Does anyone else remember feeling content anxiety before turning in a big test? Especially if you’re a perfectionist, the thought of getting a B when you know you deserve an A likely drove you crazy during your academic years.
Of course, we all know that one friend who swore they failed at everything they ever did, only to come out on top every time. The reality is that this friend of ours probably has content anxiety, too.
I assumed as I got older and moved into my career, that level of anxiety and stress would fade. Yet, I used to sit at my desk every day wondering if what I’ve written was enough, whether I should reword it, or read through it again and make only small changes.
The problem with this process is that I continue “holding” off on publishing content until it’s just right – only for it to never be published at all. Yep! My content anxiety and I worked together to hold my business back because I didn’t exactly know how to let go. But I do now, which is why I’m giving you my personal tips to combat content anxiety before hitting Publish.
Has it been too long since you’ve published relevant content for your business? We’re here to help.
What Is Content Anxiety?
Content anxiety isn’t only feelings of anxiousness, worry, or nervousness. It also appears as writer’s block that occurs often and for no apparent reason. To clarify, no one knows your business better than you do. But when you sit down to write a social media post, blog, or any other type of content, you suddenly feel like there are no words for what you have to say. Your thoughts may sound like…
I have nothing. Even if I did, it wouldn’t sound right.
I suck at writing, I can’t do this.
I hate writing. I’m not even good at it!
Then, there is post-writing content anxiety. You finally have the words down, but something doesn’t feel right. Those thoughts might be…
This doesn’t sound right.
Why can’t I think of what I’m trying to say? This is ridiculous!
I’ll go back and make some changes later when I have time.
However, we’ve addressed why this doesn’t work out. You hold on to everything for too long until it’s no longer relevant or information changes. This means you need to do a complete rewrite to get it back in your production line.
Phew…is anyone else tired just reading this? You’re not alone.
Why Do People Get Content Anxiety?
There are a few reasons you may be suffering from content anxiety…
1. The Blank Page
Looking at a blank page can be intimidating. So many things running through your mind can make you feel pessimistic about writing before you even start! But it helps if, instead of writing from scratch, you outline your thoughts and organize them in a way that makes sense. Take each section at a time and fill in the blanks.
2. Afraid Of Errors
The best thing about technology is that there are numerous tools you can use to ensure your writing is error-free. Applications like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Wordtune will check spelling, grammar, and readability. Often, these apps have a free version you can use to take care of the most common writing errors for you.
Keep in mind, these softwares are not perfect. Review each suggestion they are making to ensure it makes sense.
3. Self-Conscious About Writing
If you’re not completely confident in your writing, the fear of judgment may take over. This alone prevents you from getting the job done. But the thing about your writing is that you are often your own worst critic. The best thing you can do is keep in mind that you’re an industry expert and leader, and you know what you’re talking about. Also, you can always have someone on your team review your work so you can fix anything you need to before you publish it.
4. Crunched For Time
As the clock ticks away, you can feel yourself getting more anxious while staring at the three words you’ve written since you started 15 minutes ago. Instead of thinking about the time you don’t have, think about the time you do have. Whether it’s an hour or 25 minutes, use it as best you can to get your ideas down on the page – even if it’s not perfect.
How To Avoid Content Anxiety Like The Plague
You know what they say…Practice makes perfect. This is a little like that. But here’s how we confidently publish without a hint of anxiety.
Find The Root Of Your Anxiety
It’s important to assess what’s going on in your head that gives you content anxiety. Is it your perfectionism? Your control freak tendencies? Your fear of people judging you? Or not feeling like you’re on par with your competitors (even if they are lightyears ahead of you)?
I’ve raised my hand to all of these questions before. It’s a tough space to be in, but knowing what’s going on is important, so you know how to deal with it.
Write Down What You Observe
The best way to gather content ideas is to sit and observe. Talk to your target audience and listen to what they care about most. Remember, the content you’re writing isn’t for you. It’s for your customers. Jot down notes about their experiences throughout the buying process, and you’re bound to come up with one or many ideas to discuss.
One of my personal best examples of this? Welcome to the Hooter Meter. Yes, as in the restaurant chain across the U.S. known for its wings, beer, and…buxom waitstaff.
Years ago, I worked on an article with another professional discussing the ability to judge the economy based on how well the local Hooters is holding up. The Hooters observed was slow at the time as gas prices reached a 17-year low, and waitstaff hula hooped outside to drum up some business. Since their normal oil and gas customers were being laid off and cutting back on eating out, they needed new marketing tactics to get paying customers in the door. It was an observation we didn’t expect to make, but we’re glad we did!
Ask Yourself…Does My Customer Care About Your Topic?
Before you spend a ton of time writing content you can’t use, ask yourself if your customers care about what you’re covering. If it isn’t a part of their customer journey, skip it. The point of creating relevant content is that it’s relevant to your customers, not yourself. Make sure it matters before deciding to move forward.
Focus On Whether You Can Add Value To Your Target Customer With Your Content
I often ask my writers…What’s your angle?
What I’m really asking is that whatever content you create has a:
- Potential solution
- Call to action reflecting that solution
Content that hits these three goals is much more likely to produce the results you’re looking for. Remember, your writing shouldn’t cater to you and your needs as a business owner. It should speak to your target audience by relating to their pain points, emphasizing their problem, and offering your services as a solution that saves them time and money.
If the benefit isn’t saving them time or money, explaining how other benefits will be worth the purchase or conversation is essential. If your goal is to ease up on “sales speak,” keep them engaged by offering educational or other helpful materials within your content.
Unsure where you stand regarding your company’s messaging? We will help you figure it out.
Never Publish In The Same Day
Deadlines are critical to most small businesses. But you don’t want to compromise the quality of your content by rushing through your review process just to hit Publish.
Even if you promised yourself to get through everything and make meticulous edits by 4pm but it’s now 9pm, save it for tomorrow. You’ll be fresh, energized, and able to use more of your time carefully editing and reviewing whatever is in front of you.
Publishing content that is “right” the first time certainly saves you from having to go back and edit again, rewrite sections, and repost it for everyone to see. Rushing might make your deadline work, but it will take away from the quality of your message.
Adopt A Mindset Of…Perfection Will Never Exist, But It’s Better In The World Than In My Head
Perfectionists…type A personalities…and (sometimes) nit-pickers. There is nothing wrong with you if you claim these personality traits as your own. These qualities are often needed to become a successful business owner. And I will be the first person to raise my hand to claim these.
However, perfectionists are also notorious for falling behind on executing personal projects. This makes it hard to feel confident about your content before putting it out into the world. But a ton of unpublished content waiting to be “perfect” before it’s published only takes up space on your computer. It doesn’t do you any good otherwise.
Let go – post your content after proofing for any glaring errors and breathe. You will be just fine, and what you have to say is still valuable. Perfection doesn’t exist, so it’s okay to let go.
Skip Out On Unnecessary Content Anxiety & Outsource Copywriting For Your Small Business
After years of establishing our processes and workflow, we help business owners like yourself relax regarding content copy. Our experienced copywriting experts handle it all, from long-term campaigns to one-time projects!
If you’re someone who struggles with letting go of imperfect copy or delegating to others, we will help! Our services are also for those who can’t find the right words to express themselves or for those who simply have no time to write.