Content Creation for Beginners – Five Big Mistakes to Avoid

Content Creation for beginners can be a difficult time. It seems that a lot of people will tell you what you need to do. Everyone has an opinion.

But when you’re a beginner, it’s more important to avoid making big mistakes. The big mistakes can cost you lots of time and energy but most importantly they can put a big dent in your motivation. They may even make you want to quit before you really get started – and you don’t want that to happen.

 My Five Big Content Creation Mistakes

I’ve been creating and publishing content for over 20 years and in this post, I’ll share the five big mistakes I’ve made during my content creation career.

Google says my blog has received over 350,000 views so I’ve made some good moves. But if I hadn’t made the five mistakes in this post, this figure would be a lot higher.

Now for the five big beginner content creation mistakes that you need to avoid.

1 The Obvious Big Mistake

The obvious big mistake for content creation beginners is… Drum roll please… Not starting. As they say in lottery land, you have to be in it, to win it. If you’re procrastinating and not getting started, then my big tip is to just play.

In the post, The Four Steps to Become a Thought Leader we looked at the four stages of development every high performer goes through:

  1. Play
  2. Get Serious
  3. Commit
  4. Ground Breaking

If you’re just starting out, just go out and play and have some fun with your content creation. You need this time to see if this is the right thing for you.

Two-Phase Commitment

Instead of making one big commitment from Day One for the rest of your life, my tip is to do a two-phase commitment.

Last year when I started back again for the third time on YouTube, I said, ‘Just create ten videos. After that, then you can decide to get serious or not.’

This takes all the pressure off. Just go and create some content and have some fun. I suggest you play for one to three months before you decide if you want to get serious, or not. And if you do want to get serious some of what follows in this post will apply. And you may also like the next post in this series about Consistent Content Creation.

The Tortoise and the Hare
Photos by: Craig Pattenaude on Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

2 The boring advice you don’t want to hear

Now for the boring advice, you don’t want to hear.

Have you heard Aesop’s story of the tortoise and the hare?

A loud-mouth hare is bragging about how fast he is and starts to poke fun at a slow-moving tortoise. The tortoise doesn’t like this very much, so he challenges the hare to a race. When the race starts, the hare takes off at a furious pace while the tortoise plods along. Thinking he will win the race easily; the hare stops for a nap. When he wakes up, he finds the tortoise has slowly and steadily beaten him to the finish line.

I was like the hare with my podcast. I would race off and produce ten episodes and then take a nap. My stats look like the Swiss Alps – they go up when I was producing episodes and down when I wasn’t.

To be successful as a content creator you need to be consistent. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

TIP: Find a consistent pace to work at that you can repeat again and again. If that is one video or blog post per week then get started with that. You will get faster as you produce more content. Yes, it’s boring advice, and it is what works.

Content Statistics like the Swiss Alps

3 Pick a lane

The number one question I am asked about content creation is: Should I be on Facebook? Or should I be on Instagram? Or what about TikTok?

What they’re really asking is: What’s the best channel to be on?

You will find people who have been successful on every single channel. This shows that any platform can work.

My suggestion is that you pick the one you like spending time on. For me,

  • Blog – I love writing that’s why I started a blog.
  • Podcast – I wanted to have good conversations with people, that’s why I started a podcast.
  • YouTube – I always wanted to make movies, that’s why I’m now on YouTube.
  • LinkedIn – I’m in business and this is where a lot of my business colleagues and potential clients hang out.

If you don’t pick a platform that you enjoy, you’re less likely to stick to it in the long term. And the number-one success factor across any field is to stick at it for long enough to have success happen.

In the early days of my content creation journey, I danced around between Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, running webinars and writing blog posts. It was too much, and I wasn’t successful on any of them. I wish I had picked one main platform and stuck at it.

It’s like driving your car. Accidents are more likely to happen when you’re constantly swapping lanes. Pick a lane to drive in.

TIP: Pick one channel and keep working on that one channel until you have some mastery around then.

Find your buddy and social support group
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

4 Follow the Leader

One of my strengths and weaknesses is that I’m very independent. I like to do things my own way. That’s good in some situations but not so good in others. In my content creation journey, this has been one of my big mistakes.

If you want to progress faster, you need to follow the people that are ahead of you. You need to learn what works otherwise you’re doomed to repeat the mistakes others have made.

Coaching, Programs and Groups

When I restarted on YouTube 12 months ago, I vowed to do this differently.

The first part of this was to find someone to follow who had built a successful YouTube channel. I had been following Justin Brown and Primal Video and joined their accelerator program. If you’re starting out, I highly recommend their program. It served me well. In the past few weeks, I have joined Income School and Platform 24 to learn from some new teachers. (Not affiliate links).

I’ve also started my own group coaching program, The Content Club, to help business experts earn money from what they know. If you like my approach to content creation then you might like to join us there.

Hopefully, this also shows that even though I have expertise in content creation, I’m still learning from other people who are ahead of me.

Buddy, Groups and Social Support

The second part of this is that you need a social support group to help you celebrate the good times and fight through the tough times. This might be a single person, a group of friends or colleagues or a community you pay to be part of.

I talk with my video buddy Philippe most weeks on zoom. In the early days of YouTube, it took me almost 3 months to get my first video done. Without Philippe’s support, I probably would have given up.

TIP: You can’t succeed at almost anything alone. Find a leader in your content creation space and follow them. And find a buddy or a group to support you through the tough times and share the good times with.

5 Focus on the right thing

Content Creation for Beginners - Three things to focus on

I think too many content creators – especially beginners – focus on the wrong things. There are three important things you do need to focus on when you’re a content creator – especially when you’re starting out.

1 Dream

The first is your dream – why are you doing this? Is it to earn lots of money, be an influencer or travel the world? You need to fuel this to stay motivated. But focusing too much on this will hide the fact that you need to do a lot of hard work to make it come true.

2 Stats

The second thing to focus on is your stats – how many views you’ve had, subscribers and shares. Your stats give you clues as to what’s working and what’s not. If you want to improve and be successful, you need to be listening to this feedback.

In the beginning, your stats will be low and this can be frustrating. I know when I re-started with YouTube last year I had many days when no one (not a single person) watched my videos. The big danger here is that your stats will go up and down like a yo-yo and if you’re not careful your emotions will follow.

The thing to watch for here is if you’re checking your stats multiple times a day. That’s a big hint that you probably putting too much emphasis on the wrong thing.

3 Skills

The third thing to focus on is your work and improving the quality of your content. This is the most important thing to focus on for three reasons:

  1. It’s the only thing you can control. You can influence your stats and your dream, but you can’t control them.
  2. This is where your happiness and satisfaction will grow from. When we focus on external measures of success eg your dream or your stats, our happiness is only fleeting. But when we focus on the effort we put in and the capability to get things done our happiness stays with us.
  3. By improving the quality of your content, you will add better value to your audience, and this will grow your success faster.

(I’ve spoken more about which types of skills to develop in the post, The most important thought leadership skills to develop)

TIP: Pursue your dream and learn from your stats but don’t be a slave to them. Instead, focus on making each piece of content better than the previous one – you’ll be happier and more successful this way.

More for Content Creation for Beginners

If you’re just starting out and want more on Content Creation for Beginners, here are three resources to help:

And this is the first video in a three-part series on the thought leaders and content creators’ journey. The next posts will be added shortly.

Comment: What is your number one tip for content creation for beginners?

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