Create first, sequence later.

Create first, sequence later.

Having now published a lot of content (1,000 videos, 300 blog posts, and 20 online courses) and I wish I learned this lesson earlier: Simply start creating. Then figure out the sequence later.

Posted by George Kao, Authentic Business Coach on Friday, January 12, 2024

Having now published a lot of content (1,000 videos, 300 blog posts, and 20 online courses), I wish I learned this lesson earlier:

Simply start creating.
Then figure out the sequence later.

It’s tempting to think you can fully plot out a flawless sequence of blog posts, book chapters, videos, or courses before you begin to create them.

But throughout your content creation journey, especially in those critical first years, new breakthrough insights will emerge that challenge your assumptions. It may even send your entire framework into question…

Such iterative growth is normal, a byproduct of hands-on learning and self-discovery.

The most effective way forward, therefore — into the greatest clarity you can have as a creator — is by consistently creating.

People Seek Your Latest Content Anyway

Here’s a reality check: most people won’t consume your free content in sequential order.

Casual visitors who land on your website, or social media, will expect to find your newest or hottest content featured.

Content consumers selectively dive into whatever you’ve shared recently, assuming it represents your current thinking and work. So the obsession of optimizing around older content sequencing ends up being wasted effort.

Practice Expressing Your Energy Signature

Rather than creating with some sequence of future pieces in mind, pour yourself instead into the current piece of content. Share insights that authentically reflect present-moment you, no matter where they slot in a hypothetical grand sequence.

If someone resonates with your essence and feels like a potential long-term audience member, they’ll want to dive deeper into your whole body of work. Their desire to explore will transcend whichever piece of content first brought them into your universe.

“This should’ve come first…”

Case in point on why upfront sequencing fails:

I should have written my fourth book, Principles of Authentic Business, much earlier on because of how foundational its frameworks are. But having not yet created enough content, I wouldn’t have organically realized how much hidden book material existed around authentic business principles in the first place!

So… When’s The Right Time To Sequence Content?

In my experience, the optimum timing is as follows…

The first stage of outputting any new content is inherently exploratory. Hold lightly to expectations. You’re simply putting an idea out there for initial feedback.

Create an experimental thing that is likely to be quite imperfect.

The second stage centers on looking at what content pieces your audience responds to most. Based on user feedback, improve those pieces of content that resonated with your audience. Repackage and distribute them to even more people.

Only in the third stage — after noticing clear content/format preferences from your community — does integration and monetization of your best-performing content make the most sense. This could come in the form of a book, course, video playlist, etc.

For more, read: The 3 Stages of Content Creation

Every Free Piece Should Stand Alone Too

An additional key point is that every piece of free content you distribute — be it written, video, audio or visual format — should provide standalone value to the consumer without requiring them to read/watch something else to understand enough of the current piece. If you want to offer additional resources, then let it be optional, fur further dive.

It definitely takes practice condensing a topic into, say, a single 500–1000 word blog post that makes coherent sense, versus having it totally dependent on other pieces.

It’s worth the practice though, because it’ll make your content much easier to consume, and grow your audience without delay.

Trust that readers have enough background familiarity with your work and terminology to grasp essential points as you articulate them. Hyperlink lightly to other content for layering context if necessary.

And so what if the reader has questions? Embrace their clarifying questions as an opportunity to accelerate your learning. Fielding objections around something you’ve shared allows you to rapidly improve that content for greater clarity.

However, if an idea cannot stand independently yet, without lots of explaining from external sources, then it likely warrants you saving it for a course or future book where you can comprehensively unpack the idea as part of a deliberately sequenced curriculum.

Even so, I encourage you to continuously push yourself to frame insights into bite-sized chunks of content as freely shareable value units. This will hone your educational skills drastically.

Consistency Over Perfection

Here’s the key mindset for today: dedication to consistent content output matters more than worrying about perfect sequence.

So breathe easy, break free from overplanning, and start creating immediately. Have fun experimenting and sharing your present truth!

Originally written in May 2019. Updated in January 2024.