If you’ve been finding it hard to write blogs recently or your marketing strategy from two months ago no longer feels relevant then do not worry. While being present and consistent is all fine and good during normal times, we need to work to different rules and schedules right now. 

We are all going through a kind of collective trauma right now. You might feel it as grief. Most of us will have experienced trauma on some level,  see the signs of the cycle we’re working through. 

The crappy thing about going through this change is that some days you’re going to feel like not writing or creating content. Social media is going to add overwhelm and none of that is particularly healthy. 

WHEN YOU’RE NOT FEELING IT

Forcing yourself to do something, even when you don’t feel like it, can be a good thing. Like when I never feel like going out for a run but do it anyway and then am mostly glad I turned up and moved my feet around the streets. 

Or when it’s time to do a job you don’t want to do, like tax returns. Getting it done when you’re not feeling it is often the only way. 

Perhaps you sit to write your social media posts but there’s no inspiration. That’s been happening a lot recently. I’ve never experienced writer’s block before. Writers misdirection and a lot of half started ideas on page but never a complete blockage on putting the words down. 

A simple blog has taken days to get out of my head. And for one particularly long and in-depth article, I’ve been working on it for weeks and still think everything I’ve written is utter trash. 

Then there is the balance to writing for our times and writing so we don’t have to go back over pages in a few months and re-write everything. Getting that balance between writing for our audience’s needs which are very much impacted by our times and writing for their long-term needs. 

Here’s how you can use this for your marketing:

1. REFLECT

Journalling is a great way to reflect on what’s going on and how it’s making you feel. It is also good to figure out what has and has not been working for your business so you can adjust as you go. 

The other brilliant part of keeping a journal is that you don’t ever really get writers block. Even when I’ve been struggling with those difficult pieces of copy, I have been writing in my journal every day so that I know I can still write. 

You don’t need a ‘dear diary’ unless you particularly want to. Putting down bullet points or sketching out what is happening in your day is enough. I write whatever rubbish pops into my head to get warmed up. It’s usually some navel gazing, a bit of a whinge about the mess in the house and then I’m warmed up. I think of it as sneaking up on writing from behind. 

Some days that’s all I’ll write. And that’s okay. Others, I’ll have a flick back through my self-pity pages and realise there’s a theme or cycle going on. At this point I can reflect on what’s happened, what has and has not worked. 

I do the whole ‘set your intentions’ for the day but I’m from Yorkshire. My intentions are usually to get work done and drink pints of tea while doing it.  But that’s the best part of a journal, no one else is looking at it or giving marks to your work. 

2. SLOW DOWN AND GET INSPIRATION

There’s many reasons why you might have been forced to slow down at the moment. Topping the list will be either kids or work drying up. Years of working around my kids during school holidays have taught me the hard way to accept that less will get done in the day. 

One of my clients asks me on the phone each week if I’ve managed to get time for myself. Which is hugely considerate but also because she knows that being productive means looking after yourself. No one does their best work while burnt out. 

Finding yourself in a cycle of work and sleep with nothing else going on isn’t healthy. And it certainly isn’t going to help you market your business. 

3 WAYS YOU CAN DO THIS:

  1. Look to your personal interests outside of your business – remember it’s who you are that makes your business unique.
  2. Go down into the rabbit hole of a subject – and this helps you avoid looking to what others are doing.
  3. Talk to friends and colleagues – if you feel overwhelmed with info or not sure where to start, ask for recommendations.

I recommended This Changes Everything, a documentary by Geena Davies, to a friend who works in a different industry to me. After she’d watched it, we started chatting about how it applies to the worlds in which we work. It got our brains thinking about delicious side-projects and what we really want out of life. 

We pass reading, watching and listening recommendations on to each other and broaden our understanding of our worlds. None of this is procrastination or wasted time. It helps us see things from another perspective. 

And from out of it has come some really great ideas.

PLAN

I sat on an online networking event last week. The main talk was about planning the kind of business we want to have. Or that’s what I took from it, anyway. 

You can either start planning your business and marketing now or you can wait until this crisis is over and then start up after everyone else. 

While there’s something to be said for not pushing yourself too much, you need to balance that against going into hibernation until it’s all over. It’s far too easy to get your head down, get through this and start again when the world has shifted once more. 

It might seem hard to plan for an unknowable future but it is not impossible. You have to get the high level stuff done and then shift and adapt to the changing situation. 

For example, knowing what kind of business you want is a good place to start.  Do you want to work from home and stop at 3pm each day? Or do you like to take a whole day off each week?  Have you had to downsize and realised that a one-person operation is actually okay? Or are you fed up of your own thoughts and want to hire some staff at the end? 

Only you can answer these questions and then once you have that vision in place, you can start working outwards from there. 

It’s easier to change the purpose of your narrative once you know what your ultimate goal is. And no matter how this all unfolds, you’ll be tweaking not being reactive. 

NOW PUT YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY TOGETHER

Here are some ways you can do this without losing the plot and getting burnt out: 

1. Be honest about the time you have available – Don’t plan to do a blog post a week if right now the time you have to create marketing content is the spare half hour between breakfast and homeschool.  Be realistic and accept you might need to go slower

2. Make an appointment with yourself to do the work – Fake meetings in your calendar, a day blocked out, Saturday evenings while everyone else is watching TV.  Do what works for you right now. 

3. Understand the story you want to tell – Where are you taking people? What do you want them to learn? 

4. Create a theme or series – If you’re short on headspace and time, having a theme or series that you can work to will keep you limited on the scope of what you need to create.  

5. Re-purpose everything – spending a little time creating one piece of content should be the start of a spider’s web of other content coming out of it. Recycle your content as much as possible. Wring every last piece of value out of it across your network. 

Take advantage of things moving a little slower right now. You can be more intentional with your time. Focus on what works and what doesn’t. Going through a process of reflection will mean you waste less time in the future and that’s going to be needed when we move past this current stage of crisis.