There are plenty of ways automation can improve our businesses.
Credit card readers on our phones make it easier for people to pay us on the spot.
Scheduling software makes it easy for people to get on our calendars.
Content tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Later and others make it possible for us to batch create posts that can be shared over time.
But there are also downsides to putting things on autopilot. For instance, Tweets about your Christmas specials auto-posting in March. (I just saw this from someone I follow.)
There are ever bigger downsides when you yourself have gone on autopilot.
Which brings me to the big peppercorn/caper caper I talked about on Facebook earlier this week.
So, I’m grocery shopping, which is something I don’t love and usually try to avoid. The store is new to me and it’s taking a while to find what I need, amping up the “get what I need and get out” vibe.
Craving tuna salad, I grab a couple of cans from the bottom shelf and a jar of capers from the top shelf, fling them into my cart and dash to next aisle.
Making the tuna salad is similarly autopilot driven. Grab a bowl, fling in ingredients, mix, scoop some into a lettuce cup and take a bite still standing at the kitchen counter.
The crunching sound was the first tip off that something was wrong. I didn’t use celery and tuna salad without celery is not suppose to crunch.
The overwhelming sting of peppercorns being crushed by my teeth instead of a pepper grinder was the second, alarming sign that something was very wrong.
Being on autopilot made me twice miss the fact that a jar of green capers swimming in brine and a jar of green peppercorns swimming in brine look exactly alike … if you aren’t paying attention and don’t read the label.
Autopilot Writing Is As Unappetizing as a Mouthfull of Green Peppercorns
Sometimes our approach to creating content slips into autopilot, too. We sit down to write in the headspace of “grab one of my core messages Barbara’s always going on about, fling it into a blog or a video, dash off to my next task and the ‘real’ work of my business…”
Next thing we know we’re creating content for content’s sake, which wastes our time and our audience’s time because they can tell we’re not feeling it.
If you find yourself with peppercorns instead of capers, remember these things:
Core Messages Aren’t The Problem
Sometimes clients push back on the concept of core messages because they think it will make all their content sound too repetitive. There are two things to clear up about that:
You will always sound more repetitive to yourself than to your audience
You hear yourself all the time. Others do not. They get your message now and then, sometimes when they’re fully engaged, sometimes not. If they’re not in the market for your services at first, you might come through as noise. When they do need you, they’ll start to hear you as if for the first time. (I’ve got a great example of this from my corporate days, reach out if you want to hear it.)
“Core” means “foundational” not “solitary”
You’re allowed to build on a core message and branch off in different ways or with different stories that share the foundation of the core message. You don’t have to use the verbatim words of your core message every single time.
Reconnect With Your “Why”
When you are stuck in auto-pilot writing you can always escape by taking a pause, taking a breath and recalibrating yourself to why you are reaching out to people in the first place. Reconnect with the service or product that you know can change lives, bring a little joy to someone’s day, keep a person out of jail, circumvent a trip to the hospital or whatever yours might be.
Time Can Be An Enemy
Staring down a deadline … again … is a huge trigger for autopilot writing. Just as my main focus was just getting the grocery shopping done, writing from a place of “I gotta get this done” doesn’t always deliver the best result.
Having a plan for how you create content, having a schedule for what you are going to write when can help you stay focused on content as a strategy to boost your business, not another thing that you “have” to do. We talk about — and create real-life content plans— in my upcoming Content Calendar Build Workshops. They’re next week, so if you want to grab a seat in one, act fast!
As business owners, we juggle so much all the time and the stuff that takes us out of our comfort zone —like writing and talking about our business with authenticity — is the stuff we resist the most. I happens to all of us. But your story, told in your voice, that delivers your message to your people is too valuable to let it get buried in autopilot writing.
PS If you’re not sure if the Content Calendar Build Workshop is for you, let’s jump on a call and I can tell you about what we cover and how other business owners use the information.