One of the common pain points marketers suffer from is that, while it’s clear a solid content strategy is integral to their success, consistent production of quality content continues to be elusive.
The pain and frustration has reached a fever-pitch to a point of something I refer to as “The Empty Fridge Syndrome.”
You know the feeling: it’s 8:00 pm on a Sunday. You’re chillin’ on the couch and you get the urge for something interesting to eat but you know from your earlier visit that there’s nothing available in the fridge.
Undeterred, you walk over, open it up, hoping against hope that there’s something you missed the last time, something that’ll catch your eye this time that will satisfy your craving.
Then, the disappointed, defeatist, downright dejected part of you scowls back at the fridge. You slam the door as if you’ve just learned that you missed the Powerball by one lousy number.
The lack of a content strategy feels very much the same. Your website and social channels are your fridge and your content strategy is what gives you the power to fill it up with interesting, lead-generating content!
Chances are, as you walk over to the fridge, it’s not really the food you’re craving…it’s something to replace the boredom. If your website and social channels are lacking excitement, there’s a 100% chance your customers are bored, too!
5 Tips to Avoid the Content Strategy “Empty Fridge Syndrome”
Don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of having nothing to write about on your blog or post on social media. Allow yourself the opportunity to come up with solutions you can use at these times…instead of scrambling for inspiration and feeling defeated.
1. Learn Your Cues
The secret here is to practice observing yourself, the people around you and the events that cause you to end up clamoring for content ideas. Listen for the cues that warn you about the inevitable emptiness and fine-tune your behavior.
Content ideas happen when you pay attention and set aside time to formulate them. It takes a determination to design high-quality original content. The quicker you’re able to recognize what needs to happen (and the distractions that keep you from it), the more robust your results will be.
2. Replace Bad Habits
It’s Friday at 3:00pm. You’re due to go home for the weekend and you haven’t come up with anything to post on your blog next week. You haven’t figured out exactly what you want to post on Facebook. This situation is a bad habit and can be improved with focused time management.
Time management is a social media manager’s best friend. If the above situation sounds even remotely familiar, it’s time to impart the 90-Minute Rule.
Content strategy is a creative process (contrary to what all the “tools vendors” tell you). Creativity needs breathing room. One of the reasons you feel overwhelmed or tapped out is because you haven’t designated a space, with no distractions, to focus on what matters most.
The 90-Minute Rule:
- Choose each next day’s most important task the evening before.
- Silence your phone, close all windows on your computer and put voicemail on do-not-disturb.
- Begin your work day focusing uninterrupted for 90 minutes on that one task.
- Routine is vital so commit to at least 21 days of practice.
Typically, you’ll get more work done during those 90 minutes, and feel more satisfied with your output, than you do for any comparable period of time the rest of the day.
3. Take a Walk
We often imagine that taking a break is sinful. Quite the contrary, doing something physical for 20 minutes can not only break the pattern of boredom and worry but when you return, you’ll have fresh eyes to complete your task.
There is power in the crowd!
A common occurrence with content strategy and creation is that your head will say, “You got this.” In some situations such as simple, one-off posts, that can be true. But in order to come up with consistent, high-quality content that resonates with your audience, going it alone only lasts for so long.
When you hit the wall creatively – and you will – you’ll need solutions.
Learn to recognize when you hit the wall or come close to it. Be careful not to say, “Well, I can figure this out later.” because that will guarantee you a spot staring into the fridge expecting something to pop out that’s delicious.
Set yourself up for success by asking a few skillful, savvy, well-positioned co-workers to brainstorm content ideas with you once per week. The ideas that arise will be greater than the sum of your individual contributions.
5. Prepare for Resistance
Resistance to change is embedded in human nature. We’re programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It’s much easier to go back to your comfort zone when faced with a challenge, but that will secure you a spot in front of the fridge staring aimlessly into the abyss.
Fact: making changes, even small ones, is challenging.
Be prepared for the obstacles.
When you feel yourself reverting back to old habits recognize the first clues such as defending your position and/or spending time on other tasks.
They say that writers have the cleanest kitchens. Why? Because we practice resistance behavior and do everything we can to avoid what we know needs to be done.
Bypass the Empty Fridge with a Written Content Strategy Plan
It’s no secret that having a written social media and content strategy improves your results. Successful marketers do a few things differently:
- Document their content marketing strategy.
- Have clarity on what content marketing success looks like.
- Create differentiating content.
The effort you put into building your social media and content strategy is evident in your success. Don’t get to the point of frustration. Walk away from the fridge, set up your strategies and meet your challenges head on with a routine that energizes you.