on to other things.

  67. They may not unsubscribe, just as you may still turn on the TV at 6pm–if the news was on or not–but reliability is still going to be the ultimate winner.

  68. Although I produce content on a very regular basis I had never thought of it like this before and love the way it is made some obvious here with the example of the news. I will now try and put out the content at nearly the same time every day!

  69. Awesome example! When getting someone started blogging they go full steam the first 2 weeks and write a good quality post everyday. They’ll see traffic increase. Then the next 2 months they’ll be lucky if they write a good quality post once every other week and they’ll see their traffic fall. Be consistent!

  70. Hi Sean,

    You are right, consistency = reliability. Great viewpoint. This is something we should all consider in starting just about anything. Will look forward to more of your articles. Thanks

  71. Wow. Just a very good piece of advice. I have been so lazy putting an editorial schedule together that I am only making myself look bad. Thanks for reminding me just how important this is.

  72. I agree with being consistent, but I also battle with the challenge of putting up valuable content vs just a post for the sake of posting.

  73. Wow, Sock it to me… I needed to hear this.

  74. One of the rules we run by is Market Niche = Market Leader. But it must be consistent as you state in your post.

  75. I believe the best bloggers find the right middle ground between great content and time spent producing it.

  76. Gotta be consistent with what you do pretty much. People will begin to respect your consistency at the least. If the content isn’t complete garbage – then it should work out for you