While making my coffee this morning, I was thinking about why I always seem to plan to write content for this blog, but, for one reason or another, it falls to the end of my priority list.
And I see this happening with my clients as well. They know that good content is key to generating web traffic. They, too, plan to create their own blog content, but it doesn’t always happen.
The reason it’s so hard often comes down to one thing: self-doubt.
When writing, we don’t always trust that what we have to say is worthwhile—or that we’ll say it well. Or maybe that we have anything worth saying in the first place.
Regardless of your expertise on a subject, we all feel, at times, something called the imposter syndrome.
There is no certificate required to write about your position on a subject. Unless you’re dealing with empirical facts, your experience as a professional makes you qualified to have an opinion.
If you’re not a little bit scared when you write, you’re probably not going out on the edge enough. And that’s where the readers are.
The best way to overcome self-doubt, however, is simple: just start writing.
Instead of staring at a blank screen, open a document, and start writing. Get the ideas out first. Edit them into clearer sentences later. If the article turns out to be good, publish it. Then move on to other things.
Even better, have an editor review and polish it—or even a spouse or a friend who has a keen eye for detail—then publish it.
If you are not sure what you should write about, think about the advice you give to your clients or customers on a regular basis.
Your knowledge and expertise—the reason your current clients work with you—is what will likely bring new visitors to your site.
One way to get started (which is the first step to overcoming self-doubt) is to put your idea into a tweet.
Lately, I have been trying to add more “thought leadership” to my Twitter feed. I noticed that the people with the most active followers tweet about their opinions on their subject matter. You can’t be an influencer without having original opinions.
And as great as curated content is, it doesn’t match up to taking a stance. The more your opinions resonate with your audience, the more followers and engagement you’ll see. But that’s a topic for another day.
My point for today is that when I write a tweet, it forces me to think about one nugget of information that I can say within 140 characters to sum up an opinion I believe in.
Last week, I tweeted the following:
The hardest part about creating content is overcoming the self-doubt you feel looking at a blank screen. Just start.
— Kevin C. Whelan (@kevincwhelan) August 4, 2016
This tweet both prompted and inspired me (yes, you can inspire yourself) to put pen to paper—or in this case, fingers to keys—and I started writing this article.
Yes, I feel self-doubt every time I write an article, but I also believe firmly in taking a position and letting the results show for themselves.
As a digital strategist, it’s my job to take a stance and look at things from a big-picture perspective. If I can’t put my thoughts into writing, I’m not putting my money where my mouth is.
So, here is my content, which started out with a degree of self-doubt. But I started it anyway, and now this article will attract a certain number of readers.
Maybe one of those readers will hire my company to write their content for them, even knowing that our writers (who are better than I am, by the way) will likely start with a degree of self-doubt themselves. But at least the content will get created in the end, and that’s what’s most important.
A website is only as good as its content. And content is only as good as the self-doubt you feel going into writing it. (You can tweet that if you want).
So, either get started and write that content you’ve been putting off, or leave the writing to us, – but the content needs to get created either way.
Turn off the doubt and get started.