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People live their life in weekly cycles.
They have habits that repeat: On Mondays they make a long commute, on Wednesdays they watch their favorite show, and on Fridays they hang out with friends.
We all have recurring events and things that happen on a weekly basis.
If you want to stay top of mind with your audience, you’ve got to get inside that weekly cycle.
People will attach the act of listening to your podcast or reading your newsletter or watching your videos to their own existing habits!
But this only happens when you get inside the weekly cycle. In this episode, we talk about staying top of mind with your audience by being consistent in your publishing schedule.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Put content out weekly if you want to stay top of mine because people live their lives in weekly cycles.
- People don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency.
- People will chain the expectation of your content to their existing habits.
- Start with weekly content, do that consistently, and work up to daily.
- Avoid making people do work to access your content.
- Build up a queue of content and schedule in advance so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
- Create evergreen content so that, in the future, you can point back to it.
- Relevancy is more important than recency.
- The only thing that’s in between you and the image of perfection in your mind is a sea of imperfect work.
- Your problem is not imperfection, it’s that you’re unknown.
- 05:45 Sean: Your content marketing, video show, podcast, blog post, or newsletter—whatever you’re putting out there and publishing—today, we’re going to talk about why you should do that weekly if you want people to notice, care, and remember you. This is something we’ve talked about, a theme we’ve revisited, but I like having the specific, targeted shows that we can point people back to in the future.
- 07:20 Consistency is one of the four keys to growing an audience. Curation is the first one, and that means putting out something specific, projecting a single thing instead of everything you do and think. Consistency is the second key, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today. This isn’t a deep dive into all four keys, but I’m giving you some context here. The third is quality and the fourth is time. Some people don’t even know why they want to build an audience. “Why would I want to do that? I don’t want to put myself out there.” If you have an audience, there are so many things you can do.
- 08:00 When you launch things in the future, it gets easier. You don’t ever have to start from zero again when you’re trying to promote something. These people can buy products or services from you. They can support you. You can build a community. There are so many benefits to building an audience. Even if you think you don’t necessarily want an audience, consider it a little bit more. There is so much good that can come from it. There are people like you out there, similar to you, and you can find those people. Even if you don’t have a massive audience, you can find people who are like you.
- 08:48 It’s just a good thing. You can build community. We’ll assume that the people who are here want to build an audience and get noticed. They want people to pay attention to them. Maybe they’re not feeling like they have that kind of exposure right now. Maybe they’re not getting that kind of attention. One of the reasons is not being consistent. It’s a theme we’ve talked about before, but it’s worth revisiting.
Put content out weekly because people live their lives in weekly cycles.
- 09:20 We think in weekly terms. We have TV shows and routines that happen regularly on specific days. You listen to this podcast consistently because we output consistently. You know that every Wednesday there’s going to be a new show. You don’t have to think. It’s just, “Is it Wednesday? There’s a new show.” It’s that simple.
- 09:45 Ben: It’s such a funny mystery to me, the whole weekly thing. As much as I like to think that I don’t want to operate by some cultural construct, almost every aspect of my life functions that way: my boys’ school schedule, the church I go to and the activities I’m involved in there, this podcast, how often we go to the store to get groceries, and how we gauge how much we spend on things. All of those things are on a weekly cycle. When I’m trying to schedule stuff and talk with other people, I think in terms of days of the week.
- 10:29 As much as it permeates every aspect of my life, if you look at your own experience, you’ll probably see something similar. That’s just the way people think. That’s how they quantify their time, for the most part. It stands to reason that the easiest way to help your message be sticky, is to put it into the weekly cycle that people are used to.
The Weekly Cycle
- 11:09 Sean: I want to tailor this show around questions we got from members in the chat, and I’m going to get to that in a minute. We’re going to talk about a content buffer. How much content should you have depending on how frequently you’re outputting? When we say “output weekly,” it’s not that you can’t do it more often than that. It’s not even that you can’t do it less. You can do it less. We don’t make the rules. You could do a monthly podcast or a biweekly newsletter. We’re making a case for why it’s not super effective to do it that way.
- 11:48 If you put something out on a Wednesday, people know, “It’s Wednesday, there’s a show. It’s Wednesday, there’s a newsletter. It’s Tuesday, so there’s a behind the scenes process blogpost from my favorite artist.”
- 12:00 Ben: Once you get outside of weekly, even if you define it and you feel like you do a really good job of saying, “It’s the first Monday of every month,” or whatever it is, once you venture outside of that weekly cycle, you make it nearly impossible for people to categorize your thing based on a meaningful timetable. They might remember the first Monday of the month, but they’re not thinking about the first Monday of the month. They don’t know when that is, so they have to do extra work. It’s not that people are lazy. People are as efficient as they can possibly be.
Peoples’ time is valuable, so they are not going to spend the time and the effort it takes to remember something that’s not in their weekly cycle.
- 12:57 Sean: That’s all we need—one more thing to remember, one more thing to figure out. We don’t need more stupid little things to remember. You’ve got to make it super simple for people. Don’t make them think or do math. Don’t make them wonder, “He said every other Monday. Did he do it last Monday? He didn’t show up on Monday, but I think maybe he just forgot. Does he come back this week, or does he come back on the schedule next week?” It’s bad.
- 13:33 Ben: Have I told you about my trash pick up? It used to be that the regular trash came twice a week and the recycling came once a week. I always knew, “This is the recycling day.” It was Monday. Then something changed in their corporate office. Maybe they weren’t doing as much recycling or something, I don’t know, but they decided to make recycling every other week. Trash is twice a week and recycling is every other week. Guess how often I miss recycling?
- 14:06 Sean: Every week?
- 14:10 Ben: All the time. I made a rule for myself that I put recycling out as if it’s coming every week, because otherwise, I don’t know what week it is. I’m walking out, bringing my recycling out, and my neighbor sees me. He says, “Oh, it’s a recycling week?” He doesn’t know either! I say, “I don’t know, man. I just put it out.”
- 14:35 Sean: Scott said, “Is a monthly podcast better than no podcast?” I said, “In fact, it’s worse.” I’m kidding! It’s not worse. I’m insulted by your monthly podcast, more so than if you never did one! No, there’s nothing wrong with that, but no one is going to notice. I’m sorry. They’re not going to notice. You’re going to be irrelevant. People are not like robots. They don’t process that it’s been exactly 31 days since the last time they heard from you. They just think that it’s been a while. Monthly just feels like every once in a while to someone, and people don’t notice things.
People don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency.
- 15:27 Posting one thing every month is an announcement. You haven’t made it into their routine. They don’t remember that you do it consistently, so each time, it feels like an announcement and it goes unnoticed. You could do a monthly podcast, but it’s still a lot of work and you probably won’t be noticed. Maybe you could spend that time elsewhere.
- 15:52 Ben: You have to think about what it means to people. Maybe the content happens to be super relevant to something they’re experiencing and they happen to see it. The mileage you get out of that, meaningfulness-wise, is that it means something to them and they credit the value of that to you at the time. That’s good. The other meaningfulness is that if you’ve been putting out monthly content for long enough, you’ve got an archive of content. That means something to people. It shows that you’ve committed to that specific topic, that you’ve at least got enough expertise to have put out a certain number of whatever it is.
- 16:33 That’s what it means. The meaningfulness you lose is the consistency and the expectation. If they’ve experienced value from you, the quality of your stuff is good, and you get into their expectation, that’s when it becomes powerful and it multiplies what that content is able to do. Outside of being weekly, people have no way to categorize you as a routine thing for them to expect.
Help Your Audience Make Your Content a Weekly Habit
- 17:10 Sean: Expectation. That’s a good word. It’s a thing you can take advantage of in your marketing. It can be used for bad, even. If you understand it, it can be used for good, too. People have associations with things. Whenever I take a break, I go do this thing—I eat a snack, I smoke, whatever your vice is. You associate things. That’s why you chain habits. When you want to develop good habits, you chain them to existing ones rather than trying to start doing something new out of the blue. You say, “Whenever I brush my teeth, I’m going to play this podcast,” or, “Whenever I take a shower, I’m going to listen to an audio book on my bluetooth shower speaker,” or, “Whenever I come back from a run, I’m going to do ten pushups or stretch.”
- 18:13 You chain things, you chain habits. You start waking up early, so you say, “If I wake up at 4:30am, I’m going to go on a run. That’s a thing I do. When I come back from my run, I’m going to shower and write, because I always write after I shower. After I write…” You chain those habits.
You want to chain the expectation of your content to peoples’ existing habits, and a great way to do that is to share content weekly.
- 18:43 People have all of these things they do weekly. Maybe they go to an event every Wednesday. If you put out something every Wednesday, they might listen to, say, a podcast on their way to an event that happens every Wednesday. They build this routine that includes your content.
- 19:05 Ben: I’m not intentionally making fun of this, but as a fun example, maybe The Family Guy comes on every Thursday at 5pm. You say, “Right after The Family Guy, tune in live to listen…”
- 19:24 Sean: If you do something consistently, people will attach it to their own existing habits.
- 19:30 Ben: You don’t do that for them? Oh, I get what you’re saying.
- 19:32 Sean: No. You do it consistently. They’re going to have weekly habits on their own, so it’s just going to pair up. You put out your newsletter every Monday, and that’s the day they work at the coffee shop. When they go to the coffee shop and they open up their laptop, they think, “I’m going to check my email, because I know I’m going to get that newsletter.” It becomes a habit.
- 20:00 Ben: I have this really bad habit. I lead music on Sunday mornings. Are you still doing a newsletter that goes out on Sundays, Sean?
- 20:11 Sean: No, I’ve slacked.
- 20:13 Ben: Sean’s got a lot of other awesome stuff going on, but back when that used to be a thing, I would finish leading music and I had this bad habit of leaving the sanctuary. They’re starting the message and I’m like, “It’s time for me to go get coffee.” I come back and I catch the last 20 minutes or something. It’s really bad. I shouldn’t do that. I would do that, I would get coffee and pull up my phone, and there would be Sean’s newsletter. It was part of my routine. I would go get my coffee, read the newsletter, and then sit down and listen to the message.
- 20:55 Sean: I’m curious if anyone in the chat has built habits around the release of the podcast. I would be interested in hearing.
- 21:04 Ben: Or, for the Community members, the live shows.
- 21:09 Sean: That’s true. We record on different days than the podcast listeners hear them, about a week in advance or so.
- 21:17 Sean: Weekly is very powerful. The ultimate is daily. If you can get to daily output, then it’s just a matter of, “Is the sun up? There’s a new episode.” That’s what I used to say when I was doing seanwes tv. We’re going to get back to that. It can’t be dead forever. It might be 2017 or something, but I loved that it was something daily. It’s even less of a cognitive burden for someone to figure out if there’s a new thing if you do it daily. Is it daytime? There’s a new episode.
- 22:00 Ben: That is the ultimate. I kind of want to talk about the in-between, because I’m a little bit curious. For a long time, the seanwes podcast was Wednesdays and Fridays. That is two days a week. Sean, do you feel like putting something out once a week on a specific day catches on more easily than doing two days per week?
- 22:45 Sean: I get what Ben’s saying. That makes sense. It’s like they have to remember more, like, “It feels like it comes out pretty often, but I have to figure out when, what’s the rhythm and stuff.” That makes sense. I had a similar question that I’m going to bring in here, because I feel like this will lend some clarity. Robin said, “When your weekly content output is going well and you want to step it up a bit: should you diversify to other platforms or should you step up the frequency of the platform you’re already on?”
- 23:16 I said, “Ideally, both.” I always like both and more. 10X. Did you finish the book, The 10X Rule? 10X your reading. I like what Grant Cardone has to say. People say, “You’re posting too much,” and Grant says, “We’re cranking it up even more. The people who like it love it.” He doesn’t care about the people who don’t. It’s not for them. Goodbye! Gary Vaynerchuck says, both! Everyone says, “Snapchat or Instagram stories?” Both! The answer is both.
- 24:01 Last night, I was supposed to go to bed. It was late, and I updated my Instagram story. Do you still use Snapchat, Ben?
- 24:11 Ben: I do, yeah.
- 24:12 Sean: Cory, do you still use Snapchat?
- 24:15 Cory: Not really as much.
- 14:17 Sean: I still use Snapchat. Everyone is so quick to jump on things. They say, “Is Instagram stories the Snapchat killer? Is such-and-such the Facebook killer? Is Facebook live the Periscope killer?” All of these apps. Don’t worry about it! Almost never is something the immediate killer of whatever came before it. There’s a transition period, and people don’t always migrate completely. Sometimes it just flips.
The answer is not either or, it’s both—try and do more.
- 24:56 Even when I wanted to go to bed, I updated my Snapchat, and I came up with a different positive message for people so that the people who follow me in both places feel like they got extra value. I rewarded their loyalty. It’s a little bit extra hustle effort. My answer is, ideally, both. However, specifically in this order:
- Increase distribution
- Increase production
- 25:28 Do those in order. You’ve got a show, and you’re thinking, “Alright, I’ve got a weekly show/blog/newsletter/podcast/video or whatever, and I think I want to increase it a little bit. I want to step it up.” First, increase your distribution. I can say that because I’m always talking about myself. We don’t do enough distribution. People don’t know that we exist, and that’s a problem. How can I get the content I’m creating in front of more people? What does that look like? Does it look like syndication, guest posting, social media, one-on-one engagement?
- 26:03 Who am I not reaching out to, talking to, building relationships with? Increase distribution, number one. You did all that and you’re still feeling energetic? Awesome. Increase production.
- 26:18 Ben: I definitely like “both,” but I’m glad you gave some priority there, Sean.
- 26:25 Daily is the ultimate. I would not recommend starting with daily, though. Start with weekly content, do that consistently, and work up to daily. People have asked, “What about between weekly and daily? Do you have to just go from one to the other?” No, you could do several times a week. It’s fine. The main thing is consistency, as much as possible. It’s better to be consistent than to be erratic. “I posted six things this week!” Next week, you post two. The week after that, you post four, then one.
- 26:57 Ben: People don’t know what to expect. They like what you’re putting out, but they don’t know what to expect. It’s work for them to think about you. That’s huge. If they don’t know what to expect, you’re making them work when you want them to think about you.
- 27:20 Sean: It’s already an uphill battle to get anyone to notice you in this world of noise. If you’re making people do work to get to you, how is that working out for you on your website? Are you happy with your website traffic, where people have to type in your url and go to it? They’re already on Facebook. They’re already on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. You’re making them do work! It’s harder to get them there.
As much as possible, avoid making people do work to access your content.
- 27:51 Making their cognitive load easier, less, is being consistent. Eventually, you can get to daily. Daily is super powerful, because then when the sun is up, there’s new content. If you get into someone’s daily routine, that’s powerful. Every time I get my coffee, I read their blog. Every time I’m on my lunch break, I watch their vlog/video/Snapchat. Daily is the ultimate, but before you go to daily or even weekly—a lot of people are still not doing weekly, they’re not consistent—the four keys are curation, consistency, quality, and time. Pick the thing you want to focus on and be known for.
- 28:40 It doesn’t have to be for the rest of your life. It’s right now, a stepping stone. This thing will take you to the next thing. Pick any one thing. What is the thing? Focus on that, and stop projecting everything else. Stop making newsletters on everything else. Stop blogging on other topics or making videos on other topics. One thing! Now, get consistent. Commit. Every Friday, I’m going to have a video. Make it consistent. Make sure the quality is good. That’s number three. Then, time. It takes time to kick in. Show up every day for two years.
Build Up a Content Buffer
- 29:08 Sean: This goes for the daily or the weekly output person. The content buffer proves you’re serious. Build up a queue of content. Picture a conveyer belt at the end of an assembly line. The product has gone through the whole thing, all the pieces have been put together, it’s shrink-wrapped, it’s put into the box, the boxes are sealed, and these finalized boxes are coming down the conveyer belt, ready to be loaded into the truck. They’re all ready to go. You need to have those finalized pieces of content, totally done, queued up and ready to go.
- 29:45 The numbers I recommend are four to six weeks of content if your output is weekly. Weekly output: four to six weeks of content, completely done and ready to be published. Daily output: ten to fourteen pieces of content, close to two solid weeks, ready to go before you start committing to this. It does you no good to post six things this week and two next week. You have to stay consistent. Prove it to yourself. It’s easy to get excited and say, “I’m going to do this every week!” You’re excited right now, but it’s going to be tough.
- 30:33 Aaron and I have talked in the past about this. He was on the show once. Aaron and I have a new show inside the Community, and it’s called Fired Up Mondays. I call it, “Your favorite 30 minute morning show”. You just don’t know it yet.
- 30:55 Ben: Is this going to be going out in iTunes?
- 30:58 Sean: Nope. This is member exclusive, but it’s fire. It’s awesome. We have a show again now, and it’s pretty fun. At one point, Aaron was a guest on the seanwes podcast, and we talked about this concept that I call the “Episode 20 hurdle” (Related: e154 Perseverance and Sticking With Commitments). When you start something, you try and be consistent with it, a show or whatever. When you get to episode 20, that’s where it gets tough. You thought you had so many topic ideas, and really, you ended up talking about four of them in each episode. Before you knew it, all the topics are gone.
- 31:38 You get to episode 20 and you’re like, “I’m not famous. I’m not rich. Our download numbers aren’t going up, and this is really hard. I want to just sit in my beanbag.” It’s tough. A lot of people quit at episode 20, because they realize that it’s not super glamorous.
To help fend off discouragement that can come from the “Episode 20 Hurdle” when you’re not prepared, get in the habit of creating a content buffer for yourself.
- 32:11 I asked people if they had habits around listening to the podcast when it comes out. Adina said, “I love listening in my morning commute to drive my four year old daughter to school. She loves listening and thinks you’re both funny.” We’re funny, Ben!
- 32:29 Ben: Alright! To a four year old.
- 32:32 Sean: “My seven year old watched the livestream yesterday for an hour, hanging on your every word. I’m trying to cultivate that writing habit early.” I love that. “I haven’t built my schedule around the podcast,” Stephanie says, “But I look forward to the release at the start of the week so I can start listening to them on my commute.” That’s cool. Ben, do you have any thoughts on the content buffer thing? Again, that’s four to six weeks for weekly output and 10 to 14 days for daily.
- 33:03 Ben: I think one of the concerns that comes up is, “Well, if I’m that far out and my topic or the industry I’m writing about is very current events oriented, won’t that be a problem?” Really, you could make the case that almost any industry wants to be as current as possible. Maybe you don’t like the idea of talking to somebody as if you’re talking to them right then, but it’s going to go out four to six weeks after you’ve written the content. Sean has said something before that really stuck with me, that relevancy is more important than recency. Think about your content and your purpose for putting it out there. You’re not putting your content out there to prove that you have done something as recently as possible.
- 34:02 Hopefully, you’re putting your content out there to provide value and to make the lives of your audience members better in such a way that they’ll reciprocate that value by being loyal and eventually purchasing products or services from you. You do that by producing content that’s relevant to the things they’re struggling with. The great thing about that is that you’re allowed to break the rules. If you’ve got a queue of four to six weeks and something happens, somebody writes in and there’s some urgent thing you really want to respond to, there’s no rule that says you can’t slip one in in front of everything else and disrupt the order. That might take a little bit of work, but that way, you get the benefit of having the flexibility to be recent if you need to.
It’s so relaxing and it takes so much pressure off to have four to six weeks of content ready to go out.
- 35:07 Sean: It’s so good. Everyone who is scrambling the night before to schedule your newsletter or publish your blog post, you’ve got to get on this. Start taking yourself seriously. Think of yourself as a media company. You’re a small media company.
Evergreen vs. Trending Content
- 35:25 Sean: On this topic of relevancy over recency, Scott had a similar question: “Should all content be timeless/evergreen, or should the breaking news of the industry be addressed as well?” The timely content, the newsworthy content, the trending, headline content, is, like Ben said, fine to insert when it happens. However, if you are completely, totally all in on the very recent cutting edge news in this industry and that’s what you do, understand that that’s very tough.
- 36:11 The people who are able to succeed at this, most often, are very large companies with a large staff who are scrambling around trying to proof things at the last minute, switching up their editorial calendar to insert stories in and get things out quickly. If you’re a small team or one person, that’s not your strong suit. Your strong suit is in your planning ahead and your ability to create relevant content. That’s not to say that you can’t ever capitalize on current trends, but as much as possible, play to your strengths. As a small business or a solopreneur, being able to crank out highly relevant content quickly, consistently, on a regular basis, is extremely tough.
- 37:03 Ben: It’s a different kind of value. People like hearing about recent events, especially if you’ve established yourself as an authority and as someone who’s opinion is respected in your industry. That has a certain value. I think about how quickly that information expires. It has a shelf life. Then, you can’t point back to it.
If you create content that’s evergreen, in the future, you can point back to it.
- 37:40 Maybe something does come up that’s recent, and you’ve written something a long time ago that’s relevant to that. Now, not only do you have the thing you’re going to share that’s about that specific thing, but you have something evergreen that you can point people to. You keep people on your platform a little bit longer and you provide more value. Maybe it’s something they’ve read before or maybe it’s something they haven’t. Maybe they’re new to your brand, but you’ve got all these other content assets that you can share with them.
- 38:11 Sean: I’ll be the first to admit that I think I’ve gone overboard on the evergreen. I almost won’t do something unless it will be relevant for years, and maybe that’s a little bit of a weakness. I should be capitalizing a little bit more on current events and trends, because you can get that spike in attention and point people to your other evergreen things. If I used just a little bit of that, I could get more people coming in more often. I don’t know what that sweet spot is, whether it’s 80/20 or 90/10—for me, it’s been 99/1, which is bad. I’m all in on the evergreen, but realize your strengths.
- 38:59 Timeless content is going to be a lot easier for you. Don’t overthink it, having your vlog, blog, podcast, newsletter, queued up and ready to go. Don’t be a Casey Neistat about it, staying up all night and editing at 2am, 3am, or 5am for the next day. Honestly, if he shifted several days, the ramifications would be almost nothing. A few people might be disappointed that they didn’t know where Casey Neistant was, in real life, yesterday, but you don’t know where he is today unless you follow him on social media! His vlog is always lagging behind. If it lagged behind an extra day so he could have a buffer to edit during the day throughout the day instead of at the end of the day, in the middle of the night, every night forever, I honestly think he could sustain it more easily.
- 40:03 Ben: That seems to be working for him.
- 40:07 Sean: Casey Neistat is Casey Neistat. If you’re Casey Neistat, keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working really well. You look like you could lose some sleep. I wouldn’t recommend being Casey Neistat. Honestly, I think I could by, you could get by, not doing night before stuff all the time. Write a few pieces, queue them up and make them complete. Cory is working on a series called Behind the Film, where he’s taking people behind the scenes on his filmmaking process. You’ve made the first four episodes? Are they done? One is done and the rest are in various stages of being done.
- 40:59 Ben: Casey Neistat is an extremely talented filmmaker. He knows his stuff. Even this more amateurish approach style to his daily vlog, if you really are paying attention, you recognize all the expertise he brings to that, like his ability to edit. He knows and does things intuitively that people who are newer to producing video have to spend a lot of mental energy figuring out. The reason he’s able to produce daily video content that seems so well put together even though it’s in that amateurish style is because he’s an expert. He’s really, really good.
- 41:46 In his situation, it’s a little bit easier for him to produce something that’s such high quality, but it’s because he’s so good. I’m not saying that you’re not good, but when you do stuff at the last minute, you run the risk of making mistakes and missing things. If you’re in a place with your skill level where you have to put creative energy and thought into doing those things, they’re not intuition yet, then you’re in real danger of making those mistakes. That’s going to affect your quality. I don’t want you to think that because he can do it, you can, too.
- 42:31 I don’t want you to have some impression of Casey Neistat, that’s he’s just doing this by the seat of his pants. He’s very, very good. He’s skilled. He’s put a lot of effort into honing his craft, and that’s why he’s able to do it the way that he does.
Stop Postponing Because of Imperfection
- 42:54 Sean: Jasper says, “What do I do? Do I postpone because of lack of quality or show up with the risk of harming my identity as a professional? I’m still trying to wrap my head around the 90% Perfect concept.” Cory’s nodding. I also saw Laci say something in the chat during one of our live training events yesterday and several people starred it. A lot of people are struggling with this idea of putting things out when their work either doesn’t match the vision of perfection in their mind or doesn’t match the people they look up to that they would like to at least be seen as peers by. A lot of people struggle with this.
- 43:46 I know Cory did with these behind the scenes film things. Cory, can you speak to that struggle a little bit—not wanting to put out imperfect things? Why did you decide to share when you feel like it’s not perfect?
- 44:06 Cory: I have people I look up to, and I’d like my work to be even close to their work. I was not happy at all with it. I was told by a friend that I was robbing people of the joy of consuming whatever this is. It’s imperfect in my eyes and I dislike it. It could be so much better, for me specifically with video. The video wasn’t that great, the audio wasn’t that great, and I thought, “This is just terrible.”
- 44:36 Sean: In case someone was interested, where could they judge for themselves how imperfect these videos in your Behind the Film series might be?
- 44:45 Cory: They could go to CoryMcCabe.com, and on that homepage, if you scroll down, the videos are there. Sean has talked about improving as you go and iterating in public, and I’ve heard that. I get that. I don’t want to do it! I want to do it my way. I decided, after a while, that I can’t create the videos that I did. They had specific meanings in them that you can’t re-live, so I said, “These moments were captured. That’s great. The message is still there, you can hear it. That’s what it’s about.” You’ve just got to put it out there.
The work you put out is never going to be 100% perfect, and as you improve, you’ll continue to see the flaws in your old work.
- 45:31 Your problem is not perfection or imperfection or harming your professional identity. Your problem is obscurity. Nobody knows you. You don’t exist. As far as anyone else is concerned, you don’t exist. You don’t exist because you’re not putting out content. The 90% Perfect concept is for perfectionists who are paralyzed by their perfectionism, and they don’t put things out because it’s not perfect. Just lower that bar, mentally, to 90% perfect. Your standards are unrealistically high. If you keep them there, you’ll never share anything.
- 46:08 The only thing that’s in between you and the image of perfection in your mind is a sea of imperfect work. You have to create so much imperfect work that it fills up the ocean. That’s the only way you get there. Let that motivate you! You put it out there and think, “I just see the flaws! Thanks for the nice comment, but I see the flaws,” that has to motivate you to create more new, greater, better things that it overwhelms the old work. Keep doing that over and over and over. People see me and my videos now, they hear how I talk, they read how I write, and they think, “That’s pretty good.”
- 46:54 They don’t think about or dig deep and find the super old videos. Some of you have. Some of you know. Some of you have seen them, or you were there in the beginning. Even those of you who were there in the beginning, you don’t even notice. The improvements in our production, my speaking, and my writing have been so gradual that it’s hard to realize how far I’ve come. It’s hard to realize how far you’ve come when you aren’t documenting that. You didn’t start when you had the spark of motivation. If you’re even thinking about putting yourself out there, creating a buffer, or committing to doing something weekly, recognize the spark.
- 47:46 That spark is not always there. You’ve got to capitalize on it in this moment. You have a chance to make a fire, to make something great. It’s not going to be great at first. Have you been watching Primitive Technology? It’s a YouTube channel. His latest video has 10 million views, and he posted it a few weeks ago. He has built all kinds of things, like a forge blower, a cord drill, garden pots, a hut, fires… He’s built all of this from nothing, and he’s just a guy with shorts and no shirt. He’s in the Australian wilderness, and he says absolutely nothing during all of his videos.
- 48:46 It’s completely silent. You just hear the sounds of nature, and there are periodic cuts in the movies where you see the progression of what he’s building from scratch, like they did forever ago, with sticks. He made fire, and he did it the hard way. He shows you his hands, and they are blistered terribly. Eventually, he hones this little cord drill where he’s pulling these cords that he made from vines or bark, and it’s spinning this rod with an arrowhead attached to it that he chipped.
- 49:29 He’s building his own fire, and he’s getting better and better at it. No matter how you build a fire, it always starts from a little spark, a little heat. A little bit of smoke starts coming up and he puts some moss on it. That’s not a great fire. It’s going to be gone in six seconds! Then, he puts some kindling on it, some twigs, bigger branches, logs, and then he smelts iron. He didn’t have a great fire in the beginning.
A fire starts with a spark, and you have that spark right now, but you’re paralyzed.
You’re not putting something out because it’s not perfect, but you have to start now.
- 50:12 When you look back, you’re going to see how far you’ve come. You want that to start as early as possible. People are not going to remember the beginning. The problem is not imperfection, it’s that you’re completely unknown.
- 50:27 Ben: As a person who makes things, I really appreciate when I can look back into somebody’s archives and see where they started. I did that recently with the Good Mythical Morning Show, and I went back to some of their earlier episodes. They didn’t have the nice lights and the nice camera angles and the cool background. Compared to what they do today, it was pretty lame. Looking at that inspires me in this way where I think, “I want what I do to look so much like what they’re doing now, but knowing where they started gives me the courage to put out what I can.”
- 51:15 That’s true with what you’re doing, Cory. You’re a filmmaker, but I know that part of your motivation is wanting to inspire and influence other up-and-coming filmmakers. Publishing and putting out your early stuff, as much as you feel like you dislike it, is going to be such an encouragement and an inspiration for others. If you got rid of all that early stuff and no one got to see it, they would expect for themselves, “I have to have this quality threshold before I can do anything.” Then they’ll never get started.
Publishing Schedule & Topics
- 51:54 Sean: “What’s a good time of day to publish?” They say a bunch of other things, but my answer is just going to be, “Consistently.” It doesn’t matter. The world is getting more and more global. People are working less and less in nine to fives, we’re going to have a billion new people on the internet in the next decade… There are going to be people consuming your content at all times of day because the world is round. It really doesn’t matter.
- 52:25 Yes, you can optimize it, but you’re not a multi-million dollar enterprise where you need to AB test 7:30am publishing and 8:15am. It doesn’t really matter. It’s going to be a different time for everyone. The best thing you can do is publish consistently, and put all of your other energies into doing more of that. “Is it harmful for a brand to take season breaks like the show Good Mythical Morning?” Like Ben brought up. Let’s be honest. How often do you think about Game of Thrones while it’s on? How often do you think about it while it’s off?
- 53:14 The brand is weaker when there are no shows. It’s just a fact. You think about Casey Neistat every day because he publishes every day. It’s that simple. Seasons are just the poor man’s publishing schedule. Now I’ve said it, so it’s in stone. It’s written. People can search for my words, because I’ve said it.
- 53:38 Ben: You can do monthly. You can do seasons. You can’t do that and expect to have the same effectiveness with your brand as doing weekly.
- 53:49 Sean: You’re not going to be top of mind. In one of the live events, I gave a bunch of topic ideas, and Shawn lists them out here when he says, “What’s the balance of posting or publishing between Stories, Process, Tools, Teaching, Journaling, News, or Interviews? Should I stick with just like 3 of these topics that I know I can manage to write about or should I manage to mix in everything? Is there a negative impact for posting within the same genre multiple times in a row before moving to a different topic?” Don’t get overwhelmed, first of all. I was just giving some suggestions, some topics that you can use.
- 54:46 You don’t have to do all of them. Don’t get overwhelmed. Feel free to mix it up. They’re just suggestions. The main thing would be that there’s not a negative ramification for posting on one thing multiple times, like, “Here’s a process post. Here’s another process post.”. It’s not a big deal, but try as much as possible to be consistent. You’ve got a Friday interview show, process Mondays, news Tuesdays, etc.
- 55:22 Ben: Rachel’s show for her book recommendations and stuff like that used to go out weekly, but she was doing several different segments. We decided that instead of doing one eight to ten minute long video every week, why don’t we do five two to three minute videos every week day? We worked it out to where every Monday it’s book recommendations, every Tuesday it’s talking about things that she’s learning that are inspiring, every Wednesday it’s what it’s like being a writer and being at home with boys. All of it is around her writing/author platform, but it’s different aspects of it. It’s consistent, from week to week, where you know that every Monday it’s going to be this specific topic. I really like that approach.
Give people a weekly rhythm with your daily content, because that’s extremely powerful.
- 56:33 Sean: Shawn said, “That helps immensely.” Keren says, “What day of the week should I post my weekly blog posts? Does it even matter?” It doesn’t matter. You can get caught up in optimizing, but that energy is better spent in consistency or increasing your output or distribution. Just stay consistent. One more question, “Can you talk about sabbaticals and consistency? Does your wider audience (outside of the Community) seem to grasp the concept and larger pattern?” For those who don’t grasp the concept, haven’t recognized it, or haven’t been listening long enough, every seventh week, the seanwes team takes off a week. We go on a sabbatical.
- 57:35 We work for six weeks, and then we take an entire week off. Everyone gets paid, we rest, we recharge, we work on secondary passions, projects, travel, or whatever you want to do. Our output for the network generally goes on hold. I might schedule or queue up a mini sabbatical episode, but for the most part, things go on hold. I’m absolutely positive plenty of people don’t know this, even several years into doing this. We’ve been doing this for two years now, taking sabbaticals, and I’m sure people still don’t know. This takes years for people to notice.
- 58:14 People don’t notice things, they just don’t. It’s a weird, large-scale pattern, and people just don’t notice. I knew we needed to do sabbaticals for us, for our own health and well-being. I knew it would kind of hurt the expectations and the output, but eventually, gradually, people have caught on. Anything we might have lost in that has been gained in the inspiration people have taken. A lot of our listeners have gone on to do their own sabbaticals, or they do them alongside the seanwes sabbaticals, which is pretty cool.
- 58:58 Ben: That’s not to mention the fresh ideas and perspective that comes from taking those. Often, you come back to producing your regular weekly content, but you’ve gained something in that time you’ve taken to rest that you can put in as added value to what you’re already producing.