In my opinion, this is the single biggest reason new websites for small businesses and causes fail …
… the biggest reason by far.
In a flurry of activity, the website is set up and configured. It looks pretty, the basic information is in place (a very good thing, by the way), and lots of good intentions are set to create ongoing content.
A continuous flow of content – be it a daily flow or a monthly drip – is one of the cornerstone techniques for getting your website – and your business – noticed online. It’s a key strategy to finding new customers and making new connections.
So why do so many get to this point and stop?
I want to examine a few of the more common problems I see when it comes time to put virtual pen to virtual paper.
I can’t write
Really bad writers don’t know how bad they are. They’re pretty much oblivious.
On the other hand, people who have the insight to question their own skills are generally already better writers than they think they are. That’s probably you.
Simply by being concerned about the issue, you’ve shown me you’re probably good enough.
Perfect? Of course not. None of us are. Especially when we begin – but that’s OK. Do not let it prevent you from starting. You’ve heard variations on the saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good”. Nowhere is that a greater issue than when it comes to writing. I see so many people step away from the task simply because they don’t think they’re “good enough”.
How do you get better?
Start. Start writing now. Write something. Publish. Start getting traffic to your website.
Sure, work on getting better, but again, unless your writing is truly, truly awful, publishing something on your website that’s only “good”, or perhaps even just mediocre, is significantly better than having nothing at all.
“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” — Confucius.
I don’t have time
Is your business important? Is selling your product important? Is getting your message out important?
There’s absolutely no such thing as not having enough time. What does occur is not prioritizing so the important things happen.
You have the time. You’re just spending it doing something else. If all those things I listed (and probably more) are important to you – and I’m pretty sure they are, since they’re why you have a web site – then producing content for that site is just as important.
Maybe watch a little less TV, spend a little less time on social media, whatever. Obviously, I can’t speak to the priorities in your life.
What I can speak to is this: if your business is important to you, then your web site is important. If your website is important to you, then creating content for that site is important. If that’s important, you’ll find the time by re-arranging things that are less important.
It’s both super simple and incredibly difficult.
I don’t know what to write about
I covered this in one of the early articles on Ask Leo! on Business.
Your customers and potential customers are constantly telling you what to write about; they’re called questions. Your customers, fans, followers – whatever you want to call them – all have questions.
Writing content is as easy as answering questions.
What do you get asked about all the time? Write it up. (Bonus: you’ll be able to stop repeating yourself as people start finding the answer on their own, or you simply point them at the answer you’ve written.) What questions do you wish people would ask you? Write those up.
Seriously, I can’t think of many endeavors that don’t have a huge list of questions that could serve as content fodder. If you’re publishing once a month, you only need 12 questions to fill out a year; 52 if you want to go weekly. I’m convinced there are at least 52 questions about whatever it is you do. (Trust me – in answering the first, you’ll discover six more.)
I’m afraid of rejection
Rejection is a natural part of doing business. It’s not limited to online efforts, and it’s not limited to writing.
I’m not talking about your mission’s success or failure; I’m talking about people who will, without cause, simply reject what you say. They’ll disapprove of what you do, what you say, how you do it, or how you say it. There will even be people who disapprove of who you are.
Don’t let the haters – the people that, honestly, don’t matter – prevent you from reaching out to the rest of the world – the people that really do matter. Don’t let the fear of the haters, or even the reality of some of their feedback, prevent you from making a difference in someone else’s life. Haters simply aren’t worth that kind of emotional investment, and they haven’t earned the right to control you like that.
They exist. Ignore them. As hard as it might be, move on.
Just as you shouldn’t let failure prevent you from learning and moving on to your next great success, don’t let the fear of negative feedback prevent you from making a difference.
I’m afraid of success
No one will ever say they’re afraid of success, but I see the signs frequently.
Success can be scary. This thing (business, website, whatever…) that you’ve created might take off, and all of a sudden, you’d have to deal with issues you’ve never considered. It’s frightening, and you’re not sure what to do next, and that carefully laid-out plan to continue to grow will fall by the wayside.
Self-sabotage is one way we “protect” ourselves from success.
The easiest self-sabotage that happens all the time? “I’ll write that post later, when I feel better / have more time / have a better idea / when I’m not dealing with this urgent yet trivial thing” and so on.
Writing is hard. Not writing is easy. It’s often the first thing to go when the going gets tough, when we get scared, or when things start to succeed.
Adding fresh content to your site is an important component of keeping your site, and everything it represents, healthy. Don’t abandon it out of fear, or as things start to improve, or that improvement simply won’t last.
Get to it
In no way do I want to make it seem like this whole writing thing is easy. It’s not. But then, anything of value takes effort.
This has value.
Set aside some time, right now, to write, now. Answer that first question. Explain that interesting concept. Describe a little of your business history. Tell people not just who you are, but why you are, and why you do what you do.
Your fans – and you will have them – will eat it up.
Seriously. Get to it. Do the work.
Whenever I write a piece like this, I get a series of “yeah, but…” responses. Basically a list of excuses that people have for not writing, for not doing the work.
Bring it on. What’s your reason for not writing? I’m sure there are valid reasons, but I want to challenge you to challenge yourself and get to it.