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Do you struggle with getting your content out on time? Do you find yourself up until early hours of the morning the night before your post is scheduled to be published, scrambling to get everything ready?
In a recent episode, I talked about what to do if you run out of topics.
In this episode, I also made a friendly callout to my friend, Travis. Travis has a channel called DevTips and he makes great videos about design and development, you should check out his channel.
Travis recently wrote an article in response to my callout about scrambling to create last minute content the night before it’s supposed to go out. He lovingly called it: I love ya, sean, but you are wrong.
I actually really encourage you to go read his article. It’s very fun and well-written. I’m honored that he took the time to not only reply to my callout, but take the time to write a thorough reply and share it publicly to provide value to his audience.
I love that approach.
Up at 3AM the Night Before
Travis and I had a conversation about building a content buffer and scheduling content output while he was in Texas for a conference.
His article mentions the fact that I called him out a couple months later meant it didn’t have an effect because it was no longer relevant to him. He said if I’d have said it a day or a week later he would have been impressed and felt validated.
Instead, he said the “chastisement (albeit in good humor) stung a lot less, and was robbed of the likeliness of bringing about behavioral change.” He continues, “Hey, I’m up at 3AM writing this the morning I plan to send it to my subscribers. Yolo!”
First, I should say that I mentioned Travis in the video only because I happened to think of him when I was recording it. It wasn’t planned ahead of time or supposed to be close in proximity to our in-person conversation. I don’t actually have a two-month buffer. My buffer is only two weeks.
However, let’s assume that was the case and it really was a pre-planned callout and my buffer actually was 60 videos, which would be pretty insane, but let’s imagine it to go with the point he’s trying to make.
In his article, Travis makes the case that the immediate feedback he gets from readers, viewers, and listeners is invigorating, and that interacting with a comment in new content within a day or two is joining in a moment of unity with the commenter.
90% of Lifetime Views Happen Later
Something you have to keep in mind though is that the vast majority of the lifetime views on a video are going to be had long after the video is published. Probably over 90% of them. This logic would make it seem as though you might as well delete your videos after a day or two because they’re no longer current.
But there’s a lot more evergreen potential in your content than you realize. At least there should be. The vast majority of the people watching this video now will not be in the first few days of it publishing. 90% will be weeks months or years later. Yet the timeless information in this story will remain relevant for viewers for years to come.
Recency is not king. Relevancy is king. Where a lot of people get confused is thinking recency = relevancy.
The most alarming part of Travis’ article is where he says this:
“Hey, I’m up at 3AM writing this the morning I plan to send it to my subscribers. Yolo!”
This is the the part of the article that stands out to me. If his readers want to be up at 3AM every night, the night before their content is supposed to go out (yes, like Casey Neistat, who I too adore), they should follow every piece of advice in his article.
But if not, you need to get a buffer.
I did a recent podcast episode on daily output — although it’s on sending emails, much of the concepts apply similarly to any kind of daily content output: Busting the Myth That Daily Emails Are Bad (and How to Do Them Right) Here’s the most relevant part (from 17:44):
I was convinced that the sharing of the new content was the most important thing. I was convinced that recency was king. Every time I get fired up, it’s because I learned a lesson the hard way, and I want you to avoid it. Recency is not king; people do not care whether you wrote this thing last night or last year. They do not know and they do not care. I struggled with this when i. came to podcasts. We used to put podcasts out the next day. I don’t even know how I edited it, wrote the shownotes myself, and put it out the next day. I was convinced that it had to be fresh.
We did this with seanwes tv. When we first started the show, we got to the point where we had no buffer and we were putting out episodes the next day. It was the worst; it was horrible. We were convinced that we needed to have an active conversation with people. We thought we needed to put out stuff that was made yesterday so people could come and say, “It’s so fresh!” No one cares and no one knows. They don’t care if you wrote it last night.
Recency ≠ Relevancy
I used to be of the same mindset. I believed that recency was king. But relevancy is king—and relevancy and recency are not synonymous. It took me two years to learn this and I’m really glad I did not burn out before I did because I too was up until 3AM very often.
This was the biggest thing I’ve learned after hundreds and thousands of pieces of content (both by myself for years, and then only in the past year with the help of employees)—if you can grasp this concept now without learning the hard way like I did for years, you have the potential to be well ahead of me:
It’s not about sending the newest content to the greatest number of subscribers in the least amount of time.
The most powerful thing is sending the most relevant content to a single person at the right time.
Timeless Messages for Future Viewers
You’re doing awesome work, Travis. I’m really proud of you and happy to know you. What I want for you is to continue doing what you’re doing. What I want for you is not to burn out.
Here’s the other thing: I made this video about you, but I also made it timeless. I used your name, Travis, but the viewer who resonates with the message and the questions I asked at the very beginning has become Travis. They are substituting themselves into the content wherever I say your name.
This story and the tailored message of this episode, are going to remain relevant for years to come. They neither know or care whether I made this video today, last night, or last week. I certainly wouldn’t delete this content after a week because it’s “old”, so by the same logic, it’s not old if I made it a week before it’s posted.
As someone who has worked 18-hour days, 7 days a week, and stayed up until the early hours of the morning for years and years on end and having learned the hard way after a very long time, know that when I share messages like these, I’m not doing it to make things hard on anyone. I’m always speaking to my past self. I’ve been there before and I’ve learned the hard way and nearly hit burnout, which would have destroyed everything.
I want nothing less than the very best for you which is why I do this show to help you avoid the mistakes I made.