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It has been a tough few weeks. There have been times when you just have to deal with the s*** that is thrown at you.

This article is all to do with my recent experiences with potty training and how it relates to your content efforts.

There have been times when I have suggested that it’s time to stop the endless failed attempts (with potty training and building an owned media approach), but persistence does seem to be the overall theme here.

See, I’ve done it straight away; I’ve thrown in that word persistence, tick!

My daughter, Abby, is two and a half (that’s her at the top of the page) and my wife and I have gone through that process that all parents have to endure when it comes to sticking to something with an end goal in mind. Tick…I mentioned the phrase, ‘end goal in mind.’

I’m going to stop teeing things up and just prove it to you.

You Have An Intention

The goal that was intended was a course of biting the bullet in order to get to a stage where there was a sense of achievement, notably saving £40-£50 a month on nappies. It represents that step for my daughter from a toddler to a little girl.

Put this into the pursuit of your content efforts, is it to achieve awareness for what you specialise in, is it to increase your audience, is it to grow your subscriber base. There has to be a reason for why you are doing what you set out to achieve.

You Can’t Follow A Set Formula

Being told to follow a step-by-step approach from a book, doesn’t work. We could have swallowed every Gina Ford tip and still wouldn’t have got there.

In the end it took a process of three focused efforts over a period of a month, rather than a three-day ‘you can nail this’ promise from a book.

This is the same for your content efforts. Reading what someone else is telling you to do and believing that this represents the true formula is not the best approach. Taking inspiration from someone else should help your own direction, not to follow blindly. Inspiration helps you lead your own path, not a ’how to grow a crazy following of raving fans on Twitter in two weeks.’

It Isn’t Fun

Lets not kid ourselves; the whole process was challenging to say the least. I don’t know of one person who enjoys picking up what you don’t want to pick up from behind a sofa or totally missing a potty. Then again, it shouldn’t be fun, you have to be prepared for your efforts to turn into s***.

When it comes to adapting to a content approach getting to a place that represents acknowledgement for the value you provide an audience does not necessarily mean that the path is going to be fun every step of the way. There have been times when I have thought, “this is tougher than I thought.”

From posted articles that saw relatively few reads through to two months of dwindling listeners for the Marketing Homebrew podcast during April and May, there comes a time when you will question what you are creating. You have got to stick to what you started.

A Huge Investment Of Time

“Lock the doors, we’re not going out!’ was the general acceptance for how we would get through this. We tried a day down the beach, but that didn’t really count as an ‘official’ day. This involved a big commitment of time and patience, with the relentless move from floor to potty.

The whole focus was the job in hand (yes I mean that literally) and the days spent were dedicated on one action, get our daughter to use a potty.

When it comes to creating a consistent body of work with the intention to grow an audience and to generate sales, it does take a considerable amount of investment.

Creating content should not be confined to the role of a blog, it represents every aspect of how you communicate with an intention to educate, illuminate and entertain on a consistent basis. Consistency goes hand in hand with time.

Rejection Is Part Of The Course

Thinking that you may have cracked it by acknowledging that a word (such as ‘cuddle’) or an action was going to trigger a conversion of success, often became a failed attempt at clinging to something that gave hope. If I am being honest, much of the whole experience of potty training was akin to a game of snakes and ladders and the feeling of landing on a snake, two rows from the top of the board, only to find the tail one row from the bottom.

Taking on board an approach that encourages the creation of content on a regular basis invariably has to take rejection as part of the process. This could be anything from low calls to action to doing something completely new that results in a deep seated fear of limited take up (such as no one coming to an event you created). However, it is part of the course to get to acknowledge that rejection is part of an education not a lifelong tirade of dismissal.

It’s Hard Work

I hold my hands up and say that I thought it would be easier in getting my daughter to be potty trained. If I believed in a set formula (see above), this would have been a resounding success in 48 hours. Not taking the process of around one month.

When it doesn’t work out as you anticipated, it’s hard work. Lets not kid ourselves here, seeing relentless failed attempts, getting through 12 pairs of pants a day (my daughter, not me) is hard work for everyone involved.

When you invest time and resources into an owned media/content approach, there is no escaping that this does involve hard work. Not just in putting together something that will be consumed by someone else, but by having a starting place and deciding that you will stick to it.

When It Works…You Don’t Have To Rely On The Sources You Once Paid For

That moment when you have succeeded what you set out to achieve (the process of using a potty) means that the monthly spend on nappies is taken out of the equation.

Similarly when an owned media approach works, you become comfortable with a channel that allows you to build an audience that you have complete control of.

This reduces the need to depend on spaces that you invested in month on month (from adwords to press advertising). For instance, if you can transfer a conversation from Twitter to your own space, namely your email, you are becoming less reliant on the places that you have no control of. You don’t have to go back somewhere else on a regular basis; it’s all in your terrain. It’s simple, control a space that is yours and become good at it. This reduces the need to spend on media that you don’t have control of.

To Round Up

There we have it, seven ways that taking on board a content approach does relate to getting potty trained.

My biggest point that I want to get across is that when something works, you do not have to rely on a route that you have been sticking to historically. There has to come a time when you have to change a mindset and move out of the nappies that you have been accustomed to. You have to adapt an approach in order to differentiate from everyone else.