Here’s some things I have learned, many the hard way, in the past few years.
ON CREATING CONTENT
1. Having something to say that is (much) more valuable than saying something just so you can check the “I put out content today” box.
2. Forcing yourself to build content is how you learn to have something to say.
3. Use content to build a trust ladder. Rung by rung. Do not skip a rung.
4. Don’t badmouth your competitors.
5. Don’t badmouth your customers.
6. Don’t say you are the ONLY person who offers “x” (because you very likely are not).
7. Demonstrate that you know how the world looks and feels to your customers.
8. Demonstrate your ability to empower your customer to solve their pressing challenge or problem.
9. Your ideas do not have to be original. Your voice has to be you — and you are an original. Tap into your unicorn horn and be you.
10. Don’t try to be the best.
11. The longer you put off starting, the harder it is to start.
12. The longer you take a break from something, the harder it is to restart.
13. Set aside time EVERY DAY to be creative. Brain storm. Write. Record. Build something. You will get better faster when you make it a daily habit.
14. Don’t post and share everything you make. Some of it will be shit. Make it and decide if it is shit. If it is, discard it.
15. There is no “winning” in SEO, no matter who tells you otherwise.
16. There is “improving” in SEO and that will grow your business.
17. Basic optimization goes a long way in improving your SEO. Do it.
18. No matter what else you do, the only sustainable SEO strategy is consistent high value content.
19. You may be able to game (buy) the SEO system for a little while, but it won’t last. Ever.
ON VIDEOS and LIVE CASTING
20. Live video feeds suck if you don’t have anything to say. Unless you do something catastrophic — then it’s super fun for your audience — but not good for your business.
21. Stop trying to look perfect, perfect lighting, perfect background, perfect home studio. Focus on building and delivering great content.
22. Don’t get overly fancy looking (hair, make up, clothing, etc). It reeks of trying too hard. Be you. Everyday you. Your audience will love that you.
23. But do mind the camera angle — weird angles distract the audience the whole time and we cannot process your content ‘cuz all we can think is “Move the damn camera. Your neck looks weird like that.”
24. There will always be the newest and latest thing. Have fun with it and stop trying to get it perfect. Forget about your neck.
MAKING STUFF THAT MATTERS
25. Not everybody is gonna like you, like your stuff, like your website, like your posts or like your content.
26. Some people are gonna full-on HATE your stuff.
27. Do not disregard your haters entirely. Listen to your haters. Understand your haters. See if they are pointing out something you did not see or understand.
28. Consider making a change as you learn new things.
29. Only make changes that are true to your vision and passion for your topic and product.
30. Don’t make lots of changes. Your audience will get confused. You will get confused.
31. Different is better than better (thanks, Sally Hogshead).
32. You can game the system for a while with luck or a gimmick, but it won’t last.
33. Everyone loves kittens. Kittens last. (Well, maybe not.)
34. Pigtails don’t make me look younger and saying fuck doesn’t make me seem cooler, but both make me happy, so I’m gonna keep doing them and attract people who like me.
35. Pictures of you with your expensive car and extravagant toys do NOT make me want to do business with you. In fact, they repel me.
36. Lifestyle photos show your audience what you value and what you get for your work.
36. If you post pictures of your cars and toys, then obviously I must not be your target audience. You do you. Carry on.
37. I feel like I should have one more because 37 is a good number. What would you add to this list? Email me at mary@theartofstoryproject and let me know.