90 day content challenge: my journey

By Leon Tranter | Blogging

Dec 01
90 day content challenge

Well, this is it! The 90th blog post in my 90-day content challenge. I’ll be talking about what I’ve done, why I did it, what I’ve learned, and what I’m doing next. Let’s get into it!

What is this 90-day content challenge?

90 days ago (from the time of writing and publishing this blog post), I set myself a challenge. To write and publish 90 blog posts in 90 days. And I’ve done it. This is post number 90. I did miss a day twice, but I made up for it in the next few days by publishing two in one day. So I did get 90 done in 90 days, even though there were a couple of days where I didn’t publish one.

I got the idea for this 90-day content challenge from a blogger, vlogger and entrepreneur called Miles Beckler. He is one of the few marketing “gurus” who I really like and respect completely. He writes and speaks with complete honesty and authenticity, which is sadly not something I can say about a lot of people in this industry.

Miles Beckler is a big believer in the power of content, especially honest and authentic content. Made with love, written from the heart. So am I. So I decided to take up his idea for a 90-day content challenge.

Miles has a program called Content and Conversion, where he focuses on this and other ideas. I have not taken this program and I am not an affiliate or his or his program. You can take the program or not, or do a 90-day content challenge or not. It’s entirely up to you. I don’t care.

Why do a 90-day content challenge?

That’s a really good question, and surprisingly one that is not so easy to answer off the cuff. There are a number of reasons.

I wanted to establish trust and authority

I believe trust and authority are the most powerful assets any marketer or entrepreneur can possess. If you have those, you can quickly create or scale up anything else.

And these assets are hard to build up, and very easy to lose, if you do something dumb and make people lose trust in you.

The best way to build up trust and authority is to produce big piles of powerful content. After doing this challenge, people are now looking to me as some kind of expert or specialist in blogging and SEO. A couple of years ago, or even six months ago, that idea what have been absurd to me. It is not so much now.

Of course, you have to know your stuff. You have to be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Which gets us to the next point.

It forces you to get good

You know how you get to be good at blogging? Do a crapload of blogging. And read a lot about blogging You know how you get to be good at making videos? Make a big pile of videos. And read a lot about making videos. You know how you get to be good at SEO? Do a lot of SEO. And read a lot about SEO.

It’s not rocket science, people. You need to practice, learn, apply what you’ve learned. Over and over and over and over.

You might not like his books, but Stephen King is one of the most successful writers of all time. He once said this piece of simple but profound wisdom:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

That about sums it up. Producing content every day for 90 days forces you to do two things: get good at doing it (by doing it over and over) and get good at it by learning about it (because you need to keep coming up with new things to produce content about).

You can’t not get good at it. It’s literally impossible.

It forces you to build up powerful workflows and habits

I won’t lie: producing 90 pieces of content in 90 days is hard. It’s really hard.

A week ago I missed a day (which I had to make up for a few days later) not because I was lazy or I had better things to do, but because I was so tired I literally collapsed and fell asleep on the floor of my house. Not on a bed, not on the couch, on the floor. I fell asleep on the floor and woke up a few hours later, not really knowing where I was, and collapsed into bed.

It was a bit of an extreme situation because I had just moved into a new house. So things were tough to start with. But this is hard.

The only way you can get through it is to specialise, to focus, to improve. You need to build up workflows and habits and practices.

When I started I could kind of stumble through it. But to keep churning out good content over and over, you need to come up with systems. You simply have to, or you will fail.

The good news is, I came up with a good system for writing and publishing blog content. If you are thinking of doing this, you can copy my system. Or modify it. Or ignore it completely. I don’t care.

But I described my system for writing and publishing blog posts here. I cannot emphasize how important this is. A system, a plan, a process, a workflow, is the only chance you have. Otherwise, you will stumble and you will fall. Trust me.

It builds up a digital asset

This blog is now a digital asset. It will generate page views, email subscribers and affiliate customers from now on and forever. As of the time of writing, I’m not sure how many. But it will work.

Digital assets are powerful. This is not some fly-by-night CPC or CPA marketing shenanigans. Those systems are fine and can work if you are good. But they are not assets. They don’t work for you if you don’t work for them.

This blog is now a machine. A self-powered machine. It will run on its own course, by its own energy. It will grow in links and traffic without my doing anything. And that’s just the way I like it.

What was hard about doing this challenge?

There were a few things that were hard about this challenge. Some of them I expected, some of them were thoroughly unexpected.

Things get in the way of the blog

Life has a habit of getting in the way of things. That’s to be expected.

It turned out that the 90 days I picked to do this challenge were probably the worst 90 days in my entire life to do this. I know it will always feel like that, but it really was.

There were a big bunch of family things going on at this time that made it very difficult to do this. Including sicknesses, deaths, moving house, and plenty of other things. But I stuck it out.

There were two reasons I did. One was that I knew it would never be the “right time”. If I didn’t do it now, I would always find reasons why now was not the “right time”, and if I just waited a little longer, the stars would align and everything would be fine. Which is, of course, a lie.

The other reason is that I have a deadline. At the time of writing, my wife is pregnant with our second child, and I want to build up an asset that generates passive income by the time our child is born. So that we can take some time off work and I can spend more time with our baby.

So I had a tight deadline and it wouldn’t move. Which in a way was great, because it forced me to get started and take action.

The blog gets in the way of things

Another challenge is that the challenge takes up a lot of time. My usual routine was that I would write a post (or most of a post) on my lunch break at work. Then after my wife went to bed, I would do whatever work I needed to do for my day job (I have a busy full-time IT job, that often requires me to work at night from home), then work on the blog post.

Proof-read it, edit it, put in internal and external links, create and add images, publish it, add it to my twitter feed, push it to my Facebook profile and page, and create Pinterest pins for it. All that would take an hour or two.

And then it would be usually midnight and I would go to bed.

All this meant I didn’t have time for barely anything else. Along the way I was taking courses, reading articles, watching videos (on the train on the way to and from work), learning about all sorts of things. But I never had time to implement anything.

There are dozens of things I want to do that will probably scale up my business quite a lot, but I haven’t had a chance to do, because I’ve been just too damn busy doing the content, every single day.

And it’s not like I’ve been slacking off and spending downtime on Netflix or whatever. I haven’t. I just have not had the time. But as of tomorrow, I do! Which is exciting.

You will (eventually) start running out of content ideas

I quickly came up with a good system of generating content ideas. And it worked and I came up with hundreds of article ideas. But to be honest, a lot of them were crap.

You burn through the good ones pretty quickly. I came up with new ones as I went and learnt more. But towards the end, it was a bit of a struggle.

Don’t get me wrong, the method I came up with (mainly based on Answer the Public) does work, to a certain extent. It will generate hundreds and hundreds of article ideas. Way more than you’ll need for a 90-day content challenge. But a lot of them are garbage.

“Affiliate marketing is it real”? “Internet marketing in Wikipedia”? “Blogging what’s all the fuss”? Who are these people and why do they ask such ridiculous questions?

There has to be a better way. That’s actually one of my next tasks, now that this challenge is over: finding better ways to find content inspiration (I already have a couple of ideas, I’m going to smash this one – stay tuned).

What was easy about doing this challenge?

Some things were surprisingly easy about doing it.

Motivation to do it

I never struggled with motivation. As soon as you start doing it, and you publicly announce that you are doing it, you will do it.

I never wavered, I never doubted. I sometimes wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into, and I sometimes wondered if I really made the right decision. But I never hesitated and I never doubted for one minute that I would complete the challenge.

I knew that I would do it. It becomes this weird thing that kind of takes over your life. At a certain point, you stop wondering how will fit your blogging around your life, and start wondering how you will fit your life around your blogging.

It sounds weird but it’s true. You start thinking about your days, and your time, in a different way. You find ways to make things happen that you previously never would have made happen. Motivation was never a struggle for me.

But I think the key to that is making your commitment public. There have been studies on this (which I am currently way too lazy to look up and reference). But basically, if people publically commit to completing some task, they are way more likely to complete it, controlling for all other variables.

So I started putting it out on Facebook that I was doing this challenge and how far I was through it. This served a few purposes. It made my commitment public, so I was now invested in it and couldn’t back down. It attracted attention to me and my challenge. And it drove traffic to my blog because I would link to my blog posts as I made these Facebook posts.

Blogging and content workflow

I’ve talked about the importance of workflow. It is huge. I simply cannot overstate the importance of this. If you take on a challenge like this, you will find a workflow that works for you, and you will follow it. You will form patterns, tools and habits around it. And things will suddenly start becoming much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, the challenge itself is still hard. Coming up with the ideas for articles, finding good images, doing the publishing and promotion is all hard. But the actual writing itself becomes much easier when you have a good system. My system is based on Google Sheets, Google Docs, Notepad and WordPress.

What are the next steps?

So I’ve done the challenge. What now? Is this the end of Citizen Affiliate blog posts?

No way in hell! As Winston Churchill (one of the most inspiring people of all time) said:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

So this is the end of the beginning. Now the blogging really begins.

There are a hundred, if not a thousand things I want to do with this blog. First of all, I am going to take a well (well, well, well) earned break. Get some sleep, drink some wine, cook some nice food, spend some more time with my family. Then I’m going to get back to work!

There are some posts that I want to write. But my main focuses are going to be on improving my older posts (many of which need a lot of work), and working on other peripheral parts of the blog, such as my email list building and auto-responder sequences.

Final thoughts

Well, here we are, at the end of the end of the end of this crazy journey. It’s been a crazy, intense, surreal blast. I will never forget and I will never regret it. Thank you for reading this and any other articles I have written.

And for the love of all that is holy in the forsaken world, please, please, please leave a comment! I cannot tell you how much I love getting comments, especially when they are not “I like your site it is great please visit bigcasinomoneywin.tk thanks bye”.

So let me know what you think, what you have learned, and what your next steps will be!

Keep on keeping on,

Leon Tranter

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