It’s interesting when I look back at certain blogging and social media practices that I used to follow in the last 6 years and how differently I feel about them today.

The common thread that bound all those practices together was fear. Have you felt this way? That feeling when you are always looking over your shoulder, wondering who is catching up with you and how you should work harder and faster to race ahead. Sound familiar?

Interestingly, the change happened practically overnight in June this year, when I took a social media break to clear my head and reset my priorities. I was burnt out and overwhelmed and fed up of chasing goals that appeared pointless and out of my reach.

Read More: How to take a Social Media Break and Why I Recommend One

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Here are just some of the mistakes I’ve made as a content creator in the past and what I have learnt to do differently today.

Using the scarcity mindset AKA tripwires

Most marketing experts will teach you to hook your readers as soon as they sign up for your newsletter or when you give them an opt-in freebie. They compel you to strike when the iron is hot and give them something valuable for a throwaway price. 

Enter tripwires. 

A tripwire is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a virtual barrier or a thin wire that you string across the lower edge of a doorway to trip people, because they don’t see it.

The idea is that you sell them something very tiny (like a $2 or $5 product) and get them on to your email list. Once they buy it, they move on to a larger sales funnel.

I tested this and to be honest, I felt uncomfortable with it, but did it anyway. The marketing experts couldn’t be wrong, could they? I set up a tripwire for a $10 product and priced it at $2. That page was live on my website for over 8 months.

Results:

How many people saw that tripwire page? Over 500.

How many people bought the product via the tripwire? 1 person.

This was both pitiful and hilarious, so I pulled the plug and removed the tripwire from my website.

What I do now instead

I reward loyalty and my engaged audience.

When I launched the same product to my warm email list of engaged readers at a discounted price, I sold 66 copies of the product and made a net profit of over $130. 

We spend so much time looking for new buyers when, instead, we can spend time nurturing the audience we already have.

If you’d like to know more about how I do email marketing from the heart, sign up for my special webinar this month. It’s very reasonably priced at $7/ INR 500 and will be packed with value, I promise.


Scoping out the competition 

Competition is healthy but most of us rarely use it that way.

Most marketers are  usually wired to look for how competitors create content and then do things in a way that will lure people over to their products instead. So they indulge in ridiculous practices such as putting other people down, comparing their prices and telling people how they’re better value for money and aiming to ‘crush’ the competition.

Okay, let’s step back for a second. Since when did it become okay to use the terms ‘Rebel’, ‘Crush’ or ‘Hack’ as a way of advertising our services and products?

Why must we always approach things from a space of aggression instead of comfortable empathy?

We aren’t in the army and we’re not at war. We’re in the space of compassionate service.

I remember joining a Facebook group of ‘rebel’ entrepreneurs and within 2 weeks, I felt really awkward as it didn’t align with the way I wanted to do business. I wound up leaving the group soon afterwards. 

About a month later, I discovered the Authentic Business Strategy proposed by George Kao.

His work was so simple, so profoundly honest and empathetic that I found it easier to follow his principles of selling than any other marketer in the business.

What I do now: 

I religiously sign up for different newsletters from marketing and digital copywriting experts, especially if I find any of their content online. Next, I check to see if what they share is both valuable and in tune with what my services offer. Then, I either reach out to collaborate with them or steer clear if their techniques don’t align with my vision for my business.


Chasing page views & follower numbers

If you’ve read any of my recent posts you’d know this already. I was completely burnt out from the hamster wheel of page views.  At some level, I began to wonder if this was truly worth it. Are page views REALLY that important?

To some extent, yes, they do matter. It means that you have an audience and that they can help generate revenue for you.

But I soon discovered that there were other things more important than page views: 7 More Important things, to be precise and began to focus on that instead.

Today, after 4 months of consistent content creation, I can honestly say that I no longer chase page views or follower numbers on social media, for that matter. 

What I do now instead:

There is absolute joy in creating content on a regular basis. What’s more, it now comes from a space of abundance rather than a space of outcome-driven expectation.

When you learn to detach yourself from the results of your content and let yourself speak to your audience, you’d learn that there’s so much more joy to be found in the creative process.


 Locking down content for fear of theft

We’ve all been there: Worried and annoyed about people stealing our ideas and passing them off as their own, right?

Earlier the lesson was to fiercely protect everything I created, lock it down with necessary precautions and make copying difficult.⠀

To that end, I had a specific plugin called WP Content copy and right click protection enabled on my blog. It was the idea that nobody could use the right-click button and copy my ‘valuable’ ideas.

Of course, after a tech expert drily informed me that the plugin wouldn’t really stop industrious thieves, I removed it and left it to the Universe and the (hopeful) integrity of fellow bloggers.

What I do now

Although I don’t go as far as ‘uncopyrighting’ anything yet (props to people like Leo Babauta and George Kao), I do give away a lot of my content for free.

I now post content regularly on Medium, almost everyday on my social media platforms(notably Instagram), weekly in my free newsletter and of course, on this blog. The 3 biggest lessons I learnt from this abundant mindset when it comes to content creation is this:

  1. Your audience will find you, be loyal to you and stick with you, come what may. 
  2. The more you give away, the more you receive.
  3. I’ve actually made more money with my paid services and coaching sessions in the last 4 months ever since I made this conscious switch.

Participating in Blog Hops

If you’ve been a blogger for as long as I have, chances are you’ve participated in your fair share of link ups and blog hops. What’s more you’d have also been a part of blog threads where you share your post and had other bloggers visiting your blog and leaving a comment.

Now, I understand the lure of blog hops, believe me I do. And when you’re new to blogging, it’s extremely gratifying to join them and watch as your stats climb and your comments section grows longer. It’s also a wonderful and heartwarming way to find other bloggers in your niche. 

Plus, it’s one of the easiest networking methods out there for content creators.

But there is a fundamental challenge with blog hops and link ups that many bloggers are unwilling to admit.

The people who read your blog through this method are NOT your audience. They are your network.

What that means is you aren’t actually reaching your true audience: the people whose problems you can solve and the people who have genuine questions about your content, products or services.

So when we stay in the space of blog hopping and get wrapped up in the idea of more and more comments on the blog, we forget that we’re not reaching our audience.

The ONLY exception to this rule is if you’re a writer looking for feedback on your work and you join a group of fellow writers who offer constructive critique on your writing. In that case, a group of fellow writers or creators is actually an advantage.

What I do now:

About two years ago, I stopped participating in blog hops. While it was difficult to break away from the mindset of more comments and more page views, over time it was far more gratifying to see something else. 

The kind of genuine people who reached out with specific questions on the content I was sharing. Releasing our attachment to comments and validation is an important step forward for the content creator.


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Shailaja V

I’m a blog & content coach with over 13 years of writing, blogging and social media experience.

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