Boost Your Design Influence: Strategies for Consistent Content Creation
June 19, 2023
5 min read
Balancing the process of learning design with a full-time job and, occasionally, content creation can be overwhelmingly challenging. We all recognize the value of writing and creating content as designers, but as the saying goes, "easier said than done." Managing all these aspects can sometimes be quite the feat. Trust me; I've experienced it firsthand.
In this article, I'd like to share some insightful tips and tricks that I unpacked during my conversation with Thijs Kraan, a highly influential content creator on LinkedIn. These nuggets of wisdom might just provide you with the inspiration and motivation you need to stay consistent and effective in your own creative journey.
Let go of perfection first.
Before we delve into maintaining consistency, let's first address the looming 'elephant in the room':the fear and impostor syndrome often accompanying content creation. This is especially true for beginners or junior designers and it can sabotage our efforts to cultivate a consistent content creation habit.
I recall my own battle with the fear of feeling like an impostor when I wrote my first article. I kept questioning myself: 'Why am I insisting that I have something worthwhile to share, and who am I to make such a claim?' Nevertheless, I soldiered on, taking comfort in the thought that this was merely a personal exercise in self-development, not a publishing effort, and people won't judge me for that.
As the months rolled on, I began to receive constructive feedback from my mentor and peers. I realized my work was steadily improving. The process was similar to the one of a weight-loss journey – fraught with frustration, temptation, and moments of wanting to throw in the towel. But then, one day, you catch your reflection in the mirror, and the progress is undeniable. I started receiving comments and nice words from Designers I managed to inspire. The hard work has paid off, and newfound confidence helps you move forward.
So, the first step towards consistency is letting go of one of the most common misconceptions: the idea that you have nothing valuable to say, or that everything has already been said.
If you're just embarking on this journey, embrace this opportunity to 'build in public.' Share your designs and discuss what you're learning. There's always someone else who's a step behind you in their journey. It's like being in kindergarten – when you're in third grade, you always look up to the fourth graders. This cycle continues, reminding you there's always room to learn and grow.
Turn it into a non-negotiable habit.
During my journey of learning UX Design, and later while working my first job, communicating with clients made me realize that most of our communication was written. This writing process also served as a means to clarify and streamline my thoughts, whether they were scribbled on paper or typed on a computer. Then a thought struck me, why not turn this into a habit? After all, writing was interwoven into all these activities. Accepting a challenge, I began writing every Sunday, ensuring I had an article ready to publish each Monday. That was over a year ago, and not a single Monday has been skipped since. Now, I have close to 100 stories to my name, each one acting as a foundational brick in my design career.
In my conversations with Thijs, he revealed that he took a similar approach. However, he focused on creating shorter-form content for LinkedIn. Thijs dedicated 30 minutes every day for 30 days, a habit that stretched into a span of over 400 days. He discovered a genuine love for the process, which evolved into a beneficial habit, like going to the gym or ensuring he got enough sleep.
Committing a specific time for this activity is crucial. If you're posting content on social platforms like LinkedIn, this could be a daily commitment. Alternatively, if you're writing longer pieces like articles, you may decide to set aside a specific day each week.
Keep an eye out for inspiration.
One of the common reasons many designers stop or never embark on content creation is the perceived lack of inspiration or inability to identify engaging topics. Inspiration comes in different forms, and here are some of the ways you can gather it:
Keep an eye on the content or work of your favorite Designers. You are likely learning from them on a daily basis, so why not extrapolate from these topics or share your learnings with the broader community?
Whether you're in the process of learning design or already on the job, there are always enlightening moments, sudden realizations, or instances where you identify room for improvement. Engage in self-reflection, and you'll soon uncover many topics worth writing about;
Repurpose your existing content - If you consistently write articles, extract the main ideas, and share them on platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram. Similarly, if you have been sharing brief ideas or insights, consider expanding these into comprehensive articles.
Keep in mind that inspiration can come from anywhere. It might hit you while you're on vacation using an app that impresses you, or while appreciating a smoothly running train system with user-friendly UX, or even when you have an outstanding airline experience. There's always a topic to be discovered and written about, regardless of where you are or what you're doing.
Persevere: Don't Give Up
Last but not least, the journey to consistent content creation is not always smooth. There may be times when inspiration is elusive, and your creative juices aren't flowing. During such times, the key is not to give up.
Remember that consistency is not about creating a masterpiece every single time; it's about showing up and making an effort, even on the tough days. Even if you produce less-than-ideal work on some days, you still build your creative muscle and reinforce your commitment to consistency.
In conclusion, consistently creating content while working full-time or learning design can indeed be challenging, but it is entirely achievable. Overcoming the fear of not having anything valuable to share, forming a non-negotiable habit of writing, deriving inspiration from multiple sources, and repurposing your own content are crucial elements of this process.