I had a goal, clearly defined path how to achieve it, and I just could not do it.
You know THAT feeling that you have before an exam or before an important event?
You hear a strange noise from your stomach and a whisper from a small brown person on your left shoulder saying “You are a loser”, “You can’t do this so you better quit.”
But I just can’t quit.
And this is a problem.
It is a problem because I am a high achiever! There I said it. Everything I set to do, I just do it.
But not this time.
This time, I felt like all these years of hard work, knowledge, experience, cooperations, blog posts, SEO, backlinks, social media, acquisition, business modeling, investment, product development, web development, data mining, scraping Arrrr-hh everything, just didn’t work.
You might ask what happened?
Well, according to my none, zero knowledge in human psychology or whatever, I am almost certain I had a brain freeze (if you prefer Latin the term is cerebrum quis sustinebit?)
As I analyzed why this happened to me, I think it all started when I was trying to ‘fast pass’ my writing process. I wanted to write and at the same time edit the post.
I was reading greatly styled articles, with infographic, emojis, table of contents, outlines, and editing suddenly editing became more important than the actual writing.
I was trying to see the end outcome, but I was still not halfway through my point because I was trying to find an emoji that will fit my first opening sentence.
What a waste of time.
Trying to find an emoji? This was not how we were doing content in the good old blogging times.
The other day I was thinking, what if an alien comes to the earth and tries to communicate with us? How will it learn to use our sophisticated language with yellow hand gestures, a poop and a thousand tiny heads? Or the party pooper, the rocket, the pink heart, that person with the sunglasses.
Yup, it will be lost like every old blogger, like I am.
Ok ok, probably the biggest factor affecting my brain freeze was my newest boss. My throne heir, First of Her Name, my baby girl 🙂
No big deal, how complicated a little baby can be?
It turns out that really, it is not. But, hacking the growth of my baby and my second company, well can be at least, confusing.
My typical daily dilemmas included:
- which thermometer should I trust;
- how come today you just don’t want to eat your favorite food
- why you get so ‘high’ on the big guy who sings the song “Human” (on constant, repeat) Or the crazy frog, singing Axel f;
- How to jump-start our paying user base and
- power our content marketing as our primer user acquisition channel.
So, basically, I couldn’t focus for a single second. My mind was always running 100h per mile but this time was probably more than 1000.
I experienced the simple, old, brain freeze that almost every single ordinary mortal have experienced or eventually will in their lifetime.
If this is what is normal by some ‘unverified’ standards, you (eye-roll) might ask, so why this drama?
Well, let me give you 4 words and some stats.
“Content is King!” – January 1996, Bill Gates – Microsoft website.
It was the king and it will probably continue to be the king.
I assume that you are aware that in today’s social media world, the content strategy differentiates the winners from the losers.
It simply does.
We are all hooked to our headphones, phones or laptops and we communicate with written words or sometimes sounds. Yes, podcasts and webinars are back and will need to consider them as part of the must in every company’s marketing strategy.
So if you want to succeed in this organic, viral, sharing world .. your content better be your game!
You got my point, right?! And now you will understand me why my brain freeze was so serious in hurting my business’s future well being.
Let’s back this importance of the content with some data as I previously promised.
Stats and data you need to know about content marketing
Or you don’t need to know these boring stats however there might be a moment when you’ll need to build a case for your boss or your client.
First, let’s make it clear why marketers use content marketing.
“Content marketing is an effective tactic to create interest in your business’s product or service by publishing relevant content and building authority in the targeted industry niche. “
If this HLB (high-level bull shit) definition, won’t do much for you then maybe this pie will resonate with you:
Fundamentally it screams that everybody (in the B2B space) is doing this ‘content marketing’.
Furthermore, if you don’t care about the trends and you want to get something in exchange for your content, check this snapshot from the 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report:
You are probably noticing that I do not want to push you some data that was sponsored by some cooperation and have every year the same data-backed conclusions.
That is why I like this new research by Meaningful Brands because it just makes sense. It states that 84% of people expect brands to produce content in some form, but they see more than half (60%) their output as mere clutter that fails to deliver any individual benefits.
They’ve named this section “The wake-up call” and I will add “Your opportunity”. The data is on your side and your content marketing has a huge gap that can be filled in if you stop thinking about yourself and create true value for your audience!
All clear right!
Let me see some thumbs up that now we are all convinced that brain blockage can cause a serious problem if you are the founder of a company responsible for driving traffic to your website through content strategy. Like I am.
But how to find the solution for the content problem?
A self-help book about brain freeze? Read tons of “how to inspire” blog posts like this one?
Nope! A waste of time.
Instead, I decided to actually do something about it and run experiments.
So here are the 3 things I’ve done to solve this problem.
Possible Solution 1: Seek content from other people.
My first solution for the content problem was to ask other people to write on my blog. Clever right?!
Keep reading and will see.
So I basically decided that I will solve this by asking other bloggers to post their guest posts on my blog.
And it worked. Of course, it worked.
Everybody wanted to be published on a 37 DA website! Or not, but I believe or I am almost 100% sure, that my blog was placed on a list from an Indian guest blogging service companies, and I received more than 10 requests for a guest post a day.
Here are some sample emails I got from these potential growth posting bloggers.
My expectations, none!
I did not expect to get these responses so I did not have the idea what type of content I might receive.
I was curious and naive at the same time, thinking that people who will send this to me, have followed me, have read some articles posted on my blog or had some idea what my company does.
Nope, I will need to break this to you! Nobody, literally nobody likes your latest post about (the article name here) nor is very excited to become a guest blogger at (enter your website name here).
Simply because the above sentence with brackets are part of a template that guest blogging services use to reach out to potential publishing websites.
I am sorry, but the reality is that this is a totally automated process and guest blogging strategy that invites others to contribute, sucks. Ok, if you do it right like this guy says, and build skyscraper posts, become famous, get extra attention and finally receive invites from above 70 DA website than you’ve nailed the guest blogging. Literally.
For other mortals like me, the skyscraper posts were not near my inbox, and everything that I will receive in the near future will be
Of course that these “spammy” blogging services exist. I am aware of them since I was not sleeping for the past 10 years. But, I just don’t realize how effective they have become 🙂
Just to summarize, this is what you will receive if you start accepting guest posts:
- Titles structured like ’11 things you need to do if you want to blah blah blah’
- Very broad subjects such as “How Is Social Media Impacting College Students’ Life?”;
- A Google translated a list of 20 tools for web designers;
- Articles that have your keyword in the subject to attract you to accept it and get excited but to discover by reading it that it has nothing related to your audience;
- Short, templated list posts that you have seen on million other websites;
- Great hustle! I decided to publish one guest post because I wanted to award a guest blogger because of his great hustle. He literally stocked me everywhere for a month reminding me to publish his article.
You are probably guessing. I did not get a post that fits my guest blogging guidelines.
If you decide to publish, these are the results you might expect:
- Shares from the blogger on his personal social media
- NONE, ZERO SEO value for your website (as I mentioned, there are million content articles like this one)
- Back Link to the blogger’s social media profiles
- Backlink from the content to a poorly designed website (make it no-follow)
- Blogger gets an article in his portfolio, that he sends to other publishers
- Get money to sponsor a do-follow article – NOT a good long-term strategy
Conclusion – Possible solution #1: Works!
Why the hell am I saying that it works when I did not receive the article that I wanted, ended up on an Indian ‘guest post opportunities’ list and was spammed by “so called” bloggers?!
But I got to write this content right?
As my good friend (I wish) Sheryl, says:
“Option A is not available. so let’s just kick the shit out of Option B. Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B.” -Sheryl Sandberg,
My option A failed, but look what I’ve done with option B, right?
Now I have materials that will help me to write about this experience for the next posts and I am just surprisingly solving my brain freeze.
You see, I am like Jane Austen, seeking for an adventure, that starts as a boring one but at the end culminates with a great discovery.
It obviously helped me, and I hope it can inspire you too.
Let’s see the next experiment in my journey of solving my content blockage.
Possible Solution 2: Ask the experts
I personally discovered the power of blogging 12 years ago, when I was young and eager to share my personal views about the latest trends in internet marketing. I was a kind of an expert in my small but valuable community that helped me land very good clients.
The drive and love for writing have not changed to date. That is why we at EmbedSocial spend lots of time thinking about, creating and consuming content.
So I decided to reach out to similar companies, with a similar target audience and ask them few questions. My goal was to start a conversation and get responses that are clear, direct and can be easily implemented in my everyday writing.
I was lucky. One of the best in the corporate content blog arena, Lisa Kalner Williams the content crafter at Agorapulse, responded to my Twitter DM shout out:
And, here is what she said:
Hey Lisa, can you say Hi to our readers?
Hi there! So glad you’re up for learning more about content marketing. I am currently the Content Lady over at Agorapulse. We’re a social media management tool that I love to write about 🙂
Why do you love your job?
I get to meld social media marketing — something I did for many years with my prior business Sierra Tierra Marketing — along with writing. I also get to use my Spanish and Portuguese because I edit the blogs in those two languages in addition to the English blog. Apart from the actual work, Agorapulse has a great team that holds on to great company values. Plus being a remote worker, I get to wear mismatched clothes and I don’t get sent to HR 🙂
Which SAAS tool is a must in your everyday content creation process?
Gosh, it’s hard to choose just one. There is a host of factors that go into creating good content and not all of them rely on the same tool. I think “everything Google” is kind of cheating but its suite for business and collaboration is top-notch. Let me put out SEMrush then — it guides me a bunch with keyword research, competitive analysis, and SERP results.
How do you inspire?
I’m inspired all day long — either by a particularly effective social ad that made me click through, or an article that has officially announced a new feature on a major social media network, or solutions I’ve uncovered in managing social media for others.
Can you give as a tip how to start writing effectively?
If you plan to write online, your writing to please three “people” — in this order: your readers, Google, and you. Think of what would inspire or help your readers, see if you’d have an organic search advantage writing about it, and then add your special flair so you feel like you still have your voice.
Finally, what is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Making sure our blog content stands out as being TRULY HELPFUL. People love our tool’s social media dashboard and reports for that very reason and I aim to have the blog be an extension of that. That’s a constant challenge — but a good one that makes me learn every day. My current challenge is looking for an affordable editorial calendar that allows my staff of writers and I to collaborate on story ideas and due dates. Any ideas welcome!
The last answer struck me. The key phrase TRULY HELPFUL. Love it, love it love it…. Thank you, Lisa, you are my savior!
I am definitely listening, definitely learning from her and I believe that she helped me actually define my content strategy. BE TRULY HELPFUL.
To be honest, HELPING is the core value of my company but somehow my impatience killed my eager to help other people because it will not always drive the results immediately.
I happened to write a ‘How to’ post recently with the goal to help others searching for a problem solution and it got to the 3rd position in Google in less than a month for its targeted keyword.
Conclusion – Possible solution #2: Works!
Possible Solution 3: Pay for a course
The last thing I tried to do, was to reach out and find a person who has a one-on-one course that will help my writing style and help me find my unique voice.
As you’ve probably noticed I am not an English speaking person but I do want to learn more and improve every single day.
That is why I decided to seek for a course in copywriting or learn from the best in the industry that will quickly help me to come back.
I was not seeking for the basic Copywriting for dummies’ approaches, I just needed someone to give me plain, direct guidelines that will heat up my game.
So radically I wanted to growth hack my journey to a 2000+ words blog post.
Luckily, one day using my muscle memory I clicked on the red number attached to my phone’s FB icon.
While the app was loading, in a glimpse of a second I saw the profile photo of my favorite guy on Facebook, the one, and only Josh Fetcher.
Of course that I’ve forgotten why I opened the app in the first place and all of a sudden I was actively consuming the post he shared.
I ended up in a Google Doc file reading the following 12 bullet points about; The Anatomy of a Viral LinkedIn Post’.
Click here to get this epic template
I realized that I was actually reading the 12 f*cking Commandments of writing.
This is exactly what I was looking for.
I decided to write him and ask about his program.
Josh was kind to immediately share it with me and if you are interested here it is:
In short, he will teach you how to write on social media, build a unique voice, gain lots of following, build a community, sell through your social media profiles and become a respected influencer in your field.
Here are the things you will learn with this Bootcamp:
With thousands of engagements on your content every week that’s relevant to your brand, people will quickly begin to perceive you as a thought leader.
Gain Thousands of Loyal Followers
You’ll embark upon the same process of what Josh used to go from 0 – 200,000 followers in one
year, build out a Facebook friend’s list of over 4,000 highly targeted prospects, and a LinkedIn connection list of 20,000 targeted prospects.
Build a Massive Network of People Who Know, Like, & Trust You
This is a network of people who will buy from you.
Automate the Growth of Your Network
We’ll take you step-by-step on how to build a network of thousands of targeted leads using automation.
Create a Predictable Sales Funnel with Your Personal Brand
We’ll take you step-by-step on how to convert your new network into leads. We’ve had people close deals over $25,000 in the first two weeks.
To be honest, I decided to opt-in for this boot camp in future when I will feel more confident to become a huge social media star 🙂
Instead, I followed the simple 12 commandments shared by Josh and I tried to apply them on this post.
In 5 minutes, I was writing.
The words and some AWESOME phrases, sentences, paragraphs, sections, were just popping on my screen.
And after 3057 words I was back.