• Ashleigh Harvey

Content Creation and Yoga: A Hot Mess of Similarities

London is slowly opening up, and that means I don’t have any more excuses for not going out to exercise. ( I HAVE been exercising, just not in the way I usually do.) So, I’ve joined a hot yoga studio. HOLY. HELLBAGS. It’s tough, my people. It’s tough. It’s rough. It stinks. And some days it makes me feel ill. Just like content creation.



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When the pandemic hit, I started doing yoga at home. I found Yoga with Adriene (didn’t we all?). I rolled out my yoga mat in our spare room, and that’s where I’ve been exercising for the duration of the pandemic. I also found a free app, so I started to alternate my yoga with HIIT classes, and arms and stomach stuff.


And I was in HEAVEN. Why? Because when I go to a gym class with an instructor, I get mad, yo. No, really. I get angry. I do not enjoy physical discomfort. And I get angry with the instructors. I want to scream at them and punch them. Hard. Especially when you’re in your 20th set of abdominal exercises and they’re counting you down from 10, and they go…”3….2...one-and-a-half….one-and-a-quarter…” Oooooh, that makes me SO ANGRY. JUST GET TO THE ONE SO WE CAN END THIS EVIL



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Also, when you work out at home, you don't have to get in the car and drive anywhere. You can just pop into the next room, work out for 30 minutes, hop into the shower. Boom. Done.


But I have plateaued. This exercise is no longer serving me. I’ve had to step up my game. Just like my content creation.


So, I’ve taken on Hot Yoga. How is this similar to creating hot content? Check it.


1. You’re not alone

When you arrive in the gorgeousness that is the hot yoga studio, it’s like you’ve stepped into a tiny slice of heaven. It smells meditative. It feels tranquil. It’s quiet. And you know you are not alone. You're surrounded by other people who've chosen to spend this hour in severe physical discomfort because they know the bennies are many.


This is a community of like-minded human beings, breathing together, bending together, stretching together, sweating together. There’s a quiet in the studio - a kind of respect that touches every corner of the room. And then there’s one person who blasts in, slams the door, stomps through the room, and slaps their yoga mat onto the floor. These people are wicked and must be destroyed. (I say that without judgement. I have been that person, and in that moment I was wicked and should have been destroyed.)


How is this like content creation? We’re all in this together, man. This crazy, entrepreneurial world where content is kween and good, consistent content is even Kweener - we’re all trying to navigate it together. Let’s be respectful of that. And there will always be the asshat who blasts in and makes a noise and disturbs everyone (like the totally inappropes woman whose list I signed up to and who then didn’t even CREATE content. She just started selling to me. Using lies and subterfuge). The point is...don’t be that asshat. Be the opposite of asshat.


2. It has phases of comfort and discomfort

If you’ve never done a hot yoga class, let me break down the revolting reality for you. As you walk into the room, you’re aware of the heat. You’re like… “hoooo, boy, there it is.” It sort of greets you like your dog does after you’ve been out for a few hours - all warm and happy and loving and excited, but with REALLY hot, bad breath that only the devil would love.


Minutes 0-20 are good. Like...really good. You’re breathing. You’re centering yourself. You’re becoming one with your bandas (your deep core muscles - like, the ones in your vagina). And then you slowly start to warm up. You are bossing this thing like the badass you are. You smash your asanas. You move like a goddess of divinity. Maybe you’re just in a sports bra and your skin is glowing because it’s summer in London, so you have a bit of a tan, and the lights in the studio are flattering. So, you’re like...damn, girl. You got this.


Minutes 20-30 are okaaaaay You’re speeding up. The poses start to flow into each other more. You’re feeling your heart rate rise, but in a way that makes you feel fiery and passionate. You are a hot yoga soldier of war and you are on top of this battle. You can feel beads of sweat begin to form on your back and your face. It feels good. It feels right. It feels like heaven because you are in control of your body and you are making it stronger.


Minutes 30-40. This is a fresh kind of horror that no one prepares you for. I don’t know how a person can move to lightly perspiring to DRIPPING WITH SWEAT in ten minutes, but it happens every time.


It sneaks up on you, and it is SHIT-TASTIC. You’re in a room full of people who are also hot, right? So, there’s heater heat blasting out of the vents, and there’s body heat blasting out of the people around you. And all that heat swirls around you like the Mozambique current, and the room starts to smell. BAD. Like...there are 20 people in this room and they are all sweating like camels and shit just got real.



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I, personally, start to feel a little claustrophobic. I want to get out. I want to leave and drink in the cooler air outside in mouthfuls. But this is a mind game. This is a strength of psychology. This hour is about committing to something tough no matter how hot and smelly and disgusting it gets. And finishing.


You’re going to go through these stages with content creation too. You’re going to start off and it’s going to be amazing. You have tons of ideas. You know what you want to say. You smash out your content and you get it done. But then...you’ve got to edit it. You’ve got to make sure it’s talking to your ICA. Are you creating it in a way that reflects your brand? You have to tweak and change and cut and rewrite. You’ve got to create the sub-content that supports the main content. If you create a blog, what socials will go along with it? What are you posting weekly? Is there a theme? How are you scheduling it? Maybe you don’t feel like you’re a great writer. This is all okay.


All these things make you sweat. They make you uncomfortable. They make you question yourself, your choices, your ability.


Keep going. Do not stop. Get to the end. People don’t need poetry. They need to feel seen and heard. And they want to learn. So give them value, consistently. Give them what you know. It will get easier. The more you create, the easier it will get. Promise.


3. It makes you stronger and healthier

Yup. This is the truth. These yoga classes alternate between absolute sweet heaven, and the pits of all that is vile and despicable. In one moment you feel free and light and strong and peaceful, and literally the next moment you feel like the Stranger Things evil force has swallowed you whole, churned you around its large intestines and spat you out in a sweaty pool of hot mess.


But with every pose, with every stretch, with every plank, with every movement, you’re getting stronger. Your body is releasing. Your mind is growing still. You know that you have to focus on just this one thing that you are doing, in tandem with your breath, or the likelihood is that you will die. And so, you get stronger. You get healthier. It is quite magical and glorious.


The same principle applies to your content creation. Every time you create something, it’s stronger. That’s because you’re exercising a muscle, and with each rep, with each flex, it grows. It builds.


Your content is also making your business stronger. The more you can get out there into the social media space, and do your lives, or publish your blog or podcast, the stronger your business is getting. It’s telling the world about you and your brand. It’s putting you out there. Every piece of content you create is like its own yoga pose. Put together, you’re a warrior two moving into goddess, and then taking a big ol’ squat while you lift your pelvic floor and breathe out of your mouth like a tigress! That’s power, lady!


4. The journey is really hard, and incredibly fulfilling

Sometimes I’m in a class, and I think to myself, “Sweet mother of everything holy, what are you doing here?” Because it’s hard. And it feels uncomfortable. I don’t like feeling uncomfortable. But what’s even more powerful than that feeling, is the knowledge that I can do it. Every day I get deeper into the poses. Every day my muscles get stronger. Each time I leave the room, and I feel the cool air on my beating hot, red, sweat-filled, disgusting face, I know that what I just did was good for me.


Creating good content on the regular is good for your business. It’s a slow process. Sometimes it’s not going to land the way you thought it would. Sometimes you’ll create something and people will lap it up and you’ll be like...really? But it’s an incredible journey that teaches you about you, your audience and your bizz.


The Magic Ingredient

Imma break it to you nice and gently - there is no magic ingredient. Boom.


There is only consistency. Consistency is kween. If content creation is hot yoga, consistency is breath. It’s what gives you stamina, reach, traction. It allows your audience to see you regularly; to get to know you; to feel connected to you. But it’s not just about how consistently you post.


Do not be random

I get the most out of hot yoga when the classes have some variation. So, on a Monday, we do a Hatha flow. Wednesday is all about backbends. Friday might be a slow yin class. If every single yoga class looked the same, or wasn’t planned properly, I probably wouldn’t go back. That’s my time we’re dealing with. It’s precious.


The same is true of your content. Give some thought to what you’re posting. Don’t randomly post things on any given day. Your audience will be confused. If you don't have a plan, you’ll end up posting four times in one week, and nothing in the next, and that kind of inconsistency isn't going to work for you.


Choose your days, create a spreadsheet, and give each day a theme. Stay consistent. Don’t deviate from the plan. It’ll save you time and your content will start working for you.


What are you posting?

If I walked into the studio and rolled out my mat, and was prepared for an hour of hot yoga...imagine how I’d feel if the instructor busted in there with a HIIT class. I’d be so confused. I’d be unprepared. I’d be pretty pissed.


Your audience likes predictability. They like feeling that they know you, and you know them. It’s marketing 101, right? The principle of knowing your ideal client and what they want and need. If the thought of that makes you excited, take a look at this blog. You’ll be so jazzed, you won’t know your own self. But you will know your ICA.


So, have a strategy. Plan the content you’ll be putting out on certain days of the week. Make it relevant and authentic. Share things that are relatable. Share what you know. And make sure to fact-check err’thang.. This is a business you're running. Not a Trump presidency.


Tone and voice matter

In the horrific heat of that yoga class, I do not want someone yelling at me, telling me to be pumped, as they clap their hands and blast music from the sound system. I want calm. I want soothing, dulcet tones. I want a tone and a voice that matches everything that a yoga class is.


Your content is the same. Who is your audience? Are they Gen Xs? Boomers? Millennials? Moms? Single women in their 20s? Health care professionals? Your tone is what speaks to them. So, if that means using jargon and vernacular, you do that. Speak to them like they’re people. Make yourself sound like a person. Make your writing and your posts sound human. Use your authentic voice. How? Check this out to get the four steps to define your authentic brand voice, and be YOU.


Design and logo and colours, oh my

Okay, this one is a little harder to create a yoga analogy with. But let’s see what I can do. We have one male yoga instructor who teaches us without a shirt on. Did I find that confronting initially? Maybe. I love a bit of skin, but only when I’m in control of it. But, fine. Whatever. It’s hot as a snake’s ass in that room, and I can deal with a topless yoga instructor. In fact, most of the people are in some state of undress. I do it in a sports bra, as do a few other women. Some of the other men are topless too. So, now I feel pretty comfortable with the skin. It gets so hot in there that when people are wearing full shirt, or baggy shirts, it makes me feel a bit sick. Skin in that room needs to breathe.


So now. Imagine if he walked in one day, and he was naked as the day he came out of the womb? That would be pretty effing TERRIFYING, right? I would have a few boundary issues with that. The difference between my total comfort and sheer horror that would have me running away in fear from that room lies in a pair of shorts. His shorts. Best he be wearing them.


Your brand is the same. People will come to know what your look is. They’ll recognise it. It will make them feel comfy. If you’re all over the place with that, they can’t form recognition, so they can’t build a relationship with you. And if you’re one thing for a really long time, and then all of a sudden you’re something else...it’s just not going to fly. Your audience is smart. Treat them well, and they’ll love you forever.


Finally

I do not get the algorithms on social media. They’re a mystery to me. I can only tell you what is working for me in my own content creation journey.


Consistency. I create this blog every week. People are reading it. It’s gaining traction. This is good.

I create social content that directs people to this blog. It takes care of a lot of my content creation problems. I use some of the things that are in the blog to write social posts. A blog or a podcast can keep your content going for months, my people. Don’t underestimate the power of repurposing and reusing content.


Don’t be random. Be strategic. Stick to your brand voice. Don’t post stuff that doesn’t align with who you are, or who your business is. Remember that curated content is the same. When you post other people’s content, it says something about you.


Have a plan. A spreadsheet. Work out, in advance, what you’re going to post. Set aside two hours every month to plan for the following month.


Then set aside more time to actually create the content. Then set aside time to schedule it. Put it in your project management tool. Make it part of your work. It’s not an add-on to your business. It is your business.


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