Content Cliff: A deadly bottleneck content creators have to avoid

Kevon Cheung

Have you ever had one of those writer’s block or creator’s block?

Let’s see if you have one of these scenarios:

  • You want to create content to post but you’re exhausted and nothing comes up
  • You’re anxious about the time you spend on social media because you thought you’re supposed to use the time to “build your business”
  • You feel like you’re on a hamster wheel because you have to come up with something every day

If you find yourself nodding, then it is likely that you’ve fallen victim of the Content Cliff.

Many of my students at Build in Public Mastery also experienced this before. It is like walking closer and closer to the edge of the cliff as you get sucked into the content creation game.

But don’t worry, you can fix it. I’m here to show you a few habit changes to turn it around.

Content Cliff: A deadly bottleneck content creators have to avoid

Content Cliff is like this danger zone where almost all content creators or online entrepreneurs get trapped into when they first started out. So don’t worry if you feel this way.

You come up with ideas. You create your content. You engage with people on social media …

All real-time!

BOOM, you’re pushing yourself closer to the cliff.

Here’s a small test to see if you’re near the edge of the cliff:

Think back to the last few times you publish content. After you pushed it out, did you have that itch to delete and rewrite it?

If yes, you’re standing on the cliff!

Why does the Content Cliff exist?

I don’t find it a surprise for someone starting out to feel this way. Because I was the one on the cliff in the beginning too. This is because when you’re new, you try to do what everyone else is doing.

  • You see that people are pushing out interesting and timely thoughts, and you think everyone is amazing at creating content.
  • You see that people are having amazing conversations on Twitter, you think everyone spends at least 2-3 hours live engaging in real-time conversations.
  • You see that people post consistently, you think everyone is dedicating another 1-2 hours a day to create.
“Do they spend 3-4 hours a day on social media?”

You’re probably asking this question.

Well, I can tell you that these are misconceptions of how social media works when you form a collective view through many people’s lens.

I do know people who spend 3 hours a day on Twitter. But I also know people who spend 30 mins a day.

It doesn’t matter how some people do it because to finally have your sustainable social media presence, you need to find a rhythm that fits YOU.

How I personally move away from the cliff

I’m a father of a young family, so I’m not in a position to compete with so many people who have more free time than I do.

I want to priortize my daily playtime with my girls and I dedicate my weekend to my family.

So I tried very hard to come up with social media habits that fit me. I found them:

  1. 80% of the time, I don’t tweet in real-time
  2. 80% of the time, I don’t reply in real-time
  3. I take mini-breaks from Twitter even if the sky is falling

1. 80% of the time, I don't tweet in real-time

To me, tweeting live is a big waste of my ideas and energy.

Once you tweet live, do you ever want to go back and edit it? Oh yes, all the time!

When we tweet live, we're putting half-baked content out without properly thinking how it fits in with our brand and presence.

Also, do you have days when you're heads-down building and absolutely have nothing to say?

When we tweet live, we're not saving food (ideas) for the Winter days.

I don't want to be eating 5 meals in Summer and then having 0 meals in Winter.

This is why 80% of my tweets are content I mindfully write in batch and schedule to share.

Kevon's tweet schedule

The other 20%?

I still go on Twitter every day (very important), but I focus all my energy on interacting with people, replying to help, and tweeting anything spontaneous or fun.

This also means I never get on Twitter and blank out on what to tweet.

2. 80% of the time, I don't reply in real-time

As a new dad who lives half the globe away from my main audience, I'm never in front of my laptop when my valuable tweets go out. Usually it is 9pm-1am my time.

The question you should ask yourself is:

Do I really need to reply to people right away?”

Below you can see all these people who replied to my tweets 11-13 hours ago and I still haven’t replied them yet.

Kevon doesn't reply to people in real-time

BUT, I believe in showing respect.

So I’ll at least try to get back to everyone keep the conversation going asynchronously and further nourish the relationship.

If I really can’t, I don’t feel guilty about it because I try my best.

This way, I'm maximizing the value of Twitter (conversations) while staying in control (asynchronously).

P.S. a side benefit is that when I reply hours later, I re-surface the tweet once again and more of my followers see it.

3. I take mini breaks from Twitter and no one knows

Lots of people say "Kevon, you're the most consistent person I've met" or "Kevon, you're always on Twitter!"

Illusion.

  • Because I almost never have Winter days, I seem to be always on Twitter.
  • Because I don’t get on Twitter to write, I can focus on talking to people.

The truth is, some weeks I'm so busy building products, teaching my live course, or just being sick that I don't get on Twitter much.

In this case, I turn off the part where I interact with people, but my valuable tweets are still going out to serve my audience.

Here’s how you can back off from the cliff

1. Break down your entire process into 5 steps

I’ve found that the biggest bottleneck in content creation is when I try to do everything at once. My brain just can’t handle it!

Now I split into 5 steps:

  1. Ideation - capture your best ideas
  2. Outlining - give your ideas more depth and add structure
  3. Writing - turn your outline into appealing stories
  4. Editing - make sure it flows well; check grammar mistakes and typos
  5. Scheduling - put your tweets into a tool

I’ve packed this process for my students and now I’m sharing with you too.

You can get my 10-page PDF where I break down each step and give you the configuration I use to automate it.

2. Use a scheduler tool

The first time you hear about a social media scheduler tool, you might be thinking:

  • This is expensive!
  • This is not authentic!
  • This is more work than just posting whatever I want!

Well, I wan to say that using a tool to automate certain parts of your workflow doesn’t make you the inauthentic or even bad person.

You can be honest and genuine while being mindful how your social media posts go out.

I find that the biggest change to me is that I can take back control of social media.

I’m no longer consumed by it. I use it.

I documented how I use my favorite Twitter tool, Hypefury, to schedule my tweets to give me peace of mind.

3. Have a clear distinction between scheduled & real-time tweets

In Build in Public Mastery, we talk about how Building in Public doesn’t necessarily mean you have to share what you’re doing that day.

To feel that you have to do things real-time is giving yourself the extra stress and pressure.

Here’s how what I do to balance scheduled and real-time:

Many people told me once they see this, they can never go back to thinking about social media being just social media. Do you feel the same?

So here you have it - Content Cliff - one of the fundamental frameworks I teach at Build in Public Mastery!

I hope that you’re no longer near the Content Cliff and you’re using social media the way it should be!

If you have friends who suffer with social media, do share this article with them to help them out.

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