When You Should Throw Your Content Calendar Away (I Sure Did)

You may or may not have noticed… but it's been ten weeks since I published the last post on this blog. Ten freaking weeks! A.K.A. Seventy days or roughly 1/5th of an entire year.

Sure, I launched a new podcast and wrote a guest post or two, but I call myself a full-time blogger―what gives?

I have always been an advocate of creating consistent quality content that helps you achieve your goals in business and life.

And yes, I still believe content strategy is key to building a successful business online from your blog. And yet…

Why I Threw My Content Calendar Out The (Proverbial) Window

In hindsight, it's hard to believe, but writing was easier when I still had a full-time job.

Writing new, genuinely helpful content every week wasn't hard when the bills were already paid.

I was always working towards the goal of running my online business full-focused, but it seemed so far off at the time. The income from my day job meant there was no real sense of urgency when I wrote.

Then this year, everything changed.

When I quit my job at Chick-fil-A to become a full-time blogger, my content calendar suddenly mattered a whole lot more.

Every blog post or email suddenly represented a choice―would my family be eating beans or caviar this month?

No pressure, right?

(In case you missed it, that's a joke. We don't eat Caviar in the South because it's not considered deep-fried or patriotic.)

When Complexity Causes Problems (and Strategy Fails)

According to StrengthFinders, my number one strength is strategic.

In general, a strategic mind is pretty great because it allows me to view the world through a lens of systems and step-by-step processes that other people might miss.

In this case, that meant every piece of content that passed my desk formed a behind-the-scenes web of my master plan to sell more products, services, and in general make lots of money online.

Only… it didn't feel natural anymore.

Every social media message, blog post, or email campaign had to fit inside my content marketing strategy―or it didn't make the cut.

I started feeling drained. The work I love now felt forced. Then I read this comment from a reader named Joel:

John, I've always held you in high esteem. You're authentic, friendly. I've been faithfully reading your blog for a few years, but honestly John… I've been less than enthusiastic this year. I feel more like a prospect rather than a friend. I've lost the faith, I guess…

Ouch.

It’s the truth that always hurts the most, isn’t it?

Joel's comment was too true to ignore―so I stopped cold in my tracks to take time to reflect on what needed to change.

I still promoted free resources on my email list. I still launched The Unleash Your Blog Podcast.

Beyond that, I backed off and took a break… and you know what I realized?

Simplicity beats complexity―as long as it can possibly be sustained.Click To Tweet

Massive billion-dollar companies need a super-detailed content strategy because they have entire departments involved in content marketing, and need to keep their team aligned.

You and I? We just need to stay a few unpublished ideas ahead of publication in CoSchedule, and we're doing just fine.

In summary, if you're not connected living out always be teaching then you need to throw your content calendar out the window and teach from the heart.

17 thoughts on “When You Should Throw Your Content Calendar Away (I Sure Did)

  1. Hi John, glad to see you back on the blog and committed to your mission of teach first. I totally noticed the switch to “promo-promo-promo” and didn’t blame you for it. Leaving the day job in pursuit of something only you can create (and create from scratch) is mega stressful when there are wives and babies involved! Congrats on launching the podcast – that has to be exciting. And I’m looking forward to the 30-day challenge too!

      1. You bet! You’ve worked hard and people will forgive you. You gave me great counsel on fixes to my blog, which I’ve been able to implement. It feels great! But yeah – the challenge – I’d love to get to v1.0 of my product in 30 days. I’m still gathering feedback from my audience and building that audience further, so that’s actually the first step. To get 300 responses to the pre-product survey.

          1. Good point! I’m actually shortcutting the advice that I was given, which was to collect 500 survey responses. Yaow! This is way out of my area of expertise so I’m just doing the work as prescribed. But yes, it’s taking time (and funds) to stimulate this kind of deep audience research. I’m curious to know what specific action you mean by “test”? Thanks John!

          2. I mean sell something. The beta or MVP version of your product. Surveys are a good start (I never get more than 100 responses myself) but opinions aren’t worth anything to your business unless people will back that up with their wallet. Many people will fill out a survey telling you what they want but when you offer it to them they won’t actually buy it.

  2. You are my hero. I feel like such a failure sometimes because I don’t have everything figured out. I haven’t launched my full blog because I’m concerned about building the content calendar, not being consistent because I’m also serving clients everyday (read: trading time for dollars), and honestly because I’m just scared that people will figure out I might not know everything I should know about my niche. Thanks for just laying it out there. I’m still scared, but now I realize I only fail when I quit trying to make things better instead of trying to make things perfect.

    I think I’m going to use “deep fried and patriotic” as my tag line at the next BNI meeting. Now that I’m in Phoenix, everyone is enamored by my southern-isms. 🙂

    1. TRUTH: “I’m still scared, but now I realize I only fail when I quit trying to make things better instead of trying to make things perfect.”

      You’re on the right path, Jennifer. Just get started, and improve as you go! Share your heart, nobody expects you to be perfect or know everything (if they do, they’re silly and you don’t need them).

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