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I met Matt Ragland while I was speaking at a ConvertKit conference. And, I was just struck by how present he was in the conversation. While we were chatting, he was focused on being interested as opposed to being interesting.
And when he finally did share more about what he's up to, I was impressed with how he took a disciplined but creative approach to his work. For some reason, those two seem at odds but he was able to find an integration that led to him being extremely productive and a world-class content creator.
Matt is the Managing Director of Good People Digital. An agency that works with companies to create human-focused brands and web experiences that help them connect with their customers.
Outside of that, his work focuses on the intersection of productivity and the creator economy. So if you're struggling with either of those, Matt's here to help you out.
I'll share a few of my key takeaways from our conversation below.
How to start creating content that connects
When it comes to creating newsletter content, just getting started is often the biggest hurdle. Matt said that there are a couple of ways you can jump-start your content creation – starting with analyzing what has already worked well on your social media. What is already getting engagement? What do you feel is important?
"The other two things that you can ask are number one: What is the thing that people often ask me about in regards to my work or specific area of interest? … And then the follow up to that is (whether it's on social or through replies on your newsletter), if you're new at this, ask for a reply at the end of each newsletter."
This ensures that you're creating content that serves the needs of your audience, because that was your starting place.
If you're really starting from scratch
"That's all well and good," you might be saying, "But this assumes I've already created content. What do I do if I've never posted on social media?"
Matt suggests searching Reddit for questions to answer.
"I don't often say that. But Reddit as research is great." Matt said. "See what things people are asking that they're not getting good answers to, and you can just answer that in your own content. You can also, on social media, find people that you follow that are in the same relative niche as you and see what topics they are talking about that you have a different opinion on. Talk about what they're doing, not what that specific person is doing, but give that in your own opinion."
How to have the most productive week ever
The most productive week ever is a big promise, I know. And Matt said that the key to the most productive week is actually counterintuitive: You should not overcommit.
"Mental over commitment to goals or projects, that leads to a lot of overwhelm, that can lead to a lot of context and task switching."
Matt referenced The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, adding that he can't pick one thing to focus on for the entire quarter — but he can do that for his days and weeks. Once he has that one big thing selected for the week, Matt moves forward with what he calls the GAP framework — Goals, Actions, and Protection.
"If I know what that goal is, then I'm going to analyze it, and I'm going to look at it and say, 'Okay, what are the actions that I need to take that if I were to check off all of these to do items, all these action items, it will naturally lead to the completion or achievement of the goal?
And I'm going to look at this and say, like, okay, I have these four to five action items. How much time do I need to protect? Let's just say two hours. Okay, I'm going to protect the time to do this for one hour on Monday morning and then one hour on Thursday morning."
You can learn more about Matt by visiting mattragland.com and following him on social media at @mattragland. And don't forget to grab his free email course, 5 Productivity Principles for a Great Week.