I am a huge procrastinator.
If I’ve learned anything, it is how to differentiate between EXCUSE and BARRIER.
Let me tell you the difference between them, based on my own story.
Did you know that I am from Spain? I am. I started learning English when I was 29 —I’m 34 as I write this. Twenty-nine is pretty late in life to learn a new language.
Anyway. At the time I decided to write my blog and start building a business following The Content Way, I was unable to write more than 400 words.
So I was building my website, reading authority blogs, reading books, searching for email service providers and other necessary software and so on.
In other words, I was doing EVERYTHING except creating content – the one thing I was supposed to be doing.
I was adopting the ‘excuse’ approach. And you can identify it very easily, because it almost always follows the same structure:
“I can’t _____________, because _______________.”
At that point, I knew what I wanted to do with my blog. I had a clear idea of the main topic and the kind of people I wanted to help with it.
Then why I wasn’t creating content?
Because I was saying to myself:
I can’t create content in English now, because I don’t have the necessary fluency yet.
That was BS, and I knew it.
I was procrastinating to delay the hard moment of facing a blank page. That’s overwhelming whether you’re writing in English, Spanish or Korean.
Then, I finally I realized what I was doing to myself. I was making excuses because I was afraid.
Yes, I was afraid, because I am not a native English speaker and the other kids would laugh at me. Buaaaa!
It was then that I adopted the ‘problem solving’ approach.
Which, by the way, looks something like this:
“If I want ___________, I need _______________.”
I knew my written English wasn’t great. But I knew as well that most native English speakers also have terrible writing skills.
Why? Because writing is something you learn by writing. It’s a process.
On the other hand, an excuse-maker will find any circumstance to justify his or her lack of action. A problem solver will find any resources available to make whatever they need or want to do happen.
So, how could I make it happen?
If I could write 400 words, I would write amazing content in just 400 words. Next week, I’d try 450.
If I don’t have perfect grammar and punctuation skills, I could find a proofreader to help me with this (Thanks, Alec, you make my content shine!), and my content will be better than the average native English person’s.
Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
The problem-solving approach looks like this:
If I want to write great content in English, I need to practice a lot, have a good editor, be persistent, and most importantly, I need to start NOW.
This is how I’ve improved my content. And my readers give me great feedback.
Take a look at what they say:
Ok, let’s do less chatting and see how anybody – including you – can start building an online audience, even if you don’t have a blog.
This is otherwise known as “excuses-free content creation”.
Breaking the rule #1 (temporarily): Build on rented land
This is a golden rule of content creation. NEVER build your content asset on rented land.
Would you build with your own hands and invest all your money into the house of your life on rented land that somebody just leased to you for a while?
Of course not.
Why do some people do that with their content empire? Why do they build it on third-party platforms (e.g. YouTube, Instagram and so on)?
If you don’t own the platform that hosts your content, you are limited.
- Limited to displaying your content to your audience.
- Limited in your ability to communicate with your subscribers.
- Limited in the kind of content you can publish.
- Limited in your monetization model.
But hold on: this point is about BREAKING this rule.
Why? Because there are a few benefits to building your content empire on rented land. They include:
- Access to a massive audience.
- Your content can be displayed to a targeted audience.
- Most of those platforms show your content publicly on search engines (Google)
- You have a solid platform to publish your content.
If you don’t have a blog – because, you know, you are just starting out and you don’t want to invest in web hosting, web design, etc…
You can use those platforms to START creating content and get access to your potential audience.
You can always move to a professional website that you can control – private land – later.
But right now, you should start creating content, testing what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t.
Don’t worry. If you build an engaged audience, they’ll follow you to your private platform when the moment arises.
Here some content platforms you can use to start creating content today – for free.
This is an underused feature on LinkedIn. You can create and publish content using this platform, and the whole LinkedIn community (450 million) has access to it.
I show you how to publish on this platform in this post.
LinkedIn Publishing is probably the easiest and most effective way to start creating content, get access to an audience and build your authority.[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6cQ3-QH9y4[/responsive_video]
Medium is a blogging platform with a great design and a good user experience. You can create full blog posts and share them with your audience all over the world.
It will also be indexed on the Medium platform, which means that every user will have access to it. And if they like it, they might subscribe to your content.
You can start blogging from here, using a powerful content management service and free hosting.
You have a generic domain name, but you can always upgrade if you want a dedicated domain.
Again, it’s a free platform you can use to create, publish and distribute your content.
Like WordPress.com, you can create your blog for free on a solid platform. Here you will find better design options, with no need to upgrade.
The cons are that it is less scalable and more difficult to migrate to your future private platform.
Anyway, it’s worth checking out.
Why not create video content and host it on the second most-used search engine on the planet?
Remember, what you want at this point is to start creating content and getting feedback from your audience.
For that purpose, YouTube works perfectly. Again, you’ll have time in the future to move over to your own private content platform.
As you can see, there are a lot of free platforms that allow you to start creating your content.
Anything else is just excuses.
Always start with the audience in mind
You could think that building an online audience from scratch is hard. And you’d be right.
But if starting from zero has an advantage, it’s that it gives you the possibility to understand your audience from the beginning.
Trust me, that’s the most valuable resource for success if you want to create content that resonates with real people.
Again, you don’t need to have an established blog with great hosting and superb design.
All you need to do is to create content on any of the platforms that I told you about and start connecting with real people.
Let’s say that somebody liked your post on LinkedIn. What I advise you to here is to go to her profile straight away and send her a connection request.
The chances that it will be accepted are high – after all, they liked your content. Once connected, you can ask them about their biggest challenges and the areas where they are struggling.
Use your imagination, but find a way to get in touch with your readers regularly.
[Insert audience persona image]
You need to draw a realistic profile of your audience persona.
What’s an audience persona?
Well, this is the person for whom you create your pieces of content. Maybe this sounds a bit creepy, but you need to create a full profile.
Give your persona name. Let’s say, Jane.
- Where does Jane work?
- How old is she?
- Married, single? Kids? How many?
- What does she do on weekends?
- What does she buy from Amazon?
- Which sites does she read? Which books?
- What does she watch on Netflix?
- If she could take a sabbatical, what would she do?
Dig into your audience persona as much as you can until you have a clear image of who your reader is.
Then, every time you create a new piece of content, establish a conversation between you and Jane —or your audience persona — and just talk and solve her problems.
Develop your unique angle
This is one of the reasons why most content creators don’t engage with their audiences.
Remember, you are not creating content for everybody. You are ONLY creating content for your audience persona.
Everybody else doesn’t matter.
Sounds extreme, but it works. And it works because your audience persona represents a targeted part of the market with whom your words will resonate.
Think of Apple. Do they have die-hard fans? Yes. Do they have die-hard detractors? Yes, maybe even more.
Are they one of the most profitable companies in the world? You can bet on it.
This is because — among a lot of other things — they are focused on amazing their fans over and over again. And they ignore everybody else.
So be brave. Develop your unique angle, and your voice. Having a personal approach is a fantastic way to establish a real connection with your audience.
And don’t worry if some people disagree with your ideas. They are not your audience.
This is pretty much it for now.
As you can see, there are a ton of things you can do, even if you don’t have a blog. No more excuses!
You can start creating content today, using solid platforms, for free. You can develop your voice and learn to understand your audience.
Trust me, if you do that now, you’ll be light years ahead of your competitors when you move to a private platform like a blog.
Now tell me, how are you going to complete the sentence? Write it down in the comments below.
If I want ___________, I need _______________