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Opinion

3 Landmines Creators Should Avoid in 2021

“Okay, but what am I doing wrong?!” - After working with hundreds of influencers of varying sizes and demographics, creators want to know why they’re not seeing the results they want, and from a talent management perspective, it’s obvious why certain creators grow and succeed and others don’t.

When creators feel like their growth is stagnant or they aren’t making enough money, it often boils down to one of these three common mistakes. In 2021, influencers need to avoid these three landmines that are certain to hinder their efforts and focus on an alternative instead.  

1. Giving too much attention to mundane tasks 

If I had a dollar for every time a creator said one of their big projects for the month was redoing their Pinterest pin layouts, I’d never have to work again. Too often, creators wear many hats that cause them to focus on simply checking off boxes on their endless to-do list – without any thought to if those tasks actually need to be done. 

These more admin-related tasks might look like…

  • Tweaking their blog layout
  • Updating their media kit for the fifth time that month
  • Spending hours a day making Pinterest images
  • Redesigning their email newsletter

After all, it’s much easier to spend hours tweaking your blog layout than it is to muster up the courage to respond to a brand deal negotiation or put yourself out there by applying for campaigns on influencer networks.

Spending so much time on these non-revenue generating tasks not only saps energy, but it stops the revenue from flowing. Kate Waldo, an expert in helping influencers organizing their time and resources to better prioritise profit said exclusively to Talking Influence:

“Creators often get trapped in the loop of checking things off their to-do list that doesn’t actually contribute to their bottom line. It’s important to prioritise profit and outsource, offload, or trash the tasks that don’t contribute. Without doing this, creators become the bottleneck of their business as every decision hinges on them being physically present.”

What to do instead

If you find yourself sucked into an endless cycle of working too much and making too little, do this instead. 

Ask yourself…

  • Is this something that is going to move the needle or help my business grow? 
  • Is this an activity or task that’s going to lead to revenue in some way? 
  • Is this truly critical or is this a task a way for me to kill time and hide from bigger responsibilities?

2. Not focusing on one growth channel per quarter

Similar to the time-suck of mundane tasks that aren’t mission-critical for your business comes spreading yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once. From blog posts to Twitter to Instagram Stories and Reels to Facebook Live, there are a million channels competing for your attention and energy. Many creators think they should be published everywhere, and end up with a calendar that looks something like this. 

  • Post 1x/day on Instagram feed
  • Post 1x/day on Tik Tok
  • Post 1 blog post/week
  • Post 1 YouTube video/ week
  • Share 15 pins on Pinterest/day
  • Tweet 3x/day 

Creators exhaust themselves across four to five different social media platforms and then wonder why they see growth nowhere. 

What to do instead

Narrow your focus to one social media platform per quarter (ninety days or three months) – let the others simply ride the organic wave, stay stagnant, or maybe even decrease a little.

Focus on this growth channel for an entire quarter. Not one week, not one month but an entire consistently three months.

If you picked Instagram, then a new social media calendar might look something more like this. You’re able to go deeper, not wider, and most social media platforms these days reward you for one-time spent on-site to how many of its features you’re using.

  • Post 3 Instagram Reels/week
  • Post 1x on Instagram feed
  • Post 3 daily favorites on Instagram Stories with swipe-up links
  • Repurpose Stories into IGTVs

Since you’re not spread thin, you’re able to repurpose, recycle, and re-focus on dominating one platform. 

Chelsea at The Millennial Miss, a full-time creator for several years, said this to Talking Influence: “When you’re not zoned in on your niche, you’re playing the monkey see monkey do game. Your unique audience will blossom when you create authentic content as opposed to content that everyone else is making. You end up creating a brand that doesn’t properly reflect your own day-to-day lifestyle or values.”

3. Trying to ‘copy and paste’ another influencer’s growth strategy

After working with hundreds of different creators, the one thing they all want to know is “How well do I stack up against other creators?” Everyone thinks everyone else knows more than them.

There’s no guidebook, no linear career path, no rules for navigating the influencer marketing industry. Every creator is simply doing the best they can, capitalising on opportunities when they come, and making the best decision they can with the information they have. However, it’s damaging for creators to just replicate what someone else is doing in an effort to grow

Rachel at The Confused Millennial, a full-time blogger for the last 5 years, said this to Talking Influence about comparing your growth to other creators.

“When you’re trying to compare yourself to another creator or copy/paste their strategy, it’s typically a watered-down version with no POV that authentically engages an audience. You’re always wasting time stalking what other people are doing rather than building your own creative flow + voice or listening to what your audience wants. You can only do that for so long before you get burnt out or feel like a fraud. More than that though, people are smart and intuitive, they’ll typically move on pretty quickly because it feels disingenuous/inauthentic.”

What to do instead

  • Consume less – unfollow, mute, and unsubscribe from millions of pieces of content. You’ll be able to more clearly hear and see the vision for your platforms when you’re creating more, not consuming
  • Resist the urge to look – when someone sends you a link or a post from a similar influencer and says, “Hey, look what she did!”, don’t look. You don’t want to subconsciously adopt their idea or angle

To wrap up, in 2021, creators should leave behind these 3 mistakes that sabotage their own efforts –  focusing on too many mundane tasks; splitting their attention too much between social platforms and comparing their journey to everyone else’s.

2 comments

  1. ooop this whole article just called me out. But this was so helpful in reminding me to narrow down my focus and not spread myself so thin

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