Have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month, usually bandied about with the acronym NaNoWriMo, is a creative writing challenge that happens annually every November. “The goal of NaNoWriMo participants is to write 50,000 words of a new novel (either a 50,000-word novel or the first 50,000 words of a novel to be finished later) by writing every day of the month—an average of about 1,700 words per day.”¹ You might have also seen your friends using the hashtag #100daysofpractice thanks to the incredible Hilary Hahn who started the trend for musicians in 2017. Did you know that 29 Days to Diva started out as a content creation challenge? It did. I decided that I wanted to motivate myself to write every day for a month on the blog back in 2012. According to HubSpot, “Content creation is the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, infographic, or other content formats.”
Your 29 Days to Diva – Day 11 Assignment: Try a content creation challenge
To get started, I want you to think about the offer that you want to grow the most this year. Have you ever felt stressed by realizing the people around you think of you more as a teacher than a performer? More of an administrator than a composer? More of an ensemble player than a soloist? More of a student than a teacher? More of a participant than a leader? To be absolutely clear, there’s nothing wrong with ANY of those labels. We tend to be all of those things at all different stages throughout our career. It’s only a bummer when we want to be seen as one thing in particular by those around us and we’re mistaken as something we don’t want in that situation. Another way of thinking about which offer you’d like to grow the most this year is asking yourself, “How do I want people to see me this year?”
Content ideation for creative professionals
We’ve covered a bit of the ideation part when we think about what offer we want to grow. The next part of ideation is thinking about what the potential client, commissioner, customer, or buyer might find engaging, interesting, or helpful. If you’re a composer and you want more wind ensembles to be commissioning you, you could create an entire content challenge around wind ensemble music. If you’re a performer and you want to get booked more often, you should absolutely try a content challenge around the audio/video samples that a booker/presenter might find compelling. You’ve also already done my Branding 3×3 Exercise. That can help you focus the tone and topic you choose to use throughout your challenge.
Content planning for creative professionals
Now comes the planning. You’ve already picked the social media platform that you are prioritizing. Check, that’s taken care of. Now, what timeframe do you want to choose for your challenge? NaNoWriMo is a month, #100daysofpractice is well… 100 days. My Fri-YAY video series started out as a challenge to make short, live videos weekly for a year. You can also flip-flop thinking about the timeframe with thinking about the format. One of these will usually speak to you most definitively. Mine tends to be format first and then timeframe second. I urge you to think as broadly as possible about format. It doesn’t have to be blog posts, reels, or videos. Pick the one that you get the most excited about creating and do that because you’ll be way more likely to stay committed to it. Add your content creation schedule to your calendar so that you are actively making time for this challenge in your life. If you don’t know where it goes on your calendar, you definitely won’t know where it goes in your day.
Content creation for creative professionals
As you write, record, film, design, or produce, keep in mind that content creation is fluid and you can always adjust along the way. THIS IS A SELF-GUIDED (READ: SELF-IMPOSED) CHALLENGE. You can change course whenever you deem fit. The idea is that you create focused and consistent content to be alluring to your potential client so that you grow your visibility in the way you want. Each piece of content you make is an experiment that helps you learn and grow. If you’re ready for a little bit more challenge, start adding some KPIs to your content creation strategy and check in after your challenge to measure your success.
Try a quick content audit
Before you go forwards, take a quick look in the rearview. Whether you’ve been winging it since day one with your communications or you’ve been following a strategy all along, you can definitely benefit from an audit. (Just like our Diva Audit from Day 1!) Take stock of the content you’ve already shared. You could decide to repurpose some of the things you’ve shared in the past to be included in this upcoming content challenge. Or, you can simply make a note of what seemed to resonate with your current/past audiences. Don’t forget to check WHO liked certain popular past posts to see if that is your intended future audience for this work.
Overall, this is an iterative process. You have learned from everything you’ve shared in the past to help you create future content that engages your ideal client, commissioner, presenter, student, etc. By giving yourself a focused content creation challenge, you’ll beef up your skills so that you have a system you can rely on that genuinely delights your intended audience.