There is a habit I’ve developed as someone who spends much of their day at the computer. I begin by attempting to complete one of the items on my digital to-do list, and through following an intricate trail of shiny objects, I somehow find myself perusing for jeans, jewellery, dresses and all manner of accoutrements. I fill up my cart, and then I exit the browser tab. I’m gratified, and I didn’t even have to spend a cent. And if I do choose to go through with the transaction, I’m gratified twice over: once upon curating my dream shopping list, and then again when the postie arrives.
Instant gratification, much like Paul Roberts writes in his book The Impulse Society, is our ‘life’s primary goal’. We want something, and we want it now (whether that’s through the façade of shopping, or the real kind).
In the world of consumerism and digital technology, this is natural. When we email someone, we expect a prompt reply. Otherwise, we would have sent a letter. When we place a coffee order, we tap our feet in agitation after 5 minutes. We are tired, goddammit. We want to jolt our senses with an IV drip of caffeine. We wax lyrical on the shortcomings of our public transport system, and wait with bated breath for Tindr prospects to reply to our messages.
So when it comes to other matters, like content marketing, blogging, and social media, instant gratification and an immediate ROI are top of our agenda. We are a mightily impatient and frustrated bunch in this era of cup-a-soup.
But truthfully, it’s not our fault. When we use much of our time, energy and thoughts putting together a plan for bettering ourselves and our business, it’s disheartening to see the rewards so far in sight. Sometimes, we spend an equal amount of our resources just coming to the decision to invest in our best interests. A delay in results can become unnerving. Where is our slice of the pie?
Truthbomb: I can be quite impatient and domineering. Tolerance is something I’m trying to develop, because it doesn’t come naturally to me as an Enneagream Type 3. I like to see my efforts appreciated and validated. Facts and hard data water my ego flower nicely, and as anyone with a business acumen knows, it’s those quick wins which propel us forward with enthusiasm.
But when I started blogging here again, I knew that I would have to practice extreme patience. My Enneagream Type 3 tendencies would have to be reconciled elsewhere, because this blogging thing was not going to be the one to kiss my hubris goodnight.
When I walked into the world of freelance copywriting, I knew that boosting my SEO through content marketing was my top priority. As a shy introvert with moderate social anxiety, networking with Grown Ups is not my strong suit. I knew I would have to make my website my number one sales person, but doing so could take months. According to First Page Sage, you can expect to see results in 4-6 months, depending on your website’s age, your trust authority, and a few other factors.
So I researched, and I planned, and I wrote, and I waited. As James Clear advises, I used my goals as a compass, but quit with the fruitless treasure hunting. I poured my energy into the journey – developing my voice, finding my niche, refining my editing skills – and chose to stop getting wrapped up in my goals and specific time frames. My goal was a direction; destination undetermined.
This was difficult for me at first, as I’d come from a fast-paced account management role, where Likes, clicks and buys were measured daily. And it’s difficult for some of my clients when they first approach me about blogging, too. Blogging is designed to deliver wide-eyed readers, admiring fans, thoughtful responses, shimmering praise, and, eventually, a happy client or customer. Who wouldn’t want that today, rather than in 3 months time from now? Blogging, by its very own nature, is instantaneous. Once click and whooooosh! Out into the universe it goes. What we end up confusing is its speedy ability to be in front of someone’s eyeballs, and its ability to connect, persuade and convert. Blogging is immediate publishing, but a successful content marketing campaign is not. It takes weeks of initial planning, researching and refining. To blog with wild abandon is to throw spaghetti at a wall. What will stick? What will fall on the floor as a sticky, floury mess?
Like a lot of things in life – blossoming love between two Tindr dates, a nice soufflé, and the transatlantic flight to London – good things take time. It's something I've written about previously. It’s taken me a good 2 years of semi-focused effort to find myself on page 1 for ‘melbourne copywriter’ and ‘copywriter’. If I’d applied myself more, I might have been able to earn my SEO crown sooner.
I’m not advising you to let go of how it might come to pass, because a documented strategy needs to be monitored. Personally, I have one-month catch ups with my own clients to discuss their Google Analytics results, and I also use Moz to monitor their keyword rankings. But as Prudentius so finely put it, patience is a virtue. And as BANKS, the 21st shaman of our lyrical times so poetically puts it, love is a waiting game. And for me, writing and love are both part of the same sphere.