Consistency is hard, this makes it easier
Just because you know you should be consistent doesn't mean it's easy. It's a struggle that causes many creators to stall out. Luckily, you're not alone. Chapter 10 covers tips and strategies to help get your content engine up and running.
With your match and kindling, you’ve started building one of your bonfires. Maybe you set up your YouTube channel or started sharing your work on Instagram. It might be a small flame right now, but it’s there.
So what do you do next? Do you walk away and leave your precious fire to fend for itself, or do you regularly tend to the fire and add new twigs and logs so it can continue to burn?
When building an audience, getting the fire started is just the first step. To continue to reap the benefits of your hard work–and grow your bonfire even bigger–you have to have consistency .
Consistency multiplies the effects of your effort.
So far in this guide, you’ve put in a lot of work. All the things you’ve done already are going to help with audience growth, but if you add consistency to the mix, you’ll take all your hard work to the next level.
Having a consistent posting schedule and cadence builds trust and makes it easier to become part of your audience’s routine
In the context of audience building, consistency refers to your content creation cadence and schedule.
Your cadence is how often you post, like daily, weekly, or monthly.
Your schedule is the specific day and time you share, like every Sunday at noon.
Having a reliable posting schedule builds trust with your audience and makes it easier for them to make your content part of their routine.
YouTubers Jonathan and Ashley Longnecker learned this when they started posting new videos on their YouTube channel every day.
Jonathan and Ashley Longnecker
“We became part of their schedule every day. They could wake up, have their coffee, and watch Tiny Shiny Home.”
Consistency makes you better at doing the work you love
Consistency also makes you better at your craft–whether that’s making videos, taking photos, writing blog posts, recording podcast episodes, or something else entirely. Em Connors noticed that her comfort level and content quality improved when she consistently filmed videos for her business.
“I started posting a ton and doing a lot of videos. My husband said, ‘The people want to see you. They don’t want to see me.’ And I was like, ‘I hate you. I hate this. I’m an introvert. I don’t want to be on here.’ In the beginning, my videos were just so painful to watch. They’re so painful, but the only thing that got me better at it was doing it every single week.”
That said, consistency is only part of the equation. Being consistent over time is how consistency does its real magic.
Consistency over time is the key to success
A survey by vidIQ found that it takes the average YouTuber 15.5 months to reach 1000 subscribers. 79% of respondents hadn't reached that figure and only 16% reached it within a year.
Before we think of this as a bad thing, remember that long-term consistency allows you to build strong relationships between you and your audience.
Remember when you were a kid and you looked forward to watching your favorite TV show each week? For me it was DuckTales and it was the first show in the Disney afternoon lineup.
My brother and I would race home from school to watch it every day to find out what kind of trouble Huey Dewey and Louie had gotten into–like the time they accidentally caused runaway inflation in Duckburg by using the multiphonic duplicator to multiply their coins.
If the show had only been on sporadically, we probably wouldn’t have been so invested. Instead, it was an important and fun part of our routine for years.
Creator Khe Hy also knew that being consistent over the long term would help him build rapport and set him apart from the pack.
“I like to call myself ‘the fast tortoise.’ 373 consecutive weeks with a few breaks here and there. I want to put one foot in front of the other and show up. And if you just show up for a long time, you will just outlive everyone else.
So showing up, not creating such a high bar. To use a baseball analogy, I’m not trying to hit a home run every time I step up to the plate, I’m trying to get on base. That could be nudging my elbow out just to get hit by the pitch or just bunting or having a single, just getting onto first base.
With consistency, you build that rapport. Your readers become a part of your life. They experience the world through your eyes, and it’s less about the perfection of the idea, the perfection of the content, and more about bringing them on that journey with you.”
Many successful creators take the slow and sustainable approach to consistency, but there are some situations where you can drastically increase your posting cadence for a short period of time to get fast results. This strategy is risky because there’s no guarantee it will work and you should only do it for a limited window of time to prevent burnout.
The Longneckers committed to a shorter, more intense sprint to jumpstart their audience growth.
Jonathan and Ashley Longnecker
“We decided to go crazy and make a video every day. We did that for 30 days and then another 30 days. And then another 45 days. And during that time, we started to see the numbers start to grow and engage, and we started to build this little community of people.”
It’s important to note that even though the Longneckers experienced a lot of growth in a short period of time, they also had a website and brand for eight years before their channel took off. They took a risk and decided to shake things up with their content, and fortunately, that risk paid off.
Whether you’re looking for long-term sustainability or a short-term win, consistency is how you make sure the bonfires you build today will blaze long into the future.
Okay, I know consistency is important, but how do I get better at it?
How do you stay consistent, even when life gets busy? How much time should you commit to something before you know it’s working? Creating consistently can be hard, but Podia creators have a wide array of strategies that help them show up again and again.
“The other thing with consistency is I follow a mantra that says, ‘Follow the fun.’ I am always checking on, ‘Does this thing make me come alive?’ It doesn’t mean that the second it makes me not come alive I stop doing it, but if it starts to feel like a chore, like a job, then I stop.
I’ve dropped podcasts with that. I got off Instagram because of that. And for me, the newsletter has always made me feel alive. I still look forward to writing it after 373 weeks.”
Being consistent sounds like straightforward advice. But anyone who’s ever made a New Year's resolution and abandoned it two weeks later knows that sometimes it can be difficult to stick with the things we know we should be doing, even when we really want to.
Maybe you’ve experienced these too:
“I’m not sure where to start”
“I don’t have any ideas”
“I don’t have time”
“I don’t feel like it”
“I’m not seeing results”
First, I want to assure you that these feelings are normal. All creators experience this, and as a result, many creators have come up with strategies and techniques you can use to be more consistent without reinventing the wheel.
#1 Focus on creating content that feels fun and energizing
Earlier in this chapter, Khe Hy shared his biggest tip for consistency, which is to follow the fun and only focus on creating content that lights you up.
If showing up consistently feels like a chore, it’s worth considering whether or not you might need to shift your focus.
Em Connors experienced this when she refocused her business around her true passions, Canva and creativity.
“I was going make a course on meal prepping because that’s what made sense. I’m a nutrition coach, we have this gym. I know about meal prepping, it’s what everyone struggles with.
But the further into the course we got–I think I only got to the outline of the course–I thought, ‘This bores me to tears. I don’t want to talk about this. And I don’t want people to think of me as an expert in it. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.’
So [my husband] asked, ‘Well, what would you make a course on if you could do anything?’ And I was like, ‘How to use Canva.’ And he said, ‘Then do it.’ I mean, I have goosebumps even just still thinking about it."
#2 Simplify your to-do list so you can consistently do the things that matter most in your business
Sometimes showing up consistently is difficult because we’re overextended. Paring down your workload frees up more space to be consistent on the tasks you actually like doing. For Becky Mollenkamp , this means letting go of platforms and mediums that don’t align with her business. It means doing less overall, and more of what she loves.
“I’m not perfect. I don’t email exactly every week, every time. And sometimes I email more than once a week and sometimes I email once a month, but generally, I’m not going long stretches of time without talking to my audience.
I am consistently showing up around email because social media is becoming less and less the place where I want to do my marketing. Part of what’s helped me is doing less. So letting go of a lot of social media because I’m a one-person shop still. I can’t be in all the places. It’s too much. And when I try to do that and stretch myself thin, I can’t show up consistently in all of them.
My podcast and my email list are generally the places where I am staying consistent. Well, guess what? Those are the ones that end up doing the best for me because I’m most consistent in them. So I think one thing that’s helped me is doing less. Also releasing some of my expectations that things need to be perfect has been helpful."
#3 Batching content can help you stay on track, even when life gets busy
Once you’ve eliminated platforms and tasks that aren’t right for you, you can save time by batching and scheduling content. Batching refers to making several posts, videos, articles, newsletters, or clips at one time which you can then space out over several days or weeks. You can even use automatic scheduling tools like Buffer, Later, or Hootsuite for a more hands-off approach.
Here’s how having a structure and system saved Em Connors from overwhelm and decision fatigue.
“Our business mentor, right when we started, said, ‘I’m going to challenge you guys to 30 days in a row posting on Instagram.’
We had no physical location and we had no clients yet. We hadn’t even opened our gym and I had a four-month-old and an 18-month-old. I just remember putting them to bed one night and I was laying in bed at 9:00 PM. It was like day five of this 30-day challenge, and I just was crying. I had tears rolling down my face. I thought, ‘I don’t even know… what am I supposed to post about? I hate this.’ So much pressure. So much anxiety.
I’m a creative person and he had told us about Canva, so the next day I got on Canva and I just made it my mission to come up with this system so that I wasn’t scrambling every day to figure out what to post. I figured out what time I’m going to post and that I’m going to have a theme per day.
I needed a structure. I had nothing. And to me, there’s nothing worse than just sitting there and being like, ‘What do I post about?’
But if you can say, ‘Today is an inspirational quote,’ or ‘Today is a reel about Canva,’ or if there’s this overarching theme, then it helps me narrow down the process and the decision fatigue gets eliminated."
Em continued to use batching and scheduling to grow her business even as a busy parent with two jobs.
“I used to have two jobs, two little kids, and this was my third job. I still posted every day. I had to make it a priority. I worked on the weekends. My kids would take naps, I’d get my laptop out, and I would batch my content for the week. In my marketing mentoring job, I was on about five or six 45-minute Zoom calls per day with gym owners helping them with their social media.
I would have 15 minutes between calls to go to the bathroom, eat, and post something. And I somehow made it work because I loved it. I loved it that much. I was that excited about it and I believed that I could help people. I got a batching system down.
I decided I couldn’t just leave it up to a whim what I was going to post every day. I had to make a social media schedule. Mondays are going to be this, Tuesdays are this, Wednesdays are this, and so on and so forth.
Now that I have a theme for the day, I can go and batch all my Mondays for the month and make a bunch of that type of post in a row. I’d stick with one type of post, do four or five of them to last me four to five weeks of Mondays, then I’d move on to Tuesdays.”
#4 Not enough content to post? Try repurposing the work you’ve already done
If you struggle to stay consistent because you don’t have enough content to post, you might consider a strategy many creators use called repurposing. Content repurposing means you’re using one piece of content across different mediums, like turning a podcast transcript into a blog post or sharing short clips from a YouTube video as posts on social media .
Here’s how Veronica Green from Cultivating Confidence repurposes her weekly emails into content for other platforms.
“I’m all about repurposing content. I email my list every single week, and then I take those emails and I turn them into social media posts. Sometimes I’ll go through a series of the same topic in my email list for weeks, so I’ll take all of that content and I will turn it into a blog as well. It’s like I’m reversing the process. I’m not creating the blog and then sharing it with my list. I’m creating it in my list and then I’ll make a blog about it.”
Take a look at some of your longer pieces of content. Can you pull out any tips or quotes that would be helpful on their own? Can you combine any emails or social media posts into a larger piece like a blog post or Youtube video? The possibilities are endless.
#5 Automation means less time scrolling and more time creating
Automations are another way to streamline your business and be more consistent without having to be on your computer 24/7. Here’s how Becky Mollenkamp ensures that new subscribers are consistently receiving value without having to manually reach out.
“I have a lot of things set up so that when someone joins, I don’t have to be worried about an email to a new subscriber for almost two months. It’s automated because I have a very long welcome sequence that introduces them to me and introduces them to some of my lower price products.”
Most email service providers, including Podia , will allow you to automatically send welcome emails and sequences whenever a new subscriber joins your email list, which is a great way to provide value and nurture new members.
#6 Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Producing content and growing an audience is a monumental undertaking, which is why it’s okay to get help along the way. Tamkara Adun from Odunife explains why bringing in outside freelancers or assistants can help with producing work more consistently.
“The areas where you are not so good, you don’t care as much about, or you’re not as proficient in, get people to help you. It could be an online learning platform like Podia that can help you with the backend and the technology. It could be a virtual assistant that can help you with scheduling or research, or just make your life easier. But get help and delegate so that you can focus on doing what you do best. Don’t try to do everything on your own. It’s counter-productive.”
Many of the tips we’ve heard so far have been practical, but what about those rough days where being consistent feels impossible?
#7 Reflect on why you’re doing this work in the first place
Becky Mollenkamp and Tamkara Adun share how reconnecting with your “why” and spending some time reflecting on who you’re trying to serve can give fresh inspiration.
“I love what I do. And so when times are harder, I have to keep coming back to that. I love this and I want to make it work, but also I really need to make it work. And so that combination of things keeps me in it. Because when I get to do my work, I love it.”
“External validation is good, but internal validation is more important. When I started doing this work, a lot of people that I thought were going to see the vision didn’t see it, but I just went on that inner conviction that this is something that I have to do. Irrespective of whether it succeeds or not, I’m going to do it anyway. So if you have that internal feeling that you need to do something or explore something, do it. Just do it.
Even if it fails, you will know for yourself that you did it anyway and you tried your best. But more often than not, our intuition knows what we may not know physically. So if your mind is telling you to do something, your spirit is nudging you towards something, the least you can do is explore that idea and go on that journey.”
This simple consistency experiment will reveal what’s working and what isn’t
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for consistency, so you’ll need to do some experimentation to see what works best for you and your business. Some creators will publish posts on Instagram or TikTok every day, some will send weekly emails, and some will make bi-monthly Youtube videos. There’s no magic number.
So how do you know when something is working and when it’s time to move on and try something new?
Khe Hy recommends 25 weeks.
“Find the medium that makes you come alive and do the same thing for 25 weeks in a row to see if it sticks. A few things will reveal themselves to you.
One is you might just not enjoy doing the thing. Two might be there’s another path of least resistance, and then there’s an outside chance that even things you enjoy, it’s hard to do them consistently for 25 straight weeks. What I’ve seen with most creators is that they’re obsessed with the thing that they create.
I still, not always, but most of the time, look forward to writing an essay every Saturday. I send my newsletter at 9:00 AM Pacific and I start writing the essay at 6:30 AM. In seven years, I can’t get myself to not write it the morning of.”
Now, it doesn’t have to be 25 weeks necessarily, but the idea is to commit enough time to experience what it’s like to publish regularly long term. This way you can determine if you’re deeply interested in it and if you still feel energized after the newness wears off.
It’s okay to experiment, so don’t feel pressured to get everything perfect from day one.
“If you had a plan for consistency that failed, you have to have integrity with yourself. Look at the process and ask yourself, ‘What’s the hardest part? Why is this not working? What’s holding me back?’
Analyze it because you’re the only one that can answer that question. And then have integrity and try to fix it. For example, I’m not working out in the mornings. I want to work out. For some reason it’s hard. My garage gym is freezing. It was 32 degrees this morning. So I got a garage heater and I have my husband turn it on. He wakes us up before me, so it’s toasty in there by the time I come down. You’ve got to think about what the hardest part is and how you can work around it.”
Instead, pick a cadence and schedule that feels doable for you, and commit to publishing consistently.
At the end of the time period you set for yourself, reflect on what happened.
Did your audience grow?
Did you gain any new skills?
Do you still love the work you’re doing?
If the answer is no, it could be time to iterate and change things up. If the answer is yes, stick with it!
Up next, we’ll look at how to solidify your audience for the long haul through your email list.